Crossfire War – TEHRAN WATCH – South Caucasus Theatre: Moscow – Sukhumi/Tbilisi – Tehran; Georgia Increases its Troop Presence in Kodori Gorge as Opposed to Moscow – Tehran Monitors Situation
Night Watch: SUKHUMI – Abkhazia authorities issued this statement, “Despite Abkhazia’s repeated calls against violating agreements reached at talks and on the withdrawal of military detachments from the upper part of the Kodori Gorge, Georgia continues to increase its military presence.” The document was addressed and sent to the UN, Russia, Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) and to the UN Secretary-General.[RIA]
The reason for their statement is because Georgia has now sent more than 2,000 troops and their military hardware in the name of what Tbilisi calls an “anti-crime operation” into the contested area. A crime they say was committed when Abkhazia leader Emzar Kvitsiani announced he no longer recognized Tbilisi’s rule over the province that declared its independence from Georgia in 1992. War broke out and the fighting lasted for two years killing thousands of people. Moscow sees Tbilisi as another of so many challenges to Russia’s rule over areas it had controlled for generations, and withdrew from at the conclusion of the Cold war in 1990, so it supports Sukhumi and has called for Tbilisi to withdraw.
With Georgia’s 2,000 troops are two Mi-8 helicopters, four Mi-24 helicopters and one U. S. made UH-1 Huey helicopter along with two lightly armored vehicles.
Tehran is of course watching the situation very closely realizing this is a chance to increase their relations with Tbilisi to include military assistance as a way of expanding the war against Moscow in the Caucasus. The Caucasus being a strategic crossroads of energy pipelines has made this area the deciding front. I estimate it will take Moscow a year before they can respond more offensively to the fighting that first broke out in December 1994 in Chechnya. It is an open secret that Tehran and Ankara support Chechen and other Islamic units fighting Moscow in the form of mobile Mujahideen squads. Tehran-Ankara would not hesitate to embrace a government, in this case Georgia, fighting the same enemy.