Crossfire War – MOSCOW – Tskhinvili – Sukhumi Watch – South Caucasus Theatre: Moscow – Berlin – Washington – Yerevan – Baku – Sukhumi – Tskhinvili/Tbilisi – Ankara – Tehran; Air War in South Caucasus – Counter Accusations Over Violations of Air Space – Georgia Accuses Russia – South Ossetia Accuses Georgia
Night Watch: TSITELUBANI – The Georgian government in Tbilisi, its Foreign Ministry, has summoned Moscow’s Ambassador Vyacheslav Kovalenko to accuse Russia of a violation of Georgia’s airspace by a Russian fighter plane which fired a missile onto Georgian territory near the village of Tsitelubani, 40 miles (65 km) northwest of the capital. RIA reports the incident took place within what has become known as the CONFLICT ZONE between South Ossetia and Georgia. The South Ossetian government in Tskhinvili led the territory into secession from Georgia at the end of the Cold War in 1990 since most of its citizens identify with Russia. A three-year war followed that killed hundreds of people and there was another conflict over the same issue between Georgia and Abkhazia on the Black Sea, which also seceded from Tbilisi in 1990. However, the issue remained one of the many “frozen” conflicts that emerged and erupted periodically since the end of the Cold War from the Balkans to Central Asia, the geographical-regional theatres and frontlines of World War III 1994-2008. [RIA]
Until last year, Moscow had to concentrate on the heavy fighting in the North Caucasus in Chechnya-Daghestan against a variety of Islamic fundamentalist groups supported by Anakra-Tehran. With that action largely over Turkey-Iran have continued their combined policy of opposing Russia and the industrialized world, their access to resources in this region, by supporting groups opposed to Russia- West-Japan, by shifting their support to Georgia which has increased Tbilisi’s defense budget. Sergei Ivanov, Russia Foreign Minister, last year accused new NATO members of arming Georgia. Crossfirewar.com has reported exchanges of fire that have taken place, including rocket attacks on Georgian villages, by either South Ossetian or Russian units or both stationed in the area. Moscow has also just completed its final withdrawal from an old Soviet base just last week now all of a sudden the air space violation. There has also been a military standoff in the Kodori Gorge between Abkhazian and Georgian forces since July last year.
In response to Georgia Interior Ministry’s accusation yesterday spokesperson for Russia’s Air Force Colonel Alexander Drobyshevsky responded with this statement, “Russian aircraft did not fly over Georgian territory either Monday evening or Tuesday morning. They did now violate Georgia air space.” Georgia Interior Minister Vano Merabishvili had earlier said, “I consider this incident an act of aggression on the part of pilots who flew from the territory of a foreign state.” A Georgian television station, Mze TV reported Tuesday, “The site where the missile hit the ground has been cordoned off by police. Explosive experts, investigators and other specialists are examining the missile parts to determine its trajectory.” It has also been reported the experts have determined the missile’s serial number.
Reuters even has an account from an eyewitness llia Psuturi, “I was sitting in my garden resting a bandaged leg when I saw a plane in the sky. I then saw smoke rising from the ground up to the sky and only then did I hear the explosion. The plane then turned around.” Georgia President Mikhail Saakashvili visited the site and commented, “This is not Georgia’s problem. This is a problem for European security and safety.” He added Tbilisi’s response would be one of “remarkable calm…which is not what they were not expecting.” That is another way of saying Tbilisi is on the defensive and Saakashvili may have convinced himself Georgia’s security is Europe’s security and therefore his country will receive more than diplomatic sympathy. I suspect, however, the European Union will respond with strategic, classic ignorance, publicly, while privately acknowledging the economic reality of the situation. European industry needs access to energy in the Black and Caspian Sea region and that would not be possible if Turkey-Iran are able to control the region through Georgia.[SWISSINFO]
If Moscow loses here, the war would expand again further north. Moscow is a lot easier to negotiate with than Ankara-Tehran, as the EU is fully aware because of their confrontational negotiations with Tehran over Iran’s nuclear weapons enrichment program. Especially since Russia operates with hard currency that comes mostly from Berlin and the Paris Club of creditor nations. That is why Berlin-Washington had former U. S. Secretary of State Dr. Henry Kissinger arrive in Moscow late April to co-chair a Strategic Working Group with former Russia Premier Yevgeny Primakov and this is less than a month (7-13) after the first lowly publicized meeting in the residence of President Vladimir Putin outside Moscow. This is also just one month after the Maine Summit between U. S. President George W. Bush and Putin where they mentioned the U.S. – Russia will have joint operations with the Russian radar base in Gabala, Azerbaijan on Iran’s northwest border and on the Caspian. On July 25, crossfirewar.com reported the visit to the Azerbaijan capital Baku by Russia Deputy Minister for Foreign Affairs Sergey Kislyak the country where the radar bases is located and now these air space violations.
According to Tskhinvili Georgia’s response has not been “remarkably calm”. The government press service of South Ossetia released this statement, “Georgia has conducted an air strike on the territory of South Ossetia. A Georgian aircraft, probably a SU-25 or L-39, flew over the village of Tsinagar and fired air-to-ground missiles in the Gromski Gorge.” There have been no reports of casualties and no response from Tbilisi. If Moscow’s offensive is effective enough then negotiations could begin before this year is over between Moscow-Tehran that will lead to the end of World War III. However, the West will still have to confront whatever forces Iran sent through the Balkans, as Iran would have entered the unfrozen conflict over Kosovo. If Brussels-NATO had any intelligent strategic sense they would have committed units to the Caucasus during the first Chechen war from 1994-96 and it would have prevented not only Russia’s first defeat but would have confronted Iran more directly sooner and World War III would have ended before 2000.