Crossfire War – Russia Increases Troops in Abkhazia-South Caucasus

Crossfire War – Rapid Fire News=Moscow – Sukhumi – Tskhinvili Watch – South Caucasus Theatre: Moscow – Berlin – Washington – Paris – Yerevan – Baku – Tskhinvili – Sukhumi/Tbilisi – Ankara – Tehran; Russia Increases Troops in Abkhazia – Accuses Georgia of Planning Attack – Moscow – Tehran Outline Post-War Cooperation – Heavy Fighting in Sadr City – Palestinian Units Plan Wave of Attacks on Israel 60th Anniversary Celebration

Night Watch: KODORI GORGE – The day after Russia-Abkhazia signed a defense agreement Swissinfo/Reuters report the Russia Foreign Ministry announced it is increasing its troop presence in Abkhazia, “This step has been taken based on analysis of information from the conflict zones which shows that tension is rising as a result of measures of a destabilizing nature undertaken by the Georgian side.” Moscow claims the Georgian government in Tbilisi is increasing its 1,500 troops in the Kodori Gorge where a military standoff has been in effect for nearly two years and that Georgia is preparing an invasion which Tbilisi denies. I believe Tbilisi and that Moscow is establishing reasons to defeat Georgia in order to re-establish Russia’s control over the oil-gas resources of the Caucasus which have been at extreme risk since the end of the Cold War especially when Russia lost the first Chechen war, 1994-96, due to enormous corruption. Ankara-Tehran supported the Islamic groups which defeated Moscow and that is why Turkey-Iran have for the past few years increased their relations with Tbilisi in the hope Georgia can limit Russia’s ability to control this region. [SWISSINFO]

Russia has engaged in serious military reforms under President Vladimir Putin that have enabled Russia to restore its control over the north Caucasus, reforms which the West support and for that reason sent former U. S. Secretary of State Dr. Henry Kissinger to Moscow in April 2007 to co-chair the Strategic Working Group with former Russia Premier Yevgeny Primakov.

Tehran – Iran is in the process of acknowledging Russia’s new strength and Tehran has always realized its offensive foreign policy is not without its limits. I suspect Iran has made enough military-industrial preparations for one year of offensive warfare directed at mainly the West, its main international rival and India in support of Pakistan and the Muslims in Kashmir. Tehran realizes Georgia has no chance against Moscow and for that reason, in view of the post-war international reality, the Deputy Secretary of the Russian National Security Council, Valentin Sobolev has been conducting two days of extensive negotiations in Tehran. IRNA reports Sobolev has been meeting with Iran’s Secretary of the Supreme National Security Council, Saeed Jalili and the two have outlined each country’s role in restoring peace and stability to the region and world. Tehran will lead the effort in re-introducing Russia to West Asia (Middle East), South Asia, North and Northeast Africa especially with the governments Iran has its closest contacts: Syria-Libya-Sudan-Turkey-Pakistan. [IRNA]

Sadr City – A U. S. patrol was attacked Tuesday, after 9:30 am, as it was leaving an area along a road in Sadr City where the U. S. was constructing a barrier to prevent the movement of Shia militias in Baghdad. Asharq al-Awsat/Agencies report the concrete barrier is meant to prevent the firing of rockets and mortars into the International Green Zone the location of most foreign embassies and government offices. First the patrol was hit by roadside bombs then by rocket-propelled-grenades and machine gunfire. Several American soldiers were wounded and at least thirty Iraqis. U. S. military spokesman Lieutenant-Colonel Steve Stover explained, “We have every right to defend ourselves. The problem is they’re using houses, rooftops and alley ways as cover.” He specifically mentioned the U. S. had to target a group firing a multiple-launch rocket which fires high explosive warheads weighing 200 lbs (90 kilograms). Though the Iraq Army is supposed to be ready to stand on its own the U. S. has been increasingly drawn into battle. The reliability of the Iraq Army is enormously suspected as U. S. military analysts have admitted it has been heavily infiltrated by Shia Militias. [ASHARQALAWSAT]

Jerusalem – Haaretz reports according to the Chief of Israel’s Military Intelligence, Major-General Amos Yadlin, Hamas and other Palestinian militant units are planning a wave of attacks before Israel’s 60th Independence Anniversary celebrations next month. Yadlin states Hamas will concentrate on the Gaza/Israel border terminals like Erez in the north and Nahal Oz and Kerem Shalom further south. He mentioned Hamas may once again try a mass demonstration, “However if the popular move fails Hamas may try to breach the border in a military operation.” That will include the use of explosive laden trucks as Hamas tried recently and this time they could be under the cover of heavy mortar fire. [HAARETZ]

Willard Payne is an international affairs analyst who specializes in International Relations. A graduate of Western Illinois University with a concentration in East-West Trade and East-West Industrial Cooperation, he has been providing incisive analysis to NewsBlaze. He is the author of Imagery: The Day Before.