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Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Abkazia sends army to drive out Georgian troops

This is from wiredispatch.
President Saakaschvili certainly made an impetuous and disastrous move in trying to take over South Ossetia. Not only has he now lost South Ossetia to complete rebel control backed by the Russians but he has allowed a situation where the rebels in Abkazia can drive the Georgians from their last remaining stronghold in that breakaway area.
For the short term the opposition in Georgia will probably support the president but in the longer term questions will be raised about a policy that has been nothing short of disastrous. There is no way that Georgia will ever join NATO now hard as some countries such as the U.S. may press for that. Nevertheless the Cold War may be coming back with a vengeance.

Abkhazia sends army to drive out Georgian troops
Georgia faces 2nd separatist rebellion; Abkhazia sends fighters to drive out Georgian troops
RUSLAN KHASHIGAP News
Aug 10, 2008 05:33 EST
Separatist authorities in Georgia's breakaway province of Abkhazia mobilized the army and called up reservists Sunday to drive Georgian government forces out of the small part of the province still under Georgian control.

The move dramatically raises the stakes in the conflict between Georgia and Russia over another separatist province, South Ossetia. With most Georgian troops concentrated on fighting Russian troops in South Ossetia, it could be hard for Georgia to repel the Abkhazian offensive.
In addition, Russia troops were seen moving through Abkahzia toward the border with Georgia, which lies on the Black Sea between Turkey and Russia.
Abkhazia's President Sergei Bagapsh said he issued a decree putting the province's troops on high alert and mobilizing some reservists after Georgia launched a military campaign to regain control over South Ossetia.
Both South Ossetia and Abkhazia have run their own affairs without international recognition since splitting from Georgia in the early 1990s and have built up close ties with Moscow. Russia has granted passports to most of their residents.
Russia's NTV television said more Russian troops arrived in Abkhazia in addition to peacekeepers deployed there for more than a decade, heading toward the border with Georgia. It showed a long convoy of armored vehicles rolling through the Abkhaz capital, Sukhumi.
Bagapsh said he wouldn't conduct any talks with Georgian President Mikhail Saakashvili's government. "There can be no dialogue with the Georgian leadership, they are criminals," he said.
Bagapsh said Abkhazian troops aim to push Georgian troops out of the Kodori Gorge in Abkhazia. The northern part of the gorge is the only area of Abkhazia that has remained under Georgian government control.
"We are conducting artillery shelling and air strikes there," Bagapsh said at a news conference.
Georgia's Security Council Secretary Alexander Lomaia confirmed that Kodori came under attack, but he blamed it on Russia. Russian aircraft on Sunday also bombed Georgia's Zugdidi region, which lies next to Abkhazia, he said.
Bagapsh said Abkhazian forces also moved into a buffer zone on the border with Georgia's Zugdidi region to "enforce order" and eliminate the Georgian militants who had mounted attacks on Abkhazian police and security forces from there.
Russian military officials wouldn't comment on the deployment, but the Georgian government said 4,000 Russian troops landed in Abkhazia on Saturday.
Bagapsh acknowledged the Abkhazian move into the buffer zone would violate a peace agreement that ended the 1992-1993 war in which the region won de-facto independence, but claimed that Georgia was the first to violate the truce.
"We will call up more reservists if necessary," Bagapsh said, adding that Russia has sent its naval squadron to Georgia's Black Sea coast at his request.
The Georgian government issued a statement Sunday warning Abkhazia against joining the conflict.
Source: AP News

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