Monday, September 21, 2009

Something Brewing Again in Caucasus

Remember the tie-eating president of Georgia? In August last year, right on the day that Beijing Olympics started, Georgia began military maneuver in the autonomous region of south Ossetia, only to be swiftly and badly beaten back by Russia who was in the region as a peace-keeping force (thus the Georgian president's unusual diet).

Something is brewing there again right now, this time over another breakaway region of Georgia, Abkhazia. But whatever it is involves even wider region from Moldova to Azerbaijan that is neighboring Georgia and bordering Iran. The primary target, again, seems to be Iran.

Black Sea Crisis Deepens As US-NATO Threat To Iran Grows
(Rick Rozoff, 9/16/09 Centre for Research on Globalization)

"Tensions are mounting in the Black Sea with the threat of another conflict between U.S. and NATO client state Georgia and Russia as Washington is manifesting plans for possible military strikes against Iran in both word and deed.

"Referring to Georgia having recently impounded several vessels off the Black Sea coast of Abkhazia, reportedly 23 in total this year, the New York Times wrote on September 9 that "Rising tensions between Russia and Georgia over shipping rights to a breakaway Georgian region have opened a potential new theater for conflict between the countries, a little more than a year after they went to war." [1]

"Abkhazian President Sergei Bagapsh ordered his nation's navy to respond to Georgia's forceful seizure of civilian ships in neutral waters, calling such actions what they are - piracy - by confronting and if need be sinking Georgian navy and coast guard vessels. The Georgian and navy and coast guard are trained by the United States and NATO.

"The spokesman of the Russian Foreign Ministry addressed the dangers inherent in Georgia's latest provocations by warning “They risk aggravating the military and political situation in the region and could result in serious armed incidents.” [2]"

"In attempting to enforce a naval blockade - the International Criminal Court plans to include blockades against coasts and ports in its list of acts of war this year [5] - against Abkhazia, the current Georgian regime of Mikheil Saakashvili is fully aware that Russia is compelled by treaty and national interests alike to respond. Having been roundly defeated in its last skirmish with Russia, the five-day war in August of last year, Tbilisi would never risk actions like its current ones without a guarantee of backing from the U.S. and NATO." [emphasis is mine]

Remember the stock market crashed two months later last year. I'm not saying they were connected (although there are people who say they were). At least last year the Georgian conflict didn't blow up into a wider regional war involving Iran and Israel. This time, I'm not very sure.

Part of my uneasiness is the current U.S. administration under President Obama. Modus operandi of the administration seems to be to do everything all at once - blitzkrieg, or shock and awe - from economic "stimulus" (so far all it's stimulating is government spending) and cap and trade, health care "reform" to immigration reform to financial overhaul to global this and and that. Staying in Iraq and significantly increasing presence in Afghanistan and Pakistan. I wouldn't be surprised if they decide to open yet another front in Iran, because they think "they can".

The big arc connecting Romania/Bulgaria- Moldova - Ukraine - Abkhazia - Georgia - Azerbaijan - Armenia - Usbekistan - Khazakistan - Afghanistan - Pakistan, as described in the article, would seem like an effort to contain Russia as much as setting the stage for confrontation with Iran. Are we back in the days of Cold War? Then, I read this article today.

Zbig Brzezinski: Obama Administration Should Tell Israel U.S. Will Attack Israeli Jets if They Try to Attack Iran
(9/21/09 Political Punch, ABC News)

Brzezinski even invokes USS Liberty.

In the update section of the article, there is a curious piece of information: "Russian President Dmitriy Medvedev told CNN that Israeli President Shimon Peres assured him that Israel would not attack Iran."

(More on Medvedev's interview in Reuter's article here.)

Just recently, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu made a secret trip to Moscow to meet with Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin.

And Mr. Putin met with the U.S. business leaders after Obama Administration ditched the missile shield in Eastern Europe.

Looks like "the Great Game" is still on, after all these years.


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