Posted by jfb on August 9th, 2008 | 0 comments
Still no point in trying to bring you breaking news, but BBC is reporting that Georgian troops have withdrawn from South Ossetia, basing its report on an unidentified interior ministry spokesman:
Georgia ‘pulls out of S Ossetia’
Georgia says its forces have withdrawn from the separatist enclave of South Ossetia, and that Russian troops are now in control of the regional capital.
An interior ministry spokesman told the BBC it was not a military defeat but a necessary step to protect civilians from a “humanitarian catastrophe”.
Georgia says Russia has brought an additional 10,000 soldiers across its frontiers, readying for a raid.
If it’s true (and I’m not saying it is- remember the fog of war), it means Georgia got hosed. They can say it’s not a military defeat as much as they want, but once the Russians hold South Ossetia, Georgia’s not getting back in. Abkhazia will probably be lost, too. And by all reports, Georgia’s military and industrial infrastructure is going to take a long time to recover, too.
See my comments from yesterday for what this means to the US.
A couple of my regular Georgian web sources have been unavailable, which made me look around a little bit. Here’s what I’ve got:
Georgian Web Sites Under Attack
Evidence of Russian Cyberwarfare Against Georgia
Telarus asks about Israeli arms and advisors in Georgia. I saw in the Danger Room the other day that Israel has been pulling way back on this one, but I looked around a little more to see what I could find:
Israel Freezes Out Georgia on Arms
Foreign Ministry: Halt arms sales to Georgia
Quest for info on Arad helped forge arms sales to Georgia
No ruling out more secret ties, but Israel would usually be doing this stuff on the sly as a middleman for US covert action. I think Israel’s got bigger concerns than supporting Georgia right now, especially since the US is doing it so openly.
No one seems to know much new about the earlier explosion and possible Kurdish attack on the BTC pipeline, but the Georgians now say Russian jets have targeted the pipeline. Of course, that’s what you’d expect them to say, so we’ll have to wait to know about this one.
Russian jets targeted major oil pipeline: Georgia
Russia / Georgia conflict sounds alarm bells at threat to vital link in the energy chain
The 1,770-kilometre (1,100mile) Baku-Tbilisi-Ceyhan (BTC) pipeline, which cost $3 billion (£1.55 billion) to build and was partly underwritten by British taxpayers, entered full service last year. It is the world’s second-longest oil pipeline and pumps about a million barrels a day from Baku, on the coast of the Caspian Sea in Azerbaijan, to Yumurtalik, on Turkey’s Mediterranean coast, where it is loaded on to supertankers. The route also avoids the congested Bosphorus shipping lane.
About 250 kilometres of the route passes through Georgia, with parts of it running only 55 kilometres from South Ossetia. It also runs close to another secessionist Georgian region, Abkhazia.
And that’s not all the oil that flows through there, either:
Azerbaijan halts oil exports via Georgia ports: state oil firm
And finally, a little bit of analysis from the NY Times:
In Georgia Clash, a Lesson on U.S. Need for Russia
The image of President Bush smiling and chatting with Prime Minister Vladimir V. Putin of Russia from the stands of the Beijing Olympics even as Russian aircraft were shelling Georgia outlines the reality of America’s Russia policy. While America considers Georgia its strongest ally in the bloc of former Soviet countries, Washington needs Russia too much on big issues like Iran to risk it all to defend Georgia.