Matt Siegel, reporting for the New Statesman, found exhausted doctors working in the South Ossetia General Hospital in Tskhnvali. A week ago there were wounded civilians and bloody surgical gloves lying in heaps in corridors of the hospital. Dr. Tinati Zakhorova, angrily commented: “This is the fourth genocide against the Ossetian people by the Georgians. How can we go back to living under them?” The real mystery about events in South Ossetian and Georgia is who was involved in planning the initial attack and to what extent is their culpability on the part of President Bush in events that occurred in these sad lands? Siegel met many South Ossetians who believe fervently they need the support of Russia in order to survive against the Georgians. They believe without Russian soldiers their country would have disappeared.
Siegel found evidence of Georgian artillery attacks on the capital. On the other hand when Siegel visited the Georgian city of Gori the exact opposite view was expressed. People wanted Americans, not Russians. Sasha Berdizee, expressed the view of many when he admitted “Misha made a mistake” in referring to President Saakashvili. There is realization Georgia is a tiny country bordering on a powerful Russia which will not tolerate a hostile regime so close to its land.
Peter Murphy, writing for the Budapest Sun, reports life in Georgia is slowly returning to normal as people return to their regular activities and jobs. He talked with a group of people of whom only two were Georgian and the others Ossetian, Armenian and Russian. A Georgian woman commented: “The war doesn’t affect us; we were friends before and we will be friends after. Politicians have made this war, not the people. However, he came across Russians who fear remaining due to bitter feelings generated by the conflict. “There have been some who make sure we can hear them when they talk of the bad Russians. If someone on the street asks us where we are from, we say we are Armenians. We think about leaving, we’d go to Moscow. More and more Russians have left in the lat few years.”
Murphy saw many anti-Russian banners hanging from barriers and TV stations report constantly about evil Russians. However, panic buying has ended and people are returning to their normal activities. “Business for anyone is not brisk these days, the hotels are empty” since tourists are not making trips to Georgia.
The war led thousands of Russians who had been peacefully living in South Ossetia to flee in fear and now they are creating an new refugee problem for the Georgian government. Murphy visited the main hospital in Tbilsi and was told by doctors most casualties were soldiers who had been wounded by cluster bombs and only a few had bullet wounds. He did not come across evidence of widespread death as has often been reported in the western media. Actually, he noted, “the road north to Gori and South Ossetia from the capital is surprisingly busy with traffic as people in outlying suburbs of Tbilsi come and go.” It is apparent there are South Ossetians who fled to Russia and those who fled to Georgia. Now, refugees wait and see what the future holds.
Secretary of State Condi Rice is in Georgia where she is dealing with the complex issues raised by events in that region of the world. On one hand, the United States is working to get Russia out of Georgia and restore conditions to what they were before fighting broke out in the area, but, on the other hand, Rice must deal with actions of the government of Georgia which created the present situation. The United States is assuring Georgia it will not be forced to accept any decisions which run counter to its self interests. However, there is a difference between what Georgia views what should be done in the region and what most Western nations are willing to accept.
President Saakashvili thundered to the world that “Russia’s invasion of Georgia strikes at the heart of western values” and to allow it sends a message that authoritarian government can exist anywhere. However, he initiated the war because of a desire to impose Georgia’s will upon South Ossetia. The West supports Kosovo’s decision to breakaway from Serbia which places it in a dilemma. Does South Ossetia have the right to breakaway from Georgia if that is the will of its people?
Posted in George Bush, Human Rights, Peace, Politics, Republicans, Russia, Uncategorized, US Foreign Policy, War, World News
Tagged Georgia, Rice, South Ossetia
President George Bush made clear to Russia that he opposes use of armed force to settle disputes between nations. He informed the Russian government aid would be sent to Georgia and it would be delivered by American troops who would be flying into Georgia. Secretary of State Rice bluntly told the Russians: “This is not 1968 an the invasion of Czechoslovakia where Russia can threaten a neighbor, occupy a capital, overthrow a government and get away with it. Things have changed.” The European Union was prepared to dispatch soldiers as part of a peacekeeping group that would assist in maintaining the cease fire agreement that President Sarkozy hammered out between Georgia and Russia.
Under terms of the cease fire, both sides would withdraw to their bases and allow humanitarian aid. It is still unclear about the presence of Russian “peacekeeping troops” in the breakaway provinces of Abkhazia and South Ossetia.
The presence of George Bush as an opponent of the use of force to resolve problems is among the most laughable aspects of the current crisis. Actually, Russia acted in the same manner as did President Bush in 2003 when he ignored UN attempts to verify if WMD actually existed in Iraq. One can only wonder if the American president looks in the mirror of South Ossetia and sees his own reflection.