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US Transporting Georgian Troops Out of Iraq to Fight Russia

by ManfromMiddletown Sun Aug 10th, 2008 at 08:06:46 AM EST

Crossposted from Daily Kos.

We should all be very worried.  The small former Soviet Republic of Georgia has been something of apt pupil of our dear President, and has been very willing to embrace our government as a means to grow closer to the "West."  Chief among the actions taken by Georgia to curry American favor was the decision to provide troops for the Iraq war.  There are 2,000 Georgian troops in Iraq, and now they are urgently needed in their home country.  And the US has agreed to take them there.

First of all we need to remove 1,000 guys from here within 96 hours, after that the rest of the guys," Colonel Bondo Maisuradze told The Times this morning.

"The US will provide us with the transportation," he added.

Georgia had said initially that it planned to withdraw just half of its contingent in Iraq.

The US military said that all transportation options were being explored, without confirming that it would provide the aircraft.

Wait, it gets better.

More on what's happening - afew


Far from being some sort of freak occurrence, the Georgian military assault against the autonomous region of South Ossetia appears to be blowback from  bringing Georgia into the coalition of the willing.  As a benefit of their willingness to send troops to Iraq, the Georgians have been the recipients of large quantities of military training and aid.  Ostensibly this was intended to prepare Georgian forces for action in Iraq, but its likely that the Georgians had an ulterior motive.

As Sergei Shamba, the foreign affairs minister of Abkhazia, told me in 2006: "The Georgians are euphoric because they have been equipped, trained, that they have gained military experience in Iraq. It feeds this revanchist mood... How can South Ossetia be demilitarized, when all of Georgia is bristling with weaponry, and it's only an hour's ride by tank from Tbilisi to Tskhinvali?"

One of the U.S. military trainers put it to me a bit more bluntly. "We're giving them the knife," he said. "Will they use it?"

Yes.

Wait, it gets better.

There's a difference between giving a man a knife that he might use to stab someone, and someone who basically telling you he wants to go cut some motherfucker who done him wrong.

That's the real reason to pay attention here. Since 2002, the U.S. military has been providing Georgia with a serious amount of military assistance, beginning with the Georgia Train and Equip Program in 2002. I first visited Georgia's Krtsanisi training range in fall of 2002, when the Georgian military was still little more of a militia, with some of the troops wearing sneakers and surplus Soviet uniforms. The U.S. trainers carried sidearms - mostly, as I was told later, to deal with the threat of wild dogs roaming the training ground.

When I returned to Krtsanisi in early 2006, the place had been transformed into a model base. It even had a sparkling new KBR-style dining facility. The Georgian troops were smartly decked out in U.S.-style uniforms; they were preparing for a troop rotation in Iraq.

Officially, SSOP was supposed to prepare Georgians for service in Iraq. But Georgian trainees I spoke to in 2006 at the Krtsanisi training range saw things a bit differently. A female sergeant told me: "This training is incredibly important for us, because we want to take back Georgia's lost territories."

In a way this makes me feel better, because it means that we only armed madmen.  We didn't create them like some sort of Frankenstein by giving them guns.  Nonetheless at this point the milk has been spilt.  And the mess only looks to grow larger.

The ongoing conflict in Georgia isn't only a concern for the countries in the immediate region.  It's ignited interest throughout the former Soviet World. And there's some indication that this fight could only grow more gruesome if the Georgians don't concede to the cession of territory.  As Jerome a Paris noted yesterday over at the European Tribune,  Georgia is host to several separatist regions.  You'll have to pardon the French, but this map is enormously helpful in understanding the ongoing conflicts in the region.

This is Georgia.  South Ossetia is the region in the center-north of the country.  Abkhazia is another separatist region, located in the northwest of the country. Finally, Adjara is located in the southwest of the country and was previously under autonomous rule, but has recently fallen under more direct rule from Tblisi.

All of these regions have the potential to make the situation worse.

First off, Abkhazia has already escalated the conflict by entering on the Ossetian side.

The Abkhazian move was prompted by Georgia's military action to regain control over another breakaway province, South Ossetia, which began Friday, said Sergei Shamba, foreign minister in Abkhazia's separatist government.

He said that Abkhazia had to act because it has a friendship treaty with South Ossetia.

Both regions have run their own affairs without international recognition since splitting from Georgia in the early 1990s and have built up ties with Moscow. Russia has granted its passports to most of their residents.

I can think of a couple of other regional wars that started this. Once you start a fight, you can never tell when somebody's friend is going to try to jump you ass while your going at them.  And it's not just Abkhazia.  

Russian entry into the Ossetian conflict means that their friends now have a bone to pick with the Georgians. And vice versa.  Reactions from various leaders in the former Soviet Union show that there's a split in how to respond to the situation.  There have already been reports that Kazakhstan is considering sending troops to support Russia, and the responses from other leaders have been interesting. Just a few:

Kazakstan

Nazarbaev criticized Georgia for not raising the alarm before hostilities broke out.

"I think the Georgian leadership has not done the right thing here, by not alerting anyone ahead of time, by not highlighting any rise in tensions. I think, in any case, that there is no alternative to a peaceful resolution of this issue," Nazarbaev said.

Azerbaijan

"Azerbaijan supports Georgia's territorial integrity, and the South Ossetia conflict should be solved only [within] this framework. At the same time, Georgia has [every] right to restore its territorial integrity, provided by the norms and principles of international law, including the UN Charter. And therefore, all the steps taken by Georgia in this direction are in accordance with international law," Ibrahim said.

Ukraine

Ukraine's acting foreign minister, Vladimir Handogy, who was meeting with the Russian charge d'affaires in Kyiv on August 8, also expressed his country's support of Georgia's territorial integrity.

He said Ukraine is prepared to assist international efforts to bring about a peaceful resolution, and he urged Russia to not become a party to the conflict.

This has the potential to line up the post-Soviet world into rival, armed camps.

Belarus and Kazkhstan are supportive of Russia.

Ukraine, Moldova, and Azerbaijan are supportive of Georgia.

Armenia is trying to stay neutral.

And, the best for last.

Remember how the US has agreed to transport those Georgian troops home to fight the Russians?

If you look at at map of the Middle East, you'll see there's really only one way to do that.  It's by plane, and through Turkish territory, most likely going through Incirlik airbase.

This gets real tricky.  The entire Caucus region was a poorly defined boundary between the Ottoman and Russian Empires.  This map, which I can only find in Spanish, shows how the situation was resolved in the 1920s.

The red lines mark the internal boundaries of the old Russian Empire. The whole Caucasus is a damn mess, and in addition to a portion of the old Russian Empire that went to the Turks, Adjara, a part of Georgia populated by Muslims was given autonomous status in the Georgian SSR.  The Treaty of Kars that demarcated borders in the region gave Turkey a special role as the protector of these Muslims (much as Russia was a protector by treaty over Ottoman Christians) and ensured autonomy for the region.

Article VI
Turkey agrees to cede to Georgia suzerainty over the town and port of Batum, with the territory to the north of the frontier, indicated in Article IV of the present Treaty, which formed part of the district of Batum, on condition:

That the population of the localities specified in the present Article shall enjoy a greater measure of local administrative autonomy, that each community is guaranteed its cultural and religious rights, and that this population may introduce in the above-mentioned places an agrarian system in conformity with its own wishes.

That Turkey be assured free transit through the port of Batum for commodities and all materials destined for, or originating in, Turkey, without customs duties and charges, and with the right for Turkey to utilize the port of Batum without special charges. For the application of this Article, a commission of representatives of the interested Parties shall be created immediately after the signing of the present Treaty.

While Adjara had been autonomous following the collapse of the Soviet Union, in 2004 the Georgian government revoked much of that autonomy, and it's unclear the extent to which the are has been Christianized.  Under the Treaty of Kars, Turkey has a protector role over Adjara.  

Over the last year, Turkey has seen significant turmoil in its domestic politics, with elements of the secularist military threatening coup against the (democratically elected) Islamist government.  Fortunately, Adjara is one thing that they might all agree on.  

The problem is that they likely are going to see the situation somewhat differently from the US and Georgia.  After all, if Georgia's going to get carved up, why shouldn't Turkey get control over the oil refineries at the head of the pipeline from Azerbaijan?

And how do you suppose that they are going to respond to a US request to transport Georgian troops home to put down separatist republics?

And even if they agree, what happens if a US plane transporting Georgian forces into the region is shot down?

We live in interesting times.

And remember that war is the gift that keeps on giving.

Thanks George and Georgia.........

Display:
European Tribune - US Transporting Georgian Troops Out of Iraq to Fight Russia
We should all be very worried.

Not Darth Heartless and Wonderboy. They're going to be hoping that a plane carrying brave US troops is brought down my evil and bad severely tanned insurgent muslim aggressors. If the evil and bad etc don't oblige, Darth Heartless is perfectly capable of helping the situation along.

This is what happens when you don't impeach the fuckers. They bring everything down in flames around you - including that damn table which impeachment isn't on.

War with Russia? If you're a psychopath like Cheney and a diplomatic toddler like Bush, what's not to like?

by ThatBritGuy (thatbritguy (at) googlemail.com) on Sat Aug 9th, 2008 at 05:18:54 PM EST
I don't know which I love more, ET or ThatBritGuy.

They tried to assimilate me. They failed.
by THE Twank (yatta blah blah @ blah.com) on Sun Aug 10th, 2008 at 08:25:31 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Thanks George and Georgia.........

No, thanks America, including all the little chickenhawk fucks at places like dKos who think spreading our military personnel all over the world is awesome so long as the battles are the ones they want our soldiers to fight.

Team America: World's Police.  But what's not to like when it ain't you or your fucking kids with the RPGs pointed at'em?

Be nice to America. Or we'll bring democracy to your country.

by Drew J Jones (pedobear@pennstatefootball.com) on Sat Aug 9th, 2008 at 05:32:29 PM EST
Former Soviet Republic of Georgia.

Not peaches and praline Georgia.

And I'll give my consent to any government that does not deny a man a living wage-Billy Bragg

by ManfromMiddletown (manfrommiddletown at lycos dot com) on Sat Aug 9th, 2008 at 05:45:33 PM EST
[ Parent ]
You don't say.

Be nice to America. Or we'll bring democracy to your country.
by Drew J Jones (pedobear@pennstatefootball.com) on Sat Aug 9th, 2008 at 05:48:04 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I just did.

If Americans only knew what was going on, they wouldn't be so down with this.

The sad thing is that even if Obama is elected, this isn't going to change.

Obama had a problem with the Iraq War because he thought it was the wrong war.  Not because he though war is wrong.

That's an important difference lost on many of his supporters.

And I'll give my consent to any government that does not deny a man a living wage-Billy Bragg

by ManfromMiddletown (manfrommiddletown at lycos dot com) on Sat Aug 9th, 2008 at 05:52:16 PM EST
[ Parent ]
If Americans only knew what was going on, they wouldn't be so down with this.

Americans aren't going to know what's going on, because we're involved in so much bullshit around the world that it's impossible to focus them on anything when these conflicts come up except waving flags and justifying anything on grounds of supporting the troops.  What exactly do you expect to happen when a society is built on the idea that its job is to manage the world's conflicts with force?

And you're right about Obama.  But at least he got it right on something instead of swallowing the Bush administration's collective load simply because they demanded it.  Unfortunately the disease is incredibly deep, and it's not helped by the fact that the left is only slightly less clueless on foreign affairs than the right.

Be nice to America. Or we'll bring democracy to your country.

by Drew J Jones (pedobear@pennstatefootball.com) on Sat Aug 9th, 2008 at 05:56:37 PM EST
[ Parent ]

Obama had a problem with the Iraq War because he thought it was the wrong war.  Not because he though war is wrong.

That's an important difference lost on many of his supporters.

Lost on them? Or one they agree with?

In the long run, we're all dead. John Maynard Keynes

by Jerome a Paris (etg@eurotrib.com) on Sat Aug 9th, 2008 at 06:14:17 PM EST
[ Parent ]
We are the country that brought the world the Chia pet, what do you expect?

And I'll give my consent to any government that does not deny a man a living wage-Billy Bragg
by ManfromMiddletown (manfrommiddletown at lycos dot com) on Sat Aug 9th, 2008 at 06:26:38 PM EST
[ Parent ]
War and pouring money into War Toys has been good for business and the American people since 1940.  So I presume they "agree with."

She believed in nothing; only her skepticism kept her from being an atheist. -- Jean-Paul Sartre
by ATinNM on Sat Aug 9th, 2008 at 06:31:24 PM EST
[ Parent ]
... of Obama's policy as such, and supporters of some imagined Obama-the-pacifist-at-heart policy. And once it becomes a mass football game played with words, no telling which of the former and which of the latter sincerely mean it.

I've been accused of being a Marxist, yet while Harpo's my favourite, it's Groucho I'm always quoting. Odd, that.
by BruceMcF (agila61 at netscape dot net) on Sat Aug 9th, 2008 at 08:09:11 PM EST
[ Parent ]
You mean this isn't Jimmy Carter's fault?
by ThatBritGuy (thatbritguy (at) googlemail.com) on Sat Aug 9th, 2008 at 05:53:30 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Everything's Jimmy Carter's fault unless it can be blamed on Bill Clinton.

Be nice to America. Or we'll bring democracy to your country.
by Drew J Jones (pedobear@pennstatefootball.com) on Sat Aug 9th, 2008 at 05:57:12 PM EST
[ Parent ]
we watched Borat tonight. It's not great, but it has a few moments. One of these is when he makes a speech in the middle of the rodeo. First he thanks the US for running the "war of terror". Cheering. Then the boys for their service in Iraq. Loud cheering. Then the US for killing all terrorists. Loud cheering. Then Bush for getting blood on his hands to get the world rid of all muslims. Still cheering (just a tad less).

Then he goes on to sing the "Kazakh anthem" over the notes of the US anthem. Excpet that his words are basically: "Kazakhstan is the greatest country in the world, and all others are shit". Then he starts getting seriously booed.

An amazing scene.

In the long run, we're all dead. John Maynard Keynes

by Jerome a Paris (etg@eurotrib.com) on Sat Aug 9th, 2008 at 06:18:58 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Cheers.



And I'll give my consent to any government that does not deny a man a living wage-Billy Bragg

by ManfromMiddletown (manfrommiddletown at lycos dot com) on Sat Aug 9th, 2008 at 06:29:20 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Yes, I know the scene you're talking about.  (I thought Borat was stupid and childish, personally, but I never found Sacha Baron Cohen funny.)  Powerful stupid.  But it makes my point that it's no surprise the dumbshits in this country can't focus on bettering their lives when they're so easily distracted by politicians firing their guns into the air.  And it's no surprise that, with the majority having accepted the idea that it's "our" job to go fuck about all over the planet, the politicians and their cronies have been able to loot trillions out the back door.

But at least boys can't get hitched outside of Massachusetts and California, so the Magical Space Daddy won't be upset.

Be nice to America. Or we'll bring democracy to your country.

by Drew J Jones (pedobear@pennstatefootball.com) on Sat Aug 9th, 2008 at 07:37:13 PM EST
[ Parent ]
i liked that scene too, the best in an otherwise pretty stupid flick.

stupid + stupid makes for a good giggle!

'The history of public debt is full of irony. It rarely follows our ideas of order and justice.' Thomas Piketty

by melo (melometa4(at)gmail.com) on Sun Aug 10th, 2008 at 05:19:31 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Oh this is just great.

Let's piss off the Russians 'cause we ain't got nothing else to do this weekend.

She believed in nothing; only her skepticism kept her from being an atheist. -- Jean-Paul Sartre

by ATinNM on Sat Aug 9th, 2008 at 06:28:40 PM EST
Turkish-Georgian relations can't be too bad, since it appears that Georgia has bought 100 Turkish-made Otakar Cobra armoured vehicles.
by Gag Halfrunt on Sat Aug 9th, 2008 at 06:55:53 PM EST
Interesting perspective analysis from DEBKAfiles

DEBKAfile's geopolitical experts note that on the surface level, the Russians are backing the separatists of S. Ossetia and neighboring Abkhazia as payback for the strengthening of American influence in tiny Georgia and its 4.5 million inhabitants. However, more immediately, the conflict has been sparked by the race for control over the pipelines carrying oil and gas out of the Caspian region.

The Russians may just bear with the pro-US Georgian president Mikhail Saakashvili's ambition to bring his country into NATO. But they draw a heavy line against his plans and those of Western oil companies, including Israeli firms, to route the oil routes from Azerbaijan and the gas lines from Turkmenistan, which transit Georgia, through Turkey instead of hooking them up to Russian pipelines.

Saakashvili need only back away from this plan for Moscow to ditch the two provinces' revolt against Tbilisi. As long as he sticks to his guns, South Ossetia and Abkhazia will wage separatist wars.

See the rest of the article about Israel's backing of Georgia - also about oil.

From my perspective there are no completely innocent parties in this conflict, just greedy, interested ones all around.

I can swear there ain't no heaven but I pray there ain't no hell. _ Blood Sweat & Tears

by Gringo (stargazing camel at aoldotcom) on Sat Aug 9th, 2008 at 10:56:44 PM EST
European Tribune - US Transporting Georgian Troops Out of Iraq to Fight Russia
This has the potential to line up the post-Soviet world into rival, armed camps.

Belarus and Kazkhstan are supportive of Russia.

Ukraine, Moldova, and Azerbaijan are supportive of Georgia.

Armenia is trying to stay neutral.

There has been many historical analogies here last couple of days. Just noting that the quoted text reminds me of the Eastern Europe situation in the time between ww1 and ww2. Two blocs based on territorial ambitions.

In the end it did not set of the ww2 (unless you include Germanys unsettled territorial claims), but it did make it easy for Hitler to find allies in the Balkans.

Sweden's finest (and perhaps only) collaborative, leftist e-newspaper Synapze.se

by A swedish kind of death on Sun Aug 10th, 2008 at 01:29:46 PM EST
I don't really see how the US has a choice here. As far as I can tell it formally obliged itself to provide transport out if the Georgians so wished and the Georgians cannot get back home without US assistance.

I do think that the US should make it crystal clear publicly and privately that as long as the RUssians limit their land operations to South Ossetia and Abkhazia, that they aren't going to lift a finger in support of Georgia, and that Georgia brought this most recent episode on itself. However, it does not have the right to hold Georgian troops captive, regardless of what it might think of Georgia's policies.

by MarekNYC on Sun Aug 10th, 2008 at 01:39:05 PM EST
Read this:
http://www.infowars.com/?p=3871

"There are lots of bodies over there, a lot of people have been killed, mostly Ossetians, but also Georgians, they had American emblems on their forearms and they were in black uniforms," she said.

Black uniforms are a trademark of Blackwater and DynCorp mercenaries (see Chris Hedges, America's Holy Warriors). DynCorp's presence in Eastern Europe is well documented, particularly in occupied Bosnia where it engaged in sex-trafficking and prostitution.



Science without religion is lame, religion without science is blind...Albert Einstein
by vbo on Sun Aug 10th, 2008 at 10:28:13 PM EST
This makes me sick.

I don't trust Infowars, but I don't doubt the the Georgians figure that hiring "private security contractors" would beef up their chances.

And of course anything untoward that they do doesn't fall back on the Georgian government.

Thanks for the post, I'd like to see a source else than infowars, but I don't discount the possibility that this is true.

And I'll give my consent to any government that does not deny a man a living wage-Billy Bragg

by ManfromMiddletown (manfrommiddletown at lycos dot com) on Sun Aug 10th, 2008 at 11:36:03 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I understand...I don't trust anyone nowadays.How can one trust CNN for example??? Still we may make a picture by watching/reading  them all on all sides...

Science without religion is lame, religion without science is blind...Albert Einstein
by vbo on Mon Aug 11th, 2008 at 12:03:12 AM EST
[ Parent ]
It checked out on Kommersant and the link to TV.

I don't know if they meant black skin or black uniform.

Blackwater of course has black uniforms.....

And I'll give my consent to any government that does not deny a man a living wage-Billy Bragg

by ManfromMiddletown (manfrommiddletown at lycos dot com) on Mon Aug 11th, 2008 at 12:17:25 AM EST
[ Parent ]
publically using and justifying the the use of mercenaries in Iraq to make huge profits for certain companies and to make up for military shortages and a lack of politcal will to reintroduce the draft needed to fight all those lovely neo-con fantasy wars, the use of mercenatries by all and sundry was back.

A bit like ignoring the massive breach of international law to create the independent Kosovo was always going to lead to Georgian breakaways wanting independence.

by observer393 on Mon Aug 11th, 2008 at 04:21:48 AM EST
[ Parent ]
There was a loophole, because they were nationals of a party to the conflict.

That's not the case if Blackwater is in Georgia.

And I'll give my consent to any government that does not deny a man a living wage-Billy Bragg

by ManfromMiddletown (manfrommiddletown at lycos dot com) on Mon Aug 11th, 2008 at 04:51:11 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Bah! A good chunk the US military isn't composed of "nationals of a party to the conflict" - the US has a long history of recruiting Latin American gangsters into their "all-volunteer" army with the promise of American citizenship after they've served their time in Hell. Which is really convenient, because those Latin American gangsters are already familiar with the modus operandi of the US military - after all, most of them have been trained by the US military in the first place.

Blackwater is not operationally different, as far as I can tell, except that the real US soldiers complain that the Blackwater goons are sloppy and trigger-happy and that corners are cut on their equipment. Sounds a lot like your standard outsourcing: The same service, just more expensive and a of lower quality.

- Jake

Friends come and go. Enemies accumulate.

by JakeS (JangoSierra 'at' gmail 'dot' com) on Mon Aug 11th, 2008 at 11:12:41 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Must be the only troops not happy to leave Iraq:
by blackhawk on Tue Aug 12th, 2008 at 12:59:25 AM EST
Apparently they were immediately sent to the Abkhaz front.

And I'll give my consent to any government that does not deny a man a living wage-Billy Bragg
by ManfromMiddletown (manfrommiddletown at lycos dot com) on Wed Aug 13th, 2008 at 03:55:16 AM EST
[ Parent ]


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