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Washington To Rearm Georgia For New Conflicts

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Headlined to H3 1/14/11

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Washington To Rearm Georgia For New Conflicts
Rick Rozoff

Recent reports in the Russian news media have detailed plans by the U.S. to provide the Mikheil Saakashvili government in Georgia with tens of millions of dollars worth of anti-aircraft and anti-tank weapons.

The Russian government's Itar-Tass news agency and Voice of Russia have confirmed the arms package with officials from the Russian special services and the Joint Staff of the armed forces.

An official from the second source responded to the proposed arms sale by stating: "We deeply regret that the reset of US-Russian relations declared by the administration of Barack Obama does not change anything in Washington's military support for the Georgian leadership, which began the war in the Caucasus in August 2008 and which is continuing to mastermind aggressive plans against the independent states of Abkhazia and South Ossetia." [1]

The Georgian-South Ossetian-Russian war of 2008 was preceded by Georgian artillery barrages against the South Ossetian capital of Tskhinvali on August 1 which killed six people including a Russian peacekeeper stationed there.

That attack occurred within hours of 1,000 U.S. Marines, airborne forces and other troops completing the two-week Immediate Response 2008 North Atlantic Treaty Organization Partnership for Peace exercise in Georgia.
 
Six days afterward the Saakashvili regime launched an all-out assault against South Ossetia, timed to coincide with the opening ceremony of the Olympic Games in Beijing.

American troops and military equipment remained in the war zone throughout the five days of fighting between Georgia and Russia which began after the latter nation reacted to the deaths of Russian peacekeepers and South Ossetian civilians (who overwhelmingly hold Russian passports) caused by the Georgian onslaught.

U.S. military transport aircraft ferried home 2,000 Georgian troops deployed to Iraq - the third largest national contingent after those of the U.S. and Britain at the time - as the fighting was still raging.

Five days after the war ended, Joseph Biden - then senator and chairman of the Senate Committee on Foreign Relations, now vice president - rushed to the Georgian capital to support Saakashvili and offer $1 billion in "emergency aid" to the U.S. client.

After returning stateside, Biden, never reticent in respect to high-blown rhetorical excesses, stated:

"I left the country convinced that Russia's invasion of Georgia may be...one of the most significant event[s] to occur in Europe since the end of communism....[T]he continuing presence of Russian forces in the country has severe implications for the broader region....Russia's actions in Georgia will have consequences."

Later in the month the U.S. dispatched the USS McFaul guided missile destroyer (part of the Aegis combat system designed to fire interceptor missiles), USS Mount Whitney (the flagship of the U.S. Sixth Fleet) and a Coast Guard cutter to the Georgian Black Sea coast, immediately south of Abkhazia and not much farther from the Russian shoreline. The heavily armed warships were, if one trusts Washington's account of their mission, engaged in a humanitarian operation. Russian President Dmitry Medvedev accused the U.S. of bringing weapons into Georgia.

The American ships, joined by as many as fifteen other NATO vessels, and Russian opposite numbers deployed to the region were only some ninety miles apart.

Georgia's head of state Mikheil Saakashvili, a graduate of Columbia Law School in New York City, was brought to power seven years ago on the back of an extra-constitutional putsch in 2003-2004 that he and his supporters and admirers in the West refer to as the Rose Revolution.

He remains the preeminent American political client in the world along with Kosovo's prime minister and president presumptive Hashim Thaci, recently accused in a report to the Council of Europe of being the ringleader of a grisly crime syndicate that trafficked in narcotics, weapons and human organs extracted from at least 500 ethnic Serbian and other civilians murdered for that purpose. An empire can be judged by the satraps it arms and in other manners indulges.

After Saakashvili's Pyrrhic attempt to eliminate the two barriers remaining to dragging his country into NATO - unresolved territorial disputes and the presence of foreign troops on its soil (at the time a small number of Russian peacekeepers in South Ossetia and Abkhazia) - with the invasion of South Ossetia and following that an offensive against Abkhazia, the U.S. and NATO hastened to shore up their outpost in the South Caucasus.

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Rick Rozoff has been involved in anti-war and anti-interventionist work in various capacities for forty years. He lives in Chicago, Illinois. Is the manager of the Stop NATO international email list at: http://groups.yahoo.com/group/stopnato/
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