Monday, August 11, 2008

Georgia-Russia conflict

Helena Cobban has a thought-provoking piece on the Russia-Georgia conflict at her Just World News blog, The South Ossetian War: Some thoughts 08/10/08. She also recommends the posts by Bernhard of the Moon of Alabama blog.

One fact on which she focuses is that Russia had objected to the independence of the Serbian province of Kosovo, and refused to recognize it. And that had explicitly linked the Serbia/Kosovo situation to that of Georgia and its breakaway provinces that are supported by Russia, though Russia does not recognized as separate countries.

She also talks about the active role that Israel has played in arming and advising Georgia, a role that Israel may reduce after the current conflict. They don't want Russia to boost arms sales to Syria and Iran as retaliation for Israel's support of Georgia's military. They are particularly concerned about Israeli sales of S-300 anti-aircraft missiles to Iran.


Georgian Defence Minister Temur Yakobshvili is Jewish and spent a year and a half living in Israel. According to Sal Emergui in Israel, entre la espada rusa y la pared de Georgia El Mundo 10.08.2008, Yakobshvili (Emergui gives his name as David Kezerashvili) speaks Hebrew fluently and has used his contacts with Israeli officials and weapons dealers to encourage an active arms trade. Israeli advisers, including retired military officers via the company Defense Shield, have been actively assisting the Georgians. As Emergui puts it, "no solo de armas hablamos sino también de instrucción" (we're not just talking about weapons but also instruction". The two tend to come together.

The Christian Science Monitor is a good source of reporting on international news generally, and of course they're covering the story. See, for instance, Russian clout prevails in S. Ossetia by Fred Weir, Robert Marquand and Paul Rimple 08/11/08; Russo-Georgian conflict is not all Russia's fault by Charles King 08/11/08. The Monitor provides audio for many of their stories.

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