America abandoned central Europe to try and make friends with Russia—and got nothing in return.
The Iskander-M is no Soviet relic. It is a thoroughly modern missile, designed to evade and confuse anti-missile systems. Probably battle-tested during Russia’s invasion of Georgia, Russia considers it “the most effective and deadly nonstrategic (and even perhaps strategic) ballistic missile in existence”—according to Stratfor emails revealed by Wikileaks last year. “Its high velocity allows the missile to penetrate antimissile defenses,” states the email. “It can fly low and make evasive maneuvers in order to prevent interception by surface air missiles.” The missiles are capable of carrying a nuclear warhead, but Russia has not admitted to developing one.
How did these missiles end up on Europe’s boarders? Continue reading
Russian Chief of the General Staff Valery Gerasimov recently said that the Ministry of Defence has formed – and is ready to use – the Special Operations Forces; military units trained to perform combat missions both in Russia and abroad. He said the decision was based on the leading nations’ experience in forming, training and using special operations units, including the best-known of them all – the United States Special Operations Command (USSOCOM or SOCOM).
Such units have completely altered the very concept of special forces and their operating methods. The key difference is that command identifies only the scene of operations, whereas special operations units act autonomously and define their objectives independently in order to accomplish the ultimate mission. They are actively engaged with space and tactical reconnaissance units and involve Army, Air Force and Navy units. Continue reading
Are we seeing the beginnings of a “sneakier” manufactured pretext for the next Russian invasion of Georgia? Only time will tell… Should the Middle East powder keg be lit, it could prove as a useful distraction for the Soviets to invade as the rest of the world would have a diverted attention.
Armenia and Azerbaijan are nearer to renewed conflict. In 2004, Ramil Safarov, an Azerbaijani Army lieutenant, murdered an Armenian officer during a NATO-sponsored course in Hungary. This week, returning to Baku a convicted killer, Safarov was nonetheless pardoned and afforded a hero’s welcome, provoking an inevitable storm of fury in Armenia and an outpouring of international concern.
Meanwhile, there has been the worst upsurge of violence on the Georgian-Russian border since 2008, this time between Georgian security forces and a band of North Caucasian fighters. The fighting took place on Georgia’s eastern border with the Russian republic of Dagestan. Three Georgian servicemen and eleven of the fighters were reported killed on August 28–29 in an operation that the government in Tbilisi said was carried out to secure the freedom of a group of villagers taken hostage.
The Georgian episode is dangerous for another reason, because of its obvious potential to be politicized and turned into a new pretext for Georgian-Russian confrontation.
Full article: Violence Flares on the Georgian-Russian Border (The National Interest)
“There was a plan; it’s no secret in my opinion. It’s within the framework of this plan that the Russian side acted. It was prepared by the General Staff at the end of 2006 or the beginning of 2007,” Putin told reporters.
“It was approved by me,” he added.
Full article: Putin bombshell: He planned invasion, war in Georgia 4 years ago (World Tribune)
BRUSSELS – Four years after a war which shocked Europe, Georgia’s EU ambassador has said that Russia is becoming “more dangerous.”
The Georgian envoy, Salome Samadashvili, spoke to EUobserver on Thursday (9 August), after Russian President Vladimir Putin endorsed an inflammatory film about the conflict.
Putin on Wednesday confirmed the phone call and told Russian media he drew up plans for the invasion two years in advance.
“It’s within the framework of this plan that the Russian side acted. It was prepared by the general staff at the end of 2006 or the beginning of 2007. It was approved by me, agreed with me,” he said.
For Georgia’s EU envoy, they show the Union should heed Georgia’s warnings that Russia is still a threat.
“The current Russian government is … becoming more and more disdainful of the EU’s opinion and openly shedding any pretence of respect for international law. They are [becoming] even more dangerous to neighbours like us,” Samadashvili told this website.
She noted that Russia is to hold a military exercise – Kavkaz 2012, to take place in North Ossetia, South Ossetia and Abkhazia, another breakaway Georgian region – during Georgian elections in October.
“The statement made by Putin taken in the current context – its ongoing occupation [of Abkhazia and South Ossetia], the military exercise, its continuous attempts to destabilise our country – is a thinly veiled threat, an encouragement for those who committed ethnic cleansing against Georgian citizens,” she said.
“Clearly, after everything else failed to remove a pro-Western government from power, they [Russia] moved to a measure of last resort – full scale invasion,” Samadashvili said.
Full article: Georgia to EU: Putin is more ‘dangerous’ than you think (EUobserver)
Further sealing the deal that this war was a long time in the making before the decision to invade. Georgia was essentially going to be Europe’s energy cooridor, with help of building infrastructure from the United States, that would decrease dependence from Russia — and also relieve pressure from the Soviet Union’s dominate political leverage which has been displayed by shutting off the energy resource transit pipelines (at will) that run from Ukraine to Europe, thus leaving European nations cold during the winters in previous years. The Soviet-Georgian war was never about a hostile regime in Georgia, a pocket-sized country with a population of roughly only 4.7 million.
Putin’s press service immediately confirmed the “Lost Day” as a genuine documentary. After a meeting with his Armenian counterpart, Serzh Sargsyan, in the Kremlin, Putin confirmed to journalists the accuracy of some of the “Lost Day” allegations. According to Putin, the plan to invade Georgia was prepared in advance and “the Russian side acted within the framework of that plan.” The General Staff of the Armed Forces prepared the plan of military action against Georgia “at the end of 2006, and I authorized it in 2007,” continued Putin. According to the plan, heavy weaponry and troops were prepared and mobilized for the coming invasion. As part of the Russian Defense Ministry plan, Ossetian separatist forces were trained and armed to act as auxiliary forces in the preplanned engagement with the Georgian military. According to Putin, “Our military specialists believed they [Ossetian separatist militias] could not provide assistance in a clash of regular armies, but they turned out to be much needed.” Putin confirmed he phoned from Beijing several times on August 7 and 8, 2008 to talk with Medvedev and Serdyukov (RIA Novosti, August 8).
This week, while commemorating the anniversary of the war in Tskhinvali, Medvedev rejected the narrative of the “Lost Day” film, announcing that the decision to use force against Georgia was taken “at the right time” and “the decision of a rocket attack was taken at 4 a.m., August 8 .” In the passage about an authorized rocket attack, Medvedev is apparently referring to the order to attack Georgian cities and military bases with ballistic Tochka-M and Iskander missiles. According to Medvedev, “Those who speak different, do not know, or are lying – such decisions are taken by only one man, the Commander-in-Chief, and that was me.” Medvedev insisted the decision was not easy “since we recognized until August 26  the foreign state of Georgia [with sovereignty over Abkhazia and South Ossetia].” Medvedev added, “We had special relations with Abkhazia and South Ossetia, but also talked about the territorial integrity of Georgia, though we understood this was practically impossible” (Interfax, August 9).
The “Lost Day” film and the comments by Putin and Medvedev have revealed a great deal: that the invasion of Georgia in August 2008 was indeed a preplanned aggression and that so-called “Russian peacekeepers” in South Ossetia and Abkhazia were in fact the vanguard of the invading forces that were in blatant violation of Russia’s international obligations and were training and arming the separatist forces. The admission by Putin that Ossetian separatist militias acted as an integral part of the Russian military plan transfers legal responsibility for acts of ethnic cleansing of Georgian civilians and mass marauding inside and outside of South Ossetia to the Russian military and political leadership. Putin’s admission of the prewar integration of the Ossetian separatist militias into the Russian General Staff war plan puts into question the integrity of the independent European Union war report, written by Swiss diplomat Heidi Tagliavini that accused the Georgians of starting the war and attacking Russian “peacekeepers,” which, according to Tagliavini, warranted a Russian military response (www.ceiig.ch/pdf/IIFFMCG_Volume_I.pdf).
After agreeing not to seek reelection for a second term as President and becoming Prime Minister last May, Medvedev has been visibly sidelined on the Moscow political scene and has been struggling to assert himself. The “Lost Day,” which praises Putin as the great statesman and brands Medvedev a coward, has been interpreted as a move by Putin’s entourage in the Kremlin to undermine Medvedev and possibly initiate his ouster (Moskovsky Komsomolets, August 9).
In response to the “Lost Day” controversy, the Georgian Foreign Ministry has issued a statement calling the international community to “demand from Russia nonuse of force against Georgia” (www.newsgeorgia.ru, August 9). However, Putin does not seem to expect any censure from Brussels or Washington, where the Barack Obama administration is continuing to appease Moscow with its luckless “reset” policy. Most likely the Russian General Staff today has another “plan” of invading and occupying the rest of Georgia, while the decision to go and when, as last time, will be decided by the same one person – Putin.
Full article: Putin Confirms the Invasion of Georgia Was Preplanned (Jamestown Foundation)
A few things to consider and reflect upon after reading the article:
- Russia more than likely manufactured a justification for invading Georgia in 2008.
This is evidenced by Spetsnaz meddling in domestic affairs since 2004 and likely the prior years as well. The same measures were taken up by the Soviet Union prior to World War II and its respective invasion of Poland. They were labeled fascist for years by Soviet propaganda to groom/ready the population, and in order to gain both domestic and foreign support for nefarious reasons: the conquest of Europe it has always yearned for.
There is also a larger pattern to Soviet measures taken throughout history. Another such example would be Chechnya, which brings about and harbors most of Russia’s terrorism troubles. However, how Moscow deals with this thorn on its side is stark in contrast compared to Georgia. Like Georgia, the country could’ve been invaded, slaughtered and wiped off the map long ago and several times over but it serves a different purpose: Chechnya is (indefinitely) Russia’s “playground” for military application. It is a platform for military preparation and readiness.
Keeping in mind the bigger picture, the 2008 invasion wasn’t a Soviet “playground” for weapons testing and military training exercises. Instead, the Georgian invasion was most likely over the strategic energy corridor that would’ve given Europe energy independence it was seeking with help from the United States — not a perceived (and manufactured) viable threat from a tiny nation with under five million citizens.
- Russia wants a war with Iran.
As mentioned with the energy corridor in Caucasus region, an attack on Iran would create a severe disruption in the transportation of oil supplies. Without a doubt, and being that Russia sits atop a fifth of the world’s known reserves of natural gas, the Soviet strategists would love to see their country become rich overnight via skyrocketing energy prices. Simultaneously, this would likely break the Western world as imports would cease and as it already holds reluctancy in utilizing the already-available resources in its very own backyard (Canada, Gulf of Mexico, Florida, etc…). This would likely cause the result the Soviets have been longing for, for decades: the shift in world power balances and a newly Sino-Soviet centric ideological world paradigm.
- War is inevitable.
As the saying goes: Peace is a prelude to war. There are no signs of military preparations/mobilizations ceasing between all parties involved. Iran continues along the path of nuclear arms production, ratcheting up conventional military provocations and threatens to wipe Israel off the map on a weekly basis. Israel has repeatedly said a nuclear armed Iran will not be tolerated.
There is also a high likelihood of a preemptive attack on Iran by Israel between now and the US Presidential elections in November. Time is running out and Israel sees itself in a position where it cannot afford to ‘wait and see’ if a pro-Israel Romney might win. Meanwhile, it cannot afford to have once more a reluctant and unstable partner in Barack Obama for another four years, who noteably has visited almost every other country in the Middle East — besides Israel. Another four years of Obama would keep them pinned and more susceptible to continiously growing military threats from almost every direction in the region. Therefore, the likelihood of an attack beforehand rather than afterward is higher.
Additionally, the United States is in too weak of a position both politically and economically. Henceforth, it lacks the will to muster a meaningful response as was seen in 2008 under George W Bush. A sympathetic sold-out media along with Soviet propagandists will certainly make sure that all eyes and attention remained focused on Israeli/US “aggressors” while Georgia, and possibly the Caucasus region permanently return into the old Soviet Union fold and sphere of influence — another long-sought objective.
Having said this, look for the re-invasion of Georgia to happen and coincide with a war against Iran.
No one expected Russia to become a major campaign issue in 2008 when it went to war with Georgia, ripping away the regions of South Ossetia and Abkhazia. Now, there are signs that Russia is itching for a rematch that would finish off the pro-American Georgian regime led by Mikheil Saakashvili.
This development comes while Russia is preparing for a possible strike on Iran. Deputy Prime Minister Dmitry Rogozin explained, “Iran is our neighbor. If Iran is involved in any military action, it’s a direct threat to our security.” Reportedly, Russia has drawn up plans to send forces to Armenia in such an event, which requires going through Georgia, toppling Saakashvili on the way.
In 2008, Russia’s annual Kavkaz exercises were used as a cover to deploy and train the forces that invaded Georgia the next month. This year’s exercises are to take place in September. Russia announced that Spetsnaz units will be sent to the North Caucasus region for the exercises and airborne assault forces and attack helicopters will deploy to Base 102 in Gyumri, Armenia. One report claims that the families of soldiers at the base have already been evacuated.
It is quite possible that Russia will provide assistance to the Iranian regime from Armenia in the event of a conflict. After all, Saddam Hussein awarded medals to former Soviet advisors for helping him to prepare for the 2003 invasion. Russian Spetsnaz units were deployed to Iraq and are suspected of having helped cleanse the country of documents and incriminating materials. The Russians also gave Saddam Hussein details about the U.S. war plan, retrieved through a spy at CENTCOM. Russia continues to arm Syrian dictator Bashar Assad and deployed an “anti-terror” unit to assist him in March.
There are also strategic and economic benefits for Russia and Iran if Georgia is invaded. Europe gets about 1 million barrels of oil per day from Kazakhstan and Azerbaijan through a pipeline that goes from Baku to Tbilisi, Georgia to Ceyhan, Turkey. It goes around Russian and Iranian territory. In the 2008 war, Russian aircraft were witnessed bombing it. By invading Georgia, Russia gets control of that critical pipeline.
The Russians have sought the overthrow of Saakashvili ever since the 2008 war and has consistently claimed that he’s sponsoring jihadist terrorism to justify future action. One Russian lieutenant that was interviewed during the last war said, “It [South Ossetia] will be Russia. And Georgia used to be Russian, too.”
In August 2009, Russia accused Georgia of orchestrating an Al-Qaeda suicide bombing in Ingushetia. Russia immediately cast suspicion on Georgia after the March 29, 2010 subway bombings in Moscow. The Deputy Foreign Minister said that Saakashvili is “unpredictable” and could strike at any moment.
Hypocritically, it’s Russia that’s been sponsoring the covert attacks. A secret U.S. intelligence report from 2007 reveals that the Russian GRU has been behind a number of violent “active measures” in Georgia since 2004, including the killing of Georgian cops, a 2005 car bombing, two attacks on the Georgian-Russian pipeline in 2006, the sabotage of a vital power line and the arming of separatists. Russia was also responsible for an explosion next to the U.S. embassy in Tbilisi on September 22, 2010.
Full article: Is Russia Itching for War with Georgia? (Frontpage Mag)
Bits of information have been appearing, indicating the essence of Russian military action. Last December it was disclosed that families of servicemen from the Russian base in Armenia have been evacuated to Russia, while the troops have been moved from the capital, Yerevan, north to Gumri – closer to the borders of Georgia and Turkey. The preparation of Russian forces in Armenia for action in the event of military conflict with Iran began “two years ago” (Nezavisimaya Gazeta, December 15).
Large scale “strategic” military exercises Kavkaz-2012 are planned for next September, but it is reported that preparations and deployments of assets have begun already because of the threat of the possible war with Iran. New command and control equipment has been deployed in the region capable of using GLONASS (Russian GPS) targeting information. The air force in the South Military District (SMD) is reported to have been rearmed “almost 100 percent” with new jets and helicopters. In 2008, Kavkaz-2008 maneuvers allowed the Russian military to covertly deploy forces that successfully invaded Georgia (Nezavisimaya Gazeta, January 16).
The above stream of reports by official spokesmen and carried by government news agencies describes the forming of an offensive spearhead force in the SMD facing Transcaucasia. The force is too heavily armed with modern long-range weapons to be exclusively intended to take on the dispersed rebel guerrilla forces in Dagestan, Chechnya, Ingushetia and Kabardino-Balkaria. This week, the Secretary of the Georgian National Security Council Giga Bokeria told radio Ekho Moskvi about the growing threat of a war with Russia (Ekho Moskvi, April 2).
In Tbilisi, the possible threat of a new Russian invasion is connected to the parliamentary elections scheduled for next October and possible disturbances that may accompany them. According to polls, the ruling party of President Mikheil Saakashvili seems to be poised for another landslide victory, while the opposition movement, organized by the Russian-based billionaire Bidzina Ivanishvili, seems to be failing to gather mass support.
Of course, Moscow would be glad to see the electoral defeat of Saakashvili, but the Iranian war is a much more important issue. The Russian spearhead may be ordered to strike south to prevent the presumed deployment of US bases in Transcaucasia, to link up with the troops in Armenia, and take over the South Caucasus energy corridor along which Azeri, Turkmen and, other Caspian natural gas and oil may reach European markets. By one swift military strike Russia may ensure control of all the Caucasus and the Caspian states that were its former realm, establishing a fiat accompli the West, too preoccupied with Iran, would not reverse. At the same time, a small victorious war would unite the Russian nation behind the Kremlin, allowing it to crush the remnants of the prodemocracy movement “for fair elections.” And as a final bonus, Russia’s military action could perhaps finally destroy the Saakashvili regime.
Full article: The Russian Military Has an Action Plan Involving Georgia if Iran Is Attacked (The Jamestown Foundation)