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)