My opinions about Russia / Georgia conflict – 2008 –
Cricket Diane C Phillips, 08-13-08
From what I could understand, the Russians are securing mining interests that exist in those mountains and along the port side of the area. N & S Ossetia wanted to join into its own nation. However, there are mining companies that may be instigating much of that push to serve their own interests.
Apparently, during the Soviet years of the USSR, the minerals and elements found in these mountains were deemed valuable only if they fell into very limited categories. Now, since so much is known of values involved with a greater number of the ores, minerals, elements and chemicals available to be mined there, it changes the asset value of the area. New techniques in geophysics, geology and mining as well as new uses of these elements around the world, have made this area critical to provision and re-valued this asset area.
The French have a mining concern in N Ossetia – the Sadon mine and other Mediterranean consortiums are in the area who desire autonomy for Ossetia to benefit the processes and profits of removal for their own opportunities to prosper. There are now as always, certain ethnic divisions that are being played to get what they want both by the population’s leadership and by these businesses.
The West thinks it is all about oil and that everything revolves around oil and the oil pipeline. Oil is nothing compared to what is in those mountains, it touches every industry we have today and for the future.
While the uranium mine there is one listed as tapped out, at the time it was closed little was known about the value of other geologically occurring specimens that go along with uranium naturally being available in the same place. I happened upon a rock hounding site with samples that were taken from these areas and it is possible and indeed probable, that Europeans and others with business interests there know what these mean to profitability.
It is also clear that a local business man had attempted sale of enriched uranium along this border and that Georgia had accused Russia of sending spies into their country thereafter which is likely true. It looks as though Russia had good reason to be concerned since a certain amount of recovery involved with enriched uranium, nuclear contaminants, radioactive raw ores, industrial chemicals and specific equipment for rendering plutonium had been thwarted when nuclear assets were decommissioned in the area, (in Georgia and Ossetia). These apparently have been turning up from time to time in the black market and along the trail to certain places as evidenced by scattered news stories at different recent times.
Unfortunately, the separatists of Georgia were impassioned probably by old feuds and incited by business interests of the mining companies but uncontrollable. It looks like it became fairly unmanageable about two weeks ago real time and the Georgian government and the Russians decided to do something to secure the area.
That’s just what it looks like to me from my internet research and info searches about specifics and unless either of these nations show indications about the true threats and influences that were being made in the separatist camp about their intentions – we’ll never know. I’m sure they (the separatists) did not take the opportunity to seize territory without some tools to hold it. It is most likely that Russia knew of the threat ahead of time and were able to know fairly soon that Georgia had moved her military assets to place and that they had fired off the first shots. Russia intel had to be in place and their assets ready to intervene or they would never have gotten there in time – not this week or next.
The fact that the Georgian president is crying foul and insisting that the Russian move concerns putting down their democracy is no more than a ploy for sympathy to influence the people of Georgia and the West, in particular. If there had been the intention of doing that, Russian troops would’ve been sitting throughout Georgia within a week by simply rolling over the territory from one end to the other. They didn’t and each thrust has secured only the specific areas in question along with the resource assets that Georgia could use to mount an assault and put more lives in danger. It could be about Georgia’s freedom and sovereignty, but I don’t see it. They must keep the assets and resources within their country’s responsibility secured or someone else vested in it must do it. The Georgian president refused to negotiate with the separatists and did nothing to insure conflict resolution without violence, along with allowing critical assets, resources and ______ to be unsecured, unprotected and available to any who would do something with them as they would see fit.
The Russians would’ve been the ones accountable and certainly the ones blamed for not securing these assets to the detriment of the world community. They would’ve also lost assets upon which they are relying that are in the region along the border with Georgia, in Ossetia and within the Northern Caucasus mountains. There is also tourism in the area of the ski resort variety which would be impacted and makes available quick access to the world for any enriched uranium products being sold by the separatists to finance their cause.
It is a delicate balance for Georgia to keep the peace in its own area which they had assured the world community they could and would do. But they didn’t nor did they have the resources to do so. Nor did they consider it to be as important as the rest of the world community knows it to be. They sit on the border with Turkey and old trade routes die hard. There is a pathway that exists from Turkey through Afghanistan, Pakistan, Syria and Northern Egypt that has existed since before the Middle Ages and still exists today. It exists in the same family relationships that have handed it down through generations. The Georgian people do not sit off in an isolation to themselves. They never have and they certainly don’t today. The reasons that the Russians responded as they did and as quickly as they did is not because it doesn’t matter. It is because it does and they have generally more reasons than one for doing a thing before they are willing to act. They do not do it lightly or for some single intention of expansionism in the old sense of territory and accomplishment. There have to be significant and multiple reasons to justify the expense, the effort and the response including an impending jeopardy, among others.
And, in the world economy there is greater 3-dimensional expansion of assets and value than to take over land to occupy and have to manage. The resources of the Caucasus mountains are worth having, most of the rest of Georgia would be a difficult land grab to manage over time and to what critical advantage? The “Soviets” are not required to use any of the pipelines in the area in order to profit from delivery of their oil. Their options are broad for moving what they produce to international markets.
I also noticed that in my quick research about Georgia, there are regional differences of faith, belief systems, heritage and culture. These have existed for thousands of years however, they have been able to work along side one another, live near one another and conduct themselves side by side for centuries. The call of “ethnic cleansing” by both Georgia and Russia is unlikely to be the truth although having the choice, either side would’ve not minded who was in harms’ way and considered it a bonus if it included certain ethnic concentrations. There is a play for the world court’s sympathy and exoneration of their actions being promulgated here by both sides using this quantifier. It didn’t matter to them who was getting shot when Georgia decided to move on these areas. Nor did it make much difference to the Russians except that whoever stood in the way of securing the area and any of Georgia’s troops and military assets. If an army houses their troops in a children’s camp instead of their children, then gets targeted – it no longer is a human rights violation against children. It is a skirmish between armies, and that always gets women, children and others hurt in the process no matter where it happens.
Written by Cricket Diane C “Sparky” Phillips, 08-13-08, USA