U.S. hidden hand pushes Ossetia war
Published Aug 13, 2008 11:25 PM
Aug. 13—Long before Aug. 8, when the leaders of Georgia, a country in the
Caucasus Mountains south of Russia, attacked a small autonomous region known as
South Ossetia, the U.S. military was deeply involved in Georgia. Washington is
no innocent bystander in this bloody struggle, which provoked a response by
Russia that now dominates the news.
Georgia’s well-organized and massive military assault set the city of
Tskhinvali, South Ossetia’s capital, aflame within hours, destroying the
parliament building, the university and the main hospital. According to AP
interviews with survivors, there was hardly a single building left undamaged.
Eduard Kokoity, the South Ossetian leader, estimated that more than 1,400
civilians were killed in the assault. (Reuters, Aug. 8)
Russian military forces then struck back at Georgia’s military bases,
airfields and the main Black Sea port of Poti. Most news coverage in the West,
however, is slanted to give the impression that Russia initiated the conflict
Many of the hundreds of recent articles detail the significance of Georgia as a
strategic transit point for oil and gas from the Caspian Sea. But what
connection this conflict may have to other U.S. maneuvers in this strategic
region is barely mentioned.
Even as Russia is preoccupied with a war on its border and world attention is
focused on South Ossetia, the Bush administration has sent two additional U.S.
Navy carrier groups to the seas around Iran.
U.S. armed, trained Georgia’s army
Washington does not claim credit for the invasion of South Ossetia ordered by
Georgian President Mikheil Saakashvili, especially now that his forces have
been routed. The roads back to the Georgian capital of Tbilisi are littered
with tanks and other military vehicles abandoned by Georgian soldiers in their
mad scramble to return home. (BBC News, Aug. 12)
But at the time of the invasion, the White House made clear its political
support for Saakashvili and Georgia has been closely allied with the U.S.
military in its war in Iraq.
The U.S. and NATO have heavily armed and trained the Georgian military. There
are U.S. military “advisers” in Georgia today. A thousand U.S.
Marines from the Third Battalion, 25th Marine Regiment just finished three
weeks of joint maneuvers there called “Operation Immediate
In the period leading up to Georgia’s attack on South Ossetia, the
Pentagon had supplied Georgia with hundreds of tanks, armored vehicles,
artillery weapons, rocket launchers and dozens of combat helicopters and
anti-aircraft missile systems. Hundreds of other weapons systems have poured in
from other NATO members and from Israel. (Interfax, Aug. 7)
In exchange Georgia had provided the third-largest military force in the U.S.
occupation of Iraq. But on Aug. 10 the U.S. began ferrying the 2,000 Georgian
troops out of Iraq to the war zone in Georgia.
Along with the “advisers” and U.S. troops sent for maneuvers,
U.S.-origin mercenaries and privatized military trainers function in Georgia.
Tens of thousands of “civil society” operatives, international
consultants, policy experts and technical assistants operate in Georgia,
Ukraine and other former Soviet Republics.
NATO divided over Georgia
NATO, a U.S.-dominated alliance of imperialist military powers, has been
divided over Washington’s demands for expansion. The April 2-4 NATO
summit in Bucharest, Romania, nearly broke up over Washington’s
The U.S. demanded further expansion of NATO eastward to include Ukraine and
Georgia, two countries that were once part of the Soviet Union and that both
border Russia. Despite deep popular opposition in Poland and the Czech
Republic, the U.S. military also pushed ahead with a plan to place a U.S.
anti-missile system in each of these two countries, raising another threat to
At the Bucharest meeting, Germany, France, Spain, Italy, Belgium, the
Netherlands and Luxemburg strongly and openly opposed Bush’s demands to
include Ukraine and Georgia in NATO. Some of these governments said they felt
apprehensive about U.S. recognition of Kosovo’s secession from Serbia.
This secession was in direct violation of United Nations agreements and even
the conditions the U.S. imposed on Serbia in the cease-fire agreement in 1999,
which ended NATO’s terror bombing of Yugoslavia.
NATO postponed its decision on the status of Georgia and Ukraine until
December. But Washington has refused to wait until the December NATO meeting.
U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice visited Georgia on July 10 and
strongly reiterated U.S. support for Georgia’s membership in NATO.
For 40 years the NATO military alliance was comprised of wealthy,
industrialized imperialist countries that had prospered from generations of
colonial plunder. It was essentially an anti-Soviet alliance to halt the spread
of socialist revolutions in Europe. NATO used military might, nuclear
blackmail, economic sabotage, espionage and terror to protect and expand the
private corporate wealth of its members.
Using the 1992-1999 war against Yugoslavia to justify its expansion and
intervention, NATO has now grown from 16 members before that war to 26 members
and 38 nations in four different “partnership” arrangements, as
Canadian Gen. Ray Henault of the NATO Military Committee boasted in his
Chairman’s Report in April. NATO has spread its field of intervention far
beyond its original North Atlantic area to Eastern Europe, Africa and
Many of the new members and “partners” of this military bloc are
former socialist countries from Eastern Europe and the former Soviet Union that
have become captured ministates—economic colonies of European and U.S.
However, the reestablishment of capitalist private ownership over the resources
and production of this vast region of the globe did not pacify U.S.
imperialism, which sees competing capitalist development in Russia also as a
threat. U.S. corporate power is determined to allow only dependent colonial
subjects. Any country seeking to control its own development or resources,
regardless of its social system, is targeted. This is as true for Russia as it
is for Iran, China or Venezuela.
Since the collapse of the Soviet Union, U.S. corporate power has attempted to
establish control over the vast energy resources of Central Asia and the
nations of the Caucasus region, the Caspian Sea and Black Sea.
Through NATO’s military expansion, the Pentagon has sought to encircle
Russia. Again and again U.S. corporations have used Washington’s
intelligence agencies and U.S.-based, corporate-funded nongovernmental
organizations to cynically manipulate national antagonisms, tensions and claims
throughout Eastern Europe, the Balkans and the former Soviet Republics.
For 70 years South Ossetia, though bordered on three sides by Georgia, held the
status of an Autonomous Oblast (Region) within the Soviet Federation. Its
population is 70,000. The neighboring Republic of North Ossetia-Alania has
maintained its status as an autonomous republic within the present-day Russian
Federation. The Ossetians have a distinct Persian-related language and culture.
Schools, publishing houses and theaters helped preserve Ossetian nationality
within the Soviet Union.
With the collapse of socialist planning in the Soviet Union, socialist
solidarity among its constituent nations broke down. The capitalist market
brought chaos and upheaval that hit hardest at the many small nationalities as
the Soviet Union ended. Contending gangs of privatizers seeking to grab hold of
nationally owned property fueled and manipulated nationalist sentiment.
The reactionary, pro-capitalist leadership in Georgia suddenly abolished South
Ossetia’s autonomous status and rights and annexed the small nation, as
they did with Abkhazia, another small, autonomous nation strategically located
on the Black Sea and surrounded by Georgia. In the resulting struggle, South
Ossetia and Abkhazia each declared their independence from Georgia in 1991.
This led to a 17-year standoff, with both Georgian and Russian
“peacekeepers” stationed in South Ossetia. The latest Georgian
attack ended the standoff with a de facto attempt at annexation.
Abkhazia has similarly declared its independence from Georgia. Georgia’s
military onslaught against South Ossetia could well have spilled over into an
attack on Abkhazia.
Given the scope of the operation and the active influence of U.S. forces in
Georgia, it is hard to believe that Washington could have been uninformed of
Saakashvili’s decision to launch an all-out war against South
Within the United Nations Security Council, U.S. and British representatives
blocked a Russian-drafted resolution calling on Georgia and South Ossetia to
immediately put down their weapons. The U.S. rejected the three-sentence
statement that would have required both sides “to renounce the use of
force.” It was a clear confirmation of U.S. support for Georgia’s
continued “use of force” against the small Ossetian
However, Russia succeeded in repelling Georgia’s invasion of South
Ossetia. So as of Aug. 13, Georgia and Russia agreed to a “peace
plan” brokered by French President Nicolas Sarkozy.
Saakashvili is already criticizing the West generally, and the Bush
administration in particular, for not coming to his aid—indicating that
this puppet of Washington, who spent his time as a New York lawyer before being
set up as a politician in post-Soviet Georgia, may believe he had the go-ahead
from his imperialist masters to carry out a reckless attack on both Russians
and Ossetians in the small autonomous region.
Articles copyright 1995-2012 Workers World.
Verbatim copying and distribution of this entire article is permitted in any medium without royalty provided this notice is preserved.
Workers World, 55 W. 17 St., NY, NY 10011
Email: [email protected]
Subscribe [email protected]
Support independent news DONATE