July 09, 2008 (the date of publication in Russian)

Alexander Rublev


Mitigation of sanctions against Georgia appears inefficient

Analysts disagree over the background of the recent series of explosions in Abkhazia. Still, most observers admit that the exacerbation of the conflict is to the benefit of Georgia that does not conceal its intention to "unfreeze" the dormant conflicts.

The official Tbilisi's version that the three explosions in Abkhazia that happened in three towns in the north, south, and center of the unrecognized republic, were prepared by Russian military servicemen who thus allegedly tried to thus "impede Georgia's entry in NATO", looked unconvincing or even ridiculous.

What purpose is President Mikhail Saakashvili pursuing in this way? Is that just a subtle revenge for the failure of the scandal around the Israeli-produced unmanned aircrafts downed above Abkhazia? Or, a deliberate effort to intimidate Russian tourists in the midst of the season? Or maybe, an effort to demonstrate that Russian peacekeepers are unable to establish order in Abkhazia?

The background was clarified by a direct signal from Washington, when the State Dept urged to "cease explosions" and simultaneously demanded deployment of international police forces in the zone of the Georgian-Abkhazian conflict. Sean McCormack, State Dept's official spokesman, emphasized that international police units should be deployed precisely in the places where the explosions took place – namely, in Sukhumi, Gagra, and Gali. Earlier, the State Dept urged Russia to "abstain from provocative moves" and "not undertake any measures without coordination with Tbilisi".

Thus, Washington actually admitted that the destabilization was organized in a one-touch pass. The State Dept issued its verdict yet before the last explosion, obviously timed to the G-8 summit in Japan. The simultaneous attempt to push the ABM issue without looking back at international law indicates that during recent months, the most odious circle of US neocons has been elaborating a strategy of multiple subversions. Dick Cheney's team, responsible for the disaster in Iraq is obviously reluctant to retire with a stamp of infamy.

The implications will be hard for Russia but unfortunately, there is no way for retreat. The cession of Abkhazia would become not only a humiliating political defeat for Russia but a factor destabilizing domestic ethnic tensions – particularly in Adygea, where the population largely sympathizes with the cognate Abkhazians. It is noteworthy that Adygea is adjacent to Sochi, the site of future Olympic Games in 2014.

Today, Abkhazia and South Ossetia today largely shield strategic areas of Russia's southern border. The surrender of the two breakaway republics and the ensuing irregular warfare would provide a convenient doorway for the warlords of the "terrorist international" and related special services to Kabardin-Balkaria, Karachai-Circassia, and Ingushetia.

The latest events at the borders of Abkhazia and South Ossetia indicate that Moscow’s decision to water down the economic sanction against Tbilisi is counterproductive. Instead of deriving lessons from the latest political experience, Saakashvili is behaving even more arrogantly than before. In the current situation, Russia has got only one option: to severe the political line, leaving no hope for impunity of the flight-forward Georgian dictator.

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