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Thread: Russia & Georgia - the Road to War

  1. #106

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  2. #107
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    Quote Originally Posted by Edward View Post
    The question is - what are casualty numbers that would justify shelling civilian population with rockets? Is 100 dead is acceptable?

    Should Bush administration show a concern about 100 dead?
    Large World powers ONLY show concern when it suits them (US included).

    Russia could care less about South Ossetia - but this pretense of a "humanitarian mission" allows them to realize a geopolitical goal - invading Georgia, and stopping the spread of NATO.

    Russia lost it's influence in the Baltic States, and they are losing influence in the Balkans. They've drawn a line in the sand in the Caucasus.

  3. #108

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    http://jamestown.org/edm/article.php?article_id=2373315




    ARE PUTIN AND MEDVEDEV AT ODDS OVER THE GEORGIAN CAMPAIGN?
    By Jonas Bernstein
    Thursday, August 14, 2008

    With President Dmitry Medvedev having ordered a halt to Russia’s military assault on Georgia and Georgian President Mikheil Saakashvili agreeing to the general principles of a cease-fire plan negotiated by French President Nicolas Sarkozy, Russian observers have begun assessing the results and impact of the five-day Russo-Georgian war over South Ossetia.

    Vyacheslav Nikonov, the pro-Kremlin political scientist who heads the “Russky Mir Foundation for the Support of Fellow Countrymen Abroad,” said the war showed that Russia was capable of acting appropriately in a complex situation and that it had raised Russia to a “new level.” He added, however, that Russia would now have to exert much more diplomatic and political effort to straighten out relations with the European Union, the United States and former Soviet states. For Georgia, the results of the war have been “catastrophic,” Nikonov said. “The territorial integrity of Georgia has been dealt an irreparable blow--by Georgia itself” (www.rbcdaily.ru).

    On the other side of the political spectrum, Andrei Illarionov, the former economic adviser to Vladimir Putin who is now a senior researcher at the libertarian Cato Institute in Washington, D.C., and a supporter of The Other Russia opposition coalition, wrote that while Georgia’s military losses were greater than Russia’s, Russia had incurred significantly greater “financial, foreign policy [and] moral losses” and had failed to achieve its main goals of removing Mikheil Saakashvili as Georgia’s president, changing Georgia’s “political regime” and preventing Georgia from joining NATO. Illarionov said that Georgia was now an “internationally recognized victim of aggression,” while Russia was an “internationally recognized aggressor,” whose actions were supported only by Cuba. “Neither Iran nor Venezuela nor Uzbekistan nor even Belorussia said a word in support of Russia,” he wrote. What Russia’s leadership managed to “achieve” by its military campaign, Illarionov said, was renewed international fear of the “Russian bear” and the “complete informational isolation” of Russia’s citizenry. “The level of manipulation of public opinion and also … the speed with which society has been reduced to mass hysteria are indisputable achievements of the regime and represent an indisputable and unprecedented threat to Russian society,” he wrote (www.ej.ru, August 13).

    According to a poll conducted by the independent Levada Center, 71 percent of the Russians surveyed on August 9 and 10 said they supported breakaway South Ossetia while only two percent said they supported Georgia. Correspondingly, 46 percent of those polled said that South Ossetia should become part of Russia and 34 percent said it should become an independent state, while only four percent said it should remain part of Georgia. In addition, 53 percent of the respondents said they supported sending Russian troops to South Ossetia (36 percent were opposed) and 57 percent said they had a favorable view of the Russian “volunteers” who went to South Ossetia to fight on the side of the separatists (33 percent of the respondents said they viewed such “volunteers” negatively) (www.levada.ru, August 12).

    Prior to the August 13 announcement of a halt in Russia’s military assault, some observers said that the conflict had strengthened Russia’s siloviki (see EDM, August 11) and ensured the political dominance of Prime Minister Vladimir Putin, who appeared to be the driving force behind the assault on Georgia. “Under the volleys of Grad missiles and explosions of aviation bombs, the problem that so tormented him [Putin] and the entire ‘political elite’--the problem of a third, which is to say life-long, presidential term–has been organically resolved,” wrote Andrei Piontkovsky. “The Gatherer of the Russian Lands has a long mission, one paved with the best intentions. No one will even think of limiting it by any artificial pseudo-constitutional time frames. This is the most important domestic result of his second Short Victorious War” (www.grani.ru, August 12).

    However, after President Medvedev’s announcement of a halt to the military campaign, which followed his talks with French President Sarkozy, some observers speculated that there was a split between Putin and Medvedev over the course of the war and that Medvedev had gained the upper hand. According to Yezhednevny zhurnal columnist Aleksandr Ryklin, something must have intervened to prevent the Russian government from seeing the military operation to its “logical end,” meaning the removal of the Saakashvili government. “Let us confess that even on the morning of August 12 a further escalation of the conflict with Georgia looked inevitable,” he wrote. “The continued bombardment of the territory of this still independent republic; the appearance of our [military] units at the approaches to Poti [the Georgian port city]; the naming of General [Vladimir] Shamanov [the hard-line former commander of Russian forces in Chechnya] as Gauleiter of Abkhazia (with the obvious prospect of him becoming the governor-general of all of Georgia); the unprecedented, aggressive rhetoric of officials, including representatives of the diplomatic corps--all of this pointed to the determination of the Russian leadership to see the affair to its ‘logical end,’ that is, the removal of Mikhail Saakashvili’s regime. And suddenly, [there was] Dmitry Medvedev’s sensational announcement.”

    Ryklin quoted a source “close to the current presidential administration” as saying: “Today one can … speak of serious disagreements between the president and the premier over the further development of events in the Caucasus. The president from the start did not plan to go beyond the bounds of the peacekeeping mission [in South Ossetia], and at a certain point they began to talk to him about ‘the logic of war’ and the unexpected appearance of the possibility to resolve ‘important geopolitical tasks.’ He, in turn, pointed to the lack of preparedness of the military operation, the large losses and the severe foreign policy consequences. Today one can note with satisfaction that the president’s point of view prevailed and he was able to insist on a positive solution.”

    It is worth noting that Ryklin doubted the veracity of this version of events, writing that it was more likely that the military operation was ended by something more “down to earth,” for example, “someone somewhere showed someone” a list of “well-known” names with their corresponding foreign bank accounts, or perhaps just one name with that person’s foreign bank accounts, and threatened to expose it (www.ej.ru, August 13).

    Time will tell whether this version of Putin-the-hawk and Medvedev-the-dove turns out to be true—and if true, whether it matters.

  4. #109

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    Putin-the-hawk and Medvedev-the-dove
    Putin-KGB and Medvedev-OAO

  5. #110

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    Russia marks its red lines

    Aug 13, 2008 | Asia Times
    By F William Engdahl


    What is playing out in the Caucasus is being reported in the United States media in an alarmingly misleading light, making Moscow appear the lone aggressor after it sent troops into the breakaway Georgian region of South Ossetia following a Georgian offensive on that territory.

    The question is whether President George W Bush and Vice President Dick Cheney are encouraging Georgian President Mikheil Saakashvili to force the next US president to back the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) military agenda of the current Bush administration. Washington may have badly misjudged the possibilities, as it did in Iraq, and there are even possible nuclear consequences.

    The underlying issue is the fact that since the dissolution of the Warsaw Pact in 1991, one after another former member as well as former states of the Soviet Union have been coaxed and in many cases bribed with false promises by Washington into joining the counter organization, NATO.

    Rather than initiate discussions after the 1991 dissolution of the Warsaw Pact about a systematic dissolution of NATO, Washington has steadily converted NATO into what can only be called the military vehicle of an American global imperial rule, linked by a network of military bases from Kosovo to Poland to Turkey to Iraq and Afghanistan.

    In 1999, former Warsaw Pact members Hungary, Poland and the Czech Republic joined NATO. Bulgaria, Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Romania and Slovakia followed suit in March 2004. Now Washington is putting immense pressure on the European Union members of NATO, especially Germany and France, that they vote in December to admit Georgia and Ukraine.

    The roots of the conflict
    The specific conflict between Georgia and the two breakaway regions of South Ossetia and Abkhazia has its roots in the following. First, the Southern Ossetes, who until 1990 formed an autonomous region of the Georgian Soviet Republic, seek to unite in one state with their co-ethnics in North Ossetia, an autonomous republic of the Russian Soviet Republic and now the Russian Federation.

    There is an historically grounded Ossete fear of violent Georgian nationalism and the experience of Georgian hatred of ethnic minorities under then-Georgian leader Zviad Gamsakhurdia, which the Ossetes see again under Georgian President Mikheil Saakashvili. Saakashvili was brought to power with US financing and US covert regime-change activities in December 2003 in what was called the "Rose Revolution". Now, the thorns of that rose are causing blood to spill.

    Abkhazia and South Ossetia - the first a traditional Black Sea resort area, the second an impoverished, sparsely populated region that borders Russia to the north - each has its own language, culture and history. When the Soviet Union collapsed, both regions sought to separate themselves from Georgia in bloody conflicts - South Ossetia in 1990-91, Abkhazia in 1992-94.
    In December 1990, Georgia under Gamsakhurdia sent troops into South Ossetia after the region declared sovereignty. This Georgian move was defeated by Soviet Interior Ministry troops. Then Georgia declared the abolition of the South Ossete autonomous region and its incorporation into Georgia proper. Both wars ended with ceasefires that were negotiated by Russia and policed by peacekeeping forces under the aegis of the recently established Commonwealth of Independent States.

    The situation hardened into "frozen conflicts", like that over Cyprus between Greece and Turkey. By late 2005, Georgia signed an agreement that it would not use force, and the Abkhaz would allow the gradual return of 200,000-plus ethnic Georgians who had fled the violence. But the agreement collapsed in early 2006, when Saakashvili sent troops to retake the Kodori Valley in Abkhazia. Since then, Saakashvili has escalated preparations for military action.

    Critical is Russia's support for the Southern Ossetes. Russia is unwilling to see Georgia join NATO. In addition, the Ossetes are the oldest Russian allies in the Caucasus who have provided troops to the Russian army in many wars. Russia does not wish to abandon them and the Abkhaz, and fuel yet more ethnic unrest among their compatriots in the Russian North Caucasus.

    In a November 2006 referendum, 99% of South Ossetians voted for independence from Georgia, at a time when most of them had long held Russian passports. This enabled Russian President Dmitry Medvedev to justify his military's counter-attack of Georgia on Friday as an effort to "protect the lives and dignity of Russian citizens, wherever they may be".

    For Russia, Ossetia has been an important strategic base near the Turkish and Iranian frontiers since the days of the czars. Georgia is also an important transit country for oil being pumped from the Caspian Sea to the Turkish port of Ceyhan and a potential base for Washington efforts to encircle Tehran.

    As far as the Georgians are concerned, South Ossetia and Abkhazia are simply part of their national territory, to be recovered at all costs. Promises by NATO leaders to bring Georgia into the alliance, and ostentatious declarations of support from Washington, have emboldened Saakashvili to launch his military offensive against the two provinces, South Ossetia and Abkhazia.

    Saakashvili and likely Cheney's office in Washington appear to have miscalculated very badly. Russia has made it clear that it has no intention of ceding its support for South Ossetia or Abkhazia.

    Proxy war
    In March, as Washington went ahead to recognize the independence of Kosovo in former Yugoslavia, making Kosovo a de facto NATO-run territory against the will of the United Nations Security Council and especially against Russian protest, then president (now Prime Minister) Vladimir Putin responded with Russian Duma (parliament) hearings on recognition of Abkhazia, South Ossetia and Transnistria, a pro-Russian breakaway republic in Moldova.

    Moscow argued that the West's logic on Kosovo should apply as well to these ethnic communities seeking to free themselves from the control of a hostile state. In mid-April, Putin held out the possibility of recognition for the breakaway republics. It was a geopolitical chess game in the strategic Caucasus for the highest stakes - the future of Russia itself.

    Saakashvili called Putin to demand he reverse the decision. He reminded Putin that the West had taken Georgia's side. This past April at the NATO summit in Bucharest, Romania, US President George W Bush proposed accepting Georgia into NATO's "Action Plan for Membership", a precursor to full NATO membership. To Washington's surprise, 10 NATO member states refused to support his plan, including Germany, France and Italy.

    They argued that accepting the Georgians was problematic, because of the conflicts in Abkhazia and South Ossetia. They were in reality saying that they would not be willing to back Georgia as, under Article 5 of the NATO treaty, which mandates that an armed attack against any NATO member country must be considered an attack against them all and consequently requires use of collective armed force of all NATO members, it would mean that Europe could be faced with war against Russia over the tiny Caucasus Republic of Georgia, with its incalculable dictator, Saakashvili. That would mean the troubled Caucasus would be on a hair-trigger to detonate World War III.

    Russia threatens Georgia, but Georgia threatens Abkhazia and South Ossetia. Russia looks like a crocodile to Georgia, but Georgia looks to Russia like the cat's paw of the West. Since Saakashvili took power in late 2003, the Pentagon has been in Georgia giving military aid and training. Not only are US military personnel active in Georgia today, according to an Israeli-intelligence source, Debkafile, in 2007 Saakashvili "commissioned from private Israeli security firms several hundred military advisers, estimated at up to 1,000, to train the Georgian armed forces in commando, air, sea, armored and artillery combat tactics".

    It was reported further, "They also have been giving instruction on military intelligence and security for the central regime. Tbilisi also purchased weapons, intelligence and electronic warfare systems from Israel. These advisers were undoubtedly deeply involved in the Georgian army's preparations to conquer the South Ossetian capital Friday."

    Debkafile also reported, "Moscow has repeatedly demanded that Jerusalem halt its military assistance to Georgia, finally threatening a crisis in bilateral relations. Israel responded by saying that the only assistance rendered to Tbilisi was 'defensive'."

    The Israeli news source added that Israel's interest in Georgia had to do as well with Caspian oil pipeline geopolitics. "Jerusalem has a strong interest in having Caspian oil and gas pipelines reach the Turkish terminal port of Ceyhan, rather than the Russian network. Intense negotiations are afoot between Israel, Turkey, Georgia, Turkmenistan and Azerbaijan for pipelines to reach Turkey and thence to Israel's oil terminal at Ashkelon and on to its Red Sea port of Eilat. From there, supertankers can carry the gas and oil to the Far East through the Indian Ocean."

    This means that the attack on South Ossetia is the first battle in a new proxy warfare between Anglo-American-Israeli led interests and Russia. The only question is whether Washington miscalculated the swiftness and intensity of the Russian response to the Georgian attacks of August 8.

    So far, each step in the Caucasus drama has put the conflict on a yet higher plane of danger. The next step will no longer be just about the Caucasus, or even Europe. In 1914 it was the "Guns of August" that initiated the Great War. This time, the Guns of August 2008 could be the detonator of World War III and a nuclear holocaust of unspeakable horror.

    Most in the West are unaware how dangerous the conflict over two tiny provinces in a remote part of Eurasia has become. What is left out of most media coverage is the strategic military security context of the Caucasus dispute.

    Since the end of the Cold War in the beginning of the 1990s, NATO and most directly Washington have systematically pursued what military strategists call nuclear primacy. Put simply, if one of two opposing nuclear powers is able to first develop an operational anti-missile defense, even primitive, that can dramatically weaken a potential counter-strike by the opposing side's nuclear arsenal, the side with missile defense has "won" the nuclear war.

    As questionable as this sounds, it has been explicit Pentagon policy through the last three presidents from father H W Bush in 1990, to Bill Clinton and most aggressively, George W Bush. This is the issue over which Russia has drawn a deep line in the sand, understandably so. The forceful US effort to push Georgia as well as Ukraine into NATO would present Russia with the specter of NATO literally coming to its doorstep, a military threat that is aggressive in the extreme, and untenable for Russian national security.

    This is what gives the seemingly obscure fight over two provinces the size of Luxembourg the potential to become the 1914 Sarajevo trigger to a new nuclear war by miscalculation. The trigger for such a war is not Georgia's right to annex South Ossetia and Abkhazia. Rather, it is US insistence on pushing NATO and its missile defense right up to Russia's door.


    F William Engdahl is author of A Century of War: Anglo-American Oil Politics and the New World Order (Pluto Press) and Seeds of Destruction: The Hidden Agenda of Genetic Manipulation (www.globalresearch.ca. He may be reached through his website, www.engdahl.oilgeopolitics.net.
    (Copyright 2008 F William Engdahl.)

  6. #111

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    Fox News: 12 Year Old Girl Tells the Truth about Georgia
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=H8XI2Chc6uQ

  7. #112

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    "...it was so scary."

  8. #113

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    BBC: Attacked on the frontline



    http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/programme...ht/7562226.stm

    one family who were shot at in the Georgian town by South Ossetian militia tell their terrifying story.

    Tamara Tappe had thrown herself over her children when she was shot several times.

  9. #114

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    I'll be surprised if the Russians don't take Georgia while the west is still cowering. Then they can choke that juguar vein of an oil pipeline at will.
    I wonder what the Vegas odds are on this one?

  10. #115

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    Political Pipeline

    How anti-Iran policy contributed to war in the Caucasus

    by Muhammad Sahimi

    Much has been written about the war between Russia and Georgia. Neoconservatives, as Justin Raimondo pointed out, have suddenly discovered the "democratic" republic of Georgia, which has been a historical "victim" of the Russian "empire." Never mind that not only was Georgia not a democracy before it was devoured by the Soviet Union in 1921, but also that the war, started by Georgia's forces, was a strategic blunder by Georgia's president, the confrontational, demagogic, American-trained lawyer Mikheil Saakashvili, who dared foolishly to take on his giant neighbor, thinking naively that NATO would rush to help him.

    William Kristol, the "little Lenin" of the neoconservatives, who now has another outlet in the op-ed page of the New York Times, opines that the U.S. must not only give aid to Georgia, but must also help it become a member of the "League of Democracies" that John McCain has proposed. Never mind that in the Georgian "democracy" Saakashvili used police brutality to stop huge demonstrations after hotly disputed elections and shut down opposition publications, and never mind that when democratic elections in Palestine and Lebanon yielded results deemed undesirable by the U.S. (and people like Kristol), they were not only dismissed, but the voters were also punished by U.S. sanctions.

    And, as Robert Parry noted, the same neoconservatives who backed the illegal invasion of Iraq, and are now threatening to attack Iran over its nonexistent nuclear threat, are suddenly discovering respect for the rule of law and international agreements. Even Bill Clinton's ambassador to the United Nations, Richard Holbrooke, who supported the Iraq invasion, got into the act, writing in the Washington Post that "Whatever mistakes Tbilisi has made, they cannot justify Russia's actions."

    Where was Holbrooke when the U.S. invaded Panama, helped the Contra thugs in Nicaragua, encouraged – and later supported – Saddam Hussein's invasion of Iran, and was silent when the Saudi-Pakistani-created Taliban overthrew the internationally recognized government of Afghanistan?

    In reality, the Russia-Georgia war involves three important elements:
    1. The desire to encircle Russia with pro-U.S. clients in the former Soviet republics, from Ukraine to Georgia, Azerbaijan, and Kazakhstan, and by setting up missile "defense" systems in Poland and the Czech Republic that are intended for the Russians, but are justified by the bogus threats posed by Iran's missiles and its nonexistent nuclear weapons program.
    2. Recognition, over strong and angry objection by Russia, of Kosovo as an independent state. I suppose so long as such unstable mini-states as Kosovo are clients of the U.S., their Islamic identity poses no problem to the neoconservatives. Most other Muslims, such as those in Iran, Palestine, Lebanon, and Iraq are considered dangerous.
    3. But perhaps the most important element has to do with the control of the routes for transporting oil and gas from Central Asia and the Caucasus region to international markets and, in particular, to Western Europe. If the U.S., pressured by the Israel lobby, had not pushed for bypassing Iran, we would have perhaps been in a different situation than what we have now between Georgia and Russia, with all of its geopolitical implications.

    While many have written about the causes and consequences of the war, little emphasis has been put on the role that the U.S. government's failed policy toward Iran has played in this rapidly developing situation.

    After the collapse of the Soviet Union, Russia and the three independent countries that emerged on the shores of the Caspian Sea, namely, Azerbaijan, Kazakhstan, and Turkmenistan, declared that they would respect all the old international and bilateral treaties that the Soviet Union had signed. Crucial among them were two friendship treaties that had been signed by Iran and the Soviet Union in 1921 and 1940. An article in both treaties stated, "No country can take unilateral action regarding the Caspian Sea." Therefore, the five countries of the Caspian area, particularly Azerbaijan and Kazakhstan, could not unilaterally decide what to do about the resources of the Caspian Sea without the consent of the other countries.

    Even aside from the old Iran-Soviet treaties that Russia accepted legal responsibility for after the collapse of the Soviet Union, the fact is that, according to all the international treaties, so long as a territory is in dispute, no country can take unilateral action regarding its resources and riches. A good example is the dispute between Iran and Kuwait over the Dorra gas fields in the northern Persian Gulf. Both countries have avoided any action toward developing the fields, waiting for their final status to be negotiated. But, supported by the U.S., Azerbaijan and later Kazakhstan took unilateral actions and contracted out disputed oil and gas fields. Compare this with a similar situation, the dispute between Iran and Qatar in the Persian Gulf over the giant South Pars gas field (the largest in the world). Iran, the "pariah" nation, did no work on the gas field until negotiations between the two countries resulted in a framework for the field's development. Each country is now developing its own sector.

    But that was not the end of the U.S. meddling in the affairs of that region, particularly its wrong-headed policy toward Iran. Equally important is how to transport the oil and gas from that region to the international markets. The issue has remained politically charged, contributing much to the war between Russia and Georgia.

    There are several foreign-operated oil fields in the Caucasus region and Central Asia. The oil from the ChevronTexaco-operated field of Tengiz in Kazakhstan is transported through a pipeline north into Russia and by rail west to the Georgian Black Sea port of Batumi. A second line was built by the Caspian Pipeline Consortium to Novorossiisk in Russia on the Black Sea.

    The Kashagan oil field in northeast Caspian is the largest of them all, but it is still being developed. In the southern Caspian, oil from the British Petroleum-operated field of Azeri-Chirag-Gunashli in the Caspian Sea has been producing several hundred thousand barrels of oil per day.

    The most economical way of transporting all that oil is by pipelines through Iran. For example, the Kazakh government drafted a framework agreement for construction of an oil pipeline from the Tengiz field to Belek on the eastern coast of the Caspian and from there to the Iranian port of Khark, on the Persian Gulf. The pipeline was supposed to pass through Tehran, Qom, and Esfahan. The estimated cost for the 900-mile pipeline was only $1.2 billion. But, the U.S. strongly opposed this, and, as a result, the Tengiz oil is transported through routes that cost much more.

    The French oil firm TotalFinaElf, with support from the National Iranian Oil Company, studied a pipeline that would take crude oil from Kashagan across the Caspian to the Iranian border. From there another pipeline was supposed to be built to transport the Kazakh oil across Iran to its Persian Gulf export terminals. The Russian pipeline operator, Transneft, and its Kazakh counterpart, KazTransOil, also carried out a feasibility study for developing a pipeline to Iran in order to link Omsk, in Siberia, with Iran's port Neka on the Caspian Sea. That pipeline would have allowed Russian, Turkmen, and Kazakh crude oil to be swapped for Iranian oil in its terminals on the Persian Gulf. Although some oil-swapping does take place between Iran and the Central Asian countries, U.S. opposition and pressure have prevented the pipeline from becoming a reality.

    But the most contentious issue was about transporting Azerbaijan's oil to international market. All that had to be done was the construction of a pipeline from Azerbaijan's capital, Baku, to the Iranian border, a short distance away. From there, an Iranian pipeline, when upgraded, could have taken the oil to the Persian Gulf terminals. But the U.S., pressured by the Israel lobby, opposed this pipeline. Israel wanted to reward Turkey for having established close diplomatic and military relationships with it. Therefore, its lobby went to work in Washington to advocate an alternative route through Turkey.

    The result is the Baku-Tbilisi-Ceyhan (BTC) pipeline that connects the Sangachal Terminal in Baku to the Marine Terminal in the Turkish port of Ceyhan on the Mediterranean Sea, a 1,100-mile pipeline, 155 miles of which passes through Georgia. It was built at a cost of $4 billion and was officially inaugurated on May 25, 2005.

    The Baku-Tehran-Khark (BTK) pipeline could have been constructed at a fraction of the cost of the BTC pipeline. Another great advantage of the BTK pipeline would have been the fact that it would have passed through the politically stable Iran, whereas the BTC pipeline passes not only through Georgia, but also through the restive Kurdish areas of Turkey. The entire pipeline requires constant guarding in order to prevent sabotage. On Aug. 6, 2008, the pipeline was shut off by a major explosion and fire in the eastern Turkish province of Erzincan. The Kurdistan Workers Party took responsibility for the attack. The vulnerability of the Georgian portion of the BTC pipeline was also manifestly demonstrated when Russia bombed the areas around the pipeline's route in Georgia, just to send the "proper" message to the West.

    One bogus justification for the construction of the costly BTC pipeline was that it would transport oil from several large Azeri oil fields to international markets, totaling 1 million barrels/day, without involving Iran or Russia. That has not happened. The Kurdashi field did not live up to the Italian oil firm Agip's expectations. TotalFinaElf failed to find any significant oil in the Lenkoran-Talysh field, and ExxonMobil could not find any oil in its Oguz and Zafar-Mashal concessions. Chevron's work yielded only lackluster results in its Absheron field. These failures would have made the BTK pipeline even more economical.

    But all such advantages of the BTK pipeline were set aside. Instead a political pipeline was built, just to satisfy the Israel lobby. Its construction was also accompanied by numerous violations of human rights by both the Azeri and Turkish governments, which have been documented in the Czech documentary film Zdroj ("Source") and by Kurdish human rights activists.

    But the U.S., following Israel's lead, was not yet done with its blind opposition to Iran's participation in the oil and natural gas market of the Caucasus and Central Asian regions, which would have made negotiations regarding Iran's nuclear program more susceptible to success. The U.S. even pressured Kazakhstan to build a trans-Caspian pipeline from the Kazakh port of Aktau to Baku, in order to connect the Kashagan's oil to the BTC pipeline, which would have been a gigantic environmental disaster waiting to happen. But Russian and Iranian opposition killed that project.

    Thus, had the U.S. not decided that, in order to isolate Iran to appease the Israel lobby, it would make a minor nation like Georgia the cornerstone of its policy in the Caucasus/Central Asia region; had the U.S. not demonized Iran, creating "threats" from its nonexistent nuclear weapon program to justify what it does in Europe against Russia; and had the U.S. agreed to economical oil pipelines through Iran, not a political one through unstable, war-torn regions in Georgia and Turkey, the Georgia-Russia war would not have seemed as significant, and the U.S. and NATO would not have looked so impotent. In fact, the war might not have happened at all.

    But this is what happens when our foreign policy is held hostage by a foreign nation and its lobby.

  11. #116

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    Saakashvili eats his tie:
    http://rutube.ru/tracks/929140.html?...011cc442e95892

    I didn't want to talk about it, but the rumour that he's insane is confirming...

  12. #117

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    Wodkavampir,
    Thanks for that fascinating link. It is now in my favorites. This one is even more funny: http://rutube.ru/tracks/125944.html?related=1&v=566a7b34a426a8ad748db81b24 63f5b1
    Last edited by 195Broadway; August 16th, 2008 at 02:11 PM. Reason: text

  13. #118
    Forum Veteran MidtownGuy's Avatar
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    The Western corporate media, led by United States outlets, has completely misrepresented this situation and in some cases seem to be printing outright lies!
    Articles in the Financial Times and Washington Post, for example, refer to Gori being in ruins. There are no ruins in Gori! I saw British reporters broadcasting from there and the city is completely intact.
    There seems to be a US media campaign to demonize Russia around this issue. What I saw on PBS last night does not square at all with what is being written in US papers. WTF is going on here?

  14. #119

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    MTG,
    Good question. It does seem that Gori is OK.

    http://dandelionsalad.wordpress.com/...-a-us-project/

  15. #120
    Forum Veteran MidtownGuy's Avatar
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    Some interesting stuff there. Who can deny that the New York Times has long ago devolved into yet another propaganda tool of the Washington administration. Always ready to spread LIES. Just like it did to help sell the Iraq war to a believing public.

    I try to avoid the NY Times as far as news goes. It's pure rubbish of the worst kind, you can't be sure where the real news ends and the fake news begins. I know a lot of well educated people who still think it's a trustworthy news source.

    It has a decent travel section, though.

    I will be anxious to see if the propaganda laden Times admits to its mistakes. I won't hold my breath.

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