Michael R. Gordon / The New York Times & Sorcha Faal / What Does It Mean – 2008-08-19 17:58:55
Pledging to Leave Georgia,
Russia Tightens Its Grip
Michael R. Gordon / The New York Times
WASHINGTON (August 18, 2008) — Even as Russia pledged to begin withdrawing its forces from neighboring Georgia on Monday, American officials said the Russian military had been moving launchers for short-range ballistic missiles into South Ossetia, a step that appeared intended to tighten its hold on the breakaway territory.
The Russian military deployed several SS-21 missile launchers and supply vehicles to South Ossetia on Friday, according to American officials familiar with intelligence reports. From the new launching positions north of Tskhinvali, the South Ossetian capital, the missiles can reach much of Georgia, including Tbilisi, the capital.
The Kremlin announced Sunday that Russia’s president, Dmitri A. Medvedev, had promised to begin the troop withdrawal in a conversation with President Nicolas Sarkozy of France, who negotiated a six-point cease-fire agreement. Mr. Medvedev did not specify the pace or scope of the withdrawal, saying only that troops would withdraw to South Ossetia and a so-called security zone on its periphery.
The United States and European leaders reacted with wariness, and Russia’s recent military moves appeared to add an element of frustration.
“Well, I just know that the Russian president said several days ago Russian military operations would stop. They didn’t,” Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice said on NBC’s “Meet the Press.” “This time I hope he means it. You know the word of the Russian president needs to be upheld by his forces.”
Russia’s efforts to strengthen its military position in the region have important political and military implications.
American officials have demanded that Russian troops pull back from their positions inside Georgia and that the Russian military presence in the enclaves of South Ossetia and Abkhazia be limited to the Russian peacekeeping force that was there before the conflict erupted earlier this month. Ultimately, American officials say, the Russian peacekeepers themselves should be replaced by a neutral, international peacekeeping force.
But instead of thinning out their forces in South Ossetia, the Russians appear to have been consolidating their presence there by deploying SS-21 missile launchers and, American officials say, by installing surface-to-air missiles near their military headquarters in Tskhinvali. Such moves appear to buttress assertions last week by Russia’s foreign minister, Sergey V. Lavrov, that South Ossetia and Abkhazia are to be separated from Georgia.
Western officials have also been monitoring Russian troop movements, which may be intended to strengthen Russian forces in and around Georgia. A battalion from Russia’s 76th Guards Airborne Division has been deployed from Pskov to Beslan, a city in North Ossetia. Several additional battalions from the 98th Guards Airborne Division at Kostroma also appeared to have been preparing over the weekend for possible deployment to the Caucasus region.
Beyond South Ossetia, the Russian military has taken other steps to raise its profile. In recent days, several Bear-H bombers have carried out training missions over the Black Sea, according to American officials familiar with intelligence reports. The Russian bombers are capable of carrying nonnuclear cruise missiles, and government intelligence analysts have told the Pentagon that a recent Bear training flight appeared to simulate a cruise-missile attack against Georgia.
The Russian moves are seen at the Pentagon as a way for Russia to show that it considers its sphere of influence to include Georgia and other parts of the so-called near abroad zones — Belarus, Ukraine, the Caucasus and the Caspian — close to Russian territory. In general, the actions are seen as a matter of muscle flexing, or “force projection,” in Pentagon parlance, and are not viewed as signs that Russia intends to make a major military push to take Tbilisi.
Russian officials may also be calculating that their nation’s military presence may make some NATO members more skeptical toward accepting Georgia into the alliance. While the United States has strongly supported Georgia’s membership, some allied officials fear they may be dragged into a war in the Caucasus if Georgia is admitted.
Concerns over the military tensions in the region may already have influenced some neighbors. American officials said Turkish officials had denied the United States’ request that an American Navy hospital ship, the Comfort, be allowed to travel through the Turkish straits en route to Georgia.
A Bush administration official, who asked not to be identified because of the delicacy of the diplomatic discussions, expressed hope that American officials would eventually persuade the Turks to let the ship pass.
The conflict began Aug. 7 when Georgian troops entered the breakaway region of South Ossetia, which has strong ties to Russia, and Russia responded by sending its own troops deep into Georgian territory.
The Kremlin has said Georgia provoked the conflict in South Ossetia, whose populace is hostile to Georgia, and Russian officials have referred to Mikheil Saakashvili, the Georgian president, as a war criminal. Mr. Saakashvili has contended that Russia is determined to turn Georgia into the kind of vassal state that existed during Soviet times.
Though Mr. Medvedev announced the end of hostilities last Wednesday, Russian troops have remained in the central city of Gori, which is 40 miles from Tbilisi, and they continue to occupy wide swaths of territory. On Sunday, Western leaders pressed, with increasing unanimity, for Russia to withdraw. Mr. Sarkozy said there would be “serious consequences” for relations between Russia and the European Union if Russian compliance was not “rapid and complete.”
The German chancellor, Angela Merkel, in Tbilisi to meet with Mr. Saakashvili, warned that “this process should not drag out for weeks.” Ms. Merkel also reiterated her support for Georgia’s eventual membership in NATO, a step Russia has fiercely opposed.
The deployment of SS-21 missile launchers to South Ossetia has added to the United States’ concerns. The SS-21 is a short-range ballistic missile carried on a mobile launcher. It can be used to attack command posts and airfield and troop concentrations. Russian forces used the missile in the Chechnya conflict, where it was believed to have caused significant civilian casualties.
James F. Jeffrey, the American deputy national security adviser, told reporters this month that President Bush was informed on Aug. 8 that two SS-21s had been fired into Georgia. He said Mr. Bush “immediately” met with Russia’s prime minister, Vladimir V. Putin, who was also attending the Olympics in Beijing, to express concern over the Russian military actions. Fragments of an SS-21 missile have been found near a police station in the port city of Poti. The rocket struck a police vehicle in front of the station.
But those missiles were fired from Russian territory, an American official said Sunday. In recent days, the official said, SS-21 missile launchers, as well as supply vehicles, have driven south through the Roki Tunnel into South Ossetia and been deployed on an elevated area about 10 miles north of Tskhinvali. That would put them within range of much of Georgia, including Kutaisi, Georgia’s second-largest city, and Tbilisi itself, adding to Russia’s ability to intimidate.
The original cease-fire agreement has been shuttled between Moscow and Tbilisi several times as changes were requested by the Russian and Georgian leaders, who do not disguise their mutual contempt. Among the points left unclear is how far Russian troops will draw back. Under the agreement, Russians have claimed a broad mandate to back up peacekeeping operations both in and out of the conflict zone.
Mr. Medvedev said Sunday that Russian troops would pull back to a security zone established in 1999 by the Joint Control Commission, an international body created to monitor seething tensions between ethnic Georgians and Ossetians.
The commission designated a “conflict zone” of about nine miles around Tskhinvali, as well as a long “security corridor,” which extends about eight miles into Georgian-held areas.
Georgia’s foreign minister, Eka Tkeshelashvili, said the current form of the document limits Russian military operations to no more than about nine miles from the border of South Ossetia; prohibits Russian troops from entering urban areas or blocking roads; allows only patrols, as opposed to checkpoints; and would be prohibited as soon as international peacekeepers arrived.
Despite the Kremlin’s pledge of a pullout from Georgia, long lines of Russian military vehicles snaked south on Sunday along the main road from Tskhinvali to Gori in South Ossetia. Large transport trucks carrying power generators, troops, bags of potatoes, chairs and tables wound their way through the villages. A reporter driving south on the road passed lines of vehicles for nearly 40 minutes.
While the Russians have accused Georgian forces of killing many civilians in South Ossetia, it has not been possible for outsiders to corroborate those claims. Nor has it been possible to corroborate Georgian assertions that South Ossetians were purging Georgian villages in “ethnic cleansing” reprisals, although refugees have described a campaign of violence and looting, and tours along the main road show villages with as many as 90 percent of the buildings burned.
The president of South Ossetia, Eduard Kokoity, may have implicated himself in the forced expulsion of Georgians by asserting that they would not be allowed back. Russia’s Foreign Ministry quickly sought on Sunday to minimize the significance of his remark, calling it “an emotional statement made under the influence of the situation resulting from the massive armed attack organized by the Georgian leadership against South Ossetia.”
Reporting was contributed by Clifford J. Levy and Ellen Barry from Moscow; Andrew E. Kramer, C. J. Chivers and Sabrina Tavernise from Tbilisi, Georgia; Matt Siegel from Tskhinvali, Georgia; Joao Silva and Justyna Mielnikiewicz from Kaspi, Georgia; Michael Schwirtz from Poti, Georgia; and Thom Shanker from Washington.
Copyright 2008 The New York Times Company
Putin Orders “Nuclear Noose” Put Around US
Sorcha Faal, / What Does It Mean.com
MOSCOW (August 18, 2008) — New reports circulating in the Kremlin today are stating that Prime Minister Putin and President Medvedev have jointing ordered Russia’s Strategic Missile Troops (RVSN) to begin the encirclement of the United States with a “Nuclear Noose” in preparation for “all out” war with American Military Forces.
Sparking the fears of Russian leaders, these reports state, were conversations held this past week between Putin and former US Secretary of State Henry Kissinger (Kissinger McLarty Associates) wherein Mr. Kissinger stated that the likelihood of Senator John McCain ascending to the presidency of the United States was “all but assured’.”
Russian policy analysts have long considered a McCain led US government as a continuation of Bush’s foreign policy for an American led implementation of a “New World Order” that would see the abolishment of Nation States and the establishment of World Trading Blocks, and which Putin has vowed to prevent occurring.
Making an American Government being led by McCain even more intolerable for Russia has been McCain’s strident calls for Western military action against the Russian people and its leaders, but which can only be fully understood by knowing that his, McCain’s, top foreign policy advisor, Randy Scheunemann, is a longtime lobbyist for Georgia whose lobbing firm has been paid over $1 million by the Georgian government to further their influence in the US.
Further enraging Russian leaders was the announcement this past week that the US and Canada are jointly cooperating in an attempt to wrest vital Arctic resources away from Russia in an attempt to control the last source of new oil reserves remaining on our energy starved planet.
Russian moves to counter the growing threat of war between themselves and the United States over these issues have included Putin’s announcement in July to increase Russia’s nuclear aircraft carrier and submarine fleets and to begin working with other Nations to form a strategic alliance against the Americans.
Western reports are further stating that Russian Military Forces have moved into Georgia SS-21 missile launchers and that Russia plans the deployment of Iskandar SS-26 surface missiles in Syria and the Baltic enclave of Kaliningrad.
Venezuela’s President Chavez has further announced that he as accepted Russian President Medvedev’s offer to send a Naval Fleet to his South American Nation, and which are equipped with long-range sea based nuclear missiles.
To the full machinations of the US War Leaders to provoke Total War with Russia it remains lost upon the American people, and who have not even now begin to understand how the United States “sacrificed” its ally Georgia in its bloodstained “final objective” to force Poland into accepting their so called missile shield targeted against the Russian Homeland.
Russia’s deputy chief of staff of the armed forces General Anatoly Nogovitsyn was quick to respond to Poland’s acceptance of US missiles by stating, “Poland, by deploying (the system) is exposing itself to a strike; 100 per cent.”
To the overall outcome of these events it is not in our knowing, except as they pertain to the plans of the War Leaders of the United States, and as best summarized by the American Anti-War activist Justin Raimondo who has written:
“The War Party never sleeps — they’ve always got a new angle up their sleeves, a new “Hitler” who must be crushed in the name of democracy and decency, and against whom all the resources of the West must be mobilized — until a new enemy is found. The latest such enemy is Putin’s Russia, specifically, Putin himself, who is now being characterized as a hybrid monster, an authoritarian admixture of Hitler and Stalin.”
How sad it is that the American people have chosen for themselves such ruthless leaders, how very sad.
© August 18, 2008 EU and US all rights reserved. Sorcha Faal email@example.com