Friday, October 2, 2009

Update, Georgia (updated)

The European Union independent fact-finding commission led by Heidi Tagliavini and tasked with examining the circumstances surrounding the brief 'war' between Georgia and Russia over South Ossetia just released its report. No surprises for anyone who had paid attention to the issue back in 2008 (e.g. see the blog entries on this topic listed below). The bottom line:
  • Both Georgia and Russia contributed mightily to raise tensions in the run up to the hostilities. "A result of the involvement of outside powers unfortunately served to harden positions rather than to build common ground," especially on the Georgian side.
  • "The proximate cause was the shelling by Georgian forces of the capital of the secessionist province of South Ossetia, Tskhinvali, on Aug. 7, 2008"
  • Once the shooting started, Russia responded disproportionately, and its reply took it "far beyond the reasonable limits of defense"
Both Georgia and Russia have found parts of the report that they like and dislike. However, very many headlines played up the "Georgia started the war" angle, and Georgia and Saakashvili have ended up with the short end of the stick. Of course, this is only because the previous U.S. administration is no longer in place, otherwise they would have been the "biggest losers"...

Lessons of the Georgia Conflict
EU Investigators Debunk Saakashvili's Lies
Pour l'UE, c'est la Géorgie a ouvert les hostilités
EU report: Georgian attack started war with Russia

10/3 Update:

Link to the actual report: Independent International Fact-Finding Mission on the Conflict in Georgia
Commentary by Venik: War in Georgia: Reviewing EU Findings

Earlier blog entries related to this topic:
Georgia update... - Nov 22nd, 2008
Georgia... - Sep 7th, 2008
Immediate Response?!? - Aug 25th, 2008
Georgia (updated)... - Aug 15th, 2008
Two-edged sword (South Ossetia) - Aug 11th, 2008

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