Russian tanks enter South Ossetia...

  Quickbeam 18:49 08 Aug 2008

click here While Putin and Bush exchange two faced niceties at the Olympic opening ceremony just like The Karsi of Kalabar and Sir Sidney Ruff-Diamond did at the polo match...

  Forum Editor 19:04 08 Aug 2008

Russia will claim that it's only trying to protect Russian citizens - lots of people in South Ossetia hold Russian passports.

But then we've heard all that many times before, and in many different situations.

  Al94 20:05 08 Aug 2008

This is all about Georgia's desire to join NATO. Will the west help Georgia defend against the invading Russians - I think not.

  laurie53 20:12 08 Aug 2008

"lots of people in South Ossetia hold Russian passports."

Lot's of people in Ulster hold Irish passports, but we'd have have been a bit uptight if Dublin had invaded South Armagh.

As usual, the world will wail and wring its collective hands and do nothing while the bullies carry on.

  Forum Editor 22:56 08 Aug 2008

There's a bit more to it than that.

South Ossetia declared its independence from Georgia in 1992, but not a single country has recognised it, and Georgia wants it back as part of Georgia. The Georgian president thinks that Russia has secretly been providing South Ossetian separatists with guns and ammunition, and he's not happy - he wants South Ossetia back as part of Georgia.

  Quickbeam 00:36 09 Aug 2008

that as world leaders sit to celebrate the opening of international games that represent peace and harmony in this life, one of them is starting a war, as his country's athletes march past to his gayly waving entourage...

When did he decide to do this? And was it to embarrass the US president while he was sitting there waiting for his country to come out?

The east & west still have a problem with each other. I rather think the 'hot line' might be very hot tonight as the polo club diplomats thrash it out...

  Forum Editor 08:26 09 Aug 2008

What's all this about "When did he decide to do this?"

Putin didn't make the decision, he's not the Russian president. The decision to initiate military intervention in South Ossetia was made, and is being defended by Dmitry Medvedev, who is the President of the Russian Federation.

  Quickbeam 09:49 09 Aug 2008

Whoever made the decision, I find it hard to believe the first he knew of it was while the athletes were parading in.

It looks like another fine mess in the making...

  day2strike 10:06 09 Aug 2008

I think this will be a lot of sabre rattling between Russia & the USA.
The US Military are over stretched fighting in other countries to help, but they may well give the forces fighting the Russians US hardware such as guns, rifles, grenades etc & may even military advice.

Will this lead to all out war with the Russians v USA I doubt it.

  Forum Editor 11:23 09 Aug 2008

a lot of sabre rattling between Russia & the USA.

Although South Ossetia is taking a pounding the real fight is between Russia and Georgia, and in the main, Western countries support the Georgian position.

Russia is taking a pretty big gamble here, fighting in an area where it's not easy to provide logistical support to an army on the ground. Everything has to come through a mountain pass, and as winter closes in that pass closes as well. It's a gamble, but not only by Russia....

In a strictly military sense Russia could roll right over Georgia, which has a pitifully small army by comparison, and the Georgian President is gambling too - he hopes that he'll be supported by his friends in the West. He has reasonable grounds for thinking it will happen - America has already stated that it supports Georgia's claim to territorial independence, and George Bush would like to see Georgia as a NATO member. America isn't the only country to provide arms to Georgia, the UK government has provided arms and specialised training for the Georgian army too.

Unsurprisingly there's an element of self-interest in Western support for Georgia
- an important oil pipeline running across Georgia between the Caspian and the Black sea, and as long as Georgia is an independent state Russia can't control the flow of oil from the region.

If Georgia falls to Russian military might we'll lose an important ally in Mikheil Saakashvili, the Georgian president, but if we're seen to be assisting Georgia in any way we'll risk straining our relationship with Russia - something we would do well to avoid.

Who would be a diplomat?

  johndrew 12:04 09 Aug 2008

`Who would be a diplomat?`

Dmitry Medvedev?

But seriously, if Russia is only protecting its citizens (passport holders?) in South Ossetia, why should it find it necessary to bomb Black Sea ports in Georgia? Tactically there could be a case made, but practically when size of forces is considered there is no real need - unless of course there is a need to deter the landing of support forces from elsewhere. Could it be that Russia fears another Afghanistan on its doorstep? The west has much to lose if Georgia is re-absorbed by the Russian state - especially when it comes to energy supplies many of which already are controlled by Russia.

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