Georgian leader walks a separatist tightrope

CJ Chivers with his take on current events in Georgia. Like most people, he believes in Russian interference, but is also wary of how the Georgian President has heightened tensions by insisting on the return of the two renegede provinces to Tblisi control.

The stakes are unmistakably high. Russia and the United States have competing interests in the region, a strategic intersection of Asia and Europe, and Russia has been openly supporting the separatists. One Russian newspaper has compared Saakashvili to Fidel Castro, a leader of a tiny nation who has been giving larger powers sleepless nights.

Why Saakashvili risked inflaming tensions with references to violence remains an open question. But now that he has everyone paying attention again, a simple question surrounds him: What will he do next? Saakashvili, for his part, speaks with the air of destiny. In a meeting with journalists and analysts on Aug. 10, he said it was inevitable that the republics would return to Georgia.

He noted that because both are within Georgia’s internationally recognized borders, no other outcome can be acceptable.

“It’s not only about Georgia,” he said. “It’s about world order.”

And in relation to recent events reported by the BBC, it seems that they may be not reporting some things that the local TV channel, Rustavi-2 are. Georgians have informed me that 4 soldiers and 8 civilans were killed on the Georgian side, whether that’s true or not has yet to be verified.