Friday, August 8, 2008


How can Georgian President Mikheil Saakashvili send in the Georgian army to shell South Ossetia's civilian population? Just because he believes South Ossetia belongs to Georgia's territorial control? This seems like another example of a war crime. From the reports on the BBC and from The Washington Post, Georgian army units have cut off all power and water to South Ossetia's main city of Tskhinvali.

Peter Finn reports in The Washington Post:

"Most residents of South Ossetia, which has a population of about 70,000, hold Russian passports. And Georgia has long claimed that Russian peacekeepers back separatists in both South Ossetia and Abkhazia.

"There were reports from Tskhinvali that civilians were huddling in cellars to shelter from the shelling. Boris Chochiyev, a minister in the South Ossetian government, which is not recognized internationally, said that shells caused extensive damage in the center of Tskhinvali. Electricity was out in much of the city and humanitarian organizations said hospitals were struggling to cope with the wounded."

Yes, Georgia claims that South Ossetia is part of Georgia and subject to Georgia's sovereignty, but that is no excuse for shelling a city and inflicting punishment upon the civilian population, many of whom hold Russian citizenship.

Reports the BBC:

"Fleeing resident Lyudmila Ostayeva, 50, told AP news agency: "I saw bodies lying on the streets, around ruined buildings, in cars. It's impossible to count them now. There is hardly a single building left undamaged."

"International Red Cross spokeswoman Anna Nelson said it had received reports that hospitals in Tskhinvali were having trouble coping with the influx of casualties and ambulances were having trouble reaching the injured. "

It is not Russia which started this unnecessary and brutal conflict. It is Georgia and president Saakashvili who ordered the attack with heavy artillery, rockets and warplanes. We all know that nothing can be solved with rockets and tanks. Witness George Bush's failed foreign policy in Iraq. Georgian president Saakashvili is turning into another George Bush.

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