Wednesday, September 30, 2009


Here's another area where U.S. foreign policy seems to be based on bad information: the American support for Georgian president Mikheil Saakashvili in his ongoing war of words against Russia. For the last year, Saakashvili has been blaming Russia for starting the Russia-Georgia War in South Ossetia, a break-away province of Georgia that seems to want to belong to Russia.

But now the EU has published a report of its findings: Saakashvili and Georgia are the ones who started the war by firing shells into civilian areas in South Ossetia.

Ian Traynor reports for website of The Guardian:

"An investigation into last year's Russia-Georgia war delivered a damning indictment of President Mikheil Saakashvili today, accusing Tbilisi of launching an indiscriminate artillery barrage on the city of Tskhinvali that started the war."

So how come VP Joe Biden visited Georgia last month and publicly stated the backing of the U.S. for hot head Saakashvili? And why hasn't the U.S. publicly come out and condemned Saakashvili and Georgia for starting the war? Surely the U.S. State Department has had all of the information that the EU obtained in its investigation.

The EU's report however, does not let Russia escape blame for the subsequent fighting. Traynor reports:

"The EU-commissioned report, by a fact-finding mission of more than 20 political, military, human rights and international law experts led by the Swiss diplomat, Heidi Tagliavini, was unveiled in Brussels today after nine months of work.

""There is no way to assign overall responsibility for the conflict to one side alone," the report found.

"But the conclusions will discomfit the western-backed Georgian leader, Saakashvili, who was found to have started the war with the attack on Tskhinvali, the South Ossetian capital, on the night of 7 August last year, through a "penchant for acting in the heat of the moment"."

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