If you liked Chechnya, you’ll love Georgia.
In Putin’s relentless drive to crush resistance in Chechnya, eliminate terrorism and take the voters’ eyes off the awful state of the Russian economy, he is pushing for an invasion of Stalin’s homeland: Georgia.
The Russian justification is quite simple: Hundreds of Russian civilians were killed by acts of terrorism last month alone. And that is not that unusual since the war in Chechnya picked up again in 1999. They are fighting a desperate war against separatists who really do not have a strong case for independence, yet definitely possess the will to keep fighting and hopefully do as much damage as possible in the process.
These separatists, Chechen fighters and foreign Islamic militants, have taken refuge in the ethnically mixed Pankisi Gorge of Georgia. Historically a “no-man’s land,” supposedly populated by terrorists and drug-dealers, it is on the verge of being invaded by the Russian military.
In fact, it possibly has happened already. Since July 29th, mysterious planes and gun ships have conducted at least five bombing raids inside of Georgian airspace. Georgian president Eduard Shevardnadze has ordered his United States-trained troops into the gorge to clear out the dissidents under pressure from Russian Defense Minister Sergei Ivanov.
Ivanov is still demanding to send in Russian forces to “clear-out” the gorge of suspected Chechen militants. For those of you who don’t know of the terrible atrocities committed by the Russian military in Chechnya in their attempts to “clear-out” dissidents there, you should investigate them for yourself on the web. You may be surprised at how many rapes have occurred as well as how many civilians have been murdered and villages burned. Kind of like what barbarians hordes have made into a fine art over the course of human history.
Despite the brutality of the Russian war-machine, you cannot forget the awful terrorist acts that have been inflicted upon the Russian people.
There is certainly a larger threat of terrorism in Russia than in the United States. With this being said, we need to start looking at the situation rationally.
Spreading the war to Georgia is not a good deal considering that with Russian troops, probably comes the end of Sheverdnaze’s presidency, and that is not going to be good for anybody. He is a voice of reason in an otherwise irrational region.
Also, a Russian invasion is simply going to further polarize the Islamic world against Russia and ultimately the West, which means you and me.
The terrorist bombings will not stop as the terrorist cells conducting them most likely are dug in all over the vast expanse of Russia. Raw military might is not going to win the conflict in Chechnya, or any war on terrorism. It is just going to take away the livelihood of a lot of people who would not normally strap a bomb to them selves, and create a proportionate amount of terrorists. Another point is that by looking at the history of the Chechen people, you can see that they, much like Afghans, don’t easily give up.
According to Alison Smith of the CSU history department, the 18th and 19th centuries were filled with bloody conflicts between Russian imperialists/colonists who were too troublesome for the Tsars, and an Islamic alliance. Out of this alliance, the Chechens were the last group to surrender.
I sympathize with the Russian people and their state of siege, but blowing up Georgia is not going to be good for anybody.