Having a natural need to try and understand horrifying news I set about today to investigate what is going on in Georgia, Russia, and a little territory called South Ossetia.
What are they fighting over? A break away region named South Ossetia which separated from Georgia in a 91-92 war. South Ossetia has a population of 70,000 and is a different ethnic group from the people of Georgia. South Ossetia is inhabited mostly by ethnic Ossetians who speak a language remotely related to Farsi. Georgians account for less than one-third of the population.
Georgia has never accepted the South Ossetian claim for independence and tensions have never been far from the surface with violence flaring up sporadically. In August 2008, heavy fighting erupted between Georgian and separatist forces, following nearly a week of clashes. The fighting deepened fears of a full-blown war in the Caucasus.
The current fighting began four days ago when Georgian forces launched a surprise attack to regain control of South Ossetia, which has had de facto independence since the end of a civil war in 1992.Russia had maintained peacekeeping troops in South Ossetia although the Georgian parliament has called for them to be replaced with an international force. On August 8 the Russian forces moved in “to restore peace to the region”.
As of today’s news Georgia has pulled out of South Ossetia, according to their own reports, while Russia claims that Georgian troops were still present in the region.
To date estimates put the death toll on the South Ossetian side at more than 1,500, mostly civilians. Georgian casualty figures ranged from 82 dead, including 37 civilians, to a figure of about 130 dead.
Does this clear up the information for anybody else but me?? I am wondering after doing my own reading if Russia is so clearly in the wrong in this conflict? They appear to be helping the separatists. But then again I am not good enough at international politics to understand what Russia’s alternative motives may be, if there is something for them to gain from the conflict? Anyone have an opinion or information you would like to share?