UPDATED: Russia Invades Georgia, US At Risk Of Being Sucked In

(@6:15 – promoted by NLinStPaul)

UPDATE from CBS/AP: Georgia Says Russian Attacks Continue

Fighting reportedly raged well into the night with Georgia’s interior ministry saying early Saturday that warplanes attacked three Georgian military bases and key facilities for shipping oil to the West.

The fighting, which devastated the capital of Tskhinvali, threatened to ignite a wider war between Georgia and Russia, and escalate tensions between Moscow and Washington. Georgia said it was forced to launch the assault because of rebel attacks; the separatists alleged Georgia violated a cease-fire.

“I saw bodies lying on the streets, around ruined buildings, in cars,” said Lyudmila Ostayeva, 50, who had fled with her family to Dzhava, a village near the border with Russia. “It’s impossible to count them now. There is hardly a single building left undamaged.”

The fighting broke out as much of the world’s attention was focused on the start of the Olympic Games and many leaders, including Russia’s Prime Minister Vladimir Putin and President Bush, were in Beijing.

6:50 PM PST NOTE & CORRECTION – Rice is NOT in Georgia (that is a story from July)

The Associated Press is reporting that:

Russian television says Russian troops are moving into South Ossetia.

Not just troops–heavily armed regular Russian Army forces. You don’t quell riots and unrest with Self-propelled artillery.

BBC: Russian tanks enter South Ossetia:

And the region is in turmoil.

Russian authorities said several of its peacekeepers died in a Georgian attack in South Ossetia, which borders Russia and has strong ties to its vast northern neighbor, and they vowed not to leave Russian citizens in the territory unprotected.

“The Georgian leadership has launched a dirty adventure,” a statement from Russia’s Defense Ministry said on Friday. “We will not leave our peacekeepers and Russian citizens unprotected.”

Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin said Georgia started the fighting and warned that Russia would respond to their actions.

“Heavy weapons and artillery have been sent there, and tanks have been added. Deaths and injuries have been reported, including among Russian peacekeepers,” Putin said in comments carried Friday by Russia’s Interfax news agency.

“It’s all very sad and alarming. And, of course, there will be a response.”

Earlier Friday, Georgian President Mikhail Saakashvili said in a televised statement that Russian aircraft bombed several Georgian villages and other civilian facilities.

We will watch what happens through the day and the weekend–this could end up being the biggest story of the month, Olympics notwithstanding.

Americans shouldn’t worry–Secretary of State Rice was just there last month and straightened everything out:

US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice has arrived in Georgia amid an escalating row between Russia, Georgia and the United States.

Russia accused Georgia of bringing the South Caucasus to the brink of armed conflict – comments which both Ms Rice and Nato condemned as “unhelpful”.

See? She said it was “unhelpful.” And that took care of the problem.

On August 2nd, Secretary Rice appeared at the Aspen Music Festival. I’m glad she has had the opportunity to take time out of her busy schedule and attend to important things.

Here’s yesterday’s full mention of the issue in South Ossetia from the US State Department during its daily press briefing:

QUESTION: Gonzo, do you have anything about Ossetia?

MR. [Gonzalo R.] GALLEGOS: South Ossetia?

QUESTION: Yes.

MR. GALLEGOS: I think so.

QUESTION: President Saakashvili — you know, there were some victims, some fighting last night. And President Saakashvili said that the – he’s – he called several world leaders asking them for their help in maintaining peace. I wanted to know if he called Secretary Rice.

MR. GALLEGOS: Well, we’re – I don’t believe – I don’t have any further information. I don’t have it that he spoke to Secretary Rice. But we’re in close contact with senior Russian and Georgian officials. We’re urging Moscow to press South Ossetia’s de facto leaders to stop firing. We’re urging Tbilisi to maintain restraint. We’re very concerned about the situation. We call for an immediate end to the violence and for direct talks between the parties.

QUESTION: Do you think the South Ossetian people started the fighting, or who do you think is responsible?

MR. GALLEGOS: We think it’s important that both sides stop firing, that they sit down and they discuss this in a peaceful manner.

As you can see, “Gonzo” is on top of it. Your State Department at work, as fighting breaks out in a region where the warning signs were fairly evident earlier this year.

UPDATE I / WS

Screenshots from video, courtesy of the BBC:

These would appear to be Russia’s main battle tanks, the T-90s:

Russian troops in BMP armored personnel carriers:

From Blue Girl at They gave us a republic…

This situation is developing fast and the United States is in danger of getting sucked into it.  Over at the most excellent and essential Newshoggers,    I learned that the Georgians are recalling all forces in their control, including the combat brigade that is currently serving in Iraq as part of the Coalition forces.  

They are asking for rapid response assistance and could ask the U.S. to airlift the brigade back to Georgia in USAF C-17s through the Tallil Airbase.  That would put the U.S. on a hostile footing with yet another oil-producing nation – and this one has military prowess and battle-hardened troops, that make up a force that hasn’t been decimated in the desert.

The Duck of Minerva has more.

That was quick–just yesterday, Secretary Rice was in Washington DC.

US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice has warned Russia against stoking tension in Georgia’s breakaway regions of Abkhazia and South Ossetia.

Speaking in the Georgian capital, Tbilisi, Ms Rice said Russia should help resolve tensions instead of contributing to them.

Six people have been killed in violence in the region in the past week.

Georgia and Russia have also accused each other of flying jets over South Ossetia, violating a ceasefire.

Russian and UN peacekeepers have been deployed in the region since the early 1990s, when violence erupted as separatists sought to break free from Georgian control.

Georgia accuses Russia of backing the separatists and seeking to absorb the territories.

Full scale war–with reports of dead civilians everywhere–has broken out, the US Secretary of State is in the Georgian capital city where Russian planes are no doubt flying near, and no one is covering the story. Russian planes are destroying Georgian airfields as the US Secretary of State sits, most likely, in the well-marked US Embassy.

This report came from the BBC–but Rice is not featured on any US news sites. In the AP story filed and featured on the ABC News.com website, Rice isn’t even featured as dealing with this conflict; she is quoted in a minor blurb, threatening Iran.

Amazing…

UPDATE III/WS – 0203PM

Screenshots of news websites. Rice has all but disappeared. The priorities are astounding.

At least Fox News says the story is “urgent.” The BBC sure doesn’t think China’s Olympic ceremonies are that important, do they?

34 comments

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    • Edger on August 8, 2008 at 9:20 pm
      Author

    Warren Street and Blue Girl of They gave us a republic… for this story. They will be following closely and updating all weekend…

  1. to see if they were talking about this at all.

    It will come as no surprise that they’re too busy interviewing the National Enquirer and talking about John Edward’s affair.

    This is one of those moments when I remember that the “news media” in this country makes me sick.

    • Edger on August 8, 2008 at 11:45 pm
      Author

    Horrific news, via Reuters:

    * Rebels’ president says 1,400 dead in South Ossetia

    * Georgia says Russian planes drop bombs

    * Bush backs Georgian territorial integrity

    * Georgia to move troops from Iraq

    By Margarita Antidze

    MEGVREKISI, Georgia, Aug 8 (Reuters) – Russian armoured vehicles have entered the northern edges of the capital of the breakaway Georgian region of South Ossetia, the separatists’ press service reported on its website on Friday.

    “Russian armoured vehicles have entered the northern suburbs of Tskhinvali,” the website cominf.org reported, adding that Georgian troops had started to retreat.

    Moscow said its troops were responding to a Georgian assault to re-take the region, and Georgia’s pro-Western President Mikheil Saakashvili said the two countries were at war.

    Russia would cut air links with the ex-Soviet state from midnight on Friday, the Russian Transport Ministry said.

  2. …is unhelpful!  Thanks for this, Edger.

  3. to a SANE planet?

    • banger on August 9, 2008 at 1:34 am

    A few months ago Webster Tarpley, an annoying man with a good mind, who I agree with as much as disagree with stopped talking about a U.S./Israeli attack on Iran. His analysis is as follows: there has been a shift in the oligarchy as they lost faith in their Neocon henchmen and now favor a more “centrist” but still malevolent Rockefeller/Brzezinski clique who don’t feel the Middle East is very important but believe, rather, that the big struggle is or needs to be with Russia and China. By taking on Pakistan (rather than Iran) they are weakening China and making trouble in the former soviet republics is meant to isolate and encumber Russia. This move by Georgia, a vividly courted U.S. ally, clearly must have been cleared with what Tarpley calls the “Principals’ Committee”. Here’s more:

    Gates is a leading member of the Principals’ Committee, an interagency group which now runs the US government from day to day with scant reference to the discredited outgoing lame ducks Bush and Cheney, who stay on mainly as figureheads. The Principals’ Committee has been in charge of the US government since no later than early May, around the time of the Indiana and North Carolina primaries, when the controlled corporate media began trumpeting that Obama was the winner of the Democratic nomination. The Principals’ Committee is made up of Pentagon boss Gates, Secretary of State Rice, NSC director Hadley, Joint Chiefs of Staff head Mullen, intelligence czar McConnell, along with a few others. These figures are now marching to the tune of Trilateral Commission bigwigs like Zbigniew Brzezinski, Joseph Nye, and the Rockefeller family. These are the same forces who own and control the Wall Street Manchurian candidate Obama.

    For more on what he has to say see here.

    Anyway allowing or encouraging Georgia to take this step backs up some of his contentions. BTW, Tarpley sees this faction as far more dangerous than the Neocons and he sees Obama as the worse than McCain (I don’t agree with him on that). Interesting stuff–Tarpley has some great insights he wrote the explosive Bush Senior biography and one of the better 9/11 books. His website is here.

  4. have been filled with the Edwards story.  Here’s a war going on in Georgia, an American ally, with Russia invading the counry, and all the media feel should be reported and analyzed for their 60 minutes of “news” is Edwards, Edwards, Edwards.

  5. Should the US ever undergo a breakup a la the Soviet Union into smaller units I think there would be wars just like this, with “Centralia” invading “Cascadia” over some incident in the former Wyoming.

    This 21st Century isn’t going to be a goodie.

    • Edger on August 9, 2008 at 4:15 am
      Author
  6. FWIW, while googling for US naval presence in the Black Sea & findng that (Multinational) Exercise Sea Breeze which included participants “host country Ukraine as well as Armenia, Azerbaijan, Canada, Denmark, France, Georgia, Germany, Greece, Latvia, Macedonia, Norway, Romania, Turkey, the United Kingdom and the United States” recently was concluded in the Black Sea.

    I also found this item, which so far I’ve not seen reported by any other news source & wonder if anyone here has seen other confirmation of the following report Massive US Naval Armada Heads for Iran:

    “…Operation Brimstone ended only one week ago. This was the joint US/UK/French naval war games in the Atlantic Ocean preparing for a naval blockade of Iran and the likely resulting war in the Persian Gulf area. The massive war games included a US Navy supercarrier battle group, an US Navy expeditionary carrier battle group, a Royal Navy carrier battle group, a French nuclear hunter-killer submarine plus a large number of US Navy cruisers, destroyers and frigates playing the “enemy force”.

    “The lead American ship in these war games, the USS Theodore Roosevelt…and its Carrier Strike Group…are now headed towards Iran along with the USS Ronald Reagon…and its Carrier Strike Group Seven…coming from Japan….”

    “…They are joining two existing USN battle groups in the Gulf area: the USS Abraham Lincoln…with its Carrier Strike Group Nine…and the USS Peleliu..with its expeditionary strike group…”

    “…Likely also under way towards the Persian Gulf is the USS Iwo Jima…and its expeditionary strike group, the UK Royal Navy HMS Ark Royal…carrier battle group, assorted French naval assets… including the nuclear hunter-killer submarine… These ships took part in the just completed Operation Brimstone…”

    “…The build up of naval forces in the Gulf will be one of the largest multi-national naval armadas since the First and Second Gulf Wars.  The intent is to create a US/EU naval blockade which is an Act of War under international law) around Iran (with supporting air and land elements) to prevent the shipment of benzene and certain other refined oil products headed to Iranian ports…”

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