The E.U. report released October 1 concluded Georgia’s aggressive “shelling” of South Ossetia with the full backing of the Bush Administration was what prompted Russian response that led to the Five Day War in August 2008. The Obama Administration will continue enabling the tyrannical regime of President Mikhail Saakashvili.
U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said the U.S. will continue supporting Georgia and training its troops because of its obedient collaboration in Afghanistan—Press TV reports—on top of the “tens of millions of dollars [in] military aid for the Georgian army over the last years”. Russia has continuously objected to this collaboration after Georgia waged a war with the seceded province of South Ossetia and recently accusing the U.S. client-state of its “training and transfer of terrorists to the territory of Chechnya” who are linked to al-Qa’ida.
The report added: “[Georgia] tried to take back the two breakaway regions of South Ossetia and Abkhazia last August. Russia’s tough response put a stop to the move, and led to a short war between the two neighbors.”
Heidi Tagliavini, the Swiss diplomat who led a recent E.U. fact-finding mission into the war, wrote at The New York Times (NYT) that—though, Russia’s response was “disproportionate”—the “proximate cause was the shelling by Georgian forces of the capital of the secessionist province of South Ossetia, Tskhinvali, on 7 August 2008.”
E.U. investigators concluded: “Georgian claims of a large-scale presence of Russian armed forces in South Ossetia prior to the Georgian offensive on 7/8 August  could not be substantiated by the mission”—as Der Spiegel reported, “To put it more simply: It was Georgia who started the war.”
Ms. Tagliavini added: “Russia systematically gave passports to residents of Abkhazia and South Ossetia, asserting responsibility for Russians in what it called its ‘near abroad’ without any consultation with Georgia, whose territorial integrity was thus increasingly challenged.
“Meanwhile, Georgia was pressing to accelerate its accession to NATO, and embarking, with the support of the United States, Ukraine and Israel, on a major modernization of its armed forces. Georgia’s military budget grew from 1 percent of G.D.P. to 8 percent, and military bases near Abkhazia and South Ossetia were modernized.”
The Russo-Georgian War of 2008 (a.k.a. “The Five Day War“) killed hundreds of South Ossetian civilians and displaced up to 18,000 as the Bush Administration blindly backed the Georgian invasion. The Obama Administration’s vow of support shows continuity of such enabling.
Jörg Himmelreich, a senior trans-Atlantic fellow at the German Marshall Fund who also served on the E.U. fact-finding mission, wrote at the NYT: “But the report has a major flaw. It fails to thoroughly analyze the decisive role that the United States played before, during and after the conflict. Only a detailed assessment of President George W. Bush’s Georgia policy and its failures can fully explain the outbreak of the war and help the E.U. and President Obama shape new policies toward Russia and Georgia.”
Georgian President Mikhail Saakashvili’s legitimacy is also in question with protests demanding he step down throughout April of this year which included the launch of a “national disobedience” campaign vowing to protest until he resigns. The Georgian government brutally punished the peaceful protesters and has greatly increased the curbing of civil liberties in 2009, indefinitely.
“The people whose lives were ruined by fighting are still waiting for justice,” Holly Cartner, Europe and Central Asia director at Human Rights Watch, said after the report’s release. “It’s hard to imagine how there could be any real reconciliation without it.”
The Obama Administration’s continuity is a de jure endorsement of Georgia’s domestic and international tyranny. One could reasonably conclude that like other client-states of the U.S., it acts only in such manners on the orders and/or with the sealed approval of Washington.