Thursday, August 14, 2008

What's Behind the War in Georgia


Mikhail Saakashvili and his dextrous National Movement were brought to power in Georgia on the wave of a "pink revolution" in 2004. In these last four years, Georgia has strengthened its links with NATO and the EU, but has had to put up with a tough embargo on its goods from Russia, which props up the two secessionist regions of Abkhazia and South Ossetia, both effectively out of Georgian control. ---- Saakashvili as president has not kept his promises. At least a third of the Georgian population is living below the poverty line; unemployment is officially at 16% but is actually much higher; the monthly pension is €16. Current employment legislation permits employers to fire workers without just cause. Popular discontent exploded on the occasion of last January's presidential election, called following the huge demonstrations of November 2007: poverty had been growing at the same rate as the economy.

Saakashvili won for the second time, but in order to do so was forced into

repressing tens of thousands of demonstrators in the capital, Tbilisi, who were protesting against vote-rigging, corruption, athoritarianism and economic disaster.

But so what?! The strategic control of Georgia is worth much more than the state its people live in. And that de facto Russian-guaranteed autonomy that exists in South Ossetia is no little worry to US and European interests in the area. Georgian entry into NATO would justify an international military presence with the aim of protecting and controlling two enormously important strategic corridors for the West: the famous Baku-Tbilisi-Cehyan (BTC) corridor bringing gas from the Caspian Sea to the Mediterranean and the Baku-Tbilisi-Erzerum corridor bringing gas from the Caspian to Turkey, where it is planned to link up with the TIG ("Nabucco") corridor which will link Turkey to Greece and Italy. But both these oil and gas pipelines pass too outrageously south of Russia and too near Ossetia. Russia (and Gazprom) will certainly not be sitting around doing nothing! As long as there is tension in the Caucasus, there will be no room for NATO and Europe will be
forced to deal with Russia if it wants Caspian oil and gas.

Italy's Foreign Minister is worried that the conflict will spread to Abkhazia...
but in reality his fears are more for the interests of ENI (which has a 5% stake in the BTC) and Edison (BTE), and he is already offering to send an Italian "peacekeeping" mission to the Caucasus on a European mandate.

Along the 21st-century Silk Road, the lives of 70,000 South Ossetian inhabitants (for whom independence is denied, unlike Kossovo) are worth nothing; as are the lives of the people of Georgia - two peoples apparently divided by ethnic conflict, but in reality hostage to the inter-imperialist conflict for the control of raw materials and corridors.

There will be no peace or stability in the Caucasus until its peoples obtain
full autonomy and self-determination of their own destinies and until they
cooperate in solidarity in the production and shipping of raw materials, against dictators and local ruling classes, against all forms of nationalism, against all forms of imperialism and against capitalism.

Permanent ceasefire. International solidarity with all workers in the Caucasus.


12 August 2008


Blogger Frank Partisan said...

I posted on the same subject. My post was put together by several people, and is really long. It covers quite a bit.

I had one disagreement with this post. I think you'll agree with me. I don't believe in the right of self determination unconditionally. An example is North Ossetia. It has minorities, that are oppressed by Ossesians. Self determination can't come, if it means dividing workers. Seperating people is not a solution. It's better explained in my post.

Soon we will make public, a document about the Afro-American struggle. It deals with the national question.

9:00 PM  
Blogger Larry Gambone said...

I do agree with you. And I am sure the FAC does too. It is just this short translated posting, it does not come across that clearly, unlike your statement.

Self-determination must not divide workers and certain forms of it - such as found in Bolivia are just pure reaction.

11:01 AM  
Blogger Frank Partisan said...

I didn't think you disagreed.

I honestly don't understand why in this age of a world economy, the US is promoting every kind of small nation nationalism ever dreamed up? It'll come back to haunt them.

10:45 PM  
Blogger Graeme said...

Ren's point is a good one, as is the analysis. Especially pointing out that Saakashvili is a thug. This whole situation makes me wonder how many people are going to have to keep the oil flowing. It truly is tragic.

11:34 PM  
Blogger Werner said...

Hello Larry,

I also reprinted the analysis from our Italian comrades. There is also a piece from Common Dreams which I understand is an American liberal/social democratic newsagency on the role of the neoconservatives in fanning the flames between Saakashvili and Putin.

5:56 PM  
Blogger Frank Partisan said...

Putin set it up, so that the more bellicose the rhetoric, the weaker the US looks.

I don't think the problem comes from neoconservatives per se, it just turns out, the period the world called reforms in the 1990s in Russia, Russia thought of it as a foreign imposed national tragedy.

10:14 PM  
Blogger Werner said...

As I've tried to point out in my own blog article support by the Empire was needed for Georgia to take a (weak) swing at the Russians which obviously hadn't a chance of succeeding. Some neocons were actually predicting future Russian adventures and seem to be disappointed. Check here for some comments from neoconservatives.

2:18 PM  
Blogger Graeme said...

This whole situation makes me wonder how many people are going to have to keep the oil flowing. It truly is tragic.

wow, that didn't make sense. i meant "how many people are going to die to keep the oil flowing." Kind of a dumb question actually, as the empire has made it clear they have no limit.

12:17 AM  

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