The role of the OSCE

AFP and BBC say that ahead of Monday’s EU emergency meeting Russia has called for more OSCE monitors to be sent to Georgia. It needs to be recalled that what Russia is currently doing in Georgia is essentially a large-scale, multi-layered spetsnaz operation, in which actions on the ground are combined with propaganda that is interwoven with sudden and apparently unpredictable switches of “policy”, designed to confuse and distract. At the same time as Medvedev’s call for extra monitors (relayed in a statement and also by Medvedev to Britain’s Gordon Brown) went out, Der Spiegel published the news that OSCE monitors have accused Georgia of triggering the crisis on August 7. As Russia is a member of the OSCE, the release of these two pieces of news at the same time is probably no accident.

Update: The Spiegel claim has been rejected by an OSCE official:

The German weekly Der Spiegel separately reported that OSCE observers were blaming Georgia, whose bid to join NATO is championed by the United States, for triggering the crisis in a series of unofficial reports presented to the German government.

However, OSCE spokesman Martin Nesirky later rejected the claim, saying “none of” its regular reports distributed to 56 members through diplomatic channels “contains information of the kind mentioned in the Der Spiegel story.”

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