Abkhazia

S-300s: Russia, Iran

While Russia says it has deployed the S-300 interceptor systems in Abkhazia “not only to cover the territories of Abkhazia and South Ossetia but also to avert violations of their state borders in the air and destroy any vehicle illegally penetrating their air space, whatever the goal of its mission," (Gen. Zelin, via Reuters, Aug. 11), some analysts believe that the S-300 interceptor batteries have been placed in Abkhazia to block a possible Israeli air route to Iran.

On August 21 Russia will begin loading fuel into Iran’s Bushehr nuclear reactor.

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Russia has had S-300s in Abkhazia for 2 years

Via civil.ge:

Russia’s announcement about deploying sophisticated air-defense system, S-300, in breakaway Abkhazia might not be a new development, as Russia has maintained such systems there since 2008, August war, U.S. Department of State said.

"It’s our understanding that Russia has had S-300 missiles in Abkhazia for the past two years." State Department spokesman, Philip J. Crowley, said at a news briefing in Washington on August 11.

"We can’t confirm whether they [Russia] have added to those systems or not. We will look into that. This by itself is not necessarily a new development. That system has been in place for some time," he added.

Reuters reported quoting unnamed Pentagon official that the U.S. could not yet confirm the deployment of new missiles and was seeking further information.

"But the absence of transparency and international monitoring in Abkhazia makes this difficult," the official said.

Murder mystery

In the Moscow Times, Yulia Latynina discusses a murder with no killer:

Imagine Agatha Christie’s detective Hercule Poirot gathering the relatives of a murder victim together to reveal the identity of the killer and saying, “You know, all of you are such complex people, and you’ve all committed so many misdeeds, that the person simply died as a result of your collective wrongdoing.” If a murder has been committed, there must be a killer.

How can a commission come to the unbelievable conclusion that a person was murdered as a result of collective responsibility? Here is how:

According to the report, Georgia claimed that it gave notice of a large-scale concentration of Russian forces on Georgian territory prior to Aug. 7, when the five-day war began. Russia denies Georgia’s allegation, and the Kremlin asserts that Russian forces entered South Ossetia well after Georgia started military operations in the breakaway republic.

Who is correct? It might strike you as funny, but the commission doesn’t know. It couldn’t confirm that Georgia’s assertions “are well-founded,” despite the significant number of “witnesses, including Russian” witnesses who confirmed it.

Saakashvili: IIFFMCG report a diplomatic victory for Georgia

From Civil Georgia:

“When in 1921 Russia attacked us and occupied us no international commission was set up then. When they imposed a civil war on us in 1992 and 1993 here no international commission was set up. When acts of sabotage were carried out in 2004, no international commission was set up. We achieved, first of all, setting up an international commission even on their conditions, as they composed the commission with the experts, which were acceptable for them, who had already blamed Georgia in advance. We closed eyes on it and agreed because we believed that they were Europeans and they would not lie.

They said even more truth than I could ever imagine. It is a great diplomatic victory for Georgia.

Some may say what is a conclusion – they say that Georgia did not observe everything and violated something. But it does not matter, because these are conclusions – this commission should have ascertained the facts, which would have been written in history.

Hundreds of thousands of our citizens were expelled from Abkhazia in 1992, and the European Union or more serious organizations have never said that it was ethnic cleansing. Now it is written [in the report] that there was ethnic cleansing.

We had no illusion that Europe – which is preparing for a cold winter and which needs Russian gas – would have said that ‘yes Russia carried out ethnic cleansing, it committed war crimes and Vladimir Putin is to be blamed for it’ – what would have happened in that case? Would they have arrested Putin when he had arrived in Brussels? I think that nobody had such illusion.”

Chavez dictatorship recognizes Abkhazia, S. Ossetia

http://en.rian.ru/world/20090910/156084433.html

From civil.ge:

The Georgian Foreign Ministry condemned the decision by Venezuelan “dictator” Hugo Chavez to recognize Abkhazia and South Ossetia as “an extremely unfriendly” move and said it hoped Venezuela would retract its decision after a “democratically elected” government comes into power in that country.

A few hours after Venezuelan President, Hugo Chavez, made announcement about the recognition at a meeting with his Russian counterpart in Moscow on September 10, the Georgian Foreign Ministry issued a statement which said that “such violation of norms and principles of international law will be counter-productive for Venezuela itself.”

The Foreign Ministry said Tbilisi was sure that the Venezuelan leader made such a decision in exchange for Moscow’s pledge to give Venezuela “hundreds of millions in credit and a great amount of armaments.”

“It is regrettable that Russia’s irresponsible authorities are wasting taxes paid by the population of the Russian Federation, which lives on the verge of poverty, on satisfying ephemeral foreign policy whims,” the statement reads.

More "piracy"

The practice of accusing foreign states of “piracy” that is currently so popular among leaders of the Russian Federation seems to have acquired a new adherent. Via Civil Georgia:

Sokhumi will resort to “proportional measures” to protect vessels en route to Abkhazia if Tbilisi continues their detention, Abkhaz leader, Sergey Bagapsh, said in his appeal to UN, EU and French President Nicolas Sarkozy on August 18.

Georgian coast guard detained a Turkish cargo vessel carrying fuel to the breakaway region’s capital Sokhumi on August 17. The Georgian law on occupied territories bans economic activities in breakaway Abkhazia and South Ossetia without Tbilisi’s authorization.

Sergey Bagapsh write in his appeal that the detention of the Turkish cargo vessel was “third case of Georgia’s piracy” this year.