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AP Coverage
The Russian operation began after Georgia last week tried to secure control over South Ossetia, a breakaway region loyal to Moscow. Russia's fierce military response expanded to Abkhazia, another separatist province, and ended up on purely Georgian soil.

Questions answered on Russia, Georgia conflict  USA Today, (online blog. Posted on Aug 9?) Posted 4d 22h ago By Jeffrey Stinson, USA TODAY

Q. What are Georgia and Russia fighting over?

A: Georgia launched a military strike on the province of South Ossetia, aiming to reclaim it after 16 years of semi-independence. In response, Russia sent tanks in. Moscow says Georgian forces had killed Russian peacekeepers there and were committing acts of "ethnic cleansing" of native Russians living there.

The earliest coverage I found came from a search of the NYT's website.

<a<br> href="http://www.nytimes.com/2008/08/08/world/europe/08georgia.html?scp=34&sq=Georgia%20attacks% ">iercest Fighting in Years Near Georgian Border</a<p> By MICHAEL SCHWIRTZ
Published: August 7, 2008

MOSCOW -- Fighting in the border region between the former Soviet republic of Georgia and a breakaway Georgian enclave escalated sharply Friday morning to its highest level in years.

NTV, via Agence France-Presse

Soldiers from South Ossetia, a breakaway Georgia enclave, on Thursday near Tskhinvali, where heavy fire was reported.

Georgian officials said their troops had made a significant incursion into the breakaway region, South Ossetia, in response to what the officials contended were provocations from over the border, including shelling. The Georgian officials said they had taken up positions outside the capital of the enclave, Tskhinvali.

While this is an unmitigated disaster for the Georgan people, I also fear that this debacle will further impact the US election--In McCain's favor.

"It is not necessary to have hope in order to persevere."
by ARGeezer (ARGeezer a in a circle eurotrib daught com) on Wed Aug 13th, 2008 at 01:35:22 PM EST
I must have hit "post" instead of "preview."  The dogs were barking for their dinner. :-)  I have one other item:

Critical background comes rather late:

The Georgia's Defiant President Finds Support in Midst of War

TBILISI, Georgia, Aug. 12 -- On the first day of the war, as he spoke on television about his country's attempt to retake a breakaway territory, Georgian President Mikheil Saakashvili had a little smile on his face.

As the situation became more grave, so did he, and in the following days he seemed at turns stressed, tearful, defiant and solemn....

Georgia has always been the most theatrical of nations, and Saakashvili -- "Misha" to his people -- is the most theatrical of presidents. He swept into power four years ago as a revolutionary, promising to stamp out corruption and bring economic stability, and in some cases he delivered. But the issue of two breakaway regions was perhaps the most emotional -- and quixotic -- of his causes. It also came with the possibility for the most serious consequences.

"Music videos and flowery speeches are one thing, but the shelling of a city that you view as one of your heartland is not done lightly," said Jonathan Kulick, director of studies at the Georgian Foundation for Strategic and International Studies in Tbilisi. "Clearly this is going to be a signal point in his legacy."

Russians accuse Saakashvili of genocide in launching his attack on South Ossetia last week. Supporters scoff at that, but as news accounts emerge of civilians killed by Georgian fire and towns ravaged, some are starting to question privately whether the president committed grave errors.

"It is not necessary to have hope in order to persevere."
by ARGeezer (ARGeezer a in a circle eurotrib daught com) on Wed Aug 13th, 2008 at 01:54:17 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Well, people always rally round when they think they're under threat, but I imagine that when the dust settles and they come down from the adrenaline rush, people are gonna wonder whether supporting Sakashvili's rhetoric was such a good idea.

keep to the Fen Causeway
by Helen (lareinagal at yahoo dot co dot uk) on Wed Aug 13th, 2008 at 02:06:39 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I think in normal circumstances the "national security" response would go in favour of the one closest to Dr Strangelove. But I wonder if Iraq has changed the perception a bit, especially with oil as expensive as it is.

After all, I know that the tradmed haven't exactly been honest in their reporting but Obama is saying similar things to the US govt about talking, ceasefires and withdrawals, it's McCain that's out on a limb with his "take 'em out in a field and bomb the bastards" schtick.

And I wonder if America is just getting tired of being told that the answer to everything is to invade. It's not working in Afghanistan, it's not worked so well in Iraq and maybe talking sounds like a good idea cos I think a lot of America is kinda sick of going to funerals.

keep to the Fen Causeway

by Helen (lareinagal at yahoo dot co dot uk) on Wed Aug 13th, 2008 at 02:03:38 PM EST
[ Parent ]


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