Igorr has not mentioned this fact,but there are US troops training the Georgian armed forces in Georgia as we speak.Sakashvili tried a fst number,to attack South Ossetia on the eve of the Olympics,well knowing that Putin would be there,that during the Olympics traditionally warring nations stopped fighting through cease-fires and that the 216 days of the Olympics would give him enough time to ethnically cleanse S.Ossetia.
However,the tension began when he wanted Georgia to join NATO.Russia,especially after the burial of the Cold War,cannot understand why NATO wants to expand its members from the former Soviet Bloc countries,right upto its borders,justly feeling that it is being deliberately encircled.India also feels the same what with Chinese encirclement of India in the IOR.Georgia's hasty ambitions to join NATO and the fear of such consequences by small territories like S.Ossettia saw Russian peacekeepers holding the peace.Shakashvili's utter recklessness might have catastrophic consequences for him,as the US and NATO are fully engaged in their other Middle eastern wars!
Analysis: Georgia's decision to shell Tskhinvali could prove 'reckless'President timed action to coincide with Olympics, says academicDavid Hearst and James Orr
guardian.co.uk, Friday August 08 2008
It has always been hard to work out who fired the first shot in any of the many conflicts that had broken out in the Caucasus.
Ever since June 1992, when the tiny mountain enclave of South Ossetia won the first round of its bid to detach itself from Georgia, the two sides have been intermittently at war.
But the flare-ups in the last decade have been skirmishes, and for a while it looked as though peace had broken out.
The weapons used today — tanks, multiple rocket launchers and fighter aircraft — made the fighting qualitatively different.
Observers had little doubt that the operation to take South Ossetia back under Georgian control bore the hallmarks of a planned military offensive.
It was not the result of a ceasefire that had broken down the night before - it was more a fulfilment of the promise the Georgian president, Mikhail Saakashvili, had made to recapture lost national territory, and with it a measure of nationalist pride.
The assault appears to be have carefully timed to coincide with the opening of the Olympics when the Russian prime minister, Vladimir Putin, was in Beijing.
Tom de Waal, of the Institute for War and Peace Reporting and an expert on the region, said: "Clearly there have been incidents on both sides, but this is obviously a planned Georgian operation, a contingency plan they have had for some time, to retake [the South Ossetian capital] Tskhinvali.
"Possibly the Georgians calculated that, with Putin in Beijing, they could recapture the capital in two days and then defend it over the next two months, because the Russians won't take this lying down."
If Georgia calculated that Russia would be inhibited by Putin's presence at the Olympics, that soon backfired.
Within hours, the Russian president, Dmitri Medvedev, chaired a session of the security council in the Kremlin, ordering units of the 58th Russian army to retake Tskhinvali. The Russian president's military credentials are so weak - he had no other choice.
Many of the 75,000 inhabitants of Tskhinvali and its outlying villages are now Russian citizens, with passports and rights to settle in Russia.
Northern Ossetia, with whom the southern separatists want to join, is formally part of the Russian Federation. While Georgians view South Ossetia as a part of its sovereign territory, there is a rival Ossetian claim.
It predates the current authoritarian regime in the Kremlin, but still links the enclave to the mothership of the Russian Federation.
Jonathan Eyal, the director of studies at the Royal United Services Institute (Rusi), warned that all-out war between Russian and Georgia would amount to "the worst crisis in Europe since the end of communism".
He described Georgia's decision to shell Tskhinvali as a brazen effort to humiliate the Russians.
"It is clearly a calculated gamble by the Georgians," he said.
"If they manage to overrun South Ossetia, where there are probably only around 1,000 Russian troops at the moment, they will have humiliated Russia and would have created a triumph for themselves.
"They will also have propelled the west into a diplomatic involvement on the ground."
Eyal claimed there was considerable sympathy among western powers over Georgia's difficult relationship with Russia.
He said the country was suffering from a deliberate "strategic fermentation" of the separatist movement by the superpower.
However, he warned that taking on Russia at a time when Medvedev was keen to establish his influence carried significant risk.
Russia could not afford to stand quietly by while Georgia made such a public assault on its troops stationed in the region, he said.
"There is an element of trying to call the Russians' bluff by assuming that the Russians will not be able to afford all-out war in Georgia," he added.
"I personally don't buy that … Putin cannot afford to be seen to be humiliated in such a brazen, public way. It's inconceivable that the Russians will sit quietly by.
"The only possible outcome is that either a ceasefire is negotiated and a mediation effort begins, or it goes out into an all-out war."
Eyal said he believed Georgia's move to strike South Ossetia would generate a mixed reaction from world powers.
He described a feeling that the country was "more sinned against than sinning" but that there was also significant frustration over the actions of its president.
"If it goes into an all out war, the predicament for the west is acute and the crisis would be the worst crisis in Europe since the end of communism.
"It would be much worse than the Yugoslav wars, mainly because it has the old traditional element of an east-west confrontation.
"There is considerable sympathy for Georgia among western governments such as the US and London. It is clear that the Russians have fermented the separatist movement for a particular strategic purpose.
"There is also, however, an enormous amount of frustration with the reckless behaviour of the Georgian president at this moment."http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2008/au ... ia.georgia
Russian troops and tanks pour into South Ossetia
Helen Womack in Moscow, Tom Parfitt in Vladikavkaz and Ian Black The Guardian, Saturday August 9 2008
Russia and Georgia were effectively at war last night after a festering conflict in the Caucasus plunged out of control following a Georgian military attempt to recover its breakaway region of South Ossetia.
Tanks and artillery from Russia's 58th army were in Tskhinvali, South Ossetia's capital, to prevent Georgian forces attacking Russian peacekeepers and civilians, the defence ministry in Moscow said.
Russian soldiers in the capital said their artillery had fired at Georgian forces - the first confirmed engagement between the two countries' troops, and the two sides were last night engaged in heavy fighting.
"Our peacekeepers are waging a fierce battle with regular forces from the Georgian army in the southern region of Tskhinvali," a Russian military spokesman told Interfax.
Georgia's President Mikheil Saakashvili said Russian tanks were rumbling into South Ossetia and Georgian officials said Russian jets had bombed three military bases and the Black Sea port of Poti.
"One hundred and fifty Russian tanks, armoured personnel carriers and other vehicles have entered South Ossetia. This is a clear intrusion. We have Russian tanks on our territory, jets on our territory in broad daylight," Saakashvili told a news conference. Tbilisi was planning to declare martial law, said Kakha Lomaia the secretary of Georgia's security council.
At the United Nations, Russian and Georgian envoys hurled accusations at each other, as a divided security council yesterday failed to agree on language calling for an end to the fighting, in a second emergency meeting in under 12 hours. The council finally broke off in a stalemate late last night, but plans to resume meeting this morning.
In Tskhinvali, the South Ossetian leader, Eduard Kokoity, claimed 1,400 civilians had been killed. There was no independent confirmation of his assertion, but witnesses said the city was devastated. Lyudmila Ostayeva, who had fled the city with her family, said: "I saw bodies lying on the streets, around ruined buildings, in cars. There is hardly a single building left undamaged."
There are fears of full-blown war in the region, which is a crucial energy transit route in which Russia and the west are vying for influence. President George Bush pledged US support for Georgia's territorial integrity and the US, EU and Nato called for an immediate ceasefire.
The Russian retaliation came swiftly after Georgian forces made an overnight assault on South Ossetia. The Russians were enraged that the Georgians had targeted their peacekeepers, killing more than 10 of them and injuring 30, according to the Russian defence ministry.
Saakashvili accused Russia of being the aggressor, but the assault seemed timed to coincide with today's launch of the Olympic games. "Most decision-makers have gone for the holidays," he told CNN. "Brilliant moment to attack a small country."
President Dmitry Medvedev chaired an emergency session of Russia's security council, after which he said: "My duty as Russian president is to safeguard the lives and dignity of Russian citizens, wherever they are ... We will not allow the deaths of our compatriots to go unpunished. Those guilty will receive due punishment."
Many people in South Ossetia and Georgia's other breakaway region, Abkhazia, have Russian citizenship. In Beijing, the Russian prime minister, Vladimir Putin, met Bush briefly and they agreed that nobody wanted war. But Putin said that "many Russian volunteers intended to go to South Ossetia and he said it was very difficult to maintain peace in the region", Interfax quoted the prime minister's spokesman, Dmitry Peskov, as saying.
In neighbouring North Ossetia, which is part of the Russian Federation, hundreds of volunteer fighters were mobilising and units of armed Cossacks were poised to join the battle for Tskhinvali.