Thursday, August 28, 2008

Territorial Integrity?

I’ve been following the developments in Georgia over the last 20 days quite closely.

I have to say that I am leaning towards the Russian point of view and have been since August 7th. With that said, I don’ t think it is necessary to further elaborate on what we have seen other than the “territorial integrity” BS that the West and Europe is pushing. The same territorial integrity drum is being beaten when talking about Artsakh and the Azeri claims.

Let me tell you that in the true sense of the meaning, both Georgia and Azerbaijan have no territorial claims to what was not under their control when they declared independence. Their claim is the same as let’s say Mexico claiming California as being part of their territory, thus threatening the integrity of their boarders.

Bottom line is that we were not a part of or being controlled by Azerbaijan when they declared independence, just like Abkhazia and South Ossetia were not a part of Georgia.

Russia did the right thing when they recognized Abkhazia and South Ossetia’s independence. It sent a message to Georgia that the game is over and if they try another attempt to take over a Russian friendly country, they will not get away with. Let them do the same with Artsakh and that will put the brakes on the Azeri's even thinking about attacking us in the future.

You may ask when and how this will all end? It’s hard to tell, but my guess is that in the end as long as Russia does not back down and leave Poti (which I hope they don’t), the Georgian President (who happens to be part Armenia, but I’m told hates Armenians), will loose credibility among his own people and eventually have to answer for sparking this conflict. And I bet that years from now we will learn that just like Saddam invading Kuwait back in 1990 on the advice of the U.S., we will learn that the U.S. advised Georgia to do what it did. I would guess this is why the Georgian President was and is so mad at the U.S. for leaving him hanging out to dry.

And for your reading pleasure, the following is a news article from that read as if some poor misguided reporter does recognize Abkhazia and South Ossetia as part of Georgia’s territory [in the sixth paragraph of the story].

Armenia Must Respond Cautiously to Abkhazia, South Ossetia Independence, Says Rustamian
Wednesday, August 27, 2008

YEREVAN (Combined Sources)--Armenia should not hastily react to Russia's recognition of Abkhazia and South Ossetia with its own recognition of the break away republics' independence, ARF Supreme Council of Armenia Representative Armen Rustamian said during a press conference on Monday.

"In these conditions, the ARF believes that the Republic of Armenia should not act hastily as it did in the case of Kosovo,” Rustamian stated. “Armenia has not even recognized the independence of Karabakh, because it doesn't consider that the international community's ability to resolve the issue peacefully has been exhausted.”

According to Rustamian, who also chairs the Armenian National Assembly's Committee on Foreign Affairs, the possibilities to peacefully resolve the Russia-Georgia conflict have similarly not been exhausted.

Rustamian's comments came in response to a reporter's question regarding Armenia's position on Russia's recognition of the independence of South Ossetia and Abkhazia.

Russian President Dmitri Medvedev signed on Tuesday two decrees granting formal recognition to the Georgian breakaway republics of South Ossetia and Abkhazia after both houses of the Russian Parliament on Monday unanimously voted to back their independence.

The move is a response to the West's approval of Kosovo's independence earlier in 2008 and effectively shatters Georgia's territorial integrity, escalating tension in the volatile Caucasus and putting Moscow on a collision course with the West.

Russia's military defeat of Georgia has made the settlement of the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict more complicated, according to Rustamian.

“The Republic of Armenia cannot discuss the recognition of Abkhazia and South Ossetia outside the context of the Karabakh issue," he said.

"It is a complicated situation for us,” he said. “We respect the right to self-determination; we have and will continue to defend the right of the people of Karabakh to determine their own destiny.

“The independence of South Ossetia and Abkhazia has been recognized by the Russian Federation, one of the co-chairs of the OSCE Minsk Group and our strategic partner, while the other two co-chairs [The United States and France] have recognized the independence of Kosovo,” Rustamian said.

But the issue ultimately concerns Georgia, with whom normal relations are of vital interest for Armenia, he noted.

The Armenian Foreign Ministry on Tuesday echoed Rustamian's sentiments regarding Armenia's position in the Russian Georgian conflict. According to Foreign Ministry Spokesman Tigran Balayan, Armenia has and will continue to support a peaceful resolution to the conflicts in the South Caucasus. Such conflicts “should be solved through the free expression of will,” he said during a press conference.

Meanwhle, the conflict in Georgia has also put Azerbaijan in a predicament. With its export routes to the West having been blocked by the Russian presence in Georgia, Baku has been carefully considering its options.

“Initially, Baku was excited by the conflict in Georgia's South Ossetia region because it provided a possible blueprint for dealing with Azerbaijan's own restive separatist enclave of Nagorno-Karabakh--and for potentially imposing a new military reality on Baku's regional rival, Armenia,” according to Stratfor, a leading online publisher of geopolitical intelligence.

Following the Georgian military's Aug. 8 invasion of South Ossetia, Azerbaijan's leadership convened an emergency meeting at which they reportedly gave serious consideration to invading Nagorno-Karabakh, contingent on the eventual success of the Georgian operation, Stratfor reported, citing anonymous sources in Azerbaijan's government.

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