September 24, 2008
Somehow WordPress blocks my links to liveleak. So just go over to liveleak.com and search for "SU-25 in action".
September 13, 2008
- New War Nerd Article: Please Don’t Help the Georgians. I already added it to the list of his articles about the conflict.
- CNN: U.S.: Letters detail infighting over al Qaeda’s Iraq mission
- Al Jazeera: Deaths as bombs rock Indian capital.
- Al Jazeera: Arrests over Afghan civilian deaths. Three men were arrested after they intentionally provided wrong information which let to coalition forces bombing civilians. Yet another example of bad intelligence which is really really bad. Each dead civilian turns the mood even further agaisnt the coalition.
- BBC: Russians pull out of Georgia port.
Update: oh, still 13th on wordpress.
September 11, 2008
- RIAN: Russian Army’s weaknesses exposed during war in Georgia – longer article explaining problems the Russian Army faced during the war in Georgia.
- Danger Room: Joint Chiefs: We’re Losing in Afghanistan
- Al Jazeera: ‘Scores killed’ in Pakistan raids – this time it was a raid conducted by the Pakistani army. So they shot a few villagers and claimed this were Talibs, I guess. They would never hurt their pals. Remember the Taliban was founded by the Pakistani Military Secret Service ISI.
- Al Jazeera: Japan to end Iraq deployment
September 10, 2008
I separated the links from the other News and Stuff article. Because there are so many.
- Georgian Times: Roki -Tunnel of Misfortune – article on the Roki Tunnel (via the new war nerd article)
- Al Jazeera: Georgian policeman ‘shot dead’ – near a Russian checkpoint. Russia denies involvement.
- RIAN: Four NATO warships leaving Black Sea
- RIAN: Russia says Georgia used weaponry from 14 states in conflict
See my Links and Facts article for more general information about the conflict.
September 9, 2008
The British Telegraph reports that a bad translation of the cease-fire document in the war between Georgia and Russia prolonged the conflict. After the cease-fire was signed the Russians did not left Georgia as demanded by the agreement according to Georgia and the EU. The Russians created so called "buffer zones" around Abkhazia and South Ossetia.
The Telegraph now writes that the ceasefire – brokered by France – was written in French than translated into English and finally into Russian. Such an act can of course slightly change the meaning of the document. And the Georgians signed the English version and the Russians the Russian version. According to the Telegraph the meaning of the English version saying "security in Abkhazia and South Ossetia" was changed to "security for Abkhazia and South Ossetia". The later could be interpreted as the Russians did: By occupying Georgian territory.
September 9, 2008
Gary "War Nerd" Brecher published a new article on the conflict in Georgia titled Please Don’t Help the Georgians. The message is similar to my article Did Georgia Went For A Quick Military Defeat to Spare The Country and Its Economy?: Fighting a Guerilla War doesn’t necessarily is a good idea.
His articles covering the conflict:
September 8, 2008
There are a lot of questions unanswered about the war in Georgia/South Ossetia e.g. to what extend did the US influence Saak’ashvili decision to provoke Russia or did Russia provoke Georgia and so on. But one thing is note worthy in my opinion. Why did the Georgians put up such a bad resistance? Sure the Russians have more tanks, more man, more planes, more everything. But at least since the Soviet-Afghan war or Vietnam we know that even a small army can beat a superpower or at least try to get more favourable peace terms. Another good example even involving the Russians could of course be the . Finish Winter War of 1939. Ok, the neighbouring Chechnya is a bad example. First they kicked the Russians around and gained de facto independence but that was such a stain on Russian ego that as soon as the drunk Yeltsin was gone the new star on the Russian sky Putin went back in with a refreshed army and now all that is left of the independence is a small scale Guerilla war. And to be fair: The Russian army in the 90s was pretty lame. No money, no motivation and in disarray of new found separatism. The Russian army of this decade is much more serious.
But what we know what happened in Georgia was that the Georgians tried to offer a ceasefire as soon as the Russian tanks were rolling towards South Ossetia. They pulled back after some fighting in Tskhinvali and abandoned their positions and cities falling back towards the Georgian capital Tbilisi. The Russians didn’t go for Tbilisi and were satisfied with controlling the two strategically important cities of Gori and Poti (btw. does every city in Georgia ends with an i?). Gori sits on the roads and railway lines connecting east and west Georgia and Georgia with South Ossetia. Poti is a major harbour which was the base of the (small) Georgian Navy.
So it seems that the Georgians panicked when they saw all those Russian tanks coming for them and Saakashvili feared that they wanted to get him (We’ve all seen the video of him going for "cover" under a pile of bodyguards). Was he trying to protect himself and ordered his army to abandon the country and concentrate on protecting the capital?
And was this a good military decision? In a conventional way the Georgians never had a chance of defending themselves against the might of the Russian army. Even with those Israeli "tank killer" weapons allegedly used by the Georgians. But as history shows that a mighty army can be defeated by a smaller and badly (or at least less good) equipped troop.
In an open field battle the Russians could easily defeat the Georgians because they had the air superiority (the Georgians didn’t even have fighter jets!) and more tanks and troops. So defending against the Russians in an open terrain would be a dumb idea. But going into a city or mountainous terrain could nullify the Russian advantage in numbers. In such a situation the Israeli anti-tank weapons could be used to a great effect. And you could see that the Russians feared such a situation. They only entered Gori when the cease-fire was signed and they knew all Georgian troops had run away.
A dramatic failure for the Georgians was not to destroy the Roki Tunnel. The Roki Tunnel is the major connection between Russia and South Ossetia and thus is strategically important. If it had been destroyed the Russians were delayed in their actions. You have to know that the biggest problem of warfare is logistics. For every soldier in the field you have to supply ammunition, food, clothing, medicine, petrol for the vehicles and so on etc. Even with looting a modern army can’t supply themselves from the conquered territory anymore. And of course you have to evacuate wounded personal and so on. This needs a lot of planing and supply roads. So even if the Russians could fly in their troops with planes and use small mountain passes they probably had problems in supplying such a big force without a major road. The Georgians tried to attack the Tunnel and their were reports of it being damaged but obviously they failed to destroy it. The Russians even reported problems here which could have been exploited by the Georgians: Some Russian commanders claimed they had no air cover after leaving the tunnel and that broken down vehicles sometimes blocked the road.
I guess the best defence would have been a Guerilla style war. And I wonder why the Georgians never thought of that. At least they got some training in Anti-Guerilla warfare from the US days before the war. So they could have thought of doing something similar against the Russians. I mean it must have been clear that they can’t beat of the Russians in a traditional way. The 2006 Lebanon War is yet another example of a bad equipped group defeating a big and mighty army. Why did the Georgians ignored those examples?
But on the other hand. Such a military way might enable the Georgians to defeat the Russians or at least getting some more favourable cease-fire terms. But it would be at a great cost. The Russians for example levelled the capital of Chechny Grozny to the ground in the Second Chechen War to avoid fighting in closed quarters. And the Roki Tunnel is of vital importance to the Georgian economy, too. Despite the conflict with Russia it is a major export partner for the Georgian economy. So at the end the Georgians lost the war. But they’ll be able to recover from it. Major parts of Grozny are still destroyed, the Chechen economy is poor and the population is a sitting duck between Moslem rebels and Russian soldiers. Afghanistan never recovered from their war against the Soviets, too. There is still war in the country. And the Hezbollah won against Israel but they don’t have to run the country.
Update: What a coincidence Danger Rooms runs a story with the title "Should Georgia Become a Black Sea Hezbollah?".
September 5, 2008
I actually wanted to write a column about the conflict. But I don’t have the time. So I’ll list some interesting links instead.
Update 4: I created a category about the conflict (I already used tags) to make it easier to follow the articles about it.
- Moscow’s international reserves went down 14 billion US$ during/after the war.
- Human Rights Watch published Satellite images showing the ethnical cleansing.
- Did Reuters faked pictures showing dead Georgian civilians?(*1)
- I already published a link to a precise timeline of the war in Georgia
- Update 4:Gary "war nerd" Brecher wrote four interesting articles about the conflict.
- The Russians used mainly "out of date" T-72 (there are reports that even T-62s were used) tanks.
- The US announced to give 1 billion US$ as aid to Georgia.
- Georgia admits using M85 cluster munition against the Roki tunnel
- Putin claims that the US orchestrated the war so that McCain and his presidential campaign could benefit from it.
- Russia had some problems at the beginning of the war. Like missing air cover and broken down tanks blocking mountain roads. But they were lucky because the Georgians didn’t used the situation to their advantage and failed to blow up the Roki tunnel.
- Georgia’s Radar is now linked to NATO radar. So the NATO can surveil the Airspace over Georgia.
- Update 2: And I forgot to link to my list of facts about South Ossetia.
- Update 3: DIA (US Defense Intelligence Agency) official defends Russia-Georgia reporting
- Update 4: did a wrong translation prolonged the war?
I’m missing some links. So I’ll update this article as soon as I find them. I had one interesting article about the failing of the Russian air force because the Georgian air defence network isn’t organised and was blinded early in the conflict and it uses Russian made weapons. But the Georgians still did well in air defences.
*1) Wired’s Danger Room has a statement from Reuters about those accusations.
September 4, 2008
August 18, 2008
Here is a precise timeline of the war in Georgia. It contains pretty interesting information, e.g. a list of ambassadors meeting with Georgian representatives in the days before outbreak of the war.
Update: Cryptome has a list of military equipment purchased and used by Georgia.
Update 2: I made a more detailed list of links and facts about the War in Georgia/South Ossetia.