Interesting Facts About the Georgian-South Ossetian War
August 8, 2008
The War between Georgia and South Ossetian is getting hotter by the minute (Ok, not real war hot. Only the way a war can get hot these days. Shooting Artillery and sniping each other. Not WWII hot.). Georgia claims that up to 150 Russian tanks and APCs have entered South Ossetia.
But here are some interesting facts about the conflict
- The region is of vital importance to the US and the EU for independent access to Caucasian oil and gas.
- Georgia is a NATO candidate. As a NATO member Georgia could request other NATO forces to help!
- This conflict is a climate thing. South Ossetia is a mountainous country. It is very cold in the winter and mild in the summer. That’s why the South Ossetian Separatists always start skirmishes in the summer month. In autumn/winter they hide their AK-47s and go on with their normal life.
- Before the first war in 1991 the population of South Ossetia consisted of two third Ossetians. During the war the Georgians shelled the villages and a lot of Ossetians (up to 100,000) fled into (Russia’s) North Ossetia. Now South Ossetia has a population of about 70,000 and there was no official census after the 1991 war but it is believed that the majority are Georgians by now.
- Russia has a peacekeeping force in South Ossetia (as well as Abkhazia) since 1992. But Russia supports the Separatists in South Ossetia and Abkhazia. So this is actually a provocation to Georgia.
- A lot of South Ossetians are actually Russian citizens.
- There is a third "autonomous republic" in the south west of Georgia. It’s called Adjara.
- Georgian Troops recently took part in a war game with US Soldiers in preparation for their deployment in Afghanistan as part of the ISAF.
- New hopes of independence in South Ossetia and Abkhazia (as well as a lot of countries with similar problems) were sparked after Western governments recognised the independence of the Kosovo.
- There were two referendums hold in South Ossetia one in 1992 and one in 2006. Both times the result was a majority for independence. But these referendums were not accepted by the international community.
Nathan Hodge of Wired’s Danger Room has some interesting articles about Georgia and the US involvement.
I first visited Georgia’s Krtsanisi training range in fall of 2002, when the Georgian military was still little more of a militia, with some of the troops wearing sneakers and surplus Soviet uniforms. The U.S. trainers carried sidearms – mostly, as I was told later, to deal with the threat of wild dogs roaming the training ground.