Georgia’s Case Looking More and More Suspicious
November 26, 2008
The NY Times reports that a top Georgian diplomat claimed (on live TV nonetheless) that the Georgians are responsible for the war with Russia. He also claimed that Shaakashvili had been actively seeking war for years.
“A parliamentary hearing on the origins of the war between Georgia and Russia in August ended in a furor on Tuesday after a former Georgian diplomat testified that Georgian authorities were responsible for starting the conflict.
Erosi Kitsmarishvili, Tbilisi’s former ambassador to Moscow, testified for three hours before he was shouted down by members of Parliament.
A former confidant of President Mikheil Saakashvili, Mr. Kitsmarishvili said Georgian officials told him in April that they planned to start a war in Abkhazia, one of two breakaway regions at issue in the war, and had received a green light from the United States government to do so. He said the Georgian government later decided to start the war in South Ossetia, the other region, and continue into Abkhazia.
In his comments, the former diplomat said that Mr. Saakashvili was responding to Russian provocation, but that he had long been planning to take control of the enclaves, which won de facto independence from Georgia in fighting in the early 1990s.
Mr. Kitsmarishvili said the president aimed to start an offensive in 2004, but met with resistance from Western and other Georgian officials.
Among the catalysts for the offensive, Mr. Kitsmarishvili said, was the belief that United States officials had given their approval. When he tried to verify that information with the American diplomats in Tbilisi, Mr. Kitsmarishvili said, he was told no such approval had been given.”
“The United States has started an unexpected diplomatic initiative in Europe, urging NATO allies to offer Georgia and Ukraine membership in the alliance without going through a lengthy process and fulfilling a long list of requirements, NATO diplomats said.
Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice has had long telephone conversations with French, German and other senior European envoys, asking them to agree to bypass the formal application process, the diplomats said.
The war between Russia and Georgia in August, with the collapse of the Ukraine government and deep divisions in Ukraine over joining NATO, had left many diplomats assuming that neither country would be offered membership via the action plan next week. Ms. Rice’s proposal has surprised diplomats. ”
This comes after a compromise was worked out among the NATO allies, which included an agreement to discuss the matter in December:
“As part of the Bucharest compromise, the members agreed to review the matter at the NATO foreign ministers’ meeting in Brussels in December.
That history was among the reasons the latest American effort was met with surprise.
‘This is a real turnaround of the U.S. position,’ said a senior NATO diplomat who requested anonymity because of the delicacy of the issue. ‘We reached a compromise in Bucharest after much haggling. Now, we are being asked to cancel it and effectively discard the MAP program. This is putting the unity and credibility of the alliance at stake.'”
So WTF are we doing??!!