Inter-imperialist conflict in South Ossetia

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Django
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Aug 9 2008 13:25
Inter-imperialist conflict in South Ossetia

With Russian and Georgian forces directly in conflict with one another, the conflict seems to be broadly sketched as Russian aggression against a "rebel" neighbor (Times headline this morning). Not surprising given Georgia is a NATO aspirant, US ally and participant in Western aggression in Kosovo, Iraq and Afghanistan.

With the desire for "stability" in a major gas route conflicting with the aim of both Russian and Western imperialism to control the Caspain basin energy supplies, it should be interesting to see how the situation plays out globally.

The Times for instance:

Quote:
There have been worldwide calls for an end to the fighting. US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice urged Russia to halt aircraft and missile attacks and withdraw its forces from Georgian territory. Rice said in a statement that the US wants Russia to respect Georgian sovereignty and agree to negotiations.

Implicitly supporting Georgia's ongoing counter-insurgency campaign in the North.

Is anyone aware of decent communist analyses of the region?

akai
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Aug 9 2008 18:12

I was looking for some time but haven't found any. Some Russian comrades want to do something on this. I'll encourage them to write a text because they have the right idea some of them. Or I'll ask one guy from our group: he's the fighting with both the pro-Russian leftists and the pro-Georgian liberals for days on our website, from an anarcho-communist point of view. Maybe in a few days he or the Russian comrades will have produced a good text. Meanwhile I'm looking for stuff. I remember seeing something good about Ingushetia a while back but I can't find it now. But it was in Russian.

akai
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Aug 9 2008 18:42

http://ru.indymedia.org/newswire/display/20807/index.php

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Aug 9 2008 19:44

Des Browne has just been on Sky News talking about how Britain's position is "four square" with the U.S' - the "territorial integrity" of Georgia is paramount.

It likely doesnt need to be pointed out, but the differences between the coverage of this case and Iraq and Lebanon are interesting. Here, what is vital is that civilian casualties cease, apparently. Shows how deep the values of the bourgeoisie are.

Indymedia UK has the usual nuttiness. Apparently Israel is playing the USA and Russia off against each other.

Quote:
Only a year ago I was speculating that Israel's real agenda might be to trick the US and Russia into a mutually destructive war, leaving Israel and its nuclear weapons in control of the Middle East and its oil.

http://www.indymedia.org.uk/en/2008/08/405945.html

roll eyes

Deezer
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Aug 9 2008 22:29

Look, obviously the Russian army are acting in the interests of ethnic Russians but have left it a little late in the day to stop ethnic cleansing on the part of the Georgian government.

In the aftermath of the breakup of the great USSR we are forced to adopt what may, on the face of it, seem like a reactionary and counter-revolutionary position. The Georgians are engaged in the imperialist domination of an ethnic Russian population trapped within its borders. Those who speak of a communist and internationalist solution have the corpses of dead Russian workers in their mouths. Victory to the anti-imperialist forces. Victory to mother Russia.

And even that isn't nutty enough for indymedia uk.

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Django
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Aug 10 2008 11:50

Trotskyist, soft on Russia, but still

http://www.wsws.org/articles/2008/aug2008/ruge-a09.shtml

akai
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Aug 11 2008 12:31

NO TO NEW CAUCASIAN WAR!

The eruption of military actions between Georgia and South Ossetia threatens to develop into a large-scale war between Georgia supported by NATO on the one hand, and the Russian state on the other. Thousands of people are already killed and wounded – principally, peaceful inhabitants; whole cities and settlements have been wiped out. The society has beed flooded with muddy streams of a nationalist and chauvinistic hysteria.

As always and everywhere in conflicts between the states, there is not and cannot be the righteous in new Caucasian war - there are only the guilty. The coals which have been fanned for years now have caused a military fire. The Saakashvili regime in Georgia keeps two thirds of population in poverty, and the greater internal discontent in the country this causes, the more it desires to find a way out from the deadlock in the form of a "small victorious war" in the hope, that it can write everything off. The government of Russia is full of determination to keep the hegemony in the Caucasus. Today they pretend to bethe defender of weak, but their hypocrisy is abundantly clear: in fact, Saakashvili only repeats what the Putinist soldiery did in Chechnya 9 years ago. Ruling circles of both Ossetias and Abkhazia aspire to strengthen their role as exclusive allies of Russia in the region, and at the same time to rally the impoverished population around the tested torch of the "national idea" and "rescue the people". Leaders of the USA, the European states and NATO, on the contrary, wish to weaken the influence of their Russian rivals in the Caucasus as much as possible to provide to themselves with control over fuel resources and their transport. Thus, we became witnesses and victims of the next coil of world opposition in struggle for power, oil and gas.

This fight does not bring to working people - Georgians, Ossets, Abkhasians or Russians - anything, except for blood and tears, incalculable disasters and deprivation. We express our deep sympathy to the friends and relatives of the victims, to the people which have beenleft without a roof over their head and means of subsistence as a result of this war.

We shouldn't fall under the influence of nationalist demagogy which demands unity with "our" government, flying the flag of "protecting the homeland". The main enemy of the simple people is not the poor brothers and sisters on the other side of the border or of other nationality. Their enemie are the rulers and bosses of all kinds, presidents and ministers, businessmen and generals, those who generate wars for the sake of multiplying power and riches. We call on the working people in Russia, Ossetias, Abkhazia and Georgia to reject the bait of nationalism and patriotism and to turn the anger on rulers and the rich on both sides of the border.

Russian, Georgian, Ossetic and Abkhazian soldiers! Do not obey the orders of your commanders! Turn your weapon against those who sent you ti war! Do not shoot the soldiers of your "opponent" - fraternize with them: a bayonet in the ground!

Working people in the rear! Sabotage military efforts, leave to go to meetings and demonstrations against the war, organize yourselves and strike against it!

No to the war and to its organizers - rulers and richmen! Yes to solidarity of working people across borders and the front lines!

Federation of Edication, Science and Technical Workers, CRAS-IWA

This declaration is open for signatures

rata
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Aug 11 2008 12:32

dp

Communard
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Aug 11 2008 12:38
Boulcolonialboy wrote:
Victory to the anti-imperialist forces. Victory to mother Russia.

is Russia an anti-imperialist force? oh my god grin

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Aug 11 2008 12:47

I think boulcolonial boy was joking, but it wasn't really the moment for a jokey post.
The internationalist statement by KRAS is very clear and I support it.

akai
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Aug 11 2008 12:53

What are you talking about here - about ethnic Russians? In South Ossetia they are a very, very small minority (well less than 1%) and in North Ossetia are probably less than 20%. The biggest problem is that there are those in South Ossetia who wanted to join with North Ossetia in the Russian Federation after its bid for greater autonomy from Georgia was surpressed in the early 90s. Again in 2006 the South Ossetians held a referendum for independence but the EU said that it would not recognize the results of any referendum and that they considered South Ossetia as a part of the Georgian state.

Certainly the national card has been played in the area, and certainly the South Ossetians have come to view themselves as a persecuted majority. They are about 2/3 the population of the area. (Many were forced to leave the area in the 90s and settled in an area which the Ingush had claims to, which caused violent clashes years back.) But this has absolutely nothing to do with ethnic Russians!

What it DOES have to do with is the Ossetians, who are caught between Georgian and Russian imperial ambitions. And it has to do with pipelines, energy resources and control of the region. In short, the Ossetian elites are looking for the best deals, but also have legitimate complaints about repression in South Ossetia.

Deezer
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Aug 11 2008 19:54
Alf wrote:
I think boulcolonial boy was joking, but it wasn't really the moment for a jokey post.
The internationalist statement by KRAS is very clear and I support it.

Yes I apologise for my inappropriate joke, it came on the back of the nonsense linked to on indymedia uk. I also support the statement by KRAS.

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AES
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Aug 11 2008 23:31

I support the CRAS declaration

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Aug 12 2008 08:11

Me too.

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Aug 12 2008 08:15

I do too. Not sure whether thats useful to add ornot.

baboon
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Aug 12 2008 17:17

I too support the Kras statement.
The framework for the war has to be the implosion of the Soviet Union, the collapse of its bloc and the hit on the coherence of the western bloc. It's a war of the New World Order arising out of the chaos in inter-imperialist relations and completely irrational.
I don't think the Russians particularly wanted it (ie, the bourgeoisie) but it was more or less inevitable after the US provoked recognition of Kosovo a couple of months ago - a real blow against Russian imperialism. Also the idiot Saakashvili hasn't helped, being warned by the EU a couple of times in the last month not to provoke the Russians who, he was told, would hit back hard. At the time of Kosovo's US provoked recognition, the Russians said that this precedent gave them a free hand in South Ossetia, Abkhazia and Moldova.
The whole of the Caucasus is and will remain an imperialist fault line as it's been for a hundred years.
Britain has played its usual duplicitous role, first of all fully backing the US position of bringing both Georgia and Ukraine into NATO and then letting it be known that it was backing the German position of blocking both countries entry into NATO and were thus "on the side of compromise".
I don't think there's very much chance, certainly not at the moment, of NATO (itself riven by divisions) supporting the Georgian bourgeoisie in a war against Russia.

julio27
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Aug 12 2008 19:53

I met a Chechen comrade last month (before the open conflict, when they were already some tensions ). He fought the Russians and is in exile now.
His analysis of the Abkhazian situation was that Georgia made some tactical mistake during the separation with the former SU and that Abkhasian people have been treated very badly.
The other thing was that the whole Russian „big-wigs" have their villas there to spend their holidays, and that those people could really get angry if someone tried to take it away from their influence or touched their villas.
The Ossetian matter sounded even more complicated than the whole Caucasus problematic (that is traditional banditism linking with modern mafia). And we spoke about the Chechenian problem most of time.
His infos were somewhat different and additional to the usual background-stuff in newspapers and internet.
I think there are a lot of matters that nobody masters, without maybe the acting parts in the conflict.

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Aug 12 2008 23:24
Quote:
it was more or less inevitable after the US provoked recognition of Kosovo a couple of months ago - a real blow against Russian imperialism.

This is very important, and largely missing from analyses in the bourgeois press. Its inconceivable that they could talk about the "humiliating punishment" of small countries by US/UK imperialism, or dismiss the "humanitarian" imperitive in such cases so swiftly. No, if this was yet another case of US/UK aggression, there'd be reams of liberal bourgeois commentary backing enlightened intervention.

Of course, chauvanism also prevents any discussion of the economic motives, the basis dynamics of imperialism. Proper coverage of the economic importance of the region would bring up the question of why Georgia is being courted by NATO, why there are US military advisors embedded in the Georgian army. There was a fantastically surreal panel discussion on the liberal channel 4 news tonight, where we had a US spokesman managing a straightfaced condemnation of military aggression and sabotage of diplomacy, a Georgian hack pleading for western military assistance to defend democracy and an "analyst" of Russian affairs talking about Russia's "flawed" capitalism and how the West should be aware of its tendency to "over-react" to small things like a huge nuclear "defence" project in neighboring countries! I mean, imagine what would happen if Russia built nuclear "defence" installations in Guatemala!

These kind of events underline the case for non-mental alternative media projects to challenge bourgeois narratives.

Personalist
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Aug 13 2008 15:04

Crass made a statement?

(inappropriate joke)

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Aug 13 2008 18:14

The Israeli press has mentioned the Kosovo connection. It also covers this whole thing very closely, especially since the Israeli Military Industrial Complex has been supplying and training the Georgian military, and the defense minister there is a former Israeli.

Seems like the zionist colony will be increasing by a few tens of thousands from this ordeal. That's very useful for them.

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Aug 13 2008 18:22

the US is now sending navy vessels and aircraft to the area to "deliver aid"

actually, is this war the first case of one genuine mcdonalds-possessing democracy attacking another? there's one for the decadence theorists.

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Aug 13 2008 19:22

Well, the conflict obviously does express the decadence of the system wink but leaving that aside, what is clear is this episode is an expression of a very real ratcheting up of tensions in the region. Russia is becoming more and more assertive in its desperation to break outside of the ring of steel that the US has been setting up around the "great powers" since the beginning of the 1990s. The US involvement is also aimed at containing Germany who also has historic interests towards the east of Europe and the last thing the US wants is a resurgence of German power in that region (which was also one of the drivers behind the Balkan, Kosovo conflicts).

Russia has, it seems, won this round having decisively thrashed the Georgian military. The Russian victory will stoke further tension in the region, with a nervousUkraine already insisting upon restrictions of Russian fleet movements.

The US can only respond to this by increasing its military support for Georgia and pushing forward the agenda of NATO in the region which is still the main instrument that it uses to control its recalcitrant "allies" in Europe. The other great powers will certainly want to push their own agendas in the region, emboldened by the clear weakening of the US position as the favoured ally of the East European powers. Germany is already a major financial donor to the Georgia and France has played a very visible role in the "peace process". They also recently set up a French Business Council in Georgia to improve trade relations. This also fits in with France's apparent moves to push its influence in other traditionally Russian spheres of influence.

mk
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Aug 13 2008 19:29

Poland tries to play an active role in this conflict because they hate Russia and want to ensure geopolitical dominance of NATO in the area. We get the signals that next step for US is definitely to put military base in Poland. Majority of people is against it but now maybe they get more afraid of Russia and agree. At least Stasiak, Polish politician, made first reaction that tells the truth: he said we can't let this happen because it threatens the plans for "energy independence". He means for Poland. Poland is trying to be main anti-Russian force. It's a hypocrisy because government is supporting every national independence movement which is fighting with some communist country but Ossetians they think don't deserve independence from Georgia. Georgian state is bad. All of them are bad. I like the Cras statement.

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Aug 14 2008 09:00
mk wrote:
It's a hypocrisy because [Polish} government is supporting every national independence movement which is fighting with some communist country but Ossetians they think don't deserve independence from Georgia. Georgian state is bad. All of them are bad. I like the Cras statement.

Which communist countries would those be?

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Aug 14 2008 12:00
Django wrote:
This is very important, and largely missing from analyses in the bourgeois press. Its inconceivable that they could talk about the "humiliating punishment" of small countries by US/UK imperialism, or dismiss the "humanitarian" imperitive in such cases so swiftly. No, if this was yet another case of US/UK aggression, there'd be reams of liberal bourgeois commentary backing enlightened intervention.

Yes the legacy of Kosovo comes back to haunt the liberal warmongers. Actually UK press commentary (if not the editorials) are now backtracking on 'intervention' policies ...

Commentary, Mary Dejevsky: Intervention may breed instability, Aug 08:
"There may be times when big and small countries should be left to sort things out between themselves"
http://www.independent.co.uk/opinion/commentators/mary-dejevsky/mary-dejevsky-intervention-may-breed-instability-891438.html

In comparison to,

Leading article: Kosovo: a triumph for intervention, Feb 08:
http://www.independent.co.uk/opinion/leading-articles/leading-article-kosovo-a-triumph-for-intervention-783279.html

Oh, and by the way...
BBC: World: Europe: Nato rules out independent Kosovo (July 1998):
http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/world/europe/119214.stm

ernie
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Aug 14 2008 17:55

As with everyone else I want to salute the courage of the those who have produced this internationalist statement faced with the barrage of nationalist hysteria.
I also agree with the comrades who have been underling the importance of this war and the way in which it will increase international instability. This war is the product of imperialism and above all of the present period of increased imperialist chaos. A chaos caused by the break down of the old bloc system and the increasing crisis of US leadership.
Russian Imperialism is seeking to take advantage of US imperialism's predicament: it is bogged down in Iraq and Afghanistan, encumbered with an incompetent team in the Whitehouse and facing ever more challenges to its leadership. It would appear that the US has had it position further weakened by the desperate and pretty stupid action of its Georgian prodigy, though for a more definitive answer it will be necessary to see how things pan out in the coming weeks. The fact that the US now has a direct military presence in Georgia (of course for purely humanitarian reasons) is possibly a long-term gain for it. But in the short to medium term the US has been left looking unable to defend its ally and its systematic arming and training of the military and repressive apparatus in Georgia has been degraded in a matter of days.
Its ally saakashvili has confirmed all of the warnings about him being an unpredictable hothead, who own political position could be unstable. The fact that the US has to rely upon such an unstable element is another indication of its weak position. One of the reasons for its sending of 'humanitarian aid" could be to ensure that its ally is able to stay in power.
The actions of the French to act as the peace makers, as the go betweens has further boosted the image of the US as being incapable of bringing about a cease fire.
Russian imperialism's action is not a sign of its strength but its weakness. It has been forced to seek to impose its might via brutal military force which can only stoke up further desperate efforts by those it is seeking to intimidate to do all they can to defend themselves and to seek to do all they can to destabilise Russian influence in their area. The Russian bear has it back against the wall. It has been pushed back and back since the collapse of the old bloc system and it has now struck out. It was clearly provoked by the US's backing for Georgia and the actions of the Georgian bourgeoisie, but the fact it has struck out is a sign of its weakness not strength. Thus, if on the immediate level it has achieved its short term aim of degrading the military might of Georgia and the US has been left looking weak, in the medium to long term this action is further confirmation of the historical weakening of both US and Russian imperialism which can only mean more desperate military actions by them and their rivals.
What do others think are the long-term implications of this war?

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Aug 14 2008 18:25
Quote:
What do others think are the long-term implications of this war?

I imagine more US military entrenchment in Eastern Europe and the caucasus, and pushing on with the missile shield and other such aggressive and dangerous policies. That the Russians already have nuclear weapons which could circumvent it when it is 'up and running' shows what a boon the confrontation is to the military-industrial capitalists of both nations, and what a danger it is to everyone else in the world.

But I think that a situation with two capitalist democracies fighting each other is very significant, i'm not entirely sure why though. Perhaps the lack of fronts of accumulation in the 'third world', pointing to more such fronts being opened by Imperialist warfare?

akai
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Aug 14 2008 22:11

I think MK listens too much to the right-wing crazies here. I think he means countries which had a "communist" legacy like Russia, Ukraine, China, Serbia. Polish politicians are very eager to get involved in this kind of shit.

BTW, he was right though about the fucking missile base. The bastards agreed about this and drew up an agreement. It just needs to be signed now.

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Aug 14 2008 22:23
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The Russian bear has it back against the wall. It has been pushed back and back since the collapse of the old bloc system and it has now struck out.

One of the things that is rarely remembered - at least it is hardly referred to in the press - is that 10 years ago during the Kosovo conflict Russian troops got to Pristina airport before NATO (where there was a kindof standoff and UN got to handle the 'peace deal'), so the Russian state has not been taking US/EU intervention (close to it's region of influence) lightly for quite some time.

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Aug 14 2008 22:30
laureakai wrote:
BTW, he was right though about the fucking missile base. The bastards agreed about this and drew up an agreement. It just needs to be signed now.

signed

julio27
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Aug 15 2008 05:28

I feel power- and helpless and it makes me sad and sorry for the innocent peoples who are going to be slaughtered.

So, like it was pointed out here, maybe it is not the moment for jokes. But I must admit I laughed when I heard in Radio yesterday that Kuchner and co had to be fly out with helicopter rapidly, because combats will not stop.

The general armistice or cease-fire, is a sweet dream for those innocent peoples. When will they get tired of massacres and follow the orders of all those new little despots in that region? I don’t know.

The cease-fire - like all offers of governments for general disarmament - is pale hypocrisy. I believe it to be the newest malevolent intrigue, at least to those who may discern the truth from false here. Napoleon-Sarkozy, seeing himself at the head of some future Eurasia, makes his offers. This was acclaimed by many people left to right in EU and the western world. Some people said that it is a good sign, that the autocrats (I dunno how to call them, but most western intellectuals do not consider those societies actually involved in the fights as „democratic") start to feel that they have to abandon the „old manners" of government and are more or less forced to change, in favour of a more „effective and brilliant" way (capitalism and democracy). I believe the people who applauded the EU initiative, are being fooled, and they will continue to be fooled or fool themselves, alas.

We should not fall for this illusions. I don’t trust the peace declarations of the states, and like it was said here by many comrades, there are many interests from powerful forces at stake. As long as peoples of that region -same as in general- are not clear enough, smart enough to refuse the military solution, a peaceful society will be endangered. And despots will not renounce freely from their self-declared right to dominate by force.

We should start to ask ourselves how we can help the innocent peoples, on what side we are and what could be done from a libertarian communist point of view.