10 August 2008
Russia refuses a ceasfire until Georgian army is destroyed
As the Georgians plead for a ceasefire, the Russians are making it clear that the only deal will be the one that they dictate. George Bush had a telephone conversation today with Russia's Dmitry Medvedev and the latter made that very clear when he said that there would be no talks until Georgia withdraws all its "armed formations from the combat zone". Quite how they go about doing that is anyone's guess since the Russians are blasting hell out of anything that moves on the ground, but nobody seems to want to ask that question just yet.
The reason is probably that Russia has decided to spend a day or so destroying as much of the Georgian army as it can before agreeing to a ceasefire. That may account for a report which states that half of the 2,000 strong Georgian force that is currently deployed in Iraq will be brought home on Monday. The only way that this can be done is with American transports, probably landing the troops in Turkey to avoid any possibility of them being shot down by the Russians. This is pure speculation, but it seems likely that Russia will be quite happy to see these soldiers return home so that they can be put into the mincer as well.
In what is obviously a related move, the government of Abkhazia, the second pro-Russian province in Georgia, has announced that its armed forces are going into action to drive the Georgians out of that territory.
The end game is near and we can see on the horizon the outline of what the situation will be at war's end, probably sometime next week. The Georgian army will have been reduced to a skeleton and much of the country's infrastructure will have been destroyed. She will lose South Ossetia, of that there can be no doubt, and probably Abkhazia as well. It may be dressed up in some face-saving way, but even that seems doubtful.
That situation could change, of course, but as things stand this seems to most likely outcome to Georgia's lunatic adventure.