22 August 2008
Will Russia face a Georgian guerrilla war?
Russia has announced that her forces will evacuate most of those chunks of Georgian territory that they currently occupy by the end of today. That is at least a week too late, as the regime in Tblisi now seems to be firmly back in the saddle and fully in control. If only Moscow had not allowed its men to move out of South Ossetia, or had reigned them in earlier, then the situation would have been very different.
To make matters worse, Moscow has announced that she will keep 500 troops in a four mile buffer zone, within Georgian territory, that will run all along the South Ossetian - Georgia border. There is no reason for Russia to do this as it will not protect either South Ossetia or the Russian troops within it. The only possible reason for this zone is to remind the Georgians that they lost the war. The problem is that the Georgians already know that, so what is the point of the zone?
The problem here is that Georgians have started thinking in terms of mounting a guerrilla war of their own to get the Russians out of their country. By the time they finally get their act together the Russians should have gone, but that zone is a perfect invitation for trouble. It is unlikely that it will provide enough sea for a guerrilla force to swim in, but it is certainly large enough to provide a tempting target for Georgian irregulars based across the border to mount raids on.
If only Russia had restrained both herself and her troops, then by now Georgia would probably have collapsed into internal strife. Had that happened then she would have been of no use at all to the forward march of American capitalism. The Russian desire to stick the boot in was understandable. However, doing the Slavic version of the clog dance on Georgia's head may turn out to be America's salvation if it saves the regime in Tblisi.