Another View of
Russia’s Invasion of Georgia

How vulnerable must Europe be feeling right about now? At this writing, Russia is claiming observance of a “cease fire” amid the rubble and misery that the attack on Georgia has wrought [see map below]. Live satellite transmissions dispute that claim, and Russian bombers are still swarming the Georgian skies.

We’ve posted and linked several news articles at  chronicling the carnage that has transpired, and you can’t help being moved by the heartrending agonies befalling tens of thousands of civilians of all ages.

The Russian blitz involving tank columns and troops in addition to aircraft has been billed as a response to Georgian aggression in South Ossetia. But some U.S. military experts are confident that the Russian invasion of Georgia must have been pre-meditated and staged in advance due to the terrain and the logistics involved in their early arrival on the ground. Another obvious question is whether the hostilities were planned for a time when the world’s attention would be elsewhere, namely, the Olympic games in Beijing.

Many see this development as Russia seizing an opportunity to lash back against the humiliation they’ve borne with the collapse of the U.S.S.R., the loss of vast east European possessions, and at the same time regain some of the fearsome respect they once enjoyed. [see story]

The oil aspect cannot be ignored. The world’s second longest oil pipeline transports crude oil all the way from Azerbaijan and the Caspian Sea across the Caucasus  Mountains [see story 1 see story 2], through the heart of Georgia and then across Turkey en-route to Europe. U.S. and World Bank financial entities gave loan guarantees to help finance its construction, a large stake in the pipeline is held by British Petroleum (30%), and smaller percentages include other major U.S. oil companies. Russia was opposed to the pipeline from the beginning, viewing it as an intrusion on its oil sales to Europe.

The pipeline is currently reported to be shut down amid numerous reports that segments have been bombed inside Georgia. So far, the global price of oil has not been noticeably affected. But as Europe is the main destination for much of that oil, it must contribute to the sense of vulnerability that all Europeans must be experiencing in the face of this brutal demonstration of Russian military might.

Another aspect along that train of thought must be the bitter reality that the U.S. is in no position to intervene, beyond diplomatic condemnations, on behalf of the Georgian population. They surely believed their alliance with the West, and the U.S. in particular, would protect them against the kind of desperate situation that has engulfed them. A stern statement from Condoleezza Rice isn’t exactly what they had in mind.

Western Europe may well be experiencing similar misgivings. [see story 1, story 2 and story 3]

This may well contribute to a sense of urgency among members of the EU that will contribute to the logic that Europe needs to take responsibility for its own military defense at a time when the U.S. has so many current and potential complicated military and diplomatic entanglements. Georgia desperately wanted to be accepted under the umbrella of NATO. The Russian invasion is widely believed to have pushed that idea out of reach, and some suspect that was a major part of Putin’s calculation. What, after all would have been NATO’s response if Georgia had been a member nation?

Russia may be the humiliated former master of the U.S.S.R., but it still has an aggressive military capability at the ready and is a nuclear superpower. As much of the world tries to revel in the universal spectacle of the Summer Olympics, that fact is emblazoned and weighing heavily on the world’s consciousness, particularly in Europe’s close proximity.

Several reports also indicate that there is a strong Israeli interest in and involvement with the oil pipeline, and Israel is even rumored to have been advising Georgia’s military commanders in the initial conflict in South Ossetia that became the excuse for the Russian invasion.

A confluence of interests is at stake here that is dear to the West, to Russia, and to Israel, not to mention the former possession of the former Soviet Union. It may bear importantly in the big picture of geopolitics, and ultimately contribute to the scenario of Bible prophecy.

Mark Armstrong

Breaking News Stories
Go here for the latest news stories on this subject. –news stories added 12 Sep 2008
Further reading:
Our Commentary
EuroArmy – For Peace or War?  
Russian Military
Russian Air Force

Left: Russian invasion
Center: Vladimir Vladimirovich Putin
Right: Russian invasion

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