It is too bad that Georgia wasn't made part of NATO in time. Of course, the reason why Russia struck was to control the pipelines into Europe. The Wash Post story is here
The results, released Wednesday in a lengthy report, won't please the hard-core partisans of either side. But they ought to be particularly disappointing to Mr. Putin and his apologists. Written by Swiss diplomat Heidi Tagliavini, the report rejects Russia's main claims about the conflict, finds it guilty of sponsoring or tolerating human rights crimes, and asserts that any country that follows Moscow's lead in recognizing two provinces of Georgia as independent nations will itself be violating international law.
The report finds that "open hostilities" began with a Georgian attack on the capital of the rebel province of South Ossetia on the night of Aug. 7, 2008 -- an act that the United States rightly condemned at the time. But the mission also documented a long lead-up of provocative acts by Russia and its local allies in South Ossetia and Abkhazia. Moscow's claim that Georgia committed "genocide" and thus justified its invasion, the report says, was false; moreover, "much of the Russian military action went far beyond the reasonable limits of defense." The mission also confirmed that "irregular armed groups on the South Ossetian side that would not or could not be adequately controlled by regular Russian armed forces" committed violations of human rights law and possibly war crimes, including the ethnic cleansing of Georgians.
A year later, Mr. Putin's attempt to subjugate Georgia looks like one of his worse blunders. Only two other countries -- Nicaragua and Venezuela -- have recognized Abkhazia and South Ossetia. Mr. Saakashvili remains in office, and relations between Russia and all of its other neighbors have deteriorated. Now even Mr. Putin's European Union advocates will be hard-pressed to defend his actions. . . .
Labels: ForeignPolicy, Russia