Russia’s Attack on Georgia
Here’s my summation and speculation.
The intermittent hostilities between the South Ossetians and Georgia heated up over the last several weeks. Make no mistake about it. This was at the direction of Russia. Nothing happens in South Ossetia without their approval.
Georgian troops completed a large scale regional military exercise, which involved the United States and the Ukraine among other nations, about two weeks ago. It is fair to suggest that the Georgians were at their peak of training and combat readiness. Most of their officers and many of their troops had also seen combat in Iraq.
It appears that the Georgians felt that a quick strike into South Ossetia similar to those we conduct in Iraq on a regular basis would succeed. A quick move in, some fighting and the establishment of new operating bases to hold the territory gained.
The Georgians may also have felt that they were in a “now or never” situation. The South Ossetians were becoming more heavily armed. Russian special forces and regular army troops were in the region in increasing numbers.
In any event, the Georgians moved. Their initial attack was a success and most of South Ossetia was retaken. Tskhinvali, the capital of South Ossetia, was captured, if for only a few hours.
I have no way to know if the Georgians intended to directly engage the Russians. If the Russian claims are true, that the Georgians shelled the Russian peacekeeping barracks, it was a strategic error on their part. Keep in mind that for now we only have the Russians’ word for that.
Another error appears to be the Georgian failure to seize or close the Roki tunnel. As the main route into South Ossetia for the Russian reinforcements, as well as the main escape route for the South Ossetian rebels, it should have been one of Georgia’s top targets.
The Georgians need anti-armor capability, and they need some anti-air capability. The terrain favors their military mix, light infantry and light mech. They have about 15,000 regulars and another 10,000 in the reserves. Their air force is minuscule.
The Russians have taken the war to Georgia. They have bombed a number of military bases, and have attacked civilian areas in Gori and other cities. The air attacks on the port of Poti have been especially effective.
The Baku-Tbilisi-Ceyhan pipeline is the only oil pipeline moving oil to the West not currently under Russian control. It is shutdown due to a Kurdish attack on a portion of the pipeline in Turkey. It is not believed to have been attacked by the Russians as yet.
The Russians have also encouraged their puppets in the other breakaway region, Abkhazia, to attack Georgian positions in that area by air and with artillery.
Without assistance, the best that the Georgians can hope for is a ceasefire based upon the original boundaries with South Ossetia. At worst, the Russians annex Abkhazia and South Ossetia, and ensure that Georgia is economically and politically dependent on Moscow for the foreseeable future.
Table of contents for War in Georgia
- Russia Invades Georgia
- The United States and Georgia
- Georgian Brigade Urgently Recalled From Iraq?
- Russian Bombing Georgian Port and Military Bases
- Report from Georgia
- State Dept Demands Russia Pullback
- Latest From Georgia Fighting
- Cossacks Move to Attack Georgia
- Heavy Fighting, Bombings in Georgia
- Russian Invasion Expands Targets in Georgia
- Update on Peace Corps in Georgia
- We Are Putin Fanatics
- Russia’s Attack on Georgia
- Joint statement on Georgia-Russia War
- Russians Preplanned Georgia Invasion
- Russian Navy Blockades Georgia, Ukraine Concerned
- Pipeline Attacks Confirmed in Georgia
- Invasion of Georgia Continues
- Summary of Recent Air Attacks in Georgia
- U.S. Completes Georgian Troop Redeployment
- Bush Send Military to Aid Georgia
- Air Force Lands in Georgia
- I want to fight fiercely alongside the U.S. Army
- Peace Corps in Georgia Redux
- I am Tamari from Rustavi, Georgia
- Navy Aid Flies in to Georgia
- U.S. Ships Enter Black Sea to Aid Georgia
- US Navy Arrives at Georgian Port
- 500 Tons of Aid to Georgia
- New Pictures of Navy Relief Efforts in Georgia
- Update on US Assistance to Georgia
- The Rubble of Georgian Lives
- Fact Sheet: U.S. Support for Georgia
- USS Mount Whitney Brings Aid to Georgia
- Remember Georgia? Tamari Does!
This entry was posted on Saturday, August 9th, 2008 at 10:48 pm and is filed under Original writing, Analysis, Original writing, Military, Our Allies. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. Both comments and pings are currently closed.