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I was going to write more about the war in Georgia, but I came across this excellent piece of background information about its origins first:


Normally I would heavily discount this account because it originates from an interview with a biased source. In this case, though, it explains a couple of odd things I'd come across independently while surfing news about this conflict:

1. When international news sources first started covering the conflict on 7 August, I went to Wikipedia to find out more background. I found an article that had not yet been updated to cover the events of August 7. However, it mentioned fighting that happened from 1-6 August and, notably, a ceasefire on 6 August. That wasn't the odd thing, though; cease fires break down all the time. Rather, the odd thing was a later report from a major news source - I think it was BBC or Al Jazeera - who had interviewed both Russian and Georgian authorities about how the cease fire happened. That report said that the Ossetian representative never managed to make the meeting - the Russian authority said that the Ossetian representative got a flat tire and was delayed for six hours. The Georgians then "unilaterally" put the cease fire into effect. How does a cease fire go into effect "unilaterally"? This article explains how: evidently, you quit shooting, even if the other guys keep shooting. I guess it's not surprising that cease fire only lasted one day.

2. There was, on a Georgian news web site, a piece critiquing Saakashvili's operational tactics a day or two after the events of 7 August. That piece discussed the Georgian military strategy, not of going to Tskhinvali 'to restore constitutional order in South Ossetia' as was the official Georgian government line that all the major news sources have accepted, but of trying to cut the Russians off at the Roki tunnel. If they had the initiative and were invading, how could they possibly get the timing wrong? This article explains why: the Russians were already moving through the tunnel; it was a race.

I'll probably still write the entry I was intending to write, which is about events since 7 August. It's late, and it will have to wait, though. Besides, Totten's article will make excellent background information for it.
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