U.S. stoked Georgia war: Putin


Globe and Mail Update

August 28, 2008 at 5:12 PM EDT

MOSCOW — Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin opened a new front in the diplomatic row over Georgia, directly accusing the United States of orchestrating the conflict in the Caucasus as an election ploy to help one of the candidates vying for the White House.

In an interview with CNN, the former Russian president suggested that unnamed people in the United States stoked the conflict in the Caucasus to create a crisis, but did not name the candidate who stood to gain.

“If my guess is right, then it raises the suspicion that someone in the U.S. specially created this conflict to worsen the situation and create an advantage in the competitive struggle for one of the candidates for the post of president of the United States,” said Mr. Putin, who still wields considerable power in Russia.

“They needed a short, victorious war. And if it didn't work out, they could always put the blame on us, make us look like the enemy and against the background of this surge of patriotism, once more rally the country around a particular political force,” he said.

The accusation of U.S. involvement, a first from Russia, drew a swift rebuke from Washington. U.S. President George W. Bush's chief spokeswoman Dana Perino called the accusation “patently false, suggesting Mr. Putin was getting bad advice.

The crisis in Georgia flared earlier this month when Georgian forces tried to reclaim the rebel republic of South Ossetia with a military offensive on the capital of Tskhinvali. Russia launched an overwhelming counter-attack, routing the Georgian army and pushing deep into Georgia proper.

The brief, but bloody conflict was halted by a French-brokered ceasefire, but Russia forces still occupy some parts of Georgia.

On Tuesday, tensions flared anew when Moscow announced it was formally recognizing South Ossetia and another breakaway republic, Abhkazia, as independent states.

Georgia claimed Moscow's bid was aimed at eventually annexing the regions. European leaders and the United States also condemned the move.

Moscow claims its incursion into Georgia was aimed at saving Russian lives in the republic and accused Georgia of genocide in the region.

In the interview, Mr. Putin also accused the U.S. of meddling in the war inside Georgia.

“U.S. citizens were indeed in the area in conflict,” Mr. Putin said. “They were acting in implementing … orders, doing as they were ordered, and the only one who can give such orders is their leader.”

Mr. Putin wasn't the only Russian leader to claim the U.S. had a presence on the ground in Georgia.

Thursday, Russia's deputy chief of the General Staff, Col. General Anatoly Nogovitsyn, said Moscow's forces had retrieved from a battlefield in Georgia a U.S. national's passport.

At a Moscow news conference, Col. General Nogovitsyn showed an enlarged, colour photocopy of the document, in the name of a Michael Lee White, born in 1967. The passport, issued in the Texas city of Houston, bore a current visa from Kazakhstan. U.S. citizens do not require a visa for Georgia.

The United States has denied any involvement in the conflict although it is a staunch ally of Georgia. It says U.S. military advisers were in the country training the Georgian army for its role in Iraq.

Mr. Putin made the comments just hours after Russia failed to shore up support for its Georgian incursion among Central Asian states and China.

Russian President Dmitry Medvedev travelled to Tajikistan with the hopes of persuading members of the Shanghai Co-operation Organization to back Russia.

But the six members of the regional security group – which includes China, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan – demurred, urging the countries to solve their problems peacefully.

Meanwhile, Washington has ordered up to $5.75-million (U.S.) in aid to help war victims in Georgia.

Amid the rising rhetoric, Ms. Perino attempted to quell suggestions that relations between Russia and the West are deteriorating.

“I don't think anyone should be looking for a new Cold War,” she said. “What we would like to see is the return to the status quo before Aug. 7th and the hostilities began; before Russia invaded Georgia; before the disproportional response to the regular flare-ups that happen in the summertime out in that area.

“What we would like to see is a return to a place where we can have integration of Russia into the international community. Unfortunately, it's Russia that made the choice to take several steps backward in that regard,” she said.”

With reports from NYT, Reuters


Commentary by the Ottawa Mens Centre posted in the Globe and Mail

Ottawa Mens Centre.com, from Ottawa, Canada wrote: A US PASSPORT of Michael Lee White Age 41 issued in Texas was found in a building in South Ossetia occupied by Georgian Special Forces. Now the race is on, Just WHO is Michael Lee White born 1969 with a passport issued in Texas and what was he doing with Georgian Special Forces in a battle in South Ossetia against South Ossetians?
www.OttawaMensCentre.com Ottawa Mens Centre.com, from Ottawa, Canada wrote: I don't agree with Putin's statements about the invasion being for the purpose of the US elections. I understand why the west THINKS he said that but if you listen to the translation its obvious that it was "just a benefit", that is, the US knew of the invasion and failed to stop it.

The reality is the Republicans have utter contempt for civilian lives and think nothing of sacrificing them for the foreign interests of the US.

I disagreed with Putin when he said the US and Russia had never used other armies to attack each other during the cold war or perhaps I lost the meaning in the bastardized English translation and without the benefit of listening to it in Russian.

Putin go it wrong, The USA urged, funded Georgia to have confrontations with Russia is a carbon copy of many other examples where the US has funded and trained other armies or terrorists to indirectly attack Russia.
Remember how the US funded the present Taliban to kill Russian forces in Afghanistan?

That little "blunder" in US foreign policy is now seeing what happens when you sit down in an out house on top of angry red back spider.

Everyone who has an interest in Georgia knows from the news that for years, HUNDREDS of US advisers and Israeli military advisory, nudge nudge , you know, funded "indirectly" by Washington, were in Georgia. Now, just add up those $20,00 a month pay checks, multiply them by say 500 and you have One Billion Dollars a Year.

That begs the question, WHY would the US fund so much to such a small country that has a very clear military goal of invading its neigbours?


  Ottawa Mens Centre.com, from Ottawa, Canada wrote: Putin sure has Passion. You can hear it, there is little doubt that he believes what he said. There is a ring of truth to it, the proof is in the pudding, you can see who is 'talking tough" and reaping significant improvement in the polls as a result of "action in Georgia.

Just how is in the interests of world peace to send a guided missile destroyer with a few pallets of "aid", thats not "aid" its a military and political message dressed up with a load of posturing that is as Putin refers to, destined for the public's consumption to boost political points.

I'd say that that was just a "side benefit", the US knew of the plans, they carefully played through the what ifs and told the chief of just how his public opinion would take a meteoric rise if "he did nothing" to stop it.

My crystal ball tells me that Bush just sent Misha a "half hearted" don't do that" and nudge nudge wink wink, gave him the green light to go ahead. It was probably not even a 'green light', just the right message that they knew would be enough to "encourage" Mad Misha to set out to invade South Ossetia and kill thousands of civilians , and damage Russian American relations for a significant amount of time.

Was it just for US political opinion? No, Americans have a paranoid "cold war" attitude towards Russia that goes ballistic and gets extremely borderline and selfish whenever the smell of oil or the lack of it gets into air in Washington.
Now, what happened to Washington's forecast of a war in Iran in the next four months? www.OttawaMensCentre.com