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Andrei Novikov: Billiards on the Black Sea

[Editor’s note: Andrei Novikov is a Russian journalist, who at one point was subjected to involuntary psychiatric confinement after publishing articles critical of local government. His case first rose to international attention on this blog and was supported by Reporters without Borders. From time to time, he contributes opinion essays to us. Below he explores some of the tricky issues of the ceasefire agreement between Russia and Georgia.] billiards092508.jpgA GAME OF BILLIARDS IN THE BLACK SEA? The Medvedev- Sarkozy plan may collapse… By Andrei Novikov, Independent Journalist The war in Georgia is turning more and more into a war around Georgia, a gradual internationalization of the conflict is taking place. America is getting good and ready very slowly, and will be getting good and ready for another year yet. The real outcome of Russia’s adventurism in the Transcaucasus became the rallying together of the countries of Eastern Europe, the Baltic and Ukraine, who felt a threat to themselves. The creation of the long-awaited Black Sea-Baltic belt, from the Baltic States from the Black Sea, which surrounds Russia. Yet another consequence of the war could become a sharp divide in society itself within Russia.

Fact is, many Russian people have no intention to go to war either with the Georgians or all the more so with the Western community. Even those who approach any initiative of Putin’s loyally and conformistically have turned out to be in bewilderment from this war. The elites also hold deposits in the West, and its plans do not include confrontation with the Western community.The pro-nationalistic part of Russian society is not as big as it is customary to think. Much larger is the simply conformist and loyal part. But they are not loyal in everything and are not conformist in everything.Most likely, the rallying together of forces against Russia will become the reason for the dividing of Russian society into “westernizers” and “un-westernizers”.But what about in the zone of conflict itself?On the surface, the “Medvedev-Sarkozy” plan is working, the troops are being withdrawn. But is this not a myth?What kind of “withdrawal of forces” can it be if in the Black Sea right now a NATO military grouping is building up, while Russia is building up too its grouping?Two birds in one den don’t get along. Two fleets can not stand one against the other and dispense white-toothed smiles. But there aren’t two fleets there, but four: the Georgian and the Ukrainian as well.Can it really not be clear to what this will lead? It is understandable, sooner or later they will come into contact. There will be a GAME OF BILLIARDS in the Black Sea.And exactly the same thing, most likely, on the terrestrial theatre of combat operations. Because the task has fundamentally not been resolved.If the task is to withdraw troops, then why did they introduce them in the first place so deep into Georgia?And why did they bomb Poti and Gori? After all, this is outside the scope of the conflict. This is a strategic war against Georgia.If it has been started, it can not stop just like that.A strategic war has been started and the conflict is internationalizing ever more. If combat operations have been frozen, then what is the role of intelligence?Most likely, Russian Intelligence has been activated. But the CIA too has been activated, and, most likely, British Intelligence.That is we have a multi-layered conflict. To get out of this standoff is going to be very complex. It is – strategic and has to do not only with Georgia.It has to do with the Caucasus as a whole. And the Caucasus is – one. It also has to do with Sevastopol, and Crimea, and Ukraine.Who started this was – needs to be figured out. It can not be ruled out that Putin is an agent of the CIA (“turned” in Germany) and started the mad adventure, which will lead to a rallying together of forces against Russia and the retreat of Russia. As of today Russia has lost more than it has gained. It got South Ossetia and Abkhazia, but tell me, what need has it for Abkhazia and South Ossetia, if it is losing itself? Is that so important – to get two Palestinicized chunks of territory – Abkhazia and South Ossetia, but to fall out with the whole world?Such adventurism can be undertaken only by paranoiacs.Once upon a time Brezhnev and Andropov started a war in Afghanistan. But what did they get? They lost both Afghanistan and the Soviet Union.Putin started the war in Georgia. But what will he lose?It’s highly unlikely the Georgians will agree with the occupation and annexation of the two territories, and will be building up their forces. But now the conflict will be internationalizing more and more. If there will be battle contact , then it will develop in a completely different format. American ships will turn on their lights.In response Moscow will build up its grouping in the Black Sea and reinforcing its forces on the terrestrial staging area.From the history of wars we know: such a buildup of military forces never takes place without an objective. It always flows into something. When Hitler and Stalin built up their grouping by Poland, this broke out into the second world war.The withdrawal of forces – this is a drawing of bows. These bows must sooner or later shoot.A last question.Moscow will agree with half-measures, -after all, from the point of view of Mosacow, Saakashvili is not taken, while the moral objective of the war is declared in very certain terms : TAKE OUT SAAKASHVILI.This is the idée fixe of the Kremlin leaders. They will no longer step back from this paranoid idea that popped into their heads. If they don’t throw tanks on Tbilisi, then Russian Intelligence will be ordered to take Saakashvili no matter what.Why are SS ballistic missiles aimed at Tbilisi being set up in North Ossetia? Once such missiles were aimed at the cities of Europe. But now this class of missiles is aimed at a republic which just recently was a part of the Soviet Union.But when you’re beating your neighbor with an axe, you can hit your own foot with it as well. And not only your foot. You can hit in such a way that show this on the program “Vremya” [the main evening news broadcast in Russia—Trans.].The aiming of such a class of missiles at Tbilisi, which was once friendly and close to us – is an absolutely preposterous phenomenon. Because the next step will be aiming at Kiev already.When the missile brigade of the 58th army entered through the Roki tunnel, it was clear that preparation is taking place for a serious war. But now the salvo fire systems have been replaced by ballistic missiles. What happens next?And so, will there be a game of billiards in the Black Sea…What do you think?…