reply to post by SilentShadow
The conflict in Abkhazia and South Ossetia is about as complicated as that of Kosovo. The entire Caucasus region is made up of small tribe-like
ethnicities (Chechens, Ossetins, Abkhaz, Dagestanis, Ingush, etc.) which have throughout history been aggressively opposed to any sort of overrule by
large empires/nations. In addition to this they have constantly been at war with each other. The minor conflicts date from the Russian Empire. Only
during Soviet times have the ethnic minorities been forced to get along with each other - and it worked up until 1991.
This current strife between Georgia and Russia is mostly about Abkhazia, a region populated by one of these ethnical minorities. During Soviet era
the ethnical regions throughout the USSR were given a large degree of autonomy, within the Communist political sphere of course. Abkhazia was one of
these regions. When Georgia declared independence in early 90's, it decided to strip all of the ethnical regions of their autonomy status, and make
the entire country strictly subject to Georgian laws, language, and everything else.
Needless to say regions like Ablhazia and South Ossetia weren't thrilled, and an escalation of ethnical violance led to a bloody war, especially
bloody in Abkhazia. The Abkhaz fighters with assistance from other Caucasus minorities largely defeated the weak and demoralized Georgian troops
(with Russia's military support according to some sources), and then proceeded to ethnically cleanse the region of Georgians. To end the ethnical
cleansing and violance Russia brough in peace keepers, who remain in the area.
Even since then Georgia has been bitter at Russia, and has been wanting revenge on Abkhaz separatists. The new pro-US president Saakashvili has been
particularly eager to renew the fighting. Georgians got mercilessly slaughtered there in the 90's. Needless to say that if Georgia decides to
retake the province by force, it will be very very bloody. If Georgia prevails, it is very likely to ethnically cleanse Abkhazians. If Abkhazia
wins, they could renew violance against local Georgian civilians. So far the "peace" is held together by thin threads. That is a basic summary.
As for Russia - it is not interested in a war with Georgia, nor in invading Georgia or making Abkhazia part of Russia. Russia had plenty of chances
to do all this, but never did. Russia wants the regions to remain de-facto independent, and wants the status que to remain. It is rather Georgia
that has been escalating military preparation for what some foresee as an invasion of Abkhazia.
Russia is simply trying to prevent Georgia from attacking Abkhazia, because a new conflict there will be bad news for everyone - it could spread the
violence in Russia's side of the border with its own separatists.
Again - Russia has no intention to invade Georgia. It doesn't need Georgia - a poor country with no natural resources. Russia has everything it
needs - land, oil, and a booming economy.
And NATO is not getting involved. The status of the separatist provinces and Georgia's unstable government are the reasons why NATO did not extend
Georgia an invitation to join. NATO does not need Georgia, because that is one mess outsiders really should not get involved in. Same goes for US -
it should stay out if it knows what is good for it. A lesson in history - never get involved in Caucasus affairs unless you want to parttake in lots
of pointless bloodshed.
If - and that is still an if - war breaks out, you will see a very bloody, pointless and drawn out conflict. But it will be an isolated regional
conflict. U.S. and other outsiders would be left to talk and criticize and watch, nothing more. But the U.S. backed Saakashvili is really a pain in
everyone's ass, and he is the reason this moronic charade is getting renewed.