The War in August, 2008. Three years later. The Eyewitnesses are telling. Ashraf El Sabbah

Tue, 09/08/2011 - 17:18

The third anniversary of the Georgian aggression against South Ossetia. The American genie is let out in the Caucasus

Ashraf El Sabbah, the Egyptian publicist, the correspondent of TV channel Russia Today (the Arabian edition)

The western mass-media have tried to represent the war between Georgia and South Ossetia –unrecognized at that moment, -as the war between Russia and Georgia. However, real events from the moment of the arrival of these lines` author on the border of Georgia and South Ossetia in the morning of August, 8 till the moment of his expelling with his colleagues from Georgia to Armenia through the mountains on the night of August, 10 testify that Georgia has begun the war developed by 200 American experts, being then in the Georgian capital. In the morning of August, 8, 2008 more than 50 tanks and 20 APC made their way to the Georgian-South-Ossetian border.

These forces concentrated in the frontier area and have intruded on the South-Ossetian territory with support of heavy artillery, volley fire systems and the army aircraft. In the first day of the war regular Georgian troops attacked two positions of the Russian peacemakers; there were tens of the killed and more than a hundred wounded men among them. Some of the wounded men were fired point-blank. At the same time the Georgian troops assaulted the capital of South Ossetia Tskhinval securing themselves with artillery located at nearby heights. The central hospital and the buildings of the Ministry of Internal Affairs were destroyed; the objects of infrastructure were demolished almost completely. Only in the first day of the war, according to official figures, 1400 civilians were killed and more than 15 thousand became the refugees. At midday the Georgian president Michael Saakashvili declared three-hour cease-fire for opening of corridors for the civilians, wished to be evacuated from Tskhinval to Georgia. An hour and a half before the termination of the declared term the Georgian troops started to fire the South-Ossetian capital. In the second half of the day the Russian fighters Su-25 started to make flights over the frontier mountain areas and to bomb positions of the Georgian artillery. At that time there were fights between the Georgian troops, the peacemakers’ forces and the South-Ossetian troops in the streets of Tskhinval. The 58th Russian army, performing operation on compulsion of the Georgian side to peace, also started the military actions against the Georgian forces. In the evening of August, 8 we went to the Georgian city Gori, located in 30 km from the border of South Ossetia. There was no illumination in the town. The streets were almost deserted. Here and there women and old men were sitting on benches. They were talking about the "expected Russian occupation of the city after the air raid". During the night we observed moving of the Georgian tanks all over the city. In the morning of August, 9 (the second day of the war) we went to the Georgian-South -Ossetian border. The boundary posts were destroyed. Suddenly the Georgian helicopters attacked Tskhinval which was enveloped in flames at that time. Fights were proceeding in the town. Meanwhile the Georgian and the western mass-media spread rumours that the Russian planes were firing Gori and the suburbs of Tbilisi. However, what we have seen, denied all the rumours. The Russian fighters were bombing the military positions, in particular – the military airdromes in the suburbs of Gori and the Georgian artillery positions in the mountains. That day the fierce informational war started. Moscow declared that the Russian special troops, peacemakers and the 58 army divisions had liberated Tskhinval. However Tbilisi asserted that the South Ossetian capital remained under control of the Georgian troops. At 14:00 Moscow time we were on the boundary check point, several kilometres from Tskhinval. Suddenly tens Georgian tanks and APC moved from the Georgian territory in the border direction. These troops stopped in the frontier area for a short while. We found ourselves among the tanks and soldiers. We were allowed video shooting. In some minutes the Georgian troops continued to move towards South Ossetia. We heard explosions of tank and artillery missiles. Puffs of smoke and tongues of flame again rose over Tskhinval. We learned that the unrecognized republic Abkhazia had opened the second front against Georgia, and that there was violent fighting in Kodorsky gorge. We heard inconsistent news. According to Tbilisi, the Georgian troops were controlling Kodorsky gorge and were about intruding into Sukhum. But under statements of the Abkhazian leadership, the Georgian troops had learnt unforgettable lesson in Kodorsky gorge. By the evening we returned in Gori on foot. We were going along the almost deserted, gloomy city. We reached a hotel. There were many Georgian soldiers there. We had not even time to change clothes as about 15 employees of the Georgian military intelligence service rushed into the room and charged us with espionage. Each of us was placed in a separate room and was interrogated within 5 hours. Our documents, mobile phones, computers and video equipment were taken away. At 1 o'clock in the morning of August, 10 we were expelled from the hotel and ordered to leave Gori immediately. It was difficult to find a car. It was impossible in the city which had turned into military barracks. The head of the intelligence service group called a car and ordered the driver to go to Tbilisi. We arrived there approximately in 5 o'clock in the morning of August, 10. Atmosphere of disturbing expectation and fear reigned in Tbilisi. People with horror waited that the Russian troops at any moment could seize the capital. We realized ourselves, how dangerous was the propaganda machine used by Saakashvili's regime in Georgia. We also realized that the West rendered the boundless informational support to actions of the Georgian authorities. In the afternoon we were strolling along the streets of Tbilisi. We found out that opinions of people about the events and Saakashvili differed. We saw the driving young men with the Georgian flags on cars and condemned the actions of Russia. We saw mothers gathering before a building of parliament and criticizing Saakashvili for actions which would draw troubles upon the country. These mothers were out of the information space of the Georgian and the western mass-media. Saakashvili declared about two week’s term of wartime laws in the country because young men refused to submit to violent mobilisation, they did not want to be sent fight in South Ossetia. We could observe the violent attacks against the USA. Ordinary Georgians said that Washington stood behind all the events, and that Saakashvili was only a marionette who was carrying out the plans of the USA and the NATO. We were wandering along the streets till seven o'clock in the evening, listening to people, talking to them. On the TV we watched the UN Security Council session, in particular, the discussion between the representatives of Russia and the USA. We watched the western television channels, studied the statements of news agencies. We were surprised at the broadcast, and at the press. We realized that some fabricated informational "show" was being performed. The western TV channels put emphasis that the war was between Russia and Georgia. It made us think that the informational campaign had been developed earlier. Everything was doing to prove participation of Russia in what it had not to do with. It was also strange that the Ukrainian leadership had made a number of risky statements. As soon as Abkhazia entered the war on the side of South Ossetia, Russia directed the group of the Black Sea fleet military ships, based in Sevastopol. Kiev declared that it would not allow these ships to return on the base of the Black Sea fleet in Crimea. However Kiev had not such rights. Therefore one could not help smiling at such statements. Actually the Ukrainian leadership wanted and could only express solidarity with the Georgian leadership, and send a signal to Washington about the role of Ukraine. Some days before the war beginning a scandal around the confidential arms supply from Israel to the Georgian army has burst out. It was known that Tel Aviv delivered pilotless scout planes to Georgia. However later on it was found out that the volumes of deliveries were much more large-scale. Russia expressed discontent with the actions of Israel; therefore the Israeli leadership was compelled to cancel some transactions with Tbilisi. Another scandal was connected with the deliveries of arms and modern missile systems from Ukraine to Georgia. We are approaching to the essence of the anti-russian game played by Georgia and Ukraine, displaying their full loyalty to the USA for the sake of joining the NATO and the EU. Belgorod – is the last Russian city located on the Russian-Ukrainian border, in 750 km from Moscow. It means, the soldiers of NATO would be 750 km from the Kremlin. The Georgian borders from the Chechen Republic are 1200 km from the Russian capital. It means that the NATO troops, in case of joining of Georgia and Ukraine into the North Atlantic block, will settle down into the perimeter of Russia. Let's leave the political analysis. At eight o'clock in the evening of August, 10 we, at last, found the car. We drove to the border of Armenia. Along the way we learnt that all employees of the American embassy in Tbilisi had left the Georgian capital some hours before us. This information was confirmed, when we arrived in Yerevan approximately in 5 o'clock in the morning of August, 11. The next day we managed to get tickets to Moscow. The authorities of Georgia have established the informational blockade in the country before the beginning of war with South Ossetia and Abkhazia. One had no access to all Russian sites and the Internet resources connected with Russia. The Russian TV channels and the Russian newspapers in the territory of Georgia have been closed. The governmental mass-media became the only accessible source of information. In turn the Georgian president Michael Saakashvili has tried to give all support to the candidate for the US president, the republican John McCain. The republicans needed any war with Russia to convince the American voters that they, the republicans, better than others could supervise over military actions against Russian But, if McCain cannot enter into the White House he will not want to lose the Congress and to give it to the democrats. Saakashvili did not want the democrats to come to power and criticize him on questions of democracy and human rights they might deprive him of aid in 375 million dollars annually. Meanwhile Russia gives him 2 million dollars annually, providing employment to one million Georgians, working on its territory.