Wednesday, 20 August 2008
Statement on Georgia Crisis
Written by Stop the War Coalition
Sunday, 17 August 2008
The outbreak of war in Georgia is a disaster for the people of the Caucasus, creating thousands of casualties and refugees and further destabilising a region already beset with tensions.
Georgia marks a new stage in the growth of instability around the world, threatening confrontation between the United States and the Russian Federation.
The immediate issue behind the conflict was that of national independence. The government of Georgia claims that the military attack it launched on South Ossetia was to ‘restore constitutional order’ and assert its independence from Russia, while the people of the two disputed regions, South Ossetia and Abkhazia, do not wish to be ruled from Tbilisi.
Ultimately, the cause of this war – like the wars in Afghanistan, Iraq and Somalia, and the threat of military action against Iran – lies in the ambition of the USA to exercise global hegemony.
Mikheil Saakashvili, Georgia’s pro-western president is an important ally of the US in the region. The US seeks to integrate Georgia into its sphere of influence through membership of NATO. Saakashvili took US support for Georgia’s membership of NATO as direct encouragement of its conflict with Russia. NATO’s eastward expansion to Russia’s borders, together with the siting of US Missile defence bases in Poland and the Czech Republic and the new US bases established IN Central Asia, is seen by Russia as a direct threat to its interests.
Disregarding the implications of NATO expansion, the western media attributes the conflict in Georgia to ‘ethnic hatreds’ and ‘historical grudges’. In doing so, it forgets the long experience of great power rivalry in the locality where Europe and Asia meet, which is now the hub of an important energy transit route.
Georgia is a key participant in the Baku-Tbilisi-Ceyhan (BTC) pipeline developed by a British Petroleum-led consortium, which bypasses Russia AND IRAN to take oil westward from the Caspian basin.
These are all the circumstances in which the outbreak of war has taken place.
Few people can have failed to register the breath-taking hypocrisy of George Bush’s denunciation of Russia for ‘invading a sovereign neighbouring state’ The originator of the US invasion of Afghanistan and Iraq already bears responsibility for the loss of hundreds of thousands of lives and the daily misery and suffering of the peoples of those countries.
As in Afghanistan and Iraq, the British government is following in US footsteps over Georgia, with Gordon Brown and David Miliband repeating US assertions that ‘Russian aggression must not go unanswered’.
The anti-war movement must once again make its presence felt by bringing to bear every possible pressure on the British government to break with US foreign policy.
Add your voice to the call for No More Wars. Join the demonstration at Labour Party conference in Manchester on 20th September.