STRUGGLE FOR THE ABKHAZIAN BRIDGEHEAD

/PanARMENIAN.Net/
26.05.2009 GMT+04:00

All the events of the past 15-20 years convince the world community
that the term 'failed state' is quite applicable to Georgia.

Until recently Turkey used to be the only country in the region,
with which Georgia held more or less normal relations, not counting
Azerbaijan. But the latest demarche of the Georgian Foreign Ministry
showed that actually Official Tbilisi cannot live in harmony with
her neighbors. First Georgia strained relations Armenia, then Iran,
and now Turkey. It is possible that tomorrow Azerbaijan may replenish
this range of "bad neighbors". Thus far Saakashvili vows fidelity to
"brother Ilham", but no one knows how long he will be able to keep
it. It's quite understandable that the Georgian President's steps are
all directed against Russia, but consequently they are also directed
against the Russian-Turkish alliance.

But let us analyze everything in order. Tbilisi requires that
the Turkish arm of Italian clothing retailer Benetton observe the
Georgian law. "We are not against the activities of any commercial
firm on the occupied territories, if it complies with the Georgian
law on occupied territories," Grigol Vashadze, the Georgian foreign
minister, told journalists on May 25, "But let them register in
Georgia and obtain a Georgian tax identification code, pay taxes and
act under our permission. If any company does not want it and wants
to carry out its activities through violations, it will entail legal,
commercial and other consequences." Moreover, Ambassador of Turkey
to Georgia Ertan Tezgor was required to give official explanations
in connection with the intention of the Turkish representation of
Benetton to launch work in Abkhaz capital Sokhumi.

On the same day the Georgian Foreign Ministry declares it is ready
to start consultations with the Russian side about opening the Zemo
Larsi checkpoint on the Georgian-Russian border.

On May 25 the Embassy of Switzerland in Georgia, representing the
interests of RF, voices Moscow's proposal of opening the Zemo Larsi
border crossing point that was closed by Russian side without notice
two years ago. "Proceeding from interests of the Georgian and Russian
nations, we are ready to consider this issue," said Shota Gvineria,
official representative of the Georgian MFA.

Turkey and Russia have extensive plans concerning Georgia. If Turkey
prioritizes economic expansion followed by political subordination,
Russia gives superiority to political pressure on the present
administration of Tbilisi and the retention of her presence in the
Caucasus. And Abkhazia is most suitable for it. For the Black Sea
fleet it is an opportunity to have a second base besides Sevastopol,
for a better control over the water area, where American men-of-war
sometimes enter. Turkey has her own reasons - almost one million
strong Abkhazian community lives there, negatively disposed to the
Georgians, and therefore any undertaking of the Turkish government
against Georgia will be supported and assisted with all might.

Alas, under such distribution of real forces in the Caucasus, Tbilisi
has very little chances to remain independent and build democracy
"in the Georgian style". Sukhumi, and in the near future also Batumi
may mark the beginning of the final division of Georgia into several
still autonomous regions, which will simply join stronger and more
stable states. As far as we can see, there are only two countries
that can in fact change the political map of the Caucasus region;
they are Russia and, no matter how sad it may be for Armenia,
Turkey. By the way, it's not so bad for Armenia that Georgia is
looking forward to make friends with her. Mikhail Saakashvili is now
ready for any alliance, only to be able to keep power and not to lose
another part of the country. The thing is that under every President
of post-Soviet period Georgia has been only losing territories,
acquiring instead nothing but, inconsequential statements about the
support from the USA and the European Union, as well as the exercises
of NATO which, in a wider sense, were necessary only to the alliance
in order to demonstrate its independence from Russia. In a word,
everyone is contented: Turkey obtains a valuable economic partner;
Russia acquires a long-term outlook for presence in the Caucasus;
Abkhazia gets protection from all sides. As usual, Saakashvili ends up
losing, simply because he so unskillfully used his territories. Thus,
all the events of the past 15-20 years convince the world community
that the term 'failed state' is quite applicable to Georgia.