Excerpt from Stratfor’s “Intelligence Guidance: Dust Clearing In Georgia”, 9 August 2008 — Stratfor does this sort of thing well, among the best at this of the public geopolotical shops in my opinion.
Some major questions remain open.
First, what motivated the Georgians to invade South Ossetia on the night of Aug. 7? Why did they believe that they could do that without incurring a Russian response? Did the Russians indicate to them some form of nonbelligerence and then double-cross them?
The second, even more intriguing, question is the American role in all of this. The United States has hundreds of advisers in Georgia and could not possibly have been ignorant of Georgian intentions. The United States also has ample means of technical intelligence with which it could have noted the Russian buildup and perhaps even known Moscow’s intentions. The United States is Georgia’s patron. What happened in Tbilisi and Washington to allow the Georgians to walk into a Russian nutcracker? There are levels of intrigue here that we do not yet understand. In some ways they are more important than the final outcome.
About the blogosphere’s coverage of the conflict
Joshua Foust sums it up, posted 9 August at Registan (brief excerpt; I recommend reading the full post):
As the fighting in South Ossetia heats up, it’s interesting to see the rush by all the bloggers to do the biggest, grandest roundups. By looking at this, you see those who think they’re clever by either stating the obvious (Russia wants to split Georgia, Abkhazia is getting involved), the conventional wisdom (Russia wants to disrupt the Georgia energy corridor), or the plain old wrong (Russia wants to annex Georgia). The examples are countless, and while not necessarily wrong, none are really saying anything those who are knowledgable of the situation haven’t been saying for months or years.
… Basically, ignore all of that. We will not have a useful picture of the minutae of the fighting for at least several days (really? Russia will own Georgian airspace just like that?), until some good correspondents get on the scene and we’re not left hearing only what the various foreign ministries say.
… But even that is just conventional wisdom. Who cares? It’s called conventional wisdom because everyone already knows it. Finding something new or interesting about this conflict is tough, and the blogosphere is being more hurtful than helpful in offering anything of value.
I agree. Much of these are somewhere between waste of time and providing the illustion of information.
See Zenpundit for links to some of the most valuable blognotes about the war.
Please share your comments by posting below (brief and relevant, please), or email me at fabmaximus at hotmail dot com (note the spam-protected spelling).
Other posts about the Georgia – Russia conflict
The Russia-Georgia war threatens one of the world’s oil arteries, 10 August 2008