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Old 04-22-2009, 01:47 AM   #1
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Russia moves troops closer to Georgia's capital

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Russia has troops just 25 miles (40 kilometers) from the Georgian capital, in violation of the European Union-brokered cease-fire that ended last year's brief war. And in recent weeks, it has put even more soldiers and armored vehicles within striking distance of the city.

The presence of the Russian troops poses a dilemma for Washington as it aims to improve relations with Moscow. Georgia worries the Obama administration will be reluctant to pressure Russia to comply with the cease-fire while seeking its cooperation on priority issues like the war in Afghanistan and North Korea's nuclear weapons program.

Tensions over Georgia also complicate efforts to restore ties between Russia and NATO, which broke off contacts following the war. Russia has strongly objected to NATO military exercises scheduled to begin May 6 in Georgia and has warned the U.S. against helping Georgia rebuild its army.

The military checkpoint near Akhmaji enforces a new boundary between Georgia and South Ossetia, the Russian-supported region that was at the center of the fighting.

The European Union and United States consider Russia in violation of the cease-fire signed by President Dmitry Medvedev, which called for troops to pull back to positions held before the war began.

The actions by Russia reflect both its military strength and its willingness to challenge the West to reclaim a dominant role in Georgia and elsewhere in its former sphere of influence.

Georgia's government sees Russia as determined to prevent the West from considering Georgia a reliable transit country for oil and natural gas, contending that was Russia's main objective in the war.

The pipelines that cross Georgian territory are among the few that bypass Russia in supplying Europe with energy from the Caspian Sea and Central Asia. During the war, Russia bombed areas near the pipelines.

"Russia wants to be the monopoly supplier," said political analyst Shalva Pichkhadze.

Georgia's Interior Ministry said Russia has 15,000 soldiers in South Ossetia and Abkhazia, which would be far more than in past months. Since the beginning of April, Russia has moved 130 armored vehicles toward the boundary line from elsewhere in South Ossetia and 70 more have entered South Ossetia from Russia, ministry spokesman Shota Utiashvili said.

From a Georgian police checkpoint just 100 yards (meters) from a Russian roadblock controlling access to the village of Akhmaji, a half dozen Russian tanks and other armored vehicles can be seen in the valley.

Local police chief Timur Burduli said the vehicles appeared during the first week of April and are the Russian forces closest to Tbilisi, the Georgian capital. "A tank needs only 40 minutes," he said.

Along the highway to Tbilisi, a freshly dug anti-tank trench stretches across a long field. Steve Bird, spokesman for the EU monitors, said the Georgians have been building such defenses in recent weeks.
Russia moves troops closer to Georgia's capital
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Old 04-22-2009, 04:55 AM   #2
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It's posturing. If the Russians wanted to overrun Georgia they would have done it during the last conflict, and then they at least could have claimed to have a good excuse.
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Old 04-24-2009, 05:37 PM   #3
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This doesn't surprise me at all.
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Old 04-24-2009, 06:39 PM   #4
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Neoconservatism is essentially a false, fraudulent and wicked political philosophy.
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Old 04-24-2009, 08:51 PM   #5
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Originally Posted by financeguy View Post
Neoconservatism is essentially a false, fraudulent and wicked political philosophy.
This thread is not about the definition of "Neoconservatism" and whether its a good or bad philosophy.
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Old 04-26-2009, 04:55 PM   #6
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Originally Posted by financeguy View Post
Neoconservatism is essentially a false, fraudulent and wicked political philosophy.
At least there's a sense of humour in there. I think. I especially the term "wicked". It makes me feel like I'm with a crystal ball and mixing herbs and claws in a cauldron. Muwaahahahahha!
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