Is Russia preparing to attack Georgia?

Russia has stationed forces 25 miles from Tbilisi, the Georgia capitol and has dramatically increased its troop strength in the Russian-dominated breakaway Georgian provinces of South Ossetia and Abkhazia.

The moves, reported in the English language Ukranian newspaper the 
Kyiv Post, may signal a new military gambit by Russia to put pressure on Georgian President Mikhail Saakashvili in advance of expected mass protests in the capital that will call on him to resign.

Russia has said relations cannot be repaired until Saakashvili is gone.

The stationing of Russian troops just a stone's throw from the Georgian capitol is in direct violation of the EU sponsored cease fire that was put in place following the conflict between the two nations. While the EU continues to complain about the violations, Russia says that it has signed agreements with both South Ossetia and Abkhazia that supercede the cease fire - not a bad trick when you consider how utterly the Russians dominate those two provinces.

The Obama administration will probably not assist Georgia as we are pursuing better relations with Russia in order to receive their help in Afghanistan as well as with North Korea. Russia has warned the US not to help in rebuilding the Georgian military following the debacle last summer.

In fact, that humiliating defeat may end up costing Saakashvili his job. The protestors in Tbilisi are demanding his resignation and vow to hit the streets daily until that occurs.

Needless to say, Putin has his eye on the gas pipeline that traverses Georgian territory - the only link to Europe that doesn't pass through Russia. If this independent link is cut, Putin will have a monopoly on a vital energy supply for the west.

With a reported 15,000 troops in South Ossetia alone - a huge increase over previous months - it is hard to guess Putin's game. He may be simply trying to intimidate Saakashvili into resigning or he may have military designs on the country. Either way, Georgia is in deep trouble. And there's no indication that the US or the EU want to do anything about it.

Russia has stationed forces 25 miles from Tbilisi, the Georgia capitol and has dramatically increased its troop strength in the Russian-dominated breakaway Georgian provinces of South Ossetia and Abkhazia.

The moves, reported in the English language Ukranian newspaper the 
Kyiv Post, may signal a new military gambit by Russia to put pressure on Georgian President Mikhail Saakashvili in advance of expected mass protests in the capital that will call on him to resign.

Russia has said relations cannot be repaired until Saakashvili is gone.

The stationing of Russian troops just a stone's throw from the Georgian capitol is in direct violation of the EU sponsored cease fire that was put in place following the conflict between the two nations. While the EU continues to complain about the violations, Russia says that it has signed agreements with both South Ossetia and Abkhazia that supercede the cease fire - not a bad trick when you consider how utterly the Russians dominate those two provinces.

The Obama administration will probably not assist Georgia as we are pursuing better relations with Russia in order to receive their help in Afghanistan as well as with North Korea. Russia has warned the US not to help in rebuilding the Georgian military following the debacle last summer.

In fact, that humiliating defeat may end up costing Saakashvili his job. The protestors in Tbilisi are demanding his resignation and vow to hit the streets daily until that occurs.

Needless to say, Putin has his eye on the gas pipeline that traverses Georgian territory - the only link to Europe that doesn't pass through Russia. If this independent link is cut, Putin will have a monopoly on a vital energy supply for the west.

With a reported 15,000 troops in South Ossetia alone - a huge increase over previous months - it is hard to guess Putin's game. He may be simply trying to intimidate Saakashvili into resigning or he may have military designs on the country. Either way, Georgia is in deep trouble. And there's no indication that the US or the EU want to do anything about it.