by Kenneth Timmerman, NewsMax.com, August 14, 2008
Hat tip-Jerry Gordon and Israpundit
A senior White House official confirmed on Monday what reporters on the ground in Georgia have known since their first glimpse of the ongoing hostilities: Russia’s invasion of Georgia was not a hastily-improvised event, in response to provocation, but had been planned well in advance.
Russia moved the equivalent of two heavy divisions into the mountainous terrain of northern Georgia, in addition to mobilizing its navy to blockade the Georgian coast and its air force to launch hundreds of bombing raids. These are not the type of things any modern nation can do overnight. Russia’s planning shows foresight, and intent.
So besides reasserting Russia’s control over its “near abroad,” and opposing the expansion of NATO into Georgia, what is czar Vladimir Putin’s game?
Georgian president Mikheil Saakashvili has accused Russia of seeking to control energy routes from the Caspian. Georgian officials have told reporters that Russian aircraft have bombed portions of the Baku-Tbilisi-Ceyhan oil and gas pipeline dozens of times since hostilities began. Russia has denied the attacks. So has pipeline operator, British Petroleum.
But a reporter from the London Daily Telegraph witnessed the damage from one Russian air strike over the weekend, during which “over 50 missiles” were fired against a stretch of the pipeline on the outskirts of Tbilisi.
“I have no doubt they wanted to target the pipeline, there is nothing else here,” a policeman who witnessed the attack told The Telegraph’s reporter.
Why would the Russians attempt to take out the recently-built pipeline, which carries energy resources from Azerbaijan and Kazakhstan to Western Europe?
Because the Russians and their strategic partner, the Islamic Republic of Iran, have been opposed to the pipeline since it was first planned in the mid-1990s. Through terrorist proxies in Turkey, where the pipeline feeds into the Ceyhan terminal on the Mediterranean, they have repeatedly sabotaged it. (Continue Reading this Article)