Posts Tagged ‘russia’

The end of Obama’s Syria policy.

Thursday, February 4th, 2016


The US foreign policy conducted by the Obama administration has been a disaster all along. He abandoned Iraq and the rise of ISIS has followed. I have read “Black Flags,” which describes how the al Qeada organization of Abu Musab al-Zarqawi has morphed into ISIS after Obama pulled US forces out of Iraq. Now, as Richard Fernandez explains in another masterful analysis, Assad is about to rout the last of the non-ISIS opposition.

Reuters reports that Bashal al-Assad’s forces have made major advances behind a major Russian air offensive and are now poised to destroy the non-ISIS rebels opposing the Syrian government is rocking the foreign policy establishment. “After three days of intense fighting and aerial bombardment, regime forces, believed to include Iran-backed Shia militias, broke through to the formerly besieged regime enclaves of Nobul and Zahra.”

The Russians have been surprising US military leaders in ways that are very unpleasant.

The performance of the miniature, “rust bucket” Russian air force has formed an invidious baseline to what the USAF has achieved. The Independent reported:

Their army’s equipment and strategy was “outmoded”; their air force’s bombs and missiles were “more dumb than smart”; their navy was “more rust than ready”. For decades, this was Western military leaders’ view, steeped in condescension, of their Russian counterparts. What they have seen in Syria and Ukraine has come as a shock.

Russian military jets have, at times, been carrying out more sorties in a day in Syria than the US-led coalition has done in a month.

We are not serious and the US military has to wonder what will happen if Putin decides to take the Baltic republics.

All this is happening alongside the weak consequences of Hillary Clinton’s massive breach of security in her “e-mail server.”

Remember, Mrs. Clinton reviewed her e-mails before finally surrendering them to the State Department, and she initially insisted there was no classified information in them. Now, it turns out they were so threaded with classified information that the State Department and intelligence agencies have fallen hopelessly behind the court’s disclosure schedule: The task of reviewing the e-mails and redacting the portions whose publication could harm national security has proved much more complicated than anticipated. Thousands of remaining e-mails, and any embarrassing lapses they contain, will be withheld from voters until well into primary season.

From the level of disinterest in this matter shown by Politico in its piece about Clinton’s “vulnerabilities” in the Democrat primary race, there seems to be no interest at all in foreign policy by Democrats. That may change if the Baltic republics are in jeopardy but, perhaps not. Democrats seem to believe that the US is the root of all evil, not our enemies.

As America’s foes gain in the Middle East, the confusion surrounding the administration’s goals correspondingly grows. If Aleppo falls, and its defenders and inhabitants massacred it will prove that Obama cannot protect anyone. A huge humanitarian disaster whose spillover Europe must inevitably endure will ensue. There is genuine international cooperation. Russia generates refugees and Germany absorbs them.

And as for Geneva, well what of it?

Someone has to ask: what goal does America still have in the Middle East beyond defending the tattered political image of president Obama?

I wonder ?

The Hillary Clinton bribery story.

Thursday, April 23rd, 2015

Today, the New York Times ran a huge story about how Hillary Clinton and Bill took large contributions to their personal “Foundation” to sell US security assets to the Russians.

The article, in January 2013, detailed how the Russian atomic energy agency, Rosatom, had taken over a Canadian company with uranium-mining stakes stretching from Central Asia to the American West. The deal made Rosatom one of the world’s largest uranium producers and brought Mr. Putin closer to his goal of controlling much of the global uranium supply chain.

But the untold story behind that story is one that involves not just the Russian president, but also a former American president and a woman who would like to be the next one.

At the heart of the tale are several men, leaders of the Canadian mining industry, who have been major donors to the charitable endeavors of former President Bill Clinton and his family. Members of that group built, financed and eventually sold off to the Russians a company that would become known as Uranium One.

Today, Hugh Hewitt interviewed Mitt Romney on this story and Romney stated the obvious.

What’s your reaction to this story?

MR: You know, I’ve got to tell you, I was stunned by it. I mean, it looks like bribery. I mean, there is every appearance that Hillary Clinton was bribed to grease the sale of, what, 20% of America’s uranium production to Russia, and then it was covered up by lying about a meeting at her home with the principals, and by erasing emails. And you know, I presume we might know for sure whether there was or was not bribery if she hadn’t wiped out thousands of emails. But this is a very, very serious series of facts, and it looks like bribery.

Now we know why the e-mails were deleted.

As the Russians gradually assumed control of Uranium One in three separate transactions from 2009 to 2013, Canadian records show, a flow of cash made its way to the Clinton Foundation. Uranium One’s chairman used his family foundation to make four donations totaling $2.35 million. Those contributions were not publicly disclosed by the Clintons, despite an agreement Mrs. Clinton had struck with the Obama White House to publicly identify all donors. Other people with ties to the company made donations as well.

And shortly after the Russians announced their intention to acquire a majority stake in Uranium One, Mr. Clinton received $500,000 for a Moscow speech from a Russian investment bank with links to the Kremlin that was promoting Uranium One stock.

I looked at Huffington Post for reaction for the left and they have a story about Republicans and lobbyists.

About the Hillary story ?

ZERO !!!!

A new time line from Ricochet on the Hillary scandal.

Hillary Clinton’s family’s charities are refiling at least five annual tax returns after a Reuters review found errors in how they reported donations from governments, and said they may audit other Clinton Foundation returns in case of other errors…

For three years in a row beginning in 2010, the Clinton Foundation reported to the IRS that it received zero in funds from foreign and U.S. governments, a dramatic fall-off from the tens of millions of dollars in foreign government contributions reported in preceding years.

Must have been an oversight.

A very interesting question

Tuesday, July 20th, 2010

Why were the Russian “illegal” spies repatriated so quickly ? They were exchanged for American agents but why so quickly ? Why not interrogate them for a longer period to be sure we knew what they had been doing. Many newspapers and other one-party media have ridiculed the spies’ accomplishments. Maybe they just weren’t very good and there wasn’t much to learn.

There is, however, another theory.

The speed with which the Obama administration exchanged the recently-arrested Russian “illegals” was astonishing and has led to speculation that the illegals ring may have had potentially embarrassing relationships to current or former US government officials. As a former “illegal” myself, I believe this is plausible.

The cushiest assignment in the world for a Russian intelligence officer would be to the United States, with its clean air and water, excellent medical care, and with none of the anarchy and danger that are common in so much of the world. Ambitious Russian officers would push hard to get these assignments.

For their choice of cover, they’d prefer commercial covers to diplomatic covers. Just as terrorists and nuclear proliferators are wary of meeting our diplomats overseas, American government officials in the US will be wary of meeting a Russian diplomat – they’d suspect he’s a spy. There is no diplomatic immunity for intelligence officers posing as business people, but as we have seen, a captured Russian officer is treated gently and the most likely outcome is exchange.

This is analysis from a former CIA deep cover agent whose workname was “Ishmael Jones.” There is more from this strategic thinker about intelligence.

Why were we in such a hurry to exchange the Russians ? And who were they exchanged for ?

Though one Russian website dubbed today’s transfer “Russia 10 USA 4”, western intelligence sources were claiming tonight that Britain and the US got more out of the spy swap than Russia. They said the four men released by Moscow were more serious individuals than the 10 agents handed over by the US. The four had been in jail and poorly treated.

Britain has a direct interest in Skripal, a former Russian army colonel convicted of passing the identities of Russian agents working undercover in Europe to MI6.

Skripal was sentenced in August 2006 to 13 years in jail for spying for Britain. Russian prosecutors said he had been paid $100,000 by MI6 for the information, which he had been supplying since the 1990s when he was a serving officer.

Two others, Alexander Zaporozhsky and Igor Sutyagin, were convicted of spying for the US. The fourth, Gennady Vasilenko, was sentenced to three years on murky charges of illegal weapons possession. Reasons for his involvement in the swap were not immediately clear.

Well-placed British sources said the exchange was also significant because Russia rarely gives up its citizens, as opposed to Americans or other foreigners, whom it has jailed on spying charges.

One reason given for the extreme reticence among British security and intelligence agencies to talk about the exchanges is fear the Russians would make fresh arrests to use more people as potential collateral. It is possible they were already placing potentially vulnerable people under surveillance now, the sources said, and possible targets may have been warned to lie low.

Hmmm. So the people exchanged were not Americans but Russian double agents. The whole story is peculiar.

The F 22 killer

Wednesday, February 17th, 2010

The new Russian fighter is the equal of the F 22, something the experts said would never happen. That’s why the Obama administration killed the program. Oh Oh.

Analysis of PAK-FA prototype airframe aerodynamic features shows a design which is superior to all Western equivalents, providing ‘extreme agility’, superior to that of the Su-35S, through much of the flight envelope. This is accomplished by the combined use of 3D thrust vector control of the engine nozzles, all moving tail surfaces, and refined aerodynamic design with relaxed directional static stability and careful mass distribution to control inertial effects. The PAK-FA is fitted with unusually robust high sink rate undercarriage, intended for STOL operations.

Disclosures indicate that the avionic suite and systems fit will be derived from the Su-35S design, with the important difference in the use of an very high power-aperture product X-band multimode primary AESA radar. Five AESA apertures are intended for production PAK-FA aircraft. The highly integrated avionic suite is intended to provide similar data fusion and networking capabilities to the F-22A Raptor.

The available evidence demonstrates at this time that a mature production PAK-FA design has the potential to compete with the F-22A Raptor in VLO performance from key aspects, and will outperform the F-22A Raptor aerodynamically and kinematically. Therefore, from a technological strategy perspective, the PAK-FA renders all legacy US fighter aircraft, and the F-35 Lightning II Joint Strike Fighter, strategically irrelevant and non-viable after the PAK-FA achieves IOC in 2015.

Maybe some rethinking is in order.

However, future fighters are going to be mostly UAVs anyway. Like this one.

Looks kind of nasty, doesn’t it ?

Afghanistan may be lost

Thursday, October 8th, 2009

UPDATE: We can all relax. John Kerry is going to Afghanistan to see what needs to be done. I guess he must know a lot about these things from his friends, the North Vietnamese.

Watching the last two weeks or so in the White House, gives me the sense that the decision is going to be the wrong one. There are three possible choices that Obama has; one is to take his hand-picked general’s advice and send 40,000 more troops. It will stress our military and the logistical challenges are serious. Afghanistan is land-locked and the neighbors are not friendly. Russia will try to create problems, as they already have in Kyrgyzstan. They do not want us to succeed yet they may fear total failure. In the meantime, they are making serious trouble.

Another option for Obama is to abandon Afghanistan to the Taliban and withdraw the troops. That goes against all of his, and the Democrats’ rhetoric during the campaign about how Iraq was a “war of choice” but Afghanistan was the “necessary war.”

The third option, and the one I fear is coming, is to muddle through much in the fashion of Lyndon Johnson after his advisors lost confidence in Vietnam and the mission there. That will sacrifice our all volunteer military for political purposes and it is already becoming apparent to the troops that they are not being supported. Morale is plummeting.

American soldiers serving in Afghanistan are depressed and deeply disillusioned, according to the chaplains of two US battalions that have spent nine months on the front line in the war against the Taleban.

Many feel that they are risking their lives — and that colleagues have died — for a futile mission and an Afghan population that does nothing to help them, the chaplains told The Times in their makeshift chapel on this fortress-like base in a dusty, brown valley southwest of Kabul.

“The many soldiers who come to see us have a sense of futility and anger about being here. They are really in a state of depression and despair and just want to get back to their families,” said Captain Jeff Masengale, of the 10th Mountain Division’s 2-87 Infantry Battalion.

Remember, these are not draftees and most have families. I should add to rebut a comment, that the soldiers have very high morale among themselves. This is typical in combat where they rely on others in the unit. Even in the Second World War, where the US Army was no match for the German Army man-for-man, soldiers would do almost anything to avoid letting down their friends and “team.” They are losing faith in the leadership, just as the Army did in Vietnam. Those are two different things. Forty years later, a penis is still referred to as a “Johnson” in the military.

More important than whether or not Obama will send in the 40,000 troops the generals are asking for is what constraints the troops on the ground will be asked to follow. Dropping leaflets on a population is futile when the population is illiterate. Explaining democracy to a people that have no conceptual understanding of liberty is equally difficult. Many Americans today view counterinsurgency operations chiefly as “hearts and minds” operations involving the handing out of teddy bears and candy bars. But the first step in isolating the enemy from the people is protecting the population from those who wish to destroy it. If you keep people safe, you gain their trust. McChrystal is not a man who will shy away from a fight. The surge in Iraq killed hundreds of insurgents using special operatives and regular infantry.

But the current rules of engagement (ROE) in Afghanistan are simply far too constrictive to eliminate large pockets of threat. The people of Afghanistan don’t trust their government and their police forces. We are years away from relying on them as we have with their Iraqi counterparts. The ROE are a direct reflection of that: We are forced to be gentle because of the barbaric manner in which the Afghanis treat their own people. This may make us feel good, but we choose this tactic at the risk of our young men and women.

The chief problem with our Afghanistan strategy is the craven politicians who want to micromanage the war. opposed the escalation of force in Afghanistan eight years ago. Since 2004, however, the Left has turned about-face, bellowing that we “took our eye off the ball” in Afghanistan by fighting the war in Iraq.

I think we are about to see a craven and mistaken decision to let the troops hang out there rather than accept the responsibility for losing the war. This seems to be the patterns of Democrats at war since the New Left took over in 1972. Bill Clinton avoided this in Serbia and Kosovo by bombing from 20,000 feet. It didn’t accomplish much but it did avoid the fate of Johnson and, I fear, Obama.

If the decision is to abandon the commitment to Afghanistan, do it openly and bring the troops home. No one will be fooled by anything else. The rest of the Army officers certainly aren’t fooled.

The hallways at the Walter E. Washington Convention Center buzzed with sympathy for McChrystal, who has said the U.S.-led effort in Afghanistan risks failure without a rapid infusion of additional forces. Obama and his advisers are now debating strategy in Afghanistan, with some officials arguing against additional deployments.

“It was definitely a hand slap,” one Army officer said of the statement last weekend by national security adviser James L. Jones, a retired Marine general, that military officials should pass advice to President Obama through their chain of command. The Army officer, like others attending the annual meeting of the Association of the United States Army, spoke on the condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to speak on the politically sensitive issue.

A number of senior Army officers compared McChrystal to Gen. Eric K. Shinseki, the Army chief of staff who warned before the U.S. invasion of Iraq in 2003 that it would take several hundred thousand troops to secure the country — advice that was dismissed as “wildly off the mark” by then Deputy Defense Secretary Paul D. Wolfowitz.

Yes, but that was Bush and his administration. It now looks as though the Obama pullout will be called Pakistan first.

One of the ideas the Obama administration is considering in response to the deteriorating situation in Afghanistan reportedly is called “Pakistan First.” Championed by Vice President Biden, the idea is to focus U.S. efforts on attacking al-Qaeda targets in Pakistan’s tribal areas with drones or Special Forces, while backing the government’s efforts to pacify and develop the lawless areas where al-Qaeda and the Taliban are based. The battle against the Taliban in Afghanistan, meanwhile, would be put on the back burner.

“Pakistan First” would excuse President Obama from having to anger his political base by dispatching the additional U.S. troops that his military commanders say are needed to stop the Taliban’s resurgence in Afghanistan. It would nominally focus U.S. efforts on a nuclear-armed country that is of far greater strategic importance.

Yes, it would be a lie, of course, but a useful lie. One that keeps him from “angering his base.” Pakistan, however, isn’t fooled.

If the likes of Mullah Omar take over in Afghanistan, it will have serious implications for Pakistan,” Mr. Qureshi said. “They have a larger agenda, and the first to be impacted by that agenda is Pakistan. . . . Whether they do it in Pakistan or whether they do it in Afghanistan, it will have implications on Pakistan and it will have implications on the region.”

Well, you can’t please everyone.

Obama and the “no-nukes” movement

Sunday, July 5th, 2009

The New York Times has discovered, conveniently too late for the election, a college essay by Barack Obama which may explain some of his beliefs that are otherwise inexplicable.

Realist or dreamer, Mr. Obama has an interest in global denuclearization that arises from what can best be described as a lost chapter of his life. Though he has written two memoirs, he has volunteered few details about his two years at Columbia.

“People assume he’s a novice,” said Michael L. Baron, who taught Mr. Obama in a Columbia seminar on international politics and American policy around the time he wrote the Sundial article. “He’s been thinking about these issues for a long time. It’s not like one of his advisers said, ‘Why don’t you throw this out?’ ”

In a paper for Dr. Baron, Mr. Obama analyzed how a president might go about negotiating nuclear arms reductions with the Russians — exactly what he is seeking to do this week.

The Cold War is over but Obama seems to be stuck in his youthful enthusiasm for a nuclear freeze. I don’t believe for a moment that he has any intention of stopping Iran in their quest for the bomb but he is determined to reduce our own nuclear capability.

Maybe this is behind his otherwise mysterious unwillingness to consider nuclear power, a source of electricity free from the alleged greenhouses gas production.

The special relationship

Friday, March 6th, 2009

Last week, British PM Gordon Brown paid a visit to president Obama. There were a number of indignities foisted on the PM, including denying him a joint press conference, leaving the British press excluded from the meeting and, finally, his gift to the PM. I didn’t believe this story when I first heard it, thinking it a joke. Alas, it was true.

President Obama gave Prime Minister Brown a 25-DVD box set of classic American films. Prime Minister Brown obviously sees the gift as something of an indignity. The Daily Mail reports that “No 10 had tried to keep the present a secret, refusing to answer reporters who asked what President Obama had given to mark the reaffirmation of the special relationship.” Compared to the gifts brought for Obama by Brown, the DVDs are an embarrassment. Couldn’t Obama at least have thrown in an an autographed copy of The Audacity of Hope?

Brown, being the leader of a great country and aware of his role, gave Obma several fine gifts with real meaning.

The Prime Minister gave Mr Obama an ornamental pen holder made from the timbers of the Victorian anti-slave ship HMS Gannet. The unique present delighted Mr Obama because oak from the Gannet’s sister ship, HMS Resolute, was carved to make a desk that has sat in the Oval Office in the White House since 1880.

Mr Brown also handed over a framed commission for HMS Resolute and a first edition of the seven-volume biography of Churchill by Sir Martin Gilbert.

In addition, Mr Brown and his wife showered gifts on the Obama children giving Sasha and Malia an outfit each from Topshop and six children’s books by British authors which are shortly to be published in America.

An additional insult is the fact that PM Brown is blind in one eye and has diminished vision in the other. The visit was a disaster and followed Obama’s return of a bust of Churchill that had graced the White House for years.

Really showing them that old Chicago class, aren’t we.

Fortunately, we have a highly talented Secretary of State, although her Russian could use some work.

Secretary of State Hillary Clinton opened her first extended talks with Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov by giving him a present meant to symbolize the Obama administration’s vow to “press the reset button” on U.S.-Russia relations.

She handed a palm-sized box wrapped with a bow. Lavrov opened it and pulled out the gift: a red button on a black base with a Russian word peregruzka printed on top.

“We worked hard to get the right Russian word. Do you think we got it?” Clinton asked.

“You got it wrong,” Lavrov said.

Instead of “reset,” Lavrov said the word on the box meant “overcharge.”

Yes, we have an administration of all the talents.

UPDATE: we have two explanations now. One is that the president is “overwhelmed.” The other is that Britain is not so special.

The Telegraph’s story contains this suggestion that Obama’s slight of the British Prime Minister may have been intentional, at least in part:

The real views of many in Obama administration were laid bare by a State Department official involved in planning the Brown visit, who reacted with fury when questioned by The Sunday Telegraph about why the event was so low-key.

The official dismissed any notion of the special relationship, saying: “There’s nothing special about Britain. You’re just the same as the other 190 countries in the world. You shouldn’t expect special treatment.”

Can anybody here play this game ?

Thursday, February 5th, 2009

UPDATE 2: Well, I guess he didn’t have the votes after all. The midnight oil is off.

UPDATE: Harry Reid has just announced: Look, if this group of 17 bipartisan senators think they’re going to change the bill substantially, they’ve got another thing coming. We’re going to have a vote, I’m going to have the votes, and we’re going to get this through.

The Congressional Budget Office has said: President Obama’s economic recovery package will actually hurt the economy more in the long run than if he were to do nothing, the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office said Wednesday.

CBO, the official scorekeepers for legislation, said the House and Senate bills will help in the short term but result in so much government debt that within a few years they would crowd out private investment, actually leading to a lower Gross Domestic Product over the next 10 years than if the government had done nothing.

CBO estimates that by 2019 the Senate legislation would reduce GDP by 0.1 percent to 0.3 percent on net. [The House bill] would have similar long-run effects, CBO said in a letter to Sen. Judd Gregg, New Hampshire Republican, who was tapped by Mr. Obama on Tuesday to be Commerce Secretary.

Okay, now we know.

Casey Stengel famously complained that the early New York Mets were so inept that he wondered if anybody knew how to play the game. After two weeks of watching the Obama people fumble, I have similar thoughts. Of course, they have told us that the people like Geithner are so important that it doesn’t matter that he didn’t pay his taxes. I guess Daschle wasn’t that important, but Geithner is irreplaceable.

The White House defended the exceptions on the grounds that these people were exceptionally qualified. This is such a reasonable argument that the White House easily could have made it on the front end.

Huh ?

There is no one else ?

Daschle’s negligence was gross, particularly for a party and an administration that have celebrated prostration before the taxman as a “patriotic duty.” But Daschle’s offenses, galling as they may be, are exceeded by those of Geithner. Indeed, of all the tax transgressions touching Obama’s circle, Geithner’s are the worst.

Not only did Geithner neglect to pay his taxes, he turned a buck by doing so—accepting payments from his employer for the very purpose of offsetting those taxes. When he took the money, he signed a statement promising to pay the taxes and then ignored his obligations—for years. Protected by a statute of limitations, he did not pay his 2001–02 taxes until his nomination made them a public issue.

If Daschle’s tax problems should bar him from managing the federal health-services bureaucracy and Killefer’s preclude her from scrutinizing the budget, how is it that Geithner’s transgressions—the worst of the lot—are insufficient to disqualify him from managing the same Internal Revenue Service whose attentions he evaded?

Well, at least the stimulus bill is popular, or it is if you count 37% as popular.

Well, there is always foreign policy. Of course, choosing ambassadors to crucial countries is not that important. Zinni will not forget this soon.

Unemployment in Russia is rising fast, and the currency, the ruble, has lost about a fifth of its value. $200 billion—a third of the reserves—have already been spent supporting the ruble, so that further devaluation seems a virtual certainty Foreign investors have withdrawn billions of dollars.

All of which encourages the Kremlin to go on the attack in classic style. We already know how Putin and company treat Georgia.

Now, they are going after a crucial ally in Afghanistan.

Russia has ensnared Kirghizstan with the usual blend of violence, cunning and bribery. In recent weeks, Russia began by attacking the Kirghiz internet infrastructure. Then it simply bought the country with a multi-billion dollar loan to plug the deficit in the Kirghiz budget, with additional hundreds of millions of dollars in write-offs and grants. More than that, according to the Daily Telegraph, what are delicately called “bonuses” and “emoluments” were paid to officials. The money may be running out in Moscow, and the currency about to crash, but power still remains power.

As part of this murky business, Kurmanbek Bakiyev, the Kirghiz president, has ordered the United States to quit the former Soviet base it rented at Manas, close to the country’s capital of Bishkek. Manas is needed to ferry supplies to American and other forces over the border in Afghanistan, and squadrons of fighter jets are also stationed there. President Obama has been promising increased operations against Afghan Islamists, but the closing of Manas will seriously impede any such development.

Oh well, who cares about Kirghizstan ? One of those unpronounceable former Soviet republics. The only problem is that our routes to supply the troops in Afghanistan are very limited. There is Kirghizstan to the north and Pakistan to the south. Now, one of them is gone.

David Pryce-Jones refers to this as Obama’s “Carter moment.”

When the Soviet army invaded Afghanistan back in 1979 and began that poor country’s destruction, then President Jimmy Carter feebly lamented that he’d just learned what he was up against.

Unfortunately, it isn’t just Obama who is “up against” this situation. It is all of us.

Putin’s dilemma

Friday, December 19th, 2008

Russia has been run by a KGB hierarchy for the past ten years. I have previously posted on the story. I think the methods of Putin resemble Fascism and he has shown signs of a return to aggression as state policy. Much of the Russian adventurism was fueled by high oil prices as Russia is a major oil producer and has not used the income to diversify their economy. Now, with the steep decline in oil prices, there is unrest in Russia. The ruble has fallen sharply even as the Russian central bank has spent 160 billion dollars in gold supporting it. The KGB Russia is in trouble.

Russian lies

Wednesday, August 27th, 2008

The Russian invasion of Georgia has been presented to the press as a story of Georgia invading the breakaway territory of South Ossetia. This is a lie. Michael Totten has the true story.

“The warfare began Aug. 7 when Georgia launched a barrage targeting South Ossetia,” the Associated Press reported over the weekend in typical fashion.

Virtually everyone is wrong. Georgia didn’t start it on August 7, nor on any other date. The South Ossetian militia started it on August 6 when its fighters fired on Georgian peacekeepers and Georgian villages with weapons banned by the agreement hammered out between the two sides in 1994. At the same time, the Russian military sent its invasion force bearing down on Georgia from the north side of the Caucasus Mountains on the Russian side of the border through the Roki tunnel and into Georgia. This happened before Saakashvili sent additional troops to South Ossetia and allegedly started the war.

The Russians have been stirring up trouble among ethnic minorities since the USSR collapsed. In fact, this was the technique the USSR used to keep its ethnic groups in line.

Who are the Ossetians and where do they live? This is the question that has been lost in all of the static from this story. This autonomy [South Ossetia] is an autonomous district, as opposed to an autonomous republic, with about 60,000 people max. So, where are the rest of the Ossetians? Guess where they live? Tbilisi. Here. There. Everywhere. There are more Ossetians – take a look around this lobby. You will find Ossetians here. Of those Ossetians who are theoretically citizens of the Republic of Georgia, 60,000 live there and around 40,000 live here.”

“What do they think about all this?” I said.

“They’re scared as shit,” Goltz said.

“Are they on the side of those who live in South Ossetia?” I said.

“No,” he said. “One of them is Georgia’s Minister of Defense. Georgia is a multi-ethnic republic. And the whole point of the Ossetian ethnic question is this: South Ossetia is part of Georgia.”

“Are reporters receptive to what you’re saying?” I said to Worms.

“Everyone is receptive,” he said. “Everyone, regardless of nationality, even those who love Georgia, genuinely thought Saakashvili started it.”

“That’s what I thought,” I said. “That’s what everyone has been writing.”

Read the whole thing. The site was overloaded yesterday because Instapundit linked to it. Lots of people are learning for the first time what happened.