Chaindrawa, a former minister of Georgian President Mikheil Saakasvili’s goverment, who was in charge of dealing with the conflicts with Abchasia and Ossetia until 2006, accuses Saakashvili of undemocratic behaviour and war mongering.

In an interview with the German news magazine Der Spiegel, Georgij Chaindrawa accuses the United States administration of creating a pro-American Georgian government under Saakashvili.

According to Chaindrawa, Saakashvili’s government bears little resemblance to a democracy. Rather, Chaindrawa claims that the government of Georgia is a totalitarian regime that suppresses civil liberties and the freedom of the press, somewhat similar to the Russian government policies of Vladimir Putin. Chaindrawa states that Saakashvili tried to close down an independent TV station (Imelda TV), declared a state of emergency in 2007 against mass protests of the opposition, and committed election fraud. Chaindrawa also asserts the politics of Saakashvili’s government as a cause of the current war with Russia. He says: “He wanted a victory parade in Zchinwali and got Russian troops marching toward Tbilisi”.

When asked, why he was dismissed from the government in 2006, Chaindrawa stated that he tried to avoid military adventures in the conflict with South Ossetia and that he was highly critical of Saakashvili’s failed 2004 attempt to conquer Zchinwali.

On the question, what the West should do, Chaindrawa replies, the West should support the Georgian population, its civil society and institutions rather than the Saakashvili government. He continues to say that Georgia needs politicians who are pursuing reconciliation and compromise rather than confrontation.

In an article in The Washington Times, Tsotne Bakuria, a former member of the Georgian parliament and now a senior fellow at Global International Strategic Group in the U.S., formulates a similarly harsh criticism of Shakasvili’s government. She calls its government a “reign of terror” and says that the country has no independent judiciary and that Saakashvili uses trumped up criminal charges (alleged money laundering) to silence and suppress members of the opposition. She describes, that the leader of the opposition Shalva Natelashvili was forced to ask NATO secretary Javier Solana for asylum for his wife and his 2 daughters after they’ve received death threats. Natelashvili himself was threatened by a government member with arrest and is facing money laundering charges, as are other members of the opposition.

Source : wikinews

a Russian vehicle in the Georgian village of Kvemo-Achebeti Russia’s retreat from Georgia is yet to happen despite mixed reports from Moscow that it is already underway and that peacekeeping forces are “ensuring safety” in the region.

Georgia says Russia has failed to honour its ceasefire agreement to withdraw from Georgian territory as soon as possible.

The conflict began 10 days ago when Georgian forces tried to recapture South Ossetia, which broke free from Tbilisi in a war during the 1990s. Russia launched an overwhelming counterattack to support the separatists.

The Russian attack – its biggest military deployment outside its borders since the 1991 fall of the Soviet Union – included air strikes on economic targets deep inside Georgia, forcing the Georgian army into retreat.

A French-mediated ceasefire accord urged a speedy Russian withdrawal but Russian forces are obviously determined to withdraw on their own terms.

Overnight, ABC reporter Matt Brown was witness to the tense stand-off which is continuing in the town of Gori.

Russian troops still control the entrances to Gori and the centre of town.

They are still stationed at the Georgian military base they over-ran last week and they still control the main road between Gori and the capital Tblisi.

There are reports that Russia wants to cripple Georgia’s armed forces and destroy ammunition dumps and other military hardware.

Around five hours after the withdrawal was supposed to begin yesterday, a column of Russian armoured fighting vehicles drove east of Gori, smashed through a Georgian police checkpoint and headed for high ground above the road to the capital.

Georgian officials say Russia’s actions amount to a violation of last week’s peace accord.

But Russian military spokesman Lieutenant-General Nikolay Uvarov says the troops will pull back to South Ossetia after ensuring the areas they are occupying are secure.

“Unfortunately there are still some commando teams from Georgia that are walking around,” he said.

“Last day, there were several small skirmishes. Our troops were fired upon.

“It depends on looters, and so on, so it depends on the situation. But it will take days, certainly not weeks.”

Crushing response

Meanwhile, as his troops are meant to be pulling out of Georgian territory, Russian President Dmitri Medvedev has used a visit near the conflict zone to continue the war of words.

While in Vladikavkaz in southern Russia to award medals to some of those involved in the conflict in south Ossetia, Mr Medvedev has been full of praise for his soldiers and condemnation for Georgia.

Mr Medvedev said his country would do its best to ensure that Georgia’s crime of killing of Russian soldiers and peacekeepers did not go unpunished.

Earlier in the day while meeting World War II veterans in the city of Kursk, Mr Medvedev warned that if anyone tried something similar again, Russia would respond with mighty force.

He says no one should doubt the resolve of the Russian Government.

“If anyone thinks that they can kill our citizens, our soldiers and officers who are peacekeepers and escape unpunished, we will never allow this,” he said.

“If anyone tries this again, we will come out with a crushing response.”

Source : Philippine military chief has vowed to chase down Muslim rebels who attacked two towns in the south, saying the time to give peace a chance was now over.

At least 34 people, most of them civilians, were killed in the south of the Catholic-majority nation yesterday after hundreds of Muslim guerrillas attacked two towns, burning homes, raiding banks and forcing thousands to flee, officials said.

There have been no reports of fresh fighting today in the Mindanao region, where a decades-long rebellion has prevented any significant development of some of the richest mineral and hyrdrocarbon resources in south-east Asia.

Yesterday’s attack was the bloodiest since a territorial deal with the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) stalled earlier this month and comes just days after government troops halted an offensive against MILF rebels in another part of Mindanao.

“You all know we have bent as far backward (as possible) to give peace a chance,” military chief General Alexander Yano said.

“The patience of our soldiers, in trying to uphold the primacy of the peace process, is very commendable but at some point we really have to act decisively.”

The military said 26 civilians and eight soldiers were killed in the fighting in Kolambugan and Kauswagan towns in the province of Lanao del Norte.

Dozens of civilians were used as human shields and some of them were shot dead by retreating rebels.

Many of the country’s Muslim minority live in Mindanao, but the towns and cities, most of which are on the coast, are dominated by Christians.

The MILF leadership has distanced itself from the latest attacks in Lanao del Norte, whose commercial capital Iligan, less than 20 kilometres from yesterday’s battles, is an important centre for steel and hydropower.

“We regret the loss of lives and property in Lanao del Norte, but we would to emphasise that the MILF leadership has not authorised these actions,” spokesman Eid Kabalu said, adding that the MILF remained committed to peace.

Gen Yano said the MILF leaders had no control over field commanders.

“If they can’t control them, the Government will certainly control them and we will undertake our mandate to protect the people and the communities and we cannot renege on that constitutional mandate,” he said.

“We will pursue and take aggressive action against the perpetrators of the dastardly acts committed against innocent civilians.”

Last week, the military bombed MILF positions for four straight days, triggering an exodus of around 160,000 people, after accusations that the rebels had occupied Christian-owned farmlands.

The situation on the ground has deteriorated rapidly since the Supreme Court earlier this month halted a territorial deal between the MILF and Manila that was meant to reopen formal peace talks to end a conflict that has killed over 120,000 people.

Hawks on both sides have seized on the stalling of the peace moves to reignite fighting that has been mostly dormant since 2003.

Legal experts expect the court will rule that the agreement, which gives a future government of an expanded Muslim homeland wide political and economic powers, is unconstitutional.

A further bout of violence is expected following such a decision but an all-out war is not considered likely as neither side has the resources to deliver a knockout blow.

Source :

The War in South Ossetia has escalated as Russian forces are being sent into the conflict on the Ossetian side.

At 10:00 a.m. local time, Georgian sources reported that three Russian Su-24 attack aircraft invaded Georgian air space and dropped bombs onto a target near the town of Kareli. A later flight dropped one bomb near Gori. While no one was harmed in the second attack, seven people were reportedly injured by the first bombing. According to the Agence France-Presse, a speaker of the Russian Ministry of Foreign Affairs has called this information “nonsense” and “rubbish”.


At 11:38 a.m. the President of Georgia Mikheil Saakashvili announced the mobilization of reserve troops to withstand what he called “a large-scale military aggression” by Russia, and called Russia to stop the “bombardment of Georgian towns.”

Prime Minister of Russia Vladimir Putin said that, “it is regrettable that on the day before the opening of the Olympic Games, the Georgian authorities have undertaken aggressive actions in South Ossetia.”

The crisis broke out after days of heavy fighting in the region. On August 7 Georgian troops launched an offensive against the Ossetian town of Tskhinvali, the separatist’s capital.

The Georgian government claims that this is in reaction to attacks by “separatist rebels” on “unarmed civilians and peacekeeping forces” in villages near the town.

At the same time, the state news agency of South Ossetia reports that that Tskhinvali is under heavy artillery fire, with most or all of its population seeking shelter, and apparently a number of buildings already having been destroyed. The International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) urged the two sides to set up a “humanitarian corridor” to evacuate civilians and the wounded. The main city hospital is reported not to be functioning, and ambulances can not reach the wounded. Thousands of refugees are leaving South Ossetia, mostly for North Ossetia, says the United Nations refugee agency.

Georgian officials have claimed that up to four Russian jets have been shot down while attacking Georgia.

Russia claimed ceasing all civilian aircraft flights to Georgia starting at midnight on August 9. In retaliatory response, Georgia is set to stop all Russian TV channels’ broadcasts from August 9th onwards.

According to Russian state news agency RIA Novosti reporting at 9:21pm August 8th, a convoy of 20 vans carrying up to a total of 400 Russian volunteers has crossed from Russia’s North Ossetia to South Ossetia.

The government of South Ossetia has announced that it will evacuate children in danger zones to Russia. This came after a speech made by Eduard Kokoity, President of South Ossetia, which accused the Georgian government of “attempting to spark a full-scale war.” Kokoity said that the conflict’s victim count has reached 1400.

As of 10:51pm August 8th, 12 Russian peacemakers are reported dead and 150 wounded.

A video tape showing Georgian Su-25 aircraft being downed was aired on Vesti Russian TV channel late night of August 8th. The pilot of the jet reportedly ejected, but was captured and killed on the ground by Ossetian military.

Source : Wikinews