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CSMS Magazine staff writersIn a predawn move to wipe out Georgian forces from South Ossetia, Russia launched a major offensive to push Georgian forces across the border to Georgia proper, repelling a Tbilisi military move to retake control of breakaway South Ossetia. Russia has close ties to the province and posts peacekeepers there.   South Ossetia broke away from Georgia in the early 1990s. It has been looking for reunification with North Ossetia, which is inhabited by the same Ossetian ethnic group that became part of Russia proper after the collapse of the USSR IN 1991. Its citizen hold Russian passports.     By late afternoon, Russian Gen. Vladimir Boldyrev went on television to claim that Russian troops had driven Georgian forces out of the provincial capital, and eyewitnesses confirmed his assertion saying that there was no sign of Georgian soldiers in the streets.    Georgian President Mikhail Saakashvili, a staunch ally of the United States and a harsh enemy of Russia, had it all planned as we have explained before in this magazine. His aim is to provokeRussia and hope his western allies will come to his rescue, where he believes Russia will pay a price.    It is the same feeling shared by western-educated East Europeans—making Russia pays for more than 70 years of what they consider as Russian domination; and the only way they hope to achieve that is by becoming lackeys of western powers regardless of what their citizens are saying.   More than 70% of Georgians do not want war with Russia and oppose Saakashvili’s inflammatory remarks, according to latest surveys. Saakashvili, a U.S.-educated lawyer, has long pledged to restore Tbilisi’s rule over South Ossetia and another breakaway province, Abkhazia. Both regions have been running their own affairs without international recognition since splitting from Georgia in the early 1990s and have built up ties with Moscow.   In the hope of pressuring the West and Washington in particular, Georgia has announced that it is withdrawing its 2,000 troops currently stationed in Iraq, making it the third-largest contributor to coalition forces after the U.S. and Britain. Georgia’s aim is as the same as the ones professed by the Baltic States, which hope to join NATO in order to be shield from Russia’s future historical claim on them. They seem to have missed a very contemporary lesson. World War III was not triggered when Russian troops rolled into Kosovo’s Capital, Pristina, seizing control of the Airport just as the British were preparing to occupy the same location. Back then, Russia was weak. Now, by all military accounts, the Bear is back, and it is truly committed to upholding its military doctrine. That is, it will go war to whoever wants to compromise its sphere of influence.     To make true on its promise, overnight, Russian warplanes bombed the Vaziani military base on the outskirts of the Georgian capital and near the Baku-Tbilisi-Ceyhan oil pipeline, Georgian Interior Ministry spokesman Shota Utiashvili said. He also said two other military bases were hit, and that warplanes bombed the Black Sea port city of Poti, which has a sizable oil shipment facility.    Russian military aircraft also bombed the Georgian town of Gori on Saturday, according to the Associated Press. The fighting sets to escalate until Georgia is brought to its knees, confirmed some Russian sources. Meanwhile, a flurry of shuttle diplomacy has already begun. “I’m deeply concerned about the situation in Georgia,” Bush said in a statement to reporters while attending the Olympics in Beijing. One thing is certain, no US strategic bombers will come to the rescue.Washington knows it, so does Moscow. Saakashvili will be responsible for drawing his people into a war that he clearly knows he will never win.  Also see As the war of words escalates in the Caucasus between Moscow and Tbilisi, Russian-US geopolitical tensions sharpen Russia’s new era?Vladimir Putin solidifies his hold on power in RussiaRussia’s new interest in Southeast AsiaRussia and China in a strategic alliance to counter NATO’s global ambitions

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