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Russia signs cease-fire accord in Georgia

The fight over Georgia has been seen as having 2 bigger objectives;
1. Russia wants to ensure that it is seen as the Big Brother of the neighborhood, and is willing to put force to ensure that this happens
2. Georgia has been seen as a region that was being projected as an alternative route for an oil pipeline that would bypass Russian territory
Both of these are issues that impact Russian interests pretty strongly. For a country that used to consider wide swaths of territory in Europe and Asia Minor as its area of influence, the movement by many of these areas towards greater integration with NATO and the United States must be galling. Already, US based in Turkey, Iraq, and Afghanistan ward off Russian influence in the strategic oil-rich regions of Asia. Combine this with the movements by states such as Poland, Ukraine, etc to move to greater integration with NATO must be real painful to the strategic community in Moscow. And then the movement in a region that is actually under Russian control (granted to it by the Commonwealth of Independent States – CIS); South Ossetia, a region in Georgia that is over-whelming tilted towards Russia. Georgia invaded South Ossetia, and launched a bombing campaign that started killing people in the capital of South Ossetia. This would have just been the motive for Russian interests to start a reverse action – they marched in troops, tanks, and even fighter jets and pushed the Georgian forces out of South Ossetia.

This much movement must have been expected by the West, but this was not it. Russian forced moved out from these territories and moved towards the strategic city of Gori, a city that sits on the central part of Georgia. Georgians considered this move as an attempt to split the country into 2 separate sections and hollered mightily, expecting action from their allies (the West and the United States). The United Nations was out since Russia would have vetoed any such resolution. And the United States depends on Russia to help it on Iran (something that is more important than the action in Georgia), so except for calling for a cease-fire and speaking about how this action of Russia would have far-reaching consequences, it was not able to do anything greater.
It was Russia that is deciding the course of actions, and one is waiting to see how its other interest, of preventing an oil pipeline that would remove Russian influence from oil shipments will play through. In this case, the West can only try and hope that it will be able to influence Russia, and even though a cease-fire is now signed, Russian troops are not currently retreating:

A day after Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice went close to the front lines in Georgia to press for immediate withdrawal of Russian forces there, the Kremlin announced Saturday that it had approved a framework for a cease-fire. On the ground in Georgia on Saturday, the situation remained largely unchanged, with Russian troops occupying large swaths of territory. The Kremlin gave no indication when they would be pulled out.
The six-point arrangement had been negotiated by the French president, Nicolas Sarkozy, but a dispute soon followed over one of its provisions, which the Russians had interpreted as allowing them to maintain a military presence on Georgian territory outside the two disputed enclaves, South Ossetia and Abkhazia. The vagueness of the original provision appeared to have allowed the Russians to occupy Gori even after the two countries had agreed to the cease-fire framework. A senior Western diplomat in Tbilisi, speaking on the condition of anonymity under normal diplomatic rules, contended that the Russian military maneuvers near the capital on Friday around the time of the Rice visit were deliberate. The diplomat said troops were “moving around to weaken the civilian administration and perhaps create the conditions for political upheaval down the line.”

For all the bluster that Rice and other leaders could raise, it was clear that the initiative lay with Russia. Both Russian Prime Minister (and true force behind the throne) Vladimir Putin and President Dmitri Medvedev had raised the stakes very beginning with the fast deployment of Russian forces, with some pointed comments and speeches, and with not stopping at the border of South Ossetia, but taking the fight inside Georgia.

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