The Georgian-Abkhazian conflict is in the focus of the world’s media once again. As soon as the USA revealed its great interest in the Caucasus region, Georgia particularly, lots of publications about the problem appeared.
Now American military engineers are active at reconstruction of the aerodromes in Marneuli and Alexeyevka for landing of US troop-carriers. The situation at the Georgian-Abkhazian border promises large-scope work for the experts. Official Tbilisi seems to be pressing for development of the situation. Such attitude can be also understood: too many guerrillas and al Qaeda militants are hiding on Georgia’s territory. Georgia’s President Eduard Shevardnadze seems to have forgotten the fact that he used to be indignant at Moscow’s supposition about lots of militants hiding in the Pankissky gorge. The situation changed when Washington had officially confirmed the information. Georgian officials started talking much about the great threat to the country’s security coming from bin Laden’s militants hiding in the gorge. Georgia’s Minister for Foreign Affairs Koba Narchemashvili said: “The Pankissky gorge is a really hot spot causing great problems for Georgia, the USA, as well as for Russia.”
In his words, “it is very important that the USA is going to help Georgia.” At the same time it was stressed, US’s assistance would be rendered in the form of training, Georgia would be able to settle the problems independently after the training. The minister also says, the USA has got information about morbid processes in Abkhazia, that is not confirmed yet.
It is an open secret, Georgia will try to solve the Abkhazian problem at once under the guise of the anti-terrorism struggle. Originally Georgia wanted to settle the problem with the help of a Chechen gang under the command of Ruslan Gelayev, but failed. Today’s line of Tbilisi is less straightforward, but more reliable.
The information about possible presence of terrorists on Abkhazia’s territory will provoke armed intrusion in the unrecognized republic. In March, US military experts will start training of four Georgian battalions and one company for military operations against terrorism. Another group of US military instructors is expected to arrive in Tbilisi on March 20. They will bring a range of suggestions as for creation of special anti-terrorism armed units. The documents will be presented to Georgia’s Defense Ministry for consideration. It is suggested to create the following subdivisions: light infantry battalion of the 11th brigade, the Kodjory base for the Georgian special forces training, Kommando battalion and Sachkhersky rifle special purpose unit.
The preparation is going on a grand scale. But Georgia is in for a serious task now: it is very important to assure the world community of the necessity to organize an anti-terror operation on Abkhazia’s territory. It is a really hard task, but Eduard Shevardnadze is not used to easy ways. Even a small, but victorious war will make for preservation of the presidency by Eduard Shevardnadze. Otherwise, the opposition will throw him down, and no American specialists will be helpful at that.
Yesterday Georgia appealed to the UN monitors and Russian peacemakers present in the area of Abkhazian conflict for verification of the information about presence of international terrorist groups in Abkhazia.
Commander of the Georgian peacemakers in the conflict area Klimenty Tevzadze told journalists, al Qaeda militants were present on Abkhazia’s territory, in the villages of the Tkvarchelsky region. Tevzadze also mentioned, Abkhazia denied the information.
Earlier the foreign minister of the unrecognized republic of Abkhazia announced, Georgia was carrying out an information preparation before removal of the terrorists from the Pankissky gorge to Abkhazia’s territory and beginning of large-scale military operations directed against Abkhazia.
According to the information received by Sukhumi, “a large-scale military operation” will be launched against Abkhazia at the end of April or in May. Abkhazia’s plenipotentiary in Moscow Igor Ahba told RIA Novosti that “Georgia was deliberately misinforming to provoke a military operation and settle the Abkhazia problem by force.”
Abkhazian servicemen think, the force operation can be performed as from the side of the Kodorsky gorge, as well with landing of forces and breaking of the Georgian-Abkhazian border along the river of Inguri.
Dmitry Litvinovich PRAVDA.Ru
Translated by Maria Gousseva
Read the original in Russian: http://pravda.ru/main/2002/03/15/38269.html