The situation in the zone of conflict between Georgia and South Ossetia has been extremely strained.
The sessions of the Multilateral Monitoring Commission (which includes representatives of Russia, Georgia, North and South Ossetia) have been in progress, but the exchange of fire has been going on as well.
On August 18 Head of Georgian Interior Ministry Iraklia Okruashvili said that Georgia holds control on the strategic hills in Dzhavsky District of Southern Ossetia. Five Cossacks were killed in the fight over the kills, the other allegedly fled and left their weapons on the battlefield, the Minister said.
The South Ossetian authorities denied these statements. The Defense minister of the unrecognized republic Anatoly Barankevich said that the hills are still controlled by South Ossetia, and all the attacks of the Georgian forces had been repelled.
In fact, South Ossetia is in the midst of war, with constant exchanges of fire and using heavy weapons. Meanwhile, the rivals in this conflict are trying to avoid the word “war”. None of them wants to acknowledge responsibility for the exchanges of fire. The idea of some “third force” disturbing reaching an agreement between Georgia and South Ossetia, has immediately been introduced. Witty fellows called the people of this alleged “third force” “batmen”.
What is this “third force” about and where did it come from? Georgian Defense Minister Georgy Baramidze said that “a well-prepared group of 15-20 people is conducting operations in the conflict zone”, this group tries to provoke a war by shooting the positions of the Georgians and Ossetians at night. This group is likely to be well-armed, and its members must be extremely strong if remember the statements of both Georgian and Ossetian authorities on artillery fire at night. How strong these 20 people should be to carry howitzers in the mountains? Real batmen…
It is worth investigating where this third force came from. Only on August 19, Georgian Prime Minister Zurab Zhvania revealed the mystery: he said that “those called “the third force”, were mercenaries from North Caucasus region. Mr. Zhvania also said that the previous night “our special forces conducted successful operation and broke up all the rumors of the so called “third force”.
Here is an example of the politician who keeps his promises. Two days ago Mr. Zhvania said that “such a force must be wiped out, and our military will do this”… And now, here is the result…
However, the commander of the Multilateral peacekeeping forces in the conflict zone, Russian general Svyatoslav Nabzdorov is ware of the “third force” as well. He does not say that the “batmen” are “mercenaries and terrorists from the North Caucasus region”. Speaking of the “third force”, the Russian general mean only one person – Cossack-fighter, Georgian Interior ministry Irakli Okruashvili. “This is the “third force” being mentioned lately”, said general Nabzdorov. According to him, the Georgian Interior Minister creates obstacles for the peacekeepers in the region.
While the opponents in this conflict are arguing which of them is more guilty of escalating violence, the fights in South Ossetia are in progress. There are latest reports that Georgian military units tried to force their way to South Ossetian capital Tskhinvali from the North. There is no hope that the crisis will be solved in a peaceful way.