You can read the background and series of events on the conflict between Russia and Georgia on Wiki but this blog post is basically my thoughts on the issue.

South Ossetia is part of Georgia The inhabitants of Georgian South Ossetia are a majority ethnic Russians. However, Russia have been basically playing games and handing out Russian passports to anyone that wants them which technically makes them Russian citizens which they have every right to protect. Mind you, these ‘Russian Citizens’ still live in Georgia.

Georgia have also had little control over South Oossetia politically as they strive for independence and self governance. There have been the ‘Seperatist movements’ and they want to basically do their own thing which is fair enough. This is where you draw the comparison to Kosovo and how much the West supported their independence but however will not support South Ossetia. Do Russia see this as getting one back on the west? Probably plays a part.

My understanding is that Georgia sent troops into South Ossetia to respond to these separatist rebels trying to take the South Ossestian capital. Sure I think the US knew about it beforehand. I also think that the Russians knew it was coming just by how ready they actually were. This was finally the excuse Russia was looking for and responded by saying that Georgia is trying to cause "genocide" and launched an invasion of South Ossetia and the other ‘independent region’ Abkhazia within Georgia.

Russia wanted this because NATO was hoping to expand into Eastern Europe through old USSR states like Georgia. Strategically it is in Russia’s interests to keep NATO away and for them to be the regional power. They wanted this conflict to destabilise the region and for NATO to hesitate in giving Georgia NATO membership, hence keeping a buffer between themself and NATO. They were just waiting, and the Georgians obliged.

Russia has their excuse to ‘take back’ South Ossetia but now they are continuing into Georgia itself where does the line get drawn? When does/should their ‘excuse’ stop? Geographically, Georgia is in a strategically strong position. There is also now a major oil pipeline that connects East Asia with Europe that runs through the country. The first that bypasses Russia. It would be ‘nice’ for Russia to have control of this. It would be naive to not consider this as a factor.

It all just fell neatly into the Russian’s hands. From a Western perspective has this been a big mistake? We’ll see.