Friday, November 28, 2008

Poland: Georgian shooting was a stunt

The attempted shooting last week of Georgian President Mikhail Saakasvili and his guest Polish President Lech Kaczynski near the South Ossetia border has been branded "a stunt" by Poland's internal security agency according to Russia Today.

The Agencja Bezpieczenstwa Wewnetrznego (according to the report in Russia Today) said that the shooting was staged by Georgian authorities as a public relations stunt to build sympathy for the Georgian side in the aftermath of their August conflict with Russia. The two presidents allegedly came under fire from a South Ossetian/Russian checkpoint about 100 yards away. One reason given by the ABW for their conclusion was that neither Saakasvili nor his bodyguards reacted when the shots were fired by, supposedly, hostile Russian troops.

Click here for our earlier posting on the shooting.

Meanwhile Dmitry Rogozin, Russia's envoy to NATO, told RIA Novosti that the United States was preparing to replace Saakasvili. "Georgia's friends at NATO are deeply disappointed with Saakashvili," Rogozin said in an interview, "another leader for Georgia is being prepared." The West is supposedly upset with Saakasvili for starting the war with Russia last August, even though he had been told in no uncertain terms by the United States and several other European countries not to risk a conflict with Russia and that neither NATO nor the United States would come to their aid, militarily, if they did.

Rogozin suggested that Georgia's former speaker of the parliament Nino Burdzhanadze is seen as a more acceptable leader to the Western nations who think he is less of a hot head than Saakasvili. And if it seems odd that the West (particularly the US) could pick Georgia’s leaders, keep in mind that Georgia’s previous president Eduard Shevardnadze stayed in power from the mid-1990’s through 2003 thanks in large part to support from the West; it was the verdict of international monitors that his reelection in 2003 was rigged that led to Georgia’s “Rose Revolution” and Saakasvili’s subsequent rise to power.

While all the political factions in Georgia rallied 'round the flag in the days after the conflict with Russia, more and more opposition politicians have been speaking out against Saakasvili recently, demanding that he follow through on promises of reforming his government and take responsibility for the war.
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