See what I mean about how crazy this stuff seems to us Americans? All this fuss about a place with a population about one-fifth of Fresno's. But like I keep saying, and like the Bush people keep not figuring out, not everybody thinks like us.
The ones who are left in South Ossetia are the hard core, the ones who can't or won't leave, and they're backed by Russian "peacekeepers." Not all of those 70,000 are even Ossetians; some of the villages in the nominal breakaway region are Georgian, so there's no way even God himself could draw a clean border that would put all the Ossetians on one side and all the Georgians on the other.
Truth is, if God himself had to solve problems like this or Bosnia, He'd probably end up using Ethnic Cleansing Powder. It makes more sense and in the long run might even be less bloody than just letting the locals carve each other up from now till Doomsday.
But God's not involved here. The players are Russia, Georgia -- and us, as Georgia's new best pal. The CIA and the Georgians are very, very tight. The reason is the same reason as Iraq: oil. We want Caspian Sea oil, and the pipeline we're building to take that oil passes through goes through Georgia. Or more specifically, through Adzharia, and into Turkey. America armed and trained the Georgians so they could take back Adzharia, which they did. We got what we wanted, but Saakashvili wants more. He thinks it's a quid pro quo, and he wants South Ossetia too. The Russians don't like this at all, and the Ossetians side with the Russians. Or rather, they need the Russians.
The Georgians figured they were on a roll after doing their root-canal on Adzharia and they moved on to South Ossetia this year. The result was a war. A little, nasty war, the kind you get these days, mostly snipers and mortars. And of course the usual targets are civilians; both sides accuse the other of mortaring hospitals, and both are probably telling the truth. Because that's how war works nowadays. Civilian targets are preferred; they're easier to sight, they don't fire back, and since the whole point is to scare the ethnic enemy into running away, it just makes more sense to target them than the enemy army.
The Georgians say the Ossetian rebels are trying to scare Georgian villages into running south to Georgia. That's probably true; after all, it's exactly what the Georgians did to the South Ossetians in 1991. It worked for them, so why shouldn't the Ossetians do it?
Trouble is, the Georgians have the big guns, the money, and the backing -- America. The Georgian army even wears surplus US Army uniforms, and we've got advisors teaching them how to do everything from brush their teeth to sight their artillery pieces.
The only friends the Ossetians have are the Russians. And...well, I don't want to offend the people running the eXile now, but...well, let's put it this way: in the past -- not now, of course, just in the past -- having Russia for a friend was like having the worst enemy you could imagine. Russia -- in the past, just in the past! -- betrays every ally it ever had, from the Serbs to the Egyptians.
But now under the glorious reign of Mr. Putin, uh...that's all changed. Totally changed. So hey, you besieged South Ossetians, get ready for the glory of the Alanii to come back! With the new Russia on your side, you...uh...oh yeah: you can't lose!