FROM TSKHINVALI TO EREVAN…VIA TBILISI?
10 April, 2014
FROM TSKHINVALI TO EREVAN…VIA TBILISI?
The threat of Russian armored equipment columns passing from occupied Tskhinvali to Armenia via Georgia isn’t denied by Americans either. A recent interview with Mike Rodgers, US Chairman of the Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence, caused Georgian people to worry. The Congressman alleged that Russia is increasing its armament in occupied Tskhinvali in order to manage a pass to Armenia and thus have a land connection with Iran.
In case the Kremlin indeed intends
to cut the land corridor from Tskhinvali to Armenia, how will it manage to implement this?
There are only two options – the Russian armored columns will either try to force their way to the Red Bridge via Tbilisi or choose a longer route (Khashuri-Borjomi-Akhaltsikhe-Akhalkalaki).
In both cases, at the beginning the Russian militaries will try to lock the Tbilisi-Khashuri highway and the railway from East and West Georgia in order to disrupt communications. This is what they did in August of 2008.
The advance to Tbilisi for armored columns and combat helicopters and planes may cost Russia more. During the August War the main military units of Georgia (including the first infantry, fourth motorized and first artillery brigades, special operation forces and separate battalions) were gathered near Tbilisi, and in case of well organized defense it will be possible to at least keep them at bay for some time.
The attempt to advance from Tskhinvali to Khashuri-Akhaltsikhe-Akhalkalaki will create fewer obstacles for the Russians, because there are no big combat units on this route and this is well known to the Russian intelligence.
But the political aspect is more important. Suppose the Russian authorities present Tbilisi with an ultimatum – to negotiate a secure corridor for armored columns from Tskhinvali to the Armenian border; or otherwise the Russian military units will cut the corridor by using force. What would Tbilisi do in this case? The people’s opinion is divided One part thinks that in order to avoid a new war it’s better to escort the Russian armored columns to the Armenian border by observing the rules of control and escorting, but the second part is more categorical. According to them, where is the guarantee that the Russians won’t try to invade Samtske-Javakheti or cut the strategically important arterial highways, or even occupy the capital. For this reason we need to fight.
But the opponents have counter arguments. The command of the North Atlantic Alliance doesn’t hide that if Russia assaults Ukraine from the East, it will be completely occupied in 3-5 days. If Ukraine, such big a country, can’t resist the Russian aggression for a longer period of time, what can a small and already partially occupied Georgia do to oppose such a huge monster?
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