After Russian forces halted actions against Georgian forces yesterday, citing that South Ossetia had been secured and that (to quote Russian President Medvedev) the "aggressor has been punished and their armed forces have suffered significant loses", Georgia has finally accepted the Russian-French plan for ending the conflict in South Ossetia. The plan consists of:
1) Non-use of force.
2) Stop all military action.
3) Free access to humanitarian aid.
4) Georgian troops return to their previous positions before the conflict.
5) Russian troops return to the lines they held before the start of the military operation. Before an international solution is worked out Russian peacekeepers are taking up an additional security role.
6) The start of an international discussion over the future status of South Ossetia and Abkhazia.
Essentially the terms that Russia called for late on the 8th, namely Georgian forces returning to the positions they held in the middle of last week, and that they would sign an agreement renouncing the use force against South Ossetia.
It is unfortunate that Saakashvili refused to make any agreement until Georgia's forces were rendered incapable of continuing any significant assault against South Ossetia, his decision needlessly continued the conflict for two or three days.
They have also put him in a weak position at home, despite massive increases to military funding over the last few years, and getting training from the United States and Israel, Georgian forces proved they only "enemy" they could kill were the Ossetians asleep in their beds in Tskhinvali, this is no doubt a humiliating blow for the Georgian military, and Georgia's so called tough-man president, who's gambit failed miserably.
The quick end to the war also exposed Saakashvili's lies, and shows how willing the western media were to repeat them.
The so called invasion of Gori, Poti, and other towns that the Georgians said had fallen to the Russians, and the reports of the Russian military being only a few miles from Tbilisi have all been shown to be utterly false. Worse still there were journalists in Gori at the time it was supposedly under Russian control. Who reported that there were no sign of any Russian forces, but still western TV stations and newspapers reported that the Russians had advanced to Gori. That's not all even a US defence official told AFP that "we don't see anything that supports they are in Gori [...] I don't know why the Georgians are saying that" and that there was "no obvious buildup of Russian forces along the border that signaled an intention to invade", the Russians also denied having moved on Gori.
Despite three sources saying it was nonsense, the press were all too willing to go along with whatever lies Saakashvili's threw out there, and even go as far as showing footage of Tskhinvali and claim it was Gori.
It also shows how far Saakashvili is willing to go, he not only said that Russian forces were in control of half of the country. His forces instigated mass panic by telling civilians to leave their homes because the Russians were coming. His actions are responsible for the scale of the displacement in Georgia at the moment.
Also obvious now the dust is settling is how brutal the Georgian attack was on Tskhinvali, 70% of the city is estimated to of been damaged or destroyed during the night of the assault. It can only be described as ethnic cleansing. Attacking a city - at night, unprovoked, with heavy artillery, multiple rocket launch systems and aircraft can only be considered an attempt by Georgia to cause as much death and destruction as possible, to terrify the Ossetians into fleeing, which half of them have done. Some were not so lucky to escape, some were bombed on the road to Russia, thousands are dead in the rubble of their homes in Tskhinvali, and the dozen or so villages around which were all targeted by the Georgian military in their opening assault.
If it wasn't for the speedy response of Russia after the night of the 7th Georgia would have been successful in cleansing South Ossetia of the Ossetian people. While this was happening western governments said nothing, Georgia should of been strongly condemned for carrying out such a vicious attack upon civilians, yet nothing from western governments. Some, like the US Secretary of State, and George Bush had the nerve to tell Russia to effectively let Georgia carry out their ethnic cleansing.
The war crimes tribunal at the Hague must begin investigations into the Georgian military, and members in the government such as Saakashvili to determine their roll in any possible war crimes. They must not be allowed to get away with such brutal actions towards a civilian population.