For those up early Friday morning, if you turned on the news you saw reports of a huge Georgian offensive against separatists in South Ossetia.
South Ossetia, is a de-facto independent state, which Georgia claims is its own, however it is primarily made up of Russians, most carry Russian passports and have Russian citizenship. Following a brief period of fighting in the early 1990s, a ceasefire was made between the rebels, whereby a joint Russian-Georgian and Ossetian peacekeeping force (limited to about 500 soldiers) remained in the area to keep the peace.
Night of the 7th: Georgia broke the ceasefire and launched an all out assault upon South Ossetia, following up on a brief artillery barrage on the 1st which killed about six people. This time Russian forces come under fire, and the capital is heavily damaged by sustained artillery fire. 1,400 civilians are estimated to have died, and 10 Russian soldiers.
The following morning: Additional Russian troops are ordered into South Ossetia to re-enforce existing Russian peacekeeping forces and defend the Russian population.
Funnily enough throughout the day I thought the reporting wasn't too bad, even Sky News mentioning the fact that it was Georgia that started this conflict.
Somehow, the BBC News at 10, forgot the details of the night of the 7th. Giving the impression this was a Russian invasion of Georgia.
I'm pleased to say, BBC News 24 (or whatever it is called now) at midnight on the 9th, correctly reported that Georgia made the opening moves.
However the damage has been done. On Labourhome we see rubbish like this:
After Georgia attempted to restore order to its legal sovereign territory - South Ossetia - Russian tanks and fighters have crossed into Georgian land and airspace.
Right, attacking fellow Russian peacekeeping forces, shelling the capital city and killing over one thousand civilians is restoring order.
By attacking Russian forces, minding their own business in South Ossetia - where they're supposed to be - is an act of war. Russia would be well within its rights to drive to Tbilisi and force Georgia's surrender.
The sheer aggression of Georgian President Saakashvili cannot be overstated, what did he think the Russian government would be too busy watching the Olympics to respond? Or was he expecting NATO support? No doubt timing serves in the propaganda war, Georgia attacks hours before the Olympics - so it gets very little news time, and the following day all we here about is the Russian response. There's no question at all, Saakashvili should be booted out of office.
People can really come up with some wacky conclusions when they don't know the facts, Tree Tibet supporters come to mind, and so does our Labourhome friend who says:
A full scale attack on Georgia must be met by NATO.
Great, that'll calm the situation down.