Wednesday, October 11, 2006

The railing connection

Picture two babies fighting over a toy -- that is Russia and Georgia's political feud. In between their torrid love affairs, its baffling just how much they fight.

Last year, both countries decided to reestablish the Transcaucasian rail link between Moscow and Tbilisi that was severed years earlier. The rail resumed earlier this year, but with problems about establishing checkpoints and other usual blah.

Then, Moscow stopped the rail link with Georgia when the conflict started late Sept. Technically, not exactly.

Moscow still operates trains to Abkhazia, a semi-autonomous Georgian province where Russia supports the rebels fighting Georgian forces. Russia first established a rail connection with Abkhazia in 2004. Georgia got upset, saying Russia's actions encouraged separatism in Georgia. Russia didn't care. They yelled boo and kept chugging.

The Abkhazia train service was a minor issue in the widespread fight between Georgia and Russia. Now that Russia has suspended the Tbilisi-Moscow service, that issue could pop up again.

Each political issue they bring to the table -- like the train one -- is so immature and imbecile that it feels like babies fighting over milk. That's just the political issues; the non-political conflict in Abkhazia and South Ossetia itself is a very serious matter.

Russia has invested a lot in Georgia, so as long as transportation remains severed, Georgia will suffer economically. Armenia for certain wants the service running, as the train floats from Moscow to Tbilisi down to Baku carrying loads of freight and keeping Armenia's trade connection with Russia alive. At this point, Armenia just has no say.

Try the best they can to bring this fight to the world stage, Russia won't succeed. The world has a lot more crap to deal with right now than Georgia, an unharmful little country in the Russian backwaters. Russia has done what it could to publicize the affair -- evacuate citizens and personnel, sever transport links, try to impose trade sanctions, run a pony and monkey show -- but none of it will work anymore.

This conflict will hopefully end soon, and the trains will run again.


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