August 19, 2008

Map of Russian Attacks, Checkpoints in Georgia, and The Economic Impact On Georgia

Now back from vacation, here are a few comments on Russia's invasion, and lack of withdrawal of Georiga. Russia's president claimed to begin pulling out of Georgia on Monday (8/18), yet observers on the ground say Russia is doing excatly the opposite. NATO is meeting today and hopefully will have a strong response to Russia.

The Georgian people are very fond of America, and according to this report feelings still remain strong towards the US. The Georigan economy has come so far since 2003, improving the lives of every day Georgians, and I saw this first hand on my visit to Georgia in March of this year. Georgia was the world's World Bank's #1 Economic Reformer for 2007. Unfortunately, the Russian invasion will have a serious impact on Georgia's economic progress. Investors are wary of investing when the Russian forces may invade again. The Georgian infrastructure has been destroyed in much of the country, making it difficult to trade and transport goods.

Here the Wall Street Journal goes into detail on how the Russian forces are attempting to strangle the Georgian economy:

"Events in Poti, a Georgian town on the Black Sea coast, also suggest Russia has used the conflict to draw a noose around Georgia's economy. Though hundreds of miles from the fighting in Georgia's separatist province of South Ossetia and clearly not a military asset, Poti's huge commercial port was targeted 10 days ago in a Russian bombing raid that killed 10 people and wounded 40. The town itself has seen daily incursions by Russian troops who have looted stores, trashed offices and systematically destroyed military infrastructure, according to Georgian officials. Some looting has been captured on local television.

"The Russians deliberately targeted commercial operations to inflict economic damage on Georgia," says Alan Middleton, the English head of Poti Sea Port Corp. "Dropping bombs on Poti port, killing people -- I don't see how you can connect that with South Ossetia."

The container terminals of Poti's commercial port are now operating normally again, but the trading relationships that underpin Poti's success are in peril. The only functioning road to Azerbaijan and Armenia via Georgia now is an unpaved dirt track through mountain passes and hilly farmland southwest of Tbilisi. It is impassable for big, articulated vehicles of the kind that normally ply their trade between Poti and points east. After the weekend bombing, all rail links are cut, too.

Poti's port isn't the only Georgian economic asset that has come under threat. Russian-backed rebels in the country's second breakaway region, Abkhazia, have moved south to grab a big hydroelectric power station near the Inguri River. Russian planes have also dropped bombs on the Heidelberg cement factory near Gori, and near the BP PLC-run Baku-Tbilisi-Ceyhan pipeline, which carries 850,000 barrels of oil a day to the Mediterranean, according to Georgia's government. Russia denies targeting them."

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

God Bless America!