November 09, 2004

Hostage Standoff in South Ossetia Over

Long-time readers know that I have been following the low-level war in South Ossetia between the proxy armies of Georgia and Russia. The potential for this to turn into a 'hot war' between the two nations is real. I missed this news over the weekend, but apparently 40 hostages were taken by villagers on both sides of the conflict. While the hostages have been freed, it should be noted that the standoff started during a cease-fire agreement between the two sides. Despite numerous such agreements, the fighting always seems to start again. Both sides have agreed to withdraw troops from the region by Nov. 20th, but it seems unlikely that the agreement will hold. Like all such conflicts, peace will only be achieved when one side or the other realizes that it cannot obtain it's goals. Cease-fires, withdrawals, and negotiations do not solve the underlying causes of the problems.

Moscow Times:

Residents living in the border zone between Georgia and breakaway South Ossetia freed about 40 hostages Sunday, police said.

Georgia and South Ossetia have set a Nov. 20 deadline to withdraw troops and other armed groups from their border zone in an effort to reduce simmering tensions, the Russian Foreign Ministry said Saturday.

Both sides abducted the hostages after the disappearance of an ethnic Georgian man in the region Wednesday.

Eldar Kakhniashvili, 22, from the ethnic Georgian village of Kekhvi failed to return from a trip to collect timber in a nearby forest. Ethnic Georgians accused the South Ossetians of involvement, and they temporarily barricaded a main highway. Ethnic Ossetians then blocked the road themselves to retaliate.

On Thursday, about 40 people -- both ethnic Georgians and ethnic Ossetians -- were taken hostage by both sides as tension rose.

Alexander Sukhitashvili, police chief of the Georgian district of Shida Kartli which borders South Ossetia, said all the hostages were released Sunday in the village of Tamarasheni after successful negotiations between the two sides.

Related posts:War between Russia and Georgia in South Ossetia still looms
War Imminent Between Georgia and Russia
Ossetia Ceasefire Broken
Georgia and Separatist S.Ossetia Agree Cease-Fire
Ossetia: Impending War, Georgia vs. Russia
War Looms Between Russia and Georgia

By Rusty Shackleford, Ph.D. at 09:54 AM | Comments |