Status: No significant changes to report. The Humvees (and possible other equipment according to some reports) stolen by the Russians has not been returned. There remain no signs of pull out by the Russians, or even any obvious preparations for same.
The Russians have outlined their plans for a security buffer which may extend well into Georgia, but it is hard to tell as they are not providing much in the way of details. Russia's response to recent UN and NATO condemnations appears to be to have the upper house of parliament recognize Ossetian and Abkhazian independence. Russia has also reportedly pulled out of a planned cooperative naval exercise with NATO forces. There have been no more verified reports of kidnapping of soldiers, nor have I found a follow-up to this report of Russian troops attempting to enter a military base well outside their so-called zone and covered within the framework of the cease-fire. There continue to be numerous reports and even more rumors of ethnic cleansing within the Russian occupation zone.
Poland has signed on to missle defense despite the threat of nuclear attack in retaliation, and there are numerous reports that the Ukraine is considering its options for same. The Baltic States and other former Russian occupied countries continue to show strong support to Georgia. The Latvian parliament hs issued a formal statement of support and Estonia is providing support to Georgia in the ongoing cyber war.
Yesterday, Jim C asked about a NATO CAP or other support as a deterrence. While a limited CAP could be provided, the real problem lies with logistics, for even a modest tripwire (sacrificial) CAP requires a fair bit of support. Getting support to Georgia (see map) is not an easy thing, and the key lies in Turkey.
The history between Georgia and Turkey is a long and complex thing. While a bit dry, this brief history does provide a good bit of detail for those truly interested, including the long history of treaties with Georgia broken by Russia...
Even though Georgia was long a Christian bastion against Muslim forces, with a significant part of modern Georgia held against attacks by the Ottomanss that expanded the historic Dar al Islam of the Middle Ages, Georgia's modern relations with Turkey have been quite good. There is extensive trade, a significant amount of free passage (at least in specific regions), and more. So far, Turkey has been a strong supporter of Georgia in the current situation, though internal political divisions (the same ones that threaten the secular postion taken by Kemal Ataturk) could create problems.
If you don't know the terms Dar al Islam and Dar al Harb (the abode of war and chaos, i.e. that not under the rule of Islam), you really should as much of what is going on today is an effort to return Dar al Islam to its former borders (which includes Spain and significant portions of Eastern Europe and Asia Minor) as a precursor to the universal Dar al Islam.
While airmobile can bring in a lot of supplies, C-5's and the like are easy targets and can't bring in truly significant amounts of supplies. They can keep things going where stockpiles are already in place, or establish a bridgehead (said bridgehead either having to link up quickly with other forces and resupply or be the subject of a massive continuing airlift) but getting effective amounts of vehicles, parts, ammo, food, etc. is going to take ships, rails, and roads. Right now, the Russians have effectively seized and control P'oti, the major Georgian port on the Black Sea. The Russian Black Sea fleet is mobilized and has been taking part in operations (though reports are that the tiny Georgian fleet did an unexpectedly serious number on same), and that this fleet does have a submarine component. With Russian troops also controlling the major East-West arteries in that region, military shipments via the Black Sea would have a hard time. And, yes, I know some humanitarian aid is on its way via the waves, am waiting to see what really happens there.
To truly get military aid, even aid for peacekeepers in so that the Russian's can't steal or block it means going overland (and overflight for airlift, reducing the exposure of the aircraft to hostile acts) via Turkey. While I think that Turkey has enough rail to handle such, it will take time to procure and there is likely to be a need to hand-off at the Georgian border. Nothing that can't be overcome, but it will take time and will be fairly obvious to any observer.
My hope is that such talks are underway, as any effort to bring in truly significant amounts of humanitarian aid, much less military aid and support, pretty much will have to come via Turkey.
If Texas Bob and chartwel read this, please drop me a line at wolf1 at laughingwolf and net. I would very much appreciate it.
As always, here are links to sources of information:
The Messenger Blog
The Messenger Newspaper
Scraps of Moscow
All About Latvia
The 8th Circle
A Fistful of Euros
Georgia Ministry of Foreign Affairs Blog
Here is a list of Blackfive posts dealing with the Russian invasion of Georgia:
This Can't Be Good!
US Troops in Georgia not in Harm''s Way...Yet
No, It'sNot Good At All
While the EU and NATO Fiddle...
The Devil Went To Georgia
Georgia On My Mind
The Lights Stay On In Georgia?
Georgian Soldiers In Iraq
Lights Flicker in Georgia
Who'll Stop the Rain
Aid for the Republic of Georgia
The Things Not Reported...
Perspective: A Different View of Current Events in Georgia
Georgia Soldiers Leave Iraq to Defend Home
Georgia: The Russian Guessing Game
Here are some other milblogs that are covering this:
More if/as I get the chance...