Former Georgian president Mikheil Saakashvili has been saying for six months that he will be back in six months! No elections are due to be held and he can’t run for president again. Now, unfortunately, we might know what he meant.
On February 17 Victoria Nuland, a US Assistant Secretary of State, visited Tbilisi. She is best known for being an outspoken supporter of the coup d’etat in Kiev a year ago, which led to the violent overthrow of then-president Viktor Yanukovich and the ongoing fighting over this now nearly failed state. She appeared in Tbilisi at the same time Saakashvili officially became an “advisor” to Ukraine’s new incumbent, Petro Poroshenko.
Nuland’s notoriety as a field-tested battleaxe precedes her. Both she and her husband, Robert Kagan, are products of the Bush-Cheney neo-con regime and are closely linked with its “1984” mindset of conducting continuous war, which was the basis of the defence strategy outlined by the Cheney Defense Department in the waning days of the Bush Administration, the now-notorious “Project for a New American Century”.
Nuland and Kagan both subscribe to the old doctrine of “manifest destiny” which this document was based on. According to this, America must remain the undisputed leader of the world, because that is the reason for America’s existence. As a diplomat she has been employed to serve America’s interests, but, like many official US representatives, she has taken the view that the US interest is the only one, there is no such thing as a general or even broader interest, as her famous “Fuck the EU” remark last year testifies.
In late February Germany’s Der Spiegel described her as “America’s Riot Diplomat”— a sobriquet which can mean both that Nuland acts disruptively, and that she creates actual riots (as on the Maidan in Ukraine). Its “Politics” column stated that Nuland poses a threat to America’s allies (including Georgia and Azerbaijan, the countries she has just visited), and that while her current remit is to solve the crisis of Ukraine and its relations with Russia, “In the crisis, Nuland herself has become the problem.”
So why was such a person visiting Georgia and Azerbaijan at the same time former US favourite Saakashvili was taking up a new appointment in Ukraine to prevent him being extradited to face criminal charges in Georgia? As always, there is no coincidence about these things occurring at the same time.
Too many connections
Victoria Nuland is well aware of both Georgian and Ukrainian history, and knows the players or “patsies” now engaged in them. Indeed, she was in Kiev during the Orange Revolution when she was US Ambassador to NATO, banging the drum for regime change. Georgia had already had a similar US-inspired regime change, led by Saakashvili. Now another violent regime change has occurred, but has not gone to plan, Saakashvili is being brought in to advise these new “patsies”.
Nuland’s position on Ukraine is clear. Der Spiegel described a closed-door meeting she held at the Munich Security Conference a week before, involving “perhaps two dozen U.S. diplomats and Senators.” She told them to “fight against the Europeans” on the issue of arming Ukraine to fight Russia, referred to the meeting between the leaders of Germany, France and Russia as“Merkel’s Moscow junk,” and “Moscow bullshit,” and welcomed a Senator calling German Defence Minister Ursula von der Leyen the “Defeatism Minister.”
Nuland doesn’t want an agreement between the warring parties in Ukraine, or to prevent further loss of life. The more Ukraine is in crisis, the more the US, or rather she as its representative, can do what it likes in the name of “regulating” that crisis. That, apparently, includes rehabilitating Saakashvili by making him an “adviser”, and therefore a statesman, rather than the wanted criminal he is in the country he was president of.
It is hardly surprising therefore that this open support for a man forced out of Georgia for his many crimes aroused considerable disquiet in Tbilisi during her visit. When pressed about the alleged crimes of the former president she would only answer that Ukraine was in need of expertise and was seeking advice from those who have a proven track record in such situations. It was exactly that track record which got him kicked out of Tbilisi, so such a statement cannot be considered friendly.
The U.S. Department of State claimed her visit was dedicated to discussing “cooperation and regional issues” and “Georgia’s path toward European integration and Georgia’s efforts to defend its territorial integrity and sovereignty.” In English, this means ensuring that Georgia cooperates with the US on Ukraine by threatening it with being barred from entering the EU and losing Abkhazia and South Ossetia forever if it doesn’t. Open support for Saakashvili is all part of the same threat.
Devil in the detail
After visiting Tbilisi Nuland travelled to Baku, to “strengthen bilateral relations in trade and investment, energy diversification, security and counter-terrorism and democracy and civil society, and advancing a just and lasting settlement of the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict.” Note the similarity of language. The US will help Azerbaijan, and ignore its own misdemeanours, if it supports it over Ukraine. If not, it will sign Karabakh over to Armenia, without consulting Azerbaijan.
It was reported that Nuland held meetings with the NGOs allowed to operate in both countries. The vast majority of these are funded by the Soros Foundation and the National Endowment for Democracy, NED, which have long been CIA fronts for toppling regimes which fail to toe-the American-foreign-policy-line. See where they operate, and where the funds go, and an undeniable picture emerges.
While this was going on Saakashvili was holding meetings with his supporters via a big screen link at his Presidential Library in Tbilisi, the only such institution in Georgia. A number of youth orientated NGOs regularly attend these meetings, including the Innovations and Development Foundation, The Movement for Independence and European Integration, Free Zone and the newly created Azat Zone (a Georgian-Azerbaijani venture) and the League of Young Diplomats,. These are all standard bearers for keystone Saakashvili policies.
Unfortunately, there are a number of governments around the world who would wish to benefit from Saakashvili’s experience of running criminal networks which robbed, terrorised, tortured and murdered Georgians for so long. However Saakashvili and several prominent members of his regime are being protected by the latest US project, and walking into jobs in its government, despite not being Ukrainian or elected.
It is also interesting that the US is saying that the present Georgian government is deviating from the country’s Pro-Western course by trying to prosecute the Saakashvili gang. This is exactly what the protestors in Ukraine were alleged to be complaining about, when they were doing nothing of the sort. The implication is that Saakashvili, rather than the new government, represents the aspirations of the people. So what, are we left to imply, should be done by a caring global policeman?
Too many rumours
All the ducks are in a row for another attempt at “pro-Western” regime change by “popular uprising”, like the failed Orange Revolution and the faltering Chocolate War. All Saakashvili’s many attempts to hold demonstrations in his favour since he left office have shown the Georgian people do not want him. But if the present Georgian government will not do what America wants in Ukraine, that is what it is going to get.
Indeed, there have been persistent rumours in Georgia over the last few weeks that some regime change may be in the works. These have been openly reported in the Georgian media, as if trying to prepare the public for what others say is good for them. Another of the usual telltale signs, the sudden increase in the number of overseas military advisors entering the country, has been observed by sources at the Tbilisi airport.
The former Georgian government people now in Ukraine have strong connections with the National Endowment for Democracy and Soros Foundation-funded NGOs. These are the people Nuland met and briefed in Georgia and Azerbaijan. She could have met other people, like the electors or independent media, but she was interested in these individuals and their network. As the State Department unwittingly acknowledged, she wasn’t there to hear but to tell.
Jeffrey Silverman, Veterans Today Bureau Chief in Tbilisi, recently said the following in an interview in a Georgian language newspaper, Georgian and the World:
“A representative of a foreign intelligence service, who also represents a NATO country, at least I suspect so, suggested that Vakhtang Maisaia, one of Saakashvili’s former political prisoners and a high profile human rights defender, should disappear for a while, as he had information that he was on some sort of hit list, and was among those to be killed as part of a plot to overthrow the current government.
“Based on ‘strong rumors’ going around which, based on previous experience, are very credible, some diehard members of the former ruling United National Movement and high ranking members of the current government have been plotting together to stage a coup d’etat. There will be some “nice ceremonies and private parties” for a selection of participants, and as my contact sees it, Vakhtang Maisaia will be one of the guests to be terminated.
“My source added, ‘I am sorry for being so enigmatic, but this is something scalding and it’s easy to get burnt with it. I wish you the best of luck and I kindly ask you not to mention the topic via email anymore. If you find documents but need clarifications, download software called Jitsi from a clean computer and let’s have a chat through it.
“The world has gone nuts, there is an investigation going on within Georgia. I am sure you know what I am talking about, but plz do not add anything via email – it is encrypted, but not bulletproof. If you find the right door to knock on in Tbilisi, I think you will get all the evidence you need. Whether that information can be published or not depends on the politicians in power and how fearless is the Georgian press,” he concluded.
This is what the Guardian democracy does when its friends elect their own government. Time will tell whether that government caves in, or whether a popular uprising by 20 Georgians and 50 diplomats installs one which will.
Henry Kamens, columnist, expert on Central Asia and Caucasus, exclusively for the online magazine “New Eastern Outlook”.