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Any conclusions from the lost war?

By Messenger staff
Thursday, December 4
The August events raised many questions. The authorities created an ad hoc Parliamentary Commission to answer those questions, headed by opposition representative Paata Davitaia.

The non-Parliamentary opposition almost unanimously criticized the idea of such a Commission, calling it a shield to protect the interests of the administration. They stated that no real picture of what happened during the war would be revealed. Nobody would give the real reasons for what happened or admit mistakes and material for further analyses would not become available, the opposition said, believing that the authorities would simply use the Commission as a means of advertising their democratic credentials, whether or not any genuine discussion took place or any genuine evidence was heard.

On November 28 the Commission finished its work with the 5 hour interrogation of President Saakashvili. It had previously questioned the ex-Prime Minister, the Speaker of Parliament, the Secretary of the Security Council, Ministers, two Governors, military commanders, the chief of the external intelligence service and the ex-Ambassador to Russia. Its report should be ready in about a week’s time.

The Commission cannot take decisions, only make recommendations. What most people ask is, who will be sacrificed? Presumably none of the high ranking officials. The most obvious candidate is General Kurashvili, who gave an order when, as he himself confessed, he was in a stressed condition, and moved forces to restore constitutional order in Tskhinvali on August 7. The last Ambassador to Russia, Erosi Kitsmarishvili, who accused the Georgian leadership of dragging the country into a disastrous adventure, is also likely to have a downward career momentum after his testimony. But these are only suppositions. Whatever the results are, they will be interesting.

It is highly doubtful that the ruling majority will admit its failures and mistakes. At the Commission hearings witnesses tried to demonstrate that everything was done correctly and there was no other alternative. Therefore the results we received were optimal. Nobody could have done better. As analyst Soso Tsiskarishvili said, “this was an attempt [by the administration] to once again convince both themselves and the international community that this was the only right way to go, and any other development would have been ruinous.” Political analysts are concerned that the Commission will draw the conclusion the witnesses wanted it to draw, as an inadequate understanding of reality might lead to another fateful step being taken which would put the country’s statehood at serious risk.

The EU’s own ad hoc commission intends to begin gathering evidence about this same issue. This commission will most probably be more straightforward and direct, both in its conclusions and how it is run. Maybe the biggest question is: what will happen if the EU commission produces different conclusions to the Georgian one? Could two versions of the conflict coexist while Georgia wants the EU’s support?