Friday, August 8, 2008

How the frozen conflict turned into a flash fire

The South Ossetians and Georgians have been sniping at each other for several weeks and patience on both sides has finally snapped. South Ossetia and Georgia's other breakaway region, Abkhazia, have enjoyed de facto independence since the early 1990s but Tbilisi has never recognised the loss of its territory. The dispute between Georgia and the two regions was called "the frozen conflict" because the issues remain unresolved, but there was no fighting. The heat began to rise this year when the west recognised Kosovo, against Russia's advice. The South Ossetians and Abkhazians argued that if Kosovo could be independent, then so could they.

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