Of all the awful wars sparked by the disintegration of the Soviet Union, none was as horrible and completely unnecessary as the Abkhaz War of Independence.
Abkhazia is a tiny country on the Black Sea, squeezed in between Russia and Georgia. The modern population is about 200,000. Before the war, when the population was about 500,000 and the cities were still standing, it was a great place to go on vacation. The fruit was cheap, the sun was warm, the mountains were beautiful and the people were reasonably friendly. The food, as everywhere else in the Caucasus, was great.
Historically, the Abkhaz have generally been independent (or semi-independent) from Georgia. They have their own language and a distinct ethnic identity but, when you boiled things down, before the war there was less difference between the Abkhaz and the Georgians than there is between the residents of Salt Lake City and the residents of San Francisco. Georgians formed about 45% of the population of Abkhazia. Intermarriage was fairly common. There was some resentment on both sides, but most of it amounted to pride in illustrious ancestors. The Abkhaz were proud of Medieval princelings who gave the finger to Georgian kings, while the Georgians were proud of Medieval kings who kicked Abkhazian butt. Everyone mostly agreed that getting taken over by the Russian tzars in the end kind of sucked, but it was better than having the Ottomans march in. All things considered, things were no worse than what obtains between the Scots and the English today.
Between the large Russian, Armenian and Greek populations, the Abkhaz were a minority in their own homeland. This did not particularly discomfit them while everyone remained equally stuck under the Soviet jackboot. Misery, after all, loves company.
All of this began to change in the late 1980s. As the Soviet Union began to openly disintegrate in 1988-89, the Georgians began making loud secessionist noises. There was a revival of Georgian culture, language and national pride. The problem was, the Georgians refused to give their Abkhaz neighbors the consideration they demanded for themselves. The Georgians outnumbered the Abkhaz almost two to one. As the largest component of the population, they felt, and behaved, as the majority. Before long, Georgian nationalists began imposing the Georgian language and discriminating against non-Georgians.
The Georgian cultural revival sparked an Abkhaz cultural revival. It was becoming apparent to all that the USSR would not last much longer and that the individual republics and autonomous regions would end up as independent states. The Abkhaz issued a declaration demanding autonomous status within the USSR. The situation was escalating, but there was still time to avert catastrophe. All the Georgians had to do was offer the Abkhaz broad autonomy within Georgia, in line with Abkhazia’s historical status as an autonomous principality within the Georgian kingdom. Had they done so, Abkhazia would have become Georgia’s cosmopolitan Riviera and all the horror of subsequent years would have been avoided.
Instead, the Georgian nationalists rejected the idea of Abkhazian autonomy, declared Abkhazia to be part of Georgia and, in defiance of all historical fact and ethnic reality, made the preposterous claim that the Abkhaz were foreigners expected to assimilate into the Georgian masses or leave, same as the Russians and the Armenians. After all, what could a mere 17% of the population do against the Georgian “majority” of 45%, backed as it was by the four-million-strong population of Georgia proper? In the conception of Georgia’s nationalists, the Russians could go back to Russia, the Armenians could go back to Armenia and the Abkhaz did not exist.
Needless to say, the Abkhaz did not share this sentiment. Not surprisingly, the Armenians and Russians who lived in Abkhazia and had done so for generations, did not particularly want to go anywhere, either. And, as it happens, the Georgian nationalists’ high-handed policies and bombastic rhetoric about a Greater Georgia were seriously discomfiting other peoples in the Georgian SSR, foremost among these being the traditionally warlike Ossetin. There was also the question of who would actually rule an independent Georgia. When the chips were finally down, it would not necessarily be the case that the Georgians would be free to concentrate solely on Abkhazia. The Abkhaz made alliances with their neighbors, proffering the idea of a cosmopolitan Abkhaz state instead of the Greater Georgia that seemed to be in the offing.
And then things got worse. What started with fistfights between rowdy college students, escalated into rapes, sporadic murders and finally pogroms on both sides. The Soviet Union fell. The Abkhaz, Georgians, Russians and Armenians all formed irregular armed units. The Georgian regular army invaded. In order to fill out the ranks, Georgia’s new government offered pardons to all jailed criminals willing to volunteer to fight in Abkhazia. They got a glut of eager recruits, especially from those sentenced to long terms in maximum security prisons. These men were issued rifles and uniforms, formed into units and sent to Abkhazia straight from prison. You can imagine the results.
By this point, all pretense of civilization had gone out the window. The Abkhaz procured the services of lunatic Chechen mercenaries led by none other than Shamil Basayev. The Russians called in equally lunatic Cossacks. The Armenians could not call in lunatics from outside the country. The Artsakh Liberation War was starting in earnest. But they had plenty of home-grown lunatics already. So, for that matter did everyone else. Before long, treachery and psychotic atrocity ruled the day, cease fires were made to be broken and Abkhaz, Cossack and Chechen troops were kicking severed Georgian heads around the football fields of Gagra and shooting down civilian airliners, while Georgians massacred non-Georgians wherever they could find them and shot down Russian Army transport helicopters full of refugee women and kids. Then units of the Russian regular army intervened openly on the side of the Abkhaz.
Atrocity piled upon atrocity, the region was completely devastated and 300,000 people were killed or turned into refugees. As a cherry on the cake, shortly after the Georgians were kicked out, the Armenians, Abkhaz and Russians turned briefly on each other in an orgy of mutual slaughter. Luckily, the Russian government in Moscow had finally had enough and acted to impose order by slamming down an economic blockade and sending in thousands of “peacekeepers”.
Now, you might ask, why is all this important? This blog is supposed to be about the liberation of occupied Medinat Yehudah. Why does it matter which group of goyim slaughters which other group of goyim in some faraway place? The answer is, Abkhazia is an example of what happens when escalation gets out of control. All the Abkhaz wanted originally was broad autonomy. The Georgians have since offered them everything they once asked for. But it’s too late. Despite the bleating of idiotic OSCE officials, it will take centuries for the hatred to die down. After mutual genocide attempts, you can’t go back to square one.
This is where Judah and Israel can end up, unless the struggle for partition is carefully managed. Except that in this case there is no Russia to intervene. Instead, there will be a Second Holocaust. This is why it is important to carefully study the doctrine of guerilla warfare, carefully manage escalation and always seek to de-escalate on advantageous terms. Ultimately, the Jews need an independent Jewish State. But let’s get this straight: the Jews should take broad autonomy instead, as long as it’s on reasonable terms. And let’s get another thing straight, too. The Jews are in it for Jewish rights, not because the Jews hate the Israeli chilonim or want them dead. Killing chilonim may become necessary, as may all kinds of otherwise atrocious behavior. But it should be kept to a minimum and the Jews should always remember that violence against non-Moslems is an unfortunate part of doing business, not an end unto itself.