Monday, August 18, 2008

For Want of a Nail

The Telegraph: How a flat tyre took the Caucasus to war

Trouble had been brewing in the disputed South Ossetian region for weeks as Moscow-backed militias skirmished with Georgian troops, yet Russian-brokered negotiations between the Georgian government and the separatists had continued.

But the first substantial face-to-face talks on August 7 fell through after a farcical chain of events in which the top Russian diplomat claimed he was unable to attend the meeting in South Ossetia because his car tyre had run flat.

Refusing to take his excuse at face value, the Georgian delegation then assumed they were being lured into a trap, and began the shelling that invited the Russian invasion.

The article goes on to mention that the Georgians were given Satellite photos by the Americans showing the Russians were sending tanks into South Ossetia while the peace talks were occurring. Still, it is amusing to think that the war started from a flat tire. Archduke Ferdinand, Patron Saint of obscure reasons for going to war, would be proud.