A truly awful article has appeared in this morning's Guardian. There's some interesting information, such as the burning down of Abkhazia's national heritage (is that true?), however the article appears to have been written in Moscow rather than London. My rebuttal is below.
Unfortunately I will have to rebut this nonsense line by line:
1. "Abkhazians and South Ossetians have not the slightest wish to be "reintegrated" into a unitary Georgian state" First of all, how do you know this? If based on opinion polls, were these conducted in a democratic environment where people are able to access all relevant points of view? Have you taken into account the views of the tens of thousands of Ossetians who have chosen to live in Tbilisi? And what of the views of the ethnic Georgians who formerly lived in the two enclaves but have been ethnically cleansed?
2. "nobody in Abkhazia or South Ossetia is interested in joining in these discussions" This is not completely true; there are politicians from both communities interested in discussions. It is true that Kokoite and Bagapsh aren't interested, but with a carte blanche from Russia, why would they be?
3. "because of repeated Georgian attacks over many years...the Abkhazians and South Ossetians have no trust in Tbilisi" Actually this works both ways; ethnic Georgians have suffered equally at the hands of (unconstitutional) Abkhaz and Ossetian militias.
4. "all they have been offered by Tbilisi is essentially a return to the status quo ante bellum" Wrong. Georgia has offered profound autonomy under a neutral peacekeeping force to both regions. This offer was rejected in favour of continued Russian occupation.
5. " the August 2008 war – sparked by Saak'ashvili's assault on Tskhinvali". My other leg has bells on and wishes to be pulled. You don't think perhaps that the August 2008 war might have been caused by Vladimir Putin's intention to invade Georgia (evidenced by a massive military build-up in the North Caucasus, shelling of Georgian villages, killing of Georgian policemen, incursions into Georgian airspace, 20 years of failed Russian mediation and peace-keeping)?
6. "President Dmitry Medvedev then promptly corrected Russia's mistake in recognising Georgia's Soviet frontiers" A truly scary statement and one which invites all hell to break loose in the former Soviet states. Think Crimea, Chechnya, Ingushetia, Dagestan, Tatarstan, Transnistria, Gagauzia, former Chinese & Japanese territories...)
7. "There is a role, too, for Georgia's western friends. They need to persuade Tbilisi to face reality and recognise the lost territories. This would then allow the international community to follow suit. It would finally pave the way for meaningful talks on how to establish viable stability across Transcaucasia – something which must be in everyone's interest." The last thing that is anybody's interests is telling a newly aggressive Russia that it's military adventures will be rewarded. Perhaps Mr Hewitt will realise this when Russia invades Scotland to protect its people from 'genocide' at the hands of the English.
A final question. What benefit is Mr Hewitt gaining for writing such one-sided drivel, and who is giving him this benefit?