Ultima Thule

In ancient times the northernmost region of the habitable world - hence, any distant, unknown or mysterious land.

Tuesday, March 01, 2005

Georgia denies Pankisi Gorge bioterror threat

By Aussiegirl

Here's a fascinating tidbit gleaned from RIA Novosti which certainly got my attention. I believe that there are several possible interpretations to this news that I go into in my analysis below.

It seems that back in 2001, remnants of Al Qaeda who were then working on chemical and biological weapons were ousted from Afghanistan and settled in the Pankisi Gorge in Georgia, adjacent to the Russian border. According to Georgian Interior Minister Vano Merabishvili, in 2002 and 2003 Georgian authorities, with help from the United States, staged joint anti-terrorism raids in that area and cleaned up the problem.

Remember that George Bush told us that many battles in the war on terror would never be known, or little known? Has anyone had even an inkling of this before?

According to the Interior Minister, the problem no longer exists there. The question evidently arose when the French Interior Minister, the poetically minded and intensely sensitive Dominique de Villepin, speaking on Tuesday at an international conference on combatting bioterrorism, used some outdated information he evidently gleaned from Russian mass media to assert that terrorists were creating chemical and biological weapons in the Pankisi Gorge.

The situation that existed in the Pankisi Gorge evidently took place under the previous administration in Georgia, which was replaced in the recent Rose revolution.
The French ambassador to Georgia, Philippe Lefair, who attended the news meeting, also confirmed that the present situation in Pankisi was not under study at the conference.

This particular little tidbit from the article causes me to pause:

"The statement of the French interior minister concerned the situation in the gorge which existed several years ago. Unfortunately, the information spread by some the Russian mass media outlets was distorted and not true to fact."

"Russian mass media" ---- hmmmm -- is this where Monsieur de Villepin gets his intelligence?

Gee -- did Monsier de Villepin LIE?? Or was he operating on Russian misinformation fed to him by Russian sources in order to discredit the current Georgian administration? Inquiring minds want to know.

And, it makes me wonder if the reason these terrorists were operating in a remote region of Georgia, when Georgia had a Putin-friendly regime, and in an area which is adjacent to Russia, points to some Russian meddling and perhaps aid and comfort to Al Qaeda???? This would not be unheard of. It is well-known that during the Soviet era, Middle East terror was supported by the Soviet Union. Didn't you ever wonder why no Soviet planes or hostages were ever taken back in those days?

We need to keep an especial eye on Mr. Putin, who has made it clear which side he has chosen in this battle between democracy and terror. (And his minions in the French Interior Ministry too.)


At 10:18 AM, Anonymous Andy said...

I think you're reading far to much into this.

The primary reasons that Chechen/al-Qaeda terrorists were able to operate out of the Pankisi Gorge region was that the Georgian government was too weak to police the region.

Plus, although heavily dependent on Russia, Shervardnadze's government was no real friend of Russia. Georgia would not have had any particular desire to chase after anti-Russian forces operating out of the Pankisi Gorge.

At 11:28 AM, Blogger Aussiegirl said...

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At 5:00 PM, Anonymous Andy said...

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