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Saakashvili playing with Circassian fire2011-02-16 16:45
Militating against 2014 Sochi Olympics Mikheil Saakashvili is ready to use all his tricks. For this purpose he is actively bringing up the "Circassian issue". Mishiko seems to be unaware what kind of fire he is playing with though he has a loyal advisor - president of the United States. As a Georgian opposition asserts, at the last meeting between Georgian president and US leader Barack Obama the latter told him directly to leave Circassians alone with their past and their future.
All mass media reporting on Barack Obama's warning for Saakashvili refer to Lasha Amirejibi from All-People's Council. The oppositionist himself does not reveal his sources. However, there is no smoke without fire and most probably official Tbilisi will have to slow down in the direction of North Caucasus.
Certainly, all this is poorly timed. Olympics are scheduled for 2014, and there is a lot of time to spoil the joyful event. Tackling bygone issues Tbilisi miscalculated the conjuncture: the Circassian issue is no more topical. Despite that, Georgians managed to fish out the topic itself from Cold War archives and find participants. This is Jamestown Foundation that volunteered to help official Tbilisi.
It's not incidental that Jamestown Foundation (USA) started organizing a number of conferences on the Circassian issue in Tbilisi. By that time the study of "genocide of Circassians" had been on for several decades, and US diplomats as well as special services had acquired good links with leaders of Circassian diasporas abroad.
One of the "NGOs" monitoring the Circassian issue is the above mentioned Jamestown Foundation. Friendship between this small non-governmental organization and Georgian leaders is not coincidental. In 1980s the foundation did a lot of research work on the Circassian topic and has a lot to discuss with Georgians. Particularly after the States' cool-off on the issue following the collapse of the USSR. Thus, scholars in charge of Caucasus just didn't know how to apply their extensive dossier.
Circassian organizations in Turkey, the United States, Jordan and Syria were communicating actively with US special services in 1970s. Descendants of North Caucasian immigrants traditionally hold prominent positions in state administrations of Middle East, particularly in military circles. With their help the US intelligence started monitoring public opinion in North Caucasus nearly 40 years ago. Jordan used to have an ad-hoc "Russian department" inside local special service tasked to collect information from Caucasian regions. Americans planned no undermining activities in Caucasus at that time, they simply wanted to know about the life of local population. This region had always been perceived as a "weak link" in the Soviet Union's architecture.
Foreign special services have never considered the Circassian issue as a special case. For the West and Middle East it has always been just a component of the Caucasian vector. After dissolution of the USSR activities stopped since it was no more necessary to fight Communism and movements of Caucasian emigrants with secession potential were no more interesting. Besides, the borders were opened and information on the situation in Russia's Caucasian republics became publicly available without the help of "info-guerillas" like before.
Then, immediately after the collapse of the Union, activity of a number of organizations like Jamestown Foundation became useless though previously serious money had been allocated to support a staff of serious scholars and issue monthly reports and bulletins.