Russian forces advancing in Georgia during the 5-days war which became known as the Russo-Georgia War
In Part 2 of this five part series we study the period between the Russian invasion of Georgia in support of the separatist Republics of South Ossetia and Abkhazia, and how the military intervention shaped the Russian strategy for the annexation of Crimea around 6 years later:
Part 2: The Russo-Georgia War
A Timeline of Russian Interference / Continued ...
2008, August 08: Russia invades Georgia after the Georgian Army engaged separatist forces in South Ossetia. The invasion leads to a 5-days war, leading to an increased presence of Russian forces in the break-away Georgian republics of South Ossetia and Abkhazia which collectively represents a fifth of Georgian sovereign territory. [Pro-West] Ukraine President Viktor Yushchenko confirmed his support to Georgia, much to Russia’s dissatisfaction.
[The major significance of the 2008 Russo-Georgian War is that it served as a rehearsal for the Russian Armed Forces for what they had planned for Ukraine at a much larger scale. The problem the Russians had until its forces entered Georgia, was that public trust in the capabilities of its military was at an all time low, especially after the defeats Russian forces suffered during the 1st Chechen War, followed by the 'Aleppo style' destruction Russia sustained during the 2nd Chechen War in a conflict fighting its own citizens within its own territory. To regain public trust in Russia's self-perceived 'military might', Georgia offered two pro-Russian populations within the regions of South Ossetia and Abkhazia. Prior to the Russian invasion of Georgia, the Russian intelligence services and political corps started their plans of initiating public discontent for the Georgia government within the break-away regions, further fueled by instigating the Georgian President, Mikheil Saakashvili (also to become the Governor of Odessa, Ukraine, on May 30, 2015), to publicly voice his dissatisfaction towards Russian interference in Georgian internal affairs, which in turn spurned growing anti-Russian public responses amongst the Georgians not belonging to the break-away regions, also blaming the populations of the break-away regions for helping Russia. For the Russian Armed Forces, its military intervention in Georgia was a major success, and Moscow achieved its objectives of gaining additional 'near foreign' territories of influence, along with heightened public trust in the Russian Armed Forces. However, Russian military planners did learn the following lessons from its military intervention (the first foreign intervention post-USSR):
1. Pre-conflict mobilization is more effective using regular forces instead of calling up reserve forces. The reason for this is that a reserve forces mobilization causes unnecessary alarm, which would give forewarning to an opponent that a foreign military intervention was imminent. No reserves were mobilized by the Russian Armed Forces during the intervention in Georgia, why the Georgian Armed Forces were unprepared for the Russian invasion. The same procedures were followed prior to the Russian annexation of Crimea in 2014, and invasion of Ukraine in 2022;
2. Over the period 8-9 August 2008, Russia sustained the following combat aircraft losses:
August 08, 2008:
1x Sukhoi Su-25 shot down by a Russian SAM.
August 09, 2008:
1x Tupolev Tu-23M3 shot down by Georgian GBADS,
1x Sukhoi Su-24 shot down by Georgian SAM,
1x Sukhoi Su-25 shot down by Russian supplied South Ossetian SAMs,
1x Sukhoi Su-25 shot down by Russian GBADS (ZSU-23),
1x Sukhoi Su-24 shot down by Russian SAM.
Of the six Russian combat losses, four losses were caused by Russian ground based air defenses. This highlighted Russia's need to improve its IFF procedures, and to improve training of ground forces. During the February 2022 invasion of Ukraine, Russian ground forces proved much better at IFF procedures compared to the Georgian intervention.
3. Following the French-brokered peace negotiations between Russia and Georgia, Russia announced its new 'template' for future foreign interventions, stating that it would not hesitate to conduct any military intervention against any nation threatening native Russian speakers in the world. Basically, Putin weaponized the Russian language, and the West accepted it. At this point in time, Russia was already emboldened to continue with the advancement of its next phase of expansion into Ukraine.
4. In terms of combat effectiveness and mission readiness of the total Russian forces deployed, 60% of all equipment failed in the field of operations due to low serviceability caused by poor maintenance. Additional problems were experienced with counter-battery radars, as well as limited access to satellite imagery, insufficient electronic warfare capability, and limited access to UAV's.
5. The Russian Air Force performed poorly and exposed significant weaknesses in capabilities including reconnaissance, targeting, and strategic attack. The Russian aircraft were also incapable of operating at night, and it made limited use of precision guided munitions.
When Russia entered Georgia, it was Moscow's objective to occupy the whole of Georgia, and to remove Georgian President Mikheil Saakashvili from power. Russia was however stopped from occupying the whole of Georgia due to resistance from NATO under the leadership of the United States, which was further reinforced when the leaders of the baltic states, along with the Presidents of Poland and Ukraine, gathered in Tbilisi to support the Georgian President against the Russia aggression. However, we still need to understand WHY Russia was determined to control Georgia and its government. One of President Saakashvili's objectives during his presidential term was to enable Georgia joining NATO, which was of great concern to Russia. However, the Georgian desire to join NATO was to safeguard its share of the Baku-Tbilisi-Ceyhan Pipeline which supplied oil from Azerbaijan to Turkey via Georgia. Georgia has no significant oil and gas value, but its share of the pipeline would enable a steady stream of revenue to the government gained from the transportation of oil through its territory. This was of major strategic importance to the United States who wished to decrease Western dependence on Middle East oil from Middle East OPEC members who were gradually weaponizing oil trade against the West, along with reducing the impact on the Western economic system in the event of the (not so unlikely) scenario where either or both the Strait of Hormuz and the Suez Canal were blocked off. Russia considered the Baku-Tbilisi-Ceyhan pipeline as a major threat to future oil sales potential, why Russia has its military deployed in Armenia (neighboring Azerbaijan), and why current relations between Armenia and Azerbaijan are tense].
2008, August 12: French President Nicolas Sarkozy and Russian President Dmitry Medvedev meet to agree on a 6 point peace plan in Georgia. The plan embodied the following statutes:
1. No recourse to the use of force
2. Definitive cessation of hostilities
3. Free access to humanitarian aid (and to allow the return of refugees)
4. Georgian military forces must withdraw to their normal bases of encampment
5. Russian military forces must withdraw to the lines prior to the start of hostilities. While awaiting an
international mechanism, Russian peacekeeping forces will implement additional security measures (six months)
6. Opening of international discussions on the modalities of lasting security in Abkhazia and South Ossetia
(based on the decisions of the UN and the OSCE)
After the ceasefire was signed, hostilities did not immediately end due to advancing Russian armor, troops and mercenaries. The Georgian government officially proclaims its withdrawal from the Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS).
[One of the effects of the Russo-Georgian War was the development of a political rift between the ex-Soviet Eastern European EU member states, and the traditional Western European nations. This was caused by NATO Europe's refusal to resist a growingly hostile Russia, with the Eastern European nations still remembering the Russian dominated Soviet era, being dissatisfied with how much control Russia exercised over the political systems of the most dominant Western European nations (such as Germany and France). For this reason, much to the dislike of both France and Germany, the Eastern European nations within the EU preferred developing military alliances with the United States. As Eastern European EU member states aligned themselves more with the United States via the NATO alliance system, both Germany and France felt they were losing both economic- and political control over European states to which they believe they are more entitled to as senior EU members (which became the basis for the growing anti-US sentiment in Europe, not Donald Trump's hard stance towards especially France and Germany during his administration, which proved to be necessary). However, based on the rate of Western European support to Ukraine since the Russian invasion of Ukraine starting 2014 to present, the expanding Eastern European alliance with the United States is rightly justified, and proves all that is wrong within traditional European society. Russia does not fear the EU and its NATO member states, it fears the United States and its growing influence over the Eastern European states caused by the failures of the traditional Western European leadership (which was partially enabled by Russian targeted interference). That is the source of Russia's self-perceived insecurities.]
2008, September 09: Ukraine President Viktor Yushchenko attends the EU-Ukraine Summit in Paris to discuss Ukraine’s future membership to the EU. There was however a lack of unity amongst the EU member states regarding Ukraine’s future.
2008, November 20: Viktor Yanukovych attends the United Russia congress in Russia.
2009, January 01: Gazprom, the Russian state-owned gas company, stops pumping gas to Ukraine after months-long failure to confirm prices. This causes a gas crisis in eastern- and central Europe (mostly Germany). After intense pressure from the EU, Ukraine President Viktor Yushchenko compromises and gives in to Russian demands to enable commencement of gas supplies on January 20, 2009.
[Yulia Tymoshenko served as Prime Minister at the time, and on October 11, 2011, she would be sentenced to 7 years imprisonment for her involvement in the countering of the Russian proposals during the failed negotiations for ‘abusing her office’, although it was mainly considered a form of punishment for resisting Russian demands exercised via then President Viktor Yanukovych].
2009, January 12: Russian nuclear-powered battle cruiser, Pyotr Velikiy (Peter the Great), the flagship of the Russian Northern Fleet, arrives in Cape Town, South Africa, on a friendly visit on route to India from Venezuela. The Kirov-class cruiser was accompanied by the Udaloy-Class anti-submarine destroyer, Admiral Chabanenko, and the supply vessel, Ivan Bolnov. The vessels were deployed to the Caribbean Sea to conduct joint naval exercises with the Venezuelan Navy, commemorating the first Russian naval exercise in the Caribbean since the end of the Cold War.
2009, February 16: The Mayor of Sevastopol confirmed in a press conference that the residents of Crimea opposed any attempts to become part of Russia based on a poll.
2009, February 19: On the 55th year celebrations since the transfer of Crimea from the Russian SFSR to the Ukrainian SSR, around 400 people protested against the historical transfer of Crimea to the Ukraine.
2009, March 31: Ukraine President Viktor Yushchenko addresses the Parliament to call on reforms to address structural problems that exist within the Ukrainian political system.
[The reforms, which Yushchenko called a 'next big step forward for fairness and prosperity in Ukraine' included the following proposals:
1. Restore financial stability in the country by implementing the International Monetary Fund reforms and a balanced budget
2. Abolish parliamentary immunity
3. Fair pension system based on the number of years of work and salary received
4. Pass a realistic state budget for 2009 that reduces inflation and stabilizes the hryvnia
5. Have the state assume responsibility for struggling banks
6. Rejuvenate rural areas by eliminating state interference in agriculture production
7. Promote Ukrainian products abroad to increase sales for Ukraine's producers
8. EU membership and increased trade while simultaneously improving relations and trade with Russia
9. Allow voters to elect members of parliament from the areas where they live
10. Open party lists for both parliamentary and local elections
11. Create bicameral parliament to bring stability to the legislative branch
12. Reduce the number of members of parliament
Yushchenko also advocated NATO membership for Ukraine, and stated that he was against promoting Russian as the second state language in Ukraine. According to Yushchenko, a good future for the country is impossible without national unity. Yushchenko also advocates the formation of a single Orthodox Church of Ukraine, thus unifying the current three branches of the Orthodox church in Ukraine (the Ukrainian Orthodox Church of Moscow Patriarchate, the only one recognized by the world orthodox community, the Ukrainian Orthodox Church of Kyiv Patriarchate, and the Ukrainian Autocephalous Orthodox Church). He also said that the difficulties of relations between Ukraine and Russia are because the countries follow different directions and have different system of values. Yushchenko thinks that "the Russia-Georgia war of August 2008 poses a threat that European leaders still haven’t addressed". He has also called for a demarcation of borders between Russia and Ukraine, which has been delayed by Russia since Ukraine won independence from the Soviet Union in 1991 (delayed by Russia since they deemed it unnecessary in the event of Russia occupying Ukraine)].
2009, June 02: Viktor Yanukovych announces his intention to run for election as President of Ukraine. He is endorsed by the Party of Regions and the Youth Party of Ukraine (another political party influenced by Viktor Yanukovych since its establishment during 1999).
2009, August 24: Ethnic Russians demonstrate against Ukraine under the leadership of Sergei Tsekov representing the banned political group Russian Bloc, demanding that Russia treats Crimea the same as they did in South Ossetia and Abkhazia.
2009, September 03: Viktor Yanukovych states during an election rally that he intends to recognize the Russian language as the second official language of Ukraine when he becomes President. Since Ukrainian independence from the Soviet Union, Ukrainian was the sole state language at all levels.
2009, September 28: Ukraine President Viktor Yushchenko expresses his concerns about Russian interference in the 2010 Presidential elections, especially Moscow’s distribution of Russian passports to residents of Crimea.
2009, October 07: Ukraine President Viktor Yushchenko nominates Petro Poroshenko for the position of Minister of Foreign Affairs, Ukraine.
2009, October 09: Petro Poroshenko is appointed as the Minister of Foreign Affairs by the Verkhovna Rada (Ukraine Parliament).
2009, October 12: Ukraine President Viktor Yushchenko reappoints Petro Poroshenko to the National Security and Defence Council.
2009, November 21: Viktor Yanukovych addresses the Yedinaya Rossiya (United Russia) party in St Petersburg, Russia, calling for a new format regarding the Ukraine-EU dialogue.
2009, November 28: Ukraine President Viktor Yushchenko confirms that he was leaving politics at the end of his term. He continued by describing the two presidential candidates Yanukovych and Tymoshenko as not being ideologists who care about the fate of Ukraine and its interests. He also said they were two political “adventurers”, and that Ukraine’s sovereignty was at the time more jeopardized than it was 5 - 10 years earlier.
2009, December 08: Viktor Yanukovych is accused of financial fraud by Yuriy Lutshenko, the Minister of Internal Affairs, after Yanukovych’s election campaign was reported to have cost between US$ 100 - 150 million.
2010, January 07: Viktor Yanukovych commits to support then Russian President Dmitry Medvedev’s proposal to create a new European collective security system based on an initiative developed jointly by Russia and France. Some Western politicians consider this initiative as a prospective challenge to the US dominated NATO alliance.
2010, January 16: Viktor Yanukovych explains to his audience during a public speech that Ukraine must not blame Russia for the ‘Holodomor’ (Soviet famine of 1932 – 1933), when Stalin forcefully removed all food held by peasants leading to the death of around 10 million Ukrainians. He further states that it was the actions of Stalin, not Russia, that caused the famine, and the event should not be labelled as a genocide of Ukrainian people.
2010, February 07: Viktor Yanukovych wins the majority election results during the second run-off against Yulia Tymoshenko, with the assistance of Americans Paul Manafort, Rick Gates and Tad Devine.
2010, February 25: Viktor Yanukovych is inaugurated as the President of Ukraine, taking over from Viktor Yushchenko. In attendance of the inauguration ceremony was Patriarch Kirill of Moscow and Al Rus who conducted the public prayer service. Special guests in attendance also included the EU High Representative of the Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy, Catherine Ashton, the US National Security Advisor, James Jones, and Speaker of the Russian Parliament, Boris Gryzlov. Yanukovych’s predecessor, President Viktor Yushchenko, and Prime Minister Yulia Tymoshenko, choose not to attend the inauguration ceremony for undeclared reasons.
2010, March 03: President Viktor Yanukovych hands over control of the Partiia Rehioniv (Party of Regions) and its Parliamentary faction to Mykola Azarov, a close associate of Yanukovych, also a pro-Russia supporter.
2010, March 11: Ukrainian lawmakers form a new coalition which includes Bloc Lytvyn, Communist Party of Ukraine (a pro-Russia remnant from the Soviet Union who was instrumental in the creation of independence factions within Donetsk Oblast, Luhansk, and Kherson), and the Party of Regions. This coalition established the Mykola Azarov led administration in Parliament, controlling 235 of the 450 seats which enabled President Viktor Yanukovych to implement pro-Russia policies without major opposition resistance. Mykola Azarov, representing the Party of Regions, is elected as Prime Minister resuming duty from Yulia Tymoshenko, winning 242 of 450 votes in Parliament. He serves for 33 months, and becomes the last member of the Party of Regions to ever serve as Prime Minister of Ukraine.
[Azarov is a loyal Yanukovych supporter, and also a pro-Russian politician. In 2015, he set up the Ukraine ‘Government in Exile’ in Russia. He is currently sanctioned for his actions during the Euromaidan protests (2013-2014). Petro Poroshenko is dismissed as Minister of Foreign Affairs. During the Cassette Scandal event under the leadership of President Leonid Kuchma, Azarov (the Head of the State Tax Administration at the time), was heard discussing various illicit activities with Kuchma. The most prominent activities discussed was him abusing his position as the Head of the Tax Administration to pressure officials to support Kuchma’s re-election as President in 1999, the covering up of graft at the state natural gas company Naftogaz, aiding the demise of Slaviansk Bank (which was linked to political opposition figure Yulia Tymoshenko’s natural gas company United Energy Systems of Ukraine), and the illegal funding of Kuchma’s 1999 election campaign. Mykola Azarov resigned on January 28, 2014, amidst the Euromaidan protests. He relocated to Russia on February 23, 2014, fearing his safety in Ukraine].
2010, April 19: Ukrainian MP and future Prime Minister, Arseniy Yatsenyuk, remarks that it would be impossible for Ukraine to effectively fight corruption without changing the country’s system of government.
2010, April 27: Chaos erupts in the Ukrainian Parliament when a treaty to extend the Russian lease agreement at Sevastopol is ratified until 2042. The extension of the treaty was influenced by President Viktor Yanukovych through his supporters in Parliament to extend Russian strategic objectives. This act was considered by many as reward to Russia for its support in assisting Yanukovych’s Presidential election win over Tymoshenko.
2010, May 27: President Viktor Yanukovych releases a statement that he considers Ukraine’s relationship with NATO as a partnership, but NATO membership to Ukraine would not be acquired for he considered it against the will of the people.
2010, May 31: Former Ukraine President Viktor Yushchenko states that Yulia Tymoshenko was his “worst mistake. The most serious mistake was to give power to her twice”.
2010, June 04: President Viktor Yanukovych states that the recognition of Abkhazia, South Ossetia, and Kosovo violates international law. His comments infuriate Moscow.
2010, June 25: President Viktor Yanukovych criticizes amendments to the Ukrainian Constitution made during 2004 which restricts Presidential powers in terms of appointing of government ministers, which consequently passed that responsibility over to Parliament.
2010, October 31: Ukrainian local elections are held with an average of around 50% voter turnout. Viktor Yanukovych’s pro-Russian Party of Regions wins the majority elections, except for in western Ukraine. The Council of Europe expressed its concerns about the legitimacy of the election results relating to new electorate law approved just before the election date.
2010, November 07: President Viktor Yanukovych sets the stage that ‘foreign forces were bringing weapons into Ukraine’ as an attempt to disrupt the current government administration. The allegations are met with disbelief and written off as paranoia in the absence of any substantial evidence supporting the claims. Although he was a pro-Russian politician, his comment was considered strange under the circumstances since it was a veiled reference to Russia.
2010, December 17: Anti-government protests start in Tunisia, and turns into a 28 days revolution referred to as the ‘Sidi Bouzid Revolt. This is the starting point for what later becomes known as the ‘Arab Spring’ protests that rapidly erupt throughout the Middle East. It is also significant for the fact that social media was used as the tool for mass-organization.
Anti-government protests in Tunisia. This is considered the starting point of what became known as the Arab Spring.
[Understanding the evolution of the Arab Spring is important because it was initially blamed on the United States. The question though, is: Who initially directed blame towards the US using mass media as the tool for spreading the anti-US narrative in the events to follow? Who would benefit the most from predominantly Arab nations engaged in anti-government protests being told that the United States was the main instigator in these activities. However, to understand this better, we need to know how disinformation operations work at the strategic level. Also, with specific reference to the so-called ‘Arab Spring’ timeline, we need to look at the parallel evolution of Daesh (the so-called ‘Islamic State’) and the forces behind its creation, and how it rapidly filled the vacuums of collapsed governance in the wake of the ‘Arab Spring’ violence. Based on in-depth first-hand knowledge derived from operational experience in most of these territories during this period, the one fact we know is that it was not within either US or NATO interests to initiate the ‘Arab Spring’. However, looking at the grand scale of communications, planning, financing, and logistics required to fund such a large international campaign following a similar doctrine of civil unrest, we need to look at the current main ‘winners’ from these events, namely, Russia and Iran. Both these nations had ambitions which conflicted with the US and its supportive allies (who at the time still considered itself the responsible global power to enforce stability. Why? Because global stability is good for business, especially where the US dominated international trade within the affected economies). The tell-tale similarities that exist in the enablement of the Arab Spring protests are seen comparing the events that led to the Russo-Georgian War of 2008, and the events leading to the annexation of Crimea in 2014, and the establishment of the break-away republics of Donetsk- and Luhansk in eastern Ukraine. These events, although not directly linked to Ukraine, are relevant due to the same doctrines having been applied, all delivering different results. It was Russia’s way of experimenting with new methods of warfare based on lessons learnt in the Russo-Georgian War, and its operations to follow. However, Russia also came to learn many lessons from the Arab Spring which it would filter back into its planned expansionism agenda in Ukraine].
2010, December 29: Anti-government protests start in Algeria.
2011, January 14: The government of Tunisia is overthrown during civil unrest referred to as the ‘Arab Spring’. The pro-US/France government is dissolved, and President Zine El Abidine Ben Ali flees to Saudi Arabia. The RCD government is dissolved, and the new transitional government is formed which includes pro-Russian political figures. 338 People died during protest actions.
[The RCD government in Tunisia had many failures, which was the ‘entry point’ exploited to establish an anti-government narrative. What both Russia and Daesh (Islamic State) has taught us during the past decade is that where poor governance already exists within a society, or in other words, where the center of gravity of a target society is compromised, opportunity presents itself to belligerent groups with the resources to influence mass public perception and mobilization. A good consequence that the Arab Spring uprisings taught the affected governments was the importance of avoiding government abuse. In Tunisia, during the period to follow the revolution, pro-radical Islamic figures who are listed in various international terror lists also entered government for short periods of time until public discontent forced them out. It would take 8 years of government instability before the political environment settles to the point where the US returned to support the reestablishment of democratic political systems in 2019 to improve the economic environment with US financial support. Both Russia and radical Islamic groups failed to establish sustainable government relations in Tunisia, with most Tunisians having preferred rehabilitation of economic relations with the West].
Civil unrest erupts in the Kingdom of Jordan, a close US ally. King Abdullah takes personal control of the situation and implements immediate reforms within the government to meet the demands of protesters, and to maintain the peace. By October 04, 2012, the situation is back to normal after various government reforms. Jordan remains a close ally to the United States. Only 3 people died during protest action.
2011, January 25: Thousands of protesters in Egypt gather in Tahrir Square, Cairo, to demand the resignation of President Hosni Mubarak.
[Mubarak was considered a major US ally, and Russia considered a predominantly US armed military aid beneficiary Egypt as a major obstacle to its future expansionism in the Middle East. If Egypt was kept occupied with resolving internal issues, it would limit the likelihood of Egypt resisting Russian deployment of forces within neighboring territories].
Egyptian protesters gather in Tahrir Square, Cairo.
2011, January 27: Civil unrest break out in Yemen. The deteriorating situation leads to the Yemeni Crisis, which escalates into civil war. The country remains in a condition of war at the time of this article being published, with one side of the war being supported by the UAE and Saudi Arabia, and the opposing forces supported by Iran. Iran uses its presence in Yemen to target Saudi-Arabian critical infrastructure under the cover of its Yemeni beneficiaries. Yemen is of strategic importance to both Iran and Russia to have a base from which both countries can influence the Gulf of Aden if required. More than 2,000 civilians have died in the Yemeni unrest, and the German government has been a major critic of Saudi Arabia's military military involvement in the war.
2011, February 11: The Egyptian government under leadership of President Hosni Mubarak is overthrown. Mubarak is arrested and charged with corruption and killing of civilian protesters. 846 People died during protests. The Supreme Council of the Armed Forces resumes control of the government until June 30, 2012.
2011, February 14: Civil unrest erupts in Bahrain. Various government reforms are implemented to meet protester demands, political prisoners are released, and economic concessions are made with King Hamad bin Isa Al Khalifa. All protest actions cease by March 18, 2011. 120 People died during protest actions.
[The strategic significance of Bahrain is the fact that it accommodates the US Navy 5th Fleet. This is of major concern to Iran, as well as to Russia who knows that it will have difficulty regaining support in the Arabian Gulf nations with such a large US Navy presence. The main reason why the US Navy maintains such a large naval presence in the Arabian Gulf is to ensure that Iraq, Kuwait, Saudi Arabia, Qatar, and the UAE cannot be blocked by Iran to disrupt global oil supplies. This was one of the major challenges experienced with Saddam Hussein which contributed to the US-led invasion of Iraq. Saddam Hussein was becoming more belligerent, and he had the means of disrupting stability in global oil supplies, to include disrupting the supply capacity of his neighbors. If the Arabian Gulf oil supplies were ever to be cut off from the global supply network, it would have devastating effects on the global economy, and the US wants to avoid that situation. Global oil supply disruptions from the Arabian Gulf states would play to the benefit of Russia, which would then be positioned to manipulate oil prices, and exercise greater political control over oil consumers].
2011, February 17: Nationwide protests erupt in Libya against the government of Muammar Gaddafi. Demonstrators occupy Benghazi, and the Libyan military responds using deadly force, with elements of the Libyan Air Force loyal to Gaddafi conducting bombing runs against protesters. The protesters raid military installations and arm themselves against government forces, and civil unrest rapidly develops into the Libyan Civil War, also known as the 17 February Revolution. Various Libyan Embassies abroad raise the pre-Gaddafi flag in support of the revolt. The Libyan Armed Forces split into factions, some supporting the protesters against the government of Gaddafi, some remaining loyal to Gaddafi, and the remainder forming their own armed factions.
[The Libyan government under leadership of Muammar Gaddafi was an ally to Russia, but Russia at times also considered him to be difficult to control, especially in terms of Russian interests in Africa. Russia provides support to the Gaddafi loyalist Libyan Arab Jamahiriya via its proxies Belarus, Algeria, and North Korea as a means of maintaining plausible deniability for its involvement in the conflict].
2011, March 11: Minor protests start in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. The situation is rapidly brought under control with the implementation of government reforms, to include economic concessions with King Abdullah, and the improvement of women’s rights. The protests officially end on December 24, 2012. The KSA remains a close ally to the US, with the recent improvement of relations with Israel. Whatever the objective was with the KSA, it failed to materialize. 24 People lost their lives during the period of protest action.
[Effective from September 2022, with MBS assuming the role as Prime Minister of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, diplomatic relations between the US and KSA deteriorated as MBS engaged with Vladimir Putin to expand cooperation with Russia, especially with regards to the expansion of KSA's domestic arms development capabilities. Under the rulership of Prince MBS, the KSA is gradually moving towards a more authoritarian government system, drawing much criticism from the United States, especially in terms of its restrictive women's rights policies. Upon MBS' meeting with Putin, the KSA has again threatened to drastically cut oil production which would negatively affect global supply stability. However, KSA's 'weaponization' of oil supply has been in the making for years, why the US has drastically cut its oil imports from Saudi Arabia in favor of greater domestic energy self-sufficiency].
2011, March 15: Civil unrest erupts in Damascus, Syria, protesting the government of Bashar al-Assad, a long ally of Russia, and vocal critic of the West (especially after the US-led invasion of Iraq, and the US removal of the Ba’ath Party in Iraq). The Syrian government immediately responds in force, which erupts into a civil war throughout Syria. Russia and Iran commit military support to the Syrian Government to help Assad fight anti-government forces. Syria remains at a state of civil war, and it will remain in that state for as long as it allows Russia and Iran to occupy its territory for both nations benefit from Syria’s current poor state of security.
[The important factor to take into consideration here is that neither Russia nor Iran offered any of the other Arab countries targeted in the so-called ‘Arab Spring’ any military assistance as it did with Syria. The main deciding factors were the benefits gained by Russia and Iran because of Syria allowing both countries to station its forces within Syrian territory on a permanent basis].
2011, March 17: Resolution 1973 is adopted in the UN Security Council, forming the legal basis for military intervention in the Libyan Civil War that erupted because of the Arab Spring civil unrest. Germany, Brazil, India, China and Russia abstain from voting.
2011, October 11: Leader of the Ukraine political opposition and former Prime Minister, Yulia Tymoshenko, is sentenced to 7 years imprisonment for ‘abusing her office’ relating to a 2009 Russian gas deal, in what was described later as Ukraine President Viktor Yanukovych’s attempts to remove his political opponents and critics. During the trial, Russian President Vladimir Putin commented that the charges against Tymoshenko was unreasonable for the reason that she was only executing instructions already agreed upon between the Presidents of Ukraine and Russia at the time. Tymoshenko was released from prison after Yanukovych fled to Russia following the 2014 Ukrainian Revolution. She was exonerated of all criminal charges.
2011, October 20: Muammar Gaddafi, former President of Libya in hiding, is captured by rebel forces while fleeing Libya, and immediately executed.
[Muammar Gaddafi is a former