Sunday, August 10, 2008

A Proposal for Mediating Georgia Conflict

A Possible Mediation/Peace Proposal For Georgian Conflict

DISCLAIMER/CLARIFICATION: None of the organizations listed below has endorsed these ideas. The Purpose of the message was to spur thought & discussion among organizations so that they could come up with their own ideas. Sorry for any confusion.

Efforts Should Focus on the Following:

1. Establishing a ceasefire to allow for the treatment & evacuation of the wounded and to establish a safe humanitarian corridor for civilians to evacuate. Establish access for Red Cross & other NGO’s.

2. Get all military forces to pull back either completely or partially to establish a demilitarized buffer zone. Deweaponize the area. This will reduce the number of clashes.

3. Establish a more permanent ceasefire and begin negotiations on the long-term status of South Ossetia.

4. Make sure rebel groups stand down and are part of negotiations.

5. Allow a stabilization force of a few thousand UN Soldiers to patrol the area to fill the buffer zone; including UN observers. This UN force should not include any American ground troops. Ideally, this UN force should be made up of troops from neutral Countries, and both disputing parties should have at least some say on the make-up of this force. Some of the observers could include officials from both sides, but the majority of any observer force should come from neutral Countries.

6. (In the interim) Return to the 16 year status quo of autonomous self rule in South Ossetia. Also, allow the UN to fund & rebuild the region.

7. Allow the South Ossetians to have a vote on their own future --A). to become independent, B). move to Russia, C). remain in Georgia, D). maintain UN administration, or E). some other option agreeable to both parties. The U.S. should not have a double standard on this issue. The U.S. either believes in self determination or it doesn’t. There should not be one set of rules for some Countries and another set of rules for others….(Kosovo for example).

One possible compromise could involve Georgia keeping the land and Russia keeping the pro-Russian people. The U.S., U.N. & Russia should offer to pay (share the cost) for the relocation of the 40,000-60,000 South Ossetians who may want to move to Russia. They could be accommodated by a combination of existing housing and new housing within Russia. Housing costs for each family could be paid for up to 2-3 years. Or the South Ossetians could be compensated based on the housing and the land that they held while in South Ossetia. The relocation costs would be marginal compared with much larger migrations in history. The payments and buyouts should be high enough that relocating would provide the South Ossetians with a higher standard of living. This may help encourage people to accept the idea of relocation.

Another possible compromise could involve a partition of South Ossetia. This would probably not be the best option, but it may be acceptable to both parties. All of the pro-Russian residents who want to relocate can move into Russia and/or inside of the Russian portion of South Ossetia. Those residents who want to remain in Georgia could remain on the Georgian side. This may reduce relocation costs and travel distances. Residents on either side of the partition could be allowed to have dual citizenship. The drawback is that this might create a situation where disputing parties would live in close proximity…. Risking future skirmishes and conflicts.

8. Work towards a long-term non-aggression treaty between Georgia and Russia.

9. Use the carrot of future EU membership, economic aid & incentives to get the Georgians to cooperate.

10. Use the carrot of economic investment, trade, and a possible promise of no NATO membership for Georgia to get Russian cooperation. Show Russia that its relationships with Europe and the rest of the World are far more important than the Georgia issue. Emotions seem to be drowning out rational thought on the Russia side.

This crisis & other outstanding disputes are perfect examples of why NATO membership should not be considered for Georgia at any time. Stability is a key requirement for NATO membership, and Georgia does not meet that standard. There are also various other reasons why Georgia should not be considered for NATO membership. It is for these reasons that several NATO member Countries were not likely to approve Georgian membership anyway. Furthermore, Georgian membership would not offer NATO any substantial capability…it would not offer anything to NATO. Georgia would be more of a liability to NATO than an asset - It would be another liability for the U.S. and Europe to defend militarily, and a country that is not among the most stable. It would increase risk of a conflict, and would be one of the most irresponsible decisions that Europe/NATO has ever made.

Europe and the U.S. should open a wider dialogue with Russia about NATO expansion, since this is such a source of tension. It is time to consider Russian concerns.

11. Ensure that other nations do not enter the conflict militarily, even on a minimal level, and make sure that the international community and nations involved in mediation remain as neutral as possible.

12. Get all U.S. Nationals out of Georgia.

NONE OF THE ORGANIZATIONS OR INDIVIDUALS BELOW HAVE SIGNED OFF ON THESE IDEAS, NOR WAS I SEEKING ANY SUCH ENDORSEMENT. I will be deleting this message in the next few days, since the situation in Georgia has improved. Previous e-mails can also be disregarded, since the war is coming to an action or further interest is warranted at this point.

Contact your member of Congress, governments, & organizations and push for mediation to bring a lasting ceasefire & an eventual Peace process in Georgia.

Below is a list of organizations that may be able to help spread the word and encourage mediation.

Carter Center

Gov. Bill Richardson

Kofi Annan

Council on Foreign Relations

Other Groups That Were Contacted (Please help connect with other groups)

United for Peace and Justice (coalition of hundreds of Peace groups)

The Carter Center - Hrair Balian- Coordinator of Conflict Resolution program
(Let's get President Carter and his staff involved)

Peace Action
Director Kevin Martin

Barbara Bearden - Head of Communications

Other Key Peace-Action Staff

FOR- Fellowship of Reconciliation

Physicians for social responsibility

2020 vision

Union of Concerned Scientists

Veterans for Peace

War resisters

Womens International League for Peace and Freedom

International Action Center

Nonviolent Peace Force

Answer coalition

Coalition for world peace



Student Peace Action

Witness for Peace

Campaign for Peace and Democracy

American Friends Service Committee

Women for Peace

International Crisis Group (Trained Mediators Mr. Grono- VP for Ops, And Mr. Evans - Pres.)

Info on Campus organizing


Grandmothers for peace

Global Action to prevent war

Global peace now

World Citizen Diplomats

Community Peacemakers

Citizens For Global Solutions

Juan Cole

New America Foundation
Steve Coll President

Air America Radio


Think Progress

Moderate Voice

Carpetbagger Report

Gun Toting Liberal

Crooks and Liars

Mother Jones

Add Other Groups As You See Fit & Pass it on....

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