Georgian troops to leave Iraq in order to fight in South Ossetia
A U.S. military spokesman on Saturday said the departure of Georgia's 2,000-strong contingent from Iraq will have some impact in the short term but no significant long-term effect on Iraq's security. Georgian President Mikhail Saakashvili has told CNN the troops will be called home Saturday to join the fighting in the province of South Ossetia. Georgia wants to restore its rule there.
A U.S. defense official said Georgia has asked Washington for help getting its soldiers out of Iraq. U.S. spokesman Capt. Charles G. Calio said all transportation options are being considered, the AP reported. Georgia's troops in Iraq makes it the third-largest contributor to foreign forces after the U.S. and Britain.
It should be mentioned that since the current Georgian government came to power after the Rose Revolution in 2003, one of its main goals has been to join Nato. By sending troops to serve in Iraq, it hoped to send a message that it can contribute to what it describes as global security.
The United States urged Russia on Friday to halt aircraft and missile attacks in South Ossetia and withdraw its combat forces from Georgian territory as the situation in the former Soviet state verged on full-scale war. The White House said President Bush discussed the situation with Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin while both leaders were in Beijing for the start of the Olympics.