What do you do when 'The Bear's' on the prowl?

By Noble Johns

Washington (BNW) —
What happens when you attack a bear with a switch? You usually get your ass killed! That’s exactly what is happening to Georgia, a farmer member of the old Soviet government, and now an enemy of Russia.

Edged on by the United States and wolfing by stupid Bush when he visited Georgia this year, now, Russian troops appeared to be still in control of the situation, and Moscow has declined to give any timetable for the withdrawal of its forces from the disputed Georgian enclave of South Ossetia.

CNN's Michael Ware, on the grown in Georgia, said Russian forces were still evident in the Georgian city of Gori Thursday despite an agreement to hand over control as part of an internationally mediated cease-fire deal to end days of territorial fighting.

Russian Gen. Nikolai Uvarov told CNN the handover of the city was "under way right now" and would be finished later Thursday.

Ware said Russia had invaded the city beyond the borders of South Ossetia because it is Georgia's main military base and an arms munition storage there had been left unattended.

Russia's deputy chief of general staff, Col. Gen. Anatoly Nogovitsyn, said a withdrawal plan to pull troops from the breakaway region had yet to be approved by Russia's defense ministry or its president, Dmitry Medvedev.

Meanwhile, Polish and U.S. negotiators signed a deal on Thursday to host parts of Washington's global missile shield system in the European Union's biggest ex-communist member.

The deal was signed by deputy Polish Foreign Minister Andrzej Kremer and U.S. chief negotiator John Rood, a Reuters reporter present at the signing ceremony said.

Poland must be nuts to cut a deal like that when Georgia is getting the beat down. If the U.S. can’t help Georgia when the bear comes knocking, what in the hell you think is going to happen to you, Poland?

The conflict in Georgia began late last week when Tbilisi launched a military incursion into South Ossetia in an effort to rout separatis rebels.

Russia — which supports the separatists, many of whom claim Russian citizenship — responded the next day, sending tanks across the border into the province. The conflict quickly spread to parts of Georgia and to Abkhazia, another breakaway region.

French President, Nicolas Sarkozy, is trying to mediate a cease-fire deal because the dispute has quickly spread beyond the region, and has European leaders afraid it my spread further into Europe.

Most analysts see the conflict as a gamble initiated by Georgia, which is seeking EU and NATO membership, to test the strength of its Western allies in the face of Russia's unwillingness to see NATO encroaching on its doorstep, but it didn’t and now Georgia is left standing alone with a bear on its doorsteps.

Accusations of ongoing hostilities have continued on both sides, despite the cease-fire deal, which is adding to the confusion on the ground and fueling doubts that a quick solution to the conflict can be found.

Many more people have fled the fighting into Russia from Georgia, leaving heavily bombarded towns and cities deserted, in five days of fighting. Both sides accused the other of targeting civilians, and casualty reports are in the thousands.

Georgian President Mikhail Saakashvili has long pledged to take back control of South Ossetia, which battled Georgia for de facto independence in fighting that ended in 1992. On Friday, Moscow sent tanks into the region when Georgia launched a major military offensive to retake the breakaway province.

Bush has sent Rice Pudding to meet with European Union leaders in France, she will then head to Tbilisi.

During a Moscow visit by the leaders of South Ossetia and Abkhazia, Russia's Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said that Georgia's current borders were "limited" -- an indication that the two breakaway regions may never agree to rejoin it.

South Ossetia and Abkhazia leaders were in Moscow to meet Russian President Dmitry Medvedev to discuss the future status of their previously autonomous regions within Georgia.

All three voiced their unity against what Abkhazian leader Sergey Bagapsh called "those aggressors from Georgia."

South Ossetian leader Eduard Kokoity compared Georgia's initial assault on the region's capital Tskhinvali — which prompted the Russian invasion — to Germany's attempt to seize Stalingrad during World War II.

"Tskhinvali has become the Stalingrad of the Caucusus," Kokoity said at a joint news conference. Video Watch more on withdrawal of Russian troops »

He questioned why Russia attacked Georgia's oil pipelines which, Saakashvili said, "don't have any military significance."

"Why would one attack them unless there is some other purpose?"

The major candidates for president called on Russia and Georgia to end their military action and appealed for more diplomatic efforts aimed at avoiding a full-scale war.

Republican John McCain said Russia should withdraw its forces. Democrat Barack Obama condemned the violence and urged the two sides to show restraint.

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