The 56-nation Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe, or OSCE, says Russia's days as peacekeeper in South Ossetia are over. OSCE chairman, Finnish foreign minister Alexander Stubb is quoted by Reuters as saying, ""It is clear that there is no return to the status quo, to what was."
"Russian troops poured into South Ossetia on Friday, hours after Georgia launched a large-scale offensive aimed at restoring control over the region which broke away after a war in the early 1990s. A peacekeeping force with 500 members each from Russia, Georgia and North Ossetia monitored a truce in the region which broke down this week.
"...Stubb also said there was no question the current conflict was a war. "This is a war, no doubt about it. There is no reason to call it anything else."
He said Georgia's territorial integrity and the right to self-determination of South Ossetia were basic principles which would guide the OSCE throughout the conflict."
It's those last few words, the recognition of "the right to self-determination of South Ossetia" that will ruffle feathers in Washington as well as Tbilisi. The Georgians want to subjugate the Ossetians into assimilation. The South Ossetians want nothing to do with Georgia which is why they've turned to Russia for protection even before the reign of Catherine the Great. Self-determination would mean a Kosovo-style sovereignty for Ossetia and an outright repudiation of Georgia's dodgy claims to the territory.
The litmus test of South Ossetian loyalties has been apparent in the streams of refugees foreign reporters have observed streaming, not into Georgia, but straight into Russia.
Meanwhile Condoleeza Rice has called South Ossetia is "Georgian soil." Good luck with that, Condi.