Americans, Georgians and (Allegedly) Russians with a Bomb
Perhaps the principle of Occam’s razor should have been applied to the original claims of a Russian-choreographed explosion in 2010 near the US embassy's parking lot in Tbilisi.
Initially, the claims were seen by many locals as another product of the Georgian government's active imagination. US diplomats at the time did little to correct that impression.
Now, nearly a year later, with Washington's alleged corroboration of the tale, the outside world is aflame with interest, leaving Tbilisi standing with its arms akimbo, saying "See, I told you so!" In fact, in case anybody forgot who first made the claim, pro-government Georgian TV news broadcasts are busy looping news reports from Western media that echo Tbilisi’s version of the incident.
Is Washington's finding merely a case of accepting Georgian intelligence for now, and leaving the in-depth questions for later? Hard to say, but The New York Times reports that an unnamed US official familiar with the case claims that intelligence from Georgia was not the only ground for the finding that Moscow lay behind the blast. The deduction, however, is not "rock-solid," the official added.
The official suggested that the attack may have been more of a hit-and-run poke at the Georgians, who just won’t let give up their claims to breakaway Abkhazia and South Ossetia, and also keep shooing Russia away from the World Trade Organization.
So, did Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin (widely seen in Georgia as Russia's real ruler ) actually pass the bomb to an associate in a dimly lit room in the Kremlin, and erupt into demonic laughter? In espionage-weary Tbilisi, few ordinary people seem inclined to jump on that scenario. The Georgian government, perhaps at Washington's prodding (think "reset"), even requested Russian security officials to cooperate with the investigation, giving Moscow the nominal benefit of the doubt. Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Grigory Karasin appears happy to play along. While pooh-poohing the media hoopla around the report (first covered by The Washington Times), he told Interfax on July 28 that Moscow "treated this [claim] responsibly and carried out an appropriate professional investigation . . . " But "appropriate" may prove to be in the eye of the beholder. Tune in next week . . .