Op-ed: sanction wars and Khabib's disrupted visit to Abkhazia
Georgia is accused of disrupting Khabib’s visit to Abkhazia
Controversy has been sparked by the disruption of the visit of a world-famous mixed martial arts fighter from Dagestan, Khabib Nurmagomedov to Abkhazia. Khabib cancelled the trip in order to avoid possible sanctions from the United States, where Khabib is currently performing, as well as termination of his current contracts there. Editor of JAMnews Abkhazia Inal Khashig analyzes the reasons for and possible consequences of this event.
The famous fighter Khabib Nurmagomedov, former UFC champion [Ultimate Fighting Championship – a sports organization based in Las Vegas, USA, and a main organizer of mixed martial arts fights around the world] changed his mind about visiting Abkhazia.
On Children’s Day, he promised the Abkhaz kids to hold a master class for them, however, it never happened, as the fighter’s managers noted that to upon Georgia’s initiative, Abkhazia is currently under sanctions.
As a result, in order not to risk American visa, and the consequent restriction of sports activities in the UFC as well as the termination of contracts in the United States, Khabib had to cancel his trip.
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A wave of outrage has hit the social media, however, it is not aimed Khabib himself but at Georgia. Similar incentive was expressed by Abkhazia’s opposition group Aruaa which is now calling on the president and parliament, to tighten the already tough regime of crossing at the Georgian-Abkhaz border and it is very likely that the authorities will give in to those calls.
Sanctions wars are on rise these days and Sukhum will not cease to introduce measures against Georgia.
A week earlier, President Aslan Bzhania under the pressure from the opposition Aruaa organization, edited the Foreign Policy Concept which was approved in December last year, and removed a whole paragraph stating that Sukhum would allow the possibility of forming an additional format of multi-level negotiations between Georgia and the Republic of Abkhazia, including direct negotiations between the two conflicting parties.
This paragraph brought nothing but trouble to President of Abkhazia. Tbilisi perceived Abkhazia’s readiness for direct negotiations as the beginning of its return under Georgia’s control, naively assuming (after all, there is also a propaganda machine is operating there too) that Sukhum would soon raise the white flag.
On the other hand, the Abkhaz opposition began to accuse Aslan Bzhania of betraying national interests.
In order to avoid further turmoil, Bzhania satisfied the demands of the opposition. original positions. If now, moving in this anti-Georgian direction, he further restricts the movement along the border with Georgia, the opposition that keeps citing patriotism will either have to dissolve itself, or look for another issue to build its agenda around, because the president will be perceived as the main patriot.
Of course, I exaggerate this a little, but Tbilisi did not use the chance initiated by Sukhum to somewhat revive the process of settling the Georgian-Abkhaz conflict.
It is now unlikely that in the near future the authorities of Abkhazia will offer the anything to Georgia, and the conditions that will have to be ensured for the negotiations to be possible have become even harder to achieve.
To really give a new impetus to the negotiation process, Georgia will have to go all out and get rid of its main leverage ( and the main obstacle) in the settling of conflict with Abkhazia – that of the law On Occupied Territories.
Moreover, if the sanction wars will continue, the majority of the citizens of Georgia, permanently residing in the Gali region, will suffer from the Abkhaz preventive measures. Abkhazians aside, at least for the sake of the Gali residents, Tbilisi should think about the effectiveness of the sanction policy.
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