BBC Radio Four’s ‘The World Tonight’: Georgia’s Iraq gamble

In early 2008, Georgia was the third-largest contributor to the US-led coalition in Iraq, sending thousands of troops to guard the border with Iran.

Tbilisi wanted its deployment to pave the way for eventual entry into Nato. But at a summit in April 2008, the alliance balked at encouraging Georgia’s hopes – a move that would have drawn a furious response from Moscow. Georgia’s war with Russia later that summer was seen by many in the West as a further argument against encroaching on Moscow’s “backyard”.

This report from Tbilisi, produced on the eve of the Nato summit, argued that the Iraq deployment had helped Georgia’s military punch above its weight – even if Nato entry remained beyond its reach.

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Caucasus on alert over Kosovo

Secessionists stir in the Caucasus over Kosovo’s plans to declare independence. Russia and its allies warned that redrawing borders in the Balkans could destabilise other contested regions. I visited South Ossetia in the winter before Georgia went to war with Russia over the territory. The “frozen conflict” was warming up. Report from Tskhinvali for BBC News, January 2008

Georgian protesters give poll icy reception

Opposition supporters voice a range of grievances against President Mikhail Saakashvili – but early results from a snap election suggest most Georgian voters backed him. Report from Tbilisi for BBC News, January 2008

Georgian TV feud mirrors poll rivalry

The contrasting fortunes of two TV stations ignite a debate over press freedom in Georgia, just before a snap presidential election. Report from Tbilisi for BBC News, January 2008