What with the Arab Spring, Israeli threats to attack Iran, and the bloodshed in Syria, Afghanistan and Iraq, the world has largely forgotten the troubled Caucasus region. But European and Western leaders would do well to take another look at what is happening there, four years after Georgia’s 2008 war with Russia proved the dangers still posed by unresolved military conflicts from the collapse of the Soviet Union. On Oct. 1, Georgians will vote in the least-predictable election that the country has had since it gained independence more than 20 years ago. A quick look at a map or globe shows that Georgia and the pipelines it hosts to transport oil and natural gas to Western markets are all too close to the hot spots that so preoccupy the world’s leaders today.
The parliamentary campaign between the ruling United National Movement party, headed by President Mikheil Saakashvili, and the Georgian Dream opposition coalition that is headed by Georgia’s richest man, Bidzina Ivanishvili, has been divisive, malicious and, at times, ridiculous. Saakashvili’s second and final presidential term ends in late 2013, and he says he isn’t seeking the prime minister’s post. But he remains the hyperactive face of the ruling party.
Full Article: Ignore the Georgian Elections at Your Own Risk – Bloomberg.