Georgia made a strategic miscalculation in trying to rapidly overrun South Ossetia,
and as a result has probably lost the region for good, regional analysts say.
While Russian-backed separatists in the breakaway Georgian region helped provoke Georgia into action,
it was the belief that its troops could secure a lightning victory that underpinned Georgia's decision
"The Georgians rolled the dice and they lost," said Michael Denison, an expert in Russian and Eurasian
affairs at Chatham House, a London-based security think tank.
"It was not an unreasonable calculation to go for a rapid win, but in the end it was a miscalculation."
Georgia, which has several restless regions within its territory, has managed to quell low-level
insurgencies on its turf in recent years -- notably in the Kodori Gorge and the Adjara region -- without
provoking Russian reaction.
It calculated that, with the recent change of leadership in Moscow and by timing the attack to coincide
with the opening of the Olympics, it could secure a quick and relatively trouble-free victory.
"The capital Tskhinvali is relatively small, no more than around 25,000 people, and they probably thought
they could just take it and be done," said Denison.
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