Assad, left, shown here with Iran’s Ahmadinejad, says he ‘represents Iran’s interests’ in his meetings with Russia.
By SHARON K. GILBERT
August 21, 2008
WHILE the US media hold their collective breath awaiting Vice Presidential revelations from Obama and McCain, a strategic meeting is taking place in the resort town of Sochi, Russia.
This bustling vacation spot lies nestled against the majestic Caucasus Mountains, and serves as an important Russian access point to the Black Sea. Ironically, Sochi was once called the Kingdom of Egrisi and formed the western rank of ancient Georgia. Ceded to Russia following the Crimean War, Sochi grew prominent as a resort town during the reign of Joseph Stalin, who built a second home, or dacha, there. Vladimir Putin continued in Stalin’s tradition, at least where Sochi is concerned, investing large sums to modernize the city. Olympics fans may find the name ‘Sochi’ ringing bells. The sprawling resort has been named host city for the 2014 Winter Games.
So, why would such a beautiful, harmless city be at the center of geopolitics? To answer this question, one need only take a look at recent activities there. Dmitry Medvedev has been holding court in Sochi, hosting numerous political leaders, including Condoleezza Rice, Angela Merkel, and now Syrian leader Bashar al-Assad. Continue reading