Helen Womack Guardian.com.uk

Why has fighting broken out in South Ossetia?
The South Ossetians and Georgians have been sniping at each other, both with words and guns, for several weeks now, and patience on both sides has finally snapped. South Ossetia and Georgia’s other breakaway region, Abkhazia, have had de facto independence since the early 1990s, but Tbilisi has never recognised the loss of its territory. The dispute between Georgia and the two regions was called “the frozen conflict” because the issues remained unresolved but there was no fighting. The ice began to melt, and the heat to rise, earlier this year when the west recognised Kosovo, against Russia’s advice. The South Ossetians and Abkhazians argued that if Kosovo could be independent, then so could they, and renewed their struggle for freedom. Read more here