The Democratic Republic of Gorgas, like Atropia, is a small yet fiercely independent state in a fragile and dangerous area, but without Atropia’s hydrocarbon assets. The country’s primary strength is geographical—its Black Sea ports and land borders make it a logical pipeline route and regional outlet to the outside world. Gorgas remains among the smallest and least economically developed nations in the region. It currently exists in a state of “frozen conflict” with Donovia over Donovian attempts to block Gorgas from NATO and EU membership, as well as Donovian support for Zabzimek and South Ostremek—two breakaway provinces formerly part of Gorgas.
The breakaway province of Zabzimek is located in northwest Gorgas and borders Donovia. Currently, a ceasefire and line of separation exist between Gorgas and Zabzimek, but the Zabzimek militia poses a threat to the port of Poti and lines of communication from the Black Sea to the Gorgan capital city of Tbilisi. Zabzimek achieved de facto independence after the conflict with Gorgas 19 years ago, but only Donovia and Nicaragua recognize the country internationally. Strong criminal elements operate in Zabzimek.
South Ostremek, in north-central Gorgas, also wants independence from Gorgas. Like Zabzimek, South Ostremek achieved de facto independence after the first Donovia-Gorgas War 19 years ago, but only Donovia and Nicaragua recognize the new country internationally. South Ostremek wants to reunite with North Ostremek, a Donovian republic. Currently, a ceasefire remains in effect between Gorgas and South Ostremek, primarily monitored by Donovian peacekeepers.
The Democratic Republic of Gorgas is democratizing power, leaning toward the US, and attempting to maintain its political independence and internal stability in an increasingly dangerous environment. Gorgas maintains warm relations with Atropia due to the Atropian oil that passes through Gorgan pipelines and the greater interest of both nations in their independence from large and powerful neighbors. Gorgas faces its own regional threats from breakaway provinces.
Gorgas has a history of irregular and regular warfare that is common throughout the region. The country remains unhappy with the tumultuous regional political boundaries over the last century, especially with Donovia. Like most countries, Gorgan military strategy reflects the country’s political agenda. The country uses the military for defensive purposes and to maintain territorial sovereignty that includes force against breakaway provinces. Gorgas currently wants to join NATO and remains the most accepting of Western influence of the five countries in the region.
For Gorgas, which lacks extractive or mature industries, transhipment of hydrocarbon products or providing other services to oil-wealthy countries will be their primary short-to-medium-term means for achieving economic development.
Gorgas possesses a somewhat weak economy as it attempts to emerge from the chaos created by its former economic dependence on Donovia. The Gorgan economy shows signs of growth despite a small population, lack of any flagship industry, and an uncertain geopolitical landscape. Gorgas enjoys significant investment from the West while it diversifies trade and locates new partners in Europe to wean itself away from previous dependence on Donovia. Gorgas’ largest exports include agricultural products such as wine, nuts, and mineral water. Gorgas also exports scrap metal, ammonium nitrate, and other industrial products. The country imports most high value-added products including medicines, vehicles, aircraft, and power production equipment.
Gorgas has a dynamic and relatively free media environment. Gorgan information warfare INFOWAR capability is growing, with training and equipment adhering closely to NATO standards. Gorgas will be limited compared to regional neighbours on the resources it will be able to expend to grow both information and INFOWAR infrastructure.
Despite resource constraints, Gorgan capability to effectively engage larger INFOWAR adversaries will grow, probably with significant outside support. Likewise, should international economic development foster overall economic development, the current free and dynamic information environment could blossom to become the region’s largest. Ultimately, Gorgas stands at a crossroads of information development, a path ultimately dictated by economic factors.
Gorgas contains few natural resources and little industry and needs to find its role in the Caucasus region. This is true for Gorgan infrastructure, as the country possesses a negative urbanization rate of 0.6%. In order for some urban Gorgans to avoid starvation, they returned to their rural roots where they can attempt to survive through subsistence farming. Most rural Gorgans cannot access modern utilities (electricity, potable running water, and a modern sewage disposal system), and the same holds true for many urban Gorgans. Even with one-third of the Gorgan people located in one city, Gorgas remains almost evenly split between urban and rural dwellers.
Gorgas’ largest cities contain four distinct types of neighbourhoods based on the time of their construction. The oldest parts of the cities contain the dense random construction as the city grew from a village to a metropolitan area. The second area consists of extra-large rectangular block apartment buildings in closed orderly block construction that suffer from a lack of maintenance. The third area consists of neighborhoods that use more Western-style construction methods. In those cities that possess significant industrialization, houses built to support a factory exist to create a strip area neighborhood. For the most part, Gorgas does not possess the financial capacity to maintain its infrastructure, either private or public.
Tbilisi remains the only Gorgan city with enough people where military operations would likely require a significant amount of urban operations. No other city possesses a population of over 200,000 people. Even in these smaller cities, however, military personnel will face dense random construction in the inner cities with narrow alleys and buildings built close to each other. Except for Tbilisi, the lack of an urban population may create manpower shortages for any host nation support requests.
Mountain ranges dominate Gorgas. The Likhi Range divides the country into eastern and western halves, the Greater Caucasus Mountain Range separates Gorgas from Donovia’s North Caucasus Republics, and the Lesser Caucasus Mountains serve as Gorgas’ southern boundary with Limaria. At 16,400 feet above sea level, the Greater Caucasus Range reaches a much higher elevation than the Lesser Caucasus. Mount Shkhara in the Greater Caucasus, at 17,059 feet, represents Gorgas’ highest peak. The Lesser Caucasus Mountains do not exceed 1,000 feet in elevation and consist of various, interconnected mountain ranges. Prominent features of the area include the Javeki volcanic plateau, numerous lakes, mineral water, and hot springs.
Gorgas possesses numerous rivers, many of which provide power to small hydroelectric stations. The Kura River flows across the plains of eastern Gorgas through the capital of Tbilisi, and spills into the Caspian Sea; it is Gorgas’ longest river. The Rioni, Gorgas’ second-largest river, originates in the Lesser Caucasus Mountains, flows west, and enters the Black Sea near Poti. Used as a means of both domestic and industrial waste disposal, the Rioni is highly polluted.
The dense random construction patterns in major cities will slow down troop movement, especially mechanized or motorized. The enemy will use the narrow alleys between buildings to conduct ambushes. Poor winter weather and lack of roads will challenge military planners, as significant areas may become inaccessible for nearly half of the year. Travelers will find Gorgan roads in generally poor condition, subject to banditry, vulnerable to rock and mudslides, and even possibly having landmines in some areas. The terrible road conditions will increase vehicle breakdowns and increase maintenance requirements.
The Caucasus countries, for the most part, do not believe in the sensitivity of time, and do not view punctuality or the importance of time as the US and most other Western countries do. Most of the people in the region do not view time as a resource and do not feel any compulsion to effectively manage their time. The people in the Caucasus region do not make the connection between effective use of their time and production. This lack of time consciousness will likely frustrate US soldiers as they work with their allies, but it will also give the US a battlefield advantage against its enemies.