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Kyrgyzstan moves to shut US base
Jan Klimkowski Wrote:The wildcard is which Russians are playing? Putin's mob - including, probably, Gazprom? The meta-group Peter Dale Scott has researched so splendidly?

You do get the impression that "international relations" are a polite veneer description for which bunch of criminal bastards get their pudgy hands on piggy bank first...
The shadow is a moral problem that challenges the whole ego-personality, for no one can become conscious of the shadow without considerable moral effort. To become conscious of it involves recognizing the dark aspects of the personality as present and real. This act is the essential condition for any kind of self-knowledge.
Carl Jung - Aion (1951). CW 9, Part II: P.14
Seems the US Sino-Soviet containment strategy is not faring as well as expected.

US options after Kyrgyz base closure
By Vanessa Buschschluter
BBC News
US officials are looking for alternative ways of transporting soldiers and goods to Afghanistan after a decision by the Kyrgyz government to close a US base on its soil.

The Manas airbase near the capital Bishkek serves as an important supply route for US and Nato operations in Afghanistan.

It was set up by the United States in 2001 to support Operation Enduring Freedom - the US-led fight against al-Qaeda and the Taleban in Afghanistan.

Kyrgyzstan was chosen because it offered coalition forces unrestricted overflight rights for aircraft flying combat, humanitarian and search-and-rescue missions.

Since the US were ordered out of Karshi-Khanabad in Uzbekistan, following a dispute with the Uzbek government over human rights in 2005, Manas has been the only American airbase in Central Asia.

Transport hub

An average of 15,000 US soldiers go through it every month on their way in and out of Afghanistan.

Two hours' flight time from Kabul
15,000 US soldiers pass through every month on their way in and out of Afghanistan
Houses 1,000 US soldiers alongside 100 Spanish and French troops
Home of large tanker aircraft used for in-air refuelling of fighter planes
3,294 refuelling missions flown in 2008 providing 11,419 aircraft with fuel over the skies of Afghanistan
Used to transport relief supplies to Pakistan after the 2005 earthquake
Those bound for Afghanistan arrive in huge transport planes and, after a day or two on the base, get ferried to their posts in smaller aircraft, which are less easy targets for militants.
The base is also home to the large tanker aircraft that are used for in-air refuelling of fighter planes on combat missions over Afghanistan, and it acts as a funnel for anything the troops could need: from medical supplies, food and uniforms, to building materials.

Both the State Department and the Pentagon have acknowledged the importance of the Kyrgyz base.

The US has more than 30,000 troops in Afghanistan and President Barack Obama is expected to almost double that number as part of his plans to increase the war effort there.

But they are also at pains to stress US operations in Afghanistan will not be seriously disrupted at a crucial time.

"We never have a single point of failure," Major John Redfield, a spokesman for the US military, told the BBC.

"We are just going to find other means of supplying the folks in Afghanistan."

Alternative routes

So which route will the US choose for its soldiers and supplies to reach Afghanistan?

At present, about 75% of US military supplies - everything from fuel to heavy equipment - passes through Pakistan.

However, the route, which winds hundreds of miles from the port city of Karachi through the Khyber Pass to the Afghan-Pakistani border, is slow and dangerous.

It has also become a target for militants seeking to disrupt the Nato and US supply chain.

Six people were wounded on Friday when a suicide car bomber blew himself up at a Pakistani security post on the pass.

The attack came shortly after the main bridge linking Pakistan to Afghanistan had reopened, following a bomb explosion on Tuesday.

There are other options too.


The Tajik president has offered a transit route for commercial and humanitarian supplies.

"They should be destined not only for the military but it is also important they are used for the reconstruction of Afghanistan," President Emomali Rakhmon said.

The US ambassador to Tajikistan, Tracey Ann Jacobson, said the transit would take the land route to Afghanistan via a new bridge over the Panj river, which was part-funded by the Americans.

But there is still the question of how to get supplies to Tajikistan in large volumes in the first place.


The US could consider trying to resume its military co-operation with Uzbekistan. The airbase at Karshi-Khanabad allowed US troops ready access to the Afghan border, until 2005.

But it would be politically difficult for Washington to restore a relationship of this kind with one of the most authoritarian countries in the region, says Cory Welt of the Eurasian Strategy Project at Georgetown University.

US soldiers have still been able to pass through Uzbekistan on their way to Afghanistan - via a German airbase at Termez - but only if they are attached to Nato forces.

The Kazakh government has a warmer relationship with the US, but it has not offered Washington a lifeline out of its current predicament.

US aircraft carrying out military operations in Afghanistan are allowed to land at the military section of Almaty airport in emergencies, but not as a matter of routine.

Arab states

A spokesman for the US military, Major John Redfield, said another potential option would be an extension of the air supply routes from Kuwait and Qatar.

The Pentagon already has airbases in both countries, but Major Redfield told the BBC that flying supplies in from the Arab states would be three or four times more expensive than other options such using trucks, trains or ships from countries neighbouring Afghanistan.

The closure plan for Manas still needs to be approved by the Kyrgyz parliament. A vote on the issue has been scheduled for next week.

The pro-government party holds a majority of the seats in parliament and all that is needed is a simple majority.

So on the face of it, the vote could be a formality, says Georgetown University's Cory Welt.

"But there could also be a way for the government to change its mind on the closure without losing face, by asking its MPs to vote against its own plan," he says

"It all depends on the balance of power in the Kyrgyz government," Mr Welt says.

For some members, it could be partly a financial question. On the one hand there is the $17m the US is already annually to rent the base - and the $150m it gives each year in aid - on the other, there is the promise of the much larger sum of $2bn (£1.4bn) in aid that Russia is now holding out.

1. Manas airbase : the only US base in Central Asia, a vital transit point for Nato and US operations. Kyrgyz government wants it closed
2. Karshi-Khanabad airbase: US forces were ordered out in 2005. Uzbekistan may agree to allow it to be used for non-military transports
3. Bridge over Panj river: part-funded by the US, it was completed in 2007. May serve as another supply route into Afghanistan
4. Khyber Pass: most supplies to US and Nato troops come through Pakistan. Increasing number of attacks in the area mean the US army is looking for back-up routes
Story from BBC NEWS:
The shadow is a moral problem that challenges the whole ego-personality, for no one can become conscious of the shadow without considerable moral effort. To become conscious of it involves recognizing the dark aspects of the personality as present and real. This act is the essential condition for any kind of self-knowledge.
Carl Jung - Aion (1951). CW 9, Part II: P.14
Kyrgyzstan "Cancels" U.S. Air Base Lease; Washington Not Giving Up

May 21, 2013 - 11:30am, by [URL=""]Joshua Kucera
Kyrgyzstan's government has declared that it is canceling the current agreement that it has with the U.S. on the Manas air base the Americans operate in that country. But it's not clear, given that the agreement is scheduled to expire next year anyway, what import the announcement has, and it is probably of greater political than legal significance. And the U.S. State Department reiterates that it isn't giving up yet.
On its website, the Kyrgyzstan government announced that as of July 11, 2014, the agreement it has with the U.S. will be "repudiated." But that's when theagreement, reached in 2009 for a five-year period, expires.
Kyrgyzstan's president, Almazbek Atambayev, consistently says that he wants the U.S. to leave Manas in 2014. He said that again today, explaining that "the government has already made its decision and confirmed legislation about the end of the term of the agreement...All that's left is for the parliament to accept this law... I am deeply convinced a civilian airport should not have a military base."
Whether this is his final decision or a bargaining point is anyone's guess. The U.S. clearly hopes to extend its presence beyond July of 2014, and in a statement to The Bug Pit, a State Department spokesperson downplayed Bishkek's announcement. "Our understanding is this text is a draft of a possible law. Therefore, I'm not going to speculate on hypothetical next steps," the official said. "This does not change our existing agreements or timeline with the Kyrgyz Government." The U.S. "remains in close contact" with Kyrgyzstan, the official added.
But there may be a political subtext to the announcement. Some top regional experts, including Alex Cooley, Erica Marat and Nate Schenkken had an interesting back-and-forth about this on twitter. Marat noted that based on her contacts with Kyrgyzstan members of parliament, she believes the "renunciation" won't make it through the parliament. That could give Atambayev political cover should the U.S. convince him to allow the base to stay.
Another possible explanation is that this is a message intended for Russian consumption. And indeed, Russian President Vladimir Putin is traveling next week to Bishkek for a summit of the Collective Security Treaty Organization, where Manas will certainly be on the agenda.
And if we want to wade further into conspiratorial territory, we may note that it was just last week that the U.S. quietly dropped securities fraud charges against former first son Maxim Bakiyev, angering many in Bishkek.
And, of course, there was the crash of the refueling tanker, which inevitably began to havepolitical ramifications as controversy emerged over whether the U.S. or Kyrgyzstan had jurisdiction over the investigation of the crash. In a reflective essay on the Manas website about how airmen at the base have dealt with the crash, a couple of officer allude to this friction:
Our local translators, with their calm passion, helped us through intense negotiations on site while representatives from two nations felt out their roles, responsibilities, and authorities in a challenging and emotional crisis. They did so by not only bridging the language barrier and cultural divide, but by communicating the depth of conviction in our words.
Was any of this a factor in this most recent announcement? The only thing that is certain is that this will keep all of us guessing for the next year, and probably beyond.

"The philosophers have only interpreted the world, in various ways. The point, however, is to change it." Karl Marx

"He would, wouldn't he?" Mandy Rice-Davies. When asked in court whether she knew that Lord Astor had denied having sex with her.

“I think it would be a good idea” Ghandi, when asked about Western Civilisation.
Magda Hassan Wrote:
Whether this is his final decision or a bargaining point is anyone's guess.

Bargaining for a nice big earner probably? Alternatively, if he's serious, he could be placing himself at risk of loss of office or worse, because from what little I know of the US geo-strategy, Kyrgyzstan is a key pawn.

A large deposit in an untraceable offshore account may soothe his dissent, I suppose.
The shadow is a moral problem that challenges the whole ego-personality, for no one can become conscious of the shadow without considerable moral effort. To become conscious of it involves recognizing the dark aspects of the personality as present and real. This act is the essential condition for any kind of self-knowledge.
Carl Jung - Aion (1951). CW 9, Part II: P.14

Putin goes to Kyrgyzstan to solve the fate of Afghan drug trafficking


Russian President Vladimir Putin arrived in Bishkek, Kyrgyzstan, to take part in the informal summit of the Collective Security Treaty Organization (CSTO: Armenia, Belarus, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Russia and Tajikistan). Among the main issues on the agenda of the forum is the situation in Afghanistan in connection with the upcoming withdrawal of international troops in 2014 and the fate of Bishkek airport Manas, from which NATO is to withdraw its air base the same year as well. Putin will also hold bilateral meetings with counterparts from Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan, Almazbek Atambayev and Emomali Rahmon. With the leader of Tajikistan, Putin is expected to discuss issues on the provision of military assistance to the republic and the terms for ratification of the agreement about the 201st Russian military base. Afghanistan became a key topic for discussion at informal meetings of foreign, defense ministers and secretaries of CSTO Security Councils. Experts analyzed different scenarios for the development of the situation in that country. However, the Secretary General of the Collective Security Treaty Organization, Nikolai Bordyuzha, said last week that the most realistic outlook was negative. "The growing influence of extremists is very likely to happen, which is fraught with a variety of negative consequences, including the Civil War and the division of the country on the base of ethnic principles," Russian president's special envoy for Afghanistan, the head of the Asian Department of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Zamir Kabulov said.Noteworthy, NATO is opening a regional office on June 3 in Uzbekistan, which suspended its membership in the Collective Security Treaty Organization. In the first phase, the office will undertake the coordination of all sides in the scheduled phased withdrawal of troops from Afghanistan. The country's authorities are concerned that with the start of withdrawal of NATO troops from Afghanistan extremist organizations will become more active, Uzbekistan may take the first blow.In addition, after the departure of NATO troops, drug trafficking from Afghanistan is likely to grow. Reportedly, Vladimir Putin will offer a series of breakthrough steps at the summit to significantly reduce the transit of heroin and other drugs from Afghanistan to Russia and other countries of the CSTO. In particular, the Russian leader is expected to set forth an idea of ​​elimination of drug trafficking not only in the CIS countries, but inside Afghanistan. According to the Russian Federal Service for the Control of Narcotics, after the withdrawal of international forces from the country, the CSTO Collective Defense Forces in conjunction with interested states will be asked to proceed to the physical destruction of warehouses, laboratories, factories and poppy plantations in Afghanistan.In this case, the Federal Drug Control Service offers not only military, but also humanitarian methods of struggle. For example, there is an idea to create a state corporation for the development of Central Asia. According to the chairman of the State Anti-Drug Committee, Director of the Federal Drug Control Service, Viktor Ivanov, the corporation will distract former Soviet neighbors of Afghanistan from their participation in illegal drug trade. For Afghanistan, there can be economic projects proposed, in which not only the CSTO, but other reputable international organizations such as the UN, SCO and others will be involved.As for the future of Manas airbase, the Kyrgyz side believes that the CSTO partners can arrange a major international logistics center at the airport. The activities of the center may help compensate the economic damage that Manas will incur after the departure of the U.S. military.In addition, Kyrgyzstan intends to offer other participating countries to implement a project for the construction of the railway between Tajikistan, Kyrgyzstan, Kazakhstan and Russia. The new railway would create a new transport artery in the system of collective security, but also give an opportunity to enter the markets of the Asian region.
"The philosophers have only interpreted the world, in various ways. The point, however, is to change it." Karl Marx

"He would, wouldn't he?" Mandy Rice-Davies. When asked in court whether she knew that Lord Astor had denied having sex with her.

“I think it would be a good idea” Ghandi, when asked about Western Civilisation.

Cashing Out: U.S. Military Quits Critical Air Base After $100 Million in Payoffs

Posted By Gordon Lubold, Yochi Dreazen [Image: 091022_meta_block.gif] Friday, October 18, 2013 - 7:14 PM [Image: 091022_meta_block.gif] [Image: 091022_more_icon.gif] Share

After years of tense negotiations and more than a hundreds million dollars in payoffs, the U.S. military is finally giving up on a massive air base that served as a critical logistical hub for the Afghanistan war.
The Pentagon announced late Friday that the U.S. would return the Manas Transit Center air base to Kyrgyzstan by next July, just as the U.S. attempts one of its most complex logistics challenges yet -- returning people and gear from Afghanistan as that war draws to a close at the end of next year.
The relationship between the U.S. and Kyrgyzstan has been bumpy for years as Bishkek demanded more and more money from the U.S. for using a base they knew to be critical to the logistics operations surrounding the Afghanistan war. In the end, the U.S. may have been essentially outbid, as the base -- built with American "global war on terrorism dollars" as one officer put it -- became a gold mine to Kyrgyzstan and other countries, like Russia and China, became interested in its use.
But Friday's announcement appeared to reflect that the U.S. was fed up with the demands for more cash, and wouldn't pay any more for use of the base.
"It became too complicated," a senior defense official told FP. "The juice wasn't worth the squeeze."
The announcement caps years of controversy over the base, an enormous sprawl of low-slung buildings that was popular with troops entering and exiting the war zones because it served cold beer.
In 2009, the Kyrgyz parliament voted 78 to 1 to close Manas and ordered the U.S. to cease operations and remove all of its personnel from the facility in six months. The move infuriated American officials, who accused Russia of effectively buying the vote by promising the impoverished Kyrgyz government $2 billion in loans and financial assistance. At the time, roughly 15,000 troops and 500 tons of food, weaponry and other materiel were passing though Manas each month.
"The Russians are trying to have it both ways with respect to Afghanistan in terms of Manas," then-Defense Secretary Gates Robert Gates said at the time. "On one hand you're making positive noises about working with us in Afghanistan, and on the other hand you're working against us in terms of that airfield which is clearly important to us."
Washington eventually bought its way out of the problem, more than tripling its annual rent from $17.4 million to $60 million, and giving Kyrgyzstan more than $100 million in aid.
Troops and war supplies weren't the only things moving through Manas. The U.S. paid hundreds of millions of dollars to a pair of secretive contractors charged with supplying the air base with fuel, an arrangement that eventually attracted intense scrutiny in both Washington and the Kyrgyz capitol of Bishkek.
In May 2010, the authoritarian government of President Kurmanbek Bakiyev was toppled after a bloody revolt. The new regime accused the contractors, Mina Corp. and Red Star Enterprises, of giving the former leader's son, Maksim, a slice of their business to ensure they'd have no problems getting fuel to Manas. Lawmakers on Capitol Hill also criticized the arrangement with the two companies, which was eventually cancelled.
The Defense Department instead will expand its use of an air base in eastern Romania called Forward Operating Site Mihail Kogalniceanu, or "MK," which now serves as a logistics hub for U.S. European Command. MIK is already used to house as many as 1,350 troops at any one time, typically for rotational use for troops deployed to Romania. Now that will be used for troops leaving Afghanistan.
It's an attractive site for the Pentagon because it has access to air, sea, and rail service. "Being able to use an air base that also has access to rail and sea is a real hat trick," a defense official said.
MK will not be a one-for-one swap with Manas, however. The current plan is for MK to replace most of the passenger operations for which Manas has been used thus far. Aerial refueling operations, also currently run out of Manas, will transfer to a base in southwest Asia, a defense official said. Drawing forces and materiel out of Afghanistan will be the most challenging of logistics feats the military has conducted in years.
When the U.S. military withdrew from Iraq, it had next door a friendly country just across the border for moving troops and materiel: Kuwait. For Afghanistan, no such country exists. Pakistan presents enormous political and security challenges for the U.S. military as it attempts to draw down and everything else essentially must go by air.
"We do not have a catchers mitt," said one defense official, using an oft-used analogy referring to Kuwait at the end of the Iraq war.
But as those logistics challenges became clearer, military planners realized they didn't need Manas as much as they originally believed. There is less to carry out than first thought, a military official told FP. As NATO and the International Security Assistance Force, or ISAF, plans the retrograde, officials have decided that more equipment will either be sold or destroyed in place. That means there's less to bring home.
"We were planning for a larger amount of cargo to redeploy from [Afghanistan] than probably is going to come to pass," one officer said to FP.
And while closing Manas will make the job of leaving Afghanistan harder, the problems won't be insurmountable, the officer said. After years of threats and negotiations, the U.S. military had planned for the possibility that Manas wouldn't be available to it forever anyway.

"The philosophers have only interpreted the world, in various ways. The point, however, is to change it." Karl Marx

"He would, wouldn't he?" Mandy Rice-Davies. When asked in court whether she knew that Lord Astor had denied having sex with her.

“I think it would be a good idea” Ghandi, when asked about Western Civilisation.

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