View Full Version : 100's People Killed in Kyrgyzstan Protests

Keith Millea
04-07-2010, 05:37 PM

Published on Wednesday, April 7, 2010 by The Guardian/UK (http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2010/apr/07/kyrgyzstan-protests-17-killed) At Least 17 People Killed in Kyrgyzstan Protests as Government Stormed

Minister reportedly killed as demonstrations and clashes with riot police spread to capital Bishkek in declared state of emergency

by Luke Harding in Moscow and agencies

At least 180 people in Kyrgyzstan (http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/kyrgyzstan) have been wounded and 17 killed in clashes between riot police and anti-government demonstrators.

http://www.commondreams.org/files/article_images/kyrgyzstan-protests-001_0.jpgRiot police during anti-government protests in Bishkek. (Photograph: Vyacheslav Oseledko/AFP/Getty)

Police opened fire when thousands of protesters tried to storm the main government building in the capital Bishkek and overthrow the regime.
Reporters saw bodies lying in the main square outside the office of Kurmanbek Bakiyev, the central Asian republic's president, and opposition leaders said that at least 17 people were killed in the violence
Bakiyev declared a state of emergency, as riot police firing tear gas and flash grenades beat back the crowds. There were also unconfirmed reports that the country's interior minister had been beaten by an angry mob.

Opposition activist Shamil Murat told Associated Press that he saw the dead body of minister Moldomusa Kongatiyev in a government building in the western town of Talas.

Murat said the protesters beat up Kongatiyev and forced him to order his subordinates in the Kyrgyz capital of Bishkek to stop a crackdown on an opposition rally there.

The protests, which began last week in several Kyrgz provincial cities, erupted today in Bishkek when around 200 people gathered outside the offices of the main opposition parties.

Demonstrators dodged attempts by police to stop them and marched towards the centre of the city, reports said. The crowd, armed with iron bars and stones, then tried to seize the main government building using an armoured vehicle. Several shots rang out from the building, the White House.

Opposition activists also took over the state TV channel, broadcasting speeches in support of the uprising.

The small central Asian republic is home to a major US airbase supplying Afghanistan, and has been a source of increasing tension between Moscow and Washington. The Kremlin is irritated by US presence in a region it regards as its backyard. It has also grown frustrated with the Bakiyev regime, which it believes has fallen under US influence.

Today's rolling violent protests appear to be largely spontaneous. All major opposition figures who might have led the uprising were arrested last night, and remain locked up. This morning's protests appear to be an explosion of popular frustration rather than a well-organised coup attempt.
Today one leading expert said a recent decision to impose punitive price hikes on water and gas had ignited the riots. "In the last few months there has been growing anger over this non-political issue," Paul Quinn-Judge, central Asia project director of the International Crisis Group, said. "The government thought they could get away with it. Most people agreed."

He went on: "But in the last few weeks we have seen several rumblings in the secondary towns and cities across Kyrgyzstan. There has also been a crisis inside government. Now it has all come together in one giant wreck."
In Naryn, a town in central Kyrgyzstan, around 3,000 anti-government protesters today seized the main government building. They ordered local governor Almazbek Akmataliyev to leave and then threw documents and a flag from the window of his office. The crowd then tried to seize the local police department.

Opposition supporters also occupied the building of the Chuy region administration in the town of Tokmak, located approximately 50km from Bishkek, Interfax reported.

Some 4,000 protesters also gathered on the main square in Talas, a small town in a picturesque valley on the border with Kazakhstan. Witnesses said protesters, throwing stones, were attempting to storm the Talas local police headquarters, a day after rampaging through the regional government's headquarters, fighting off police and burning Bakiyev's portraits.

According to Quinn-Judge, Kyrgyzstan was facing several power struggles – not just the one between the government and opposition, but also inside Bakiyev's family-run regime. "It's not a happy family. They don't get on," he said. "Some of them are upset that one of them is creaming off large parts of the economy."

The key question now was whether Bakiyev – who come to power in 2005 following the pro-reform Tulip Revolution – was prepared to use force to crush the revolt, he said.

Kyrgyzstan used to be the most progressive country in central Asia – a relative comparison given the region is run by democracy-averse super-presidents. In recent years it has moved quietly and steadily towards authoritarianism. There has been increasing pressure on the media, and clearly fabricated cases against opposition leaders.

Recently Bakiyev has mused that Krygzstan needs to emulate Russia (http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/russia)'s authoritarian model, which includes rigged elections, fake opposition parties and a controlled media. "The president has been talking about a new philosophy in the country. They really like Vladimir Putin's vertical of power. Unfortunately they can't organise it very well," Quinn-Judge noted.
Today Kyrgyz prime minister Daniyar Usenov condemned the opposition rallies, and said about 100 people were injured in the violence in Talas. "They are bandits, not an opposition movement," Usenov told reporters. "This kind of thing cannot be called opposition."

Russia, the main regional power, called for restraint. "We have consistently urged that all disagreements – political, economic and social – are resolved by the existing Kyrgyz democratic procedures without the use of force and without harm to the citizens of Kyrgyzstan," Interfax news agency quoted the Russian deputy foreign minister, Grigory Karasin, as saying.

Last week, UN secretary-general Ban Ki-moon visited Bishkek and called on the government to do more to protect human rights. The United Nations said on Tuesday that Ban was concerned at events in Talas and urged all parties to show restraint.

Bishkek residents said internet access had been blocked in most households around the city, and that the main road between Talas and Bishkek had been entirely cordoned off by police.

© 2010 Guardian News and Media Limited

David Healy
04-07-2010, 05:53 PM

with video.... 20 killed, 300 wounded

Magda Hassan
04-08-2010, 04:46 AM

April 7, 2010

Kyrgyzstan And The Battle For Central Asia
Rick Rozoff

Kyrgyz President Kurmanbek Bakiyev was deposed five years after and in the same manner as he came to power, in a bloody uprising.

Elected president two months after the so-called Tulip Revolution of 2005 he helped engineer, he was since then head of state of the main transit nation for the U.S. and NATO war in Afghanistan.

The Pentagon secured the Manas Air Base (as of last year known as the Transit Center at Manas) in Kyrgyzstan shortly after its invasion of Afghanistan in October of 2001 and in the interim, according to a U.S. armed forces publication last June, "More than 170,000 coalition personnel passed through the base on their way in or out of Afghanistan, and Manas was the transit point for 5,000 tons of cargo, including spare parts and equipment, uniforms and various items to support personnel and mission needs.

"Currently, around 1,000 U.S. troops, along with a few hundred from Spain and France, are assigned to the base." [1]

The White House's Special Representative for Afghanistan and Pakistan Richard Holbrooke paid his first visit in his current position to Kyrgyzstan - and the three other former Soviet Central Asian republics which border it, Kazakhstan, Tajikistan and Uzbekistan - in February and said "35,000 US troops were transiting each month on their way in and out of Afghanistan." [2] At the rate he mentioned, 420,000 troops annually.

The U.S. and NATO also established military bases in Tajikistan and Uzbekistan for the war in South Asia, but on a smaller scale. (U.S. military forces were ordered out of the second country following what the government claimed was a Tulip Revolution-type armed uprising in its province of Andijan less than two months after the Kyrgyz precedent. Germany maintains a base near the Uzbek city of Termez to transit troops and military equipment to Afghanistan's Kunduz province where the bulk of its 4,300 forces is concentrated.)

In February of 2009 the Kyrgyz government announced that it was also evicting U.S. and NATO forces from its country, but relented in June when Washington offered it $60 million to reverse its decision.

Kyrgyzstan borders China.

It not only borders China, Kazakhstan, Tajikistan and Uzbekistan, but is only separated from Russia by a single nation, Kazakhstan. To gain an appreciation of Russian and Chinese concerns over hundreds of thousands of U.S. and NATO troops passing through Kyrgyzstan, imagine a comparable amount of Chinese and Russian soldiers regularly passing through Mexico and Guatemala, respectively. For almost nine years and at an accelerating rate.

It is not only a military "hard power" but also a "soft power" threat that the Western role in Kyrgyzstan poses to Russia and China.

The nation is a member of the post-Soviet Collective Security Treaty Organization (CSTO) along with Russia, Armenia, Belarus, Kazakhstan, Tajikistan and Uzbekistan - seen by many as the only counterpart to NATO on former Soviet space - and of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) with China, Russia and the three above-mentioned Central Asian nations.

According to U.S. officials, during and after the Tulip Revolution of 2005 not a single U.S. or NATO flight into the Manas Air Base was cancelled or even delayed. But a six-nation CSTO exercise scheduled for days afterward was cancelled.

The uprising and the deposing of standing president Askar Akayev in March of 2005 was the third self-styled "color revolution" in the former Soviet Union in sixteen months, following the Rose Revolution in Georgia in late 2003 and the Orange Revolution in Ukraine in late 2004 and early 2005.

As the Kyrgyz version was underway Western news media were asking the question "Who's next?" Candidates included other former Soviet states like Armenia, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Kazakhstan, Moldova and Uzbekistan. And Russia. Along with Georgia, Ukraine and Kyrgyzstan those nations accounted for ten of the twelve members of the post-Soviet Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS).

As Agence France-Presse detailed in early April of 2005: "The CIS was founded in December 1991 on the very day the Soviet Union disappeared....But over the past year and a half, three faithful Kremlin allies were toppled in...revolutions: Eduard Shevardnadze in Georgia, Leonid Kuchma in Ukraine, and, last week, Askar Akayev in Kyrgyzstan....Even though Kyrgyzstan’s new interim leaders have vowed to continue their deposed predecessor’s Moscow-friendly policies, the lightning toppling of the government there has spawned speculation that the CIS would soon collapse." [3]

The leader of the "color revolution" prototype, Georgia's Mikheil Saakashvili, gloated over the Kyrgyz "regime change," attributing the "brave" actions of the opposition in Ukraine and Kyrgyzstan "to the Georgia factor," and added, "We are not waiting for the development of events, but are doing our best to destroy the empire in the CIS." [4]

Shortly after the uprising former Indian diplomat and political analyst M.K. Bhadrakumar wrote of the then seemingly inexorable momentum of "color" revolts in the former Soviet Union:

"[A]ll the three countries [Georgia, Ukraine, Kyrgyzstan] are strategically placed in the post-Soviet space. They comprise Russia's 'near abroad.'

"Washington has been expanding its influence in the arc of former Soviet republics — in the Baltics...the Caucasus, and Central Asia —
in recent years with a tenacity that worries Moscow.

"Ever since 2003 when Mr. Akayev decided on allowing Russia to establish a full-fledged military base in Kant he knew he was on the American 'watch list.' The political temperature within Kyrgyzstan began to rise.

"The Americans made it clear in many ways that they desired a regime change in Bishkek....The 'revolution' in the Central Asian state of Kyrgyzstan has already thrown up surprises. A comparison with the two earlier 'colour revolutions' in Georgia and Ukraine will be a good starting point.

"First, the striking similarities between the three 'revolutions' must be duly noted. All three are meant to signify the unstoppable spread of the fire of liberty lit by the United States in Afghanistan and Iraq in the aftermath of 9/11.

"But behind the rhetoric, the truth is that the U.S. wanted regime change in Georgia, Ukraine and Kyrgyzstan because of difficulties with the incumbent leadership. The leaders of all the three countries — Eduard Shevardnadze in Georgia, Leonid Kuchma in Ukraine, and Askar Akayev in Kyrgyzstan — had enjoyed the support of the U.S. during most of their rule.

"Washington had cited them repeatedly as the beacons of hope for democracy and globalisation in the territories of the former Soviet Union.

"Their trouble began when they incrementally began to edge towards a resurgent Russia under Vladimir Putin." [5]

Seven weeks after Bhadrakumar's column appeared his analysis would be confirmed by no less an authority on the matter than U.S. President George W. Bush.

Visiting the capital of Georgia a year and a half after its "Rose Revolution," he was hosted by his counterpart Mikheil Saakashvili, former State Department fellowship recipient and U.S. resident, who seized power in what can only be described as a putsch but nevertheless said:

"Georgia will become the main partner of the United States in spreading democracy and freedom in the post-Soviet space. This is our proposal. We
will always be with you in protecting freedom and democracy."

Bush reflected Saakashvili's inflated estimate of himself: "You are making many important contributions to freedom’s cause, but your most important contribution is your example. Hopeful changes are taking places from Baghdad to Beirut and Bishkek [Kyrgyzstan]. But before there was a Purple Revolution in Iraq or Orange Revolution in Ukraine or a Cedar Revolution in Lebanon, there was a Rose Revolution in Georgia.” [6]

A few days after the Kyrgyz coup Bush welcomed Ukraine's "orange" president Viktor Yushchenko - who this January only received 5.45 per cent of the vote in his reelection bid - and applauded his U.S.-assisted ascent to power, saying it “may have looked like it was only a part of the history of Ukraine, but the Orange Revolution represented revolutions elsewhere as well....We share a goal to spread freedom to other nations.” [7]

Beyond the threat of the dissolution of the CIS and of the CSTO, in April of 2005 Der Spiegel featured a report with the title "Revolutions Speed Russia's Disintegration."

In part it revealed the prime movers behind the events in Kyrgyzstan:

"As early as February," Roza Otunbayeva - now the apparent head of the provisional government - "pledged allegiance to a small group of partners and sponsors of the Kyrgyz revolution, to 'our American friends' at Freedom House (who donated a printing press in Bishkek to the opposition), and to George Soros, a speculator who previously helped unseat Edward Shevardnadze's government in Georgia.

"Trying to help the democratic process, the Americans poured some $12 million into Kyrgyzstan in the form of scholarships and donations - and that was last year alone. Washington's State Department even funded TV station equipment in the rebellious southern province town of Osh." [8]

In June George Soros was obliging enough to confirm Otunbayeva's gratitude was not without foundation by stating, "I provided for Georgian public servants to get $1,200 a month....And now I am ready to support the creation of a fund like this in Kyrgyzstan." [9]

The two Georges - Bush and Soros - were not alone in fathering the "color" geostrategic transformations from the Balkans to the former Soviet Union and the Middle East. They received generous assistance from the likes of Freedom House, the National Endowment for Democracy, the National Democratic Institute, the International Republican Institute and other alleged non-governmental organizations.

A week after the "tulip" takeover the project director for Freedom House, Mike Stone, summed up the role of his organization with two words: "Mission accomplished." [10]

A British newspaper that interviewed him added, "US involvement in the small, mountainous country is higher proportionally than it was for Georgia's 'rose' revolution or Ukraine's 'orange' uprising. [11]

Assistance also was provided by Western-funded and -trained "youth activists" modeled after and trained by those organized in Yugoslavia to topple the government of Slobodan Milosevic in 2000:

Compare the names:

Yugoslavia: Otpor! (Resistance!)
Ukraine: Pora! (It's Time!)
Georgia: Kmara (Enough)
Kyrgyzstan: KelKel (Stand Up and Go)

Behind them all, deposed Kyrgyz president Askar Akayev identified the true architects of his ouster. On April 2 he stated "There were international organisations who supported and financed the Tulip Revolution in Kyrgyzstan.

"A week before these events I saw a letter on the internet signed by the US ambassador to Kyrgyzstan. It contained a detailed plan for the revolution." [12]

The Kyrgyz Tulip (formerly Lemon, Pink and Daffodil) Revolution was as unconstitutional and as disruptive to the nation as its Georgian and Ukrainian predecessors were, but far more violent. Deaths and injuries occurred in the southern cities of Osh and Jalal Abad (Jalalabad, Jalal-Abad) and in the capital of Bishkek.

It was also the first "color" revolt in a nation bordering China. Not only did Russia and China voice grave concerns over the developments in Kyrgyzstan, Iran did also, seeing where the trajectory of "regime change" campaigns was headed.


In the four decades of the Cold War political changes through elections or otherwise in any nation in the world - no matter how small, impoverished, isolated and seemingly insignificant - assumed importance far exceeding their domestic effects. World political analysts and policy makers asked the key question: Which way would the new government align itself, with the U.S. or the Soviet Union?

In the post-Cold War period the question is no longer one of political philosophy or socio-economic orientation, but this: How will the new administration support or oppose U.S. plans for regional and global dominance?

With Roza Otunbayeva as chief spokesperson if not head of a new Kyrgyz "people's government," there is reason to believe that Washington will not be dissatisfied with the overthrow of her former "tulip" partner Bakiyev. She has already confirmed that the American base at Manas will not be closed.

Less than two months after the 2005 coup Otunbayeva, then acting foreign minister, met with her U.S. counterpart Condoleezza Rice in Washington during which the latter assured her that "the U.S. administration will continue to help the Kyrgyz government promote democratic processes in the country." [13]

Shortly after the March "democratic transformation," its patron saint, Georgia's Mikheil Saakashvili, boasted that "Roza Otunbayeva worked in Tbilisi in recent years and was the head of UN office in Abkhazia. During the Rose Revolution she was in Georgia and knew everything that was happening...the Georgian factor was a catalyst of many things going on there [in Kyrgyzstan].”[14]

>From the U.S. perspective she appears to have reliable bona fides.

Russia has put its air base in Kyrgyzstan on high alert, though comments from leading Russian government officials - Prime Minister Vladimir Putin in particular - indicate an acceptance of the uprising which has already caused 65 deaths and hundreds of injuries.

But Russia attempted to put the best face on the revolt five years ago also.

Which direction the next Kyrgyz government takes will have repercussions far beyond the nation's small size and population (slightly over five million).

It could affect U.S. and NATO plans for the largest military offensive of the Afghan war scheduled to begin in two months in Kandahar province.

It could determine the future of the Collective Security Treaty Organization and the Shanghai Cooperation Organization, the two major potential barriers to Western military penetration of vast tracts of Eurasia.

The stakes could hardly be higher.

1) Stars and Stripes, June 16, 2009
2) Agence France-Presse, March 4, 2010
3) Agence France-Presse, April 3, 2005
4) The Messenger, March 31, 2005
5) The Hindu, March 28, 2005
6) Civil Georgia, May 10, 2005
7) Associated Press, April 4, 2005
8) Der Spiegel, April 4, 2005
9) Russian Information Agency Novosti, June 16, 2005
10) The Telegraph, April 2, 2005
11) Ibid
12) Associated Press, April 2, 2005
13) Interfax, June 15, 2005
14) Civil Georgia, March 30, 2005

Ed Jewett
04-08-2010, 05:06 AM
Black Tuesday in Talas. What will happen next? (http://therearenosunglasses.wordpress.com/2010/04/07/black-tuesday-in-talas-what-will-happen-next/)

7 04 2010 Black Tuesday in Talas. What will happen next? (http://enews.ferghana.ru/article.php?id=2617)


The photo of Kyrgyz President Kurmanbek Bakiev (taken by Reuters correspondent in Talas). This person sparks anger of opposition leaders and their supporters

April 6, 2010 is listed in the history of independent Kyrgyzstan as the day of desperate protest actions against current regime. The opposition between people and officials, initiated in the western city of Talas, turned into clashes with police and task forces. The government responded immediately, detaining the opposition leaders, directly and indirectly involved in the Talas events, throughout the republic. The civil disturbance may reach all other regions of the republic and Bishkek.
All previous news about the Talas events are available here (in Russian) (http://www.ferghana.ru/news.php?id=14369&mode=snews).
By the late evening of April 6 the opposition members, edged out by rubber bullets and tear gas, took over the local authorities building in Talas (Kyrgyzstan) again while the task forces were edged to the local internal affairs department (IAD) building. During the combat assault the task forces freed the oblast governor and arrested few opposition members.
The Ferghana.Ru correspondents report that the protesters set fire at the first floor. One of the law enforcement officers was severely injured during the fire. The opposition members did not let firemen in and extinguished fire. So far it is not clear whether medical assistance was provided to the injured person, considering the fact that entire city of Talas has only one ambulance car.
In the evening many residents of Talas left the central square, promising to come back in the morning.
However, there was still the number of inadequate people remaining, many of which were drunk. They were aggressive and forcing the cars drivers to pull over.
The few protesters assaulted two special operations soldiers and took away helmets and nightsticks. They were going to stay at the main square overnight although it was not safe.
The opposition leaders warned people it was against the law to attack the building of IAD and law enforcement bodies had the legal right to open fire.
By the end of Tuesday the stable situation was also undermined in other regions of the republic. The opposition leaders are being detained throughout the republic: Omurbek Tekebaev (one of the charismatic and popular leaders and the Chairman of the Ata-Meken party), Anvar Artykov (the former Governor of Osh Oblast), Emil Kaptagaev (the deputy head of United People’s Movement (UPM), Bolot Sherniyazov (former parliamentary deputy), Duishenkul Chotonov (Bakiev’s teammate in the tulip revolution), Turat Madalbekov (the member of the Ata-Meken party political council).
According to preliminary information, the opposition leaders were detained as witnesses on the Talas case.
In the morning of April 7 there were 400 people in the square of Talas. The sources indicate there were not soldiers or policemen. The building of the local authorities is destroyed.
It has to be mentioned that on April 7 the opposition leaders were going to organize the assembly around the country because the government did not satisfy their requirements, listed on March 17 and including the tariff cut, the return of earlier sold strategic state assets, the release of imprisoned opposition leaders, termination of politically motivated trials and displacement of president’s relatives from the official positions.
UN Secretary General Pan Gi Mun, currently visiting Kazakhstan, expressed his concern about the events in Kyrgyzstan and urged both sides to involve in constructive dialogue, says UN news center.
Entire Kyrgyz internet zone is either blocked or poorly functions, not letting the users visit KG zone websites.
In the opinion of Ferghana.Ru experts the sad conclusion of black Tuesday in Talas is that both government and its opponents in Kyrgyzstan dramatically got involved in “battle” opposition, not trying to find possible compromise. If in near future almost unmanaged process of street fights is not put into political discussion, Kyrgyzstan may expect “hot” summer.
http://therearenosunglasses.files.wordpress.com/2010/04/talas06042010_1.jpg?w=510&h=362 (http://therearenosunglasses.wordpress.com/2010/04/07/black-tuesday-in-talas-what-will-happen-next/talas06042010_1/)
http://therearenosunglasses.files.wordpress.com/2010/04/buks06042010_3ogon.jpg?w=510&h=382 (http://therearenosunglasses.wordpress.com/2010/04/07/black-tuesday-in-talas-what-will-happen-next/buks06042010_3ogon/)
http://therearenosunglasses.files.wordpress.com/2010/04/buks06042010_4ogon.jpg?w=510&h=382 (http://therearenosunglasses.wordpress.com/2010/04/07/black-tuesday-in-talas-what-will-happen-next/buks06042010_4ogon/)
http://therearenosunglasses.files.wordpress.com/2010/04/buks06042010_5ogon.jpg?w=510&h=438 (http://therearenosunglasses.wordpress.com/2010/04/07/black-tuesday-in-talas-what-will-happen-next/buks06042010_5ogon/)
http://therearenosunglasses.files.wordpress.com/2010/04/buks06042010_2ogon.jpg?w=510&h=334 (http://therearenosunglasses.wordpress.com/2010/04/07/black-tuesday-in-talas-what-will-happen-next/buks06042010_2ogon/)
http://therearenosunglasses.files.wordpress.com/2010/04/buks06042010_1ogon.jpg?w=510&h=395 (http://therearenosunglasses.wordpress.com/2010/04/07/black-tuesday-in-talas-what-will-happen-next/buks06042010_1ogon/)

Ed Jewett
04-08-2010, 05:07 AM
Embedded video here:


Ed Jewett
04-08-2010, 05:09 AM
Kyrgyz opposition says it has taken power–Over 100 Dead (http://therearenosunglasses.wordpress.com/2010/04/08/kyrgyz-opposition-says-it-has-taken-power-over-100-dead/)

8 04 2010 [We will know whether the leaders of the second Tulip revolution are more Western puppets, or real social democrats, if we see this turn into a new opportunity for American military moves into Kyrgyzstan. If they are of the people and not of the evil empire then the new anti-terrorism Scorpion Battalion training agreement recently signed with the US will be cancelled. It won't take long to find out, the United States is on life-support now. Obama must find a new home in Central Asia for those troops allegedly leaving Afghanistan. SEE: Obama’s Tulip Revolution Replay (http://therearenosunglasses.wordpress.com/2010/04/08/2010/04/07/obamas-tulip-revolution-replay/)]
Kyrgyz opposition says it has taken power (http://www.reuters.com/article/idUSTRE6363CR20100407?feedType=RSS&feedName=worldNews&rpc=69)

Olga Dzyubenko and Maria Golovnina

http://www.reuters.com/resources/r/?d=20100407&i=68752189&w=140&r=WAO1268952925498&t=2http://www.reuters.com/resources_v2/images/video_overlay_140.gif (http://www.reuters.com/article/video/idUSTRE6363CR20100407?videoId=68752189)
Troops fire on Kyrgyz protests (http://www.reuters.com/article/video/idUSTRE6363CR20100407?videoId=68752189)


























Kyrgyz Prime Minister Daniyar Usenov talks to the media in the capital Bishkek, April 6, 2010. REUTERS\/Vladimir Pirogov”}
BISHKEK (Reuters) – The Kyrgyz opposition said on Wednesday it had forced the Central Asian country’s government to resign after troops shot at protesters besieging government buildings, killing dozens.
“We have reached an agreement that the government will resign. That has not been signed on paper yet,” Galina Skripkina, a senior official in the opposition Social-Democratic Party and member of parliament, told Reuters.
President Kurmanbek Bakiyev had flown to the southern city of Osh. “Bakiyev has taken a plane from Bishkek to Osh and he has already landed there,” she said.
“The opposition is in full control of power,” an opposition leader, Roza Otunbayeva, said, Russian news agency RIA reported earlier.
The announcement followed a day of violent clashes in Bishkek and other towns. Spokesmen for the government and the president were not available for comment.
Another opposition leader, Temir Sariyev, said the opposition had entered the government building in central Bishkek and Kyrgyz Prime Minister Daniyar Usenov had written a resignation statement, RIA reported.
“Bakiyev has left the White House … He is no longer in Bishkek,” said Sariyev, who was arrested on his arrival on a flight from Moscow on Wednesday, but later freed by the protest.
Bakiyev himself came to power after 2005 protests which ousted Kyrgyzstan’s first post-Soviet President Askar Akayev. Both men were accused by their opponents of concentrating power in the hands of their associates.
Political unrest over poverty, rising prices and corruption has gripped Kyrgyzstan since early March. About a third of the population live below the poverty line and remittances from workers in Russia have fallen during the global economic crisis.
The opposition said at least 100 people had been killed on Wednesday in clashes that have spread since last month across the ex-Soviet Central Asian country that hosts a U.S. military air base supporting troops in Afghanistan, and a Russian base.
Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin earlier denied Russia — a major donor to Kyrgyzstan along with Washington and neighboring China — had played a hand in the clashes.
“Neither Russia, nor your humble servant, nor Russian officials have any links whatsoever to these events,” Putin was quoted as saying by RIA news agency.
Kyrgyz troops earlier shot at thousands of anti-government protesters who tried to smash two trucks through the perimeter fence of government buildings, a Reuters reporter said.
Around 1,000 people stormed the prosecutor-general’s office before setting fire to the building. Opposition activists also took control of state television channel KTR.
“There are dozens of dead bodies, all with gunshot wounds,” Akylbek Yeukebayev, a doctor at a Bishkek hospital told Reuters.
Many of the injured had gunshot wounds to their heads. “They are killing us,” said one wounded man on the emergency ward.
“About 100 people were killed today, possibly more. What kind of negotiations with the government can we talk about when they are killing our people?,” prominent opposition and human rights campaigner Toktoaim Umetaliyeza told Reuters.
The Kyrgyz Health Ministry said the official death toll in Bishkek was 40, with around 400 injured across the country.
Protesters seized government buildings in three other towns. In Talas, Kyrgyz First Deputy Prime Minister Aklybek Japarov and Interior Minister Moldomusa Kongantiyev were beaten. Kongantiyev was forced to shout: “Down with Bakiyev!,” two witnesses said.
Kyrgyz Prime Minister Daniyar Usenov earlier told Reuters by phone that he and the president were working in their offices.
“We daren’t even look out of the window,” Kamil Sydykov, the prime minister’s spokesman, said by telephone from inside the presidential building.
European security watchdog, the Organization for Security Cooperation in Europe, chaired by neighboring Kazakhstan, called for calm and offered to broker any negotiations.
“The OSCE recognizes that there are political, economic and social issues underlying the unrest, which need to be addressed through broad political dialogue. The Organization stands ready to facilitate such a dialogue,” Kazakh Foreign Minister Kanat Saudabayev told Kyrgyz counterpart Kadyrbek Sarbayev by telephone.
Analysts said the violence was likely to continue.
“Given (Bakiyev’s) resolve in recent years to concentrate power in his hands only, it is difficult to see how a political compromise may be found,” Lilit Gevorgyan, political analyst at IHS Global Insight.
Smoke from burning buildings and makeshift bonfires billowed around the capital of the ex-Soviet state of 5.3 million people.
Around 5,000 people were in the center of Bishkek, some carrying rifles and holding red-and-yellow Kyrgyz flags, beyond a curfew which came into effect at 8 p.m. (1400 GMT). Some shops and restaurants in the main square were looted.
The protests spread to the capital after riots which began in Talas and Naryn the day before and continued into Wednesday.
U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon visited Bishkek last week and called on the government to do more to protect human rights.
“The secretary-general is shocked by the reported deaths and injuries that have occurred today in Kyrgyzstan. He urgently appeals for dialogue and calm to avoid further bloodshed,” Ban’s spokesman, Martin Nesirky, said on Wednesday.
(Additional reporting by Alexander Reshetnikov in Bishkek; Guy Faulconbridge; Amie Ferris-Rotman and Conor Sweeney in Moscow; Sylvia Westall in Vienna; Writing by Robin Paxton and Alison Williams (http://blogs.reuters.com/search/journalist.php?edition=us&n=alison.williams&); Editing by Philippa Fletcher (http://blogs.reuters.com/search/journalist.php?edition=us&n=philippa.fletcher&))


Ed Jewett
04-08-2010, 05:11 AM
Kyrgyzstan at the hub of superpowers’ plans (http://therearenosunglasses.wordpress.com/2010/04/08/kyrgyzstan-at-the-hub-of-superpowers%e2%80%99-plans/)

8 04 2010 Kyrgyzstan at the hub of superpowers’ plans (http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/asia-pacific/8607489.stm)

http://newsimg.bbc.co.uk/media/images/47600000/jpg/_47600289_008966179-1.jpg The Manas base in Kyrgyzstan is vital for US troops in Afghanistan

By Nick Childs
BBC World Affairs Correspondent

Reports of violence in the capital of Kyrgyzstan have prompted the US embassy there to express deep concern, and the Russian government to call for restraint.
These reactions help underline the strategic significance of Kyrgyzstan and the region it occupies.
Kyrgyzstan (http://therearenosunglasses.wordpress.com/2/hi/asia-pacific/country_profiles/1296485.stm) has found itself in the cockpit of what has been dubbed the new “great game” in the region – so-called because the modern big powers jostling for influence there appear reminiscent of the 19th Century contest between the British and Russian empires over access to India.
It has been a scramble for access to energy and other natural resources, trade routes, and more recently Western supply routes for operations in Afghanistan.
http://newsimg.bbc.co.uk/media/images/47600000/jpg/_47600290_009074458-1.jpg Gunfire has broken out in the Kyrgyzstan capital Bishkek

For Kyrgyzstan – one of the poorest of the neighbours in this region – the chief international focus has been access for military bases.
The Manas air base (http://therearenosunglasses.wordpress.com/2/hi/asia-pacific/8138530.stm) has become a key strategic staging post for the US military in Afghanistan – especially after the closure of the so-called K2 base in Uzbekistan (http://therearenosunglasses.wordpress.com/2/hi/asia-pacific/4186770.stm) .
That itself followed the souring of relations between the US and Uzbek governments in 2005, after the Uzbek authorities cracked down violently on an internal threat posed by Islamic militants.
But the sensitivities have been growing – not least from Moscow, as the US-led operations in Afghanistan, and therefore also Washington’s military interest in the region, have become ever more prolonged.
The Kyrgyz authorities have played Washington off against Moscow.
President Kurmanbek Bakiyev (http://therearenosunglasses.wordpress.com/2/hi/asia-pacific/4660317.stm) had already been pressing Washington for significant increases in the rental payments for Manas.
But in early 2009, on the back of a Russian promise of a huge aid package, he announced that the base would close.
http://newsimg.bbc.co.uk/media/images/47600000/jpg/_47600397_009004750-1.jpg President Bakiyev asked for rent increases for the Manas base

It took a personal intervention by President Barack Obama to keep the Manas base open to the Americans. Even then it was on a compromise basis, under which Manas was to be described as a “transit centre”.
But the bumpy nature of relationships in the region has helped fuel a debate over how much commitment the West – and especially the US – should have in the region in the long term, particularly if operations in Afghanistan eventually tail off.
There are broader Western concerns about stability, governance, access to energy, and worries about the spread of Islamic militancy there.
But how these should be translated into long-term policy, against the background of Russian, Chinese and other local sensitivities, is very much open to question.

« National Endowment for Democracy–Overt Arm of the CIA (http://therearenosunglasses.wordpress.com/2010/04/08/national-endowment-for-democracy-overt-arm-of-the-cia/)

Ed Jewett
04-08-2010, 05:12 AM
Post-Soviet Tragedy (http://therearenosunglasses.wordpress.com/2010/04/08/post-soviet-tragedy/)

8 04 2010 Post-Soviet Tragedy (http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/comment/leading_article/article7090954.ece)

Violence in Kyrgyzstan follows a pattern of misrule and repression in Central Asia

The riots and clashes that have left scores dead in Kyrgyzstan have followed a pattern all too familiar in Central Asia. For months protests have been growing against the authoritarian rule of Kurmanbek Bakiyev, who swept to power in the so-called Tulip Revolution of 2005, but has proved as inept, venal and corrupt as his predecessor. Despite the arrest of three leading opposition figures and the declaration of a state of emergency, the authorities have failed to halt the mounting protests that resulted in the storming of parliament, the burning of government offices and the capture of the television centre. President Bakiyev has, so far, refused to resign.
In the past decade there have been similar [American-engineered] clashes, crackdowns and arrests across most of Central Asia. The five countries that once formed the prosperous and relatively stable Muslim underbelly of the Soviet Union have, since independence, shown an abysmal record of authoritarian rule, economic stagnation, rights abuses and instability. In Uzbekistan, hundreds of people were killed in 2005 when troops fired on those demonstrating against the autocratic rule of President Karimov. Subsequent repression has led to the jailing of dozens of human rights activists, despite sanctions imposed by the European Union.
In Turkmenistan the bizarre and dictatorial rule of the megalomaniac first post-Soviet leader, Saparmurat Niyazov, led to widespread abuses, a sinister cult of personality and a catastrophic fall in educational standards. The small former Soviet republic of Tajikistan suffered prolonged civil war soon after independence. Only Kazakhstan, the largest and richest state, has prospered — but at the expense of democracy and human rights as President Nazarbayev has repressed, exiled or imprisoned almost all his political opponents.
In almost all countries, misrule has fuelled the growth of Islamist extremism and the withering of early hopes for democracy. The fertile Fergana Valley, where a jigsaw of borders drawn up by Stalin criss-crosses the historic Silk Road, has become a breeding ground for Islamist militancy, challenging established governments and threatening to spread the instability of Afghanistan right across the vast Central Asian region.
It is not only Russia that is concerned by the turmoil in its former Asian possessions. America has tried to set up forward bases in the region to supply its operations in Afghanistan. But the US was expelled from Uzbekistan after criticising President Karimov’s record, and the current turmoil in Kyrgyzstan threatens vital Nato supply lines that depend, more and more, on the northern routes into Afghanistan. Ban Ki Moon, the United Nations Secretary-General, has been touring the area and has spoken out, with unusual and commendable candour, criticising the violation of human rights in Turkmenistan and Kyrgyzstan, [Moon added fuel to the fire, by encouraging the public in its demands for immediate improvement in human rights. If he wanted to help the people here he would lead a UN effort to create an international pipeline consortium that no single nation or group of nations could control. This would bring the money for development and improvements in the local human condition.] once seen as an island of democracy. On Sunday he visits Uzbekistan, where he will be under pressure to follow up on the sharp criticism of the UN Human Rights Committee two weeks ago.
Central Asia is vast, strategic and potentially very wealthy. The five nations are rich in resources much in demand by China, their neighbour to the East, and by the sub-continent. [The American great game is to create for itself the power to disrupt fuel supplies to competitors in Asia.] None, however, has understood that to attract outside investment, a minimum of good government, social cohesion and political tolerance is needed. Kyrgyzstan is just the latest example of this post-Soviet tragedy.

Ed Jewett
04-08-2010, 05:24 AM
Wednesday, April 7, 2010

U.S. Supported Repressive Regime In Flames in Kyrgyzstan; Important Manas Air Base Future Threatened (http://ofgoatsandmen.blogspot.com/2010/04/us-supported-repressive-regime-in.html)

The opposition is claiming that at least 100 have died (http://abclocal.go.com/kabc/story?section=news/world_news&id=7373067) in protests there. Russia today is reporting the government of Kyrgyzstan is stepping down. This most likely will spell trouble for the Manas Air Base, an important U.S. support base for the Afganistan conflict and according to the Christian Science Monitor, (http://www.csmonitor.com/World/Global-News/2010/0407/Kyrgyzstan-protests-What-it-means-for-US-role-in-Afghanistan-war) the "only air base the US has access to in Central Asia." It was only the repressive regime which has now stepped down which was allowing the U.S. to continue to operate the base.


Ed Jewett
04-08-2010, 06:05 AM
Twenty photo slide show:

http://www.nytimes.com/slideshow/2010/04/07/world/0407-KYRGYSZTAN_index.html Multimedia

.refer .inlinePlayer .refer{font-size:1em}http://graphics8.nytimes.com/images/multimedia/icons/audio_icon.gif Back Story With The Times's Clifford J. Levy

http://graphics8.nytimes.com/images/2010/04/07/world/0407-KYRGYSTAN-B.JPG Photographs (http://www.nytimes.com/slideshow/2010/04/07/world/0407-KYRGYSZTAN_index.html?ref=asia)
Emergency in Kyrgyzstan Amid Mass Protests (http://www.nytimes.com/slideshow/2010/04/07/world/0407-KYRGYSZTAN_index.html?ref=asia)


The Lede Blog: Kyrgyz Protest Video (http://thelede.blogs.nytimes.com/2010/04/07/video-of-protests-in-kyrgyzstan/?ref=asia) (April 7, 2010)
Times Topics: Kyrgyzstan (http://topics.nytimes.com/top/news/international/countriesandterritories/kyrgyzstan/index.html) | Kurmanbek S. Bakiyev (http://topics.nytimes.com/top/reference/timestopics/people/b/kurmanbek_s_bakiyev/index.html)


April 8, 2010
Upheaval in Kyrgyzstan Could Imperil Key U.S. Base

By CLIFFORD J. LEVY (http://topics.nytimes.com/top/reference/timestopics/people/l/clifford_j_levy/index.html?inline=nyt-per)

MOSCOW — The bloody protests against the repressive rule of the president of Kyrgyzstan (http://topics.nytimes.com/top/news/international/countriesandterritories/kyrgyzstan/index.html?inline=nyt-geo) which forced him to flee the capital of Bishkek could pose a threat to a pivotal American military supply line into nearby Afghanistan.
Opposition politicians, speaking on state television after it was seized by protesters Wednesday, said they had taken control of the government after a day of violent clashes that left more than 40 people dead and more than 400 wounded. The instability called into question the fate of a critical American air base (http://www.nytimes.com/2009/07/23/world/asia/23kyrgyz.html) in the country.
Riot police officers fired rounds of live ammunition into angry crowds of demonstrators who gathered around government buildings to rally against what they termed the government’s brutality and corruption, as well as a recent decision to increase utility rates sharply. Witnesses said that the police seemed to panic, and that there was no sign of supervision. In several cases, demonstrators wrested their weapons away from them.
By early Thursday morning, opposition officials occupied many government buildings in Bishkek, and were demanding that the president, Kurmanbek Bakiyev (http://topics.nytimes.com/top/reference/timestopics/people/b/kurmanbek_s_bakiyev/index.html?inline=nyt-per), sign a formal letter of resignation. Mr. Bakiyev has issued no public remarks since the protests began. An official at the Bishkek airport said Mr. Bakiyev was flying to Osh, a major city in the southern part of the country.
A coalition of opposition parties said a transition government would be headed by a former foreign minister, Roza Otunbayeva. “Power is now in the hands of the people’s government,” she said in a televised address on Wednesday evening.
Those same opposition leaders were angered last spring when Obama administration officials courted Mr. Bakiyev — who they admitted was an autocrat — in an ultimately successful attempt to retain rights to the military base, Manas, used to supply troops in Afghanistan. President Obama (http://topics.nytimes.com/top/reference/timestopics/people/o/barack_obama/index.html?inline=nyt-per) even sent him a letter of praise.
Russia had offered Mr. Bakiyev a sizable amount in new aid, which the United States interpreted as an effort to persuade him to close the base in order to limit the American military presence in Russia’s sphere of influence. After vowing to evict the Americans (http://www.nytimes.com/2009/02/04/world/europe/04kyrgyz.html) last year, Mr. Bakiyev reversed course (http://www.nytimes.com/2009/06/24/world/asia/24base.html) once the administration agreed to pay much higher rent for the base.
An American official said late on Wednesday that flights into the base at Manas had been suspended. Lt. Cmdr. Bill Speaks, a spokesman for United States Central Command, said late on Wednesday that some troops and equipment scheduled to transit from Manas to Afghanistan were likely to be delayed because of the government upheaval and that the military was preparing to use other routes.
The American attitude toward Mr. Bakiyev ruffled opposition politicians in Kyrgyzstan, who said it was shameful for the United States to stand for democratic values in the developing world while maintaining an alliance with him.
The Kyrgyz president’s son, Maksim, had been scheduled to be in Washington on Thursday for talks with administration officials. The opposition views the younger Mr. Bakiyev as a vicious henchman for his father, and was infuriated that he was granted an audience. The State Department said late on Wednesday that it had canceled the meetings.
Opposition leaders have been divided in recent weeks over whether they would continue to allow the American military base to remain, but it seems clear that they harbor bitterness toward the United States. And neighboring Russia, which has long resented the base, has been currying favor with the opposition.
“The political behavior of the United States has created a situation where the new authorities may want to look more to Russia than to the United States, and it will strengthen their political will to rebuff the United States,” said Bakyt Beshimov, an opposition leader who fled Kyrgyzstan last August in fear for his life.
Mr. Beshimov was one of numerous opposition politicians and journalists who in recent years have been threatened, beaten and even killed (http://www.nytimes.com/2009/12/23/world/asia/23kyrgyz.html). Kyrgyzstan, with five million people in the mountains of Central Asia, is one of the poorest countries of the former Soviet Union, and has long been troubled by political conflict and corruption. Mr. Bakiyev himself took power in 2005 after the Tulip Revolution, one of a series of so-called color revolutions that seemed to offer hope of more democracy in former Soviet republics. Since then, the Kyrgyz human rights situation has deteriorated. Mr. Bakiyev easily won another term (http://www.nytimes.com/2009/07/25/world/asia/25kyrgyz.html) as president last year, but independent monitors said the election was tainted by extensive fraud.
Tensions in Kyrgyzstan have been brewing for months, and seemed to be touched off in the provincial city of Talas on Tuesday by protests over soaring utility rates. Then on Wednesday, thousands of people began massing in Bishkek, where they were met by heavily armed riot police officers. Dmitri Kabak, director of a local human rights group in Bishkek, said in a telephone interview that he was monitoring the protest when riot police officers started shooting. “When people started marching toward the presidential office, snipers on the roof of the office started to open fire, with live bullets,” Mr. Kabak said. “I saw several people who were killed right there on the square.”
Dinara Saginbayeva, a Kyrgyz health official, said in a telephone interview that the death toll could rise, and that more than 350 people had been wounded in Bishkek alone. Opposition leaders said as many as 100 people may have died.
While the fighting was raging, security forces still loyal to the president arrested several prominent opposition leaders, including Omurbek Tekebayev, a former speaker of Parliament, and Almazbek Atambayev, a former prime minister and presidential candidate. They were later released after the government’s resistance appeared to wither.
While opposition leaders have promised to pursue a less authoritarian course, Central Asia has not proved fertile ground for democracy. Mr. Bakiyev himself took office declaring that he would respect political freedoms.
Whatever happens domestically, a new government will have decide how to balance the interests of the United States and Russia, which both have military bases in Kyrgyzstan and want to maintain a presence in the region. Paul Quinn-Judge, Central Asia project director for International Crisis Group, a research organization, said Russia had stoked anti-American sentiment in Kyrgyzstan in recent months, often over the issue of the base.
Nevertheless, Mr. Quinn-Judge said he suspected that opposition politicians would in the end decide to permit the base, though not before giving the United States a hard time. “My gut feeling is that it can be smoothed over,” he said. “But they have got to move fast to reach out to the opposition, and do it with a certain degree of humility.”
Elisabeth Bumiller contributed reporting from Washington.



Magda Hassan
04-08-2010, 03:01 PM

April 7, 2010

Kyrgyzstan’s opposition claims President out of town

BISHKEK: President Kurmanbek Bakiyev of Kyrgyzstan is not in the Government Building at the moment, Temir Sariyev, the leader of Ak-Shumkar party said Wednesday night after a meeting with Prime Minister Daniyar Ussenov, who had tendered his resignation.

“We don’t know anything about Bakiyev’s whereabouts but we know for sure he isn’t in Bishkek now,” Sariyev said.

Well-informed sources in the Kyrgyzstani government told Itar-Tass earlier Bakiyev was working in his office in the Government Building.

Russian Information Agency Novosti
April 7, 2010

Kyrgyz opposition says it has taken full power in the country

Bishkek: A government formed by opposition in the ex-Soviet Central Asian state of Kyrgyzstan said it has taken full power in the country after a day of unrest in which over 40 people were killed, the opposition-nominated premier said on Wednesday.

"(Prime Minister Daniyar) Usenov has signed a resignation letter. Power is fully in the control of the opposition," Rosa Otunbayeva said.

"The whereabouts of (President Kurmanbek) Bakiyev are unknown."

April 7, 2010

Moscow officials do not expect Kyrgyzstani President’s arrival

MOSCOW: Moscow does not expect the arrival of Kyrgyzstan’s President Kurmanbek Bakiyev, a high-rank source in the Kremlin told Itar-Tass.

When a reporter asked him about the possibility of Bakiyev being on a Moscow-bound flight, the source said: “Unlikely so because Russia doesn’t expect him.”

SkyNews channel said earlier Bakiyev had left Bishkek aboard a jet. According to a France Presse report, a spokesman for Manas international airport in Bishkek confirmed that Bakiyev’s jet had taken off.

In the meantime, officials at the Russian Air Navigation Service told Itar-Tass there have been no requests to permit a landing for Bakiyev’s jet anywhere on the Russian territory.

Magda Hassan
04-08-2010, 03:03 PM

Russian Information Agency Novosti
April 8, 2010

Russia sends some 150 paratroopers to its airbase in Kyrgyzstan - General Staff

Prague: Russia has sent some 150 paratroopers to its Kant airbase in the ex-Soviet Central Asian republic of Kyrgyzstan to ensure the safety of families of Russian military staff, the General Staff chief Nikolay Makarov said.

Protests in the Kyrgyz capital of Bishkek have left at least 74 people dead and more than 500 injured.

"The president has decided to send two companies of paratroopers there and some 150 people have arrived in Kant," Makarov, who is with Russian President Dmitry Medvedev in Prague for the signing of a new arms cut deal, said.

Earlier a source in Russia's Defense Ministry said the Russian airbase was put on high alert, while the U.S. said its Manas airbase in Kyrgyzstan was continuing to function normally.

Russian Air Force spokesman Vladimir Drik said the Russian airbase in Kant, around 20 kilometers (12 miles) outside the Kyrgyz capital of Bishkek, is also continuing to function normally.

Magda Hassan
04-08-2010, 03:04 PM

Xinhua News Agency
April 8, 2010

Why large-scale riots in Kyrgyzstan?

-The United States recently decided to allocate 5.5 million U.S. dollars for the construction of a counter-terrorism training center in Kyrgyzstan.
One of the issues raised by the opposition during the unrest is to ask the United States to withdraw troops from the country's Manas air base.

BISHKEK: Large-scale riots broke out Wednesday in a number of cities and regions in Kyrgyzstan, including the capital of Bishkek.

Tens of thousands of opposition supporters in the small central Asian nation took to the streets, storming government buildings, besieging and eventually taking over the Presidential Palace, occupying the Parliament Building, and violently clashing with military and police forces.

Officials said more than 60 people were killed and about 400 others were injured during the riots.

Members of the Kyrgyz opposition said the immediate cause that triggered the large-scale unrest was the government's arrest of Bolotbek Sherniazov, a vice chairman of the opposition Ata-jurt (Fatherland) movement. On Tuesday afternoon, about 1,500 demonstrators besieged and then took over the state government building in Talas, taking the governor hostage and demanded the release of Sherniazov.

The government immediately dispatched a large number of police officers, who drove the crowds out of government buildings and freed the governor.

Kyrgyz Prime Minister Daniyar Usenov said Wednesday that 85 police officers were injured during the Talas incident, and 15 others were still missing.

The opposition had planned to hold a "People's Assembly" around the country on Wednesday, but the initiative was not approved by the government.

Kyrgyz authorities warned that if the opposition insisted on holding the so-called "People's Assembly," which was contrary to the Constitution and beyond the law's boundaries, security agencies will take resolute measures against them.

On Wednesday morning, opposition supporters launched large-scale protests near government buildings in many states and cities.

In Bishkek, thousands of demonstrators broke through security lines set up by the police in the suburbs, and gathered around the Presidential Palace.

They asked President Kurmanbek Bakiyev and Prime Minister Usenov to come out and talk to them face-to-face.

After the request was rejected, opposition supporters stormed the building, and clashed with police.

Meanwhile, opposition supporters in Talas, Narynskaya, Chu and other states also attacked and occupied local government buildings.

In Naryn, the state capital of Narynskaya, opposition supporters ousted the governor, throwing documents and flags out of the window of the governor's office. Azimbek Beknazarov, the country's former attorney-general and now one of the opposition leaders, declared in Naryn that the ultimate goal of the opposition is to take over the government.

On Wednesday afternoon, TV signals from the first and fifth channels of the state television were interrupted, and their programs were then completely shut down.

It was later confirmed that the headquarters of the national television had been took over by opposition supporters.

In addition, a staff member at Bishkek Manas International Airport told Xinhua that the airport will be temporarily shut down between Wednesday night and Thursday morning, and all flights were suspended.

Due to the tense situation, neighboring Kazakhstan and Tajikistan have strengthened security along their borders with Kyrgyzstan.

By Wednesday evening in Bishkek, Xinhua reporters saw the buildings of the Defense Department and the attorney-general's office engulfed in big flames, and constant shootings could be heard at city center.

Subsequently, a large number of protesters stormed the parliament building and damaged facilities there.

Upon the time when the story is released, most of the opposition leaders who were detained by the government have been released.

Omurbek Tekebayev,chairman of the opposition Atta-jurt movement, asked the government to resign.

Analysts say that since it seized power through a "color revolution," the current government has failed to properly address the economic and livelihood issues. With rampant corruption and nepotism, public discontent was growing.

Later last year, the government decided to double electricity and heating fees, and sharply raise water prices, which led to strong public dissatisfaction.

On March 10, demonstrators held massive rallies in Naryn, asking the government to withdraw its decision on price increases and large-scale privatization.

On March 17, the opposition decided to hold rallies across the country, demanding implementation of economic and political reform.

External factors also played a role in the unrest as the government's growing relations with the West caused concern and dissatisfaction from the opposition.

On Dec. 3 last year, France announced that it would open an embassy in Kyrgyzstan. On Feb. 10 this year, the European Union opened an embassy in Bishkek.

The United States recently decided to allocate 5.5 million U.S. dollars for the construction of a counter-terrorism training center in Kyrgyzstan.

One of the issues raised by the opposition during the unrest is to ask the United States to withdraw troops from the country's Manas air base.

(Xinhua writers Shadati, Li Bin, Zhao Yu, and Zhou Liang contributed to the story)

Magda Hassan
04-08-2010, 03:05 PM

April 8, 2010

Afghan supply flights suspended from Kyrgyz base - NATO

KABUL: Flights supporting NATO operations in Afghanistan from a Kyrgyzstan air base have been suspended, but Kyrgyz political unrest has not seriously disrupted Afghan military operations, the NATO-led force in Afghanistan said.

The opposition in Kyrgyzstan - a poor, land-locked central-Asian state north of Afghanistan -- said on Thursday it had seized power and dissolved parliament after deadly protests forced President Kurmanbek Bakiyev to flee the capital.

The United States operates Manas air base in Kyrgyzstan as one of the main regional hubs for logistical operations to support the war in Afghanistan.

"Our understanding is that Manas relocated some aircraft and temporarily suspended flights in and out of the base. Those actions had no significant impacts on operations or logistical support in Afghanistan," said Lieutenant-Colonel Tadd Sholtis, spokesman for the NATO-led force in Afghanistan.

Manas is one of the main way-stations for troops and supplies to be flown into Afghanistan, and has been particularly busy this year as Washington deploys 30,000 extra troops ordered to Afghanistan by U.S. President Barack Obama in December.

(Editing by Alex Richardson)

Magda Hassan
04-08-2010, 03:06 PM

Azeri Press Agency
April 8, 2010

Roza Otunbayeva: “Nothing will be changed in the agreement between the Bakiyev administration and the United States regarding the presence of the US airbase”

Baku: Roza Otunbayeva, designated the head of an interim government, said separately that a key US airbase outside Bishkek vital to the NATO campaign in Afghanistan would remain open despite the chaotic shift in power in the capital, APA reports quoting Agence France-Presse.

“Nothing will be changed in the agreement between the Bakiyev administration and the United States regarding the presence of the US airbase”, Otunbayeva said.

Jan Klimkowski
04-08-2010, 07:20 PM
What do we think?

Is this Putin's geopolitical riposte to the (probably) western-inspired and financed Lubyanka terror bombing?

Or a grassroots revolt involving ordinary people saying "No more of this shit", with the opposition parties trying to ride the popular anger?

Or something else altogether?

Paul Rigby
04-08-2010, 08:20 PM
What do we think?

Is this Putin's geopolitical riposte to the (probably) western-inspired and financed Lubyanka terror bombing?

Or a grassroots revolt involving ordinary people saying "No more of this shit", with the opposition parties trying to ride the popular anger?

Or something else altogether?


Askar Akayev, former Kyrgyz president, says part of the reason why President Kurmanbek Bakiyev is facing the current situation is because of his cooperation with the US driven by economic interests.

“In recent years President Bakiyev has been moving closer to the United States in terms of foreign policy. This course was reflected in his initiative to create a second U.S. military base, this time in the Fergana Valley where the interests of all Central Asian states – Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan, Tajikistan and Kyrgyzstan – meet,” Akayev said.

Ed Jewett
04-08-2010, 11:00 PM
April 8, 2010
Baloney in Bishkek (http://www.electricpolitics.com/2010/04/baloney_in_bishkek.html)

http://electricpolitics.com/media/photos/kyrgyzstanmap.jpgWhoever engineered the coup in Kyrgyzstan did a damn fine job. The experienced trouble-shooters got in and out without a trace. The rebels understood enough to take over the airwaves. Even more impressively, many demonstrators stood their ground under small arms fire. Diverse channels leaked stories to the U.S. press, stories that were (as usual) repeated uncritically, to the effect that Washington nervously awaits word whether the new regime will allow it to keep its airbase. Virtually nobody in the mainstream or alternative media wonders whether the coup might not have been a local product. Message sent to pipsqueak dictators everywhere: "Don't push your luck, Buddy, we can get rid of you if we like." Pretty much a perfect coup. If the CIA wasn't behind it, it should've been. I hope whoever organized it gets promoted.
Permalink (http://www.electricpolitics.com/2010/04/baloney_in_bishkek.html) | Comments (0) (http://www.electricpolitics.com/2010/04/baloney_in_bishkek.html#comments)

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Er, thanks. And who are you again, anyhow?

http://electricpolitics.com/media/photos/gk2.jpghttp://electricpolitics.com/media/photos/chadevanswyattcredit.gifHere's the short version of my bio: I'm George Kenney. I was born in Algiers in 1956, during the battle of Algiers, to a US foreign service family, and I grew up in the states, in Africa and in Europe. I spent way too much time in graduate school at the University of Chicago (MA in Economics) from which, following family tradition, I joined the foreign service myself. I was a tenured, mid-level career officer, serving as Yugoslav desk officer at the State Department headquarters in DC, when I resigned my commission in 1991 over US policy towards the Yugoslav conflict. Subsequently for a few years I was a consultant in residence at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace. Those were my salad days as a pundit. I had about 60 articles published in mainstream outlets, did hundreds of radio and tv interviews and talk shows, and traveled extensively through the US on speaking tours. In the mid-1990s, however, I came down with symptoms of a hereditary illness — iron overload — which sidelined me for years. With treatment I'm now operating more or less on two cylinders, more or less permanently. C'est la vie... and I'm glad to be alive!

Ed Jewett
04-09-2010, 06:19 AM
AlJazeera/English report:

Ed Jewett
04-09-2010, 06:20 AM
“Yesterday Was Our Answer to the Repression and Tyranny Against the People” (http://therearenosunglasses.wordpress.com/2010/04/09/yesterday-was-our-answer-to-the-repression-and-tyranny-against-the-people/)

9 04 2010 New Kyrgyz rulers hail Russia, aim to shut U.S. base (http://www.reuters.com/article/idUSTRE6363CR20100408)

Roza Otunbayeva (L), the interim government leader, speaks as she sits next to Vice Premier Omurbek Tekebayev during a news conference in Bishkek
Credit: REUTERS/Vladimir Pirogov
(Reuters) – Kyrgyzstan’s self-proclaimed new leadership said on Thursday that Russia had helped to oust President Kurmanbek Bakiyev, and that they aimed to close a U.S. airbase that has irritated Moscow.
Their comments set Wednesday’s overthrow of Bakiyev, who fled the capital Bishkek as crowds stormed government buildings, firmly in the context of superpower rivalry in central Asia.
No sooner had presidents Barack Obama and Dmitry Medvedev signed an arms reduction pact in Prague as part of an effort to “reset” strained relations than a senior official in Medvedev’s delegation urged Kyrgyzstan’s new rulers to shut the base.
The official, who declined to be named, noted that Bakiyev had not fulfilled a promise to shut the Manas airbase, which the United States uses to supply NATO troops in Afghanistan. He said there should be only one base in Kyrgyzstan — a Russian one.
Omurbek Tekebayev, a former Kyrgyz opposition leader who took charge of constitutional matters in the new government, said that “Russia played its role in ousting Bakiyev.”
“You’ve seen the level of Russia’s joy when they saw Bakiyev gone,” he told Reuters. “So now there is a high probability that the duration of the U.S. air base’s presence in Kyrgyzstan will be shortened.”
Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin denied that Moscow had played a part in the turmoil in the former Soviet republic, which Russia openly regards as part of its own back yard.
Roza Otunbayeva
But he was the first foreign leader to recognize opposition figure Roza Otunbayeva as leader of Kyrgyzstan, and rang her soon after she said she was in charge.
The United States said it had not yet decided whether to recognize Otunbayeva’s government, and did not say who it believed was in control.
Russia’s top general said 150 paratroopers had been sent to Russia’s own Kant base in Kyrgyzstan, and Medvedev’s office said they would protect Russian citizens at its embassy and other diplomatic facilities.
Otunbayeva, who once served as Bakiyev’s foreign minister, said the interim government controlled the whole country except for Bakiyev’s power base of Osh and Jalalabad in the south, and had the backing of the armed forces and border guards.
She said the situation in Kyrgyzstan’s economy was “fairly alarming” and it would need foreign aid. She said Putin had asked how Russia could help.
“We agreed that my first deputy and the republic’s former prime minister, Almaz Atambayev, would fly to Moscow and formulate our needs,” she told Russian Ekho Moskvy radio.
Putin did not promise a specific sum, she said. “But the fact that he called, spoke nicely, went into detail, asked about details — generally, I was moved by that. It is a signal.”
Otunbayeva said Bakiyev was holed up in Jalalabad. “What we did yesterday was our answer to the repression and tyranny against the people by the Bakiyev regime,” she told reporters.
Kyrgyzstan, a country of 5.3 million people, has few natural resources but has made the most of its position at the intersection of Russian, U.S. and Chinese spheres of influence.
Washington has used Manas to supply U.S.-led NATO forces fighting Taliban insurgents in Afghanistan since losing similar facilities in Uzbekistan, apparently after pressure from Moscow.
Bakiyev announced the Manas base would close during a visit to Moscow last year at which he secured $2 billion in crisis aid, only to agree later to keep it open at a higher rent.
The U.S. charge d’affaires in Bishkek met Otunbayeva, while in Washington a top U.S. diplomat received Bakiyev’s foreign minister, Kadyrbek Sarbayev.
“Our message to both is the same,” State Department spokesman P.J. Crowley told a news briefing. “We will continue to urge them to resolve this in a peaceful way.”
Michael McFaul, a senior White House adviser on Russia told reporters in Prague: “This is not some anti-American coup. That we know for sure, and this is not a sponsored-by-the-Russians coup.”
He said Medvedev and Obama had not discussed the base. A U.S. official said they had considered making a joint statement on Kyrgyzstan, but none was issued.
The Pentagon said limited operations were continuing at Manas, and support to Afghanistan had not been seriously harmed.
Pentagon officials say Manas has been central to the war effort, allowing around-the-clock combat airlifts and airdrops, medical evacuation and aerial refueling, and that alternative solutions would be less efficient and more expensive.
Bakiyev, himself brought to power by a “people power” revolution in 2005, told Reuters by telephone that he had no plans to step down, but offered to talk to the opposition leaders who have claimed control of Kyrgyzstan.
“I can’t say that Russia is behind this,” he said. “I don’t want to say that — I just don’t want to believe it.”
Speaking to Russia’s Ekho Moskvy radio, he acknowledged that he had little control over events in the capital.
With rioters roaming the streets and widespread looting after a day in which dozens were killed in clashes between protesters and police, the self-proclaimed new interior minister ordered security forces to fire on looters.
Bishkek awoke to blazing cars and burned-out shops on Thursday after a day in which at least 75 people were killed.
Smoke billowed from the seven-storey White House, the main seat of government, as crowds rampaged through it. Looting was widespread and shots could still be heard on Thursday night.
The uprising was sparked by discontent over corruption, nepotism and rising utility prices. A third of the population live below the poverty line. Remittances from the 800,000 Kyrgyz working in Russia make up about 40 percent of Kyrgyzstan’s GDP.
Another 10 percent or so comes from the giant Kumtor gold mine, operated by Canada’s Centerra Gold.
Centerra said operations were unaffected by the turmoil, but its shares were down around 5 percent on the day, following an 11 percent fall on Wednesday. [nN08121726]
(Additional reporting by Olga Dzyubenko in Bishkek, Khulkar Isamova in Osh, Robin Paxton, Steve Gutterman and Guy Faulconbridge (http://blogs.reuters.com/search/journalist.php?edition=us&n=guy.faulconbridge&) in Moscow; Lucy Hornby in Beijing, Peter Graff in Kabul; Denis Dyomkin in Prague; Phil Stewart, Andrew Quinn and Adam Entous in Washington; Writing by Kevin Liffey (http://blogs.reuters.com/search/journalist.php?edition=us&n=kevin.liffey&); editing by David Stamp (http://blogs.reuters.com/search/journalist.php?edition=us&n=david.stamp&))


Ed Jewett
04-09-2010, 07:08 AM
Thursday, April 08, 2010

New Kyrgyz Rulers Aim to Shut US Base; Sovereign Debt Crisis at Boiling Point, Warns BIS (http://mikeruppert.blogspot.com/2010/04/new-kyrgyz-rulers-aim-to-shut-us-base.html)

From Jenna Orkin

New Kyrgyz rulers hail Russia, aim to shut U.S. base (http://www.reuters.com/article/idUSTRE6363CR20100408)
Kyrgyzstan at the hub of superpowers’ plans (http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/asia-pacific/8607489.stm) - from Rice Farmer
Russia Sends Paratroopers to Air Base in Kyrgyzstan (http://www.foxnews.com/world/2010/04/08/russia-sends-paratroopers-air-base-kyrgyzstan/) - from Rice Farmer
Sovereign Debt Crisis At Boiling Point Warns BIS (http://www.telegraph.co.uk/finance/economics/7564748/Sovereign-debt-crisis-at-boiling-point-warns-Bank-for-International-Settlements.html)
Goldman on Greece: Could Turn Into Endgame (http://www.zerohedge.com/article/goldman-greece-could-turn-endgame)
Netanyahu cancels trip to Obama's nuclear summit (http://www.reuters.com/article/idUSTRE6375QC20100409)
Ousted Kyrgyz President Is on Run, Organizing Resistance, New Leader Says (http://www.bloomberg.com/apps/news?pid=20601087&sid=aWJ76v3IwWxk&pos=8)


Magda Hassan
04-09-2010, 08:43 AM
So Russia has officially recognised the new government here and we are still waiting to hear from the US what they think. Sounds likely the Manas base will close after all.

Paul Rigby
04-09-2010, 06:21 PM

Kyrgyzstan And The Battle For Central Asia

By Rick Rozoff


The most salient feature of the "coup"? The non-capture/assassination of the head of state. Which has allowed him, as we have seen, to flee south and begin the process of organising opposition. Incompetence? Highly unlikely, given how much else was accomplished with some skill, most notably the emasculation of the police/spook forces designed to protect said deposed leader.

So what are we looking at - who was behind it, and what are the motives/purposes of the force behind it? To begin at the end.

The obvious likely consequence of this episode is to extend the arc of instability previously created, chiefly by the CIA, in Afghanistan, Pakistan etc. Cui bono? Not Russia or China. Which leaves us with our old friends in Langley. But here we must begin to see the new, broader picture taking shape.

What we are witnessing is the reassertion of the primacy of the CIA over the Pentagon. The new strategy is the classic one - war by plausibly deniable proxy. It's a lot cheaper than the neo-con model, and much more flexible. An ethically-based Islamic insurgency is about to spring up, as spontaneously as a drone.

Paul Rigby
04-09-2010, 07:09 PM

Central Asia Apr 10, 2010

US reaps bitter harvest from 'Tulip' revolution
By M K Bhadrakumar

BEIJING - This is not how color revolutions are supposed to turn out. In the Ukraine, the "Orange" revolution of 2004 has had a slow painful death. In Georgia, the "Rose" revolution of 2003 seems to be in the throes of what increasingly appears to be a terminal illness.

Now in Kyrgyzstan, the "Tulip" revolution of 2005 is taking another most unforeseen turn. It is mutating and in the process something terrible is happening to its DNA. A color revolution against a regime backed by the United States was not considered possible until this week. Indeed, how could such a thing happen, when it was the US that invented color revolutions to effect regime change in countries outside its sphere of influence?

What can one call the color revolution in Kyrgyzstan this week? No one has yet thought up a name. Usually, the US sponsors have a name readily available. Last year in Iran it was supposed to have been the "Twitter" revolution.

It is highly unlikely that President Kurmanbek Bakiyev will retain his job. Aside from Washington, no major capital is demanding reconciliation between him and the Kyrgyz revolutionaries.

Evidently, there has been a massive breakdown in US diplomacy in Central Asia. Things were going rather well lately until this setback. For the first time it seemed Washington had succeeded in the Great Game by getting a grip on the Kyrgyz regime, though the achievement involved a cold-blooded jettisoning of all norms of democracy, human rights and rule of law that the US commonly champions. By all accounts, Washington just bought up the Bakiyev family lock stock and barrel, overlooking its controversial record of misuse of office.

According to various estimates, the Bakiyev family became a huge beneficiary of contracts dished out by the Pentagon ostensibly for providing supplies to the US air base in Manas near the Kyrgyz capital, Bishkek.

This is a practice that the US fine-tuned in Afghanistan, originally to patronize and bring on board important political personalities on the fractured Afghan chessboard. In Kyrgyzstan, the game plan was relatively simple, as there were not many people to be patronized. Some estimates put the figure that the Pentagon awarded last year to businesses owned by members of the Bakiyev family as US$80 million.

Just one look at the map of Central Asia shows why the US determined that $80 million annually was a small price to pay to establish its predominance in Kyrgyzstan. The country is one of the most valuable pieces of real estate in the geopolitics of the region.

Kyrgyzstan borders China's Xinjiang Autonomous Region. Some time ago there was a whispering campaign which said the Manas base, projected as the main supply base for US troops in Afghanistan, had highly sophisticated electronic devices installed by the Pentagon that could "peep" into Xinjiang where key Chinese missile sites are located.

Besides, a sizeable Uyghur community lives in Kyrgyzstan and almost 100,000 ethnic Kyrgyz live in Xinjiang. Kyrgyzstan surely holds the potential to be a base camp for masterminding activities aimed at destabilizing the situation in Xinjiang.

Furthermore, southern Kyrgyzstan lies adjacent to the Ferghana Valley, which is historically the cradle of Islamist radicalism in the region. The militant groups based in Afghanistan and Pakistan often transit through Kyrgyzstan while heading for the Ferghana Valley. In the Andijan riots in Uzbekistan in 2005, militant elements based in southern Kyrgyzstan most certainly played a major role.

At a time when the Afghan endgame is increasingly in sight, involving the US's reconciliation with the Taliban in some form or the other, Kyrgyzstan assumes the nature of a pivotal state in any US strategy toward the expansion of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) into Central Asia.

To put it differently, for any US strategy to use political Islam to bring about regime change in Uzbekistan and Tajikistan in the future, Kyrgyzstan would be extremely valuable. Like Georgia in the Caucasus, Kyrgyzstan's significance lies not in its natural resources such as oil or natural gas, but in its extraordinary geographical location, which enables it to modulate regional politics.

A challenge lies ahead for US diplomacy in the weeks and months ahead. Although Roza Otunbayeva, the head of the interim government, said on Thursday that as far as bases were concerned "the status quo would remain", this could change at any moment. At the least, the annual rent of about $60 million the US pays to use the base could be renegotiated.

Otunbayeva was foreign minister before the "Tulip" revolution and she also served in various positions during the Soviet era. Kyrgyzstan is also home to a Russian base. Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin was the first world leader to recognize the legitimacy of the new government in Bishkek. The affinity to Moscow is clear.

Also in doubt is whether the new regime in Bishkek will want to pursue Washington's military assistance, especially the setting up of a counter-terrorism center in the southern city of Batken near the Ferghana Valley. This includes the stationing of American military advisors on Kyrgyz soil, not far from the Chinese border.

Clearly, the US pressed ahead too rashly with its diplomacy. On the one hand, it came down from its high pedestal of championing the cause of democracy, rule of law and good governance by backing Bakiyev, whose rule lately had become notorious for corruption, cronyism and authoritarian practices, as well as serious economic mismanagement. (It will look cynical indeed if Washington once again tries to paint itself as a champion of democratic values in the Central Asian region.)

On the other hand, US diplomacy has seriously destabilized Kyrgyzstan. From its position as a relatively stable country in the region as of 2005, when the "Tulip" revolution erupted, it has now sunk to the bottom of the table for political stability, dropping below Tajikistan. An entire arc stretching from Pakistan and Afghanistan to Tajikistan and Kyrgyzstan has now become highly volatile.

In all likelihood, we have not heard the end of the story of this week's riots in Kyrgyzstan in which about 40 people were killed and 400 others injured. The old north-south divide in Kyrgyzstan has reappeared and it is significant that Bakiyev fled from Bishkek, reportedly to his power base in the southern city of Osh. The south is predominately ethnic Uzbek. Some very astute political leadership is needed in Bishkek in the dangerous times ahead if Kyrgyzstan's ethnic divide were not to lead to a breakdown of the country's unity. The country's population is about 65% Kyrgyz (Sunni Muslim), with about 14% ethnic Uzbek.

Besides, the Islamists are waiting in the wings to take advantage of any such catastrophic slide. The socio-economic situation in Kyrgyzstan already looks very grim. All the ingredients of protracted internecine strife are available. Kyrgyzstan is dangerously sliding toward becoming the first "failing state" in the post-Soviet space.

The biggest danger is that the instability may seep into the Ferghana Valley and affect Uzbekistan. There is a hidden volcano there in an unresolved question of nationality that lurks just below the surface, with the sizeable ethnic Uzbek population in southern Kyrgyzstan at odds with the local ethnic Kyrgyz community.

It remains unclear whether there has been any form of outside help for the Kyrgyz opposition. But there is a touch of irony that the regime change in Bishkek took place on the same day that US President Barack Obama and his Russian counterpart President Dmitry Medvedev met at Prague Castle. On Thursday, they signed the first major US-Russia arms control pact of the post-Cold War era, which is supposed to set in motion the "reset" of relations between the two countries.

Indeed, the first litmus test of "reset" might be Obama seeking Medvedev's help to make sure the US does not get evicted from Manas, at least until his AfPak policy reaches its turning point in July 2011, when the first drawdown of US troops is expected. If Obama were to take Medvedev's help, color revolutions as such would have in essence become a common heritage of the US and Russia. One side sows the seeds and the other side reaps the harvest - and vice versa.

But it will be a bitter pill for Washington to swallow. The Russians have all along mentioned their special interests in the former Soviet republics and the US has been adamant that it will not concede any acknowledgement of Moscow's privileges. Now to seek Moscow's helping hand to retain its influence in Kyrgyzstan will be a virtual about-turn for Washington. Also, Moscow is sure to expect certain basic assurances with regard to the creeping NATO expansion into the Caucasus and Central Asia.

As the recent first-ever regional tour of Central Asia by the US's special representative for Afghanistan, Richard Holbrooke, testified, Washington was just about to accelerate the process of expanding the scope of AfPak into the strategic region bordering Russia and China. Holbrooke ominously spoke of an al-Qaeda threat to Central Asia, suggesting that NATO had a role to play in the region in its capacity as the only viable security organization that could take on such a high-risk enterprise of chasing Osama bin Laden in the steppes and the killer deserts of Kizil Kum and Kara Kum.

Holbrooke's tour - followed immediately after by the intensive two-day consultations in Bishkek by the US Central Command chief, David Petraeus - didn't, conceivably, go unnoticed in the concerned regional capitals. But as of now, the US's entire future strategy in Central Asia is up in the air.

Ambassador M K Bhadrakumar was a career diplomat in the Indian Foreign Service. His assignments included the Soviet Union, South Korea, Sri Lanka, Germany, Afghanistan, Pakistan, Uzbekistan, Kuwait and Turkey.

(Copyright 2010 Asia Times Online (Holdings) Ltd. All rights reserved. Please contact us about sales, syndication and republishing.)

Ed Jewett
04-10-2010, 06:13 AM
8 April 2010 Kyrgyz Police Protest Photos


Manas Airbase Eyeball:


Helen Reyes
04-10-2010, 03:14 PM
This is the same guy:


Paul Rigby
04-11-2010, 12:49 PM

Kyrgyzstan pledges to honour security deals, US says

Magda Hassan
04-11-2010, 01:17 PM
Change Kyrgyzstan can believe in?

Paul Rigby
04-11-2010, 02:05 PM
Change Kyrgyzstan can believe in?

Spot on.

Paul Rigby
04-13-2010, 03:13 PM
The obvious likely consequence of this episode is to extend the arc of instability previously created, chiefly by the CIA, in Afghanistan, Pakistan etc. Cui bono? Not Russia or China. Which leaves us with our old friends in Langley. But here we must begin to see the new, broader picture taking shape.

What we are witnessing is the reassertion of the primacy of the CIA over the Pentagon. The new strategy is the classic one - war by plausibly deniable proxy. It's a lot cheaper than the neo-con model, and much more flexible. An ethically-based Islamic insurgency is about to spring up, as spontaneously as a drone.


Kyrgyzstan: Another Colour Revolution Bites the Dust
So what’s the real story behind the coup in Kyrgyzstan ?

by Eric Walberg

Paul Quinn-Judge, Central Asia director of the International Crisis Group -- reporting from Manas -- said the fear was that such stepped-up US shipping will lead to attacks by the Islamic Movement of Uzbekistan (IMU) and the Islamic Jihad Union, groups which have a loyal following in the restive Ferghana valley, which is divided among those very Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan and Uzbekistan, and has witnessed more than one uprising in the recent past. “The problem with the Northern Distribution Network is obvious,” Quinn-Judge says. “It turns Central Asia into a part of the theatre of war.”

Which is, of course, exactly what Anglo-American strategy requires.

Paul Rigby
04-13-2010, 10:28 PM
In the light of events Smolensk, perhaps a rethink is in order.

If Washington's goal is, as would appear, the integration of Russia into America's European bloc (from the Atlantic to the Pacific etc), the deal over Kyrgyzstan would be Russian acquiescence in the establishment by the US of more bases in the country for proxy/ethnic warfare against China.

Just thinking aloud.

Ed Jewett
04-14-2010, 03:49 AM
Cash Rules Everything Around Manas Transit Center

By Nathan Hodge (http://www.wired.com/dangerroom/author/nathanhodge/) http://www.wired.com/dangerroom/wp-content/themes/wired/images/envelope.gif (nohodge@gmail.com)
April 13, 2010 |
5:46 pm |
Categories: Af/Pak (http://www.wired.com/dangerroom/category/afpak/)

http://www.wired.com/images_blogs/dangerroom/2010/04/kyrgyz-prez.jpg (http://www.wired.com/images_blogs/dangerroom/2010/04/kyrgyz-prez.jpg)It ain’t easy being the son of a Central Asian autocrat. One day, you’re on top of the world: You’ve got a lucrative contract to supply fuel to the U.S. base. The next, your papa is out of power, and you’re stuck in Latvia.
Such appears to be the story of Maxim Bakiyev (http://www.rferl.org/content/With_First_Sons_New_Role_Kyrgyz_Government_Remains _A_Family_Affair/1870575.html), the son of Kurmanbek Bakiyev, the recently ousted (http://www.wired.com/dangerroom/2010/04/unrest-in-central-asia-2005-redux-or-a-dangerous-turn-of-events/) president of Kyrgyzstan. The younger Bakiyev (second from right in the family portrait here) was the head of the country’s Central Agency for Development, Investments and Innovations (http://www.cacianalyst.org/?q=node/5220), which was charged with handling millions in foreign aid and overseeing the privatization of state enterprises. And if that doesn’t sound like a lucrative important enough job, he was also said to be the sole supplier of fuel to the Transit Center at Manas (http://www.manas.afcent.af.mil/), a key U.S. base that supports operations in Afghanistan.
Selling fuel to the U.S. military is probably the biggest game in town, economically speaking, and the subject of fuel concessions has a long and controversial history (http://www.nytimes.com/2010/04/12/world/asia/12manas.html) in the Central Asian republic. Back in 2005, the New York Times documented (http://www.iht.com/articles/2005/11/14/news/fuel.php) how two firms, Manas International Services and Aalam Services, were paid tens of millions of dollars to supply jet fuel to the U.S. military. One of those companies, it turns out, was part-owned by Aydar Akayev, the son of former president Askar Akayev. (Akayev’s son-in-law had a stake in the other company.) Kurmanbek Bakiyev, who replaced Akayev after the Tulip Revolution (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tulip_Revolution), made a big fuss about Washington making retroactive payments to help recover the fuel contract money that supposedly was siphoned off by Akayev’s family.
Now it’s the turn for members of Kyrgyzstan’s new government to complain that the Bakiyev family was pocketing all the cash from the Manas fuel concession. But as David Stern of GlobalPost judiciously notes (http://www.globalpost.com/dispatch/asia/100412/bishkek-kyrgyzstan-us-russia), “no hard evidence has been provided” that the U.S. military was buying jet fuel from Bakiyev Junior.

Complicated enough? Well, whether or not cash rules everything around Maxim, lots of popular anger was directed at the man during last week’s popular revolt. The Russian tabloid Komsomolskaya Pravda has published photos from what it claims is Maxim Bakiyev’s house (http://www.murmansk.kp.ru/daily/24472/631353/), which was apparently looted and burned by angry demonstrators. Among some of the tacky souvenirs found in the ruins: Solid gold playing cards.
And where is Maxim Bakiyev? Well, as luck would have it, he was on his way to the United States when his father fled the capital. In a curious twist, State Department spokesman P.J. Crowley said that the younger Bakiyev was on his way to Washington (http://www.state.gov/r/pa/prs/dpb/2010/4/139802.htm) for bilateral consultations when the violence in Kyrgyzstan broke out. Russian media now report that the president’s son is now in Latvia. So whether or not he’s the man to talk to, the Pentagon is probably going to have to find a new company to keep the fuel flowing.
[PHOTO: KP.ru]

Tags: Afghanistan 3.0 (http://www.wired.com/dangerroom/tag/afghanistan-30/), Cash Rules Everything Around Me (http://www.wired.com/dangerroom/tag/cash-rules-everything-around-me/), Crazy Ivans (http://www.wired.com/dangerroom/tag/crazy-ivans/), Politricks (http://www.wired.com/dangerroom/tag/politricks/)

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Paul Rigby
04-14-2010, 06:01 PM

According to Der Spiegel, after the 2005 change of government: Roza Otunbayeva "pledged allegiance to a small group of partners and sponsors of the Kyrgyz revolution, to 'our American friends' at Freedom House..."

Ed Jewett
04-20-2010, 01:50 AM
Kyrgyzstan Destined To Become Another Narco-State? (http://therearenosunglasses.wordpress.com/2010/04/19/kyrgyzstan-destined-to-become-another-narco-state/)

19 04 2010 Kyrgyzstan Destined To Become Another Narco-State? (http://orientalreview.org/2010/04/18/kyrgyzstan-destined-to-become-another-narco-state/)

Sun, Apr 18, 2010
Central Asia (http://orientalreview.org/category/regions/central-asia/), Editorial (http://orientalreview.org/category/editorial/)

On April 13 the prominent US research center STRATFOR published an analytical brief (http://www.stratfor.com/weekly/20100412_kyrgyzstan_and_russian_resurgence)‘Kyrgyz stan and the Russian Insurgence’. The main idea was spinning around the recent bloody riots in Kyrgyz’s capital Bishkek culminated with 84 dead, more than 1500 injured and the expulsion of the former President Bakiev and his corrupt family members. The report clearly states that the Russian authorities are behind the scene of the upraising in that remote and pauper Central Asian republic, once a part of the Russian Empire. Despite such allegations are apparently making credit to the emerging new Russian abilities in their traditional area of influence, few facts still contradict to the assumption of the Russian involvement and ‘success’ there.
http://orientalreview.org/wp-content/uploads/2010/04/ferghana-valley-300x221.jpg (http://orientalreview.org/wp-content/uploads/2010/04/ferghana-valley.jpg)
First, Kyrgyzstan is indeed a country of unique geopolitical location. It encircles Fergana valley – a heavily populated oasis at the core of Central Asia, shared with Uzbekistan and Tajikistan. Besides the vital Russian interest to control Fergana as the first outpost defending vast and open deserts and steppes on the way to the Volga, all Chinese moves in Uyghur Autonomous Region can be easily monitored from Kyrgyz Tien Shan highlands as well. Perhaps that is the main reason why the USAF installed Manas military base few kilometers away from Bishkek soon after the start of NATO operations in Afghanistan in 2001. The base is still operating there in full fledge as the ‘US military transit centre’.

Another key point is that since then Kyrgyzstan became the most notable hub for distribution of the Afghan drugs to Eurasian ‘markets’, a business that had multiplied in times under the NATO guardianship (http://orientalreview.org/2010/03/23/the-united-states-and-afghan-heroin-2/) in Afghanistan. The town of Osh, the ‘southern capital of Kyrgyzstan’, has long ago become a major cross-point for the Great Heroin Way through non-controllable mountainous Tajik-Kyrgyz border and transparent way to the north-west. Most likely the illicit profits proceeding from narco-trafficking were the main sources of spectacular enrichment of Bakiev’s clan during his presidency in 2005-2010. There were numerous evidences that the very arrival of Kurmanbek Bakiev to power in March 2005 as a result of ‘Tulip revolution’ was financed and supported by prosperous international narco-mafia. It is also notable that while in office Bakiev liquidated Kyrgyz Anti-Drug Agency.

As a matter of fact, Kyrgyzstan, once a ‘model Central Asian democracy’, as it used to be regarded in 1990s, and the first (!) post-Soviet state that joined WTO back in 1998, has ended up with two illegitimate coup d’etat in 5 years. It makes us believe that the events we witnessed in early April are only partly a result of mismanagement by the Kyrgyz ruling clan, their reckless appropriation of the state funds, international credits and national assets at the expense of their our people. We can assume that the tragedy in Kyrgyzstan reflects a wider diabolic strategy.

The theory of ‘manageable chaos (http://orientalreview.org/2010/02/25/chaos-as-an-instrument-of-control/)’ as a perfect instrument for dominating the world ‘after tomorrow’ is thoroughly scrutinized by the leading Western minds and political practitioners. The old London’s and later Washington’s habit to impose ‘puppet’ dictators anywhere in the world has proved its ineffectiveness. Sooner or later the dictator starts playing his own game, as it was in case of Saddam Hussein. Much more promising are configurations with a sequence of weak and irresponsible ‘democratic’ governments holding office exclusively thanks to propaganda support from the media centers of global power. Such scheme allows maintaining ‘controllable conflicts’ in any zone, making up ideal environment for elusive ‘terrorist cells’ and drug cartels, targeting the strategic adversaries in the neighborhood.

Kyrgyzstan’s return to the Russian sphere of influence is irreversible. A country lacking any notable resource is living mostly on transfers from relatives who work in Russia (1 out of 5.5 million Kyrgyzs are doing unskilled jobs in the former metropolis). For some time the US rental payment for the base in Manas provided almost half of the national budget of the country. Oscar Akaev, the first president of Kyrgyzstan, once said: “Our mission is to survive until Russia gets richer”.
So now, when the time has come, the Washington’s task is to let Kyrgyz elect such ‘pro-Russian’ government, which would be unable to cope with the narco-cartels operating at theGreat Heroin Way and criminal-terrorist gangs of any nature. That would either prevent Kyrgyzstan from entering the new Customs Union being formed by Russia, Kazakhstan and Belarus and effective since July 1, 2010 or make the policy of narcotization of Eurasia easier after customs procedures on its borders lifted once Kyrgyzstan accepted to the union. So at this time the geostrategic interests of the US and the international narco-mafia happily merged again. It was only logical for the US establishment to use the services of narco-barons to overthrow Bakiev, who demanded from the US more and more pay-offs for his loyalty and even dared engage with Chinese and Russians on multimillion investments in Kyrgyz economy.

Finally the last point of our analysis will be in finding a documentary proof that the ‘spontaneous’ riots in Talas and later in Bishkek on April 6-8 were lavishly sponsored and supplied by a ‘third party’. It did not take long. On April 7, 2010 the Daily Telegraph web-site (http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/picturegalleries/worldnews/7563698/Kyrgyzstan-unrest-in-pictures-state-of-emergency-declared-in-Bishkek-after-revolt.html) published a photo report ‘Kyrgyzstan unrest in pictures: state of emergency declared in Bishkek after revolt’.
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A protester carries an RPG and a riot shield in Bishkek.Picture: REUTERS (http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/picturegalleries/worldnews/7563698/Kyrgyzstan-unrest-in-pictures-state-of-emergency-declared-in-Bishkek-after-revolt.html?image=11)
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A Kyrgyz riot policeman’s vehicle burns near the government building in the capital Bishkek.Picture: AFP/GETTY. (http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/picturegalleries/worldnews/7563698/Kyrgyzstan-unrest-in-pictures-state-of-emergency-declared-in-Bishkek-after-revolt.html?image=8)
You will not find Palestine-style stones and sticks in the hands of protesters. They carry RPGs and AKs, of the Russian origin, for sure. A small detail reveals the real source.
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A Kyrgyz opposition supporter fires an automatic weapon near the main government building during a protest against the government in Bishkek. Picture: AFP/GETTY (http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/picturegalleries/worldnews/7563698/Kyrgyzstan-unrest-in-pictures-state-of-emergency-declared-in-Bishkek-after-revolt.html?image=19)
The HWS (holographic weapon sight) attached to the AK gun in the hands of an opposition fighter is the product of the US L-3 Communications EOTech Corporation, 500 series, retail price 600 USD each one (four average monthly salaries in Kyrgyzstan). According to the International Traffic in Arms Regulations (ITAR) of the USA, the commercial sales and exports of this equipment requires a license issued by the US Department of State and Department of Commerce. These models were not officially delivered to Kyrgyzstan or Russia. Hence this AK with an advanced HWS could NOT be used by a regular Kyrgyz special unit officer and then captured by a protester at the ‘battlefield’. The Telegraph snapshot clearly indicates that the ‘pro-Russian revolt’ in Bishkek was surprisingly supplied from a US military site in Kyrgyzstan or, perhaps, Afghanistan.
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Kyrgyz riot policemen try to protect themselves during clashes with opposition supporters demonstrating against the government in Bishkek. Picture: AFP/GETTY. (http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/picturegalleries/worldnews/7563698/Kyrgyzstan-unrest-in-pictures-state-of-emergency-declared-in-Bishkek-after-revolt.html)
So the only pending question is the following: who is the dominant ‘third party’ in April events in Kyrgyzstan? Whether international narco-mafia is subject to the orders from Washington or maybe in reality the American administration is just a docile servant to those who generously invest into the US political campaigns?

David Guyatt
04-20-2010, 09:11 AM
A Kyrgyz opposition supporter fires an automatic weapon near the main government building during a protest against the government in Bishkek. Picture: AFP/GETTY
The HWS (holographic weapon sight) attached to the AK gun in the hands of an opposition fighter is the product of the US L-3 Communications EOTech Corporation, 500 series, retail price 600 USD each one (four average monthly salaries in Kyrgyzstan). According to the International Traffic in Arms Regulations (ITAR) of the USA, the commercial sales and exports of this equipment requires a license issued by the US Department of State and Department of Commerce. These models were not officially delivered to Kyrgyzstan or Russia. Hence this AK with an advanced HWS could NOT be used by a regular Kyrgyz special unit officer and then captured by a protester at the ‘battlefield’. The Telegraph snapshot clearly indicates that the ‘pro-Russian revolt’ in Bishkek was surprisingly supplied from a US military site in Kyrgyzstan or, perhaps, Afghanistan.

And that ladies and gentlemen tells you all you need to know.

Jan Klimkowski
04-20-2010, 06:58 PM
A Kyrgyz opposition supporter fires an automatic weapon near the main government building during a protest against the government in Bishkek. Picture: AFP/GETTY
The HWS (holographic weapon sight) attached to the AK gun in the hands of an opposition fighter is the product of the US L-3 Communications EOTech Corporation, 500 series, retail price 600 USD each one (four average monthly salaries in Kyrgyzstan). According to the International Traffic in Arms Regulations (ITAR) of the USA, the commercial sales and exports of this equipment requires a license issued by the US Department of State and Department of Commerce. These models were not officially delivered to Kyrgyzstan or Russia. Hence this AK with an advanced HWS could NOT be used by a regular Kyrgyz special unit officer and then captured by a protester at the ‘battlefield’. The Telegraph snapshot clearly indicates that the ‘pro-Russian revolt’ in Bishkek was surprisingly supplied from a US military site in Kyrgyzstan or, perhaps, Afghanistan.

And that ladies and gentlemen tells you all you need to know.


Dope Inc congratulating themselves on another phony revolution done and dusted. :shakehands:

Paul Rigby
04-23-2010, 08:13 PM
Friday, 23 April 2010

Kyrgyz instability may contaminate Central Asia


A Russian-Uzbek challenge to the US

M K Bhadrakumar
23 April 2010

Reports have appeared in the Russian media doubting the pedigree of the revolution in Kyrgyzstan. Moscow seems to be edging away from the interim administration head, Roza Otunbayeva, a former Kyrgyz ambassador to London and Washington.

The reports hint at covert United States backing for the uprising in Bishkek. They claim a drug mafia incited the latest regime change in Bishkek with covert US support - "the geostrategic interests of the US and the international narco-mafia happily merged ... It was only logical to use the services of narco-barons to overthrow [former president Kurmanbek] Bakiyev, who demanded from the US more and more payments for his loyalty".

A Russian commentator told Ekho Moscow radio, "The revolution in Kyrgyzstan was organized by the drug business." Kyrgyzstan is a hub of drug trafficking. The acreage of poppy cultivation in Kyrgyzstan has exponentially increased and is comparable today to Afghanistan.

There have been reports in the Russian (and Chinese) press linking the US base in Manas with drug barons. Iranian intelligence captured the Jundallah terrorist leader, Abdulmalik Rigi, when he was traveling in a Kyrgyz aircraft en route to an alleged rendezvous in Manas.

The Russian media leaks enjoy some degree of official blessing. They highlight circumstantial evidence questioning the nature of the revolt in Bishkek. Meanwhile, the influential think-tank Stratfor has rushed the interpretation alleging a Russian hand. Between these claims and counter-claims, Moscow seems to be veering to the assessment that Washington has benefited from Otunbayeva's political consolidation in Bishkek.

As a Russian commentator put it, "There are further indications that Moscow is cautious about the new Kyrgyz administration ... The truth is that there are no 100% pro-Russian politicians in Kyrgyzstan's interim government ... and quite a few of them are definitely associated with the West."

Indeed, Otunbayeva told the Washington Post and Newsweek that the US lease on the Manas air base would be extended "automatically" and that "we will continue with such long-term relations" with the US.

US Assistant Secretary of State for Central Asia Robert Blake said in Bishkek after two days of consultations with Otunbayeva that her leadership offered "a unique and historic opportunity to create a democracy that could be a model for Central Asia and the wide region".

Blake hailed the regime change in Bishkek as a "democratic transition" and promised US aid to "find quick ways to improve the economic and social situation".

The sporadic attacks on ethnic Russians in Kyrgyzstan (estimated to number 700,000) have also set alarm bells ringing in Moscow. Russian President Dmitry Medvedev ordered the military to take necessary measures. A Kremlin spokesman said these would include increased security for "Russian interests" in Kyrgyzstan.

Moscow seems unsure whether the attacks on the Russians are isolated incidents. An overall slide toward anarchy is palpable with armed gangs taking the law into their hands and the clans in southern Kyrgyzstan rooting for Bakiyev's reinstatement. At any rate, Medvedev manifestly changed tack on Tuesday after talks with visiting Uzbekistan President Islam Karimov. He clearly distanced Russia from identifying with Otunbayeva's interim government. Medvedev said:
Essentially, we need to revive the state, the state does not exist at this time, it has been deposed. We are hoping that the interim administration will make all the necessary measures to achieve that, as anarchy will have a negative effect on the interests of the Kyrgyz people and also their neighbors. Legitimization of the authorities is extremely important, which means there need to be elections, not a de facto fulfillment of powers. Only in this case can [Russia's] economic cooperation be developed.

Russia has extended humanitarian assistance to Kyrgyzstan, but full-fledged economic cooperation will be possible only after the proper institutions of power have been created. Uzbekistan's president shares this view.
The joint Russian-Uzbek stance challenged the interim government not to regard itself as a legally constituted administration, no matter Washington's robust backing for it.

Clearly, Moscow and Tashkent are pushing Otunbayeva to not make any major policy decisions (such as over the US Manas base). She should instead focus on ordering fresh elections that form a newly elected government.

Otunbayeva had indicated her preference for far-reaching constitutional reforms to be worked out first that would transform Kyrgyzstan into a parliamentary democracy from the current presidential system of government. Moscow sees this as a ploy by the interim government to postpone elections and cling onto power with US backing.

Meanwhile, Bakiyev, who fled to Kazakhstan last weekend, has since shifted to Belarus. It is unclear whether Minsk acted on its own to give asylum to Bakiyev. Soon after reaching Minsk, Bakiyev announced that he hadn't yet resigned from office. "There is no power which will make me resign from the presidential post. Kyrgyzstan will not be anyone's colony," he said. Bakiyev called on world leaders not to recognize Otunbayeva's government.

Bakiyev's stance puts Washington in a bind. The US got along splendidly with Bakiyev and it is getting into stride equally splendidly with Otunbayeva. But it has no means of persuading Bakiyev to agree to a lawful, orderly transition of power to Otunbayeva.

Nor can Washington politically underwrite Otunbayeva's government if its legitimacy is doubted in the region (and within Kyrgyzstan itself). Besides, Otunbayeva is not acquitting herself well in stemming the country's slide toward clan struggle, fragmentation and anarchy.

During his two-day visit to Moscow, Karimov made it clear that Tashkent took a dim view of the regime change in Bishkek.

Using strong language, Karimov said, "There is a serious danger that what's happening in Kyrgyzstan will take on a permanent character. The illusion is created that it's easy to overthrow any lawfully elected government." He warned that instability in Kyrgyzstan may "infect" other Central Asian states.

Russia and Uzbekistan have found it expedient to join hands. Medvedev stressed that his talks with Karimov in Moscow were "trusting and engaging with regard to all aspects of our bilateral relations, international and regional affairs". Karimov reciprocated, "Uzbekistan sees Russia as a reliable, trusted partner, which shows that Russia plays a critical role in ensuring peace and stability throughout the world, but in Central Asia in particular."

"Our viewpoints coincided completely," Karimov asserted. He added, "What is going on today in Kyrgyzstan is in nobody's interests - and above all, it is not in the interests of countries bordering Kyrgyzstan."

Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin also underscored the regional alignment. "Uzbekistan is the key country in Central Asia. We have special relations with Uzbekistan," he said.

Conceivably, Russia and Uzbekistan will now expect the Kyrgyz developments to be brought onto the agenda of the summit meeting of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO), which is scheduled to take place in Tashkent in June.

A semi-official Russian commentary said, "The summit may help to work out mechanisms to ensure security in the country and in the whole region." The SCO secretary general (who is based in Beijing) visited Bishkek last week and met Otunbayeva.

Washington faces a potential diplomatic headache here. It needs to ensure the forthcoming SCO summit doesn't becomes a replay of the 2005 summit, which questioned the raison d'etre of the American military presence in Central Asia.

If Washington forces the pace of the great game, a backlash may ensue, which could snowball into calls for the eviction of the US from the Manas base, as some influential sections of Kyrgyz opinion are already demanding.

If that were to happen, the big question would be whether Otunbayeva would be able to get the American chestnuts out of the fire. Hailing from the southern city of Osh but having lived her adult life in the capital, which is dominated by northern clans, she lacks a social or political base and is at a disadvantage.

The geopolitical reality is that Kyrgyzstan has to harmonize with the interests of the regional powers - Russia and Uzbekistan in particular - as should the US, in the larger interests of regional stability. The fact remains that Russian and Uzbek (and Kazakh) influence within Kyrgyz society and politics remains preponderant. And China too has legitimate interests.

The Kremlin will not fall into the same bear trap twice. In Georgia under somewhat similar circumstances the US took generous help from Russia in the stormy winter of 2003 to clear the debris of the "Rose" revolution and "stabilize" the ground situation before promptly installing Mikheil Saakashvili, who has been a thorn in the flesh for Moscow ever since.

Ambassador M K Bhadrakumar was a career diplomat in the Indian Foreign Service. His assignments included the Soviet Union, South Korea, Sri Lanka, Germany, Afghanistan, Pakistan, Uzbekistan, Kuwait and Turkey.

Paul Rigby
04-23-2010, 09:40 PM
Here is a Foreign Office/SIS briefing, as regurgitated by Simon Tisdall, The Guardian’s regurgitator-in-chief of FO/MI6 briefings. I particularly like the opening – “It’s beyond argument…” – which means, I suppose, that no UK journalist with ambition should be so stupidly careless with their careers as to suggest anything to the contrary:


Russia may regret Kyrgyzstan coup

The Kremlin is not known for its support of pro-democracy movements, and it may have bitten off more than it can chew

It's beyond argument, two weeks after the overthrow of Kyrgyzstan's president, Kurmanbek Bakiyev, that Russia played a critical, possibly decisive role in his downfall. But as ethnic violence, score-settling, and political confusion continue to roil the impoverished central Asian country, the coming question is whether a clever-boots Kremlin has bitten off more than it can chew.

Having tendered his handwritten resignation by fax to the interim government last week, Bakiyev insisted today, from the relative safety of Minsk, that he was still in charge. "I will do everything to restore constitutional order … only death can stop me," he said dramatically. "I call on international leaders not to recognise the authority of this illegitimate gang."

Bakiyev's southern supporters, centred on Dzhalal-Abad in the Ferghana valley (where most residents are ethnic Uzbeks) are also stubbornly refusing to recognise the administration formed by former foreign minister Roza Otunbayeva. Meanwhile fighting broke out around the capital, Bishkek, this week involving minority ethnic Russians and Meskhetian Turks.

Otunbayeva says she wants to create a parliamentary republic and hold free, democratic elections. That would be a welcome change. The Bakiyev era was blighted by repression, human rights abuses and corruption, with the exiled president accused of embezzling $200m. But it is uncertain whether she has the clout to hold the country together.

Cohesion is not the only imponderable. The fact that Russia recognised the interim government within hours of the coup taking place, while the US and the EU have yet to do so, shows how the Kyrgyzstan upheaval is also turning conventional political calculation on its head.

Vladimir Putin's Kremlin is not known for its support for pro-democracy movements in the former Soviet "near abroad", either in central Asia or the Caucasus. It has worked hard to reverse such tendencies – notably in Ukraine, which recently elected a pro-Moscow president and has now agreed to continue to host Russia's Black Sea fleet. Paradoxically, in Kyrgyzstan, it finds itself as foremost sponsor of a popular, anti-authoritarian revolution.

Washington, on the other hand, has in theory promoted a "freedom agenda" in these same regions and the Middle East. Barack Obama is now under fire at home for placing strategic and security considerations ahead of Kyrgyz democratic self-determination, although George Bush did much the same.

"US policy toward Kyrgyzstan has focused almost exclusively on keeping open its military base at Manas [a key supply hub for Afghanistan]," wrote David Kramer in Foreign Policy. "Many who are now serving in the interim government still feel betrayed by the US for giving Bakiyev a free pass as long as Manas stayed open."

According to analyst Tom Malinowski, Washington's duplicitous, self-interested approach is evident elsewhere in the region as it battles Russia and China for geopolitical advantage.

"US policymakers increasingly view central Asia as a transit point to somewhere else. It is a region through which oil and natural gas flow to Europe, reducing US allies' dependence on Russia. It is a region through which fuel, food and spare parts flow to US and Nato forces in Afghanistan," Malinowski said. Officials had coined a new name for the region, he added: the "northern distribution network".

The way Russia encouraged and manipulated the political opposition to Bakiyev also confounds stereotypical behaviour. Bakiyev's authoritarianism did not worry the Kremlin but his perceived double-crossing of Russia did, so they used American-style "soft power" tools to undermine him.

In the months before the uprising, financial assistance was withdrawn, Russian-language television and website outlets highlighted Bakiyev's alleged crimes, energy prices were forced up by tariff increases (as in Ukraine and Belarus), trade and banking regulations were tightened, and opposition figures were courted in Moscow. By the time the coup began, Bakiyev was already destabilised. This was an almost exact copy of US tactics preceding the Georgia and Ukraine "colour revolutions".

Now Russia is rightly worried about what it has wrought. President Dmitri Medvedev warned recently of anarchy and a "second Afghanistan". This week the Russian military was told to be ready to protect ethnic Russians – 20% of Kyrgyzstan's population.

It probably won't come to direct intervention. But the downside for the Kremlin of its too-clever Kyrgyz coup is becoming clearer. A democratic Kyrgyzstan may prove less biddable than Moscow would wish. The level-headed Otunbayeva may yet refuse to evict the Americans from Manas. Political divisions may become lethally corrosive. And, most dangerous of all, ethnic violence combining with popular discontent and Islamist agitation in the Ferghana valley linking south Kyrgyzstan, Uzbekistan and Tajikistan, may spark a wider conflagration.

It's happened before and it could happen again. Such are the perils of externally incited regime change.

Magda Hassan
04-24-2010, 05:01 AM
The Shady Underside of U.S. Military Ops In the Afghan Region

The effort to keep fuel flowing for the American military has led to questionable alliances in Kyrgyzstan and allegations of corruption entangling the U.S. government.
April 22, 2010 |


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In Napoleon Bonaparte's day an army may have marched on its belly, as the French emperor famously quipped, but the modern-day American military campaign in Afghanistan needs not just food but also fuel. Diesel for the MRAPs and Humvees, aviation fuel for the planes and helicopters--that's the fodder for the military surge under way in Afghanistan. Fuel is precious there--they call it liquid gold--and the effort to keep it flowing has created an array of bizarre monopolies, strange alliances and allegations of corruption entangling the US government.

This is the story of two interlinked and secretive offshore companies run by a former Army intelligence officer. The firms run a specialized monopoly of massive proportions. Their niche: supplying aviation fuel for US military operations in Afghanistan--enough to fill two Olympic-size swimming pools each and every day of the year.

The companies' names are Red Star Enterprises and Mina Corp. In Afghanistan, Red Star Enterprises has a sole source contract worth more than $1 billion, won without competition, to deliver fuel to Bagram Air Base, that central hub of the war effort. The Nation has obtained an unusual "memorandum of agreement" between Red Star and the US military authorities, giving the firm exclusive ownership of a fuel pipeline that feeds directly into the base.

Similarly, in nearby Kyrgyzstan, a staging ground for the Afghan war, Mina has another sole source contract, awarded without any announcement, to provide fuel to a huge and controversial base. The contract has been at the center of corruption and kickback allegations, and the companies have been accused of enriching the families of two successive heads of state, both of whom presided over kleptocratic and repressive regimes--an arrangement that fostered great resentment in the country. Violence exploded on the streets in early April, leaving eighty protesters dead, and President Kurmanbek Bakiyev was forced to flee. The new, provisional government sees Red Star and Mina in a very specific light. The chief of staff, Edil Baisalov, tells The Nation that the firms have served as "an indirect way for the Pentagon to bribe the ruling families of Kyrgyzstan." (These allegations are the subject of a Congressional hearing tomorrow, convened by the House Subcommittee on National Security and Foreign Affairs.)

Baisalov's charge is a serious one but not new, nor as outlandish as it may seem, although the companies deny it. The eight-year saga of high-stakes contracts and secretive deals raises serious questions about how the Afghan campaign has been run, not only by the Bush administration but also under President Barack Obama. Sole source contracts have continued under the current administration, and if the Kyrgyz authorities are correct, the Pentagon contractors are still doing what they did under Bush. After all, the thirst for oil and fuel can only grow as President Obama's Afghan surge ramps up.

The man in charge of Red Star's and Mina's operations is a good-natured retired Army lieutenant colonel named Chuck Squires, now 56 years old. A lanky and broad-shouldered fellow with a good sense of humor, he has a graduate degree in Russian studies from Harvard. Before 9/11, he was the defense attaché at the US Embassy in Bishkek, Kyrgyzstan. Back then, when he was still in the military, the Republic of Kyrgyzstan was just another impoverished and mountainous ex-Soviet republic, with a per capita income a little higher than that of Cambodia. It was just one pawn in the Great Game between Russia and the United States, and it was not easily accessible, bordered by Tajikistan, Uzbekistan and Kazakhstan on the south, west and north, respectively, and by China on the east. Nor was it strategically important, although its huge inland lake did serve as a testing site for advanced Russian torpedoes.

Squires, who did not respond to requests for comment for this article, had left Bishkek by September 11, 2001. One source says he was gone from the military by then too, but his experience there would serve him well in the private sector in the future.

That is because shortly after 9/11, Kyrgyzstan agreed to host a US air base. At the time, Kyrgyzstan's president was Askar Akayev, who presented himself as an innovative reformer and economist. The United States did not pay much for the base rights, although this was a source of controversy within the country and a matter of concern for the State Department. At the time, Donald Rumsfeld's Pentagon was holding sway over Colin Powell's State Department. The Defense Department insisted it was in charge of all negotiations, and the State Department's input wasn't wanted. "You stay out of it" is how a former State Department official remembers the Pentagon's tone.

The Manas base, dubbed the Ganci base, after a firefighter killed on 9/11, was like the FedEx hub through which the US military flies material and people to Afghanistan from around the world. The base hosts tankers and other planes, and operates as a transfer facility for troops.

Red Star Enterprises and Mina Corp. soon appeared on the scene like mysterious strangers. They had a rather ethereal, offshore quality and some intriguing connections. For example, Red Star had the same London address and phone number as Iraq Today, a purportedly independent and short-lived newspaper launched in the wake of the invasion of Iraq. The paper had been set up by a former journalist who worked with Mina Corp.--which, of course, was connected to Red Star.

Over the years neither Red Star nor Mina seems to have even bothered to put up a website. They both have offices in London, but they are both incorporated on the island of Gibraltar, a British territory off Spain with impenetrable secrecy laws for corporations. Various private investigators have been unable to determine who really owns them.

Though Red Star had no apparent track record, it was hired by the Pentagon to supply the base's massive fuel needs. Red Star's director of operations: the now retired Lieutenant Colonel Squires. Squires returned to Bishkek as a civilian, coordinating Red Star's contract work. The Pentagon's Defense Energy Support Center hired Red Star to supply its fuel. It was a huge contract, totaling $240 million over three years.

Even if the Kyrgyz government wasn't getting paid much for the base, the Akayev family was reaping tens of millions. It was heavily involved in business at the airport, running the two companies that operated as Red Star's subcontractors. One of them was run by Akayev's son, and the other by his son-in-law, and from 2002 to 2005 Red Star, operating on its US government contract, paid the firms about $120 million.

It may have just been business, but the way Kyrgyz investigators later saw it, Red Star, the prime contractor, was the cut out for funneling funds to the Akayev family.

It was all cozy until violence hit the streets of Bishkek in 2005, foreshadowing what was to come five years later. The "Tulip Revolution" forced Akayev to flee and abdicate, and then the secrets of the Akayev regime began to tumble out, in scandal after scandal. The new government, headed by President Kurmanbek Bakiyev, even asked the US government for help investigating the former regime. The FBI's Eurasian Unit churned out an extraordinary report that laid bare a "vast amount of potential criminal activities associated with the Akaev Organization." The president and his family were accused of "siphoning off at least $1 billion from the Kyrgyz state budget." It was as if the Kyrgyz government had been some kind of criminal enterprise within which the United States ran a military base.

After the revolt, people thought things might be different. The new government seemed to bring a fresh sense of integrity for a short while, before it began to stack its own skeletons in the closet. Despite his claims to be a reformer, Bakiyev appeared to go about replicating the patterns of his predecessor in a deliberate manner. "He really didn't think twice. They inherited this," says one consultant who dealt with Bakiyev shortly after the revolution. "We really in great detail uncovered the scheme. And I think the moment they figured out how it worked, they went and did it."

Peter Zalmayev of the Eurasia Democracy Initiative puts it this way: "Bakiyev came in under the premise he would clean [the government] up and make it more transparent. But he replaced the structure they had with Akayev and his son with his own family." Word quickly spread that Bakiyev's youngest son, Maksim, was in business too. The insiders said he was taking over "Manas International"--through frontmen.

Meanwhile, Bakiyev's associates were making powerful US connections. For example, one of his allies set up a bank called AsiaUniversalBank (AUB) in Bishkek. On its board were two august former US senators: former US Republican presidential candidate Bob Dole, currently associated with the lobbying firm Alston & Bird, and J. Bennett Johnston, the longtime Louisiana senator, who has his own firm. Dole was paid several hundred thousand dollars for his role, which included one trip to Bishkek and a few board meetings in Washington.

Meanwhile, what mattered to the United States was the base at Manas. There, the airfield was still lined with squadrons of KC-135 Stratotankers, which needed constant filling for their missions over the skies of Afghanistan.

Red Star kept up its work, supplying fuel.

But Red Star was also busy elsewhere at the same time. Chuck Squires and Red Star were now focused not just on Kyrgyzstan but directly on Afghanistan. To do business with the US military in Afghanistan usually means operating at Bagram Air Base, the sprawling compound--a virtual military city--about an hour north of Kabul.

Col. Jonathan Ives was then the base commander at Bagram. Red Star, he says, was synonymous with aviation fuel, trucking it down from Uzbekistan along an old and treacherous route through the mountains from Mazar-i-Sharif to Kabul, passing at one point through the Salang Pass, a 1.5-mile tunnel through a mountain. Ives says Red Star trucked in more than 250,000 gallons of the precious stuff each day--a staggering amount. Each tanker truck can carry a maximum of 9,000 gallons, so Red Star would have had convoys of about thirty tractor-trailers per day.

In October 2007 Red Star scored a remarkable coup. Squires signed a deal with Ives that allowed Red Star to build and own a pipeline that ran from the base for all that fuel. Ives says that Red Star had purchased land near Bagram Air Base. "It was farmland, so they purchased the land and the rights." In the memorandum of agreement between Red Star and the military, obtained by The Nation, Red Star promises it "will install, at no cost to the United States Government (USG), a petroleum pipeline for transfer of TS-1 jet fuel." Significantly, the agreement says, "Red Star will retain ownership of the pipeline."

It is intriguing that the firm signed such a document rather than an ordinary contract. "It is very unusual--very unusual," said professor Charles Tiefer, an expert on contract law at the University of Baltimore School of Law who sits on the US government's eight-member Commission on Wartime Contracting. I asked him who would regulate such an agreement. "Nobody," he answered. "There is no regulation of it because it's not supposed to happen, because it is trying to create a loophole where there is none in the Competition in Contracting Act."

Whatever the legal basis for the contract, not only the fuel pipeline but the land underneath it was owned by Red Star. Indeed, trucks would be able to gain access to the pipeline only through Red Star property. Red Star, in other words, controlled all access to the pipeline that would bring fuel to the thirsty US air base. It was as if the company offered to build a door to a US base and then controlled anything that went through the door. "I think it is pretty clever, if you want to say that," says Ives. "It is shrewd business," he added, a bit ruefully. He says he thought the pipeline was a good idea because it limited fuel trucks' access to the base and made things safe. He didn't realize, he says, that the pipeline Red Star built would give it a monopoly.

But that's what it did. Within four months of that memorandum of agreement, the United States announced it planned to offer a sole source contract to Red Star for 194 million gallons of fuel over two years. There were some complaints by a potential competitor, but it had no access to the pipeline. That summer, in August 2008, Red Star was awarded the contract for $720 million. It had locked in the monopoly.

On March 4, 2009, barely six weeks in office, Barack Obama pledged to crack down on government procurement waste and fraud, and "to dramatically reform the way we do business on contracts across the entire government." Standing next to Senator John McCain, his adversary in the election but an advocate of contract reform as well, he said, "We need more competition for contracts and more oversight as they are carried out." That day he sent out a memo asking all federal agencies to work on a way to end sole source contracts.

But when it came to Red Star and Mina, things stayed very much the same. On July 29, about five months after the president's speech, the Defense Department did not bother issuing a solicitation or requesting bids for the fuel contract. Instead, it quietly issued a new, $243 million contract to Mina to keep selling fuel to the base at Manas. The government used an unusual clause in the federal rules to justify this: the "national security" exemption. Under that provision, "Full and open competition need not be provided for when the disclosure of the agency's needs would compromise the national security."

"It went from competitive to sole source," says lawyer Ronald Uscher, who represents a competitor to Red Star and Mina called IOTC. In 2007 Mina had actually won the contract through a process that ostensibly included competitive bidding--though it beat out IOTC, whose bid had been almost 3 percent lower. Using the Freedom of Information Act, Uscher tried to obtain information about Mina's bid, but the Defense Department refused to tell him how Mina and Red Star gauged their price changes. Normally these are based on worldwide fuel prices, but not in Kyrgyzstan. Here it would be kept a secret. "There is nothing secretive about the price of jet fuel in 99.9 percent of the world," says Uscher, "except at Manas Air Base in Kyrgyzstan, apparently!" Then, in 2009, Uscher complains, "You have a sole source secret contract to supply fuel to Manas awarded to Mina with no other competitors having oversight and no citizens having oversight."

Why the secrecy? And what was the national security requirement that dictated avoiding competition? Did Mina's source for fuel have anything to do with it?

Officials in Kyrgyzstan's provisional government say it straight out: Mina Corp., the affiliate of Red Star, was paying funds to Maksim Bakiyev, the president's son. The new government's chief of staff Baisalov says that in order to keep the air base secure and supplied with fuel, the United States essentially "bribed the Kyrgyz ruling family. First it was Akayev and then it was Bakiyev. On one hand, the White House and the US State Department, they announce these noble goals, democracy, good government, and on the other hand, the military comes in and overrides everyone else." The Defense Logistics Agency, which oversees the Defense Energy Support Center, wouldn't comment specifically on that, even to deny it. "We can't speak to that," said DLA spokesman Dennis Gauci. "You'll have to speak to Mina Corp."

A representative of Mina, who asked not to be named, denied any wrongdoing. "There was no consideration given to the ownership interests of any supplier." If Maksim Bakiyev did have any ownership interest, he said, Mina didn't know about it. The company, he told me, was reaching out to the interim Kyrgyz government to try to explain it to them. (Mina emphasizes it does vital work "by providing mission-critical fuel supplies to the troops and civilians that are carrying out the mission in Afghanistan.")

With the collapse of the Bakiyev regime, a whole web of money and power has been exposed. That bank, AUB, on whose board sat ex-Senators Dole and Johnston? Its accounts have been frozen, and the new government says it was laundering money.

The provisional government in Kyrgyzstan says it will leave the base open for now. And the United States, with the Afghan surge under way, needs that base now more than ever. But the Kyrgyz government is making a new demand: it is launching a criminal investigation of the Bakiyev regime and its profits--and it wants the US government to help.
http://www.alternet.org/story/146575/the_shady_underside_of_u.s._military_ops_in_the_af ghan_region?page=entire

Paul Rigby
04-24-2010, 07:10 PM
The FBI's Eurasian Unit...

To be included for sure in the select group of phrases I never imagined I'd see...

Helen Reyes
05-18-2010, 11:23 AM
LAst Friday and over the weekend there was a counter-uprising in several southern towns. Around 100 people stormed one government building. The riots were put down. pravda.ru on Monday said "Roza" was firmly in control and there would be no more "colour revolutions" in the former Soviet space.

Paul Rigby
05-25-2010, 03:23 PM
More on Mackinderland:


Kyrgyzstan as a Geopolitical Pivot in Great Power Rivalries
Washington, Moscow, Beijing and the Geopolitics of Central Asia

by F. William Engdahl

Part I: Kyrgyzstan as a Geopolitical Pivot

The remote Central Asian country of Kyrgyzstan is what Britain’s Halford Mackinder might call a geopolitical ‘pivot’—a land that, owing to its geographical characteristics, holds a pivotal position in Great Power rivalries.

Today the tiny remote country is being shaken by what appears to be an extremely well-planned popular uprising to topple US-backed president Kurmanbek Bakiyev. Preliminary analysts suggested that Moscow had more than a passing interest in promoting regime change there and that the events unfolding might be Moscow’s attempt to stage its own ‘reverse’ version of Washington’s ‘Color Revolutions’ -- Georgia’s Rose Revolution of 2003 or Ukraine’s Orange Revolution in 2004, as well as the 2005 Tulip Revolution that brought the pro-US Bakiyev to power. In the midst of this ongoing power shift in Kyrgyzstan, however, who is doing what to whom, is far from clear.

At the very least, what is playing out has huge strategic implications for military security throughout the Eurasian Heartland -- from China to Russia and beyond. It therefore has staggering implications for the future of the United States in Afghanistan and Central Asia and by extension in all Eurasia.

Political tinderbox

The protests again the US-backed Bakiyev began in March over allegations of extreme corruption on the part of the President and his family members. In 2009, Bakiyev began amending an article in the country’s constitution regulating presidential succession in case of death or unexpected resignation, a move widely seen as an attempt to introduce a "dynastical system" of power transfer in the country, one factor which fuelled the recent nationwide protests in Kyrgyzstan. He placed his son and other relatives in key posts where they raked in huge sums for the US airbase rights at Manas – reportedly as much as $80 million a year -- and other enterprises. [1]

Kyrgyzstan is one of the poorest countries in Central Asia with more than 40% living below the official poverty line. Bakiyev named his son, Maxim -- who also managed to find time and funds to buy part ownership of a UK football club -- to be head of the country’s Central Agency for Development, Investment and Innovation, where he gained control over the country’s richest assets, including the Kumtor gold mine.[2]

Late in 2009 Bakiyev sharply hiked taxes on small and medium businesses and early this year imposed new taxes on telecoms. He privatized the country’s largest electricity company and in January the private company, rumored to have been sold to friends of the family for less than 3% of its estimated worth, doubled electricity prices. The price of heating gas was raised by up to 1000%. Kyrgyzstan’s winters are extremely cold.

The opposition charged that Maxim Bakiyev had arranged a sweetheart privatisation of the state telecom to a friend domiciled in an offshore company in the Canary Islands. In short, popular rage against Bakiyev and company existed for good reason. The key issue was how efficiently that rage was channelled and by whom.

The protests erupted following the decision by the government in March to dramatically raise prices of energy and telecommunications by fourfold and more, in an extremely poor country. During early March protests, Otunbayeva was named spokesperson for a united front of all opposition groups. She appealed at that time to the US government to take a more active interest in Kyrgyzstan’s Bakiyev regime and its lack of democratic standards, obviously with no result.[3]

According to informed Russian sources, at that point Roza Otunbayeva spoke with Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin to discuss the deteriorating situation. Immediately on its formation of an Interim Government under Otunbayeva, Moscow was the first to recognize the acting government and made an offer of $300 million in immediate stabilization aid, transferring a portion of a 2009 Russian loan of $2.15 billion that was promised Bakiyev’s regime for construction of a hydropower plant on the Naryn river.

The $2.15 billion was originally announced just after Bakiyev declared he would close the US base at Manas, a decision that American dollars managed to reverse some weeks later. Clearly in Moscow’s eyes, the Russian aid and Bakiyev’s announced closing of the US base at Manas were linked.

The latest $300 million tranche of the pledged $2.15 billion from Moscow, re-opened after the ouster of Bakiyev, will reportedly go directly to the Kyrgyz National Bank.[4]

According to a report in Moscow’s RIA Novosti, ousted Prime Minister, Daniyar Usenov, told Russia’s ambassador in Bishkek that Russian media outlets, which enjoy a major influence within the former Soviet state—whose official language is still Russian—had been biased against the Bakiyev-Usenov government. [5]

Bakiyev government security forces, reportedly including Special Forces sharpshooters on rooftops, killed some 81 opposition demonstrators, leading to a dramatic escalation of the protests in the first week of April.

What is remarkable about the events and suggests that there is more going on behind the curtains, is the fact that the full-blown popular uprising exploded onto the scene with little pre-warning in the international media.

There had been protest demonstrations repeatedly since Bakiyev took control in the Washington-financed 2005 Tulip Revolution. [6] That Washington-financed regime change of 2005 had involved the usual list of US NGO’s including Freedom House, The Albert Einstein Institution, The National Endowment for Democracy and USAID.[7] None of the previous protests until this April, however, had the obvious thoroughness and sophistication of the latest one. Events seem to have caught everyone by surprise, not the least the corrupt Bakiyev family and his Washington backers.

The smoothness with which allegiance of the army, police and border security was gained within the first hours of protest suggests very sophisticated pre-planning and masterful coordination. Not clear at this point is whether that came from operative s from abroad, and if so, whether from Russia’s FSB or CIA or whomever.

On April 7, as Bakiyev was losing control, he reportedly rushed to the Americans, but as they saw the blood on the streets caused by Bakiyev’s sharpshooters and the growing fury of the crowds against the government, they reportedly whisked the President and his family to his hometown of Osh, apparently hoping to bring him back after events had calmed.[8] That never happened.

Following the resignation of his entire government, including the heads of the army and national police and border guard, Bakiyev resigned on April 16 and fled to neighboring Kazakhstan. At latest report he is holed up in Belarus, having reportedly gained entry by bringing with him over $200 million for cash-strapped Belarus President Lukashenko.[9]

Kyrgyzstan’s new, interim opposition government, under the nominal leadership of former Foreign Minister Roza Otunbayeva, has declared it wants to set up an international investigation into alleged crimes committed by Bakiyev. Criminal charges have already been filed against him, his sons and brother and other relatives.

Bakiyev had little choice but to flee. The army and police had already sided with the Otunbayeva opposition days before he fled, in an indication that the events were at the very least extremely well planned by at least some parts of the opposition.

A geographical pivot

Kyrgyzstan today plays the role of a geographical pivot. The land-locked country shares a border with China’s Xinjiang Province, a highly strategic point for Beijing. One of the smallest of the Central Asian states, it is also bordered to its north by oil-rich Kazakhstan, on the West by Uzbekistan and on the South by Tajikistan. Moreover, Kyrgyzstan overlaps the politically explosive resource-rich area known as the Ferghana Valley, a multinational ethnic and political friction zone located also in Uzbekistan and Tajikstan.

The country itself is highly mountainous, with the Tian Shan and Pamir mountains taking some 65% of all land area. Approximately 90% of the country is more than 1500 meters above sea level.

In terms of natural resources -- other than agriculture ,which comprises a third of GDP – Kyrgyzstan has gold, uranium, coal and oil. In 1997 the Kumtor Gold Mine opened one of the largest gold deposits in the world.

Until recently the state agency, Kyrgyzaltyn, owned all the mines and operated many of them as joint ventures with foreign companies. The Kumtor Gold Mine, near the border of China, is 100% owned by Canada’s Centerra Gold Inc. Until the ouster of President Bakiyev, his son, Maxim, head of the State Development Fund, ran Kyrgyzaltyn which is also the largest shareholder of Centerra Gold, the Canadian company that today owns Kumtor.

Significantly, even though he has not been formally elected by Kyrgz voters, Centerra in Toronto, perhaps with a nudge from the US State Department, has already announced it has named Maxim Bakiyev’s “replacement,” as head of Kyrgyzaltyn, Aleksei Eliseev, Deputy Director of the Kyrgyz State Development Agency, to the Board of Directors of Centerra.[10]

Kyrgyzstan also has significant reserves of uranium and antimony. Kyrgyzstan also has considerable remaining deposits of coal of an estimated at 2.5 billion tons, especially in the Kara–Keche deposit in northern Kyrgyzstan.

However, even more pivotal than the mineral riches is the major US Air Force base at Manas, Kyrgyzstan, opened within three months of the US declaration of a global ‘War on Terror’ in September 2001. Shortly thereafter, Russia established its own military airbase not far from Manas. Kyrgyzstan today is the only country that hosts both Russian and American military bases, an uneasy state of affairs to put it mildly.

In sum, Kyrgyzstan, sitting in the center of the world’s most strategic landmass, Central Asia, is a geopolitical prize coveted by many.

Washington walks on political eggshells

The US State Department had tried to get Bakiyev to hold on in apparent hopes they could disperse the protestors, quell the street riots and keep their Tulip man in power. Hillary Clinton initially called on the Parliamentary opposition – government ministers who objected to Bakiyev’s corruption and nepotism -- to “negotiate” and “develop a dialogue” with the US-financed Basiyev Presidency. The State Department then issued statements that the government of President Kurmanbek Bakiyev was still functioning, despite reports that his entire administration had resigned.[11]

On April 7, during the peak of the drama when the outcome was still unclear, US Assistant Secretary of State P. J. Crowley told reporters, “We want to see Kyrgyzstan evolve, just as we do other countries in…the region. But, that said, there is a sitting government. We work closely with that government. We are allied with that government in terms of its support, you know, for international operations in…Afghanistan.” [12] George Orwell would have admired the exercise in diplomatic doublespeak.

On April 15, when it was clear Bakiyev had little support within the country, the US State Department declared that it will side with neither the country's ousted president nor the Parliamentary opposition. In a statement indicating Washington is walking on eggshells hoping not to crack any, especially affecting its Manas airbase rights, State Department spokesman Phillip Crowley declared, “We want to see the situation resolved peacefully. And we're not taking sides.”[13] Since then, after talks with Foreign Minister Otunbayeva and her associates, the State Department and Obama have warmly backed the new political reality.

Otunbayeva, a leading Communist Party member during the Soviet days, had served as the first Kyrgyz ambassador to the United States in the post-Soviet era, and later as a special assistant to UN Secretary General Kofi Annan. The interim government headed by Otunbayeva says they are going to write a new constitution within six months and prepare for a democratic election in the country. The opposition claims to be in control of the situation in Kyrgyztan though riots and looting outside Bishkek are still being reported.[14]

Whose coup?

While there is much speculation about an on-the-ground role by Russian intelligence in the ‘anti-tulip revolution,’ we must leave that as an open question.

In comments during his Washington visit on April 14, a week into the upheaval, Russia’s Medvedev expressed concern about the stability of the country: “The risk of Kyrgyzstan's breakdown into two parts - north and south - really exists. This is why our task is to help our Kyrgyz partners to find the mildest way out of this situation." He outlined a worst-case scenario where an unstable Kyrgyz government could be left powerless as extremists flood into the country, creating a second Afghanistan.[15]

US White House Adviser on Russia, Michael McFaul, speaking from the Prague arms control talks, referring to the unfolding events in Kyrgyzstan, stated, “This is not some anti-American coup. That we know for sure; and this is not a sponsored-by-the-Russians coup.” [16]

At least nominally, Washington might well have reason to believe they can “work” with the new Interim Kyrgyz leaders.

Roza Otunbayeva is well known in Washington since she served there as Ambassador during the 1990’s.

Her Number Two in the Interim Government, former Parliament Speaker and a key figure in Washington’s 2005 Tulip Revolution that brought Bakiyev to power, Omurbek Tekebayev, was brought to Washington back then by the State Department for one of their “visitors programs” -- where emerging foreign political figures are presumably taught the beauties of the American way of life.

Tekebayev spoke openly at the time of that experience: “I found that the Americans know how to choose people, know how to make an accurate evaluation of what is happening and prognosticate the future development and political changes.” [17]

Thus there is evidence that the latest events in Kyrgyzstan could have been backed by Moscow as a “reverse” Color Revolution, one executed to control growing US military presence in Central Asia. And there is evidence it may also have been a second US-backed regime change, perhaps after the Obama Administration became alarmed that its man, Bakiyev, was getting too economically close to Beijing. The third and least likely version is that the events were executed by a rag-tag disorganized domestic opposition that never before managed to rally more than a few thousands to the streets to protest Bakiyev policies in the past five years.

Clear at this point is that both Moscow and Washington are going to considerable lengths to show some minimal unity on the emerging events in the country.

Kanat Saudabayev, head of the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE), on April 15 said the safe exit of Kyrgyzstan President Bakiyev from Kyrgyzstan was the result of joint efforts by Obama and Russian President Medvedev. [18]

Clearly both Washington and Moscow eagerly want to have a strong presence in whatever government emerges from the strife-torn Central Asian country of five million people. What is less well known but equally clear, is the vital stake China has in stable relations with Kyrgyzstan, a neighbor with whom it shares a long border. Most interesting from here is where events will go in the forlorn but geopolitically strategic country.

Manas Airbase future?

One of the most pressing questions for Washington is the future of the vital US airbase at Manas near the capitol, Bishkek. US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton stressed the “important role Kyrgyzstan plays in hosting the Transit Center at the Manas Airport,” according to an official State Department statement of April 11. She left little doubt what Washington’s priority is in the country. It’s not democracy nor is it economic development.[19]

Following the Washington declaration of the War on Terror in September 2001, the Pentagon got basing rights in several strategic Central Asian countries, ostensibly to help wage the war against Osama bin Laden in Afghanistan. In addition to basing rights in Uzbekistan, Washington got the Manas concession in Kyrgyzstan as well.

Most extensive of course has been the US military presence in Afghanistan. In one of his first acts as President, Obama authorized the ‘surge’ -- adding some 30,000 troops and approving construction of another 8 new ‘temporary’ US bases in Afghanistan, bringing the total bases there to an astonishing 22, including the huge airbases at Bagram and Kandahar.

Defense Secretary Robert Gates has refused to put a time limit on the duration of the US military presence in Afghanistan. That is not because of the Taliban, but clearly rather the long-term Washington strategy of spreading the ‘war on terror’ across all Central Asia including into the strategically vital Ferghana Valley bordering Uzbekistan and Kyrgyzstan. This is where the latest events in Kyrgyzstan become geopolitically more than interesting for Russia, for China and for Washington.

On April 14, Gates told the press that he was confident the US would retain rights to use Manas for what the Pentagon calls its Northern Distribution Network, flying supplies into the Afghanistan war theatre.[20] Just days before, interim government figures in Bishkek had indicated US rights to Manas were high on the list to be cancelled.

During a meeting with Russia’s Medvedev, President Obama agreed that the Kyrgyz events were definitely not a Russian counter coup. He extended immediate US recognition of the Interim regime of Roza Otunbayeva.

The question at this point is what role Kyrgyzstan will play in the high drama geopolitical chess game for control of Central Asia, and with it, control of the Eurasian Heartland as British geopolitician Halford Mackinder termed it. The key major actors outside Kyrgyzstan in this geopolitical high-stakes chess game across Central Asia are China, Russia, and the United States. In the next part we examine the geopolitical interest of China regarding fellow Shanghai Cooperation Organization member Kyrgyzstan.

F. William Engdahl is the author of Full Spectrum Dominance: Totalitarian Democracy in the New World Order


[1] RIA Novosti, Russia's Medvedev blames Kyrgyz authorities for unrests, says civil war risk high, April 14, 2010, accessed in http://en.rian.ru/exsoviet/20100414/158570646.html

[2] John C.K. Daly, op. cit.

[3] Leila Saralayeva, Kyrgyz opposition protests rising utility tariffs, AP, March 17, 2010, accessed in http://blog.taragana.com/politics/2010/03/17/thousands-of-kyrgyz-demonstrators-protest-utility-tariffs-hike-and-political-oppression-23948/

[4] RIA Novosti, Russia throws weight behind provisional Kyrgyz govt., April 8, 2010, accessed in http://en.rian.ru/exsoviet/20100408/158480874.html. Well-informed former Indian Ambasador, K. Gajendra Singh in an article published in Russia’s RIA Novosti also states that Putin had spoken with Otunbayeva twice since the protests began on April 7 and that she had also visited Moscow in January and March of this year. (K. G. Singh, Geopolitical battle in Kyrgyzstan over US military Lilypond in central Asia, Ria Novosti, 13 April 2010, accessed in http://en.rian.ru/valdai_foreign_media/20100413/158555369.html).

[5] RIA Novosti, Kyrgyz prime minister protests Russian media reporting of riots, April 7, 2010, accessed in http://en.rian.ru/world/20100407/158462398.html

[6] Richard Spencer, Quiet American behind tulip revolution, London, The Daily Telegraph, April 2, 2005, accessed in http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worldnews/asia/kyrgyzstan/1486983/Quiet-American-behind-tulip-revolution.html

[7] Philip Shishkin, In Putin's Backyard, Democracy Stirs -- With US Help, The Wall Street Journal, February 25, 2005.

[8] Kyrgyzstan National Security Service ‘source’, Specially for War and Peace.ru, April 10, 2010, translated from Russian for the author from www.warandpeace.ru/ru/news/view/46021/

[9] Report from Russian political blog War and Peace.Ru. accessed in www.warandpeace.ru/ru/news/view/46417/

[10] Centerra Gold website, Toronto, Canada, accessed in http://www.centerragold.com/about/management/

[11] David Gollust, US Urges Dialogue in Kyrgyzstan, 7 April, 2010, Voice of America, accessed in http://www1.voanews.com/english/news/US-Urges-Dialogue-in-Kyrgyzstan-90120737.html

[12] P.J. Crowley, comments to press regarding events in Kyrgyzstan, April 7, 2010, cited in John C.K. Daly, The Truth Behind the Recent Unrest in Kyrgyzstan, www.oilprice.com.

[13] AFP, US 'not taking sides' in Kyrgyzstan political turmoil, April 15, 2010, accessed in http://news.asiaone.com/News/AsiaOne%2BNews/World/Story/A1Story20100415-210389.html

[14] Hamsayeh.net, New Interim Kyrgyz Government to Shut Down the US Airbase at Manas, April 9, 2010, accessed in http://www.hamsayeh.net/hamsayehnet_iran-international%20news1114.htm

[15] Karasiwo, Nuclear deals and Kyrgyz fears – Medvedev in Washington, April 14, 2010, accessed in http://www.allvoices.com/contributed-news/5610284-nuclear-deals-and-kyrgyz-fears-medvedev-in-washington

[16] Maria Golovnina and Dmitry Solovyov, Kyrgyzstan’s new leaders say they had help from Russia, The Globe and Mail, Toronto, April 8, 2010, accessed in http://www.theglobeandmail.com/news/world/kyrgyzstans-new-leaders-say-they-had-help-from-russia/article1527239/

[17] Sreeram Chaulia, Democratisation, NGOs and ‘colour revolutions’, 19 January 2006 accessed in http://www.opendemocracy.net/globalization-institutions_government/colour_revolutions_3196.jsp

[18] BNO News, OSCE says Kyrgyzstan President Bakiyev’s departure is the result of joint efforts with Obama, Medvedev, April 15, 2010, accessed in http://www.thaindian.com/newsportal/world/osce-says-kyrgyzstan-president-bakiyevs-departure-is-the-result-of-joint-efforts-with-obama-medvedev_100348625.html

[19] Philip Crowley, Assistant Secretary of State, US Clinton Urges Peaceful Resolution of Kyrgyz Situation, 11 April, 2010, cited in RIA Novosti, accessed in http://en.rian.ru/world/20100411/158517788.html

[20] Donna Miles, Gates expresses confidence in continued Manas access, American Forces Press Service, April 14, 2010, accessed in http://www.af.mil/news/story.asp?id=123199625

Magda Hassan
06-11-2010, 12:57 PM
At least 23 people have been killed in clashes in Kyrgyzstan's second-largest city of Osh, officials say.
More than 300 people were injured when hundreds of youths fought in the streets of the southern city.
A state of emergency has been declared. Armoured vehicles are in the city and officials say calm had been restored.
However, local journalists say soldiers are not in control, and that a group of young men has attacked soldiers in the city and taken their weapons.
The interim government has been struggling to restore order after a violent uprising in April.
Continue reading the main story (http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/world/asia_pacific/10290717.stm#skip_feature_02)
The current situation demands self-restraint, wisdom and patience from all of us
Roza Otunbayeva Interim President In pictures: Kyrgyz unrest (http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/world/asia_pacific/10291359.stm)
Since then, there have been fears of an upsurge in violence between Kyrgyz and ethnic Uzbeks in the south.
Osh is home to a large ethnic Uzbek community, and is the power-base of the ousted President, Kurmanbek Bakiyev.
The leaders of Russia and China have appealed for calm.
The violence has also raised fears of a civil war in the country, where both Russia and the US have military bases.
Gun battles Interim President Roza Otunbayeva said that security forces had brought the situation under control but that the situation remained "tense".
She said those responsible for the violence were "trying to destabilise Kyrgyzstan and plunge it into fighting or conflicts".
She called on people to show restraint and "not yield to provocations".
http://news.bbcimg.co.uk/media/images/48047000/jpg/_48047446_009501071-1.jpg Officials say the shooting has stopped However, local reports suggest ongoing, sporadic violence.
According to local reports, fighting broke out between rival gangs and developed into gun battles late on Thursday.
Gangs of young men armed with metal bars and stones attacked shops and set cars alight in the city.
Firefighters tried to put out the fires, but angry youths reportedly threw stones to prevent them doing their job.
Residents say the shooting continued into Friday morning and that helicopters were flying low overhead.
A number of buildings, including cafes, a local TV channel and a theatre, were also said to be on fire.
Many of the injured were being treated for stabbing and gunshot wounds, health ministry spokeswoman Yelena Bailinova told the Associated Press news agency.
More than 40 were reported to be in a serious condition.
Ethnic tensions It is not clear who is behind the violence.
http://news.bbcimg.co.uk/media/images/48047000/gif/_48047173_kyrgyz_osh_june10.gif It appears that the majority of the properties belonged to ethnic Uzbeks.
In recent weeks, several incidents have prompted fears of inter-ethnic violence between Uzbeks and Kyrgyz.
The country's interior and defence ministers are reportedly travelling to the region.
Mr Bakiyev fled with his family to Belarus after clashes between government forces and protesters on 7 April, which left at least 85 people dead in the Central Asian state.
The violence was the culmination of months of discontent over rising prices and allegations of corruption in Kyrgyzstan, which had been regarded as one of the more progressive states in the region.
The interim government has promised to hold elections in October, after a constitutional referendum on reducing presidential powers.


Keith Millea
06-14-2010, 12:16 AM

Published on Sunday, June 13, 2010 by Reuters (http://www.reuters.com/article/idUSTRE65A02B20100613) Kyrgyzstan's Death Toll Rises to 84 as Ethnic Riots Spread

by Hulkar Isamova

Kyrgyzstan - The worst ethnic clashes in Kyrgyzstan in 20 years spread at the weekend with armed gangs stepping up attacks that have killed at least 84 people and the ousted president warning the country faced collapse.

http://www.commondreams.org/files/article_images/kryg.jpgServicemen drive armoured vehicles in the city of Osh in southern Kyrgyzstan June 11, 2010. At least 12 people were killed and 126 were wounded during the violence in southern Kyrgyzstan on Friday, the Health Ministry said. (Credit: REUTERS/Alexei Osokin)

Witnesses saw bodies lying on the streets of the Central Asian republic's second largest city Osh as houses and shops in an Uzbek neighborhood burned for a third day.

Snipers fired at ethnic Uzbeks fleeing for the nearby border with Uzbekistan in fighting that has spread to the city of Jalalabad and surrounding villages.

"God help us! They are killing Uzbeks like animals. Almost the whole city is in flames," Dilmurad Ishanov, an ethnic Uzbek human rights worker, told Reuters by telephone from Osh.

The interim government of Kyrgyzstan, an ex-Soviet republic hosting U.S. and Russian military bases, has granted shoot-to-kill powers to its security forces in response to the deadly riots between ethnic Uzbeks and Kyrgyz in the two southern cities.

The Interior Ministry said it had sent a volunteer force to the south because the situation in the Osh and Jalalabad regions -- strongholds of ousted president Kurmanbek Bakiyev -- remained "complex and tense."
Renewed turmoil in Kyrgyzstan has fueled concern in Russia, the United States and neighbor China. Washington uses an air base at Manas in the north of the country, about 300 km (190 miles) from Osh, to supply its forces in Afghanistan.

Pakistani Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi said he believed 15 Pakistani citizens had been taken hostage and one killed in Osh. About 1,200 Pakistanis, mostly students, live in Kyrgyzstan, though many have returned home for summer holidays.

The new upsurge in violence has resulted in almost as many deaths as the riots that accompanied the overthrow of Bakiyev in April. Interim government leader Roza Otunbayeva has accused supports of Bakiyev, who is exiled in Belarus, of stoking ethnic conflict.
Bakiyev issued a statement from Minsk describing claims he was behind the clashes as "shameless lies."

"The Kyrgyz republic is on the verge of losing its statehood. People are dying and no one from the current authorities is in a position to protect them," he said.

Supporters of Bakiyev briefly seized government buildings in the south on May 13, defying central authorities. The Otunbayeva government has only limited control over the south, which is separated from the northern capital Bishkek by mountains.

Kyrgyzstan appealed on Saturday for Russian help in quelling the riots, which the Health Ministry says have killed 84 people -- 75 in Osh and nine in Jalalabad -- and wounded 1,122.

Retired builder Habibullah Khurulayev, 69, said he was afraid to leave his apartment in the besieged district of Osh. Uzbeks armed with hunting rifles manned improvised barricades to keep out Kyrgyz gangs with automatic rifles, he said.

The gangs had attacked a hospital 600 meters from his home, while pleas by Uzbeks for a military escort to the border 10 km (6 miles) away had been ignored, he said.

"They are killing us with impunity," he said. "The police are doing nothing. They are helping them kill us ... There are not many of us left to shoot."
Ishanov said the fighting had spread into villages around Osh. In one settlement, smoke rose after prolonged gunfire.

In Jalalabad, gunmen shot at firefighters racing to a blaze at the Uzbek-run University of Friendship of Peoples, wounding a driver, Emergencies Ministry spokesman Sultan Mamatov said.

Russia has said it will not send in peacekeepers alone but would discuss the situation on Monday within a Moscow-led security bloc of former Soviet republics known as the Collective Security Treaty Organization (CSTO).

Russian President Dmitry Medvedev was following the situation closely and had discussed it with the leaders of Uzbekistan and Kazakhstan, the two powers bordering Kyrgyzstan, the Kremlin said.

Kyrgyzstan's interim defense minister Ismail Isakov renewed his government's appeal to Moscow on Sunday, saying Russian special forces could end the conflict quickly.

The latest clashes are the worst ethnic violence in southern Kyrgyzstan since 1990, when then-Kremlin leader Mikhail Gorbachev sent Soviet troops into Osh after hundreds of people were killed in a dispute that started over land ownership.

Kyrgyzstan and Uzbekistan intertwine in the Fergana Valley. While Uzbeks make up 14.5 percent of the Kyrgyz population, the two groups are roughly equal in the Osh and Jalalabad regions.

Residents of Osh fled to the border with Uzbekistan on Saturday, and thousands of women and children made it across. But Uzbekistan closed the border overnight and some people have been unable to cross, said Cholponbek Turuzbekov, deputy commander of the Kyrgyz border service.

(Additional reporting by Olga Dzyubenko in Bishkek, Andrei Makhovsky in Minsk, Conor Humphries in Moscow and Robin Paxton in Almaty, Writing by Robin Paxton; editing by Noah Barkin)

© 2010 Reuters

Magda Hassan
06-14-2010, 02:08 AM
Hulkar Isamova, Reuters June 14, 2010, 3:34 am

OSH, Kyrgyzstan (Reuters) - Russia sent hundreds of paratroopers to Kyrgyzstan on Sunday to protect its military facilities, Interfax reported, as ethnic clashes spread in the Central Asian state, bringing the death toll from days of fighting to 97.
Ethnic Uzbeks in a besieged neighborhood of Kyrgyzstan's second city Osh said gangs, aided by the military, were carrying out genocide, burning residents out of their homes and shooting them as they fled. Witnesses saw bodies lying on the streets.
Interfax news agency, citing a security source, said a battalion of Russian paratroopers had arrived in the country on Sunday to help protect Russian military facilities.
A Russian army battalion is usually around 400 men, but Interfax referred to a "reinforced battalion," which can include as many as 650 troops.
"The mission of the force that has landed is to reinforce the defense of Russian military facilities and ensure security of Russian military servicemen and their families," the source was quoted as saying.
Kyrgyz news website www.24.kg (http://www.24.kg/) cited a Kyrgyz defense ministry source as saying Russian troops had landed at Kant air base aboard three Russian IL-76 aircraft.
The interim government in Kyrgyzstan, which took power in April after a popular revolt toppled president Kurmanbek Bakiyev, has appealed for Russian help to quell the riots in the south. Bakiyev, exiled in Belarus, said Kyrgyzstan was on the verge of collapse.
"God help us! They are killing Uzbeks like animals. Almost the whole city is in flames," Dilmurad Ishanov, an ethnic Uzbek human rights worker, told Reuters by telephone from Osh.
Led by Roza Otunbayeva, the interim government has sent a volunteer force to the south and granted shoot-to-kill powers to its security forces in response to the deadly riots, which began in Osh late on Thursday before spreading to Jalalabad.
The Interior Ministry said the situation in the Osh and Jalalabad regions -- strongholds of Bakiyev and his family -- remained "complex and tense."
"Residents are calling us and saying soldiers are firing at them. There's an order to shoot the marauders, but they aren't shooting them," said ex-parliamentary deputy Alisher Sabirov, a peacekeeping volunteer in Osh.
Takhir Maksitov of human rights group Citizens Against Corruption said: "This is genocide."
Renewed turmoil in Kyrgyzstan has fueled concern in Russia, the United States and neighbor China. Washington uses an air base at Manas in the north of the country, about 300 km (190 miles) from Osh, to supply its forces in Afghanistan.
Pakistani Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi said he believed 15 Pakistani citizens had been taken hostage and one killed in Osh. About 1,200 Pakistanis, mostly students, live in Kyrgyzstan, though many have returned home for summer holidays.
The upsurge in violence has killed more people than the riots that accompanied the overthrow of Bakiyev. Otunbayeva, whose government has only limited control over the south, has accused supporters of Bakiyev of stoking ethnic conflict.
Bakiyev issued a statement from Minsk describing claims he was behind the clashes as "shameless lies."
"The Kyrgyz republic is on the verge of losing its statehood. People are dying and no one from the current authorities is in a position to protect them," he said.
Retired builder Habibullah Khurulayev, 69, said he was afraid to leave his apartment in the besieged district of Osh. Uzbeks armed with hunting rifles manned improvised barricades to keep out Kyrgyz gangs with automatic rifles, he said.
The gangs had attacked a hospital 600 meters from his home, while pleas by Uzbeks for a military escort to the border 10 km (6 miles) away had been ignored, he said.
"They are killing us with impunity," he said. "The police are doing nothing. They are helping them kill us ... There are not many of us left to shoot."
The Health Ministry said 97 people had been killed -- 83 in Osh and 14 in Jalalabad -- and 1,243 were wounded.
Ishanov said the fighting had spread into villages around Osh. In one settlement, smoke rose after prolonged gunfire.
"Kyrgyz groups are driving in and setting homes on fire. When the people run out, they shoot at them," Andrea Berg, Central Asia researcher at Human Rights Watch, said by telephone from Osh.
In Jalalabad, gunmen shot at firefighters racing to a blaze at the Uzbek-run University of Friendship of Peoples, wounding a driver, Emergencies Ministry spokesman Sultan Mamatov said.
Kyrgyzstan and Uzbekistan intertwine in the Fergana Valley. While Uzbeks make up 14.5 percent of the Kyrgyz population, the two groups are roughly equal in the Osh and Jalalabad regions.
The latest clashes are the worst ethnic violence in southern Kyrgyzstan since 1990, when then-Kremlin leader Mikhail Gorbachev sent Soviet troops into Osh after hundreds of people were killed in a dispute that started over land ownership.
Otunbayeva has asked Russia to send in troops. This appeal was renewed on Sunday by interim defense minister Ismail Isakov, who said Russian special forces could quickly end the conflict.
Russia has said it will not send in peacekeepers alone but would discuss the situation on Monday within a Moscow-led security bloc of former Soviet republics known as the Collective Security Treaty Organization (CSTO).
Russian President Dmitry Medvedev was following the situation closely and had discussed it with the leaders of Uzbekistan and Kazakhstan, the two powers bordering Kyrgyzstan, the Kremlin said.
Kazakhstan, which holds the rotating chair of the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE), Europe's main security and human rights watchdog, will send a special envoy to Kyrgyzstan, the Kazakh Foreign Ministry said.
Meanwhile, thousands of women and children have crossed the border into Uzbekistan. Cholponbek Turuzbekov, deputy commander of the Kyrgyz border service, said Uzbek authorities had since closed the border. Reports varied on the number of refugees.
The U.S. Embassy in Kyrgyzstan said in a statement it was in talks with the interim government on the supply of humanitarian aid, and called for "the immediate restoration of order."
Berg of Human Rights Watch said she understood thousands had fled. Some had crossed the border and others were massed on the Kyrgyz side, mainly women and children.
"The men stayed. They are either dead or in Osh, trying to protect the houses that haven't yet been set on fire."
(Additional reporting by Olga Dzyubenko in Bishkek, Andrei Makhovsky in Minsk, Robin Paxton in Almaty and Conor Humphries in Moscow; Writing by Robin Paxton; editing by Noah Barkin)

Magda Hassan
06-14-2010, 07:24 AM
Kyrgyz violence triggers Uzbek exodus
Sun, 13 Jun 2010 23:03:06 GMT

Font size : http://www.presstv.ir/images/icon/font_inc.gif (javascript:inc()) http://www.presstv.ir/images/icon/font_nor.gif (javascript:nor()) http://www.presstv.ir/images/icon/font_dec.gif (javascript:dec())
A burned-out Uzbek residence smolders after being torched by Kyrgyz men in Jalal-Abad, Kyrgyzstan, on Sunday.

Ethnic bloodshed in Kyrgyzstan has run amok for the forth successive day, forcing over 75,000 minority Uzbeks to flee across the border into Uzbekistan.

The rampage, which first began last Thursday between minority Uzbeks and ethnic Kyrgyz groups mainly in the southern city of Osh, remains unabated as reports on Monday indicate that Kyrgyz mobs have set fire to stores, houses and villages belonging to the Uzbeks and slaughtered those who attempted to flee.

The Thursday riots, which claimed more than 100 people lives and left over 1,100 injured, were the worst ethnic violence in Kyrgyzstan in two decades and the bloodiest since former President Kurmanbek Bakiyev was toppled in April .

In the wake of the unrest, thousands of Uzbeks have fled in panic to the nearby border with Uzbekistan after their homes were torched by roving mobs of Kyrgyz men, Associated Press reported, quoting several witnesses.

Most of the refugees were elderly people, women and children, and many had gunshot wounds, according to a statement issued by Uzbek Emergencies Ministry.

Thousands of machete-wielding youths indulged in looting Uzbek properties in south Kyrgyzstan's Jalal-Abad region on Sunday while police forces were seen on the defensive fearing the violence may thoroughly spiral out of control.

Meanwhile, Interim President Roza Otunbayeva accused Bakiyev`s family of being behind the unrest, saying the former president has conspired to disrupt a June 27 constitutional referendum and new elections due in October, an accusation that was flatly denied by Bakiyev, who currently lives in exile.

Earlier on Sunday, Russian security officials said a battalion of paratroopers have been deployed in the turmoil-hit country, home to US and Russian military facilities in the Central Asian region.

Magda Hassan
06-17-2010, 01:55 PM
Kyrgyzstan: Bloodstained Geopolitical Chessboard
Rick Rozoff

Events in a remote, landlocked and agrarian nation of slightly over five million people have become the center of world attention.

A week of violence which first erupted in Kyrgyzstan's second largest city, Osh, in the south of the country, has resulted in the deaths of at least 120 civilians and in over 1,700 being injured.

More than 100,000 ethnic Uzbeks have fled Osh and the nearby city of Jalal-Abad (Jalalabad) and three-quarters of those have reportedly crossed the border into Uzbekistan.

A report of June 14 estimated that 50,000 were stranded on the Kyrgyz side of the border without food, water and other necessities. [1]

Witnesses describe attacks by gangs of ethnic Kyrgyz against Uzbeks with reports of government armed forces siding with the assailants.

The following day the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) estimated that 275,000 people in total had fled the violence-torn area.

On June 14 the deputy head of the International Committee of the Red Cross in Osh, Severine Chappaz, was quoted as warning: "We are extremely concerned about the nature of the violence that is taking place and are getting reports of severe brutality, with an intent to kill and harm. The authorities are completely overwhelmed, as are the emergency services.

"The armed and security forces must do everything they can to protect the
vulnerable and ensure that hospitals, ambulances, medical staff and other
emergency services are not attacked." [2]

The government of neighboring Uzbekistan had registered 45,000 refugees by June 14, with an estimated 55,000 more on the way. United Nations representatives said that over 100,000 people had fled Kyrgyzstan, mainly ethnic Uzbeks to Uzbekistan, by June 15.

According to a news account of the preceding day, "Kyrgyz mobs burned Uzbek villages and slaughtered residents on Sunday, sending more than 75,000 Uzbeks fleeing across the border into Uzbekistan. Ethnic Uzbeks in a besieged neighbourhood of the Kyrgyz city of Osh said gangs, aided by the military, were carrying out genocide, burning residents out of their homes and shooting them as they fled." [3]

Accounts of hundreds of corpses in the streets and a hundred bodies buried in one unmarked grave have also surfaced.

The government of acting (unelected) president Roza Otunbayeva (the nation's first ambassador to the United States in the early 1990s) called up all reservists under 50 years of age and issued shoot-to-kill orders in the affected areas.

On June 13 Russia deployed a reinforced battalion of as many as 650 airborne troops to the Kant Air Base in Kyrgyzstan where Russian air force units have been stationed since 2003. (Russia had also sent 150 paratroopers to the base after April's overthrow of Otunbayeva's predecessor Kurmanbek Bakiyev.)

On June 15 two chartered planes repatriated 195 Chinese nationals from Kyrgyzstan, flying them into the adjoining Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region. By the following day almost 1,000 Chinese had been rescued.

India, Pakistan, Turkey and Russia also evacuated citizens from the nation.

Both the Collective Security Treaty Organization consisting of Russia, Kyrgyzstan and five other former Soviet republics and the Shanghai Cooperation Organization of China, Russia and all Central Asian nations except for Turkmenistan have addressed the Kyrgyz crisis.

This month's bloody rampages were an aftershock of those following the overthrow of President Bakiyev in early April [4], following which at least 80 people were killed and over 1,500 injured. At that time Russian President Dmitry Medvedev warned that "Kyrgyzstan is on the threshold of a civil war." [5]

The current violence in Kyrgyzstan, which may prove to be terminal for the 19-year-old Central Asian state, is a continuation and inevitable culmination of that of April. The latter in turn occurred five years after
the overthrow of the government of President Askar Akayev by a coalition of opposition forces led by Bakiyev, Otunbayeva and Felix Kulov, a coup that was widely celebrated in the West at the time as the high point of an inexorable wave of what were characterized as "color" and "rainbow" revolutions in the former Soviet Union and beyond.

Two months after the 2005 putsch in Kyrgyzstan, U.S. President George W. Bush was in the Georgian capital of Tbilisi where he crowed: "In recent months, the world has marvelled at the hopeful changes taking place from Baghdad to Beirut to Bishkek [the Kyrgyz capital]. But before there was a purple revolution in Iraq, or an orange revolution in Ukraine, a cedar revolution in Lebanon, there was a rose revolution in Georgia." [6]

Bush's statement, his transparent endorsement of the "color revolution" model of extending U.S. domination over former Soviet states and Middle Eastern nations, has been echoed by former U.S. national security advisor and self-ordained geostrategic chess master Zbigniew Brzezinski who was quoted by a Kyrgyz news source as saying, "I believe revolutions in Georgia, Ukraine and Kyrgyzstan were a sincere and snap expression of the political will.” [7]

The ringleaders of the 2005 violent, unconstitutional takeover in Kyrgyzstan divided up top government posts, with Bakiyev becoming president, Kulov prime minister and Otunbayeva acting foreign minister.

Regarding the "hopeful changes" that Bush and Brzezinski acclaimed, it is worth recalling that the only two elected presidents in the young nation's history are wanted men forced into exile. The "shock therapy" privatization of the nation's economy in the 1990s, as disruptive as it was abrupt, laid the groundwork for subsequent destabilization, but that buildings are flammable is no defense for an arsonist.

The Pentagon opened the Manas Air Base (also named the Ganci Air Base by the U.S.) near the Kyrgyz capital in December of 2001, two months after the invasion of Afghanistan to support military operations in that nation.

The base, since last summer called the Transit Center at Manas, has seen hundreds of thousands of U.S. and North Atlantic Treaty Organization combat troops pass through in the interim.

Washington's civilian hit man for the expanding war in South Asia, which is the largest and most deadly war in the world currently with hundreds of thousands of troops involved and millions of civilians displaced on both sides of the Afghanistan-Pakistan border, is Richard Holbrooke, appointed Special Representative for Afghanistan and Pakistan after the new administration was installed in Washington in January of last year.

This February he visited Kyrgyzstan and the three other former Soviet Central Asian republics it borders: Kazakhstan, Tajikistan and Uzbekistan. Shortly after returning to Washington, "Holbrooke said that the United States would soon renew an agreement to use the Manas airbase, where he said 35,000 US troops were transiting each month on their way in and out of Afghanistan." [8]

Afterward Major John Redfield of U.S. Central Command (CENTCOM) said that during the next month, this March, 50,000 American troops had passed through the Kyrgyz base to and from Afghanistan, and the new commander of U.S. operations at Manas with the 376th Air Expeditionary Wing, Colonel Dwight Sones, recently disclosed that "55,000 servicemen were airlifted to Afghanistan via Manas in May." [9]

That is, 20,000 more troops a month over a three-month period and at a rate of almost two-thirds of a million annually.

In February of 2009 Kyrgyzstan's parliament voted 78-1 to close the U.S. air base at Manas and President Kurmanbek Bakiyev signed a decree to do so.

The U.S. was given "180 days to withdraw some 1,200 personnel, aircraft and
other equipment." [10] The following month Kyrgyz deputies also voted to expel military personnel from Australia, Denmark, Italy, Spain, South Korea, the Netherlands, Norway, New Zealand, Poland, Turkey and France, all nations providing troops for NATO's International Assistance Security Force (ISAF) in Afghanistan.

Popular internal opposition to the presence of U.S. and NATO forces in the country had been mounting as the Afghan war dragged on interminably and especially after the killing of a Kyrgyz civilian, Alexander Ivanov, by an American soldier in December of 2006 and the dumping of 80 tons of fuel into the atmosphere by U.S. military planes the year before. Many Kyrgyz also fear that the use of the air base at Manas for an attack against Iran could pull their nation into a second and far more catastrophic armed conflict.

The situation was made worse in August of 2008 when "A major depot with weapons and ammunition" was "found in a private house in Bishkek rented by U.S. nationals in an operation by Kyrgyz police....According to law enforcement officers, six heavy machine guns, 26 Kalashnikov assault-rifles, almost 3,000 cartridges for them, two Winchester rifles, four machine gun barrels, two grenade launches, four sniper guns, six Beretta pistols, 10,000 cartridges for a nine-millimetre pistol, 478 12-millimetre cartridges, 1,000 tracer cartridges and 123 empty magazines were found there.

"Police said the house belonged to a Kyrgyz national, who had rented it to US nationals.

"They also said there were several staffers of the U.S. Embassy to Kyrgyzstan having diplomatic immunity, as well as ten U.S. military in the house during the search." [11]

The U.S. claimed it had government permission to store the above-described arsenal in a private residence.

Last year Russia negotiated an extension of its military presence at the Kant Air Base for 49 years and offered the Kyrgyz government a $2 billion loan.

In June of 2009 the outgoing U.S. commander at Manas, Colonel Christopher Bence, "said the facility had started to wind down operations" and "has started to shut down and will close by mid-August." [12] He added "that over the past year alone 189,000 troops from 20 countries had moved to and out of Afghanistan via the Manas base" [13] and that "we have started shipping equipment and supplies to other locations and those shipments should be finished by August 18." [14] (Recall that 55,000 Western troops passed through the base last month alone.)

However, earlier in the month President Barack Obama sent a personal appeal to his Kyrgyz counterpart urging him to reverse the decision to expel U.S. military personnel, some 1,300 permanently assigned to the base, and "Kyrgyzstan showed more flexibility on the matter after receiving the letter...." [15]

On July 2 President Bakiyev signed an agreement to extend U.S. military presence at Manas after Washington offered $180 million a year for the use of the base, thereafter referred to as a transit center. "Rent for the land is $60 million as compared to $17.4 million Kyrgyzstan received for hosting the airbase." [16] In early August U.S. Defense Secretary Robert Gates sent a letter to President Bakiyev commending him for overriding the near-unanimous decision by his country's parliament, including his own party's deputies, to close down Pentagon operations, instead simply renaming the Manas Air Base while activity there was scheduled to increase.

A Russian report on the transition, a change more formal than substantive, said that "Many experts on Central Asian politics speculated that Bishkek was simply angling for more money and was not intending to close the base." [17]

It is in part a struggle over the $180 million in U.S. funds as well as the $2 billion in Russian aid pledged in February of last year that precipitated April's phase two of the so-called Tulip Revolution.

Complementing the new arrangement with the Pentagon, last December Kyrgyzstan authorized the establishment of a NATO representative office in its capital. A spokesman for the nation's parliament said at the time, "Until recently, the NATO representative office was located in the city of Astana, Kazakhstan." Kyrgyz Defense Minister Bakyt Kalyev stated: "NATO recently started to pay special attention to Central Asia in light of the deteriorating situation in Afghanistan.

"The relocation of NATO's official to the territory of Kyrgyzstan will proceed as part of the Partnership for Peace Program. One of the key reasons behind the transfer of the office from Astana to Bishkek is the fact that the territory of the republic houses the International Transit Center." [18]

Richard Holbrooke met with the Kyrgyz president this February to solidify plans for the Manas base.

This March it was announced that the Pentagon is to set up a "counter-terrorism" special forces training base in Kyrgyzstan.

General David Petraeus, chief of U.S. Central Command, visited Kyrgyzstan and met with its president in March. "The visit [came] a day after US diplomats confirmed Washington would provide US$5.5 million to the Kyrgyz government toward the construction of a counter-terrorism training center in southern Kyrgyzstan." [19]

The day after this April's uprising began a Pentagon spokesman said of the operations at Manas that "Our support to Afghanistan continues and has not been seriously affected, and we are hopeful that we will be able to resume full operations soon." [20]

A week later the government of then interim prime minister Roza Otunbayeva extended the lease for the Manas base another year. The next month a record number of Western troops passed through Kyrgyzstan in support of the war in Afghanistan.

On June 10 Robert Simmons, NATO's Special Representative for the Caucasus and Central Asia, arrived in the Kyrgyz capital to further military cooperation with the new regime. "Simmons visits Kyrgyzstan each time the existence of the Transit Center at Manas, called Manas Air Base until 2009, is threatened. The high-ranking diplomat's first visit to Bishkek took place in May 2005.

"Then, Washington was concerned about the base's future after the March 2005 Tulip Revolution in Kyrgyzstan that overthrew President Askar Akayev. Simmons paid another visit to the republic in February 2009, or two weeks before President Kurmanbek Bakiyev announced his intention to close the base. This time, Simmons met with Roza Otunbayeva, head of the Kyrgyz interim government, and acting Finance Minister Temir Sariyev, who is responsible for budget income." [21]

In addition, "Kyrgyz media say Washington has paid $15 million in first-quarter lease payments ahead of schedule and promises to transfer the second tranche to the cash-strapped Kyrgyz budget soon." [22]

On June 8 EurasiaNet, "operated by the Central Eurasia Project of the Open Society Institute," [23] ran a feature entitled "Pentagon Looks to Plant New Facilities in Central Asia," which included these excerpts:

"The Pentagon is preparing to embark on a mini-building boom in Central Asia. A recently posted sources-sought survey indicates the US military wants to be involved in strategic construction projects in all five Central Asian states, including Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan.

"According to the notice posted on the Federal Business Opportunities (FBO) website in mid-May, the US Army Corps of Engineers wants to hear from respondents interested in participating in 'large-scale ground-up design-build construction projects in the following Central South Asian States (CASA): Kazakhstan; Kyrgyzstan; Tajikistan; Turkmenistan; and Uzbekistan.'

“'We anticipate two different projects in Kyrgyzstan. Both are estimated to be in the $5 million to $10 million dollar range.'” [24]

On June 14 Pentagon spokesman Colonel David Lapan told CNN that "the refueling and troop transport operations at the U.S. transit base in Manas, Kyrgyzstan, continue 'unabated' by ethnic riots in the southern part of the country....Refueling operations had been halted while the United States negotiated new fuel contracts with the interim government...but late last week refueling started again." [25]

An analysis recently appeared on the website of the German international radio broadcaster Deutsche Welle which provided insightful background information regarding the current crisis in Kyrgyzstan:

"Bakiyev's installation as president in 2005 with US backing may have provided Washington with a friendly government with whom to do business with but it also gave the US a significant foothold in a country that some strategists believe is paramount to its plans for regional dominance."

"The inclusion of Kyrgyzstan and three other central Asian states in NATO's
Partnership for Peace program in 1994 was seen as a major step toward increasing US military presence in the region which eventually led to the US base at Manas, outside Bishkek in the north, being established."

"While Manas remains a key hub for US operations in Afghanistan, it is also used as a NATO base - a situation which angers and concerns Russia which fears the eastern enlargement of its former Cold War opponent, putting Kyrgyzstan at the center of a power struggle for regional influence....Russia is also concerned about the possibility of being encircled by NATO member states should the alliance go ahead with its provocative eastern enlargement."

"The Chinese see increasing US influence as not only a threat to its plans for Eurasia, which along with promoting its emerging market policy also includes energy security and supply, but also a threat to the People's Republic itself....Beijing [is] more concerned that the porous nature of the border is allowing US intelligence agencies to run covert destabilizing operations into the strategically vital and politically fragile [Xinjiang] province. Beijing believes the flow of people across the border gives US operations a perfect cover." [26]

Small and seemingly insignificant Kyrgyzstan is the country most vital to U.S. and NATO for the reinforcement and escalation of the war in Afghanistan, even more than Pakistan where NATO supply convoys are routinely attacked and destroyed.

The transit center in the country is the only base the Pentagon has in Central Asia after it was evicted from the Karshi-Khanabad Air Base in Uzbekistan five years ago.

Kyrgyzstan is Washington's military outpost in a region where the interests of several major nations - Russia, China, India, Pakistan and Iran among them - converge. U.S. stratagems in the nation, whether attempts at the maintenance of a permanent military presence or rotating governments through the use of standard "regime change" maneuvers, will have consequences far more serious than what the status of the diminutive and impoverished Central Asian nation may otherwise indicate.

1) Itar-Tass, June 14, 2010
2) UzReport, June 14, 2010
3) Daily Times (Pakistan)/Agencies, June 14, 2010
4) Kyrgyzstan And The Battle For Central Asia
Stop NATO, April 7, 2010
5) Russian Information Agency Novosti, April 14, 2010
6) Agence France-Presse, May 11, 2005
7) 24.kg, March 27, 2008
8) Agence France-Presse, March 4, 2010
9) Interfax, June 15, 2010
10) Russian Information Agency Novosti, February 20, 2009
11) Itar-Tass, March 6, 2009
12) Reuters, June 15, 2009
13) Voice of Russia, June 17, 2009
14) Stars and Stripes, June 16, 2009
15) Reuters, June 11, 2009
16) Russia Today, June 23, 2009
17) Ibid
18) Interfax, December 29, 2009
19) Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty, March 10, 2010
20) U.S. Air Forces in Europe
American Forces Press Service
April 8, 2010
21) Nezavisimaya Gazeta, June 15, 2010
22) Ibid
23) http://www.eurasianet.org/node/14733
24) EurasiaNet, June 8, 2010
25) CNN, June 14, 2010
26) Nick Amies, Kyrgyzstan unrest adds new edge to global powers' regional
Deutsche Welle, June 14, 2010

Keith Millea
06-17-2010, 03:23 PM
The inclusion of Kyrgyzstan and three other central Asian states in NATO's
Partnership for Peace program in 1994 was seen as a major step toward increasing US military presence in the region which eventually led to the US base at Manas, outside Bishkek in the north, being established."

Well,I'd say that's pretty good Orwellian speak.

Jan Klimkowski
06-17-2010, 06:08 PM
More geopolitics playing out, although I suspect it's more complicated than the headline....

Kyrgyzstan threatens to shut US base unless ex-president's son is extradited

Leadership steps up pressure on Britain to hand over Maxim Bakiyev, who is accused of organising violence against Uzbeks

guardian.co.uk, Thursday 17 June 2010 17.48 BST

A senior Kyrgyz official today warned that the interim government would consider shutting a strategic US airbase if Britain refused to hand over the son of the country's ousted president.

The Kyrgyz government believes Maxim Bakiyev, arrested at Farnborough airport on Sunday, helped organise the violence ravaging the country's south.

Kyrgyzstan's deputy leader of the provisional government, Azimbek Beknazarov, said: "England never gives up people who arrive on its territory. But since England and the US fight terrorism and the arrangement with the airbase is one of the elements of that fight, then they must give over Maxim Bakiyev."

Bakiyev, son of the deposed Kyrgyz president Kurmanbek Bakiyev, was arrested by immigration officials on Sunday after flying into Britain on a private jet. An arrest warrant had been issued by Interpol on charges of money laundering. He has reportedly sought asylum.

The interim Kyrgyz government believes Bakiyev Jr, one of Kyrgyzstan's wealthiest men, financed the unrest that led to the slaughter of hundreds of ethnic Uzbeks and the displacement of some 400,000. In an unverified telephone recording released in May, a month after his father's government was overthrown, Bakiyev Jr is allegedly heard plotting to stir unrest to bring his family back to power. The elder Bakiyev, who has fled to Belarus, has denied any role in the violence.

The US is concerned the new government could seek to shut the airbase it rents at Manas, its main transit hub for troops and equipment destined for Afghanistan. Resupply flights have not been stopped despite the violence in the south, and Washington has distributed millions of pounds in humanitarian aid through the base since the unrest began.

Analysts have dismissed Beknazorov's threat to shut the base. "It seems like his personal initiative," said Fyodor Lukyanov, editor-in-chief of Russia in Global Affairs. "It's total stupidity."

Moscow hopes to see the base shut, eager to maintain a hold over what it sees as its backyard. At the same time, it has denied repeated requests to send peacekeepers to Kyrgyzstan.