View Full Version : Kyrgyzstan moves to shut US base

David Guyatt
02-04-2009, 11:39 AM
Or should we read this caption as:

"Kyrgyzstan demands more money for hosting US base from newly elected President Obama"


Kyrgyzstan moves to shut US base
Kyrgyzstan's government has submitted a decree to parliament for the closure of a key US air base in the Central Asian state, Kyrgyz officials say.

The move was prompted by popular disapproval of the base, government spokesman Aibek Sultangaziyev said.

US officials say they have received no notification of the closure, and are talking to the Kyrgyz government.

The air base supports US and Nato operations in Afghanistan and is the only US base in Central Asia.

Its closure would be a major blow for those operations, the BBC's Richard Galpin in Moscow says.

The announcement comes at a critical moment, just as the new administration of US President Barack Obama plans a sharp increase in the number of American troops in Afghanistan.

For Russia, on the other hand, it is a significant diplomatic victory as it seeks to reassert its influence in all former Soviet republics and beyond, our correspondent says.

Decree submitted

"A draft decree on terminating the agreement on the US airbase has been sent to parliament," said Aibek Sultangaziyev.

"It is up to parliament now to decide when to hold discussions on this."

The spokesman told the BBC that the United States would have six months to close down operations after the measure was approved.

The move follows a statement by President Kurmanbek Bakiyev that the Manas air base would close.

President Bakiyev made his announcement on Tuesday in Moscow, where he was promised more than $2bn (£1.4bn) in Russian aid.

He said the Manas base - set up in 2001 to assist the US military operation against al-Qaeda and the Taleban in Afghanistan - was only meant to be open for two years at the most.

But perhaps more importantly, he made it clear the Americans had not been willing to pay what Bishkek regards as the right price to keep the base open, our correspondent says.

The Russian government has stepped in with a huge financial package for Kyrgyzstan - $2bn in loans and another $150m in aid.

US officials appear not to have known about Mr Bakiyev's decision, with a US embassy spokesman telling reporters on Wednesday: "The embassy does not know anything about this at the moment."

In a statement, the embassy said: "We have been in discussions with Kyrgyz authorities on the future of Manas air base. These discussions will continue."

Meanwhile, Colonel Greg Julian, US spokesman in Afghanistan, told the Associated Press that Mr Bakiyev's statement was "political positioning".

Last month, the top US military commander for the Middle East and Central Asia, Gen David Petraeus, held talks in Bishkek about the future of Manas.

He said afterwards that the closure of the base had not been discussed.

Jan Klimkowski
02-04-2009, 07:26 PM
Gotta love an old-fashioned geopolitical hustle.... :call:

Magda Hassan
02-05-2009, 01:10 AM
Gotta love an old-fashioned geopolitical hustle.... :call:Yep. Russia got the lovely photo op of the signing of the new arrangement too.

Apparently the US had only paid for the first two years or so and said it wasn't going to be permanent anyway. Kyrgyzstan has been trying to clarify what is going on and is still waiting for the back rent. Last year sometime around the Olympics and Georgia's invasion of Sth Ossetia the local Kyrgyzstan police and military raided a house that was meant to be a residence for some US military personnel but they also found much hardware there that wasn't meant to be there as well as some unaccounted for US personnel. Sounds like the US hasn't been playing by the rules ( I am shocked!) And why should Kyrgyzstan take any more dodgy US treasury bills. I know I wouldn't under the current circumstances.

I suspect the US was biding its time waiting to see if it was going to be a US base or a NATO base. Looks like they waited too long. Now it's Russian.

David Guyatt
02-05-2009, 10:18 AM
It reminds so much of the massive military infrastructure the US built in South Vietnam during the war there. Billions spent on the Cam Ranh Bay naval base to make it the finest and most well equipped deep-water port in the region. It was later let to the Russians.

But hey, the fun and money is in the building of it, not keeping it in play, right.

Magda Hassan
02-05-2009, 11:17 AM
I'd quite forgotten about that. And, yes, of course, the money is in the building of them again and again and again. 760 of them and counting.

Richard Welser
02-07-2009, 01:00 AM
Watch the unfolding of Zbigniew Brzezinski's / Obama strategy in Central Asia. The following is a very nice analysis.

The Empire appears to be meeting its match in the 'Stans' as played by Medvedev and Putin. THEY don't have goals of world dom. The U.S. Hegemon does. Screw the Empire. Screw ANY Empire. So it is only reasonable that the CSTO and also (not mentioned in this article) the SCO begin to counter the strategic aims of the Empire.

I pledged allegiance to the Republic .. as a kid. I still do. I am an enemy of the Empire.


p.s. I italicized a section in the last paragraph... read it and think about what it entails...... The American Hegemon will have to share power and authority .... and perceptions .... because it won't be able to get the machinery of war any other way... if... in the end... it even does at all.... Check. but is it checkmate ... only Brzezinski's and Obama's behavior will tell......

Moscow Reacts to US Buildup in Afghanistan
by F. William Engdahl

Global Research, February 5, 2009

Moscow has correctly assessed that the announced Obama troop buildup in Afghanistan has no relevance to the stated aim of combatting the ‘Taliban’, but rather with a new attempt by the Pentagon strategists to encircle both Russia and China on Eurasia in order to retain US global military dominance. It is not waiting for a new policy from Washington. Rather Russia is acting to secure its perimeter in Central Asia through a series of calculated geopolitical moves reminiscent of the famous Great Game of more than a Century ago. The stakes in this geopolitical power game could not be higher—the issue of world war or peace in the coming decade.

Secretary of Defense Robert Gates and Joint Chiefs of Staff chairman Admiral Mike Mullen are asking Obama to double US troop presence in Afghanistan. Both Gates and Mullen said that while they're thinking about the war in Afghanistan in terms of a 3-5 year time frame, their immediate goals are ‘unclear.’ That’s highly revealing. It is clear from the deliberate pattern over months, despite vehement protest from Pakistan’s government, of US bombing attacks on villages inside Pakistan, allegedly to hit Taliban targets, that the US intends to widen the conflict to Pakistan as well. What could be the possible aim?

Militarily, adding 30,000 more US troops to Afghanistan could never secure peace in that wartorn tribal region. It has been documented that many of the groups whom the US Command labels ‘Taliban’ are in fact armed bands controlled by local warlords, and not ideologically close-knit Taliban cadre in any sense. By labelling them Taliban, Washington hopes to convince its NATO allies such as Germany to send their troops to fight in an unwinnable war. Afghanistan presently has an estimated 40% unemployment and some five million living below the poverty line. It has been ravaged by more than four decades of continuous war.

Adding a mere 30,000 more for a total of 60,000 US troops in Afghanistan where the current killing rate for US soldiers is running fifteen times above that in Iraq, is ludicrous. According to the official US Marine Corps counterinsurgency guidelines, to run a country-wide counterinsurgency strategy with the absolute minimum force levels required by US Army and Marine Corps doctrine, the US would need almost 655,000 troops, or an escalation roughly 600,000 troops higher than the force levels in the proposed Gates strategy. In fact the US strategy as it now appears seems to be a replay of the gradual escalation strategy the US pursued in Vietnam in the early 1960’s.

Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, whose foreign policy guidance, as that of her husband, is virtually indistinguishable from the Bush faction’s, has just convened a dinner discussion of leading policy experts on Afghanistan and South Asia. It included Defense Secretary Gates, CENTCOM commander Gen. David Petraeus, and National Security advisor Gen. James L. Jones. It follows the appointment of former Ambassador and hawk, Richard Holbrooke as the State Department's Special South Asia Envoy.

In January 2008, more than a year ago, present National Security adviser to Obama, General James Jones headed a private Afghan Study Group which recommended drastic steps to ‘revitalize’ the war in Afghanistan. Revitalize a war whose goals have not even been clearly formulated? Not surprisingly, Moscow suspects another agenda is at work when Washington puts such heavy concentration strategically on the issue of the forgotten war on terror in Afghanistan, a region with no discernable direct national security implications for the United States or NATO member countries. No conceivable combination in Afghanistan, a failed state if there ever was one, could tnreaten a war of aggression abroad. The tribal warlords around President Karzai seem to be struggling just to maintain their heroin export flows at record levels.

Moscow’s response

Not surpisingly, the Kremlin has reacted to the US plans for Central Asia.. The president of Kyrgyzstan just flew to Moscow where he received promises of debt relief and billions of dollars in aid. Bakiyev was told he would get a write off Kyrgyzstan's $180 million debt to Russia, a $2 billion discounted loan and $150 million in financial aid from Russia. On the occasion, President Kurmanbek Bakiyev announced plans to close a US air base crucial to the war in Afghanistan. Kyrgyzstan has been home to the only remaining US base in the strategically crucial region to Afghanistan's north.

After the Bush Administration declared its War on Terror and announced plans to strike Afghanistan to root out the arch evil Osama bin Laden from the caves of Tora Bora in 2001, Washington secured air force basing rights in both Uzbekistan and Kyrgyzstan.

At about that same time, they covertly began preparing to unleash a series of US-financed ‘regime change’ Color Revolutions in Georgia (The Rose Revolution, in November 2003) and Ukraine (Orange Revolution in 2004). It tried and failed in Belarus as well as Uzbekistan. A glance at a map of Eurasia makes clear the pattern of those pro-NATO efforts was to militarily encircle the territory of Russia, especially as at the time Washington believed it had the government of Kazakhstan in its pocket with military training agreements and Chevron’s large oil investment in Tenghiz.

Once Washington announced in January 2007 that it would station strategic missiles and advanced rarad systems in Poland and the Czech Republic to ‘defend against rogue missile attack from Iran,’ as I detail in my soon-to-be-released book, Full Spectrum Dominance: Totalitarian Democracy in the New World Order, then-President Putin told the Munich Wehrkunde conference in February 2007 that the true target of the US ‘missile defense’ strategy was not Iran but Russia.

Similarly, today the US insistence Afghanistan military buildup is about Taliban, rings equally hollow. That’s clearly why Moscow is acting to secure its borders from a US militarization of the entire Central Asian region. Oil and gas pipeline routes are a major consideration, including US wishes to build a natural gas pipeline from Turkmenistan to India that would deprive Russia’s Gazprom of a vital component of its current gas supply.

The prime objective of the Afghan escalation however, is to draw a new ‘iron curtain,’ this one between the two formidable Eurasian powers with the only capacity to challenge future US global dominance: Russia and China. Should the two former rivals firm their cooperation not only in raw materials and industrial economic trade, but as well in the military cooperation sphere, as Obama campaign foreign policy adviser Zbigniew Brzezinski has stated, the combination would present a devastating threat to America’s global hegemony.

Now the decision, aided with the help of generous Russian financial concessions, to abruptly cancel US Air Force landing rights at Kyrgyzstan’s Manas Air Base, deals a devastating blow to US Great Game grand strategy to encircle the key powers of Eurasia—China and Russia.

When Washington tried to use its various NGO’s to foment a Color Revolution in Uzbekistan in 2005, the country’s not-so-democratic President, Islam Karimov, demanded the US evacuate its air bases, repatriate US Peace Corps volunteers, and most NGOs were shut down and foreign media banned. Karimov moved to firm his frayed ties with Moscow at the time. Today Washington is reported to be feverishly trying to re-establish itself in Uzbekistan, but the sudden cancellation of base rights in Kyrgyzstan deals a new devastating blow to the entire Eurasian encirclement Great Game strategy.

With the major NATO supply routes to Afghanistan going through Pakistan from the Port Karachi, and strikes on those supply lines increasing by the day, the Pentagon is eagerly searching to find alternative supply routes to the North. Militants just blew up a key bridge in Pakistan's strategic Khyber Pass.

The securing of alternate Afghan supply routes is at least the official explanation. Unofficially, it would also provide the pretext to beef up US military presence in Central Asia. Now, with loss of Manas Air Base, a gaping hole in the Washington Great Game ‘Mach IV’ has been left.

To further complicate Washington’s strategy, Moscow is moving to firm defense cooperation ties across former Communist states in Central Asia.

A Central Asia Answer to NATO?
The announcement by Kyrgzystan President Bakiyev that he was cancelling US basing rights came during his visit to Moscow February 4 for a summit meeting of the formerly moribund Collective Security Treaty Organization (CSTO), a security grouping comprising Armenia, Belarus, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Russia, Uzbekistan and Tajikistan. They reportedly agreed to set up a collective rapid reaction force to ‘counter military aggression, international terrorism, extremism, crime, drug-trafficking and deal with emergency situations.’ Clearly the US plans for a major military buildup in Afghanistan were high on the agenda as well.
The CSTO was established in 1992 to serve as a basis for maintaining some dialogue between Moscow and her former Soviet republics after their declared independence, Russia’s so-called ‘near abroad.’
Today the level of talks is taking on a quite new seriousness as US encirclement operations clearly are seen as a threat to all the Central Asian republics. The CSTO lists its major security ‘threats’ as Pakistan and Afghanistan. The decision to create a truly collective force with a permanent location and a united command would propel the alliance to a new level.
Russian President Medvedev announced the decision to form the collective regional CSTO Rapid Reaction Force: ‘I would like to emphasise the importance of this decision to establish rapid reaction forces. It’s aimed at strengthening the military capacity of our organisation.’ He claimed the new response units would ‘not be less powerful than those of NATO,’ adding that ‘the reason behind the creation of the collective forces of operative functioning is a considerable conflict potential which is accumulating in the CSTO zone.’ Translated from the Russian, that means the US strategic buildup in and around Pakistan and Afghanistan.
At the same time as it hosted the CSTO summit, Russia hosted a meeting of the so-called Eurasian Economic Community in Moscow, EurAsEC. That group consists of Belarus, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Russia and Tajikistan as full members. EurAsEC, established in 2000, also involves Armenia, Moldova, and Ukraine which hold observer status.

They discussed establishing a $10 billion joint assistance fund to deal with effects of the global economic crisis, as well as establishing an international hi-tech technology exchange center and implementing various innovative projects in member countries.

Russian President Dmitry Medvedev has captured the vulnerability of Washington’s exposed hypocrisy in Afghanistan when he told the press after the Moscow summit, ‘We are ready for full-fledged and equal cooperation on security in Afghanistan, including with the United States.’ That of course is the last thing the Pentagon strategists wish to hear.

* F. William Engdahl is author of A Century of War: Anglo-American Oil Politics and the New World Order (Pluto Press) and Seeds of Destruction: The Hidden Agenda of Genetic Manipulation (www.globalresearch.ca ). His new book, Full Spectrum Dominance: Totalitarian Democracy in the New World Order (Third Millennium Press) is doe for release in late Spring 2009. He may be reached via his website: www.engdahl.oilgeopolitics.net .

Richard Welser
02-07-2009, 03:01 AM
I should have read more thoroughly above. It appears everybody already knew all of this... Oh well. Engdahl does say it well, though.....

David Guyatt
02-07-2009, 10:17 AM
Engdahl does say it well Richard. I particularly liked his para as follows:

The prime objective of the Afghan escalation however, is to draw a new ‘iron curtain,’ this one between the two formidable Eurasian powers with the only capacity to challenge future US global dominance: Russia and China. Should the two former rivals firm their cooperation not only in raw materials and industrial economic trade, but as well in the military cooperation sphere, as Obama campaign foreign policy adviser Zbigniew Brzezinski has stated, the combination would present a devastating threat to America’s global hegemony.

Says it all, I think.

Magda Hassan
02-07-2009, 10:22 AM
Remember too that last year Russia bought upfront all of Tajikstan's energy out put for the next 50 years or so. It all belongs to Russia.

Jan Klimkowski
02-07-2009, 01:13 PM
I too strongly suspect that Zbigniew Brzezinski and the Trilat's nonsensical Great Game is back driving the agenda.

After all, it was primarily the Neocons and Mossad who wanted to bomb Iran back to the Stone Age.

Now, Richard (Colin Powell's "white son") Armitage's threat to bomb Pakistan back to the Stone Age may well provide engaging dinner party chitchat for Hillary, Gates, Petraeus, Jones, Holbrooke et al.


The wildcard is which Russians are playing? Putin's mob - including, probably, Gazprom? The meta-group Peter Dale Scott has researched so splendidly?

David Guyatt
02-07-2009, 01:59 PM
The wildcard is which Russians are playing? Putin's mob - including, probably, Gazprom? The meta-group Peter Dale Scott has researched so splendidly?

You do get the impression that "international relations" are a polite veneer description for which bunch of criminal bastards get their pudgy hands on piggy bank first...

David Guyatt
02-19-2009, 02:49 PM
Seems the US Sino-Soviet containment strategy is not faring as well as expected.


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

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

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

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

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

Transport hub

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Alternative routes

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

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

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

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

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

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

There are other options too.


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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

Arab states

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

1. Manas airbase : the only US base in Central Asia, a vital transit point for Nato and US operations. Kyrgyz government wants it closed
2. Karshi-Khanabad airbase: US forces were ordered out in 2005. Uzbekistan may agree to allow it to be used for non-military transports
3. Bridge over Panj river: part-funded by the US, it was completed in 2007. May serve as another supply route into Afghanistan
4. Khyber Pass: most supplies to US and Nato troops come through Pakistan. Increasing number of attacks in the area mean the US army is looking for back-up routes
Story from BBC NEWS:

Magda Hassan
05-22-2013, 04:52 AM
Kyrgyzstan "Cancels" U.S. Air Base Lease; Washington Not Giving Up

May 21, 2013 - 11:30am, by Joshua Kucera
(http://www.eurasianet.org/taxonomy/term/1725)Kyrgyzstan's government has declared that it is canceling the current agreement that it has with the U.S. on the Manas air base the Americans operate in that country. But it's not clear, given that the agreement is scheduled to expire next year anyway, what import the announcement has, and it is probably of greater political than legal significance. And the U.S. State Department reiterates that it isn't giving up yet.
On its website (http://www.gov.kg/?p=22351), the Kyrgyzstan government announced that as of July 11, 2014, the agreement it has with the U.S. will be "repudiated." But that's when theagreement (http://photos.state.gov/libraries/kyrgyzrepulic/231771/PDFs_001/TC Agreement_002.pdf), reached in 2009 for a five-year period, expires.
Kyrgyzstan's president, Almazbek Atambayev, consistently says that he wants the U.S. to leave Manas in 2014. He said that (http://www.knews.kg/politics/32059_almazbek_atambaev_po_vyivodu_tstp_iz_aeropor ta_manas_parlamentu_ostalos_tolko_prinyat_zakon/) again today, explaining that "the government has already made its decision and confirmed legislation about the end of the term of the agreement...All that's left is for the parliament to accept this law... I am deeply convinced a civilian airport should not have a military base."
Whether this is his final decision or a bargaining point is anyone's guess. The U.S. clearly hopes to extend its presence beyond July of 2014, and in a statement to The Bug Pit, a State Department spokesperson downplayed Bishkek's announcement. "Our understanding is this text is a draft of a possible law. Therefore, I’m not going to speculate on hypothetical next steps," the official said. "This does not change our existing agreements or timeline with the Kyrgyz Government." The U.S. "remains in close contact" with Kyrgyzstan, the official added.
But there may be a political subtext to the announcement. Some top regional experts, including Alex Cooley, Erica Marat and Nate Schenkken had an interesting back-and-forth (https://twitter.com/Ericamarat/status/336833618129350656) about this on twitter. Marat noted that based on her contacts with Kyrgyzstan members of parliament, she believes the "renunciation" won't make it through the parliament. That could give Atambayev political cover should the U.S. convince him to allow the base to stay.
Another possible explanation is that this is a message intended for Russian consumption. And indeed, Russian President Vladimir Putin is traveling next week to Bishkek (http://kg.akipress.org/news:575145) for a summit of the Collective Security Treaty Organization, where Manas will certainly be on the agenda.
And if we want to wade further into conspiratorial territory, we may note that it was just last week (http://eurasianet.org/node/66958) that the U.S. quietly dropped securities fraud charges against former first son Maxim Bakiyev, angering many in Bishkek.
And, of course, there was the crash of the refueling tanker, which inevitably began to havepolitical ramifications (http://eurasianet.org/node/66935) as controversy emerged over whether the U.S. or Kyrgyzstan had jurisdiction over the investigation of the crash. In a reflective essay (http://www.manas.afcent.af.mil/news/story.asp?id=123348330) on the Manas website about how airmen at the base have dealt with the crash, a couple of officer allude to this friction:
Our local translators, with their calm passion, helped us through intense negotiations on site while representatives from two nations felt out their roles, responsibilities, and authorities in a challenging and emotional crisis. They did so by not only bridging the language barrier and cultural divide, but by communicating the depth of conviction in our words.

Was any of this a factor in this most recent announcement? The only thing that is certain is that this will keep all of us guessing for the next year, and probably beyond.

David Guyatt
05-22-2013, 09:43 AM
Whether this is his final decision or a bargaining point is anyone's guess.

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

A large deposit in an untraceable offshore account may soothe his dissent, I suppose.

Magda Hassan
06-04-2013, 05:59 AM
Putin goes to Kyrgyzstan to solve the fate of Afghan drug trafficking 28.05.2013

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

Magda Hassan
10-19-2013, 12:18 AM
Cashing Out: U.S. Military Quits Critical Air Base After $100 Million in Payoffs (http://killerapps.foreignpolicy.com/posts/2013/10/18/cashing_out_us_military_quits_critical_air_base_af ter_100_million_in_payoffs)
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After years of tense negotiations and more than a hundreds million dollars in payoffs, the U.S. military is finally giving up on a massive air base that served as a critical logistical hub for the Afghanistan war.
The Pentagon announced late Friday that the U.S. would return the Manas Transit Center air base to Kyrgyzstan by next July, just as the U.S. attempts one of its most complex logistics challenges yet -- returning people and gear from Afghanistan as that war draws to a close at the end of next year.
The relationship between the U.S. and Kyrgyzstan has been bumpy for years as Bishkek demanded more and more money from the U.S. for using a base they knew to be critical to the logistics operations surrounding the Afghanistan war. In the end, the U.S. may have been essentially outbid, as the base -- built with American "global war on terrorism dollars" as one officer put it -- became a gold mine to Kyrgyzstan and other countries, like Russia and China, became interested in its use.
But Friday's announcement appeared to reflect that the U.S. was fed up with the demands for more cash, and wouldn't pay any more for use of the base.
"It became too complicated," a senior defense official told FP. "The juice wasn't worth the squeeze."
The announcement caps years of controversy over the base, an enormous sprawl of low-slung buildings that was popular with troops entering and exiting the war zones because it served cold beer.
In 2009, the Kyrgyz parliament voted 78 to 1 to close Manas and ordered the U.S. to cease operations and remove all of its personnel from the facility in six months. The move infuriated American officials, who accused Russia of effectively buying the vote by promising the impoverished Kyrgyz government $2 billion in loans and financial assistance. At the time, roughly 15,000 troops and 500 tons of food, weaponry and other materiel were passing though Manas each month.
"The Russians are trying to have it both ways with respect to Afghanistan in terms of Manas," then-Defense Secretary Gates Robert Gates said at the time. "On one hand you're making positive noises about working with us in Afghanistan, and on the other hand you're working against us in terms of that airfield which is clearly important to us."
Washington eventually bought its way out of the problem, more than tripling its annual rent from $17.4 million to $60 million, and giving Kyrgyzstan more than $100 million in aid.
Troops and war supplies weren't the only things moving through Manas. The U.S. paid hundreds of millions of dollars to a pair of secretive contractors charged with supplying the air base with fuel, an arrangement that eventually attracted intense scrutiny in both Washington and the Kyrgyz capitol of Bishkek.
In May 2010, the authoritarian government of President Kurmanbek Bakiyev was toppled after a bloody revolt. The new regime accused the contractors, Mina Corp. and Red Star Enterprises, of giving the former leader's son, Maksim, a slice of their business to ensure they'd have no problems getting fuel to Manas. Lawmakers on Capitol Hill also criticized the arrangement with the two companies, which was eventually cancelled.
The Defense Department instead will expand its use of an air base in eastern Romania called Forward Operating Site Mihail Kogalniceanu, or "MK," which now serves as a logistics hub for U.S. European Command. MIK is already used to house as many as 1,350 troops at any one time, typically for rotational use for troops deployed to Romania. Now that will be used for troops leaving Afghanistan.
It's an attractive site for the Pentagon because it has access to air, sea, and rail service. "Being able to use an air base that also has access to rail and sea is a real hat trick," a defense official said.
MK will not be a one-for-one swap with Manas, however. The current plan is for MK to replace most of the passenger operations for which Manas has been used thus far. Aerial refueling operations, also currently run out of Manas, will transfer to a base in southwest Asia, a defense official said. Drawing forces and materiel out of Afghanistan will be the most challenging of logistics feats the military has conducted in years.
When the U.S. military withdrew from Iraq, it had next door a friendly country just across the border for moving troops and materiel: Kuwait. For Afghanistan, no such country exists. Pakistan presents enormous political and security challenges for the U.S. military as it attempts to draw down and everything else essentially must go by air.
"We do not have a catchers mitt," said one defense official, using an oft-used analogy referring to Kuwait at the end of the Iraq war.
But as those logistics challenges became clearer, military planners realized they didn't need Manas as much as they originally believed. There is less to carry out than first thought, a military official told FP. As NATO and the International Security Assistance Force, or ISAF, plans the retrograde, officials have decided that more equipment will either be sold or destroyed in place. That means there's less to bring home.
"We were planning for a larger amount of cargo to redeploy from [Afghanistan] than probably is going to come to pass," one officer said to FP.
And while closing Manas will make the job of leaving Afghanistan harder, the problems won't be insurmountable, the officer said. After years of threats and negotiations, the U.S. military had planned for the possibility that Manas wouldn't be available to it forever anyway.
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