Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Kyrgyzstan, revolutions and counter-revolutions. Prime location makes this a hot property!

Kyrgyzstan. Why is this place suddenly front and centre news wise?

What is that saying in real estate? Location, location, location. Kyrgyzstan has got the prime location.

It is a geo-strategically important country in the 'war on terror' And other wars...

The US uses an airbase there to supply Afghanistan, and possibly to export opium from Afghanistan (rumoured, of course though most probable)

Russia also has an airbase there. Russia is unimpressed with the exporting of opium. Opium is flooding Russia. Russia has made noise that the US destroy opium crops
The US has no interest in doing so (must read)

There are, I am sure, other reasons but the airbase, supplying Afghanistan and opium distribution are just three reasons why this place is important.

Recall in the previous post on Poland the 'revolution' lead by Lech Walesa? I implied it may have been a very early version of the 'colour revolutions' we so often hear about.
Kyrgyzstans recently ousted, very pro-western leadership, came about as one of those revolutions. Known as the Tulip revolution. I guess sometimes it flowers other times colours? The Tulip Revolution took place in 2005. Here is some background:

It all went down at the speed of light. In only a few hours on Thursday in Kyrgyzstan's capital Bishkek, the palace was stormed, the tyrant fled and a new order was starting to take shape. Or was it?
Geostrategically, the Central Asian neighbors plus Russia, China and the US simply cannot afford a chaotic or ethnically fractured Kyrgyzstan.
As a side effect of the "war on terror", Kyrgyzstan is a de facto key pawn for Russia, the US and China in the New Great Game - not least because of its strategic location, squeezed between China and Kazakhstan.

The Russian military base in Kant, 20 minutes away from Bishkek, is described by Defense Minister Ivanov as "a deterrent to international terrorism". The neighboring American military base at Manas - civilian - airport is theoretically set up as a support for Bagram in Afghanistan, but is more effective as a psychological tool to rattle the Chinese, being so close to Xinjiang. Beijing, not surprisingly, also wants to set up its own Kyrgyz military base.

I am just going to make a brief digression here to say that China, along with Russia and the US, may be a player in what is going on in Kyrgyzstan at this time. And will touch on that further down the post

The Russians were especially caught by surprise with the Tulip Revolution.

One thing is already certain: the Tulip Revolution will inevitably be instrumentalized by the second Bush administration as the first "spread of freedom and democracy" success story in Central Asia. The whole arsenal of US foundations - National Endowment for Democracy, International Republic Institute, Ifes, Eurasia Foundation, Internews, among others - which fueled opposition movements in Serbia, Georgia and Ukraine, has also been deployed in Bishkek. It generated, among other developments, a small army of Kyrgyz youngsters who went to Kiev, financed by the Americans, to get a glimpse of the Orange Revolution, and then became "infected" with the democratic virus.

From 2005 to now, five years have passed. What has happened?

The Government so well backed and supported by the West has been ousted. The leader has been ordered to surrender by the interim leadership.

The interim leader, Roza Otunbayeva, is a person from Kyrgyzstan's political past.
I am not sure where her allegiance or favouritism will lie.

I will note that the flights from the Manas airbase are still taking place.
"the American military resumed flying troops to and from Afghanistan through the Manas air base on Monday, after a brief halt because of the uprising, the United States Embassy said in a statement. Refueling flights had continued throughout the disturbance"

Roza Otunbayeva returned to Kyrgyzstan in 2004, right before the Tulip revolution from a UN posting in Georgia (yes, I find that interesting) but was barred from running in the elections that constituted the Tulip revolution. You can read more about her and of course the lessons learned about the Tulip revolution from a report done in 2005 after the 'elections' written for the Carnegie Endowment (one of those US foundations referred to previously)

US reaps bitter harvest from 'Tulip' revolution

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.

The 'twitter' revolution?! Who thinks this stuff up? Oh yeah, some PR firm, the US always some PR firm thinking up catchy names. Gawd!

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.

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.

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.
Recall earlier in this post, I mentioned that China may be a player in the upheaval in Kyrgyzstan?

One reason was the desire for their own military base. Here is another one-

This one is connected to some serious meddling that the US has been doing in China-

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.
Holds the potential? Or has already been serving in that capacity?
I am going to say, already been serving in that capacity. Recall the unrest from last year?
A Western attempt at destabilizing, with an eye to eventually balkanizing China.

Kyrgyzstan is one hot property!

Twelfth Bough: Pretty Much Self-Explanatory

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