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On Some Complex Nuances Of The Situation In Kyrgyzstan And The CA Region

Thursday, January 12, 2017 - 03:06

The “illogical” presidential election results in the United States have brought the whole world into a mode of anxious waiting. The situation has become pretty uncomfortable for those who openly made fun of Donald Trump's personal, business, and other qualities when he was just a candidate for President of the United States. Some expect that qualitative changes will take place in the US foreign policy, especially in respect of those regions where a full-scale war is ongoing as of today. Even Europe has already felt the presence of the “new hand” or “new broom” in the United States. Experts argue about this, predicting different development scenarios for the NATO. For example, Donald Trump's words that this is an “outdated and expensive” organization cause some concern in the European countries, especially in the new NATO member. It is believed that the NATO membership will “grow more expensive” in the near future. Many – especially the new members from Eastern Europe and the Baltics – have nightmares about such possible changes of the essence of the fifth article of the NATO Charter. We remind our readers that Article 5 of the NATO Charter reads as follows: “The Contracting Parties agree that an armed attack against one or more of them in Europe or North America shall be considered an attack against them all, and, therefore, agree with that if such an armed attack occurs, each of them, in exercise of the right of individual or collective self-defense recognized by Article 51 of the Charter of the United Nations, will assist the Contracting party or parties that have been subjected to such an attack by immediate implementation of such individual or joint action as it deems necessary, including the use of armed force in order to restore and maintain the security of the North Atlantic area.” It is hard to believe that the new US president will go for changing the main concept of NATO. However, it can be assumed that the United States under Trump will no longer automatically alert their air force and bring their warships to the coast of the Baltic states in response to each imaginary danger that arises in the fevered imagination of the small NATO members.


For the older European countries, it will be a pleasant present that Donald Trump refuses to sign the agreement on the transatlantic trade and investment partnership between the US and the EU.


Kabul also has certain hopes for changes in the US foreign policy. One of the authoritative experts on Afghanistan, who worked with the Taliban back at the time of Mullah Omar, now says that the Americans are ready to maximally reduce the number of their troops in the country. However, they will ask the Afghan authorities of one thing in return: they want to be allowed to stay at the Bagram Air Base. The US troops will neither leave the base, nor take part in any military operations on the side of the Afghan power structures. Unfortunately, it is impossible to double-check the truthfulness of this information. However, it does fit into the logic of the US foreign policy, according to which Americans have come to stay in this country not out of a desire to help it build a new life, but to create a support base in Afghanistan, which will enable them not only to control the situation in China and on the southern borders of the former Soviet Union, but to intervene in the situation whenever necessary.


As for Kyrgyzstan, literally the next day after the presidential election in the United States, current US ambassador to Kyrgyzstan Ms. Sheila Gwaltney made a statement in which she said, “The United States look forward to continuing and expanding cooperation with the Kyrgyz Republic in the next 25 years and further. We will continue our joint work on development of the region, addressing global problems and counteracting modern threats. We highly value our relationship with the Kyrgyz Republic, which is a relationship based on trust, equality and mutual respect.”


The distinguished Ambassador can be understood. She tries sincerely to establish such a US-Kyrgyz relations, which could be predicted for a period of 25 years or even further. Given the fact that we are talking about an official statement of the US Ambassador to Kyrgyzstan, her words that the US and Kyrgyzstan will continue “to work together for development of the region, addressing global problems and counteracting modern threats” can be taken as a compliment. Of course, her words that America “highly values ​​its relations with the Kyrgyz Republic, which are based on trust, equality and mutual respect” should be considered as compliance with the standard rules of diplomatic etiquette.


The current position of the US Ambassador in Bishkek is hardly enviable. Last summer, the Kyrgyz party unilaterally renounced a key agreement with the United States on cooperation to facilitate the provision of assistance, which had been signed by the parties in Washington on May 19, 1993. In short, the agreement gave the Americans quite great benefits. The Kyrgyz side greatly facilitated the conditions for implementation of the American assistance programs in our country. The US structures were exempted from duties and taxes, customs duties and other tariffs on goods and deliveries, as specified by local legislation. The American office staff was exempt from all taxes on income received in connection with implementation of the US assistance programs. The status of US citizens who worked in the offices of USAID and other organizations was equal to the status of the administrative and technical staff of embassies. In general, back in 1993, the US State Department took great care of the favorable conditions of stay in Kyrgyzstan for US citizens, who, working under different disguises, were supposed to help us develop. However, it turned out that in 2015 the US government decided to award the prize of the State Department to Kyrgyz citizen Azimzhan Askarov, who had been convicted by the court of the Kyrgyz Republic to life imprisonment for inciting ethnic hatred, organizing mass disturbances, participating in the murder of a law enforcement officer in the course of the tragic events of June 2010. The Kyrgyz Foreign Ministry's statement on the matter reads, “Awarding Askarov the Prize 'Human Rights Defender' is perceived by the Kyrgyz side as a way to cause a negative international reaction, and as a factor aimed at undermining the process of strengthening the people's unity and harmony in the country.”


Last year, after the Government of Kyrgyzstan denounced the cooperation agreement, the US Embassy in Bishkek stated openly about the possibility of termination of various assistance provided to the Kyrgyz people by America. However, Washington dis not dramatize the situation in this regard; on the contrary, they began to actively establish contacts through various departments.


We will list some details from the news feeds regarding the work of the US Embassy in Kyrgyzstan. So, on November 4, 2015, US Ambassador Sheila Gwaltney visited the Association of Parents of Disabled Children (APDC) in Bishkek to meet with young people with disabilities who are learning English within the scholarship program ACCESS for children from low-income families (English Access Micro-Scholarship), which is funded by the US Embassy. On November 12, 2015, the US Ambassador met with the Minister of Education and Science of the Kyrgyz Republic. According to the ministry, both sides discussed the potential and implementation of joint projects, the further development of student internship programs, as well as current results and further development of social and humanitarian cooperation within government programs. On December 15, 2015, the US Ambassador met with students of the Access Micro-Scholarship English-learning program in Osh. Interesting was also the meeting of the US Ambassador and Mufti of Kyrgyzstan M. Toktomushev. Ms. Diplomat and the chief cleric of Kyrgyzstan discussed the need to combat terrorism and extremism jointly with the United States. On December 16, 2015, the US Ambassador got acquainted with the activities aimed at prevention of crime in Jalal-Abad Province and the corresponding plans of the coordinating councils. On January 15, 2016, the US Ambassador to the Kyrgyz Republic met with Chief of General Staff of the Armed Forces of the Kyrgyz Republic Col. Zh. Kaparov. On January 21, 2016, the US Ambassador visited two madrassas in Chui Province to get familiarized with the results of the project “Madrasah: vocational training in rural areas,” which was implemented in Kyrgyzstan with the financial support of the US Embassy. On February 22, 2016, the US Ambassador met with the speaker of the Kyrgyz parliament, after which the press-service of the legislative authority declared that there would be concluded a “new cooperation agreement between Kyrgyzstan and the United States.”


In summer 2016, the Kyrgyz President received a delegation of the US Congress. They discussed various issues, including the consolidation of democracy in our country. Members of the Commission “Partnership for Democracy” of the House of Representatives of the US Congress headed by chairman of the committee, Congressman Peter Roskamom tried to prove it to their partners that it's very important for Kyrgyzstan to strengthen the role of the Parliament, as well as to strengthen democracy. On September 3, 2016, the President of Kyrgyzstan met with US Deputy Assistant Secretaries of State Dan Rosenblum and Angela Aggeler. During the meeting, the sides discussed “various issues of cooperation between Kyrgyzstan and the United States, as well as the prospects for further cooperation in various fields.”


We must assume that the Americans will now make every effort to put pressure on Bishkek, in order to make Kyrgyzstan sign a new agreement with Washington as soon as possible – an agreement that will mainly repeat what was in the similar document of 1993. Now, it is a favorable opportunity for the Americans. The election of a new president in the United States can be used as an argument for “opening a new page” in the relations between the two countries. They could say that there is a need to sign a new agreement to “strengthen Kyrgyzstan's relations with America.” However, it all is not so simple. Thus, a delegation of the Kyrgyz parliament visited the United States and met with their American counterparts. The Kyrgyz party suggested complementing the new draft agreement with clauses that would provide for an increase in the US assistance to the healthcare, education and agriculture spheres of the Kyrgyz Republic. According to the members of our Parliament, they made a special emphasis on the issue of allocation and distribution of US grants. Previously, the United States decided everything related to the provision of grants on their own; now, the Kyrgyz side wants to be the one to decide these matters. Of course, the negotiation tactics used by our parliamentary delegation reeks of naivety. This is not the way to solve such matters. The United States will never agree to such straightforward suggestions. Moreover, the Americans have a very wide range of means to make their opponent more amenable.


It was not in vain when we mentioned Afghanistan and provided expert opinion on this country. Many readers probably do not know that the Islamic Movement of Uzbekistan, having been located in the territory of Pakistan (Waziristan) for many years, eventually moved to the north of Afghanistan again. The relocation of the IMU from Pakistan to Afghanistan was made possible not as a result of successful military operations of the Pakistani Army against the IMU militants, but as a result of regular trade. There are statements of Pakistani generals that the loss of the regular army of Islamabad within the operations against the IMU are estimated at tens of thousands of people. According to the above-mentioned expert, the Pakistani authorities handed about $70 million over to the IMU, and allowed them to move to Afghanistan.


During the so-called Batken War of 1999-2000, the IMU militants were in the territory of Fergana Province of Kyrgyzstan in order to create an Islamic state in the Fergana Valley. Now, according to the said expert on Afghanistan, the IMU is pursuing a more large-scale goal. The IMU plans now cover the entire Republic of Uzbekistan and the whole Central Asian region.


As the most effective lever of pressure on any country, the US government actively uses the tools described in the theory of “controlled chaos.” Thus, it turns out that there is an “interested party” that would like to rein in Bishkek, and to establish favorable conditions in Kyrgyzstan for themselves; to stay and work in the country as they wish – and not as our legislators prescribe. And this interested party has the money in sufficient quantities. On the other hand, the region has a force that is able to seriously destabilize the situation in the neighboring country and the region as a whole. Of course, we are not talking about a full-scale war. We have the CSTO for such a case. However, this organization is absolutely not adapted to deal with individual terrorist acts. It is known that during the first stage, the terrorists aim not to capture the state and society, but to create an atmosphere of fear and mistrust in respect of the authorities, which by definition must address the issues of security of the state and society. All these conditions can well result in a crisis situation unfolding throughout the country and the region as a whole.


The question arises: are the authorities of the republic and the neighboring countries ready to give an adequate response to such threats?

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