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Kyrgyzstan: Back Count for the U.S. Airbase

On February, 19th, 2009 nearly all Krrgyz MPs approved a motion denouncing the agreement between Kyrgyzstan and the USA about the American airbase at Manas. Of 89 total MPs, 78 voted for, one against, and two abstained:

The government, in the name of the Ministry for Foreign Affairs, after signing by the President of the given law, should notify embassy of the United States of America in Kyrgyzstan and inform them about the decision of the Parliament. Then the air base should be deduced within 180 days…

Livejournal user and communist Sergey Kozhemjakin, aka kojemyakin, published [ru] an article in which he argued for the necessity of the airbase's withdrawal:

[The] airbase withdrawal is a positive event according to the long-term interests of Kyrgyzstan. That's why our main task is to expose the attempts of the USA to create political force under control to them on the basis of opposition. And, also, to expose the power which the same self-interest and which can quite offer earlier accepted decisions for the sake of own benefit moves.

Blogger Azamat Imanaliev, aka azzzik, devoted two posts to the American airbase two, including fine photos (post one, post two). Meanwhile, the topic about the withdrawal of the American air base [ru] is currently the most popular forum of Kyrgyzstan Diesel, but has just been closed by moderators. Nevertheless, some users managed to sneak in a post or two. For example user Borg considered [ru] remarked that it is early to say goodbye to base:

Probably, the format of the agreement will change from the bilateral to the trilateral. Such a situation would be the most profitable for Kyrgyzstan [since] our country could receive the maximum payments. However, Russia would be like a warranter of all payments and observance all conditions, because it's very hard for Kyrgyzystan to supervise the Americans itself.

The next day, on February, 20th, 2009, Kyrgyzstani President Kurmanbek Bakiev signed the law, obliging the USA military to leave the territory of Kyrgyzstan within 180 days.

U.S. Defense Secretary Robert Gates said [en] the United States would consider paying higher rent to keep the airbase open. But he added that the base is not irreplaceable and there were talks with other nations about ways to get supplies into Afghanistan. He says while he's considering paying more, the U.S. won't waste taxpayer dollars on a sky-high rent just to keep the base.

Speaking to reporters en route to Poland for a meeting of NATO defense ministers, Gates also said [en] Russia is “working against” U.S. efforts to retain a crucial resupply base for the war in Afghanistan:

And the question is 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 air field, which is clearly important to us.

Time magazine also wrote [en] that Russia, which hates the presence of the American military in their backyard, offered $2 billion in aid to their former fellow Soviet republic:

Washington believes Moscow — despite its firm denials — is behind the order evicting the U.S. from its last airbase in Central Asia.

Opinions of reputable foreign magazines are similar to the opinion of the typical visitor of portal Kloop.kg. For example, one left [ru] this comment on the article about an air base withdrawal:

Generally, the question about the airbase will be solved not by our country. That is a question on the agenda within the relations between Russia and the USA.

I would agree. The auction is not ended yet, stake, misters!

Also posted on neweurasia.

1 comment

  • The only way for Obama

    Is the Obama administration really rethinking the current global security architecture, which comes straight from the Cold War era? And as a constitutive element of this, is the new American President really decided to make a u-turn in the relationship between Russia and USA? Vice President Joe Biden, at the Munich Security Conference, said “it is time to press the reset button” between Moscow and Washington. That’s a realistic approach. But beyond good willing words, it is obvious that the Obama administration has not yet a full and integrated foreign policy plan, to replace the black Bush’s heritage. Perhaps, it is too early for such a plan, but there are already some alarming symptoms: US’s position on deploying anti-missile defense in Europe remains. Not a word about replacing START I, which expires this year. And, most disappointing of all, US continue to support Georgia’s ambitions to join NATO, as a reward to war criminal Saakashvili for his aggression against South Ossetia and for the destabilization of the whole Caucasus region.

    Obama is now facing a complicated reality. Geopolitics is not that easy, as an electoral rhetoric. The new American President has repeatedly underlined that the war in Afghanistan is his first priority. Now, after Kyrgyzstan’s decision to close the American air base in Manas, he is dealing with a hard problem: In what way will he transfer soldiers and carry ammunition to Afghanistan? Which skyway and air corridor, will he use for that continual and critical operation? The solution has only one name: the Russian Federation. Obama needs Russia to win the war against Taliban’s rebellious army. Moscow has already offered its help and full cooperation. But it is more than certain that there is implicitness: A package deal, on bilateral relations and on fundamentally new global security architecture. Obama has no choice but to abandon the antirussian strategy planned by Bush’s neo-conservatives, in order to win his «first priority antiterrorist war». Anti-missile defense in Europe, NATO’s expansion to the East and support to Georgia’s NATO candidacy, should be history. That’s the only way for Obama to succeed in his top foreign policy goal and to build a safer future for the whole world.

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