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Ghost Dog Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Apr-10-10 02:22 AM
Original message
US suspends Kyrgyzstan-Afghanistan troop flights
Source: BBC

03:51 GMT, Saturday, 10 April 2010

The US has suspended all troop flights to Afghanistan from Kyrgyzstan, where tensions remain after a violent uprising against the president.

No reason was given for the indefinite suspension of troop flights from the Manas airbase - a decision taken by the US military in Kyrgyzstan.


US Central Command spokesman Maj John Redfield told the BBC that troop flights from the base just outside Bishkek would resume once conditions in Kyrgyzstan allow.

Meanwhile, the US would transport all forces to Afghanistan via Kuwait, he said.

Read more:
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Ghost Dog Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Apr-10-10 02:47 AM
Response to Original message
1. A little more background from Asia Times:
...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.


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.


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.


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.


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.

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EFerrari Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Apr-10-10 03:33 AM
Response to Reply #1
2. This is a practice fine tuned in Afghanistan
after a hundred and sixty odd years of practice in Latin America.
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dipsydoodle Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Apr-10-10 04:08 AM
Response to Reply #2
3. Indeed

Odd how corporations get fined for bribery but not the US government. :sarcasm:
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Ghost Dog Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Apr-10-10 04:36 AM
Response to Reply #2
6. Absolutely. And now observe Karzai "stepping out of line"... n/t
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Wilms Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Apr-10-10 04:09 AM
Response to Reply #1
4. I appreciate that they outed the "color" revo. Don't forget Twitter. nt
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Ghost Dog Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Apr-10-10 04:34 AM
Response to Reply #4
5. Yeah. :wink:
Say no more.
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Ghost Dog Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Apr-10-10 04:42 AM
Response to Reply #1
7. The Guardian has this:
The head of Kyrgyzstan's new interim government yesterday revealed that her country was broke and said that the former president who was overthrown in a street-led revolution this week had left only $80m in the budget.

In an interview with the Guardian, Roza Otunbayeva appealed for urgent international aid so that the impoverished Central Asian nation could meet its immediate bills. "Tomorrow we should pay pensions. This is a really serious problem," she said.

Otunbayeva said that the ousted president Kurmanbek Bakiyev had plundered the economy, installing his sons in key government positions and flogging off strategic state industries for a fraction of their true value.

She said the country's leading telecoms firm had been sold to an offshore company in the Canary Islands, belonging to a friend of the president's son Maxim. "We had an absolutely scandalous situation where Kyrgyzstan had become a family-run regime," she said.


The international 'offshore' facilities available in the (metropolitan Spanish) Canary Islands, BTW, tend to go unreported. I once read locally that Mittal Steel, or its owner, for tax purposes, has a head office here. Here are some clues, though:
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FarCenter Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Apr-10-10 09:23 AM
Response to Reply #7
8. The jet fuel contract -- note that they don't have oil wells, and import all the oil
Edited on Sat Apr-10-10 09:25 AM by FarCenter

Kyrgyzstan US Air Base Contracts To Face Scrutiny

A little known company called Mina Corp. currently holds the jet fuel contract for Manas. According to documents obtained by EurasiaNet under the Freedom of Information Act, Mina Corp. was awarded a contract to supply an estimated 105 million gallons of jet fuel to Manas in July 2009 at a cost of $2.28 per gallon.

The contract ends on July 31, 2010, but contains a further two-year delivery option.

Mina Corp, a Gibraltar-registered company, is closely related to Red Star Enterprises Ltd.

A spokesman for Red Star/Mina Corp., Nikolai Ushakov, told EurasiaNet, "Red Star Enterprises and Mina Corp. share some management and logistics aspects in support of Operation Enduring Freedom, although they are separately registered entities with different profiles."

On April 7, Ushakov categorically denied a link between Red Star/Mina Corp. and any member of the family of Kurmanbek Bakiyev, the Kyrgyz leader who fled Bishkek on April 7 amid mob violence.

Red Star and Mina Corp. until recently shared office space in the Hyatt Hotel in Bishkek. Chuck Squires, a former defense attache at the US embassy in Bishkek, has simultaneously held the post of director of operations for both Mina Corp. and Red Star.

Red Star Enterprises was previously linked to alleged payments to family members of ex-president Askar Akayev, who was ousted from power in 2005 in a popular uprising dubbed the Tulip Revolution.

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sam sarrha Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Apr-10-10 03:06 PM
Response to Reply #1
11. hopefully this will lead to the exit from Afganistan.. there are more Talaban in NJ than Afganistan.
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Hardrada Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Apr-10-10 09:36 PM
Response to Reply #1
14. Excellent!
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Ghost Dog Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Apr-10-10 02:21 PM
Response to Original message
9. Ah, I see that Iran's take on this predates this report by 23 hours:
Kyrgyzstan moves to shut US-run Menas air base
Fri, 09 Apr 2010 04:22:13 GMT

Kyrgyzstan's new leaders have said they intend to remove a US military base, which currently serves as the premier air mobility hub for the US-led forces in Afghanistan, from their soil.

The interim government led by ex-foreign minister Roza Otunbayeva, has said it wants the US base, Manas, closed down for security reasons.


Russia, which itself maintains an air base at Kant, just 20 miles from Manas, has been keen to block US military presence in the region.

Moscow has been increasingly concerned about US military's prolonged presence in the geo-strategically important Region.

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Ghost Dog Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Apr-10-10 02:23 PM
Response to Original message
10. duped.
Edited on Sat Apr-10-10 02:24 PM by Ghost Dog
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JDPriestly Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Apr-10-10 05:08 PM
Response to Original message
12. When will our government learn that criminal behavior and corruption do not pay?
In the end, crimes and corruption never work out. Criminals usually get caught. Sooner or later corruption ends either in a bankrupt country or an unlivable society.

We should be stopping the corruption here at home. Obama seems to be silent about our domestic corruption. And it is rampant. The whole problem in Central Asia (and Poland) is due to corruption right here in our government.

Shutting our eyes to corruption has not been working. Why don't we start here and get rid of it.

Of course, Putin took advantage of our stupidity. He is worse than we are, but then that's the way things go when you start competing in a race to the bottom. And we have been racing to the bottom since the assassination of Kennedy with a brief interlude of honesty during the Carter administration. Other than that period, we've been headed downhill at an every increasing rate ever since November 22, 1963.
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bemildred Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Apr-10-10 06:44 PM
Response to Original message
13. "Evidently, there has been a massive breakdown in US diplomacy in Central Asia."
Gee, who could have predicted this?
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