Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Kyrgyzstan in Crisis

The situation in Pakistan and Kyrgyzstan is quite similar. Both are faced with the same old problems of price hikes, unemployment and American bases. Kyrgyzstan is one of the poorest countries in Central Asia, but the President House in this country is called the White House. The police and the army have been unable to control or contain the roaring flood of masses suffering from hunger and unemployment.
Like Pakistan, Kyrgyzstan is also an US ally. The greater part of its border is shared with China. Some parts of its border adjoin Tajikistan, Uzbekistan and Kazakhstan. It has strategic importance for the United States because of its large common border with China. It, also, is home to a number of US military bases.

Background to Instability
According to the United States, these bases were established to support US and Allied forces in Afghanistan. Interestingly enough, Kyrgyzstan is a unique country by having both US and Russian military bases. It has become a sandwich between the two super powers. The leader of new opposition government, Roza Otunbayeva, claims control over four out of seven provinces of Kyrgyzstan. She intends to close US military bases in these provinces. Former President Kurmanbek Bakiyev has fled the country. Public hatred against him is very high.

The Kyrgyzstan opposition party has accused the US administration of ignoring rigging in the general elections after getting the issue of military bases decided. But the new government has demanded the United States to close down its military bases in the country. Russia offered $2 billion to ex-President Kurmanbek Bakiyev to close down the US military bases, but he bargained with the Americans and increased the rent for the US bases.

The situation is not very clear. I am still collecting information on it. The United States has established military bases to keep China in check. Strategically it is very important for the United States because from here it can easily oversee China.

Economically, people are ruined and their only source of survival is the money received through remittances by their labor working in Russia. The Russian economy itself is in bad shape. Instability in Kyrgyzstan will definitely affect the US interests in the region.

Pro-US or Anti-US
The opposition, being a coalition, is naturally anti-US. This is just the beginning. At this stage, their political affiliations and intentions are quite murky. The facilities provided to the common people by the old communist system are no more to be seen.

Now, the country is being run along capitalist lines, with the support of the United States. The capitalist system has increased the problems of the common people. In fact, it is an economic crisis.

Involvement of Religious Element
Unfortunately, whenever some thing happens in an Islamic country, the United States and anti-Muslim forces try to give it a religious flavor. The people want their basic needs of food, shelter and health provided, as it was under the communist system.

But the government is unable to do so. Since communism has been abolished, the next common factor is religion. This situation is being dubbed as an Islamic Revolution or as a form of extremism.

It is very difficult to say which country is supporting this crisis. But, there are many countries which have an interest at stake in Kyrgyzstan. They will support their interests. Neighboring countries definitely have their interests because they are sharing borders with Kyrgyzstan. It is just like the Pak-Afghan situation. Anything happening in Afghanistan casts its shadows on Pakistan. Changes in Kyrgyzstan will definitely cast their shadows on Tajikistan and Uzbekistan.

Uzbekistan has expressed its concern over the situation in Kyrgyzstan. The Uzbek Government also smells changes within its own borders. Uzbekistan is adjacent to the Ferghana Valley and is primed for revolution. Central Asia is on the verge of a flash point.

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