Archive for the ‘Kazakhstan’ Category

UN calls water top priority

January 26, 2008
By EDITH M. LEDERER, Associated Press Writer

DAVOS, Switzerland – U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon urged the world on Thursday to put the looming crisis over water shortages at the top of the global agenda this year and take action to prevent conflicts over scarce supplies.

He reminded business and political leaders at the World Economic Forum that the conflict in the Darfur region of Sudan was touched off by drought — and he said shortages of water contribute to poverty and social hardship in Somalia, Chad, Israel, the Palestinian territories, Nigeria, Sri Lanka, Haiti, Colombia and Kazakhstan.

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China on rise in Central Asian ‘Great Game’

December 16, 2007

KHORGOS, Kazakhstan — The driver of the 18-wheel tractor-trailer from China idling at the Kazakhstan-China border said apples were the cargo he brought to Almaty, Kazakhstan’s booming commercial center.

Shoppers in Kyrgyzstan's second-largest city, Osh, can find Chinese toy vendors in the market. Cheap Chinese goods have turned many poor Central Asians into consumers. But some experts say dependence on Chinese products slows the growth of local industries.

For Kazakhs, there’s a tart irony in the shipment.

Almaty’s region is where the first apple trees were found and the first apple orchards planted. The city was a center of the Soviet Union’s s fruit industry. Its very name means “Father of Apples.”

In the past few years, Chinese fruit, vegetables, TV sets, T-shirts and tires have flooded markets along the old Silk Road in former Soviet Central Asia. Each day, all along the Chinese border, hundreds of tractor-trailers rattle west.

These goods are the most visible sign of Beijing’s growing power ….

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Cold War Redux?

August 22, 2007

By John E. Carey
For The Washington Times
August 22, 2007

Russia watchers and military analysts say some of Russia’s recent military moves speak louder than the words of Russia’s leaders.

But the words of President Vladimir Putin of Russia and others at the top of the Russian hierarchy have sent an icy chill though relations between Russia, the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) and the U.S.

Vladimir Vladimirovich Putin
Владимир Владимирович Путин
Vladimir Putin

In just the last week:

–Russia reinstituted long range bomber surveillance patrols of U.S. vital areas including the military installation at Guam and our aircraft carriers at sea. These are the first routine bomber patrols since the Cold War.

–Russia announced an intention to again deploy Russian naval forces to the Mediterranean Sea. This activity also is a return to Cold War-like military deployments and operations. The head of the Russian Navy Admiral Vladimir Masorin said, “The Mediterranean is an important theater of operations for the Russian Black Sea Fleet. We must restore a permanent presence of the Russian Navy in this region.”

–Russia joined with China and several oil-rich Central Asian former Soviet Republics who are members of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO), to conduct war game maneuvers.

For the first time ever, Russia hosted Chinese soldiers in peaceful yet provocative training exercised on Russian soil. The U.S. Embassies in Moscow and Beijing said the United States had requested participation in the events but were informed that any U.S. participation or observers would not be welcome.

–Finally, President Putin from Russia and President Hu Jintao of China participated in a multi-nation meeting of the SCO that included non-member luminaries such as Iran’s President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad. Ahmadinejad took the opportunity to rant against the U.S. proposed deployment of missile defenses to Poland and the Czech Republic; a deployment also criticized by China and Russia. China and Russia have blocked attempts by the U.S., U.K. and France to sanction Iran in the U.N. for its nuclear program.

“Diplomacy between Russia and the West is increasingly being overshadowed by military gestures,” says Sergei Strokan, a foreign-policy expert with the independent daily Kommersant. “It’s clear that the Kremlin is listening more and more to the generals and giving them more of what they want.”

Said President Putin at the SCO’s largest annual gathering of regional leaders ever, “Year by year, the SCO is becoming a more substantial factor in ensuring security in the region,” he said. “Russia, like other SCO states, favors strengthening the multi-polar international system providing equal security and development potential for all countries. Any attempts to solve global and regional problems unilaterally have no future,” he added.

Ex-Soviet members of the SCO include Uzbekistan, Kyrgyzstan, Kazakhstan, and Tajikistan.

For more than two years the SCO, prompted largely by Russia, has called for the withdrawal of U.S. troops from two member countries, Uzbekistan and Kyrgyzstan. Uzbekistan evicted American forces that were supporting American and NATO operations in Afghanistan, but Kyrgyzstan still hosts a U.S. base. Russia also maintains a military base in Kyrgyzstan.

Much of regional wrangling and politics in Central Asia relates to oil. Russia’s new hubris and military activity is funded by recent oil wealth. China has an agreement to buy Russian oil and during this last week the leaders of China and Kazakhstan agreed to finance and build a network of pipelines to supply China with oil and gas from the Caspian Sea region.

“The SCO clearly wants the US to leave Central Asia; that’s a basic political demand,” says Ivan Safranchuk, Moscow director of the independent World Security Institute. “That’s one reason why the SCO is holding military exercises, to demonstrate its capability to take responsibility for stability in Central Asia after the US leaves.”

Believing that the U.S. too greatly dominates the post-Cold War world, Russia and China agreed to for a “strategic partnership.” The creation of the SCO in 2001 is a key part of that relationship. But the outreach by Russia and China to leaders like Iran’s Ahmadinejad has caused western analysts to refer to the SCO as the “club of dictators” or “OPEC with nukes.”

Moreover, a year’s worth of bellicose rhetoric from Mr. Putin worries many western observers.

Last February at the Annual Munich Conference on Security Policy, President Putin called American foreign policy “ruinous” in a speech reporters called a “scathing attack.”Mr. Putin also said the United States was a reckless “unipolar” power. He accused United States of making the world more dangerous by pursuing policies that led to war, ruin and insecurity.

America’s new Secretary of Defense Robert Gates said in a follow-up to Mr. Putin’s speech, “As an old Cold Warrior, one of yesterday’s speeches almost filled me with nostalgia for a less complex time. Almost..” He added: “One Cold War was quite enough.”

At the end of July, the secretary-general of NATO, Mr. Jaap de Hoop Scheffer said, “Nobody wants a new Cold War, neither the Russians nor NATO, nobody.” He urged Russia to abandon its “confrontational” rhetoric and join the Western allies to combat the common threats of terrorism and failed states.

Judging by Russian activities last week, it is not clear that Mr. Putin is listening.

John E. Carey is former president of International Defense Consultants, Inc. and a frequent contributor to the Washington Times.

Vladimir Putin rearms his Cold War military

August 19, 2007

By By Gethin Chamberlain, Tim Shipman and Nick Holdsworth in Moscow
The Sunday Telegraph (UK)
August 19, 2007

In a hangar at an airfield 24 miles south east of Moscow, technicians were yesterday checking over the latest additions to the burgeoning military arsenal which a resurgent Russia hopes can restore its status as a major world power.

The MiG-35 and MiG-29 fighters which Russia plans to showcase at this week’s -Moscow international air show are just a small part of a £100 billion plan to return the Russian military to the heights of its Cold War might.

On Friday President Vladimir Putin caused consternation by announcing the resumption of regular, long-range nuclear bomber …

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Kyrgyzstan says alliance not aimed at U.S.

August 18, 2007

By David R. Sands
The Washington Times
August 18, 2007

An expanding alliance of Russia, China and four Central Asian states should not be seen as an anti-American plot designed to slash Washington’s influence in the region, Kyrgyzstan’s ambassador to Washington said in an interview yesterday.

Zamira Sydykova, whose country hosted Thursday’s summit of leaders of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) in the capital, Bishkek, said Kyrgyzstan is seeking economic and joint security benefits from the SCO, not ways to contain U.S. influence.

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China, Kazakhstan to Build Pipelines Linking China to Caspian

August 18, 2007

By Henry Meyer

Aug. 18 (Bloomberg) — The leaders of China and Kazakhstan agreed to finance and build a network of pipelines to supply the world’s fastest-growing major economy with oil and gas from the Caspian Sea region.

“The Caspian will be linked to western China,” Kazakh President Nursultan Nazarbayev told reporters in the capital Astana today after meeting with his Chinese counterpart Hu Jintao.

“These are major projects and today we reached agreement on these issues.”

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Russia, China, Iran Warn U.S.

August 16, 2007

By LEILA SARALAYEVA, Associated Press

BISHKEK, Kyrgyzstan – The leaders of Russia, China and Iran said Thursday that Central Asia should be left alone to manage its stability and security — an apparent warning to the United States to avoid interfering in the strategic, resource-rich region.
The veiled warning came at a meeting of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization and on the eve of major war games between Russia and China.

The SCO was created 11 years ….

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Central Asia Military Maneuvers and Leadership Conference Held

August 16, 2007

By John E. Carey
Peace and Freedom
August 16, 2007

Today marked the end of a week-long large-scale military exercise that included nearly 4,000 Chinese and Russian troops, paratroopers from Kazakhstan , Tajikistan and Kyrgyzstan and military officers from Uzbekistan.

The nations work in conjunction under the umbrella of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization. The U.S. Embassy in Beijing said the United States had requested participation in the events but was denied access.

The group of nations formed the cooperative among themselves, in part to shield the mineral wealthy nations from the influence of the United States. Relations between the central Asian former Soviet republics and the U.S. have cooled during the last several years. In 2005 Uzbekistan evicted U.S. troops from an airbase that was a hub into neighboring Afghanistan.

About 6,500 troops participated in the multinational war game, in which the nations deployed paratroops, 80 aircraft and hundreds of armored combat vehicles to suppress a simulated Islamic uprising, similar to one that occurred in Uzbekistan in 2005.

As a spin off to the military exercises, the SCO held its annual convention today. Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad was invited and attended the regional summit in the Kyrgyz capital Bishkek.

The Kazakh leader says meetings of SCO energy ministers and those of observer states should work as what he calls “an energy club,” – a basic element of an Asian energy strategy.

China has bilateral energy agreements with Russia and Iran.

Attending the SCO summit were Iranian President Ahmadinejad, Kazakh President Nazarbayev, Chinese President Hu, Kyrgyz President Bakiyev, Russian President Vladimir Putin in Bishkek, Kyrgyzstan, 16 August 2007.

President Putin continued to urge the multilateral approach, wich was written into today’s Bishkek Declaration. Much of the document signed by leaders of the SCO nations is devoted to security, which is broadly interpreted as a sound global economy, a reduction in poverty, as well as economic, ecological and energy security.

The Bishkek Declaration also highlights the need to fight terrorism.  It cited Afghanistan’s extensive drug trade as a threat to security in the region. Afghan President Hamid Karzai, an invited SCO guest, acknowledged the problem in his remarks to summit leaders.

Representatives of India, Pakistan, Mongolia and Turkmenistan were present at the summit as observers.

After their formal summit, SCO leaders embarked on a trip to Chelyabinsk, Russia, to observe military maneuvers by armed forces of member states.

Countering terrorism and drugs tafficking was also discussed at the conference.

The Bishkek Declaration, signed today, highlights the need to fight terrorism and the negative regional influence of Afghanistan’s illegal drug trade. Afghan President Hamid Karzai, an invited SCO guest, acknowledged the problem in his remarks to summit.

Representatives of India, Pakistan, Mongolia and Turkmenistan were present at the summit/ as observers.

Originally called the Shanghai Five, the multinational group was formed in April 1996 by the heads of state of Kazakhstan, the People’s Republic of China, Kyrgyzstan, Russia and Tajikistan.

Russia, China and allies play war game

August 11, 2007

By Tim Johnson, McClatchy Newspapers
August 10, 2007

BEIJING — Russia , China and four former Soviet Central Asian republics have sent some 6,500 troops to participate in a multinational war game, in which they’ve deployed paratroops, 80 aircraft and hundreds of armored combat vehicles to suppress an Islamic uprising, similar to one that occurred in Uzbekistan in 2005.

The joint exercise, which started Thursday and runs through next Thursday, is the biggest organized yet by the Shanghai Cooperation Organization , a six-year-old security forum that languished in near-obscurity for some time but may be turning into a form of security alliance.

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War By Every Possible Means