#1 Russia pays Kyrgyzstan to close Manas AB02-04-2009, 07:50 PM
MOSCOW — President Dmitry Medvedev said Wednesday that Russia and its ex-Soviet allies want to help the United States stabilize Afghanistan, saying Moscow wanted "full-fledged" cooperation with Washington.
He spoke a day after the ex-Soviet republic of Kyrgyzstan announced it would evict the U.S. from an air base key to the Afghan war. Kyrgyzstan made the move after getting a promise for $2 billion in loans from Russia — which resents the American presence in a region Moscow regards as part of its traditional sphere of influence.
The possibility of the base closure poses a serious challenge to the new U.S. administration and President Barack Obama's plan to send up to 30,000 more American forces into Afghanistan this year.
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"Russia and other (alliance members) are ready for full-fledged comprehensive cooperation with the United States and other coalition members in fighting terrorism in the region. This fight must be comprehensive and include both military and political components. Only in the case will this have a chance to succeed," Medvedev said.
It was not clear if Medvedev's reference to "full-fledged" cooperation was an attempt to reassure Washington or an indication that Moscow would seek concessions in exchange for helping keep the Manas air base open.
Keep an eye on how our administration handles this. I spent a tour at Manas, and given my job I saw how vital that base was to what we do in Afghanistan. Quite frankly, Russia has us by the throat right now. Manas is vital to Afghanistan. It ferries troops and supplies in and out, and also refuels the aircraft that are performing the CAS (Close Air Support) missions there.
If we lose Manas, we get crippled. So this will be a huge test to how Obama handles not only foreign affairs, but military matters. For this situation, I'm hoping he's got his A Game on.
02-04-2009, 08:29 PM
This is interesting. My firm is involved in a transaction with this government and my boss just returned from a trip there after meeting with the Prime Minister. I do wonder how Obama and his thugs will handle this.
02-04-2009, 09:44 PM
I don't see Obama pulling this off without caving and making our stance to the world even weaker. Russia has hinted that they'll back off from this with a hefty list of demands, like dropping the missile shield.
He's pretty much made it clear that he's not the type to smash heads with other powers, so he won't be aggressive with Russia or Kyrygzstan on this. And it's going to kill us militarily in Afghanistan. I can't go into specifics over all of the effects, but they'll be extensive. It'll severely limit our options in getting those extra troops in, as well as their supplies and air support. It'll basically be us sending the troops in, after chopping their left legs off.
02-04-2009, 10:46 PM
Interesting that this happened after Bush left office.
02-04-2009, 11:27 PMStand up for what is right, even if you have to stand alone.
#6 Russia hosts ex-Soviet security summitwiegenliedGuest02-05-2009, 06:40 AM
By VLADIMIR ISACHENKOV, Associated Press Writer
MOSCOW – Russia sought to bolster its security alliance with six other ex-Soviet nations Wednesday by forming a joint rapid reaction force in a continuing effort to curb U.S. influence in energy-rich Central Asia.
The summit of the Moscow-dominated Collective Security Treaty Organization came a day after Kyrgyzstan said it would end the U.S. lease of an air base that supports military operations in Afghanistan. The eviction of U.S. troops would mark a victory for Moscow in a battle for influence in what it considers its historic backyard.
On Wednesday, Russia, Armenia, Belarus and four Central Asian nations — Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan and Uzbekistan — agreed to set up a joint rapid reaction force. The move would boost the military dimension to the alliance, which until now has served mostly as a forum for security consultations.
The force is expected to consist of about 10,000 men and function under a central command. The alliance now has a rapid reaction force of about 3,000, but it is not under unified command.
Kremlin foreign policy adviser Sergei Prikhodko said Russian paratroopers would form the core of the force.
Russia's envoy to NATO, Dmitry Rogozin, said Wednesday that Kyrgyzstan may host some of the newly formed rapid reaction forces at the base currently leased by the U.S. military.
Kyrgyzstan President Kurmanbek Bakiyev announced his intention to shut the base, at least for the moment, after Russia agreed to provide Kyrgyzstan with $2 billion in loans plus another $150 million in financial aid. The lease deal obliges Kyrgyzstan to give the U.S. 180 days notice to clear the base.
The fate of Kyrgyz base may also become a bargaining chip in the Kremlin's talks with Washington as Russia hopes to win concessions from the administration of President Barak Obama regarding missile defense and NATO's eastward expansion.
At the time like this, how great leaders such as Ronald Reagan and Margaret Thatcher are greatly missed!
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