Akunamatata

Мысли сказанные в некуда

Nature abhors a vacuum.

Having evicted U.S. troops last year, Uzbekistan is going to have a substitute. Russia has secured permission for its military aircraft to use an air base in Uzbekistan, as part of Moscow’s efforts to extend its presence in Central Asia. The first step in achieving that goal was making Uzbekistan rejoin Collective Security Agreement Organization. Uzbek government has not rushed to make that important decision, but pressure from Moscow finally made them give up.

Lt. Gen. Aitech Bizhev, a deputy chief of the Russian air force, as saying that the two nations agreed last month that Russian military aircraft could use the Navoi air base in central Uzbekistan in emergencies. In exchange, Russia will equip the air base in the ex-Soviet nation with modern navigation systems and air defense weapons, reports The Associated Press.

While falling short of a permanent military presence, the deal offers Russia an opportunity to quickly deploy its forces to the region.

It is obvious that Uzbekistan is not pleased by having permanent Russian military base. May be that is why military man Bizhev is using a diplomatic approach while discussing the issue of Russian aircrafts in Uzbekistan, saying that the airfield in question was only to be used in emergencies.

Interesting that the news was reported on the day when all newspapers were discussing the sudden death of Turkmen President. Demise of the Central Asian dictator predictably pushed the issue of regional security into the foreground.

Ferghana.Ru news agency approached Colonel (in retirement) Vladimir Mukhin, Nezavisimaya Gazeta military observer and analyst, for comments.

That the news was broken today is probably a coincidence, but that the news is important is beyond doubt. From the standpoint of understanding the situation in the region itself, that is. The CIS United Antiaircraft Defense System is finally expanding into Uzbekistan. That’s great. It was on the territory of Uzbekistan that vital command posts of the antiaircraft defense were once located. It is reasonable for Russia to be trying to form or rather reinstitute these structures in Uzbekistan now. It is reanimation — to some extent of course — of what existed in the Soviet Union.

Besides, Mukhin points out that Moscow’s interests in Uzbekistan extend to uranium production and enrichment. It is the Navoi Mining and Smelting that is doing it. Needless to say, Russia and Uzbekistan would want this object protected from air attacks — or from international terrorism for that matter. “We all know after all that even the Talibs had their own aircraft and combat pilots”, — speculated Mukhin.

Personally I doubt that Talibs are likely to use their “aircrafts” against Uzbekistan, at least for the time being. It seems like Talibs and “potentially dangerous” situation in Afghanistan became general excuse for deploying troops in Central Asia, particularly in Uzbekistan. But who knows, what will happen when Uzbek foreign policy changes once again. Probably Tashkent will consider Afghanistan as the safest place in the world, like it was with withdrawal of American troops some years ago.

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Декабрь 29, 2006 - Posted by | Akuna - English, Безопасность, Международные отношения, Политика

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