22 june 2018

Central Asia news

Kyrgyzstan, the political portrait. Naryn Province governor O.Suvanaliev

24.01.2008 19:52 msk

Adam Baytikov

Politics Kyrgyzstan

The true reasons behind the appointment of Omurbek Suvanaliev (a.k.a. Corrado Cattani), the Naryn province governor, are still unclear for most of Kyrgyz Parliament and White House residents. However, this sweeping transformation from the head of the presidential administration's defense department into a governor perfectly matches his contradictory biography. When retired, the governor would have something to think of. Sharp turns of Suvanaliev's thorny career would undeniably impress his contemporaries.

Suvanaliev began his career in 1990. He was deputy head of the city interior department in the northern Issyk-Kul province when he personally disarmed a terrorist who threatened to blast a plane at the local airport. Suvanaliev snatched a homemade bomb from the criminal's hand. It was then when the goddess of fortune smiled on him. Top officials has kept an eye on a 30-year-old officer ever since.

The White House spotted Suvanaliev much later. In late March 1992, the would-be-general was arrested on suspicion of power abuse for battering his subordinate caught with a prostitute in the office. Earlier that year, despite strong political pressure, Suvanaliev arrested the son of a top official in the Issyk-Kul region for drug smuggling. Suvanaliev's counterparts threw their weight in his favor. They arrived in Bishkek and carried out a picket with posters saying "Down With Mafia Supporters!". After 10 months of detention he was acquitted on all counts and reestablished as head of the Issyk-Kul province interior department. Suvanaliev is known as a relentless champion of law and a man of principle. Certainly it was what honored him with a local Corrado Cattani title.

He has been persistently battling organized crime for over 10 years. Suvanaliev waged a war against the late leader of the Issyk–Kul organized crime group, Ryspek Akmatbaev.

Suvanaliev drew intense attention of the White House when he probed into the scandalous case of illegal supply of Mercedes cars to the presidential administration in 1994-1995. Suvanaliev, the then-head of the tax Police Investigation Department, solved the case in a dash.

It was the first sharp turn in the career of the freedom fighter. Corrado Cattani was no more a promising officer but a rebellious and unpleasant cop, who got under the skin of many corrupt officials from key government posts of the ex-president's family. The criminal investigation that promising be a bombshell was hushed up.

However, the case of illegal Mercedes cars could trigger a political scandal. The insolent cop was silenced with a lawmaker's seat in Parliament. One could hardly guess the outcome of that decision. It was a new benchmark in the career the former police investigator. As a member of Kyrgyz Parliament between 1995 and 1997, Suvanaliev farther complements his police career with political experience.

The year of 1997 saw his rise to the rank of colonel in the National Security Ministry - he headed the National Security department of the southern Osh region. Less than a year passed when his name made headlines in Central Asia and CIS again. In late 1997 Suvanaliev ordered to detain and arrest a 700-tonnes shipment of firearms and ammunition smuggled from Iran via Osh to Afghanistan. The load belonged to the armed units of the Afghanistan National Front.

In January of 1998 Suvanaliev stated that the load allegedly headed for Juma Namangani, the commander of the Islamic Movement of Uzbekistan, who supported the Taliban militia, rather than to the Ahmad Zia Massoud, the head of ANF. Suvanaliev resigned in protest to the government's decision to turn a blind eye on the case and return the shipment to Iran.

Later developments showed that the load indeed was intended to support the northern troops of ANF under Ahmad Shah Masood. Suvanaliev thwarted a joint Iranian-Russian secret operation to supply the arms to the Northern Alliance, which planned to break up the Taliban that spring. The war with the Taliban in Afghanistan was deemed to drag on for many years.

Some analysts speculate that had the ally state rendered timely military technical assistance to the Northern Alliance troops, the world would not have witnessed September 11 and the U.S. ranger units have not combed Afghanistan. Ten years later, the CIS and CA secret services still guess what secret interests were behind the failed operation.

Suvanaliev was an active proponent of the Tulip revolution in 2005. As the power changed his career resembled a chariot rushing over rocky mountains. Here are some details.

On May 2, 2005, Suvanaliev was appointed deputy minister of interior, but two months later he stepped down saying that he hoped to rid the streets of Bishkek of criminals, but disagreed with the direction the country's politics had taken. Later he rejected the post of the interior department head in the remote southern Batken region.

Omurbek Isakovitch's idle days did not last long. In November 2006 he returned from disgrace and was appointed head of the Interior Minister, but for three month only. In February 2007 he joined the ranks of opposition United Front For the Better.

In mid-1999 Suvanaliev headed Felix Kulov's Public Foundation. Both are tied by a long-standing and very close relationship. Suvanaliev kept a low profile leaving the floor to ex-premier Kulov. Unfortunately, the alliance split when a protest rally of the opposition ended in a breakup at night in April of 2007. Suvanaliev was blamed for the failure.

Suvanaliev slammed the door of the United Front to open another door in the presidential administration. Recently Kyrgyz President Kurmanbek Bakiev appointed General Major Omurbek Suvanaliev as the Naryn region governor. The appointment contradicts reasonable any personnel policy carried out by Bakiev. Suvanaliev has been in service for 20 years and is an uncompromising fighter against organized crime. He is an experienced investigator with no administrative experience. Besides, the Naryn region is credited with poor economy and agriculture. Though it might be the right place for Corrado Cattani's quick eye…

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The full version of the article “The Political portrait. Governor's quick eye…” will be published in The Reporter newspaper (Bishkek) on Feb 1, 2008. This is an abridged version

© Translated by Ferghana.Ru