Kyrgyzstan Geopolitical Balance Complicates as International Polarization Grows over South Ossetia
Kyrgyzstan, current chairman of the Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS) and a host of the Russian and American military airbases, finds it hard to balance between superpowers that are becoming inimical to each other over the Georgia-Russia conflict.
American airbase was deployed in the Manas airport in the capital Bishkek in 2001 to participate in antiterrorist operations in Afghanistan.
Kyrgyz political scientist Mars Sariev says that Kyrgyzstan will be soon forced to show its geopolitical priorities and make a decision over American airbase as its closest ally, Russia, is in state of war and being severely criticized by the United States for heavy assault on Georgia.
He warned that positions of superpowers have become more rigid and Kyrgyz leadership should be prepared for a much complicated geopolitical maneuvering.
Shanghai Cooperation Organization has been pressing hard on President Kurmanbek Bakiev to announce withdrawal of the American airbase. Although Bakiev promised to resolve the issue, he never demanded on closure of the base.
Washington pays around 17,5 million US dollars in rent for dislocation of nearly 1,000 troops in Manas Airport.
Kyrgyzstan is also a member of the Collective Security Treaty Organization dominated by Russia. The CSTO charter states that aggression against one member state is understood as aggression against all CSTO member states, which allows organization to carry out joint actions.
“This is not a conflict between Ossetins and Georgians, this is a proxy war between United States and Russia, we have to understand that and act accordingly, that is in line with our SCO and CSTO obligations,” Mars Sariev told to the AKIpress news agency.
Sariev also noted that Russia is alarmed at the zeal of Georgia and Ukraine to join NATO, while the West is concerned about its positions in the energy rich Central Asia.
“We [Central Asia] could easily be caught between the two fires as now Georgia and South Ossetia. This is why our political elites have to evaluate carefully each step they are taking as it will be crucial,” Sariev concluded.