Yesterday, the government of the central Asian nation of Kyrgyzstan announced that it won’t be renewing the leasing agreement with the United States for the use of military bases there – ending the odd arrangement of being the only country in the world that was hosting both American and Russian military bases at the same time.
One can speculate if the domestic political situation here was a factor, but the Reuters reporter who filed the above-cited story sure didn’t have any qualms about it:
The decision by a traditional Russian ally in Central Asia sends a tough signal and challenge to new U.S. President Barack Obama as he plans to send additional troops to Afghanistan.
That obviously creates difficulties for any planned “surge strategy” in Afghanistan; but it also represents a choosing-of-sides by the Kyrgyz government.
And today, there is this:
7 Ex-Soviet Nations to Form Rapid Reaction Force
Seven former Soviet republics including Russia will form a joint rapid reaction force, President Dmitry Medvedev said Wednesday.
President Dmitry Medvedev said Russia, Armenia, Belarus and four Central Asian nations — Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan and Uzbekistan — had reached the agreement to form a new security force during a summit of the Moscow-dominated Collective Security Treaty Organization on Wednesday.
The force would add a military dimension to the Moscow-dominated alliance, which so far has served mostly as a forum for consultations.
“We all have agreed on the need” for the force, Medvedev said, but he did not give details of how the force would be composed.
The Russians are in a big hurry (for reasons I’ve stated elsewhere). And they sense weakness….