Friday, April 09, 2010

Could Some Kyrgi's Write this Blog and Tell us about Your homeland today????

Kyrgyzstan NOTES this Week

The USA seems to be slow at helping or supporting any side in the recent political turmoil in Kyrgyzstan. On the one hand, the USA has a vested interest in the semi-deposed despot. The DOD would love to keep its military bases in Kyrgyzstan, especially with a big fight shaping up in summer 2010 due to the recent military increases by the USA and NATO—as well as due to the disappointing recovery of Taliban allies over the past few years.

I have also heard various conflicting reports over the last few days. I do hope positive and just reforms come from all of this.

I’d like to hear some Kyrgi’s indicate what they think and perceive to be happening in their homeland.

I do know that the majority of Kyrgis are Muslim (about 75% ethnically) but almost 20% are also Russian Orthodox or other faiths, including Buddhist. I think that we need to hear more about the real lives of these people, who have been ignored by the West for too long.

Please make some comments if you are Kyrgi or have been there.

DEMOCRACY NOW says today:

Kyrgyz President, Opposition Claim Control of Gov’t
In Kyrgyzstan, the deposed president Kurmanbek Bakiyev says he remains in office despite his forced departure from the capital Bishkek. Bakiyev fled after opposition groups seized several government buildings amidst a crackdown that killed seventy-five protesters and wounded thousands more. The opposition has declared an interim government. In Washington, State Department spokesperson P.J. Crowley said the US isn’t taking sides in the conflict.
State Department spokesperson P.J. Crowley: “There is a president who has not yielded power. There is an interim leadership that claims to be in charge of the government. We are talking to both. It’s not for us to take sides, one way or the other. Our interest here is with the people of Kyrgyzstan and a peaceful resolution of the situation.”
It’s unclear if the turmoil in Kyrgyzstan will affect the US military base there. Kyrgyz opposition groups have called for the terms of the base deal to be reevaluated. The Manas base has been a vital supply hub for the US occupation of Afghanistan.

24 PRESS CLUB says today:
Presidents of Russia and USA refused idea to make joint statement about situation in Kyrgyzstan

Presidents of Russia and USA Dmitry Medvedev and Barak Obama refused idea to make joint statement about situation in Kyrgyzstan. The foreign informational sources report.
Leaders of USA and Russia discussed situation in Kyrgyzstan at meeting in Prague, April 8. «We talked about mutual interests and security in Kyrgyzstan», resumed Michael McFaul. By his words the question about situation in Kyrgyzstan was raised by Dmitry Medvedev. Heads of governments exchanged information about leaders of opposition and discussed the current regime in the country.
«It is indicative that both Moscow and Washington are common in underlining illegal features in the current situation but their approaches to resolving crisis are quite different», MidEast.RU reports. «Barak Obama and Dmitry Medvedev refused idea to make joint statement after discussion the situation in Kyrgyzstan».
Accordingly to different sources, the Russian side will stimulate Bishkek to close American Transit Center. As Reuters reports, one of high standing member of Russian delegation in Prague anonymously said the only one military base should be in Kyrgyzstan – Russain. American official sources admit that there were resistance between Moscow and Washington concerning military presence in KR but today sides is interested in stability.
Barak Obama administration has also voiced its position about American Transit Center. Thus, Michael McFaul said that they would like to keep the Center in «Manas».
Yesterday the head of Provisional Government Roza Otunbaeva announced that American base will keep its status quo. Earlier leaders of opposition were displeased by position of USA to political regime of Bakiev. It is remarkable that new government sent first delegation for talks to Moscow. This can be served as possible revision of external policy of Bishkek.

OSCE reported yesterday:

The OSCE Chairperson-in-Office, Kazakhstan's Secretary of State and Minister of Foreign Affairs Kanat Saudabayev, announced today that he has dispatched his Special Envoy, Zhanybek Karibzhanov, to Kyrgyzstan.
Karibzhanov is Deputy Speaker of the Majilis (lower house of Parliament) of Kazakhstan, Chairman of the Kazakh-Kyrgyz inter-parliamentary group and a former Kazakh ambassador. Karibzhanov is expected to arrive in Kyrgyzstan shortly.
Saudabayev also announced that Ambassador Herbert Salber, Director of the OSCE Conflict Prevention Centre in Vienna, will travel to Bishkek to support Karibzhanov.
"I express my deepest condolences over the loss of lives during the unrest, and urge the people of Kyrgyzstan to refrain from violence and seek stabilization of the situation as soon as possible through a broad dialogue," said Saudabayev.
Earlier today, Kanat Saudabayev spoke on the phone with UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, who is scheduled to address the OSCE Permanent Council in Vienna today. Both officials expressed their deepest concern about the situation in Kyrgyzstan.
Saudabayev and Ban agreed to closely co-ordinate their efforts regarding Kyrgyzstan, and also agreed that Karibzhanov and the UN Special Envoy, Jan Kubis, would co-ordinate their activities on the ground in Bishkek.

BUSINESS WEEK said today:
The U.S. air base in Kyrgyzstan has resumed regular operations after unrest in the former Soviet republic limited flights temporarily, according to a U.S. military spokesman.
“The base has returned to normal flying ops today,” Major John Redfield, a spokesman for the U.S. Central Command, said in an e-mail.
The U.S. air base at Manas International Airport near the capital, Bishkek, is a major transit point for U.S. supplies and troops into Afghanistan. Pentagon spokesman Bryan Whitman told reporters in Washington yesterday that rioting in the capital had forced the base into “limited operations.”
Last month about 50,000 troops passed through Manas on their way in and out of Afghanistan. It’s the only U.S. base in Central Asia, outside of those in Afghanistan.
Looters rampaged through Bishkek for a second night after the opposition seized power in riots that left at least 75 dead. An interim government formed by Bakiyev’s former foreign minister, Roza Otunbayeva, claims control of the northern half of the country, where both the U.S. and Russia have air bases.
Kyrgyz President Kurmanbek Bakiyev, forced to flee the capital during riots two days ago, said today he’s consolidating control in the south of the former Soviet republic and hopes to avoid a civil war.
U.S. National Security Adviser James Jones today said the Obama administration is still discussing whether to recognize the new government in Bishkek.
“We’ll just have to wait and see how it plays out,” he told reporters. “Obviously Manas is a very important air base for our operations in Afghanistan.”

OPEN DEMOCRACY wrote yesterday:

How should we interpret the current disturbances in Kyrgyzstan?
Should we be requiring that power be handed on democratically? Bakiev’s government came to power by a route that was far from democratic.

Do the people have an inherent right to rise up against the government? There is no such real entity as the people, but there are minorities who manage at a particular time to grab the initiative.
Fyodor Lukyanov focused his recent analysis of colour revolutions particularly on Kyrgyzstan. He considers that what we are now witnessing is the end of the era of stability in Central Asia.
When Kurmanbek Bakiev seized power in the “tulip revolution”, he abandoned the post-Soviet system of checks and balances. He got rid of any of his revolutionary supporters who showed signs of independent thinking and operated on the divide and rule principle (which, in its own small way, suggests an analogy with Stalin). Pressure on the media and NGOs increased significantly: access to websites was limited, people were beaten up and murdered. Power became even more concentrated the hands of the president and his relatives than under Askar Akayev. But just as we might have started to regret Akayev, the ex-president made yet another stupid remark, a timely reminder of how things really were under his rule.
Akayev was smart enough to avoid saying that the latest version of sovereign democracy – consultative democracy – was the peak of political creativity, though actually imprisoning members of the opposition, pressure on the media, etc, started in his time. He had the good sense to leave the country at the right time. Bakiev, on the other hand, has returned to his home territory in the south, so there is a danger he may think that all is not lost. He may start exploiting the North and South division (the new “revolution”, unlike the last one, began in the North).
Clearly the problem is not just Bakiev himself. The desire to simplify the political system seems to be unavoidable in countries where it’s not yet well established. Kyrgyzstan’s new government must stop the violence and bring order to the streets. But it then needs urgently to reform the political system in such a way that it cannot be reduced to a mere vertical of power.
Boris Lvin has raised in his blog the question as to whether Kyrgyz politicians are considering changing from a presidential to a parliamentary system. It would perhaps be more realistic to hope for a parliamentary-presidential system – compare the experience of Poland and Ukraine as opposed to Belarus before Lukashenko.
The nature of the deal to be negotiated with Bakiev and his circle is crucial. It must function as a precedent: future rulers must not feel they are above the law, but should also not fear the hand-over of power.
The more complex questions are how to create a functioning economy in Kyrgyzstan and how to construct relations within the big triangle (USA, China and Russia) and with its neighbours.
Russian government reaction indicates that they are hoping for good relations with the new Kyrgyz government. There’s bound to be some “ducking and weaving”, as there was in the Bakiev and Akayev periods, but what should be avoided is the way loyalty is sold lock, stock and barrel each time there’s a change of government.
Even if Russia and the USA were prepared to be less heavy-handed in their relationship with the country, it's far from certain that China will be prepared to do so.
Russia's president and prime minister have shown great understanding in their comments on the situation in Kyrgyzstan. Dmitri Medvedev noted that the protest suggests quite how discontented the people are with their government. Vladimir Putin said straight away "what goes on in Kyrgyzstan is their own business. But I appeal to the government and the opposition to show restraint and not resort to violence… Especially, of course, the government, as they control the organs of repression." He also said: "When President Bakiev came to power, he criticised the deposed President Akayev for nepotism very harshly. I have the impression that Bakiev is making the same mistake."
Putin's words apply equally to the situation in Russia and should not be used to back up government media propaganda and the financing of anti-Orange projects.
It seems odd to sympathise with revolutions, when the masses will inevitably resort to violence in expressing their discontent. But this is no justification for unprovoked violence by the state and its unwillingness to listen. A government that lives by the gun will fall by the gun. And that cannot be very productive.

BBC said yesterday:

Opposition leaders say they have taken control of security, state television and various government buildings
Opposition leaders in Kyrgyzstan today declared that they had seized power and had taken control of security headquarters, state television and various government buildings.
The declaration came a day after riot police shot dead at least 60 people and protesters attempted to storm the main government building in the capital, Bishkek.
The opposition leader, Roza Otunbayeva, called for President Kurmanbek Bakiyev to resign and said she planned to run an interim government for six months to draft a new constitution for the central Asian state.
Speaking in Bishkek’s ransacked parliament building this morning, Otunbayeva said Bakiyev was currently in the south of the country and had apparently taken refuge in the town of Jalal-Abad. Asked whether the new government had plans to arrest him, she said: “He should resign. His business is finished in Kyrgyzstan.”
She went on: “You can call what happened here a popular uprising or a revolution. In essence people were simply fed up with the previous regime, and with its repressive, tyrannical and abusive behaviour. They want to build democracy here.”
Otunbayeva, a former foreign minister, said the country’s security service and interior ministry were under the full control of the new coalition government, made up of several opposition leaders. No decisions had been made over the future of the US airbase at Manas, near Bishkek, she said, which the opposition had said it wanted to close.
According to Otunbayeva, 60 people were killed yesterday and 300 injured when protesters tried to storm the main government building in the centre of Bishkek.
Today the building was on fire, with thick black smoke pouring out of its upper floors. Hundreds of looters gathered in the grassy forecourt surrounding the White House building. The burnt-out shells of several trucks and a tractor lay next to smashed-in railings.
Despite the new regime’s claims that it was in control of events, there was no sign today of police or security forces, who appeared to be in hiding. Instead, large crowds milled around the capital’s Soviet-era boulevards. Dozens of shops had been looted. Several burned out cars littered the pavements.
This afternoon looters were busy stripping a yellow-painted mansion belonging to Bakiyev’s son Maxim, one of several family members who occupied prominent positions in the deposed government. Several were digging up shrubs and small fir trees. One man was wrestling with a piece of drain-piping.
Close to the main government building, the prosecutor general’s office in Bishkek had been completely gutted. Drunken youths roamed around inside, smashing windows with table-legs and steel bars. At the parliament building demonstrators threw portraits of Bakiyev out onto the street.
Russia’s prime minister, Vladimir Putin, today promised the new interim government assistance and moral support. The Kremlin had been frustrated with the previous Bakiyev regime, which it believed had fallen under US influence. US plans to build a new anti-terrorism centre in the south of the country had also concerned Moscow.
US officials will hold a meeting shortly with the new government to discuss the Manas base, a key staging point for the US military’s operations in Afghanistan.
The US national security council spokesman, Mike Hammer, said yesterday: “We are monitoring the situation closely. We are concerned about reports of violence and looting and call on all parties to refrain from violence and exercise restraint.”
Today protesters said they had been driven on to the streets by recent steep price hikes to communal services such as water and electricity. The hikes had been the last straw in a country already wrestling with huge unemployment and widespread poverty. They said police and snipers had opened fire on innocent civilians, killing them in cold blood.
The uprising began in several provincial cities on Tuesday and then spread yesterday morning to Bishkek when around 200 people gathered outside the offices of the main social democratic opposition parties.
The demonstrators dodged attempts by police to stop them and marched towards the centre of the city, setting fire to police cars and blockading the road.
Bakiyev – who came to power in 2005 on the back of the pro-democratic Tulip revolution – arrested several opposition figures on Tuesday. But the move was insufficient to stop the wave of anti-government protests.
The previous prime minister, Daniyar Usenov, resigned yesterday, with a new opposition-led cabinet formed in the early hours of this morning.

DEMOCRACY NOW said yesterday:

Opposition Claims Control of Kyrgyzstan Following Deadly Clashes
Opposition groups say they’ve taken control of the Kyrgyzstan government after a day of violent unrest that left at least forty people dead and more than 400 wounded. On Wednesday, Kyrgyz police fired on demonstrators as they stormed government buildings in the capital Bishkek. A medical worker in Bishkek said hospitals were overrun with victims.
Medical worker: “At this moment, we are getting massive amounts of injured with shotgun injuries. We are helping as much as we can and sending some people to other clinics. It is difficult. We can’t help them all, because there are masses of them.”
As the protests grew, Kyrgyz President Kurmanbek Bakiyev fled the capital for a southern city. Opposition groups took over several government buildings and now say they’ve begun forming an interim cabinet. Opposition leader Roza Otunbayeva said Bakiyev is no longer the Kyrgyz President.
Roza Otunbayeva: “We want to locate him, and we want to negotiate with him, negotiate just regarding the resignation, not about other things, and to appeal, like now, [inaudible] appeal that he should resign. His business is finished in Kyrgyzstan. And so all those people who have been killed and who got wounds, they are victims of this regime.”
US Suspends Flights at Kyrgyz Military Base
The Pentagon says it’s suspended flights at the US-controlled Manas military base inside Kyrgyzstan. The unrest could pose a long-term challenge to US control of the base. Kyrgyz opposition activists have criticized the Obama administration for remaining largely silent on alleged fraud and other abuses in Kyrgyzstan since the Kyrgyz government reversed a move to close Manas last year. The base has been vital to the US occupation of Afghanistan.



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