Saturday, June 18, 2005
Put this one in "watch this space" file:
The US base in Uzbekistan has gradually started to move out after bilateral relations have deteriorated over the Andijan unrest, during which 173 people died according to official estimates. Human rights organizations put the number of dead as about 1,000.Wouldn't be a bad outcome overall. See here for an interesting perspective on diverging American and Russian policies towards Uzbekistan.
Planes, personnel, and equipment from the Hanabad airbase have been shifted to Afghanistan and Kyrgyzstan following Uzbek President Islam Karimov administration's "restrictive" attitude as retaliation against Washington's call for an independent international commission to investigate the unrest. The US base might be completely closed within the next months, it is claimed, following negotiations between US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice and Kyrgyz officials about the crisis. Some observers argue that the US administration might "facilitate" a possible velvet revolution by further increasing the pressure on Tashkent.