Afghan War Spreads Corruption Through Central Asia 22

There is still no concerted international response to the violence on Kyrgyzstan, either in terms of peacekeeping or aid to refugees. Sporadic killings continue and much of Osh is burnt out. I have to confess at a grim humour in reading this morning articles in the British media by people who plainly know nothing about it: the Guardian has some prime examples of google and wiki knowledge part digested and regurgitated for sale. Here is my own take yesterday:

Yesterday Maxim Bakiyev, son of the recently ousted Kyrgyz President Kurmanbek Bakiyev, was arrested in the UK when he arrived at Farnboro in a private plane. The interim government of Kyrgyzstan had issued an Interpol warrant for him for corruption. (Note to the police – the “in a private plane” may be a clue).

It is interesting that the specific count of corruption cited relates to Pentagon contracts given to Maxim Bakiyev for the supply of the US airbase in Kyrgyzstan. This appears to be the standard US modus operandi for bribing dictators in Central Asia. In Uzbekistan, the US has given massive supply contracts to dictator’s daughter Gulnara Karimova.

This is yet another ill effect of the Afghan war – the increase in corruption and the personal reward of dictators by the USA. Is the Pentagon exempt from the reach of the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act in the United States?

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22 thoughts on “Afghan War Spreads Corruption Through Central Asia

  • medve

    Even though i use Firefox, i visit (almost) every day. Please do continue to give us the benefit of your knowledge of the region. Unfortunately you are likely to be very right about the evils of corruption, not just in Central Asia, but elsewhere in the world as well.

  • Redders

    What’s wrong with Firefox, I use it and it seems fine.

    I saw, for the first time I think, something about this on the BBC last night. I switched on half way through the report so wasn’t sure what I was watching at first but figured it out.

    Although the causes are unlikely to be broadcast there is at least some coverage although how many more times do we have to watch, impotently, whilst entire communities are violated just to whip up anti ‘whatever’ violent reactions as a precursor to cross border or civil war amongst peaceful countries. NATO or whoever must have had intelligence on all this, it is inconceivable they didn’t. They had intelligence on Kosovo, Darfur and all the rest of the situations that seem to develop to precisely the same model but failed to act. Why do we bother paying NATO to do nothing to stop these atrocities?

  • Sami

    Dear Craig,

    Why do not you add one more category – Kyrgyzstan?

    At least Finnish Minister of Foreign Affairs, Alexander Stubb, is giving message that fast-reaction civil forces to be sent to area are under consideration in EU. Do you have any record of this – realistic? How would you tackle this issue, by priorities?

    Always greatful for your work!

  • Anonymous

    Private deal between Murdoch & the Conservatives *before* the election – watch how this pans out – dumb electorate – Libs self sacrifice.

  • Mark

    Craig- your posts on Central Asia are very illuminating,and this one is no exception. The paucity of comments you receive, as others have pointed out, is no reflection on the quality of the material posted.

    Given the recent arrival here of Maxim Bakiyev,how would you rate the odds on his ‘doing a Berezhovksy’ ie applying for, and promptly obtaining, asylum in the UK ?

  • Fulano

    I’ve always thought the best time to commit an atrocity or massacre was during the World Cup. I’m sure this hasn’t escape unsavoury leaders in Central Asia and elsewhere.

  • Suhayl Saadi

    Oh God, save us. Perhaps someone should fling the book at him. Preferably, Maxim Gorki’s biggest book. Perhaps he’ll buy a football club and take out an option on perma-tan. Next, he’ll be in ‘Hello’ and ‘OK’ magazines.

  • Freeborn

    I thought everyone knew that Maxim Bakiyev was wanted for buying Blackpool football club!

    As I recall it the coverage of Krygyzstan here kicked off with Aljazeera. They’ve obviously got a lot of expertise on this topic! is far and away better on this region than The Guardian or anything cited here. They have a piece on the Manas airbase re-suppliers corruption case.

    Their latest coverage describes the propaganda war being waged by the interim government whose Uzbek enemies accuse it of orchestrating ethnic cleansing across the south.

    Notice the government’s resort to censorship to disarm its opponents.

    Now where have we come across that before?

    ACTED the NGO has a readable piece on resource competition and ethnic coflict around the Ferghana Valley.

    Seems there’s plenty of potential for outside coporations to exacerbate ethnic conflict for their own ends.

    The comparisons with Kosovo and the former Yugoslavia are therefore not without foundation.

  • R4SDHC

    Keep up the good work here. It’s refreshing to read an unbias and accurate opinion that isn’t on the BBC, and it’s a nice way to keep myself informed of what’s going on in central Asia.

  • stephen

    I’ve read your analysis with interest and there is much that ties in with my own understanding. One area which I think you underplay is the Russian involvement in all this.

    The Russians see Kyrgyzstan as very much falling within their sphere of influence, and would like to see the American base removed in due course and a regime installed which sees Moscow very much as its first port of call rather than the axis of the US State Department and IGOs. I suspect that what we are seeing now has been orchestrated not a million miles away from the Kremlin. The Russians are getting increasingly subtle in how they play the game of managing what they see as their client states – and are not above a little bit of the good cop/bad cop routine such as in the Ukraine. I could easily see a situation where the Russians are invited in as the apparent saviours and the present President will have little alternative but to accept full client state status – and my guess is that the Western powers will not bat an eyelid.

  • AllanGreen

    Dear Ambassador,

    You’ve forgotten that it is Medvedev who runs Russia, not Putin.

    Russia applied enormous pressure on Lukashenko for accommodating Bakiev.

    For a former ambassador, such oversight is unpardonable. One would expect the head of the British Delegation to a foreign country to possess the precision presumed for the production of the accurate analysis required of your post.

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