i think it's VERY difficult for any western nation to get involved there - see afghasnistan ..
State Of Emergency Declared After Kyrgyzstan Riots
June 11, 2010
Mobs of armed men torched Uzbek neighborhoods in Kyrgyzstan on Friday in ethnic clashes that officials said left at least 45 people dead and 637 wounded in a Central Asian nation that hosts U.S. and Russian military bases.
The rioting in Osh, the country's second-largest city, is the heaviest violence since former President Kurmanbek Bakiyev was toppled in a bloody uprising in April and fled the country. The unrest also spread to the capital, where armed mobs clashed with police and volunteer militia, according to witnesses.
The intensity of the conflict, which pits ethnic Kyrgyz against minority Uzbeks, appeared to take authorities by surprise and threw the fragile interim government's prospects for survival into doubt.
People argue in the streets of Osh, the second-largest city in Kyrgyzstan, on Friday. Authorities imposed a curfew from 8 p.m. to 6 a.m. until June 20.
Quelling the violence will prove a decisive test of the government's ability to control the country, hold a June 27 vote on a new constitution and go ahead with new parliamentary elections scheduled for October.
Dozens of buildings across Osh were ablaze Friday after witnesses reported sustained gunfire beginning late Thursday. Gangs of young men armed with metal bars and stones attacked shops and set cars alight.
The interim government declared a state of emergency in Osh and some nearby areas and dispatched armored vehicles, troops and helicopters to pacify the situation. Soldiers were posted at routes into the city and at major intersections, but the fighting did not abate. Authorities imposed a curfew from 8 p.m. to 6 a.m. until June 20.
Bakyt Omorkulov, a member of the Coalition for Democracy and Civil Society, a non-governmental organization, said he was patrolling the streets with other volunteers to try to prevent further clashes. He said the troops' presence didn't help stabilize the situation, and more buildings were set ablaze as night fell.
"We don't feel the authorities' presence," he told The Associated Press in a telephone interview. "The military are driving around, but it has no effect whatsoever."
He said the streets were filled with young men brandishing sticks and weapons, adding that Uzbek areas were particularly hard hit by the violence.
"Aravan Street is completely destroyed, dozens of cafes and buildings are burning — it's the same picture in Cheryomushki. It's like being in Chechnya," he told the AP.
Ikram Abdumalitov, who lives in Osh, said earlier in the day that he saw about 1,000 young and armed Kyrgyz men marching toward Uzbek neighborhoods in eastern Osh.
"The Uzbeks are in turn chopping down trees and blocking the road to their neighborhood," Abdumalitov said.
Armed men flooded in from nearby villages to join the fight, a trader in Osh said on condition of anonymity due to the volatile situation.
Many of the injured had been stabbed or shot, Health Ministry spokeswoman Yelena Bailinova said, as she gave the death toll. She said many of those wounded were in grave condition.
A doctor at a hospital in Osh said the death toll could climb sharply because many Uzbeks were too afraid to seek treatment. "All the beds in this hospital are full, but 90 percent of the people being treated are Kyrgyz, because Uzbeks are afraid of the Kyrgyz victims' relatives, who are in an extremely aggressive frame of mind," the doctor said. He spoke on condition on anonymity, as he was not authorized to speak to the media.
Smaller-scale ethnic violence also broke out late Friday in the capital, Bishkek, where a mob of Kyrgyz men attacked and robbed ethnic Uzbeks at a popular bazaar. As night fell, the crowd swelled and clashes with police erupted. Witnesses said busloads of Interior Ministry troops were driven to the market in an attempt to disperse the mob, but they left the scene after a tense and violent standoff. In another part of the city, witnesses saw an armed mob exchanging gunfire with volunteer militia who tried to maintain order.
Interim President Roza Otunbayeva called for a return to calm in an emotional televised address Friday.
"I would like to appeal in particular to the women of Kyrgyzstan. Dear sisters, find the right words for your sons, husbands and brothers. In the current situation, it is unacceptable to indulge in feelings of revenge and anger," she said.
Tensions have long simmered between ethnic Kyrgyz and Uzbek — both Sunni Muslim groups — in Kyrgyzstan's south. In 1990, hundreds were killed in a violent land dispute between the two communities across southern Kyrgyzstan, which borders Uzbekistan.
At a security summit in neighboring Uzbekistan, Chinese President Hu Jintao and Russian President Dmitry Medvedev both expressed concern over Friday's fighting and promised to help Kyrgyzstan, a former Soviet republic of 5 million people, restore order.
"We are really interested in seeing Kyrgyzstan overcome the stage of internal upheaval as quickly as possible and solve the task of forming a modern government capable of tackling acute problems of socio-economic development," Medvedev said.
Bakiyev is believed to be in exile in Belarus, but interim authorities accuse his supporters of trying to foment unrest to undermine their control and derail the upcoming referendum and parliamentary election.
Kyrgyzstan also hosts the Manas U.S. military air base in Bishkek, a crucial support center supplying forces fighting the Taliban in Afghanistan. Bakiyev's government had vowed to close the base last year, but later agreed to let U.S. forces stay after raising the rent to $63 million from $17 million.
In recent weeks, operations at Manas have been hindered by a dispute over the interim government's decision to tax fuel sold to the base. The U.S. military says it has stopped refueling tanker planes at Manas while fuel prices are being renegotiated, but flights to ferry military personnel and supplies to and from Afghanistan have continued.
Kyrgyzstan: At A Glance
GEOGRAPHY: A largely mountainous country in the middle of Asia, a bit smaller than New Zealand or Nebraska, Kyrgyzstan borders China and three other former Soviet republics: Uzbekistan, Tajikistan and Kazakhstan.
POPULATION: About 5 million people; around 65 percent are ethnic Kyrgyz, 14 percent Uzbek, 13 percent Russian. The majority are secular Muslims.
ECONOMY: It is mostly agricultural, and about half the population lives below the poverty line. Remittances sent home from Kyrgyz workers abroad are significant, and plunged during the global recession.
STRATEGIC IMPORTANCE: It is a key supply center for the war efforts against the Taliban in nearby Afghanistan. The U.S. opened an air base in Kyrgyzstan in 2001, and Russia opened an air base in 2003. Kyrgyzstan is also seen as a relatively stable corner in a volatile region.
DAVID GREENE: I think that's really an important point to make as we follow the events down there, Liane. I mean, this area of southern Kyrgyzstan has a long history of ethnic violence. And you actually have to look all the way back to the 1920s when the Soviet government redrew the borders in central Asia and left many ethnic Uzbeks in this southern mountainous region of Kyrgyzstan near the Uzbek border.
And there have been these bursts of ethnic violence. In 1990, we saw even more killings than we've seen today so far. And the Soviet government sent in troops to calm the situation down. So, there is this legacy of ethnic strife. But then you mix in some other elements. This is a very impoverished country. A lot of frustrations with the government and corruption over the past few years.
But the Kremlin appears to be watching this very, very closely and there's going to be a meeting tomorrow with a bloc of former Soviet states that basically formed the equivalent of NATO in this part of the world. They're going to discuss it, consider perhaps sending a peacekeeping force into southern Kyrgyzstan.
And, you know, Liane, Russia has a very serious interest, strategic interest in this country, as does the United States. Both countries have military bases. Russia has always wanted to get rid of the U.S. military base. They feel like this is their sphere of influence. So, if we do see Russian troops going down, it could be an opportunity for Russia to sort of reassert itself and say, we are the military power that deals with problems in this area.
HANSEN: What effect could all of this then have on the U.S. military bases in Kyrgyzstan?
GREENE: Well, it's not clear. I mean, the U.S. government has said they're also watching this closely. They're going to discuss with their European allies whether to do anything. No plans yet to send in U.S. military troops but would be very interesting if both Russia and the United States are sort of dealing with a military challenge in a part of the world that's very important to both of them.
But that military base has been an area of dispute between Russia and the United States for a long time. And if this violence sort of shakes things up, the dynamic could be very different as the United States tries to keep that base. It's a very important base, Liane. A lot of the forces that head into Afghanistan use this as sort of a launching zone, so the United States does not want to lose this base.
The origins of the conflict and goals of the participants were complex and no single cause can accurately be described as the main reason for the fighting.
tribal and global can be a hell of a mess.