Against whom are we friends?

Are conflicts in the region possible?

(Continued from # 14(432) )


ALMATY, Feb 24

(Specially for


The southern border of the Russian Empire was formed in the result of the division of the territory supervised by the Kokand Khanate, Kashgar hodjas and the state of Yakubbek situated between Russia and China that was governed by the Manchjur dynasty Tsin. China, following the millenium tradition of the country, considers itself the successor of not only Tsin dynasty, but also Tsin-Jungars who once captured a vast territory of modern Kazakhstan and southern Siberia, as well as Kyrgyzstan and Uzbekistan. On the other hand, not only Uzbekistan may pretend on heritage of the Kokand Khanate. I have mentioned before the Turkmenistan�s possible dilemma. In 1998 the Talibs, concerning the Kokand Khanate declared ideas on historical justness and liberation of Samarkand and Bukhara. However, for the time being it is not quite clear how much these slogans prove the existence of a long-term program.

... the Kazakhstani Minister of Defense announced the south of Kazakhstan the zone of a potential military conflict

Unlike other Central Asian countries, Tashkent is comparatively active, and historically more literate subject in Central Asia � in a wide geographical meaning of this term, it makes respect itself and evaluate its position. The latter is positive for the region by a number of its parameters and meets the Russia�s secrete strategic conception on protection of southern borders from Muslimanization. Tashkent, at least secretly participated in the Afghan war from the very beginning, supporting some Afghan leaders from both ethnical Uzbeks and Tajiks. Now its role and regional authority increased.

The new Central Asian countries like to talk about strategic calls and geopolitical tasks, though they forget that Central Asia is a significantly wider term than �Central Asia and Kazakhstan�. In fact it is the new term of the period of �Russian Turkistan� and the Soviet time. At present there are significantly more heroes than somebody wished. Amorphous and proclaimed regional structures of the former Soviet republics have to consider such reality and events that have ancient precedents known in the 19th century as �Big policy� and �Big game� in the region. In this light Central Asia is again transforming into a polygon, where interests of different countries collide.

Central Asia seems not to be ready for this. For all these countries, strategic calls are first of all further troubles. In the present it is unlikely that the conflict situation may be settled painlessly.

Not only Vakhabits and Talibs, but also the reconnaissance of those states that have their own geopolitical interests in the �Big game� in Central Asia are eager to examine the ability of the regional security bodies in the Central Asian states and their neighbors to cooperate. Special services of some countries are logically able to cooperate integrally in this field. But the most significant thing is that the estimation of each other�s forces in the regional competition is important for potential �victims of terrorists� themselves. Anyhow, the attack to Kyrgyzstan conducted from Uzbekistan� One of the results was the organizing of frontier patrol in the Kazakhstani and Uzbekistan borders, �holding up� of agreement on mutual acknowledgment of CIS visas. At first Uzbekistan announced that, then Kazakhstan. That also caused stirring up of the problem of disputable borders in Central Asia (Sary-Agash and Pahta-Aral regions, the Fergana Valley, and the Mangyshlak may be the next one). Near Sary-Agash Uzbek frontier troops have fired at Kazakhstanis and beaten them. The belated response was the declaration of the defense financing by 20% by Kazakhstan and the next Nazarbaev�s initiative at the meeting of leaders of the CIS countries in Moscow (2000). He proposed to establish the common anti-terrorist defense system. At last, on December 28, 1999 the Kazakhstani Minister of Defense announced the south of Kazakhstan the zone of a potential military conflict. He meant the closest surrounding and the conflict potential of the region, but obviously he did not pay attention to more distant, but nevertheless already important for Central Asia, factors. We do not need to mention China in this regard. Some years ago the U.S.A. and China were at the verge of a significant military conflict and even exchanged nuclear attacks in connection with Taiwan. In Taiwan, according to Bulletin of Atomic Scientists, there was a program on creation of nuclear weapon. The country has the carrier for it � the Sky Horse rocket with the flight length up to 1 to 1.5 thousand miles. The U.S.A. and Canada � only countries that Kazakhstan was permitted to sell plutonium to, supplied plutonium, heavy and light water for nuclear programs of South Korea. From the same countries Taiwan received nuclear rectors, thanks to which it could produce a definite volume of nuclear materials. According to the U.S. Defense Department, North Korea recently tested its carrier. Kazakhstan supplies MIGs to North Korea.

The rocket stroke the point in the Pacific Ocean missing Japan. Israel is second after Russia by the volume of its export of ordinary weapons and blocks to China. On the way to Japan the Russian Minister of Foreign Affairs Ivanov diplomatically visited China at first, where he was symbolically received by the Chinese leader. According to some western analysts, Indian rockets Land-Air-Land Ariana that can carry nuclear weapons, are able to reach Karaganda. At present Pakistan also has nuclear weapons that is competing with India in influence in the region. This region is considered as a perspective integral part of the Islamic space.

The Russian society again rallies around the idea of super-power

According to the U.S. State Department�s prognosis, it is quite possible that in the next 10 to 15 years Iraq and Iran will have �Islamic bombs�, i.e. trumps in the regional policy. The U.S. State Department supposes them to be threatening security of the U.S.A. the regional military cooperation of the new Central Asian states is mainly of a proclaimed character. It still outlines the external border of the USSR defense in the region, though it lacks the main thing � the Russians� military potential. The armies of almost all these countries are destructed. They should hardly count on either the role of the restraining factor and Russia�s disinterested help. For the time being the Russia�s military presence here and cooperation with it are weakening; on the other hand, Russia has its own wider and prospectively � geostrategic interests that are often interpreted as the country�s historical mission. The new generation of pragmatic politicians has come to power. They do not have old complexes, but a lot of vanity and aggressiveness of �young wolves�. we should not expect Russia to be disinterested. Recently Moscow announced the increase of the defense budget half as much again. They approved the Military Policy Doctrine that becomes extremely aggressive: it does not exclude application to nuclear tactical weapons in both ordinary conflicts and as �a political weapon�. Russia reserves to itself the right to be present in those regions where it has strategic interests. It is not difficult to imagine that this will inevitably change parameters of military policies of Central Asian countries and other neighbors: first of all, China, Pakistan, India and later � North Korea, South Korea and Taiwan. It is characteristically that on January 5, 2000 at the parliamentary session of Kazakhstan it was announced that soon they would present the Military Policy Doctrine. We may just guess how realistic it is and if there is a trial to put on a false front and then to settle down. Today we know that Kazakhstani strategists are again based on the fact that Kazakhstan�s participation in big wars is hardly possible and they create �the strategy� for the �internal use�: separatism, terrorism, etc. But these events are always were and still remains at least the pretense for regional conflicts.

The Russian society again rallies around the idea of super-power. This idea has become objectively profitable to the big financial-industrial capital � Russia�s oligarchs. V. Putin explains his military (or regional?) program in a checkers way: to create �a public convenience�, sounding it by rigid terms. A real lobby of �hawks� is growing up in the new Parliament, while any new President to come to power on March 26 will depend on support by these pragmatics. The Russia�s romantic period has ceased. For the welfare of the country.

On midday December 31, 1999 Yeltsin abdicated the power.

In a voluntarily-symbolic way, blessed by the Moscow Patriarch Alexy II, he transferred the power and �the nuclear trunk� to V. Putin and Central Asian leaders grew older by the epoch at once.

The situation of �force vacuum�, indefiniteness and growing chaos in Central Asia is attractive for many countries. Vacuum, undoubtedly, will be filled and the region will take another shape.

Though both Russian and western analysts deny the term �Big game�, they consider the region in connection with the Caucasus-Caspian zone of interests and regional conflicts here may and probably will become international not only due to participating of closest neighbors. The new countries are not sufficiently experienced in negotiating with these neighbors.

... this �multi-vectors� policy of Kazakhstan only strengthened positions and widened the operational field

�Balkanization� of the region does not seem impossible, in this regard.

Recently in the game connected with the oil pipeline project Baku-Ceykhan Georgia demanded 30% for transit of raw materials via its territory. Later Shevardnadze left for Moscow and get some guarantees. Aliev did the same � he went to Turkey, where he was also promised a lot. Moscow blames Georgia and Azerbaijan for supporting Chechen gunmen.

First signs of the changing situation in the Central Asia and the Caucasus region are connected with the production and transportation of hydrocarbon raw materials. They are some countries� orientation to Turkey and Iran; to NATO and the natured dream of entering this block: the so-called GUUAM (Georgia, Uzbekistan, Ukraine, Azerbaijan, Moldova); the Russia�s desire either to restore or to stabilize its position in the Caucasus (the second Chechen war), the growing tension in the relations with Azerbaijan and Georgia; the helpless position of Kazakhstan that is strongly economically and politically dependent on both Russia and the U.S.A., which possess 30% of the oilfields in the region (indirectly supervising and �laying up� the lion�s share of these fields until the moment that is known to only these countries). Kazakhstan is eager to satisfy all players at once, hence, it permanently is in the position of a country that lacks political will and unable to determine and work out political directions independently. Overestimation of its economic, political and intellectual (of the political elite) potential, the Utopian multi-vectors policy made Kazakhstan lose the former strong positions at least in some issues of the regional policy, where it could have played the constructive role, as Kazakhstan does not have any real conception of the policy. There is a commonly accepted and on the whole just opinion that the Orient is extremely ambitious and a sucker for flattery. That is its weakness on which we may count. Of course, innumerous idealistic �initiatives� by Kazakhstan will be favored and even encouraged in a condescending manner until they do not contradict to interests of those countries that follow the real policy.

Naturally, this �multi-vectors� policy of Kazakhstan only strengthened positions and widened the operational field for secondary, but really acting players. It makes Kazakhstan the puppet of the �Big game� leaders. Kazakhstan has seriously undermined its authority even in its natural, moreover � geopolitical ally � Russia�s opinion.

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