Kremlin dismayed after US retains Kyrgyz air base

Bakiyev

Bakiyev

By JOSEPH FITSANAKIS | intelNews.org |
The recent decision by the Kyrgyz government to halt the eviction of US forces from the Manas air base has been hailed as a foreign policy success for the US government, and a rare defeat for Russia’s resurgence. Russian foreign ministry officials admitted earlier this week that the Kyrgyz reversal was a setback for Moscow’s plans and hinted that the Kremlin had been deceived by the government of Kyrgyz President Kurmanbek Bakiyev. As intelNews reported last February, Kyrgyzstan had announced that it would expel US forces from Manas, which experts have described as the “primary logistics hub” for the US military’s operations in Afghanistan. The decision of the Kyrgyz government came soon after it received an unprecedented $2.2 billion in Russian loans and aid. But President Bakiyev changed his mind after the US government agreed to “triple its rent for Manas”, and –it appears— cease its criticism of Kyrgyzstan’s rapidly deteriorating human rights record. Russian newspaper Kommersant quoted Russian officials who admitted that the reversal of the Kyrgyz government’s decision was “a very unpleasant surprise [that] runs counter both to Russia’s interests and to [Russia’s] agreements with the Kyrgyz leadership”. As intelNews has discussed before, government-owned media in Russia have accused the US of using the Manas air base to secretly spy on Moscow and Beijing. Last April, government-owned Telekanal Rossiya aired a documentary which alleged that signals intelligence (SIGINT) is the Pentagon’s primary operational focus at Manas.

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About intelNews
Expert news and commentary on intelligence, espionage, spies and spying, by Dr. Joseph Fitsanakis and Ian Allen.

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