Kazakhstan and Central Asia Defence and Security Report Q4 2011

Top Quote Business Monitor International 's "Kazakhstan and Central Asia Defence and Security Report Q4 2011" is now available at ReportsnReports. End Quote
  • Dallas, TX (1888PressRelease) September 09, 2011 - In very general terms, the security situation across central Asia remained unchanged through mid-2011. Each of the five countries in the region - Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan and Turkmenistan - continues to face a complex array of challenges: ethnic tensions, relating to minorities with (often legitimate) grievances; militant Islam, exacerbated by often low, and more commonly uneven, distributions of income; populations that are growing faster than available resources (particularly water) and; widespread corruption and government inefficiency.

    There is no evidence that any of the countries is approaching a sustainable solution to any of these problems. This is in spite of growing collaboration on border security. Although four of the countries (the exception being Turkmenistan) work together, along with Russia and China, to combat terrorism through the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO - which celebrated its tenth anniversary in June 2011), it is not clear that meaningful progress is being made.

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    Kazakhstan experienced its first suicide bombing. In the face of strong criticism from non-government organisations, the government of Kazakhstan repatriated asylum-seekers from Uzbekistan, who faced charges relating to religious extremism.
    After a seven-month manhunt, Tajik special forces killed the field commander of the United Tajik Organisation in April 2011. Human rights abuses in Turkmenistan caused the postponement of a vote in the European Parliament on a strengthening of links with that country. The report of an independent commission found Kyrgyzstan's government culpable for the ethnic violence against the country's Uzbek minority in 2010, following the downfall of former president Kurmanbek Bakiyev.

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    Although the SCO provides a framework for multi-national military exercises and broad-based cooperation between the member states, it appears that its main roles remain: a coordinated approach to the suppression of Islamic radicals, and; exclusion - or, at least, minimisation - of US involvement in central Asian affairs. As indicated above, success in the first of these objectives remains elusive.

    In respect of the second, the US maintains its presence at Manas Air Base, Kyrgyzstan and is collaborating with Kazakhstan's military. Meanwhile, there are clear signs of dialogue between the Defence Ministry of Kazakhstan and its counterparts in Italy and France - two countries that clearly have the ability to supply complex materiel and systems. Israel's defence industry also sees Kazakhstan as a prospective buyer of equipment.

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