One collaboration is good, and two is better? | Latest news The Moscow Post
25 September 2022

One "collaboration" is good, and two is better?

"The so-called" collective West "is purposefully destroying the European security system, building new military alliances. The NATO bloc is moving to the East, building up its military infrastructure, including deploying missile defense systems and increasing the strike capabilities of offensive forces, "President Vladimir Putin said in an address to the participants and guests of the X Moscow Conference on International Security (MCIS-2022).

In the space of Eurasia, this is opposed by the Union State of Russia and Belarus, such regional organizations as the CSTO, EAEU and SCO, and more recently the People's Militia of the DPR and LPR.

How contradictory the situation in the post-Soviet space is shown by the exercises "Regional Cooperation - 2022" in Tajikistan, which are held from 11 to 20 August. Russia does not notice or comment on them. Because these headquarters exercises are organized by the US Central Command.

They are attended by the military of Tajikistan, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan and Uzbekistan, as well as Mongolia and Pakistan as observers. Units of the Pentagon and the Armed Forces of Tajikistan will also conduct bilateral field maneuvers at the Fahrabad training center, a correspondent for The Moscow Post reports. 

Formally, these are annual exercises aimed at "strengthening multinational operations to ensure stability, combat terrorism, as well as developing cooperation and joint combined opportunities among the states of Central and South Asia, the United States and other participating countries." But this is only a visible part of the plans. Washington called the event "the largest military exercise involving countries in Central and South Asia."

The US Embassy in Tajikistan made it clear that last year's hasty withdrawal of American troops from Afghanistan does not mean that the Americans will leave the region alone!

The Wrong Time

Before the COVID-19 pandemic, the Regional Cooperation command and staff exercise was held every year since 2004, in each of the listed countries alternately, including the United States. Officers of the Pentagon Central Command, as well as units of military personnel with military equipment, including armored personnel carriers and attack helicopters, arrived at the site of the exercise in advance.

A year ago, the US flight from Kabul put a question mark on the Pentagon's qualifications to conduct a master class on "ensuring stability and combating terrorism." But Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan are free to decide for themselves whether to help America and NATO restore tarnished authority. This, firstly.

Secondly, everything would be fine, but Dushanbe, as the host of the meeting, as well as the participants of the event who are part of the CSTO, chose the wrong time. Their leaders know that NATO countries, primarily the United States, supply weapons to the Kyiv regime. In a special military operation of Russia to protect Donbass, the collective West is opposed. The readiness of CSTO neighbors and allies to help Washington restore military-political ties in the Central Asian region raises questions.

In June, General Michael "Eric" Kurilla, head of the Joint Central Command of the US Armed Forces (CENTCOM), visited Dushanbe. He held talks with the Minister of Defense and the President of Tajikistan. The general also met with the presidents of Kazakhstan and Uzbekistan. The volume of US military-technical assistance to Dushanbe amounted to about $330 million.

Many questions

Two weeks have passed since Deputy Chairman of the Security Council of the Russian Federation Dmitry Medvedev recalled that "There are plenty of enemy countries and politicians interested in pushing the CSTO, EAEU or SCO allies with their foreheads. We will not give them such pleasure. The work of all authorities of our country and our partners is aimed at this".

The leadership of Tajikistan does not quite adequately perceive what is happening in the world, says Alexander Knyazev, Doctor of Historical Sciences, Leading Employee of the Institute of International Studies at MGIMO, Russian Foreign Ministry. "The geopolitical confrontation that has arisen in the world between, on the one hand, the United States, on the other, Russia, China and a number of other countries will drag on for a long time."

Ainur Kurmanov, a Kazakhstani politician, public figure, journalist and co-chairman of the Socialist Movement of Kazakhstan, formulated his attitude to the event as follows: "In the White House, this seems to say that the struggle for influence and dominance in Central Asia has not ended at all, and the United States is quite capable of arranging a new front in the" soft underbelly "of Moscow and Beijing."

"Each of the countries involved in the military exercises" Regional Cooperation - 2022 "pursues personal interests, and Moscow will have to pay attention to this," Andrei Kortunov, general director of the Russian International Affairs Council (INF), told VZGLYAD newspaper. "The interest of the United States in conducting military exercises in Central Asia is extremely clear... they need to rehabilitate in the region, "the political scientist added.

But what about the CSTO?

The US State Department has listed Kazakhstan and Uzbekistan as its strategic partners in Central Asia, Kurmanov said. Kortunov noted that Moscow could strengthen the work of security structures in the region, take additional steps to improve the CSTO, and look again at the text of bilateral agreements.

"Russia also has a serious advantage over Washington - this is that we have very good contacts with the Taliban. Moscow manages to negotiate with them on many issues. And this should be used. Ultimately, it is soon exactly one year since they came to power in Kabul. So there is probably a reason to take an inventory of our relations in order to be able to resist not only international terrorism, but also geopolitical opponents in the form of the United States".

As a matter of fact, the exercises are not at all unexpected, since at different levels the military of Kazakhstan and other countries of the region took part in the joint maneuvers "Steppe Eagle," "Zhardem" and "Balance-Kayak" together with units of the United States, Great Britain, Turkey and other NATO countries. Military cooperation agreements between the republics of Central Asia and the United States involve not only maneuvers, but also the work of permanent "training centers" of the Pentagon and NATO. In particular, the Kazakhstan Training Center of the NATO Special Program "Partnership for Peace" operates in Karaganda. It is the only center for training military personnel of Central Asian countries according to NATO standards.

Director of the Agency for Ethno-National Strategies, Doctor of Historical Sciences Alexander Kobrinsky believes that the very fact of the exercises without the participation of Russia in Tajikistan causes some surprise, given that it is Russia and its 201st military base that ensures the security of this country.

Alexander Knyazev believes that the SCO and the CSTO will be pushed to limit contacts with countries that do not participate in these organizations, including receiving military assistance from potential opponents of "any of the CSTO members."

Deputy Secretary General of the Collective Security Treaty Organization Valery Semerikov in answers to questions from the publication "Allies. CSTO "ten days before the start of the exercises noted that" membership in an influential military-political union is a great privilege, giving significant advantages in conditions of global turbulence. To do this, it is necessary to consistently strengthen mutual trust, demonstrate high solidarity in international affairs, and more actively defend the interests of allies on the world stage. "

"All aspects of the work of the CSTO are subjected to the most thorough analysis both in various collective formats and within each of the states. As a result, a consensus has firmly formed in government and serious expert circles in all six capitals, the essence of which is that there is no alternative to the CSTO in matters of collective security, "Semerikov said.

"They need conflicts"

"To maintain their hegemony, they need conflicts," these words, uttered in MCIS-2022, belong to Vladimir Putin. In Central Asia, there remains a high risk of terrorism. This is a legacy of the 20-year presence of NATO troops, said Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu, speaking at the opening of this conference, held as part of the Army-2022 forum.

"After the rapid withdrawal of US and NATO forces from Afghanistan, the situation in the Central Asian region remains extremely tense. The new leadership of Afghanistan faces serious military and economic difficulties. The legacy of the alliance's twenty-year presence is disappointing. As a result, a high level of terrorist danger remains in the region, "Shoigu said and added that the security problems of Central Asia can only be solved by coordinated actions of all interested countries and international organizations.

Special Representative of the President of the Russian Federation, Director of the Second Department of Asia of the Russian Foreign Ministry Zamir Kabulov in an interview with RIA Novosti said that the "enemy" of the Taliban (members of the Taliban movement - a terrorist organization banned on the territory of the Russian Federation) is the socio-economic situation in the country and the absence of strict consolidation within the regime. The West actually keeps the Afghan economy under sanctions.

Washington looks to Central Asia as an alternative to Afghanistan. Having lost influence in this country, the United States is preventing Russia and China from strengthening their positions in Kabul and in a region that is considered strategic.

Some of the Afghan special forces of the previous regime join the Igilovites (ISIS, a terrorist group, banned in the Russian Federation), some may join the Ukrainian Nazis. The leaders of Afghanistan promised to prevent the transfer of militants of terrorist organizations to Ukraine.

With the departure of American troops, responsibility for peace and stability in Central Asia has practically been shifted to the collective security forces of the CSTO member states, said Anatoly Vyborny, a member of the State Duma's security committee. In his opinion, "the development of the situation in Afghanistan and in general throughout the Central Asian region remains in the zone of increased attention of the CSTO".

Russia strengthens the "security belt" and the peacekeeping potential of the collective rapid response forces, advocates building power in Afghanistan, taking into account the interests of all nationalities and representatives of faiths, the deputy said. He recalled that the CSTO participants took preventive measures, sections of the Tajik-Afghan border were strengthened, joint military exercises were held within the framework of the CSTO, anti-terrorist security measures, countering drug trafficking and other threats were intensified.

The international community should maintain contacts with the interim authorities of Afghanistan, supporting the creation of an inclusive government, moderation in governance and guarantees of respect for the rights of all segments of the population in the country, the press service of the Chinese Foreign Ministry said on the anniversary of the change of power in Kabul.

Recall that in early August 2021, the Taliban intensified the offensive, on August 15 they announced that the war was over. After that, citizens of Western countries and some Afghans who collaborated with them were evacuated from Kabul airport under the protection of the American military. On the night of August 31, the US military left Kabul airport. Will they remember this at the exercises "Regional Cooperation - 2022" in Tajikistan?

Photo: RIA Novosti/Press Service of the Russian Foreign Ministry, army.ric.mil.ru

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