Saturday, 24 April 2010

US backed corrupt despot

THE USA ignored corruption and human rights abuses in Kyrgyzstan so it could hold on to its military base there.

This was the picture to emerge from a US Congress hearing this week, amidst speculation that the new Kyrgyz regime would be forced by public pressure to kick out the Americans.

On April 7, the capital of Bishkek erupted in massive riots, eventually forcing President Kurmanbek Bakiyev, who took over power during the so-called Tulip Revolution in 2005, to flee the country.

Reports RT: "A panel of experts told the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform that the United States ignored corruption and human rights abuses in Kyrgyzstan in order to keep its basing privileges in Manas, a logistical hub for supplying troops and weapons in Afghanistan.

"Baktybek Abdrisaev, a former Kyrgyz ambassador to the United States, told the Congressional panel that Washington must prove that Kyrgyzstan means more to it than simply being ''the Manas Transit Center'.

"Abdrisaev suggested that the status of the Manas air base will become a major issue in the Kyrgyz presidential election, which is scheduled for October. He added that a number of candidates 'will campaign on an anti-base platform'."

RT also quotes another speaker at the Congressional hearing - Alexander Cooley, associate professor at Barnard Collage and Open Society Institute Global Fellow - who said the popular perception amongst the Kyrgyz people was that the US supported the authoritarian rule of the deposed Bakiyev.

“Despite the intentions of US base commanders or the US Embassy in Bishkek, the perception among the Kyrgyz public and the political opposition was that the United States supported the authoritarian and corrupt rule of Bakiyev in order to maintain access to Manas,” Cooley said.