Friday May 24, 2013
U.S. Military Base at Mannas, Kyrgystan May Get the BootTim King Salem-News.com
As the main connection point for America's war in Afghanistan, Mannas is of great strategic importance.
(BISHKEK / SALEM) - Kyrgyzstan’s new leaders intend to remove an American military base from their soil. Mannas air base has been the premier air mobility hub for the U.S.-led forces in Afghanistan.
The interim government led by ex-foreign minister Roza Otunbayeva, is on the record saying they want Mannas closed down for security reasons.
Roza Otunbayeva (Russian: Роза Исаковна Отунбаева) is a former foreign minister of Kyrgyzstan. She was declared the head of a provisional government in Kyrgyzstan on 7 April 2010. She assumed control after several riots which led to the ousting of President Kurmanbek Bakiyev.
She heads the parliamentary group of the opposition Social Democratic Party of Kyrgyzstan. The remarks came amid growing uncertainty over whether the new Kyrgyz authorities would allow the U.S. to use the base.
The former Soviet country does have a substantial number of local people working on the base, and there has been a measurable contribution from the U.S. economy above and beyond political deals.
But the image of the U.S. war in Afghanistan is falling fast, and the American presence in Kyrgyzstan has never sat well with Russia, which maintains an air base at Kant, just 20 miles from Mannas.
In fact, America's former Cold War enemy has been keen to block the U.S. military presence in the region, and Moscow has shown increasing concern about the U.S. military’s prolonged presence in the geo-strategically important region.
Otunbayeva has promised a new constitution and a presidential election at some point in the next six months. This is while the opposition has taken power and dissolved the parliament.
As interim President, Roza Otunbayeva is unusual, as few women in politics in Kyrgyzstan. Wikipedia states that she has forged close links with the Kremlin, and is associated with the United Russia party.
Her first conversation after she came to power was with Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin. She is considered to be friendlier toward Moscow than Washington.
For his part, the ousted president Kurmanbek Bakiyev has refused oppositions demands to resign, though protesters in the capital Bishkek have demolished and burned the house of the toppled president.
Press TV reports the opposition's claims of being in full control of the capital, the armed forces and the media. Earlier, the interim government allowed police to use firearms and shoot looters across the Kyrgyz capital.
Wednesday’s unrest that toppled the government claimed at least 75 lives with over 1000 others injured.
Tim holds numerous awards for reporting, photography, writing and editing, including the Oregon AP Award for Spot News Photographer of the Year (2004), first place Electronic Media Award in Spot News, Las Vegas, (1998), Oregon AP Cooperation Award (1991); and several others including the 2005 Red Cross Good Neighborhood Award for reporting. Serving the community in very real terms, Salem-News.com is the nation's only truly independent high traffic news Website. You can send Tim an email at this address: email@example.com
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