Thursday, March 31, 2005

U.S. Meddling in Kyrgyzstan?

From via The Guardian:
The ousted Kyrgyzstan president, Askar Akayev, last night accused the US of being behind the "anti-constitutional coup" which forced him to flee the country last week, and said he would only resign if given sufficient a guarantee of his personal safety.

In his first interview with the western media since he was driven from the central Asian state he had ruled for 15 years, Mr Akayev said "foreign interference" was "unconditionally an important aspect" in the dramatic events that culminated in his flight last Thursday.

"I think that their influence was prevailing," he said when asked of US government involvement in the mayhem that is becoming known as the daffodil revolution. He added that the opposition was "supported by the [US organizations] the National Democratic Institute, Freedom House, and other organizations ... They were providing training and finance," he said. The US has maintained an airbase near the capital, Bishkek, ever since it persuaded Kyrgyzstan to host its Afghanistan campaign in 2001.
I'll keep my eye on this over the next few days. I'm interested in why the U.S. would intervene in Kyrgyzstan. What strategic importance does Kyrgyzstan hold? Could President Bush's "liberty campaign" be earnest enough that it pushes democracy promotion in unstrategic locales? I don't know. One thing though, Kyrgyzstan is right next to China, so maybe Washington's looking for a proxy in the Dragon's backyard.