Agency WPS
DEFENSE and SECURITY (Russia)
June 1, 2005, Wednesday

CIS: ARMY BROTHERHOOD IS DRAWING ITS LAST BREATH

SOURCE: Nezavisimoye Voyennoye Obozreniye, No 19, May 27 - June 2,
2005, p. 2

by Igor Plugatarev


CIS Headquarters for Coordination of Military Cooperation
(Headquarters) is drawing its last breath. CIS leaders (Russia,
Belarus, Ukraine, Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan, Tajikistan, Armenia,
Georgia, Turkmenistan, Azerbaijan, Moldova, Kyrgyzstan) will meet in
Moscow on June 22-23 and make the final decision, according to
Nikolai Bordyuzha, General Secretary of the CIS Collective Security
Treaty Organization (Armenia, Belarus, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan,
Russia, Tajikistan).

Established in 1992, the headquarters never lived up to expectations.
Military cooperation within the framework of the Commonwealth
deteriorated with each passing year, meetings of defense ministers
became a pure formality. It is clear after all that CIS countries set
military relations with others in accordance with their interests and
not with some structure with vague functions and duties established
in the 1990's. Moreover, military policy of many of these countries
clearly aims at a confrontation with Moscow. Ukraine regularly
generates tension of the Russian Black Sea Fleet which prevents its
speedy integration into NATO. Georgia and Moldova insist on
withdrawal of Russian military contingents from their territories.
Turkmenistan does not even participate in the work of the
Headquarters or CIS Council of Defense Ministers. Uzbekistan prefers
to deal with Russia within the framework of the Shanghai Organization
of Cooperation... The situation being what it is, the work of the
Headquarters was a fiction.

"Bona fide military cooperation and effective interaction between law
enforcement agencies is restricted to the CIS Collective Security
Treaty Organization alone," Bordyuzha said on May 24.

Asked if the CIS Collective Security Treaty Organization was to
become even more active when cooperation between defense ministries
of CIS countries was finally over, Bordyuzha replied that it was.
According to Bordyuzha, the next meeting of defense ministers of
countries of the CIS Collective Security Treaty Organization in June,
will contemplate over 50 issues. They include problems of
peacekeeping, discussion of a mechanism of compilation of the list of
terrorist organizations. Improvement of the personnel training
system. "A great deal of issues have to do with the force element. We
will discuss within its framework plans of coalitionist military
development until 2010," Bordyuzha said.

No new members are to be admitted into the CIS Collective Security
Treaty Organization this time. Observers say that it will be logical
for Uzbekistan to apply for membership but Bordyuzha says that
Tashkent has not submitted its request yet.

As for expansion of the force element of the CIS Collective Security
Treaty Organization, "we are talking about establishment of a major
army group in the Central Asian region. We will discuss it at the CIS
Council of Defense Ministers," to quote Bordyuzha. (There are already
Russian-Belarussian, Western, Russian-Armenian, and Caucasus army
groups within the framework of the CIS Collective Security Treaty
Organization.)

Six defense ministers may also discuss establishment of a new
military base of the CIS Collective Security Treaty Organization. At
the very least, work with public opinion on that score is already
under way. The base may be established in the town of Osh,
Kyrgyzstan.

Bordyuzha ducked the direct question if a base in Osh was to be
established. "Some representatives of former security structures of
Kyrgyzstan suggested the idea, but official Bishkek has not submitted
an application," Bordyuzha said. "We will discuss it if and when it
is submitted."

In fact, the plans to establish a base in Osh were first revealed by
Andrei Kokoshin, Chairman of the Committee for CIS Affairs of the
Duma and ex-secretary of the Security Council. It happened on May 22,
in Osh itself, when the delegation of the Russian parliament was
visiting Kyrgyzstan. According to Modest Kolerov (chief of the
directorate of presidential administration for contacts with foreign
countries who was also in Osh then), establishment of military bases
in Kyrgyzstan was indeed discussed at the Russian lawmakers' meeting
with acting president of the Central Asian republic. Moreover, the
discussion was initiated by acting President Kurmanbek Bakiyev
himself. Sources in Bishkek confirm Bakiyev's words, that he does not
object to establishment of a counter-terrorism center in Kyrgyzstan
on the basis of the CIS Collective Security Treaty Organization or
any other structure.

Russian military experts view Bakiyev's offer as quite logical.
Colonel Anatoly Tsyganok, Director of the Center of Military
Forecasts, says that because of the lack of stability on the
territory between Kokand, Ferghana, Namangan, and Andizhan, the
Russian-Kyrgyz counter-terrorism center could closely cooperate with
the army group of the Uzbek East District that controls the situation
in the Ferghana Valley but that cannot hope to come with a rebellion
or another color revolution. At first, however, the experts suggests
the use of the Russian peacekeeper brigade of the Volga-Urals
Military District. "It will be great from the point of view of public
relations," Tsyganok said. "On the request from Bishkek and Tashkent,
capitals of the countries that are members of the Shanghai
Organization of Cooperation, Russian peacekeepers are deployed to
assist Kyrgyz and Uzbek border guards, to maintain order, and divide
the warring sides... It will be even possible to involve the CIS
Collective Security Treaty Organization at a later date."

As for the Kyrgyz population's attitude towards the possibility of
return of the Russian military, Russian Consul Yuri Ivanov says that
the locals do not object. "The officials and men in the streets I
talked to cannot wait to see the Russian military back," the diplomat
said. "The widespread opinion is that it will only benefit the
republic." There was a transit base in Osh not long ago used to ship
consignments to the Russian group of border guards and 201st
Motorized Infantry Division in Tajikistan.

Sources in the secretariat and bodies of the CIS Collective Security
Treaty Organization say that "as they say, there is something to
establish the base in Osh on. There is good military infrastructure
there, a military airfield near the civilian one capable of receiving
small transport planes..."

According to what information Nezavisimoye Voyennoye Obozreniye has
compiled, Kyrgyz army has a substantial group in Osh at this point.
The matter concerns the 1st Separate Brigade of Mountaineers (1,400
men, 108 fighting vehicles, 36 artillery pieces and mortars) and the
3rd Antiaircraft Artillery Brigade (almost 300 men, 30 S-60 57 mm
artillery pieces, 30 100 mm antiaircraft pieces, and 4 antiaircraft
mobile Shilkas). Command of the 1st Border Detachment is quartered in
Osh too. A subdivision of the CIS Counter-Terrorism Center is located
in Bishkek itself.