Thursday, September 27, 2018

Moscow Looking for Excuse to Intervene Militarily in Central Asia, Baku Blogger Says

Paul Goble

            Staunton, September 26 – A Russian general’s statement this week that ISIS is now activating its “’sleeper cells’” in Central Asia is only the latest in an increasingly large chorus of Moscow comments about the region and the need to do something to counter this Islamist threat before it grows too large.
            In a post for the Turkish Turan Today portal, Baku blogger Amir Eyvaz says that Col. Gen. Andrey Novikov’s remarks reflect what he sees as Moscow’s search for “an occasion to introduce troops” into Central Asia just as it has done already in Syria and Ukraine (

                Moscow wants to ensure that the Central Asian countries do not move even further from its orbit as a result of China-European trade bypassing Russia, expanded cooperation among the five countries of the region, and increasing links with NATO countries including Turkey and the United States, Eyvaz says. But as of now, it has few resources other than military ones to do so.

            Positing a threat from the Islamic State in the region, he continues, works perfectly as a cover for such plans.  “Under the form of a struggle against ‘the khalifate,’ Russia would be able to calmly bomb its geopolitical competitors [as it has been doing in Syria] and destroy integration processes within Central Asia and any expansion of ties with the outside world.”

            By playing up the threat from ISIS to the region, some Central Asian leaders like Kyrgyzstan Deputy Prime Minister Zhenish Razakov are wittingly or unwittingly setting the stage for Russian intervention, something Moscow could more easily do there than it has in Ukraine because Central Asia lacks even the level of support Ukraine has.

            “If Ukraine has in this hybrid war some informational support from Western institutions and powers,” Eyvaz says, “Turkestan [the name for the four Turkic republics of Central Asia] for a variety of reasons cannot count on that kind of support at all.” 

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