For the moment, the Pentagon is breathing a sigh of relief. Vital US fuel supply flights from its Manas base to Afghanistan resumed last week even as Kyrgyzstan slid into chaos. At least 171 and possibly as many as 500 have died in rioting in southern Kyrgyzstan this week, almost all ethnic Uzbeks, with thousands injured. More than 80,000 fled to neighbouring Uzbekistan, forcing it to close its borders as it cannot cope with more. On Monday, China began evacuating the majority of its 1000 nationals.
Washington’s success in expanding NATO’s presence throughout the region, crowned by the huge Manas base, has been justified by its “war on terror”, but its real goals are political and economic hegemony. After all, it was the US that funded, trained and parachuted in the Islamic militants that now infest Eurasia, according to the principle: create the problem, provide the solution. Is there any reason to think the US has changed its modus operandi, especially now that it has such easy access to the region?