Spectacolul ideilor pe hartă

15/iun/2010 În Kîrghîstan, ambele părţi în conflict invită Rusia să se implice

Russia Weighs Pleas to Step In as Uzbeks Flee Kyrgyzstan


(foto: Associated Press) A Kyrgyz soldier directed Uzbek refugees on Monday in Osh, a southern Kyrgyz city, as they waited to cross into Uzbekistan.


OSH, Kyrgyzstan — As four days of ethnic violence in southern Kyrgyzstan threatened to build into a major refugee crisis on Monday, both sides of the conflict were calling on Russia to step in, saying third-party peacekeepers were needed to defuse standoffs between Uzbeks and Kyrgyz.


But an emergency meeting of the Collective Security Treaty Organization, a regional alliance dominated by Russia, ended Monday without a commitment to send in troops, though President Dmitri A. Medvedev called the situation “intolerable” and intimated that troops could be deployed if conditions worsened.

The news coming from Kyrgyzstan was painful: doctors reported that dysentery was spreading among children at makeshift refugee camps, and thousands of victims were too fearful to seek treatment for gunshot wounds. All these elements pose a pointed quandary for Moscow, which said its 2008 military campaign in Georgia was necessary to defend a tiny ethnic minority, the Ossetians, and which has cast the post-Soviet space as its “zone of privileged interests.”

“One would imagine this kind of self-declaration also comes with responsibility,” said Fiona Hill, a scholar at the Brookings Institution in Washington. “They can declare their interests and the right to intervene at the time they choose, but when people ask them to intervene they are much more reluctant.”

Russia is hardly the only stakeholder in Kyrgyzstan, whose poverty is offset by strategic importance. An American military base, Manas, supports the NATO mission in Afghanistan, and for years Moscow and Washington jockeyed for the favor of its former president, Kurmanbek S. Bakiyev, to ensure a military foothold there. Since Mr. Bakiyev was ousted in April, that competition has been replaced by a more cooperative relationship, as well as shared concerns about the stability of the interim government.

American authorities were working to rush humanitarian aid to the region and coordinate any security response with Russia and other international players. While the United States is not currently planning to send peacekeeping troops, the Obama administration wants to make sure any foreign forces that go do so under the auspices of the United Nations. “To have an international blessing for whatever happens is essential,” said a senior administration official, who spoke on the condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to speak publicly on the issue.

Last week’s events have introduced a host of new fears. Four days after armed mobs began raiding Uzbek neighborhoods in the southern city of Osh, the demographics of southern Kyrgyzstan have been redrawn. As many as 80,000 ethnic Uzbeks — more than 10 percent of Kyrgyzstan’s Uzbek population — were believed to have crossed the border into Uzbekistan, which on Monday announced it could accept no more refugees.

Many Uzbeks who remained in their homes in Osh took cover behind barriers thrown together from rocks, burned-out cars and building materials.

Kyrgyz men outside the walls were poised with bats and iron bars, saying they needed to suppress a plot by Uzbekistan to seize control of the country’s multiethnic south. “Death to Uzbeks” had been spray-painted on wrecked buildings, beside intact structures labeled “Kyrgyz.”

The proportions of the violence were coming into focus slowly, and estimates of the dead were still unreliable. Kyrgyz officials gave the toll as 125 dead and nearly 1,500 wounded.

But Pierre-Emmanuel Ducruet, a spokesman for the International Committee of the Red Cross who arrived in Osh on Monday, said that inspections of the city’s morgues suggested a much higher number, perhaps 700 in Osh alone, and that “not less than 3,000” people were in need of medical help, mostly for gunshot wounds.

Rumors were swirling about what, precisely, had lighted the fuse to this violence. Some said it had started spontaneously, when Uzbek and Kyrgyz youths brawled outside a casino. But most believed the attacks were orchestrated from outside for political reasons. The south has remained largely loyal to Mr. Bakiyev, while ethnic Uzbeks have supported the new provisional government in Bishkek.

Kubatbek Baibolov, appointed last week as the military commander of the restive city of Jalalabad, said he believed that Mr. Bakiyev had engineered the violence so that he could return to power. Mr. Baibolov said his forces had detained a dozen men who had been hired by people “close to the government of Bakiyev” to foment ethnic conflict around Osh by shooting at both Uzbeks and Kyrgyz in the hopes of setting off reprisals.

“This action is political, not interethnic,” Mr. Baibolov said.

Mr. Bakiyev angrily denied the accusations at a news conference in Minsk, the capital of Belarus, where he fled after his ouster. He said the provisional government was “absolutely not in control of the situation; they don’t know what to do.”

Uzbek refugees said the violence flared up with a terrifying suddenness. Manzara Saipova said that she hid in the attic with her granddaughter when a large group of men in black masks entered her neighborhood, and that when her house began to burn she fled to a neighbor’s home and watched the destruction through a basement window.

Islambek Israilov, an ethnic Uzbek waiting at the border on Monday with a bullet wound in his hand, said a crowd began building outside the gates to his neighborhood enclave late last week. “The first day they shot in the air,” said Mr. Israilov, 19. “By the second day, they shot me.”

On Saturday, he said, an armored military vehicle rammed the front gate, allowing the armed crowd to enter and setting off an exodus. By Monday, blood was seeping through Mr. Israilov’s bandage, but he said he was too afraid to leave the refugee camp for help. “If we go into the city, they will shoot us,” he said.

Kyrgyz irregulars, armed with guns, bats and iron bars, described the Uzbeks as the aggressors. Sultan Shakhamadiyev, who had traveled to Osh from Bishkek when the violence began, pointed to a blood-spattered car where he said a fleeing Kyrgyz family had been ambushed by Uzbek snipers. He said he was compelled to travel to Osh to protect Kyrgyzstan’s south from being absorbed into Uzbekistan.

“There is a war to take our Osh and make it into an Uzbek region,” Mr. Shakhamadiyev said. “It’s our Kyrgyz region.”

Marat Ismanaliyev, who was standing nearby, said the Uzbeks inside the enclaves were heavily armed, though on visits to three such neighborhoods on Monday, a reporter saw only one gun.

Though violence seemed to have quieted late Monday, a poisonous mistrust now divides Uzbeks and their Kyrgyz neighbors, and both said only troops from outside the country could guarantee safe passage to victims of violence and ensure the delivery of humanitarian aid.

The provisional government in Bishkek formally asked Russia to send peacekeepers on Friday, before the worst of the violence swept Osh, but Russia said it needed to consult with the other members of the Collective Security Treaty Organization. Russia has sent several hundred troops to defend its military base in Kyrgyzstan and committed to delivering humanitarian aid.

At its meeting on Monday, the organization promised to supply Kyrgyz forces with helicopters, ground transportation, gasoline and other supplies. There was no word about sending troops, a move that could expose member countries to the risk of an expensive, prolonged and possibly bloody involvement.

“So far, they don’t seem ready to act in a significant way,” said Andrew C. Kuchins, director of the Russia and Eurasia program at the Center for Strategic and International Studies. “There is definitely a reluctance to spend blood, not too much enthusiasm about treasure, and nobody is putting political capital on the line.”

Michael Schwirtz reported from Osh, and Ellen Barry from Moscow. Clifford J. Levy and Andrew E. Kramer contributed reporting from Moscow, and Peter Baker from Washington.

– text publicat în ziarul The New York Times, 15 iunie a.c.


15 iunie 2010 - Posted by | Geopolitica | ,

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