Topic: Bush Administraiton
Kyrgyzstan is threatening to evict the US from its last airbase in Central Asia if it doesn't pony up a lot more money for rent. President Kurmanbek Bakiyev told the US it must pay $200 million, up from 2.7 million, for the use of the Manas base. He said there would be "no room for haggling" when the pentagon opens up talks in Bishkek with the Kyrgyz next week.
The FT reports:
"Manas has become a source of tension between Kyrgyzstan and the US since the revolution. Revelations that Mr. Akayev's [the former dictator] family siphoned off part of the US jet fuel payments at the base were an embarrassment to Washington. Accusations that warplanes dumped fuel over Kyrgyzstan were denied at the base." Pretty ugly, we either cough up the cash or they'll just toss us out and get cozier with their former Russian masters.
Our bastard in Tashkent is back in our good graces:
But, not to worry: the FT also reports that Rummy and Cheney "are said by officials and analysts to favor an attempt to reach out to President Islam Karimov of Uzbekistan for purely strategic reasons. [Well, we're in bed with Moammar Kadafi, so why not?] You remember him; he's the one that sent his forces in to break up a rebellion in Andijan last year and wound up killing hundreds of men, women and children.
Back then even W. couldn't ignore the slaughter going on and put pressure on Karimov to come clean on what really happened, at which point we were tossed out of the country. The FT reports, though:
"The sense that Russia and China have been quick to capitalize on the US departure, and what Mr. Rumsfeld described in frequent visits as Uzbekistan's excellent cooperation in the 'war on terror,' make it too important to ignore."
Fidel could be our next big buddy:
Unfortunately for Fidel Castro, China hasn't found any natural resources it needs in Cuba yet or we'd be calling him a statesman too: Although, if there's enough oil of the Cuban coast to make it worth their while, that might change.
His buddy Hugo Chavez is in the news again, though. On the same day that we renewed diplomatic relations with killer Kadafi and took his regime off the list of terrorist states, the State Department announced the US was cutting off arms sales to Venezuela because they aren't being cooperative enough in the war on terror.
Am I the only one who sees the absurdity of this? While we're giving the man who killed 189 Americans a ringing endorsement for giving up his insignificant arsenal of WMD, we're implying that Venezuela is some sort of serious terrorist threat to the US. What's even more ridiculous is that we're holding on to a guy, Luis Posada Carriles, who is a terrorist, that Venezuela wants extradited for blowing up a Venezuelan passenger jet that killed 70 innocent civilians. Apparently, as long as you have oil and gas or have worked for the CIA you can get away with murder.
What kind of message is this sending to the world about our commitment to freedom and human rights? Husni Mubarak can jail his political opposition; Islam Karimov can slaughter his civilians; Mommar Kadafi can keep repressing his citizens; Pervez Musharraf can get away scott-free with a military coup; Somali warlords that killed our troops can now get a US taxpayer check for fighting Islamic warlords: the Sudanese government can conduct genocide and get away with it; the Chinese can keep locking up journalists, killing political opponents and generally repressing their civilians and we'll look the other way as long as they keep letting us barrow money: the Saudis can keep repressing Christians and women and teaching their kids to hate Christians and Jews, they get to keep beheading adulterous women in the public square every after Friday prayers:
But Fidel and Hugo are just beyond the pale!!!!!
No wonder no one listens to us anymore.