Today News – U.S.-Kazakhstan Transit Agreement Faces Challenges From Russia | Trending News

2018-09-21T04:39:48+00:00 September 21st, 2018|

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biner Linda leav September 20th 2018 the catchy analyst during the collective security treaty organization CSTO foreign ministers meeting in Almaty on June 11th 2018 russia’s Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov informed his Kazakh counterpart of Moscow’s concerns over u.s. military logistics planning involving Kazakhstan and biological laboratories in the country the protest was prompted by President Nursultan Nazarbayev signature on May 5th of amendments to the 2010 us Kazakhstan agreement on commercial rail transit of special cargo to Afghanistan through Kazakhstan which allowed the u.s. to use Kazakh stands territory for supplying US forces in Afghanistan the exchange took place on the eve of the fifth Caspian summit where the heads of the five littoral states signed a Convention on the status of the Caspian Sea according to which non-literal states may not deploy armed forces to the sea background since the start of Operation Enduring Freedom in Afghanistan the US has used several air and ground routes for supplying troops to there despite Moscow’s official support for US counterterrorism operations after 9/11 Russia has considered US use of military bases or territories in Central Asia and the Caucasus as a threat and has sought to control these countries military cooperation with the u.s. while simultaneously temporarily allowing Russian territory for transportation a decree signed by Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev in June 2012 allowed NATO to use combined transit routes in addition to ground transit including railway Aaron Road accommodate the increased need for non-lethal supplies to Afghanistan after 2009 and reduce reliance on supply lines though Pakistan u.s. planners open to the northern distribution network and en a series of commercially based logistical arrangements connecting Baltic and Caspian ports with Afghanistan via Russia a Central Asia and the Caucasus even as Russian officials support at the end en it has remained controversial in Russia and has been the subject of protests from several nationalist groups as well as part of the public for example the plan to create a NATO transit logistic center in Ulyanovsk in 2012 triggered public protests in the city after Russia’s intervention in Ukraine in this subsequent Western sanctions the Russian government closed the Russian part of the ndn in 2015 president Trump’s decisions to increase the US military contingent in Afghanistan pursue further US sanctions on Russia and suspend military aid to Pakistan have highlighted the need for expanded the alternative transit route running from Georgia through Azerbaijan across the Caspian Sea to eastern Kazakhstan and in toes becca stan which has railway connections with northern afghanistan indeed afghanistan was a main topic of the January 2018 meeting between the u.s. and kazakh presidents the Kazakh Parliament’s ratification in April of amendments to the agreement on the use of Kazakh ports by the US military in the Caspian Sea caused concern among Russian experts and media triggering a campaign to denounce Astana’s betrayal since then a frightening prediction of the future appearance of US military bases in the Caspian Sea have appeared in a number of Russian media outlets in these reports the decision of Kazakhstan Senate to approve the US Navy’s use of the acto incorrect ports for transiting special cargo to Afghanistan will turn the ports into bases of the Pentagon and its allies they emphasize that Kazakh stance current turn towards the u.s. is anti-russian and that the prospect of US ships carrying military or non-military cargo in the Caspian Basin is highly undesirable the route through black sea ports who has irvision into the caspian sea is depicted as completely illogical logistics rendering the current agreement of military political promotion of American interests implications while the related protocol was signed in 2017 u.s. Kazakh talks about the possibility of using the act operative as a transit point started in 2013 Moscow is concerned that the agreement will increase Washington’s role in the region and that US assistance could provide first strengthened Kazakh Navy that would challenge Russia’s own naval presence in the Caspian conversely Astana seeks to balance its foreign policy in order to mitigate Russia’s dominant role in Kazakhstan internal and external security moreover despite Kazakhstan membership in Russia LED political and military organizations Astana has since independence sought to maintain productive political and economic relations with the West after the downturn in cooperation between the west and Russia and the introduction of Western sanctions Astana’s ability to retain relations with the US and the EU has become even more important Astana therefore considers the new transport project as an affordable opportunity to increase cooperation with the United States to mitigate Russia’s reaction Kazakh foreign minister Kai rod Abdul Rahman ah’ve recently stated that Kazakhstan will not allow US military bases in the Caspian explaining that the agreement concerns commercial transportation of non-lethal cargos Russia considers the Caspian Basin as vital with geopolitical interests and continues to strengthen its power projection in this region since 2010 Moscow has sharply increased its military presence in the Caspian Sea and is modernizing its Caspian flotilla which will in 2021 be reinforced with six new warships the Ministry of Defence also plans to complete the construction of a military port in Caspian Dagestan by 2020 according to Defense Minister Sergei shoigu the Caspian flotilla will move its main base from asterik into the new port which is closer to the central section of the sea the Caspian military strategic importance is highlighted by its direct adjacency to the Caucasus and Central Asia and close proximity to the Middle East as demonstrated during the Russian operation in Syria the Caspian Sea is a safe area from which to launch cruise missiles the so called Bastion strategy therefore with support from Iran Russia has actively sought to keep the Caspian inaccessible to third actors naturally an additional factor is the wealth of oil and gas resources under the Caspian Sea bed in the prospect of linking Central Asia to the existing transit corridor for energy shipments from the South Caucasus to the West a project strongly promoted by the West but opposed by Russia Moscow could potentially used several means for pressuring Astana to refrain from expanded security cooperation with the United States these include the Russian or russian-speaking community of Kazakhstan along with socio-economic and political tensions in Kazakh society that could undermine the regime or overstays before the decision of Kazakhstan Senate Russian officials in media again highlighted by lugar laboratories in Kazakhstan Azerbaijan and Georgia which are located on the planned transportation routes Maria Zakharova the Russian Foreign Ministry’s press secretary stated that the very fact of the large-scale medical biological activities of the Pentagon on the borders of Russia is of particular concern for Moscow these biological research laboratories were built as part of the nunn-lugar biological threat reduction program named after the US senators initiating them the program was intended to dismantle the former Soviet Union’s massive biological weapons research and to prevent the proliferation of expertise materials equipment and technologies that could contribute to the development of biological weapons in Russia Kazakhstan Uzbekistan Georgia Azerbaijan and Ukraine according to Moscow these laboratories are conducting research that could potentially be used for the production of bacteriological weapons while the transfer of information and samples of pathogens to the US could disclose not only Soviet but also Russian military and biological secrets thus these activities threaten Russia’s military interests these military biological labs near Russia are described as external threats in Russia’s latest national security strategy it should be noted that the EU external action services EU vs. cos information website has repeatedly raised attention to Moscow’s allegations concerning lugar laboratories as these are not backed up with evidence and lack a basis in fact Lavrov explicitly linked the laboratories to u.s. transit though Kazakhstan during the CSTO meeting indicating that saw her OVAs statement was awarding to hosting countries conclusions Kazakhstan faces a challenge in balancing its foreign relations between Russia China and the US especially in the face of an upcoming leadership succession in the country moreover the recently signed Caspian Convention allows Moscow legal leverage to prevent military activities of non-literal states in the Caspian Basin authors bio-neural and Iliev is a PhD candidate and researcher at the Institute of International Relations of the University of Warsaw he is a receiver of the Visegrad found scholarship for 2018-2019 from 2000 to 2017 he worked as an expert at various government non-government and international institutions his research focus is on political and security process in Russia post-soviet countries and asymmetric warfare threats image source by accessed on September 20th 2018