As Violence Grows Regional Security Organisations Fail to Make Kyrgyzstan Secure

Regional security organisations prove to be remarkably inefficient as the ethnic violence unfolds in Kyrgystan. This country is Central Asia is a member of a half a dozen of regional organisations and none of them is willing to intervene. Over a hundred is already reported dead and tens of thousands of refugees are trying to flee Kyrgyzstan.

Organisation for Security and Co-operation in Europe, Collective Security Treaty Organisation, the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation are just a few of security blocks to which Kyrgystan belongs. Apparently, these organisations exist primarily for geopolitical manoeuvring and staging military games rather than for ensuring security.

The former Kyrgyz President Kurmanbek Bakiyev is now a political refugee in Minsk, the capital of another dysfunctional organisation – the Commonwealth of Independent States. Bakiyev keeps repeating that the Kyrgystan interim government led by Roza Otunbayeva cannot control the country. He fiercely denies accusations that his close associates are involved of instigating violence between the Kyrgyz majority and the Uzbek minority in the south of Kyrgyzstan.

Under personal protection of Alexander Lukashenka, a Belarus authoritarian ruler who has been in power since early 1990-s Kurmanbek Bakiyev feels more secure than a few months ago when he had to flee Kyrgystan. The whereabouts of his son Maxim were unknown until yesterday when he was detained in a London airport where he arrived on a private jet. Under arrest in England Maxim Bakiyev will be much safer than many of his compatriots in Kyrgyzstan torn by violence.

The passive idleness of regional security organisations in Central Asia is worrying. It is one thing to not to intervene when public protests are taking place and the political regimes change, for bad or for good. It is another thing to observe ethnic violence to unfold when hundreds are being slaughtered. The Dutch peacekeepers failed to intervene when thousands of men and boys were massacred in Srebrenica fifteen years ago. The world has a long memory for such atrocities but also a remarkable inability to learn the lessons and to act until it is too late.

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