Is Lukashenka a Threat to International Security?
The Belarusian Foreign Ministry was quick to state that it was “unaware” of Belarusian mercenaries fighting in Libya on the side of Muammar Gaddafi. No matter what the ministry does not know or says it does not know, Belarus has been notorious for its ties with totalitarian regimes around the world. This makes Belarus a part of the worldwide network of cooperation and mutual support between undemocratic regimes.
The family jet of Gaddafi has been reported flying these days to Minsk and back,* with unknown aims – some Belarusian bloggers suspect that Lukashenka may have had stored part of his wealth in Libya and was now returning it to a safer place home. Worse than that, Belarus is suspected of supplying Gaddafi with arms.*
Lukashenka’s ties with Venezuela’s Hugo Chavez are well known: joint oil production projects, oil transportation from Venezuela to Belarus, multiple Belarusian construction projects in Venezuela. Besides that, Belarus had supplied Chavez with arms. More then that – there were reports of Chavez and Lukashenka supplying weapons to the Colombian left-wing terrorist group FARC.*
Belarus could not resist establishing partnership with Iran. It started with a joint-venture producing Iranian Samand automobiles in Belarus which turned to be a failure.* The Belarusian-Iranian oil projects seem more serious.*
“I am convinced that the constructive Belarus-Iran relationship will be given a further impetus”, said Lukashenka in his congratulation to Ahmadinejad immediately after the disputed 2009 Iranian presidential elections. It was then Mahmoud Ahmadinejad who pathetically called the infamous December 19, 2010 elections in Belarus a “golden page in the honorable history” of the Belarusian people.*
Earlier, the Belarusian regime had apparently issued Belarusian passports for family members of Saddam Hussein.* In 2010, it granted asylum for the exiled dictator of Kyrgyzstan, Kurmanbek Bakiyev.
Belarus seems not to present a direct threat to its neighbours. However, there are indications that the authoritarian regime in Belarus is indirectly responsible for hundreds of people killed in Libya, Cote d’Ivoire, Colombia and other parts of the world because it supplied weapons to fellow pariah states, often in violation of international law.
These days it is clear that the problem of Belarus being an nontransparent and corrupt authoritarian regime has serious implications for international security in the world.