Attempt to open a new front in Central Asia’

Hazal Lean

Again, a selection of four articles. This time, border conflicts between Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan occupy the widest part. Two translations are about it: Pravda.RUNurlan Dosaliyev, a former member of the Kyrgyzstan State National Security Council, points out the provocative nature of the conflicts and makes striking accusations against the Tajikistan administration. RBK on the other hand, discusses the history of conflicts and why the problem has not been resolved. Kommersant As for its authors, they focus on the prisoner exchange between Ukraine and Russia, emphasizing the most important aspect of it from an international point of view: the mediation of Saudi Arabia. With its long and analytical news, it has a special place in the Russian press. Nezavisimaya Gazeta examines the rapprochement between Ukraine and Israel.

‘Tajikistan-Kyrgyzstan conflict: Attempt to open a new front in Central Asia’

Military conflicts between Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan always coincide with similar escalations between Armenia and Azerbaijan and take place during important international meetings. This is the opinion of historian Nurlan Dosaliyev, a former official of the Kyrgyzstan State National Security Council (GKNB). Last year, the clashes occurred during the CSTO summit in Dushanbe. This year, the Shanghai Cooperation Organization’s Samarkand summit continues.

According to Nurlan Dosaliyev, the intensity of these provocations “is also surprisingly correlated with the situation in Ukraine”. Dosaliyev says: The worse the situation of the Ukrainian Nazis at the front, the more intense the armed provocations here on the border of the Fergan Valley.

Dosaliyev is convinced that these synchronicities are not accidental, that the conflicts are directly organized and fueled by the United States and its NATO allies.

Dosaliyev says:

“This, obviously, to open a second front here in Central Asia has obviously become a fixed idea for them.”

According to Dosaliyev, “Tajikistan is under the strict protection of the Americans and has become their stronghold in the fight against the Taliban.” He attributes this to the fact that the opposition led by Ahmad Shah Masud in the Pancer Strait is composed of ethnic Tajiks and is in search of a protector in Dushanbe.

The expert argues that:

“Currently, many natural minerals mined from the territory of the Tajik diaspora in Afghanistan are supplied to the world market through Dushanbe.”

Dosaliyev claims that ethnic Tajiks from Afghanistan also participated in the last provocation on September 14-18, and that their transfer to the region can only be carried out with the help of the Americans. … (L. Stepushova / Pravda.RUSeptember 20)

Tajikistan-Kyrgyzstan conflict: why is it difficult to resolve?’

Clashes on the Tajik-Kyrgyz border ceased on Monday, the parties signed a protocol for the establishment of peace, civilians began to return to the conflict zone. But in fact, the land issue was not resolved. …

On September 19, national mourning was declared in Kyrgyzstan. According to official data, 59 people were killed and 140 injured during military actions in Kyrgyzstan. Tajikistan’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs also announced the number of casualties as 41.

Border clashes started on 14 September. According to the Kyrgyz border guards, fire was opened after the Tajik border guards invaded new points in the Batken oblast in violation of existing agreements. … Tajikistan, on the other hand, blamed the Kyrgyz border guards, which it claimed had opened fire on the Tajik border unit first and without reason.

On September 16, the conflict reached a scale that threatened the region. The parties used heavy vehicles, air force and reactive multiple rocket systems. Kyrgyzstan declared a state of emergency in the Batken oblast and evacuated 136,000 people from the region. On the same day, the Presidents of Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan met with Sadir Japarov and Emomali Rahmon at the Samarkand summit of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization and agreed on a ceasefire and withdrawal of troops. But the truce quickly broke down. According to the Secretary of the Kyrgyzstan Security Council, Marat Imankulov, “Despite the ceasefire order, mutual shootings intensified in places. Tajik army members did not listen to the orders of their superiors.”

Events continue on the border of Tajikistan and Kyrgyzstan. More than 100 events have been detected over the past 20 years. The main reason is the lack of boundary determination. More than 300 kilometers of the nearly 1,000 kilometer border are uncertain. The main problem is that Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan use different maps to determine the disputed territories. Tajik experts are based on maps of 1924-1929, while Kyrgyz are based on maps of 1958-1959.

The border-setting process started in 2002, but it is going very slowly, as any attempt to find a compromise is met with hostility by the locals of the two countries. One of the most problematic border areas is the Batken oblasti in the southwest of Kyrgyzstan, far from the capital. This region is bordered by Uzbekistan and Tajikistan and there are enclaves of these states on it. The last gunfight took place at Voruh, the second largest enclave of these. 35 thousand Tajikistan citizens live here in an area of ​​130 square kilometers.

The biggest difficulty in determining the border stems from the parties’ inability to decide who owns the road connecting the Tajikistan mainland and Voruh. According to the early Soviet maps, this road appears in the territory of the Tajikistan SSR, according to the late maps, it is in the territory of the Kyrgyz SSR. Another problem is that there is no other way to access the Batken oblast from the Stork district other than this section of the road because of the impenetrable mountains in the south. If this part is given to Tajikistan, more than 100 thousand Kyrgyzstan citizens will be cut off from the mainland. … (A. Atasuntsev / RBK19 September)

‘Saudi Arabia’s role in prisoner exchange’

Moscow and Kyiv made the largest prisoner exchange since the beginning of the military operation. On the one hand, 55 Russian military personnel and former Rada member Viktor Medvedchuk, on the other hand, 215 people, including the commanders of the Azov Battalion and foreigners fighting on the side of Kyiv, were released. This result was possible thanks to two international actors: Turkey, which has long been trying to play the role of the chief mediator, and Saudi Arabia, which had not previously taken an active role in the Ukraine issue. …

The Ukrainian side announced the release of 215 people from Russia. Among them are 10 foreigners (British, American, a Moroccan, a Swede and a Croat) who fought in the ranks of Kyiv. As a result of the exchange, they moved to Saudi Arabia, which played the role of mediator. The militants are expected to return to their countries soon. Among the liberated Ukrainians there are also militants of the Azov Battalion, who took part in the battles of Mariupol. In this context, according to the terms of the agreement, the five leaders of Azov will stay in Turkey until the military operation is over. …

When journalists asked Erdogan whether it would be possible for Russia to hold the territory it had occupied since February, he resolutely replied: “No, of course not.” …

Erdogan’s statements like this seem to contradict Russia’s politics. But the regional experts Kommersant spoke to are sure of this: The fact that the Turkish leader has the opportunity to find a unique common language with the West as well as with Russia makes him an indispensable negotiator on the Ukraine issue. …

The text, published by the Saudi Arabian official news agency SPA, states: “His Majesty… has mediated the release of dozens of detainees from five countries as part of the prisoner exchange process.” As early as Wednesday morning, news broke that Mohammed bin Salman received Rustam Umarov, an adviser to the President of Ukraine and his special representative for relations with the Near East countries. In the statement published as a result of the meeting, it was stated that the crown prince confirmed that “all international efforts for a political solution to the crisis in Ukraine are supported by the royal family”. …

Diplomatic victory is crucial for Mohammed bin Salman, as he is ostracized from the Western world due to human rights abuses in the kingdom, as well as suspicions of his participation in the murder of journalist Jamal Khashoggi. Meanwhile, British Prime Minister Liz Truss and US National Security Advisor J. Sullivan expressed their gratitude for their contribution to the prisoner exchange of the Crown Prince of Saudi Arabia. Therefore, Mohammed bin Salman clearly benefited from the agreement. (K. Krivosheyev, M. Belenkaya / KommersantSeptember 23)

‘Increasing rapprochement between Ukraine and Israel’

The Ukrainian administration has applied to Israel for the transmission of intelligence data on the military-technological cooperation of Moscow and Tehran. Sources of Western publications wrote that Kiev is interested in reports of Iranian-made drones seen in conflict zones. Ukrainian officials make no secret that they want to establish a regular channel of coordination with the Israelis, and they openly show that they share Israel’s concerns regarding Tehran’s politics.

According to Israeli sources speaking to the Axios portal about Kiev’s offer, Kiev’s biggest concern is rumors about the use of Iranian-made Witness-136 kamikaze drones in the military operations zone. Axios quoted a Ukrainian official as saying: “The Israelis have given us some intelligence, but we need much more.”

The request was made to Israel during the visit of Simon Galperin, Director of the Europe-Asia Department of the Israeli Ministry of Foreign Affairs, to Kyiv. Galperin had a meeting with Maksim Subh, Ukraine’s special envoy for the Near East and North Africa. During the meeting, Subh suggested establishing a special channel with the Jewish state that would allow them to discuss Near East problems, exchange intelligence and coordinate actions. Despite vague statements, it is not difficult to guess that this format is mainly thought of as the issue of military-technological cooperation between Moscow and Tehran, which is gaining momentum, as is commonly thought.

During the talks, Subh underlined that Ukraine, like Israel, opposes the lifting of American sanctions on Tehran even if the nuclear deal is re-established. According to Subh, the Islamic Republic’s coming out of international isolation only encourages the defense industry. But such solidarity comes at a price for the Jewish state’s stance: Ukraine’s special envoy also expressed the hope that the Israelis would make much clearer assessments of Russia’s special military operation and unequivocally support Ukraine. Subh also stated that his country believes that Israel will receive full-fledged military aid either directly or indirectly through third countries. … (İ. Subbotin / Nezavisimaya GazetaSeptember 22)