Bakiyev Wants Pentagon To Pay Again

by Nathan Hamm on 10/31/2005 · 1 comment

Now here’s an interesting story. The Kyrgyz government wants the US to pay $80 million for fuel and services related to the use of Ganci airbase. The catch though is that the Pentagon has already made the payments.

President Kurmanbek Bakiyev wants the Pentagon to pay about $80m to compensate Kyrgyzstan for previous payments related to US use of the air base that it alleges were siphoned out of the country by fuel supply companies closely tied to the former regime of President Askar Akayev.

Bishkek is considering limiting the number of US military take-offs and landings unless Washington agrees to its demands. But the Pentagon is understood to be unwilling to pay the government again for fuel and other supplies for which it paid the former regime.

So, in addition to Bakiev’s domestic political ineptness (loads of recent stories here), his foreign policy–never very consistently communicated in the first place–looks anything but carefully planned out. He’s obviously shown himself aware that the US military is in a difficult position in the region and taken advantage of his upper hand to increase the amount paid for the base. But it is troubling that he doesn’t seem to understand when enough is enough or that even if the US was willing to be his cash machine, using it as such would not solve the problems he faces.

The Pentagon, as one would expect, is not playing along.

“Any possible misappropriation of funds is an internal Kyrgyz matter,” said Bryan Whitman, deputy Pentagon spokesman.

“We are aware of the allegations of the current Kyrgyz government that former Kyrgyz regime leadership may have misappropriated funds from US payments for goods or services. The Department of Defense has provided the Kyrgyz government with US documents regarding payments made under the aviation fuel contract to help the Kyrgyz look into these matters.”

And I would add that Bakiev does not have all that much to show to reassure those who might worry about misappropriation of funds under his watch.

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– author of 2991 posts on 17_PersonNotFound.

Nathan is the founder and Principal Analyst for Registan, which he launched in 2003. He was a Peace Corps Volunteer in Uzbekistan 2000-2001 and received his MA in Central Asian Studies from the University of Washington in 2007. Since 2007, he has worked full-time as an analyst, consulting with private and government clients on Central Asian affairs, specializing in how socio-cultural and political factors shape risks and opportunities and how organizations can adjust their strategic and operational plans to account for these variables. More information on Registan's services can be found here, and Nathan can be contacted via Twitter or email.

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