Deal

by Nathan Hamm on 7/14/2006 · 5 comments

The US and Kyrgyzstan have finally reached an agreement on continued US use of the Manas airfield.

The United States is going to pay Kyrgyzstan about $150 million for the continued use of an air base in the country in 2007, the Kyrgyz government said Friday.

The two countries reached the agreement in negotiations on the U.S.’s further military presence in the Central Asian republic.

But is the US going to, as RIA Novosti would have us believe, going to “pay” for the use of the base? I guess that depends on what one’s definition of “pay” is. According to the BBC, the $150 million figure contains aid an assistance to Kyrgyzstan. Reuters, meanwhile, has more clarification.

The U.S. embassy to Kyrgyzstan said in a statement that it had “successfully concluded … negotiations on the continued coalition use of the Manas Air Base to support the ongoing war on terrorism in Afghanistan”.

It was unclear how much Washington would pay for the base, but the statement added: “The United States expects to provide over $150 million in total assistance and compensation over the next year, pending approval by the U.S. Congress.”

Interpret it how you want, but both sides have some grounds to claim victory. Kyrgyzstan, on the one hand, gets to say that while it didn’t boost rent 100 times, it did boost it 75 times. The United States, on the other, can say that it’s not exactly paying $150 million, but that instead a new partnership agreement that involves use of the airbase and large amounts of aid to Kyrgyzstan has been signed. Either way, $150 million is a $150 million.


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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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{ 5 comments }

Laurence July 15, 2006 at 5:26 am

Nathan, It sounds like a good deal for everyone concerned. Maybe even a bargain, considering the cost of renovating Dulles airport here in Washington, DC is currently estimated at $3 billion dollars…

Kuda July 17, 2006 at 3:20 am

I am slightly suspicious. You can guarantee that a lot of the cash given to “aid and assistance” will wash straight back to US pockets – namely spent on providing large salaries foe US ‘experts’ to pontificate on things they know little about while generally hanging out keeping it real at The Hyatt.

BTW, did the US ever get to the bottom of how they ‘paid’ straight to Akeyev’s pockets last time? Was it simply an admin. blunder? Mmmm

Nathan July 17, 2006 at 6:50 am

Yep, Kuda, they did figure it out. It was corrupt locals that were responsible. Which reminds me, by the way, I wouldn’t be too hard on US ‘experts,’ when the locals are more than adept at diverting aid money into their own pockets.

Kuda July 17, 2006 at 9:01 am

Yes, I do realise that it is difficult to match the
Kyrgyz in terms of corruption and I don’t think that
the US ‘experts’ are corrupt; it is more of a case of
incompetent, often they are well-meaning admittedly.
Some of the junkets organised have raised eyebrows
amongst the locals too. Why the need for these
‘experts’ to be flown in and stay at expensive hotels
etc. when local experts often have can provide more
realistic answers. DFID are other bad offenders.

As for the old deal, did the US government not
understand that they were paying ‘the family’ directly
or did they choose not to interfere with the internal
politics? Do you have any other material on this
issue?

Kuda July 20, 2006 at 3:47 am

Hi Nathan,

Just had a conversation with a Canadian who was in the loop (somewhat) regarding the previous payment to the family. He was saying that the US tacitly agreed simply to pay ‘the family’ for ease – this was generally what we thought in the city. You mentioned the it was figured out, if possible do you have links etc. to this as it would be interesting to see the other viewpoint. Thanks.

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