The coup in Kyrgyzstan has brought attention to a region of world that is now at the centre of the competition for resources between the U.S., China, and Russia.
- The coup has brought Roza Otunbayeva, a former foreign minister, to power. She was previously ambassador to both the U.S. and UK, and was educated in Moscow. It has removed President Bakiyev, who rose to power in a similar manner, five years ago.
- The U.S. has a significant military presence in the country through a NATO base which is a key source of air support for the Afghan war effort. Supply flights to Afghanistan have been stopped by the crisis. The Russians also have a military base in the country, only 18.6 miles from the NATO one.
- Kyrgyzstan borders China and Kazakhstan, as well as Uzbekistan and Tajikistan. Kyrgyzstan is a member of the Shanghai Cooperation organisation, which is led by China and Russia, for the pursuit of further economic cooperation in the region. In organisation, it resembles the old European Economic Community.
- The country is a consumer of oil and gas, rather than a producer, but Gazprom has a 75% stake in the country’s gas industry. It has significant gold deposits that Chinese company Lingbao Gold has invested in.
- Some are suggesting that Kyrgyzstan is a key, resource rich country that is being squabbled over in a new “great game” in Central Asia. However, this game clearly has much different dimensions then the colonial scramble for Africa, as currently China, Russia, and U.S. are willing to share space in the country all for the pursuit of largely separate interests.
From Al Jazeera:
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