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> U.S. delays its payment to Uzbekistan, Penny-Wise, Pound-Foolish?
Do you support the Senate in delaying the payment to Uzbekistan for the use of Khanabad military base?
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English Horn
post Oct 6 2005, 05:42 PM
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This piece of news went through today without much notice or fanfare:

QUOTE
The U.S. Senate has voted to delay a $23 million payment to Uzbekistan for the use of an air base for American military operations in Afghanistan.

The measure, which was approved Wednesday as part of a $440-billion defense spending bill, delays for one year the payment for the use of the Karshi-Khanabad Air Base (also known as K-2).

The measure still must be reconciled with the House of Representatives version of the 2006 fiscal year defense spending bill, which does not include the prohibition.

In sponsoring the measure, Republican Senator John McCain said the Uzbek government has terminated cooperation with the United States and rejected calls for an inquiry into its violent repression of an anti-government protest in the eastern city of Andijan (in May).

In July, the Uzbek government gave the United States 180 days to leave the base, after Washington criticized its handling of the Andijan incident.


In other words, we were OK with the Uzbek government when they allowed us to use their military base. However, the government became a "repressive dictatorship" once they asked us out.
Question for debate:

Are alledged abuses of power and violence against its own citizens enough reasons for us to delay the payment to Uzbekistan? (I'd like to stress that this is not a financial aid of any sort; we owe them for allowing us to use their military bases).

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Mrs. Pigpen
post Oct 6 2005, 06:23 PM
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First, I must answer this one:
QUOTE(English Horn @ Oct 6 2005, 10:42 AM)
In other words, we were OK with the Uzbek government when they allowed us to use their military base. However, the government became a "repressive dictatorship" once they asked us out.


That statement is 180 out from reality. Human rights violations were never "okay". We had (and for that matter still have) a legitimate national security need to work with Uzbekistan. Our military assistance to them has been monitored, and the funds accounted for or cut off as part of the agreement. IOW....Our continued operations with them was/is contingent on them cleaning up their act. The Andijan incident was a violation of that agreement. We were left with two choices: 1. Ease the pressure on the Uzbek government on human rights, or 2. Lose access to an important air base in Uzbekistan. We chose the latter.

Are alledged abuses of power and violence against its own citizens enough reasons for us to delay the payment to Uzbekistan? (I'd like to stress that this is not a financial aid of any sort; we owe them for allowing us to use their military bases).

Yes. See above.

This post has been edited by Mrs. Pigpen: Oct 6 2005, 06:26 PM
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English Horn
post Oct 6 2005, 07:04 PM
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QUOTE(Mrs. Pigpen @ Oct 6 2005, 01:23 PM)
That statement is 180 out from reality. Human rights violations were never "okay". We had (and for that matter still have) a legitimate national security need to work with Uzbekistan. Our military assistance to them has been monitored, and the funds accounted for or cut off as part of the agreement. IOW....Our continued operations with them was/is contingent on them cleaning up their act. The Andijan incident was a violation of that agreement. We were left with two choices: 1. Ease the pressure on the Uzbek government on human rights, or 2. Lose access to an important air base in Uzbekistan. We chose the latter.


We may argue whether a chicken or an egg came first (whether they ordered us out or we chose to lose an important air base on our own accord), but the fact remains: they provided services; we used services; we agreed to pay; we didn't pay. We have a full right not to use the Khanabad military base in the future, but my understanding is that the money in question was a payment for services already rendered.

From FoxNews:

QUOTE
The United States intends to pay a nearly $23 million bill to Uzbekistan for use of the base for almost four years.

Fried said the sum "is not a price for the right to have a base, it is a payment for material services provided by the Uzbek side."

Can I choose to not pay my mortgage to Citibank if I don't like how they treat their employees? Of course not. I can make a choice not to deal with Citibank in the future, but I have to fulfill my existing financial obligations first.

Edited to add: Why would we want to spoil relations with a guy who, according to this Yahoo article,
QUOTE
...has made fighting alleged Islamic extremism the hallmark of his rule


is beyond me.

This post has been edited by English Horn: Oct 6 2005, 07:21 PM
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Amlord
post Oct 6 2005, 07:19 PM
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From the Washington Post

QUOTE(July 30 2005)
Uzbekistan formally evicted the United States yesterday from a military base that has served as a hub for combat and humanitarian missions to Afghanistan since shortly after the attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, Pentagon and State Department officials said yesterday.
<snip>

The United States has paid $15 million to Uzbek authorities for use of the airfield since 2001, he said.

<snip>

The next test will be whether to withhold as much as $22 million in aid to Uzbekistan if it does not comply with provisions on political and economic reforms it committed to undertake in a 2002 strategic partnership agreement with Washington. Last year, the administration withheld almost $11 million. U.S. officials expect the Uzbek government will again be ineligible for funds.


My guess is that we are eliminating the millions of dollars of aid money, not money for services rendered.

Here is my evidence, from the Department of State: U.S. Assistance to Uzbekistan -- Fiscal Year 2005

QUOTE
As of the date of this fact sheet, the Secretary of State has not yet made a determination on whether the Government of Uzbekistan has made progress in areas of democratic and economic reform, as required for assistance to the central Government of Uzbekistan under Section 577(a) of the Fiscal Year 2005 Foreign Operations Appropriations Act. The potential range of affected assistance programs that have been budgeted, including but not limited to Foreign Military Financing (FMF) and International Military Education and Training (IMET) programs, total approximately $24 million in FY 2005 programs involving the central Government of Uzbekistan.


They are doing this to conform to the Central Asia Democracy and Human Rights Act of 2005

This post has been edited by Amlord: Oct 6 2005, 07:25 PM
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quarkhead
post Oct 6 2005, 09:28 PM
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QUOTE(Mrs. Pigpen @ Oct 6 2005, 10:23 AM)
First, I must answer this one:
QUOTE(English Horn @ Oct 6 2005, 10:42 AM)
In other words, we were OK with the Uzbek government when they allowed us to use their military base. However, the government became a "repressive dictatorship" once they asked us out.


That statement is 180 out from reality. Human rights violations were never "okay". We had (and for that matter still have) a legitimate national security need to work with Uzbekistan. Our military assistance to them has been monitored, and the funds accounted for or cut off as part of the agreement. IOW....Our continued operations with them was/is contingent on them cleaning up their act. The Andijan incident was a violation of that agreement. We were left with two choices: 1. Ease the pressure on the Uzbek government on human rights, or 2. Lose access to an important air base in Uzbekistan. We chose the latter.

Are alledged abuses of power and violence against its own citizens enough reasons for us to delay the payment to Uzbekistan? (I'd like to stress that this is not a financial aid of any sort; we owe them for allowing us to use their military bases).

Yes. See above.
*



They may have never been "OK," but they were certainly downplayed when we "needed" them. Join me as we hop into the way-back-machine! Here's a thread I started almost two years ago: Double Standards in the WOT

In it I quoted Monbiot, who had this to say:

QUOTE
So, far from seeking to isolate his regime, the US government has tripled its aid to Islam Karimov. Last year, he received $500 million, of which $79 million went to the police and intelligence services, who are responsible for most of the torture.9 While the US claims that its engagement with Karimov will encourage him to respect human rights, like Saddam Hussein he recognises that the protection of the world's most powerful government permits him to do whatever he wants. Indeed, the US State Department now plays a major role in excusing his crimes. In May, for example, it announced that Uzbekistan had made "substantial and continuing progress" in improving its human rights record.10 The progress? "Average sentencing" for members of peaceful religious organisations is now just "7-12 years", while two years ago they were "usually sentenced to 12-19 years."11 

There is little question that the power and longevity of Karimov's government has been enhanced by his special relationship with the United States. There is also little question that supporting him is a dangerous game. All the principal enemies of the US today were fostered by the US or its allies in the past: the Taliban in Afghanistan, the Wahhabi zealots in Saudi Arabia, Saddam Hussein and his people in Iraq. Dictators do not have friends, only sources of power. They will shift their allegiances as their requirement for power demands. The US supported Islamic extremists in Afghanistan in order to undermine the Soviet Union, and created a monster. Now it is supporting a Soviet-era leader to undermine Islamic extremists, and building up another one.


"Indeed, the US State Department now plays a major role in excusing his crimes. In May, for example, it announced that Uzbekistan had made "substantial and continuing progress" in improving its human rights record.10 The progress? "Average sentencing" for members of peaceful religious organisations is now just "7-12 years", while two years ago they were "usually sentenced to 12-19 years."

I guess "substantial progress" was just propaganda we used to excuse this to the American people.

If this money is aid, I think it should be withheld. If it is a payment, it should be made.
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