By Jiri Kominek
As violence continues in and around the southern Kyrgyz cities of Osh and Jalal-Abad between rival Kyrgyz and Uzbek ethnic communities evidence has surfaced which suggests that family members close to ousted president Kurmanbek Bakiev might have been responsible for a series of well-coordinated attacks that helped spark the ensuing conflict.
Reuters on June 15 quoted senior UN officials that the current inter-ethnic violence could have been sparked in Osh by five well-coordinated attacks by masked men carrying automatic weapons. The attacks appear to have targeted local Kyrgyz and Uzbek organized crime group hangouts and appear engineered to foment ethnic violence.
In a recorded telephone conversation between Janysh Bakiev – the brother of deposed president Kurmanbek Bakiev – who controlled Kyrgyzstan’s security apparatus, and his nephew Maxim that was released on YouTube, the latter informs his uncle of plans to instigate violence designed to instill chaos and render the interim government ineffective, thus helping to pave the way for the return of the Bakiev clan.
During the recorded telephone conversation Maxim tells his uncle that as a result of the orchestrated attacks, the interim government would not be able to cope with the chaotic situation and would not be able to hold a constitutional referendum on 27 June nor elections later in the year. Furthermore he suggests the Bakiev clan cease control of the country during the ensuing chaos.
It appears that Maksim Bakiev, the deposed president’s eldest son who was arrested in England on June 13 by British authorities after landing in a small business jet at an airport near Farnborough perhaps felt he had nothing to lose and everything to gain by organizing the violent attacks.
Maxim was appointed as head of Kyrgyzstan’s Central Agency for Development, Investments and Innovations in late October 2009 by his father.
As head of the agency he had direct and uninhibited control over any and all foreign investment crucial to the economic welfare of the country and therefore acted as a gateway for financial kickbacks into Bakiev clan coffers.
Kyrgyzstan’s interim government on May 4 launched a criminal investigation into private companies controlled by Maxim Bakiev that supplied jet fuel to the US military facility in Manas.
The US Senate also began its own separate investigation into allegations that Maxim Bakiev received $1 billion from the US government to continue supplying fuel to the military facility in Manas that serves as a crucial logistics hub to the US military operation in Afghanistan.
Despite receiving urgent requests from the interim government in Bishkek to intervene, Russia continues to show reluctance to deploy peacekeepers to Kyrgyzstan for an apparent number of reasons including not having the logistical capacity or the funds to support such an operation on such short notice suggesting, if anything, that Moscow was caught off guard by recent events in Osh.
Russia also appears concerned over the political fall out over committing troops to a potentially protracted ethnic conflict where it could be perceived as being an invader and occupier.