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Almaty - Kazakhstan

by Oui Sat Jan 8th, 2022 at 11:50:30 AM EST

Kazakhstan Turns to Foreign Investment for Post-COVID Growth

Opinion - November 22, 2021

Since achieving independence from the Soviet Union three decades ago, the Republic of Kazakhstan has understood the importance of procuring a constant flow of foreign direct investments to promote development and economic growth. The government's priorities regarding where should investment go have changed over the years, as the current goal is to promote economic diversification, moving away from industries like energy and mining, to sectors like manufacturing, agriculture, tourism and green technology.

In order to achieve this objective, the Kazakhstani government has passed legislation to make it easier for international investors to work in the country, and also created agencies called Kazakh Invest, which have a critical role in this process.


Kazakh Invest, a Joint Stock Company, was established on 1 March,  2017. The agency has two primary missions. First, to promote the sustainable socio-economic development of Kazakhstan by attracting foreign investment in key sectors, and by supporting new investment projects. The second objective is to become a leading agency for attracting foreign investment throughout Central Asia, the Commonwealth of Independent States, and other regional economies in transition.

Liberalization of oil and gas regulations to meet IMF loan standards ...

Kazakhstan Staff Concluding Statement of the 2021 Article IV Mission| IMF |

Washington, DC: An International Monetary Fund (IMF) mission, led by Mr. Nicolas Blancher, conducted discussions on the 2021 Article IV consultation during Nov 4-17 in Almaty and Nur Sultan. This statement summarizes the main conclusions and recommendations of the mission. At the end of the visit, the mission issued the following statement:

Recent developments, outlook, and risks

1. Kazakhstan's economy is recovering from the combined COVID pandemic and oil market shock. In 2020, output contracted for the first time in over 20 years--by 2.5 percent--due to reduced oil production and domestic activity. The turnaround that began in late 2020 has fostered real GDP growth in 2021 of 3.5 percent through October, returning output to its pre-Covid level. Inflation has exceeded the 4-6 percent target band of the National Bank of Kazakhstan (NBK) since the onset of the pandemic, and stood at 8.9 percent in October, driven mostly by food prices. Credit growth accelerated to 16 percent in September 2021, reflecting rapid growth in consumer lending and large state support programs. Labor market and poverty indicators have remained resilient throughout the pandemic, with unemployment stable at about 5 percent.

2. The authorities' policy response played a key role in mitigating the impact of the shocks on livelihoods and economic activity. Policy measures included regulating prices for socially important goods, cash transfers to vulnerable households, and targeted assistance to hard-hit sectors and small and medium-sized enterprises, including subsidized lending and tax exemptions. Projects under the "Employment Roadmap" program helped support employment. After raising the policy rate in early 2020, the NBK maintained an accommodative monetary policy. The authorities also eased regulatory and prudential requirements for banks, while encouraging them to grant loan repayment deferrals to eligible borrowers.

....

The Role of Oil and Gas in Kazakhstan's Foreign Policy: Looking East or West? | Nov. 2007 |

Central Asia in a Reconnecting Eurasia
Kazakhstan's Evolving Foreign Economic and Security Interests | CSIS |

More than any time since the collapse of the Silk Road five centuries ago, today we have to focus on Eurasia as a whole. Over the past two decades, Eurasia has begun to slowly reconnect, with the emergence of new trade relationships and transit infrastructures, as well as the integration of Russia, China, and India into the global economy. Even as this reconnection is under way, the center of economic dynamism in Eurasia, and in the world as a whole, has increasingly shifted to the East. The impact of these shifts is potentially enormous, but they remain poorly understood because of our tendency to limit analysis to
a single country or region within the broader Eurasian space.

The first fruits of the Eurasia Initiative include the report you are holding in your hands, one of the five country studies making up our report series Central Asia in a Reconnecting Eurasia. our decision to start with Central Asia stems from a concern that the drawdown of U.S. and allied troops from Afghanistan will augur declining international interest in the region, which has played a critical role over the course of the conflict.

For U.S. policymakers, turning away from Central Asia now would be a serious miscalculation. The five states of Central Asia (Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, and Uzbekistan) are located at the heart of the Eurasian landmass, in close proximity to four of Washington's biggest foreign policy challenges: Afghanistan/Pakistan, Iran, Russia, and China. For that reason alone, the United States has a strong interest in developing economic and security ties with the states of Central Asia, and doing so in a way that is no longer driven by the exigencies of the war in Afghanistan, but is responsive to the needs and interests of the region itself, as well as enduring U.S. interests.


US President Donald Trump and Kazakh President Nursultan Nazarbayev shake hands in the Roosevelt Room of the White House on January 16, 2018. (Photo: Reuters / Kevin Lamarque)  

Russia, under international sanctions after the annexation of Crimea, has been primarily focused on containing domestic economic fallout and seemingly distracted from countering Chinese political-economic expansion into Central Asia.

While speaking at a conference on Chinese infrastructure investment hosted by influential Washington think-tank the Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS), Bechtel chairman and CEO Brendan Bechtel noted that America's largest construction group had been pushed out of the global top 10 such groups by Chinese state-owned companies.

China-Kazakhstan Economic Relations

Chinese firms' energy projects in Kazakhstan remain safe: sources

China has imported 4.02 million tons of natural gas from Kazakhstan from January to November in 2021, according to statistics from Chinese Customs. Natural gas imports from Russia totaled 10.82 million tons, and 21.92 million tons from Turkmenistan.

Steppe on Fire: Kazakhstan's Color Revolution | Reporter Pepe Escobar |

Shal, ket! "Down with the old man"

The "old man" is none other than national leader Nursultan Nazarbayev, 81, who even as he stepped down from the presidency after 29 years in power, in 2019, for all practical purposes remains the Kazakh gray eminence as head of the Security Council and the arbiter of domestic and foreign policy.

    The prospect of yet another color revolution inevitably comes to mind: perhaps Turquoise-Yellow - reflecting the colors of the Kazakh national flag. Especially because right on cue, sharp observers found out that the usual suspects - the American embassy - was already "warning" about mass protests as early as in December 16, 2021. Maidan in Almaty? Oh yeah. But it's complicated.

Almaty in chaos

For the outside world, it's hard to understand why a major energy exporting power such as Kazakhstan needs to increase gas prices for its own population.

The reason is - what else - unbridled neoliberalism and the proverbial free market shenanigans. Since 2019 liquefied gas is electronically traded in Kazakhstan. So keeping price caps - a decades-long custom - soon became impossible, as producers were constantly faced with selling their product below cost as consumption skyrocketed.

Everybody in Kazakhstan was expecting a price hike, as much as everybody in Kazakhstan uses liquefied gas, especially in their converted cars. And everybody in Kazakhstan has a car, as I was told, ruefully, during my last visit to Almaty, in late 2019, when I was trying in vain to find a taxi to head downtown.

It's quite telling that the protests started in the city of Zhanaozen, smack into the oil/gas hub of Mangystau. And it's also telling that Unrest Central immediately turned to car-addicted Almaty, the nation's real business hub, and not the isolated, government infrastructure-heavy capital in the middle of the steppes.

At first President Kassym-Jomart Tokayev seemed to have been caught in a deer facing the headlights situation. He promised the return of price caps, installed a state of emergency/curfew both in Almaty and Mangystau (then nationwide) while accepting the current government's resignation en masse and appointing a faceless Deputy Prime Minister, Alikhan Smailov, as interim PM until the formation of a new cabinet.

Part of pivotal role Greater Eurasia

The role of Baikonur in the context of military-political cooperation between Kazakhstan and Russia

Abstract: The military partnership between Russia and Kazakhstan illustrates the multifaceted and mutually beneficial nature of relations between this two countries. In particular the joint use of the unique complex "Baikonur" is considered. Russia‟s leading role is shown in the preparation of Kazakhstan‟s own space program. All these issues are considered on the basis of an analysis of the legal framework for cooperation between the two states in the use of the Baikonur Cosmodrome. Particular attention is paid to the problem of environmental safety of the territory of the Republic of Kazakhstan associated with the operation of the Baikonur Cosmodrome.

Keywords: Kazakhstan, Cosmodrome, Baikonur, environmental safety, space program.

1. INTRODUCTION

Baikonur is the largest and in its way unique space harbor, which started the first launches and flights into space. At present, manned launches, missile launches, satellites, and etc. are being carried out here. After gaining independence by Kazakhstan, it became quite logical and possible to develop its domestic space programs, but it should be noted that this sector is at the same low level. The space center was leased, so it is not possible to carry out independent space launches, but Kazakhstan can take part in individual programs and get economic benefits from  commercial launches. It is important to emphasize that the presence of Baikonur brings us not only positive moments in the form of economic benefits and world fame, but also a lot of negative consequences that arise after the accidents of Russian missiles and damage to the ecology of the region.

The relevance of the problem of international importance to the cooperation of Russia and Kazakhstan on the use of the Baikonur Cosmodromehas been repeatedly stressed in the speeches of the Presidents of these states, since it has great practical significance for the development of both the space and the national economy of both countries. Today, the exploration of outer space is considered more as a study and use of achievements in the military sphere. Hence the military and political cooperation between Kazakhstan and Russia has a positive trend, and such cooperation between states on the Baikonur Cosmodromeis unique. In this article author will consider the issues of cooperation of the Republic of Kazakhstan with the Russian Federation regarding the Baikonur Cosmodrome, highlight the pros and cons of this union. It will be determined the prerequisites for cooperation between Russia and Kazakhstan in the field of space exploration, will be analyzed the existing difficulties in using the Cosmodrome after the collapse of the USSR, as well as environmental safety in the process of mastering outer space. Based on the analysis of available Russian and Kazakh sources, as well as the regulatory and legal framework, author will try to summarize the international experience of cooperation between the two states on the use of the Baikonur Cosmodrome, and outline the stages of cooperation. This article analyzes priority directions of military-political cooperation between the Russian Federation and the Republic of Kazakhstan in the field of space exploration.

U.S. State: 2021 Investment Climate Statements: Kazakhstan

Kazakhstan Burning During Violent Protests - 2022

Kazakhstan protests: president denounces protesters as 'terrorists' | The Guardian |

22-year-old Israeli killed by gunfire in violent Kazakhstan protests | TOI |

Concerns grew in recent days that an even broader crackdown might be coming, as internet and cellphone service was severely disrupted and sometimes totally blocked, and several airports closed -- making it difficult to know what was happening inside the country and for images of the unrest to reach the outside world.

Adding to those fears was Tokayev's request for help from a Russia-led military alliance, the Collective Security Treaty Organization (CSTO), whose troops began arriving Thursday.

Translation:
Nine Russian military transport aircraft Il-76 with servicemen and airborne forces landed at the airfield in Almaty, Republic of Kazakhstan.

Blinken warns Kazakhstan about seeking help from Russia: 'sometimes it is very difficult to get them to leave'

U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken responded to a question comparing the situation in Kazakhstan to that on the Ukraine border with Russia, saying there are "very particular" economic and political drivers that make the situations different.

However, he warned Kazakhstan's government that "once Russians are in your house, sometimes it is very difficult to get them to leave."

[Update-1]

Russia reacts furiously to Blinken jibe over troops in Kazakhstan |

Russia's foreign ministry called Blinken's remark "typically offensive" and accused him of joking about tragic events in Kazakhstan. It said Washington should analyse its own track record of interventions in countries such as Vietnam and Iraq.

"If Antony Blinken loves history lessons so much, then he should take the following into account: when Americans are in your house, it can be difficult to stay alive and not be robbed or raped," the ministry said on its Telegram social media channel. "We are taught this not only by the recent past but by all 300 years of American statehood."

The ministry said the deployment in Kazakhstan was a legitimate response to Kazakhstan's request for support from the Collective Security Treaty Organisation, an alliance of ex-Soviet states that includes Russia.

Such remarks by Blinken indicates the NATO countries [Why NATO Is a Thing of the Past - https://www.eurotrib.com/story/2009/2/25/211933/327] have closed ranks …. useless for the bilateral talks between Russia and the US to take place … diplomacy on the back burner.

END OF UPDATE

Blinken: International system is 'at stake' with Russia | NBC News |

Secretary of State Antony Blinken discusses President Biden's recent phone call with Russian President Putin, during an exclusive interview with Meet the Press.

Kazakhstan detains former national security chief on suspicion of treason | The Guardian |

The Israel-Kazakhstan Partnership | The Diplomat |

Kazakh policymakers believe that Israel could indirectly assist Kazakhstan’s attempts to increase its oil exports to East Asia. In November 2006, Kazakhstan’s Deputy Prime Minister Karim Masimov announced that Kazakhstan would expand its investments in Haifa’s oil refineries.

Masimov has also called for an extension of the Baku-Tblisi-Ceyhan (BTC) Pipeline to Israel. Should the BTC pipeline expand to Israel, Israel’s oil terminals at Ashkelon and Eilat could be used to increase Kazakh oil shipments to Europe and East Asia.

Netanyahu scores diplomatic home run in Iran’s backyard | TOI – Dec. 17, 2016 |

You wouldn’t know it from the front pages of newspapers in Israel, but the Jewish state’s prime minister has completed a landmark visit to two of the world’s wealthiest Muslim nations.

Largely eclipsed in the Israeli media by sexual harassment scandals, the Knesset dress code and the impending evacuation of the Amona outpost in the West Bank, Benjamin Netanyahu’s state visit this week to Azerbaijan and Kazakhstan nonetheless represents a diplomatic coup against Iran. It also underlines Israel’s ability in recent years to punch holes in the former taboo in the Muslim world on openly embracing the Jewish state, experts on the relevant countries said.

“The media apparently missed the historic visit that I’m making to two Muslim nations that simply admire Israel, with whom we are pursuing closer ties,” Netanyahu wrote Wednesday on his Facebook page. Azerbaijan and Kazakhstan, he added in a video message, “are nurturing coexistence and fraternity between Jews and Muslims. This is where we are making the future.”

Muslim Kazakhstan asks Netanyahu for help in war on terror | I24 – 2016 |


Display:
by Cat on Sat Jan 8th, 2022 at 05:11:19 PM EST
Photo shows Joe Biden meeting Hunter's alleged business partner from Kazakhstan | NY Post - Oct. 20, 2020 |

A new photograph has emerged of Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden posing with Hunter Biden and Kenes Rakishev, a Kazakh oligarch who reportedly worked with the former veep's scandal-scarred son. [Photo not verified - Oui]

    Kenes Rakishev, who wrote messages in broken English, appears to have become intimate with the Vice President's son, calling Hunter 'my brother!' and 'my brother from another mother!'.

The snap, first published by a Kazakhstani anti-corruption website in 2019, follows last week's bombshell Post exposés detailing Hunter Biden's overseas business dealings and a report claiming Rakishev paid the Biden scion as a go-between to broker US investments.

In the undated photo, shared by the Kazhakhstani Initiative on Asset Recovery, the former vice president can be seen smiling with Kazakhstan's former prime minister Karim Massimov and his son, who is flanked by Rakishev.

    A friendly, almost family photo ... It is published for the first time in the world. It is attended by US Vice President Joseph Biden, his son Hunter Biden, the Prime Minister of Kazakhstan Karim Masimov and Kenes Rakishev, a relative and junior partner of Timur Kulibayev.

by Oui on Sat Jan 8th, 2022 at 11:33:29 PM EST
by Oui on Sat Jan 8th, 2022 at 11:35:05 PM EST
KAZNICKEL LLP ordered Pre-Feasibility and Feasibility Studies for Gornostay Field | Nov. 29. 2021 |  [cached]

The Supervisory Board of "KAZNICKEL" LLP approved signing a contract with CSA Global (Australia), an independent appraiser for the Pre-Feasibility and the Feasibility Studies of Gornostayevskoye Cobalt-Nickel Field.

Therefore, we invest into research and development of the project with a high degree of enthusiasm, and being fully compliant with the world's best practice we welcome international consultants to provide their independent assessment of our projects» noted Kenges Rakishev, Chairman of the Board of Directors of Fincraft Resources and Battery Metals Technologies and Supervisory Board's Chairman of "KAZNICKEL" LLP.

by Oui on Sat Jan 8th, 2022 at 11:36:30 PM EST
[ Parent ]
by Oui on Sat Jan 8th, 2022 at 11:37:08 PM EST
The Arab States are silent on China's treatment of Uyghur Muslims in Xinjiang ... one exception Qatar. Central Asian states too have not criticized China. The Uyghurs drive for an independent state has resulted in "freedom fighters" and terror attacks across China, Beijing included. These jihadists are also operating in Syria and Afghanistan and have been responsible for major bomb attacks under Taliban rule.

What is the chance this group also is part of the violence in Almaty and across Kazakhstan.

Police in Kazakhstan's largest city, Almaty, have detained six protesters who were demanding the release of relatives they say are being illegally held in China.

The November 29 rallies in front of the Chinese Consulate in Almaty were the latest in a series of demonstrations in Kazakhstan linked to the massive detention of Uyghurs, Kazakhs, and other mostly Muslim ethnic groups in the neighboring Chinese province of Xinjiang.

Further reading ...

by Oui on Sun Jan 9th, 2022 at 12:29:58 PM EST
Got into a WHOLE bunch of problems on another blog when I ask a person who was waxing hysterical about the (supposed) Ugyhur repression "how's that hunt for Nigerian Yellow Cake, chemical weapons, and mobile bio-warfare labs in Iraq going?"

The Point: there's no reason whatsoever to believe anything the US and the US media say about China.

She believed in nothing; only her skepticism kept her from being an atheist. -- Jean-Paul Sartre

by ATinNM on Sun Jan 9th, 2022 at 06:08:56 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Gulf ministers visit China to discuss strengthening energy ties | Al Jazeera |

Foreign ministers from Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Oman and Bahrain along with the Secretary-General of the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) Nayef bin Falah Al-Hajraf have arrived in Beijing for a five-day visit.

The visit, which started on Monday, follows a flurry of diplomatic activity by China's foreign minister Wang Yi, including a tour of Africa as well as visits to the Maldives and Sri Lanka.

In 2013 a much broader delegation included Egypt, Maldives and Qatar visited China ...

Assistant Foreign Minister Zhang Ming Meets with Delegation of Experts and Scholars from Egypt, Saudi Arabia, Qatar and Kuwait

by Oui on Wed Jan 12th, 2022 at 03:31:59 PM EST
[ Parent ]
by Oui on Wed Jan 12th, 2022 at 03:32:58 PM EST
[ Parent ]
by Oui on Wed Jan 12th, 2022 at 03:34:18 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Kazakh violence makes Chinese Muslim minority ponder future | Dawn News - Feb. 16, 2020 |

Violence had broken out among local Kazakhs and a group of ethnic Chinese Muslims called Dungans, who number more than 150,000 across Central Asia.

In the worst such violence in nearly three decades of independence, at least nine of the dead were Dungans, while one was a Kazakh, officials said. One body has not yet been identified.

Straddling the border between Kazakhstan and Kyrgyzstan, the people who claim Chinese and Arab heritage mostly work in agriculture or run small businesses.

The Mandarin dialect that Dungans speak, which is infused with Farsi and Arabic loanwords, sets them apart in a region where Turkic tongues dominate.

Many Dungans of Central Asia have family ties to China, especially western China, where they are known as Hui.

Beijing has targeted the group of some 10 million as part of a crackdown on Muslims that has also swept up Turkic groups like Uighurs, Kazakhs and Kyrgyz in the western Xinjiang region.

Some Kyrgyz and Kazakhs argue that Dungans have leveraged their linguistic and cultural heritage to benefit unfairly from trade with China, which floods the region with imports.

In 2013, dozens of ethnic Dungan truckers were reportedly beaten by Kyrgyz drivers at a border crossing with China where truckers compete for cargo bound for the country's bazaars.

Earlier, Kyrgyz and Dungans were involved in a village conflict that saw Dungan homes burned and some families flee to Kazakhstan to join relatives there.

...
Both Kazakhs and Dungans agree that the conflict, which drew in Kazakhs living hundreds of kilometres away, would not have erupted without online messengers that allowed information -- and disinformation -- to spread rapidly through communities.

Interethnic clash causes Kyrgyzstan's "common house" to tremble | RefWorld - 2006 |

by Oui on Sun Jan 9th, 2022 at 12:34:42 PM EST
Outside Force Coordinated Operations From Alma-Ata

What happened during the past few days of chaos, looting, looting and destruction of private and public property, was under the supervision of an American-Israeli operations room, based in the city of Alma-Ata, the economic capital of Kazakhstan.

- This room consisted of 22 American operations officers, six "Israeli" military intelligence officers, and 16 Turkish intelligence officers. Groups trained to carry out sabotage operations "behind enemy lines / special forces or thunderbolts" were used in the implementation of the operations, which the Ankara government had trained and prepared. in its Turkish bases and sent them in a systematic and organized manner into the country in full coordination with NATO.

But once again, Moscow was on the lookout for them, and it began to thwart the operation when the Kazakh army, with clear Russian support, was able to regain control of Almaty Airport, which was supposed - according to the plan - to turn into a center for receiving military supplies coming from the countries that manage everyone.

by Oui on Sun Jan 9th, 2022 at 06:03:19 PM EST
by Oui on Sun Jan 9th, 2022 at 06:05:55 PM EST

Almaty airport to remain closed until January 10, says TV | Tass Agency |

by Oui on Sun Jan 9th, 2022 at 06:07:00 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Kazakhstan turns into graveyard for US diplomacy

In a sensational statement in October 2018, Major General Igor Kirillov, the commander of Russia's Radiological, Chemical and Biological Defense Troops went to the extent of disclosing a discernible pattern of the network of Pentagon labs being located near the borders of Russia and China.

....
The unassumingly-named Central Reference Laboratory (CRL) in Almaty figuring in the Tass report was originally planned in 2013 with the US investing $102 million in a biosecurity lab to study some of the most deadly pathogens that could potentially be used in bioterrorism attacks.

Rather than locating the new facility in some obsecure tract of land in Nevada, the Pentagon deliberately chose a site near Almaty to securely store and study the highest-risk diseases such as plague, anthrax and cholera.

The rationale was that the lab would provide gainful employment to talented Kazakh researchers and get them off the streets, so to speak -- that is, discourage them from selling their scientific expertise and services to terrorist groups who may have use for biological weapons!

But the CRL, now operational, is anchored on institutional cooperation between Kazakh government and the US Defense Threat Reduction Agency under the the Pentagon, which is tasked with protecting "US National Security interests in a rapidly evolving, globalised threat environment to enable a greater understanding of our adversaries and provide solutions to WMD threats in an era of Great Power Competition."

By the way, Germany also has a similar arrangement under the rubric German-Kazakh Network for Biosafety and Biosecurity, which is co-managed by the Bundeswehr Institute of Microbiology (a military research facility of the German Armed Forces for Medical Biological Defence.)

by Oui on Sun Jan 9th, 2022 at 07:06:25 PM EST
Unlike in Afghanistan, CIA and Pentagon are not in a position to "evacuate" their collaborators. And the torrential flow of events has shocked the Washington establishment. Kazakhstan is a large country (two-thirds the size of India) and sparsely populated (18 million), and the CSTO forces who moved in are well-equipped and led by a tough seasoned general who crushed the  US-backed insurgency in Chechnya.

The Russian forces have taken with them advanced Leer-3 electronic warfare system, which includes specially configured Orlan-10 drones, jamming devices, etc. Borders have been sealed.

The mandate for Russian forces is to protect "strategic assets". Presumably, such assets include the Pentagon-funded labs in Kazakhstan.

The Evolution of Modern Russian Unconventional Warfare

by Oui on Sun Jan 9th, 2022 at 07:07:54 PM EST
[ Parent ]

Translation:
Joint briefing by the Commander of the Collective Peacekeeping Forces of the CSTO in the Republic of Kazakhstan, Colonel General Andrei Serdyukov and Deputy Minister of Defense of the Republic of Kazakhstan, Lieutenant General Sultan Gamaletdinov

by Oui on Sun Jan 9th, 2022 at 07:43:55 PM EST
[ Parent ]
The Russian forces have taken with them advanced Leer-3 electronic warfare system, which includes specially configured Orlan-10 drones, jamming devices, etc. Borders have been sealed. Flights from Almaty International airport had been suspended.
by Oui on Mon Jan 10th, 2022 at 12:40:01 PM EST
[ Parent ]
by Oui on Tue Jan 11th, 2022 at 08:12:39 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Commander Airborne Regiment is Colonel General Andrei Serdyukov who set up a Rapid Reaction Force after Donbas and Crimea.

Was the pressure on border with Ukraine a camouflage for the developments in Kazakhstan? There have been ethnic tensions for many years and as late as December. There have been pogroms along the border with Kyrgyzstan.

Kazakhstan closes five of seven checkpoints on border with Kyrgyzstan - Kyrgyz authorities | Tass - Jan. 7, 2022 |

Almaty is a far eastern outpost city and a 4-6 hour drive from Bishkek, capital of Kyrgyrstan Travel by minibus shared taxi costs 400 Kyrgyz Som (US $5). Must be an indication of poverty and inexpensive fuel price.

by Oui on Mon Jan 10th, 2022 at 12:45:28 PM EST
[ Parent ]
by Oui on Sun Jan 9th, 2022 at 07:17:55 PM EST
by Oui on Mon Jan 10th, 2022 at 12:19:46 PM EST
by Oui on Mon Jan 10th, 2022 at 12:20:26 PM EST
[ Parent ]
@ Peter AU1 | Jan 9 2022 23:00 utc | 173 (Moon of Alabama)

That's my analysis too. Erdogan doesn't trust NATO and feelings are mutual. The Turkic people are of great interest, similar to Erdogan's interest in the Tatars of Crimea, Azeris, etc. The Ottoman Empire will not be revived in his lifetime.

Making Turkey great again: Erdogan throws out the rule book

by Oui on Mon Jan 10th, 2022 at 12:49:33 PM EST
In the military staff are persons working for foreign intelligence. From a well-informed personal account (NATO employee and former Turkey military) told me the division was between CIA and FSB. I'm sure this can be extended to Turkey and Israeli intelligence.

Same is true for interests in the Ukraine where all four states have a crucial role to play. In the Soviet frontline states, the FSB is entrenched and has a fair role to play. The outsider US can spend money and influence through NGOs, but will always be handicapped beyond SIGINT

. The loss of the Afghanistan foothold is lasting for decades in Central Asia.

Policy of encirclement of the first Cold War (Baghdad Pact and CENTO) is likely the only means for the Five Eyes Nations today, except the periphery has massively increased. AUKUS is a logical step and there is no role for the EU in these acts but as bystander.

The feud between Iran and Israel has almost become a domestic Middle East affair for those nations, not a topic for the World stage. The play is for Asia and Central Asia ... the 5 Eyes won't give up easily ... Taiwan next?

by Oui on Mon Jan 10th, 2022 at 12:51:53 PM EST
Over the years, the European Union has squandered the chance to bring more democracy to Turkey. The UK and France played a role in delays and the animosity by Israel to most neighbouring countries. The key to peace in Europe would have been not to follow the dictate of the US and NATO, but come to the conclusion Western Russia and Turkey are more important than many former Eastern European corrupt Soviet satellite nations now part of the EU-27. Kazakhstan is a lost cause, as is Georgia and the Ukraine will be more of a headache worse than Poland, Hungary, and Austria combined.

The Teetering of US Global Power | Oct. 2013 |

by Oui on Mon Jan 10th, 2022 at 12:59:31 PM EST
I highly suspect democracy is something that can be brought in. Just like you can't export revolution, you really can't export democracy.

The proper way would have been to prove by example the benefits of democracy - improved well being, equality, wealth, stability, predictability etc. Unfortunately neoliberals managed to destroy all that. Or rather, we allowed them to do so...

by pelgus on Mon Jan 10th, 2022 at 01:07:48 PM EST
[ Parent ]
by Oui on Mon Jan 10th, 2022 at 05:32:26 PM EST

Press release on the situation in the Republic of Kazakhstan - Jan. 8, 2022

Following the events on January 5-6, the situation in the country is gradually improving. Economic activities in the republic are returning to normal. Passenger train services have been restored in full, and additional trains were rolled out to serve the most popular destinations. The operation of some of the national payment systems has stabilised. It has been announced that state support will be provided for small and medium-sized businesses that suffered from looting. Public transport has resumed operation in the Mangystau Region as well as at Aktau International Airport.

Government buildings in Almaty have been cleared from extremists. Many terrorists have been eliminated or arrested; their identities are being established. Law enforcement has taken control of the city's airport although it is still closed for civil aviation.

There have been no threats to Russian foreign missions or Russian citizens in the respective consular districts. The situation around our diplomatic and consular missions remains calm. According to the latest reports, there were no Russian nationals among the victims.

The emergency centre of the Russian Embassy in Nur-Sultan is processing applications from Russian nationals who are unable to leave the Republic of Kazakhstan; their lists and places of residence are being specified in order to resolve the issue of their return to their homeland.

by Oui on Mon Jan 10th, 2022 at 05:33:53 PM EST
Kyrgyz: The 700-Million-Dollar Man | OCCRP |

On Istanbul's European side, the Ottoman-era Çırağan Palace rises grandly above the waters of the Bosphorus. Once, the servants of Sultan Abdülâziz hurried up and down its marble halls. After a fire gutted the interior in 1909, it was left in ruins for years, its garden used as a football pitch.

Today, Çırağan hosts the Kempinski, a five-star hotel where the rich and ultra-rich dine on oysters, lounge by the infinity pool, and pose for photos in front of an ornate 17th-century gate.

But on one warm day in late October, a more unusual pair sat at an upscale Italian restaurant by the palace's famous garden. The two men spoke for hours, occasionally glancing up to see if anyone was watching, with a pile of papers spread out on the table between them.

One was a journalist. The other was Aierken Saimaiti, a polite, talkative 37-year-old car rental agent who had arrived in Istanbul from his home in Kyrgyzstan two years earlier.

Nothing about Saimaiti's appearance betrayed his many secrets. But just days earlier, one of his employees had been beaten to death back home. And now, worried for his own safety, he was ready to make his real business -- and his clients -- fully public.

by Oui on Mon Jan 10th, 2022 at 09:40:10 PM EST
Murder of businessman Aierken Saimaiti solved

Mystery of the murder of a businessman Aierken Saimaiti, who was killed on November 10, 2019 in Istanbul's Fatih district, has been revealed. Sabah media outlet reports.

According to the media outlet, the murder was committed by members of Tahrir Al-Sham terrorist organization.

«The suspects were detained in Adana city while trying to escape to Syria. Kyrgyzstanis Khusein Akhmetaliev, Abdullah Enver and a Syrian Ali Isbeh were taken to Istanbul. During the interrogation, Abdullah Enver told that he is a member of a terrorist organization and that he committed murder following order of the head of the organization. The detainees were promised $ 50,000 each,» the Turkish media outlet reports.

Aierken Saimaiti was killed in Istanbul on November 10, 2019. He was shot dead in a cafe in Fatih district. After publication of a photograph of Saimaiti with some Kyrgyz politicians, the Parliament decided to investigate his murder.

Though it is fighting in Syria, the Turkestan Islamic Party remains firmly focused on Xinjiang | Carnegie Middle East Center - Aug. 30, 2017 |

Iran's government has in 2017 accused Qatar and Saudi Arabia of supporting Tahrir al-Sham.

by Oui on Mon Jan 10th, 2022 at 09:41:18 PM EST
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by Oui on Mon Jan 10th, 2022 at 11:37:09 PM EST
by Oui on Mon Jan 10th, 2022 at 11:37:37 PM EST
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by Oui on Mon Jan 10th, 2022 at 11:38:34 PM EST
Firm support from China to Kazakhstan to end violence and unrest: Chinese FM to counterpart | Global Times |

Xi said China strongly rejects any attempt by external forces to provoke unrest and instigate "colour revolution" in Kazakhstan, as well as any attempt to harm the friendship between China and Kazakhstan and disrupt the two countries' cooperation. China is ready to provide necessary support to help Kazakhstan overcome the difficulties, Xi said.

Tileuberdi thanked President Xi for his important message to President Tokayev at the critical moment of Kazakhstan and taking the lead in expressing support to President Tokayev and the Kazakh people.

by Oui on Tue Jan 11th, 2022 at 12:01:15 AM EST
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by Oui on Tue Jan 11th, 2022 at 06:46:37 AM EST
Video from Kazakhstan security forces arresting members of Tablighi Jamaat (banned in Russia), with weapons, some Indian documents and Tajik border stamps.

Crimea 2017: Three 'cells' of Tablighi Jamaat had been 'eliminated'. 

Saudi bans Tablighi Jamaat, branded a 'gate of Terrorism' | Dec. 20, 2021 |

The Tablighi Jamaat (Society for Spreading Faith) was founded in pre-partition India in 1926 as a religious revivalist movement calling on Muslims to return to a pure form of Sunni Islam; most of its adherents follow the Hanafi School of jurisprudence.

PM Imran Khan backs Tablighi Jamaat after Saudi Arabia's ban | Jan. 2, 2022 |

The assembly of Pakistan's Punjab province unanimously adopted a resolution and termed the organization 'a force for good'.

The resolution read, "Tablighi Jamaat is a global organization. It has nothing to do with terrorism. History has shown that these people have never been involved in such activities. They are earning goodwill for Pakistan with the preaching of Islam all over the world". It is noteworthy that the same Punjab assembly had banned Tablighi Jamaat from universities and mosques around universities in 2016 as it was sympathetic towards extremist outfits.

by Oui on Tue Jan 11th, 2022 at 04:53:58 PM EST
by Oui on Tue Jan 11th, 2022 at 05:06:49 PM EST
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CSTO Contingent to Leave Country After Successfully Completing Peacekeeping Mission, 13 -23 Jan
the process of withdrawal will begin in two days.

Tokayev noted that the phased withdrawal of the united CSTO peacekeeping contingent "will take no more than 10 days". [...] The leader lashed out at the country's National Security Committee, noting that the committee failed to detect the threat to the country's national security.

by Cat on Tue Jan 11th, 2022 at 05:21:44 PM EST
A Case History in Cooperative Biological Research: Compendium of Studies and Program Analyses in Kazakhstan | Pub Med Central - Dec. 2019 |

Kazakhstan and the United States have partnered since 2003 to counter the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction. The US Department of Defense (US DoD) has funded threat reduction programs to eliminate biological weapons, secure material in repositories that could be targeted for theft, and enhance surveillance systems to monitor infectious disease outbreaks that would affect national security.

The cooperative biological research (CBR) program of the US DoD's Biological Threat Reduction Program has provided financing, mentorship, infrastructure, and biologic research support to Kazakhstani scientists and research institutes since 2005. The objective of this paper is to provide a historical perspective for the CBR involvement in Kazakhstan, including project chronology, successes and challenges to allow lessons learned to be applied to future CBR endeavors. A project compendium from open source data and interviews with partner country Kazakhstani participants, project collaborators, and stakeholders was developed utilizing studies from 2004 to the present.

Why The U.S. Is Building A High-Tech Bubonic Plague Lab In Kazakhstan | Popular Science - Aug. 2013 |

by Oui on Tue Jan 11th, 2022 at 07:01:09 PM EST
Kazakhstan's New National Laboratory is a Regional Resource for a Global Cause | Non-proliferation - May 20, 2020 |

In Kazakhstan, high-risk, naturally occurring diseases include Crimean Congo hemorrhagic fever (CCHF), hemorrhagic fever with renal syndrome (hantaviruses), tickborne encephalitis (TBE), rickettsial diseases, and Q fever. Historically, Kazakhstan monitored these diseases in laboratories of the former Soviet anti-plague system (APS), which fell into severe disrepair after the collapse of the Soviet Union and the subsequent lack of funding. As a result, the potential for accidents and mishaps in these labs compounded the risk to surrounding populations.

The central APS laboratory in Kazakhstan, called the Kazakh Scientific Center for Quarantine and Zoonotic Diseases (KSCQZD), housed the most dangerous activities to this end. The work it routinely conducted required international biosafety level (BSL)-2 and BSL-3 standards spanning personnel practices, safety equipment, and facility administrative and engineering controls. When the United States engaged with this lab through the CTR program, none of these controls had been in place.

by Oui on Tue Jan 11th, 2022 at 07:02:00 PM EST
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Use of Chemical, Biological Weapons Unacceptable in Any Context, Delegates Stress, as First Committee Continues General Debate | United Nations - Oct. 7, 2021 |

China's representative, however, pointed out that the United States unilaterally withdrew from the Protocol to the Biological Weapons Convention in 2001 and operates more than 200 biological labs outside its territory. They function in an opaque manner, posing serious risks for the Russian Federation and China, he said.  The United States and its allies also carry out activities in biological labs within their own territories, with the United States providing no information, he added, urging those States to operate in an open manner and to resume negotiations on a verifiable legally binding mechanism.

Joint Statement by the Foreign Ministers of the People's Republic of China and the Russia Federation on Strengthening the Convention on the Prohibition of the Development, Production and Stockpiling of Bacteriological (Biological) and Toxin Weapons and on their Destruction | MFA - Oct. 8, 2021 |

by Oui on Tue Jan 11th, 2022 at 07:03:00 PM EST
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Kanatzhan "Kanat" Alibekov [In Langley, Va aka Ken Alibek] and colleagues have sought to develop a product that would protect against an array of deadly viruses and bacteria, rather than just a single organism. In his lab, mice had survived doses of smallpox and anthrax. His "cocktail approach" - mixing more than one drug with other ingredients - was touted at news conferences in 2002 and 2004 by U.S. Representative H. James Saxton (R-N.J.), as "a potential new defense against bioterrorism". This scientific approach is very difficult to assess accurately and has not withstood scientific peer review.

Alibek has used his notoriety to promote "Dr. Ken Alibek's Immune System Support Formula," a dietary supplement sold over the Internet. This concoction of vitamins, minerals, and a proprietary bacterial mix will purportedly "bolster the immune system".

Even very smart scientists sometimes take a detour or a a dead end. (*) Soviet era whistleblower with Pentagon funding build Biosecurity lab in Almaty.

by Oui on Tue Jan 11th, 2022 at 07:08:48 PM EST
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by Oui on Wed Jan 12th, 2022 at 05:09:34 AM EST
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US rejects biological weapons convention protocol | BMJ Medical - June 2, 2001 |

The interagency team reportedly found 38 problems with the protocol, a handful of them serious. It has unanimously concluded that the current version of the protocol would be inefficient in stopping cheating and that not all of its deficiencies could be remedied by the negotiating deadline of November 2001. The 210 page protocol, developed after six years' negotiation, requires signatories to make known their vaccine production facilities, their largest biodefence installations, and facilities that conduct genetic engineering or aerosol studies with germ agents that are likely to be used in weapons. An oversight mechanism for onsite inspections through a new executive council is also part of the protocol.

by Oui on Tue Jan 11th, 2022 at 07:03:47 PM EST
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by Oui on Tue Jan 11th, 2022 at 11:54:57 PM EST
by Oui on Wed Jan 12th, 2022 at 03:28:30 PM EST
On the address by Kassym-Jomart Tokayev, President of Kazakhstan, at the Special Session of the Mazhilis of the Parliament of the Republic of Kazakhstan

President Tokayev confirmed that perpetrators of violence took advantage of public discontent with the increase of liquefied gas price. Initially, peaceful rallies against the rise of gas price took place in a number of regions. Then, peaceful protests were hijacked by bandits, looters, and armed terrorists, including foreign militants. The perpetrators' key goal is clear - they aimed at destruction of government institutions, undermining of the constitutional order, and, ultimately, the seizure of power in Kazakhstan.

Facing an unprecedented armed aggression by terrorists, Kazakhstan had to request for assistance from its partners at the Collective Security Treaty Organisation (CSTO) and deployment of an international peacekeeping contingent. By today, the main mission of the CSTO peacekeeping force has been successfully completed. A phased withdrawal from Kazakhstan of the entire CSTO peacekeeping contingent will begin in two days and will take no more than 10 days in total.

The President said that it is very important to recognize that, at the time of inviting the CSTO contingent to Kazakhstan, the country was in danger of ceding control over its biggest city, Almaty, to terrorists. If we had lost Almaty, we could have then lost the entire country. The risk was particularly high given that Kazakhstan's National Security Committee, a key counter-terrorism agency, failed to timely identify a critical threat to the national security.

by Oui on Wed Jan 12th, 2022 at 03:29:11 PM EST
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by Oui on Wed Jan 12th, 2022 at 03:45:17 PM EST

US/UK Point Man in Anti-Russia Campaign Speaks Up

Bill Browder got roasted during the sworn testimony of Glenn Simpson --Fusion GPS-- before U.S. Congress in August 2017

Fusion GPS's Glenn Simpson painted a disturbing portrait of hedge-fund manager William Browder | The Nation - Jan. 16, 2018 |

by Oui on Wed Jan 12th, 2022 at 11:35:47 PM EST
by Oui on Sat Jan 15th, 2022 at 12:26:16 PM EST
Afghanistan military campaign - Aafia Siddiqui taken prisoner.

NY protesters demand release and repatriation of Aafia Siddiqui | Al Jazeera - Oct. 21, 2021 |

"Free, Free Aafia," the protesters shouted in unison.

The rally was part of a series of protests organised by a coalition of more than 20 local and national human rights and religious groups, including the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR).

Trial of Dr. Aafia Siddiqui Linked to Mehsud and Faisal Shahzad | EuroTrib - May 5, 2010 |

by Oui on Sat Jan 15th, 2022 at 09:18:15 PM EST
Texas synagogue hostages: one of four released unharmed as siege continues | The Guardian |

by Oui on Sun Jan 16th, 2022 at 01:16:20 AM EST
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by Oui on Sun Jan 16th, 2022 at 01:17:28 AM EST
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Hostages freed after standoff at Texas synagogue; gunman dead | Al Jazeera |

The officials said the hostage-taker was heard demanding the release of Aafia Siddiqui, a Pakistani neuroscientist who was sentenced in 2010 to 86 years in prison on charges that she assaulted and shot at US military officers after being detained in Afghanistan.

The punishment had sparked outrage in Pakistan among political leaders and her supporters, who viewed her as victimised by the American criminal justice system. Siddiqui is in federal prison in Texas.

The officials told AP that the hostage-taker also said he wanted to be able to speak with Siddiqui.

A Pakistani neuroscientist who studied in the United States at prestigious institutions -- Brandeis University and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

by Oui on Sun Jan 16th, 2022 at 08:52:20 AM EST
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US embassy cables: Protests in Pakistan over conviction of Aafia Siddiqui

A closer look at the case of Aafia Siddiqui, jailed in Texas | ABC News |

For many Muslims, Guantánamo stands as a confirmation of the low regard in which they believe the United States holds them. For many non-Muslims, regardless of their feelings toward the United States, it has emerged as a symbol of American hypocrisy.

"The cages, the orange suits, the shackles - it's as if they're dealing with something that's like a germ they don't want to touch," said Daoud Kuttab, director of the Institute of Modern Media at Al Quds University in Ramallah, in the West Bank. "That's the nastiness of it."  (NY Times)

The spectre of U.S. abuses has deeply affected politics in countries around the world.

US abuse of Afghan prisoners 'widespread' | The Guardian - May 2005 |

by Oui on Sun Jan 16th, 2022 at 08:54:37 AM EST
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by Oui on Sun Jan 16th, 2022 at 04:03:46 PM EST
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by Oui on Sun Jan 16th, 2022 at 05:08:57 PM EST
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by Oui on Sun Jan 16th, 2022 at 05:18:05 PM EST
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Aafia Siddiqui ...

Devout Muslim, fasts during Ramadan, humiliated and tortured during detention, strip-searched, anger against America because of Afghan War ... indeed delusional.

Interrogation psychiatrist Dr. Gregory B. Saathoff

by Oui on Mon Jan 17th, 2022 at 07:20:28 AM EST
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by Oui on Mon Jan 17th, 2022 at 08:08:34 AM EST
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FBI identifies British national as suspect who took hostages at Colleyville, Texas, synagogue | CBS News |

Authorities did not reveal a specific motive, but the FBI said it believes the hostage-taker was "singularly focused on one issue, and it was not specifically related to the Jewish community."

by Oui on Sun Jan 16th, 2022 at 10:18:30 PM EST
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Remarks by President Biden on the Hostage Situation at Congregation Beth Israel in Colleyville, Texas | White House Statement |

This was an act of terror.  This was an act of terror.  And it not only was related to someone who had been arrested, I might add, 15 years ago and been in jail for 10 years -- the idea that it was something new. 

....
I also told him that I wanted to make sure we got the word out to synagogues and places of worship that we're not going to tolerate this, that we have this capacity to deal with the assaults on particularly the anti-Semitism that has grown up. 

by Oui on Sun Jan 16th, 2022 at 10:19:28 PM EST
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Biden condemns Texas synagogue siege while FBI names Briton as hostage-taker | The Guardian |

A man who died after taking four people hostage at a Texas synagogue has been named by the FBI as 44-year-old British national Malik Faisal Akram.

Akram's family said they were "devastated" by his death, Sky News reported. His brother Gulbard said in a statement that family members had spent hours "liaising with Faisal" during the hostage-taking, and that although he was "suffering from mental health issues we were confident that he would not harm the hostages,".

The family said they "do not condone any of his actions and would like to sincerely apologise wholeheartedly to all the victims involved in the unfortunate incident," according to Sky.

....
Multiple people heard the hostage-taker refer to Siddiqui as his "sister" on the livestream, but John Floyd, board chair for the Houston chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations -- the nation's largest Muslim advocacy group -- said Siddiqui's brother, Mohammad Siddiqui, was not involved.

"This assailant has nothing to do with Dr Aafia, her family, or the global campaign to get justice for Dr Aafia. We want the assailant to know that his actions are wicked and directly undermine those of us who are seeking justice for Dr Aafia," said Floyd, who is also legal counsel for Mohammad Siddiqui.

by Oui on Sun Jan 16th, 2022 at 10:16:26 PM EST
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by Oui on Sun Jan 16th, 2022 at 07:54:35 PM EST
by Oui on Wed Jan 19th, 2022 at 08:17:43 PM EST
by Oui on Tue Jan 25th, 2022 at 02:08:37 PM EST


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