No sooner had US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo left Kazakhstan on February 7, than clashes erupted between ethnic Kazakhs and Dungans, an ethnic Chinese group. Was it a coincidence, given that there have never been clashes between these two groups in the past?
Pompeo had arrived in Kazakhstan on February 2 and spent a great deal of effort trying to convince the regime about the risks of doing business with China. And if talking did not convince the Kazakh ruler, then there were other means.
Pompeo who earlier served as CIA director was quite candid about describing the spy agency’s work in very clear terms; “We lied, we cheated, we stole. We had entire training courses. It reminds you of the glory of the American experiment."
In an article published in January 2020 (prepared in December 2019), Crescent International’s analysis team had projected that completion of the Trans-Anatolian Natural Gas Pipeline (TANAP) in order to decrease Western Europe’s energy dependence on Russia will revive the geopolitical struggle in Central Asia. The issue was revisited in Crescent’s February 2020 edition and concluded that TANAP is highly likely to influence geopolitical tensions in Central Asia and expected the initial sparks to manifest themselves soon. They did.
Media reports described spontaneous ethnic clashes erupting in the town of Masanchi between Kazakhs and Dungans for no apparent reason.
These reports further said that as a result of violent clashes, eleven people died, at least 40 were injured and several properties were burned down.
The propaganda outlet of the British regime, the BBC, reported that according to one eyewitness, the market in Almaty, the largest city of the country and the former capital, was shut down by the authorities following clashes in Masanchi.
Currently Masanchi is blocked by Kazakh troops.
The regime is trying to paint the clashes only in a narrow local sense. At the same time, high ranking officials visiting Masanchi promised a comprehensive socio-economic package for the region’s population and instituted an emergency law in the area.
Russian media reported that many people are vacating villages in the area where the clashes took place and are crossing the border into Kyrgyzstan for refuge.
This is quite a dramatic reaction if there is not more to the recent clashes. Information coming from Kazakhstan’s regime cannot be taken at face value, as it is notorious for censorship and corruption.
It should be noted that economically Kazakhstan is one of the better-off countries in the region. Due to the country’s rich resources and small population, the autocratic pro-Russian regime of the ex-communist bureaucrat, Nursultan Nazarbayev could pocket a great deal of country’s wealth and share some of it with the people.
The recent clashes show that Central Asia is vulnerable, a region which worries Russia and can have a major effect on the global geopolitical scene.
In our numerous analyses we have often stated that in coming years, Central Asia will witness far greater geopolitical turmoil.
Today Central Asia is fertile battleground for global powers and the declining influence of the US. Coupled with the fact that Central Asian regimes are Russian satellites, greater NATO interference can be expected.
Russia’s southern borders are engulfed in many small crises. With a bit of mischief, these can become major trouble spots and destabilize the entire post-Soviet space.
Moscow’s gamble on despotic regimes, led by ex-Soviet bureaucrats is its weakest point. The illegitimacy of these regimes and their brutality provides an easy pretext for the export of “US democracy.”