The Guardian 30 November, 2005

One US base less in the world

The Government of Uzbekistan has kicked the US Air Force out from its base in that country. The US established the base at the commencement of its occupation of Afghanistan following its invasion of the World Trade Centre in New York. The US claimed that the base was necessary to conduct its "war against terrorism" in Afghanistan.

Uzbekistan was one of the southern republics of the former Soviet Union. The establishment of a US base there was to be the forerunner of the entry of US military forces and US oil corporations into the strategic centre of the Asian land mass. Uzbekistan has a border with Afghanistan but is also not far from the western regions of China. It also borders the Russian Federation which US and European imperialist leaders have not succeeded in persuading to join their colonialist adventures.

Following the departure of the last US warplane from the Uzbek base last week, a Moscow military source told the Russian newsagency Interfax, that "Experts are studying the technical conditions for the setting up of a Russian air force unit in Uzbekistan, bearing in mind a treaty on allied relations recently signed between the two countries and Uzbekistan’s expected accession to the Collective Security Treaty Organisation", the source said.

The CSTO was established under the Collective Security Treaty of May 15, 1992 which was signed less than six months after the break-up of the Soviet Union. Its aims include the strengthening of peace, international and regional security and stability, and the collective defence of the independence, territorial integrity and sovereignty of member states. While giving priority to achieving its aims by political means, the CSTO has rapid deployment forces, carries out military exercises and collects and exchanges intelligence.

The former Soviet Republics of Armenia, Belarus, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Russia, Tajikistan, Azerbaijan, Georgia and Belarus are signaturies of the Treaty.

The Treaty specifically states that if one of the member-states is threatened by aggression that the other states will consider this as an act of aggression against all.

In another move which cannot please the US, the Uzbek Government has notified NATO that it has banned overflights of its territory by German planes which were being used to supply the German NATO contingent in Afghanistan.

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