U.S. Military Base In Uzbekistan To Counter Russia In Central Asia

U.S. base deployment in Uzbekistan will dent Russia’s influence in Central Asia – general

MOSCOW: Washington’s plans to deploy a military base on Uzbek territory could entail negative political and economic consequences for Moscow, Lt. Gen. Leonid Sazhin, a Russian military expert, told Interfax-AVN.

According to recent media reports, Washington launched negotiations with Tashkent addressing the possible establishment of a so-called Operative Reaction Center in Uzbekistan, which could accommodate warehouses storing weapons and military hardware following the U.S. forces’ withdrawal from Afghanistan in 2014.

Such a scenario is “quite probable,” Sazhin said.

“A tentative decision on this matter was most likely adopted before Mr. Karimov [Uzbek President Islam Karimov] turned his back on Russia once again – too many overseas visitors traveled there,” the expert said.

Uzbekistan quit the Collective Security Treaty Organization in June 2012.

“The deployment of such an American facility, no matter what they call it, will entail negative political and economic consequences both for Russia and the Central Asian region in general,” he said.

“Although Americans claims that they are fighting against the Taliban in Afghanistan today, it will be them who, by deploying their facility in Uzbekistan, will lead Taliban members there,” Sazhin said.

“Taliban ideologists will inevitably take advantage of the American presence in Uzbekistan to fuel anti-American sentiments among the local population and win some of them over to their side. As a result, anti-American sentiments will spill over into anti-government demonstrations, ” the Russian expert said.

“This problem also has a military-economic component. Americans know how to count money. It is more profitable for them to store weapons withdrawn from Afghanistan nearby than drag them all the way to [America],” he said.

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