Uzbekistan at Odds with Russia Over CSTO Rapid Reaction Force and Suspends Partnership
Uzbekistan has suspended its membership from the Collective Security Treaty Organization (CSTO). The decision to leave the group comes on the heels of Moscow's plans to deploy a rapid reaction force near the Uzbekistan's border.
Russian domination of the CSTO is nothing new, but the Uzbek government is now pushing back. Of all of the Central Asian states belonging to the CSTO, Uzbekistan is the largest and most militarized.
The CSTO was created in 2002 as a de facto security alliance, but has emerged in recent years as a vehicle to promote Russian interests in the near abroad. In February 2009, a Rapid Reaction Force was created; however, of the seven CSTO members (Armenia, Belarus, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Russia, Uzbekistan, and Tajikistan), only five signed the agreement for the force at that time.
Belarus finally joined in October 2009, but Uzbekistan still refuses to join because it fears a greater Russian influence in Central Asia.
Source: By R. Barrett Edwards (Eurasia Analyst, Forecast International, Inc., International Miltary Markets) NEWTOWN, Conn. - 02 July 2012
Photo Stories: The Uzbekistan Rapid Reaction Force 2009 special complex rapid reaction force exercises (Photo by rian.ru)
Russian Air Force A-50 early warning aircraft, fighter jets flying in formation with the Moscow newspaper