SCO

Uzbekistan Snubs SCO Peace Mission 2012

By Roger McDermott

Uzbekistan is often cast as a reluctant or difficult member of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) or the Collective Security Treaty Organization (CSTO), because of its consistent opposition to new initiatives in either body and relentless prudence concerning its participation in multilateral military exercises. Yet, the complex policymaking in Tashkent that produces such thorny approaches to security issues is also frequently refracted through the Russian media in such a way as to distort its purposes or deeper considerations. Once again, behind the colorful official claims of success surrounding the latest SCO Peace Mission exercise, Tashkent exposed the disunity in the organization by refusing to participate (Interfax, June 9).

China’s Game in Central Asia

China is currently making a series of attempts to strengthen its position in Central Asia. Its primary aim is to radically change the balance of power in the Shanghai Cooperation Organization through the use of economic levers. China made the following key proposals during preparations for the organization’s last summit: creation of the SCO Development Bank based on Chinese capital; formation of an “SCO account,” also based on Chinese money, or rather a fund for supporting projects to develop the organization; and, establishment of a single free trade zone for participating countries.

SCO Fails to Turn Into an “Eastern NATO”

By Pavel Felgenhauer

The Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) comprising China, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Russia, Tajikistan, and Uzbekistan was officially created on June 15, 2001. At the time the Taliban ruled Afghanistan, while the secular dictators of the impoverished, weak and corrupt former Soviet Central Asian “Stan” states were panicking. A radical Islamist insurgency, supported by the Talibs and (or) Osama bin Laden then resident in Kabul, could engulf one or several “Stan” states, eventually destabilizing the entire region. The SCO was formed to promote security and economic cooperation to fight the terrorist threat and poverty in the “Stan” states and make them less susceptible to Islamist Salafi agitation.