CSTO

Kazakhstan Downplays NATO’s Role in Central Asia

By Roger McDermott

Kazakhstan has recently participated in international military exercises with its NATO partners as well as through the Collective Security Treaty Organization (CSTO) in what at first sight appears to confirm that its multi-vector foreign policy also strongly influences its defense and security policy. Nonetheless, the scope, intensity and seriousness attached to the country’s defense and security relations with Moscow and its involvement in the CSTO goes far above the lip service it pays to cooperation with NATO. This critical distinction in Astana’s defense policy is amply demonstrated by the country hosting the CSTO’s first peacekeeping exercises from October 8 to October 17 (Interfax, October 3; see EDM, September 11).

Armenia Is Scaring NATO?

By Arthur Khachatryan

Armenia has launched military exercises "Interaction-2012". Collective Rapid Reaction Forces will respond the conventional enemy aggression. For this, all the CSTO states have gathered military units near Armenia. At the landfill "Baghramyan", located 50 km from Yerevan, there are deployed around 2 thousand troops. The purpose of the exercise is to strengthen military cooperation and achieve mutual understanding within the CSTO. As well as to show NATO military capabilities.

CSTO Agreement on Foreign Bases Frustrates Tajikistan’s Ambitions

By Alexander Sodiqov

On December 20, 2011, members of the Collective Security Treaty Organization (CSTO) reached an agreement that makes it impossible for any individual country in the group to host a foreign military base on its territory without the full consent of all other members of the organization. The initiative empowers Russia to veto any foreign basing plans in Armenia, Belarus, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, and Uzbekistan. Hence, the move serves as a continuation of Russia’s efforts to counteract the influence of the US military and reassert its own role in its immediate neighborhood (Interfax, December 21).