Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Will Kyrgyzstan become a big enough problem...

...to draw in the United States or Russia?

TIME magazine asks that question, noting that both Washington and Moscow have much to lose if the crisis deepens.

The United Nations wants elections to move forward, but when you consider this excerpt from the report highlighted at the top of this sentence, it is hard to see how that is possible:

The southern part of the impoverished Central Asian nation has been convulsed by days of ethnic rioting targeting minority Uzbeks, which has left the country's second-largest city, Osh, in ruins and sent a stampede of Uzbek families fleeing toward the border.

Kyrgyzstan's interim government, which took over when former President Kurmanbek Bakiyev was ousted in an April uprising, has accused Mr. Bakiyev's family of instigating the violence to halt a June 27 referendum on a new constitution. Uzbeks have mostly backed the interim government, while many Kyrgyz in the south have supported Mr. Bakiyev.

It is expected that humanitarian aid will start flowing -- and largely from Russia, which could be the first indicator that Russia will be more than a player on the sideline in determining how this situation plays out.

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