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The CSTO is Ready for Any Challenges

19.04.2012 14:00

Valery Alexandrov

The precise coordination of efforts to combat today?s various threats and challenges is the main task of the Collective Security Treaty Organization (CSTO), which includes seven former Soviet republics, now - the independent states. These are Russia, Byelorussia, Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan and Armenia. Four of the seven members of the CSTO are Central Asian countries, and this determines the attention the organization pays to the problems of the strategically important Central Asian region.

The situation there gives rise to a serious concern. First of all, it is a case of threats emanating from Afghanistan and associated with the situation instability in this country, where the drug trade and terrorism are flourishing. It is in Afghanistan that al-Qaeda is based; its training camps are located here from where terrorists after having been trained by the experienced instructors, are thrown into different regions of the world, including the CSTO countries.

More than ten years of the U.S. troops and its allies staying in this country has led neither to a destruction of al-Qaeda nor to a decisive victory over the Taliban, who continue to control much of Afghanistan, nor to the solution of the drug trafficking problem. Moreover, in the course of the years of the coalition forces presence in Afghanistan, drug trafficking has reached unprecedented proportions (it is calculated that drug trafficking revenues have already exceeded $70 billion).

Drugs in large quantities are spreading from Afghanistan throughout the entire world, primarily to neighboring countries, among which are the CSTO member states. They are also threatened by extremism coming from Afghanistan and aimed at destabilizing the situation in these countries in order to change the existing system of government there, to put at the helm of power the right people willing to drastically change the political guidelines.

This circumstance sets the CSTO a task to keep a close watch on the situation in Afghanistan, to establish strict border controls and to take effective measures to prevent the so-called ?colored? or ?orange? revolutions that take place by the previously worked and well-known scenario.

The practice of Western experts, successfully exporting ?color revolutions? to the most diverse regions of the world, refutes the old thesis on the impossibility of exporting revolutions.

The Chief of General Staff of Russian Armed Forces, Army-General Nikolai Makarov, has recently said: ?It was difficult to predict what happened last year and continues to occur in several countries in North Africa and the Middle East (in particular, the events in Egypt, Libya and Syria are meant). And what will happen next? This should be a signal for all countries.? Similar situations, according to Makarov, may also occur in the Central Asian countries. ?We must be ready for anything and therefore we are working on a variety of situations at regular joint exercises. We, the militaries, must always be prepared for the worst scenarios,? said the Chief of General Staff of Russian Armed Force. He said that for this purpose, command and staff exercises are regularly conducted, practicing models of executing an operation to eliminate illegal armed groups.

The military component of the CSTO is the Collective Rapid-Response Forces (CRRF). They include: from Russia ? the 98th airborne division, the 31st special assault brigade, the Zubr special police service, the Rys special police detachment, the Leader emergency team; from Byelorussia ? the 103rd separate mobile brigade and a special rapid response team of special mission of Interior Ministry troops: from Kazakhstan ? the 37th special assault brigade of airmobile forces and a marine infantry battalion: from Kyrgyzstan - a Defense Ministry battalion and an Interior Ministry rapid reaction special detachment; from Armenia and Tajikistan ? one battalion each.

The CSTO cannot but react to the threat posed by the deployment in Europe of the U.S. missile defense system by the North Atlantic bloc, the conduct of a large part of the NATO exercises in close proximity to the western borders of the CSTO - in Ukraine, Poland, and the Baltic States. In the last two years alone, the Alliance has held at least 10 exercises related to the settlement of the so-called crisis situations on the border with the area of responsibility of the CSTO. It is not improbable that some of the unfolded scenarios did not provide for the settlement, but rather an artificial creation of such crisis situations, followed by military intervention

For example, within the territory of Pskov region in Russia and in the western part of Belarus, the North Atlantic bloc connects them with an imaginary infringement of the Polish and Latvian national minorities? rights. In this regard, the events in Yugoslavia in 1999 are recalled, when, after whipping up hysteria about the ?oppression of Kosovar Albanians by the Serbs,? and even their genocide, the North Atlantic bloc, after the information ?artillery preparation? unleashed a full-scale war against the sovereign state, and eventually disjointed it and achieved the resignation and then the arrest of Yugoslav leader Slobodan Milosevic disliked by the West.

Another threat is the U.S. imminent aggression against Iran. If it becomes reality, it will have an extremely negative impact on the situation in the vast region from the Caucasus to the Middle East, will just shake it. Given that the situation in Transcaucasia is already difficult, a war in Iran may completely destabilize the situation here and have unpredictable, very dangerous consequences. The CSTO is a principal enemy of a military solution to the Iranian problem.

Such are today?s challenges and threats, the CSTO leadership can not ignore. It is ready for any contingency. As recently said the CSTO Secretary General Nikolai Bordyuzha, ?today the CSTO has the necessary potential to strongly influence the security status in the post-Soviet space and provide it.?