Pleasant partners

New President of Uzbekistan Shavkat Mirziyoev are well — known reformer. He resolutely undertook the dismantling of the old state system and for the first year of his reign, held a large-scale purge of the leadership of the country. However, with regard to foreign policy, here the Uzbek leader behaves much quieter and circumspect. Perhaps because a strong selection of allies is limited and any error can be costly — especially in the military sphere. In the end, the President decided not to change horses in midstream and continued military-technical cooperation with the United States. “the” find out what hopes Uzbekistan in the Atlantic relationship and whether the Russian leadership to worry about this interaction.

Shavkat Mirziyoev directs Uzbekistan for about a year and a half. During this time he managed to carry out a thorough reform of the power unit. Updated the management of intelligence, was replaced by the chiefs General staff and military districts. About 70 senior officers dismissed or demoted. Their places are taken by new, young staff. No wonder the young military leaders enthusiastically took up the combat training of troops.

However, linking innovation and reform, the President did not destroy the Foundation of all that has been achieved by his predecessor Islam Karimov. On the contrary — he continued the previous policy in many ways. In particular, Mirzieev decided to continue to develop military-technical cooperation with the United States.

President approved the priority directions of development of foreign policy and foreign economic cooperation of Uzbekistan with its major foreign partners in the medium term. Among such areas in the presidential decree highlights military cooperation, and in this paragraph refers to the “importance of development of mutually beneficial cooperation” Uzbekistan and the United States.

For convoluted bureaucratic turnover of “mutually beneficial cooperation” implies the cooperation in the sphere of military education, technical training for the army proper and military-technical cooperation.

With the support of American specialists Mirziyoev the President expects to increase the fighting capacity of the army of the Republic. The nuances of future cooperation were not disclosed, but according to Uzbek political scientist Raphael Sattarova, now we know what we are talking about the training of special forces, the procurement of new types of ammunition for SWAT and parts of the border and equipping the army with new armoured personnel carriers. We also discuss the possibility of sending students from Uzbekistan in military educational institutions of the United States. The same practice has existed for several years, for example, in Kazakhstan. Kazakh students were trained in the West point is the oldest military Academy of the United States.

Military cooperation between Uzbekistan and the United States did not begin yesterday, but in the last five years it has acquired the character of a close interaction. In 2012, Uzbekistan visited the us delegation headed by Secretary of the Navy ray Mabus. The experts identified a list of necessary for the Uzbek armed forces. In the “list of Mabus” includes night vision devices, means of mine-clearing equipment to scan the area from the air, means of signals intelligence.

a Year later, Uzbekistan showed interest to the purchase of modern equipment and weapons. For example, mine detectors, body armor, equipment of satellite navigation, night vision devices, small arms, drones and even attack helicopters. And indeed, later us state Department acknowledged delivery of equipment and machinery, “not suitable for repression against the civilian population”.

In 2014, the United States began to export to Uzbekistan of the vehicles of class M-ATVs, as well as armored repair and recovery equipment to support them. For two years, Tashkent has received 308 armored vehicles and 20 repair machines for a total of about $ 150 million.

these armored vehicles deserve special attention because they are considered the breakthrough in its class. It’s not even heavy armor — build bulletproof protection is not tricky. Design feature of these cars — V-shaped armored bottom, which dissipates the energy from the explosion of a min. experience of recent military conflicts shows that more technology is destroyed just because of landmine and improvised explosive devices. But due to the V-shaped bottoms the survival of both the machine and the crew is increased significantly.

the Armored M-ATV worked well in Afghanistan, where the mining of roads was a common thing in a guerrilla war. In Russia at this time was the development of armored vehicles of this class. For example, “Typhoon” presented at the parade on the occasion of the Victory Day only in 2015. This technique is already supplied to the troops, but in 2014-2015 the Russian defense industry simply could not compete in Uzbekistan with the Americans. Moreover, transatlantic partners have started to stake the glade much in advance.

cooperation between the US and Uzbekistan began in the early 1990s on the background, to put it mildly, unstable situation in the neighbouring regions and the activation of Islamists throughout the middle East.

After the collapse of the Soviet Union the newly independent countries of Central Asia was one on one with their problems. The old hegemon, Russia, too, have experienced not the best times, and immersed in the solution of internal conflicts, is almost gone from the region. China is very active now, a quarter century ago clearly did not fit the role of a new major player. But the USA just won the cold war and, without wasting time in vain, has expanded the scope of its economic and political influence.

Uzbekistan’s internal problems was no less than their neighbors. The country was growing Islamist threat, the economy was going through a break-established economic ties, the people EN masse went to work, and all of it threatened sooner or later to provoke a political crisis. U.S. assistance at this stage proved to be very helpful. But if in 1990-e years the cooperation between the U.S. and Uzbekistan was purely economic, then in the beginning of the new century emerged interaction in the military sphere.

In 1999, Uzbekistan withdrew from the collective security Treaty, and the discussion about military cooperation with the United States became more substantive. In 2001, after the beginning of military operations in Afghanistan, Uzbekistan gave the us military the air force base in Khanabad near Karshi. It is “green berets” of the Fifth group special forces, light infantry 10th Mountain division, the “flying artillery battery” AC-130, F-15 and F-16. Only fifteen hundred American military.

In 2005, the base was temporarily shut down after the authorities harshly suppressed demonstrations in Andijan. Uzbekistan called it a fight against Islamists and the West have interpreted as reprisals against civilians. As a result of military-technical cooperation in Uzbekistan has stopped.

But not for long. Obama Administration in 2009, revised its approach to democracy and human rights in Uzbekistan. Across the country went to the flow of non-lethal cargo for American forces in Afghanistan. By 2013, 70 percent of all cargo for the U.S. contingent went through Uzbekistan.

the Conflict in Afghanistan is clearly far from completion. And if so, the US is still interested in continuing military-technical cooperation with Uzbekistan. The Americans in this mutually beneficial Alliance base and receive a guaranteed corridor for the movement of cargo to its troops in Afghanistan, and Uzbekistan — the best deals on retraining its military re-equipment of the army, which is still staffed mainly by Russian arms.

the System of training, weapons and tactics of its combat use are a single process. It is necessary to replace one element and under it starts to adapt to the other. Training troops the us military naturally leads to the use of American tactics in the use of weapons. As a result, notes military expert Alexander Khrolenko, are prerequisites for the Uzbek armed forces for weapons and USA standards.

in Addition to the already mentioned American armored vehicles on the arms market in competition with Russian models today make up Franco-German helicopters Airbus Helicopters, British Leyland DAF trucks and Land Rover SUVs, Spanish transport aircraft C-295W and Israeli drones.

Rafael Sattarov believes that to exclude Russia from the sphere of military-technical cooperation in the medium term is impossible, but a transition, albeit gradual, standards and weapons NATO sooner or later lead to a complete rejection of Russian weapons and equipment in favor of the American model. This is even more likely, given that Russian-Uzbek military cooperation today is very limited.

In October last year past the first 12 years of joint exercises of the armed forces of Russia and Uzbekistan. The total number of deployed military did not exceed 400 people. On the background of existing and potential threats from Afghanistan, this level of exercise is clearly insufficient. For comparison, in the Russian-Belarusian exercises “West-2017” took part more than 12 thousand military. This is especially strange because the Russian military have years of experience fighting terrorists in mountainous area in the Caucasus, the operation in Syria was given the opportunity to try out new weapons and tactics of their application in real combat conditions. This experience of the Uzbek army could learn from Russian colleagues.

Today, the military-technical cooperation of Uzbekistan with the United States and other Western countries is developing in the areas, where Moscow is technologically inferior to the American and European partners. However, the decision of Uzbekistan to continue military cooperation with the United States — a reason for Russia to reconsider its policy in Central Asia. Successes in Syria have demonstrated the effectiveness of the Russian military machine. However, when you save a passive position Russia is in danger if you do not lose that significantly weaken its influence on what is happening in the region.