09ASTANA22, KAZAKHSTAN: SCENE SETTER FOR CENTCOM COMMANDER

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Reference ID Created Released Classification Origin
09ASTANA22 2009-01-09 02:19 2011-08-30 01:44 SECRET Embassy Astana

VZCZCXRO4328
RR RUEHBI
DE RUEHTA #0022/01 0090219
ZNY SSSSS ZZH
R 090219Z JAN 09
FM AMEMBASSY ASTANA
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC 4281
INFO RUCNCIS/CIS COLLECTIVE 1008
RUEHZL/EUROPEAN POLITICAL COLLECTIVE
RUCNCLS/SOUTH AND CENTRAL ASIA COLLECTIVE
RUEHBJ/AMEMBASSY BEIJING 0407
RUEHKO/AMEMBASSY TOKYO 1113
RUEAIIA/CIA WASHDC
RHEFAAA/DIA WASHDC
RHEHNSC/NSC WASHDC 0581
RUEKJCS/SECDEF WASHDC 0496
RUCPDOC/DEPT OF COMMERCE WASHDC
RHEBAAA/DEPT OF ENERGY WASHDC
RUEATRS/DEPT OF TREASURY WASHDC
RHMFISS/CDR USCENTCOM MACDILL AFB FL
RUEKJCS/JOINT STAFF WASHDC

S E C R E T SECTION 01 OF 11 ASTANA 000022 
 
SIPDIS 
 
STATE FOR SCA/CEN, PM 
STATE PLEASE PASS TO USTDA DAN STEIN 
 
E.O. 12958: DECL: 01/01/2034 
TAGS: PGOV PREL ECON EPET MARR MCAP MASS AF KZ
SUBJECT: KAZAKHSTAN:  SCENE SETTER FOR CENTCOM COMMANDER 
GENERAL PETRAEUS 
 
ASTANA 00000022  001.2 OF 011 
 
 
Classified By: AMBASSADOR HOAGLAND:  1.4 (A), (B), (D) 
 
1.  (S/NOFORN)  SUMMARY:  Your visit will foster our 
bilateral cooperation and our strategic interests, and will 
provide you the opportunity thank the Government of 
Kazakhstan for its support to Operation Iraqi Freedom and 
continued support of Operation Enduring Freedom, to encourage 
and support the government,s commitment to deploy forces to 
Afghanistan, as well as the opportunity to discuss and build 
support for the Distribution Network of Operation Enduring 
Freedom (DNOEF).  END SUMMARY. 
 
DOMESTIC POLITICAL PERSPECTIVE 
 
2.  (SBU)  While the Kazakhstani government articulates a 
strategic vision of a democratic society, it has lagged on 
the implementation front.  The government is resistant to 
fully competitive political processes, and the situation is 
complicated by the fact that President Nazarbayev is 
extremely popular, while the opposition is weak, fractured, 
and comprised principally of former Nazarbayev loyalists. 
In May 2007, significant amendments were adopted to 
Kazakhstan's constitution which were touted as strengthening 
parliament, but also removed terms limits on Nazarbayev.  In 
parliamentary elections held in August 2007, Nazarbayev's Nur 
Otan party officially received 88 percent of the vote and 
took all the seats in parliament.  An OSCE election 
observation mission concluded that the elections did not meet 
OSCE standards. 
 
3.  (SBU)  When Kazakhstan was selected as 2010 OSCE chairman 
at the November 2007 OSCE Madrid ministerial meeting, Foreign 
Minister Tazhin publicly committed that his country would 
undertake several democratic reforms -- specifically, that by 
the end of 2008, Kazakhstan would amend its election, 
political party, and media laws taking into account the 
OSCE's recommendations.  (NOTE:  Tazhin also promised that 
Kazakhstan would support the OSCE's "human dimension" and 
preserve the mandate of the OSCE's Office of Democratic 
Institutions and Human Rights (ODIHR), including its critical 
role in election observation.  END NOTE).  The necessary 
legislation went to parliament in December. 
 
4.  (SBU)  While the laws have the potential to lead to 
greater democratization, Kazakhstan will need to take further 
steps to bolster its still underdeveloped democratic 
political institutions, civil society, and independent media. 
 A new religion law that would significantly impact the 
rights of smaller non-traditional faiths passed parliament in 
December, but due in part to pressure from civil society and 
the international community, the president has opted to send 
the law to the Constitutional Council (Court) for review. 
 
INTERNATIONAL POLITICAL PERSPECTIVE 
 
5.  (C/NOFORN)  Kazakhstan openly seeks to balance the 
interests of Russia, China, and the US/West in its foreign 
policy.  Consider this balance to be based on a triad: 
Russia-US-China, CSTO-NATO-SCO.  Kazakhstan publicly claims 
to be Russia,s closest ally and, in truth, it would be 
counter-productive for them to deny the geographic, cultural, 
and economic ties that continue to bind them with Russia. 
China is a fast-growing consumer of Kazakhstan's natural 
resources and allows Kazakhstan the flexibility to avoid 
being monopolized by Russia.  However, Kazakhstan has 
lingering concerns about Chinese encroachment.  The U.S. 
relationship is unique in that the United States does not 
threaten Kazakhstan since it is not geographically proximate. 
 U.S. policy allows Kazakhstan to keep and exercise a greater 
range of options with respect to Russia and China.  The 
United States and Kazakhstan share the common goal of helping 
Kazakhstan to become a strong independent nation, capable of 
governing its vast terrain, expanding its hydrocarbon 
transport infrastructure for export of its energy resources 
 
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to the global market, and enhancing stability throughout the 
region. 
 
ECONOMIC ISSUES 
 
6.  (SBU)  Kazakhstan is the region's economic powerhouse, 
with an economy larger than that of all the other Central 
Asian states combined.  Economic growth averaged 9.2% a year 
during 2005-07, and the percentage of the population living 
below the poverty level dropped from 28% in 2001 to under 14% 
at present.  Economic growth has slowed as a re
sult the 
global financial crisis and was just 3% in 2008.  While the 
country's economic success is partly due to its fortuitous 
natural resource deposits, astute macroeconomic policies and 
extensive economic reforms have also played important roles. 
Kazakhstan has a modern banking system, well-endowed pension 
fund, and a sovereign wealth fund with over $27 billion in 
assets -- which serves double duty as a prophylactic against 
Dutch disease and a cushion against hard economic times. 
Increased globalization and integration of the economy have 
complicated the domestic financial situation in Kazakhstan 
over the last year.  Plummeting commodity prices 
(particularly oil) have forced the government to recalibrate 
its 2009-2011 budget several times in recent months.  In 
October, the government announced that it would use up to $10 
billion from the sovereign wealth fund for a bailout plan to 
mitigate the domestic impact of the global financial crisis. 
Indicative of the severity of the crisis, the bailout has 
since increased to $21 billion, which represents 
approximately 20% of the country,s GDP.  It is also likely 
that Kazakhstan will seek to renegotiate the terms of its 
foreign debt to prevent its highly-leveraged private domestic 
banks from defaulting.  Over the long run, Kazakhstan must 
focus on diversifying its economy, building up non-extractive 
industries, agriculture, and the service sector.  Kazakhstan 
is a major wheat producer, with a goal of ranking 
consistently among the world's top five wheat exporters. 
 
7.  (SBU)  The energy sector is Kazakhstan's dominant earner, 
with oil exports accounting for roughly one third of GDP. 
Kazakhstan will export more than 60 million tons of crude oil 
and gas condensate in 2008 and is expected to be one of the 
world,s top ten oil producers soon after 2015.  The country 
also has significant natural gas reserves -- 1.8 trillion 
cubic meters is a low-end estimate -- but for now, natural 
gas exports are relatively small, just 5 billion cubic meters 
in 2008, in large part because gas is being re-injected to 
maximize crude output.  U.S. companies have significant 
ownership stakes in Kazakhstan,s three largest oil and gas 
projects:  Kashagan, Tengiz, and Karachaganak. 
 
8. (SBU)  The United States is encouraging the Government of 
Kazakhstan to diversify its oil and gas export routes. 
Currently, the bulk of Kazakhstan's crude is exported via 
Russia, both through the Transneft system (Atyrau-Samara) and 
the independent Caspian Pipeline Consortium (CPC).   The 
majority of Kazakhstan's near term oil production increases 
are projected to flow to market either through the 
Baku-Tbilisi-Ceyhan pipeline or an expanded CPC.  All of 
Kazakhstan's gas exports currently flow through Russia. 
Kazakhstan has taken steps to diversify its energy exports by 
shipping oil across the Caspian Sea in tankers and building a 
gas pipeline to China.  These projects, which are in their 
initial stages of development, would reduce dependence on 
Russia hydrocarbon infrastructure. 
 
9. (SBU)  One issue that is certain to be at the center of 
discussion for years to come is water management.  Reviving 
the northern portion of the Aral Sea, which Kazakhstan 
controls, has been a resounding success.  A greater priority 
is ensuring continued access to water for public and 
agricultural use.  As most of Kazakhstan's rivers have 
headwaters outside of the country, Kazakhstan remains 
somewhat vulnerable to outside pressures.  For the moment 
 
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this is not a problem as glacial melt has made up the 
distance in quantity versus demand.  But the long-term issue 
is that Kazakhstan is drawing against a bank account that 
cannot be easily replenished.  Anecdotally, we have been told 
that the Ishim River (the river that flows through Astana and 
has its headwaters in China) has decreased by one meter over 
the past few years due to increased upstream use in China. 
In addition to securing an adequate quantity of water, 
Kazakhstan also remains concerned about water quality.  On 
October 10, presidents of the five Central Asian countries 
signed an agreement on water use and energy security to 
ensure sufficient supplies during the winter of 2008-09.  The 
water-use protocol includes provisions to increase the water 
level of the Toktogul reservoir in Kyrgyzstan and agreement 
between Uzbekistan and Kazakhstan to provide Kyrgyzstan with 
coal, fuel oil, and gas for Kyrgyzstan,s thermal power 
plants. 
 
REGIONAL INFLUENCE AND SUPPORT 
 
10.  (SBU)  Kazakhstan has also expressed its eagerness to 
play an enhanced role in achieving regional integration. 
President Nazarbayev continues to raise the subject of a 
Central Asian union with a common market.  Kazakhstan is 
ready to accelerate WTO accession negotiations with the 
United States.  However, the international financial crisis 
is making some Kazahstani officials more skeptical about the 
benefits of WTO membership.  Instead, they see immediate and 
tangible benefits from a possible near-term customs union 
with Russia and Belarus, which could dramatically slow -- or 
derail -- Kazakhstan's WTO accession.  We know Russia has 
long opposed Kazakhstan's WTO membership before its own 
accession.  The new customs union, if Kazakhstan follows 
through, as it currently seems likely to do, would be a 
convenient way for Moscow to limit Astana's sovereignty.  To 
sell a WTO agreement to the president and prime minister, 
Kazakhstan has asked for concessions from the United States, 
especially on banking and financial services.  Kazakhstan is 
already a significant economic force in the region and it is 
the largest foreign investor in Kyrgyzstan and in Georgia. 
While progress has been slow, Kazakhstan has begun economic 
investment in Afghanistan. 
 
CSTO AND SCO 
 
11.  (C/NOFORN)  Kazakhstan's involvement in the Russian-led 
Collective Security Treaty Organization (CSTO) is a natural 
extension of its historical relationship with Russia, as well 
as its Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS) membership 
and mutual security ties with other CIS states.  Kazakhstan's 
actual contributions to the CSTO appear to be more political 
than substantive.  The CSTO mechanism provides a means for 
Kazakhstan to stay connected to Russia on issues of mutual 
concern (air defense, counter-terrorism, etc.), but without 
the danger of getting too close.  At the CSTO's 2008 Summit 
in Moscow, Russia pressured the CSTO partners to recognize 
South Ossetian and Abkhazian independence and to make strong 
statements about Georgia,s responsibility for the current 
conflict, however, Kazakhstan and the other CSTO members did 
not cede to Russian pressure and collectively the CSTO 
Ministers urged all parties to the conflict to adhere to the 
principles of the France-Russia six-point plan.  Kazakhstan's 
membership in the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) 
provides a means for it to counterbalance its CSTO membership. 
 
MILITARY/DEFENSE PERS
PECTIVE 
 
KAZAKHSTAN'S MINISTRY OF DEFENSE (MOD) 
 
12.  (S/NOFORN)  Former Prime Minister Daniyal Akhmetov 
became Kazakhstan,s first civilian Minister of Defense in 
early 2007.  The previous Minister of Defense, General 
Mukhtar Altynbayev, is now the Chief of Defense (CHOD). 
Minister Akhmetov is an avowed Russophile whose Russian 
 
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connections and support have proven to be personally 
lucrative.  U.S. and NATO military cooperation suffered 
significant setbacks and delays for the first year of his 
tenure.  Unable to halt military cooperation with the west, 
Akhmetov has actively sought to supplant MOD conduits that 
see cooperation with the West as being in the best long-term 
interests of Kazakhstan.  Although recent events and 
indicators posit an improvement in the  security cooperation 
sphere, we are unsure if this is due to Akhmetov,s 
recognition of the value of U.S.-Kazakhstani cooperation or 
if this change is due to directives/pressure from above. 
Additionally, Akhmetov considers training less than two to 
three months in duration to be  military tourism, and sees 
little value in short-term training. 
 
UNEQUAL PARTNERSHIP 
 
13.  (S/NOFORN)  The MOD remains an under-funded ministry 
that has no policy-making authority.  The simple fact is that 
the U.S. DOD-Kazakhstani MOD relationship is not one of 
equals.  DOD has significant policy input in the USG, while 
the MOD appears to have almost none.  In short, the 
Kazakhstani MOD is a supporting ministry, taking its 
direction from higher levels within the government.  The 
United States has, on a number of occasions, successfully 
achieved its bilateral and regional goals by appealing to 
those closer to the center of power and using them to provide 
the MOD with marching orders. 
 
MILITARY OPERATIONS/SUPPORT 
 
14.  (SBU) IRAQ:  Kazakhstan directly supported coalition 
efforts in Iraq beginning in August 2003, most significantly 
by deploying a military engineering/explosive ordinance 
disposal (EOD) unit which cumulatively disposed of over five 
million pieces of unexploded ordnance.  With the 
reorganization of the coalition in Iraq, Kazakhstan recently 
completed its tenth rotation and in late October redeployed 
its forces in their entirety. 
 
15.  (SBU) AFGHANISTAN:  The USG continues to solicit support 
for increased participation in international operations, and 
it appears that Kazakhstan will, in the near-term, deploy two 
staff officers to support ISAF HQ in Afghanistan. 
Additionally, the Kazakhstani government is currently 
negotiating with NATO to provide Kazakhstan maximum 
flexibility in its future support to ISAF of up to a 
company-size element.  Kazakhstan is looking to increase its 
coalition contributions to Afghanistan over time, but has 
been non-committal on specifics.  The MOD is seeking to match 
NATO requirements with Kazakhstani capabilities, and the 
Deputy Minister of Defense, General-Lieutenant Bulat 
Sembinov, has requested the U.S. Defense Attache coordinate a 
visit with the ISAF Commander, General McKiernan, to discuss 
future Kazakhstani contributions.  A deployment of 
Kazakhstani forces is supported by Deputy Minister Sembinov 
and other pro-western supporters within the government who 
understand the value of conducting real-world operations in 
terms of building political capital and capitalizing on 
deploying and training the force.  Additionally, the 
Government of Kazakhstan provided funding of $3 million to 
Afghanistan in 2008, primarily for infrastructure improvement 
and development. 
 
OVERFLIGHT AGREEMENT 
 
16.  (C/NOFORN)  In support of Operational Enduring Freedom 
(OEF), the Government of Kazakhstan has granted more than 
7,000 cost-free overflights since the agreement,s 
entry-into-force in 2001.  This equates to an annual average 
of over 1000 U.S. military and DOD charter aircraft 
overflights.  This agreement does not differentiate between 
types of cargo, allowing it to be used for the transport of 
weapons and ammunition.  No other country has such a heavily 
 
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used overflight agreement with Kazakhstan.  Russia has 
overflight for military training in designated polygons. 
Germany has brokered a blanket overflight agreement for OEF 
support missions similar to ours.  China may now have a 
limited agreement in support of military exercises, but 
France has recently been denied a blanket agreement similar 
to that of the Germans.  President Nazarbayev last week 
signed into law the 2001 no-cost overflight agreement for 
flights supporting OEF and 2002 emergency divert agreement 
that parliament only just ratified.  (NOTE:  The agreements 
have been in force since their signing in 2001 and 2002, 
respectively.  END NOTE).  This fact was quickly picked up by 
the Russian press, fed into the Russian propaganda machine, 
and led to false Russian MOD accusations that the United 
States was planning to establish military bases in Kazakhstan 
and Uzbekistan.  These accusations have been unequivocally 
denied as unfounded by U.S. Embassy Astana as well as by the 
Government of Kazakhstan.  Kazakhstan also signed an Article 
98 agreement with the United States in late 2004.  We 
recommend you thank Government of Kazakhstan officials at all 
of your meetings for their cooperation in allowing U.S. 
flights supporting OEF to transit Kazakhstan. 
 
EMERGENCY DIVERT AGREEMENT 
 
17.  (SBU) In 2002, an emergency divert agreement with the 
Kazakhstan entered into force that allows aircraft bound for 
Manas the option of landing at Almaty International Airport 
in case of bad weather or emergency.  More than 85 diverts 
have been supported under this agreement.  In every case, 
Kazakhstan has exceeded the expectations of the original 
agreement.  However, one of the limiting factors under the 
provisions of this agreement is the restriction which does 
not allow disembarkation of troops from the diverted 
aircraft.  U.S. forces traveling on deployment orders usually 
do not have passports or visas and, therefore, cannot legally 
enter the country to stay at a hotel or be transported by 
alternate ground means to Manas.  Should the Kazakhstani 
Government allow U.S. forces entry into Kazakhstan, USDAO has 
no mechanism in place to fund costs associated with 
transportation or lodging.  Since the agreement,s entry into 
force, the USDAO has relocated from Almaty over 600 miles 
north to Astana and cannot react quickly to support incoming 
diverts.  The limitations of our divert agreement were 
highlighted last winter when a charter aircraft carrying 125 
101st Airborne troops diverted into Almaty International 
Airport.  Troops were required to remain onboard the aircraft 
for approximately 18 hours.  Almaty airport services did an 
excellent job providing uninterrupted support (meals, power, 
heat, water, etc.) for the divert duration. 
 
DISTRIBUTION NETWORK OF
OPERATION ENDURING FREEDOM 
 
18.  (SBU) The Distribution Network of Operational Enduring 
Freedom (DNOEF) has been Embassy Astana,s number one 
priority since the November visit of General Duncan McNabb, 
Commander, USTRANSCOM.  As you are aware, President 
Nazarbayev approved the use of Kazakhstan,s commercial 
transport infrastructure to support the DNOEF for resupplying 
our forces in Afghanistan on 30 December 2008. 
 
19.  (C/NOFORN) As background to previous non-U.S. transit 
agreements, NATO has been limited to one option -- the 
transport of non-lethal supplies through Russia, Kazakhstan 
and UzbekistaN -- and continues deliberations with those 
countries in an attempt to secure a written transit agreement 
to resupply forces in Afghanistan.  Of note is that the 
Government of Kazakhstan was extremely unhappy that NATO 
sought permission of its  big brother, to the north before 
opening discussions with the Kazakhstanis.  The government 
indicated negotiations should have occurred in parallel 
rather than in serial.  The German Government recently 
negotiated an official government-to-government agreement 
with Kazakhstan for the transit of both lethal and non-lethal 
 
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supplies destined for Afghanistan.  Although this agreement 
is available for a third party to use, it is our belief that 
should we want to enter into this agreement, it would 
undermine the DNOEF concept and our efforts because it would 
formalize the process under a written agreement that would 
prove to be too cumbersome because it would require 
governmental ratification and, at a minimum, detailed 
coordination and notification of all shipments transiting 
Kazakhstan.  Bottom line:  don,t punch a tar baby that you 
may not be able to extricate yourself from. 
 
20.  (C/NOFORN) Additionally, it would be in our best 
interests to use all available routes to include Russia as a 
viable alternate transit route.  In a conversation between 
the U.S. Defense Attache to Kazakhstan, Colonel Keith 
Harrington, and the Russian Defense Attache to Kazakhstan, 
General-Lieutenant Nikolay Pokas, General Pokas queried 
Colonel Harrington on General McNabb,s visit and stated that 
Russia supported the transit of supplies through Russia 
because "it is good for Russian commercial business."  This 
conversation highlights an important factor regarding the 
DNOEF:  that we should include rather than attempt to bypass 
or imply that we will not include Russia as a viable 
alternative transit route.  Should we purposely choose to 
bypass Russia, then it is likely that Russia could and would 
pressure the Government of Kazakhstan to not allow supplies 
to transit Kazakhstan.  It is our strong belief that 
including Russia as part of the DNOEF is a win-win situation 
and would provide the U.S. another route to resupply our 
forces in Afghanistan. 
 
AVIATION FUEL 
 
21.  (SBU)  Since Kazakhstan has a limited refining 
capability, it imports most of its aviation fuel from Russia. 
 Some of this fuel is in turn sold to Manas AB, Kyrgyzstan. 
In this way, Russia indirectly provides fuel for Manas AB and 
OEF operations. 
 
KAZAKHSTANI ASSISTANCE TO GEORGIA 
 
22.  (SBU)  In response to the Georgian-Russian conflict, 
Kazakhstan provided 165 tons of humanitarian aid to the 
Government of Georgia consisting of food, medicine and 
medical equipment worth approximately $460,000. 
 
NON-PROLIFERATION ISSUES 
 
23.  (SBU)  Kazakhstan has been a strong partner in nuclear 
non-proliferation, which has been a cornerstone of the 
bilateral relationship since Kazakhstan's independence.  With 
the collapse of the Soviet Union, Kazakhstan was left with 
the world's fourth largest nuclear arsenal.  Nazarbayev's 
1991 decision to give up Kazakhstan's nuclear arsenal was 
groundbreaking.  Kazakhstan returned all tactical nuclear 
warheads to Russia by January 1992, and all strategic nuclear 
warheads by April 1995.  Through the Nunn-Lugar Cooperative 
Threat Reduction (CTR) Program the US assisted Kazakhstan 
with the destruction of bombers, silos, and related ICBM 
infrastructure and delivery systems. 
 
24.  (S/NOFORN)  While the U.S.-Kazakhstan non-proliferation 
relationship seems to be solid on the surface, at working 
levels, the U.S. and Kazakhstani governments have encountered 
continuous implementation issues.  The Umbrella Agreement 
amendment governing the CTR program, signed in December 2007, 
has still not been ratified by Parliament.  An early October 
visit by Secretary of State Rice put the issue on the front 
burner, and President Nazarbayev signed a decree to approve 
the extension/amendment, sending it forward for action.  The 
Prime Minister,s Office is still reviewing the CTR 
Agreement, which has been sent back and forth between the 
Ministry of Energy and Mineral Resources and various 
government experts.  The Ministry of Foreign Affairs expects 
 
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the CTR extension to be ratified by Parliament in January 
2009.  Ratification is the first step to provide Kazakhstan 
with a legal basis to establish a mechanism to implement 
value added tax (VAT) and duty exemptions for imported 
equipment and services contracts through the CTR program. 
Taxation issues have festered unresolved since 2004, leading 
to frustration at high levels in Washington, both in the 
Executive and Legislative branches. 
 
25.  (S/NOFORN)  Of all of the projects funded by the CTR 
appropriation, the most critical is a classified project to 
secure weapons-grade materials at the former Soviet nuclear 
weapons test site in Semipalatinsk.  The project is 
tri-lateral, between Russia, Kazakhstan, and the United 
States, with the Russians providing the necessary data 
regarding material location and the United States providing 
funding to repatriate the material to Russia or secure it in 
situ.  Due to complexities in the trilateral relationship 
between the United States, Russia and Kazakhstan, and 
uncertainty about future trilateral commitments to this 
project, the USG is ready to reprogram up to $100 million to 
finish the work at the site within the next two years. 
DOD,s current goal is to see the Government of Kazakhstan 
increase its security presence at the site (Ministry of 
Internal Affairs or troops), and discussions are underway to 
identify technology that can be used to assist Kazakhstan 
monitor the site for trespassers. 
 
26.  (SBU)  In addition to the classified trilateral project 
in Semipalatinsk, the Department of Defense is currently 
implementing two CTR projects in Kazakhstan.  The first, the 
Proliferation Prevention Initiative (PPI), strengthens 
Kazakhstan,s ability to prevent the proliferation of Weapons 
of Mass Destruction (WMD) and related materials across its 
borders by enhancing W
MD detection and interdiction 
capabilities along the Caspian Sea border.  The second, the 
Biological Threat Reduction Program, supports Kazakhstan,s 
efforts to combat bioterrorism and prevent the proliferation 
of biological weapons technology, pathogens and expertise by 
strengthening its outbreak response and monitoring 
capabilities.  The Department of Energy also has several 
projects that are focused on securing nuclear materials, and 
the Department of State funds additional nonproliferation 
projects implemented by the International Science and 
Technology Center (ISTC). 
 
SECURITY ASSISTANCE AND ENGAGEMENT OVERVIEW 
 
27.  (S/NOFORN)  We harbor no illusions.  Russia is and will 
remain Kazakhstan's number one security partner.  We do not 
seek to displace Russia from that role, but do believe the 
U.S. role in the security sphere is an important one.  We 
continue to focus on three key areas (besides DTRO-A CTR 
work) with a long-term goal of transforming the Kazakhstani 
Armed Forces into a deployable force which can not only 
adequately protect national sovereignty, but also become an 
agent of democratic reform and rule of law within Kazakhstan. 
 These three areas of concentration are:  Defense Reform 
(both doctrine and equipment), security of the ungoverned 
spaces of the Caspian Sea Basin and Western Kazakhstan, and 
the development of a deployable Peace Support Operations 
(PSO) capability and deployment in support of multilateral 
UN-sanctioned operations.  This is a long-term goal, but one 
where we have seen significant progress over the past few 
years. 
 
28.  (S/NOFORN)  COMMENT:  The bottom line is that U.S. 
credibility and reliability are at stake with these programs. 
 Our security assistance (SA) and engagement programs are 
designed to shape the security environment, critical to our 
strategic interests writ large.  The tangible result of a 
successful SA program is building partnership capability, 
whereas the intangible result of an unreliable SA program is, 
at a minimum, the loss of our credibility as a partner.  Our 
 
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national security interests are ultimately at stake, with our 
reliability and credibility paramount to these interests. 
Our current SA system has difficulties meeting this 
challenge.  The systemic effects are most evident regarding 
the Foreign Military Financing (FMF)/Foreign Military Sales 
(FMS) aspects of the SA process, which neither builds nor 
delivers the  total package, and makes it difficult to 
shape our security environment on the macro level.  On the 
micro level, it results in the lack of enthusiasm for partner 
nations, such as Kazakhstan, to commit national funds to 
modernization and transformation processes and 
interdependence and interoperability with U.S. forces.  END 
COMMENT. 
 
HMMWVs 
 
29.  (SBU) Kazakhstan currently has 50 light HMMWVs and is 
expecting a delivery of 50 up-armored HMMWVs in FY 2009 
through the 1206 program.  The KAZBRIG uses the HMMWVs for 
training peacekeepers and is expected to deploy with them to 
a future PSO operation.  MOD has made a commitment to the 
sustainment of the HMMWVs through the development of the Asia 
HMMWV Center and a Unit Maintenance facility at KAZBRIG.  The 
initial success of the HMMWV program in Kazakhstan led to the 
MOD requesting eight UH1H II "Huey II" helicopters through 
the FMF program. 
 
HUEY II HELICOPTERS 
 
30.  (C/NOFORN)  The first two of eight Excess Defense 
Article (EDA) UH IIs were successfully delivered in November 
2007, but the rug was quickly pulled out from under the 
program by a rapidly decreased FMF budget.  When the UH II 
program began in 2005, Kazakhstan received $4.9 million in 
FMF funds, an amount that had been steadily increasing on a 
yearly basis.  The original price for the refurbishment of 
each UH II in 2005 was $3 million.  At that time, with the 
current and projected FMF funds, the SA system and 
Kazakhstani MOD planned to complete UH II procurement and 
refurbishment program by 2010.  However, this is not longer 
the case because FMF funding has decreased while 
refurbishment costs have increased.  Currently, at $4.2 
million per aircraft for refurbishment, Kazakhstan needs 
approximately $10 million to order the next two aircraft 
(including $1 million for transportation and $600,000 for 
spare parts and training), but currently only has about $6.5 
million.  Kazakhstan only received $1.3 million in FMF in FY 
2008, a number which fell from almost $5 million in FY 2006. 
As a result, the project is nearly stillborn.  However, a 
third UH II can be procured with the current accumulation of 
FMF funds, and the Kazakhstani MOD will soon submit a Letter 
of Request which we expect to be delivered to USASAC by the 
end of January 2009. 
 
31.  (C/NOFORN)  COMMENT:  If the current trend of 
refurbishment costs outpacing FMF funding is not reversed, 
then we will have proven to be an unreliable assistance 
partner.  In addition to the funding issue, the success of 
our SA process can be measured in terms of UH II operational 
readiness rates, which have hovered at zero beginning in July 
2008.  The unreliability of our SA system and the so-called 
"total package" approach reached its apex when the UH IIs 
required routine 150 flight hour service and the total 
package failed to deliver the required routine service 
compliment of parts, a failure that has become the rule 
rather than the exception.   As a short-term fix, we are 
working to order the parts and equipment necessary to 
complete these basic periodic inspections.  The reduction in 
funding, combined with problems with the SA system, damage 
U.S. reliability and credibility, as well as the credibility 
of pro-U.S./Western allies within the MOD.  The 
anti-U.S./pro-Russian faction within the MOD will use this to 
undercut our supporters within the government, and does not 
require an active role but passively points to the 
 
ASTANA 00000022  009 OF 011 
 
 
unreliability of the U.S. as a security partner. 
Specifically, it hurts Deputy Defense Minister Sembinov, who 
has staked his reputation on the HMMWVs and UH IIs in order 
to show the skeptics that the U.S. is a credible and reliable 
partner, that U.S./Western technology is superior and that 
Kazakhstan,s soldiers can be trained to use and sustain 
U.S./Western equipment.  We are working to find alternative 
means to fund the Huey II program and have recently included 
this request as part of FY 2009 1206 funding proposals, but 
have been told repeatedly that attempts to fund the UH II 
program with 1206 monies will be denied.  The delivery of the 
two helicopters was a major news item in Kazakhstan that 
reached the attention of President Nazarbayev.  The death of 
this program will surely reach him as well.  Additionally, 
should we prove unreliable partners on the UH II program, 
there would be little reason for Kazakhstan to commit 
national funds fo
r the refurbishment of C-130s, the third 
pillar of the HMMWV-UH II-C130 triad.  END COMMENT. 
 
C-130s 
 
32.  (S/NOFORN)  Congress recently released C-130s as part of 
the Excess Defense Articles (EDA) program.  We had been 
previously working this with Lockheed and SAF/IA and Navy IPO 
to support Kazakhstan,s EDA request for six C-130s.  The 
C-130s could provide a valuable capstone for our bilateral 
security cooperation, should we be able to overcome systemic 
shortcomings.  This is additionally a program directly 
supported by the Deputy Minister of Defense, 
General-Lieutenant Sembinov, who is committed to modernizing 
the Kazakhstani military with U.S./Western military hardware. 
 
MILITARY-TO-MILITARY (M2M) COOPERATION 
 
33.  (SBU)  The CENTCOM M2M contact plan has grown to over 
120 events in FY 2008 and will increase to about 150 in FY 
2009 (NOTE:  this figure does not include FMF, IMET, 
Peacekeeping or 1206 projects.  END NOTE).  There has also 
been a significant increase in the quality of events:  the 
subject matter is increasingly complex and comprehensive, and 
event preparations are more professionally planned, 
coordinated and executed.  Kazakhstan has asked for U.S. 
assistance through M2M activities in a number of key areas 
that stand to have a long-term impact on the modernization 
and transformation of their military, to include the 
development of national military doctrine, curriculum and 
faculty development for their Professional Military Education 
(PME) institutions, and interoperability through acquisition 
of equipment and TTP implementation. 
 
CIVILIAN-TO-MILITARY (C2M) COOPERATION 
 
34.  (SBU)  The CENTCOM C2M contact plan has also seen great 
growth over the past three years, primarily due to the 
interest of the Ministry of Emergency Situations (MES) in 
working with U.S. agencies.  The C2M programs are mainly 
conducted by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Arizona 
National Guard (AZNG), and local Arizona emergency response 
agencies via the National Guard Bureau (NGB) State 
Partnership Program.  MES interest was highlighted by a visit 
to Arizona and Washington, D.C. by the MES Minister, Vladimir 
Bozhko, in July 2008 to discuss the C2M program and set the 
stage for future C2M cooperation.  Minister Bozhko was 
engaged and extremely pleased with his visit, and clearly 
outlined the areas he would like assistance from Arizona and 
the Corps of Engineers.  Unfortunately, the NGB State 
Partnership Program was only allocated $2.2 million for C2M 
programs in FY 2009, to distribute among 48 states with 
programs in 63 countries.  Arizona received a relatively 
sizable $200,000 in available funds, but will only be able to 
execute three of the 11 planned events with MES in FY 2009. 
OMC has asked the AZNG for additional NGB funding for C2M 
programs. 
 
 
ASTANA 00000022  010 OF 011 
 
 
PROFESSIONAL MILITARY EDUCATION (PME) ASSESSMENTS 
 
35.  (C/NOFORN)  In March 2007, the MOD asked for assistance 
in conducting a comprehensive series of assessments for PME 
institutions, including the National Defense University, the 
Ground Forces Institute, the Air Defense Forces Institute, 
and the Defense Institute of Foreign Languages.  These 
assessments were completed as part of a series of visits by 
teams from Defense Language Institute, West Point, Air Force 
Academy, Army TRADOC (OBC/OAC), Air Force Staff College, Army 
War College, and the George C. Marshall Center, and were 
recently delivered to the Kazakhstani MOD.  This is another 
means by which the MOD is attempting to modernize and 
transform its forces and will serve as the basis for many of 
our future cooperation activities. 
 
KAZBRIG EVOLUTION 
 
36.  (C/NOFORN)  Deputy Minister Sembinov and General-Major 
Maikeyev, Commander of the Airmobile Forces, have great hopes 
for the future of KAZBRIG - Kazakhstan's dedicated Peace 
Support Operations unit.  Originally plans were to have most 
of KAZBRIG manned, equipped, and trained by the end of 2009. 
However, this has been delayed to 2010.  One battalion is 
currently manned, with the remaining two battalions being 
manned in 2009 and 2010 respectively.  Problems exist which 
need to be overcome in order to meet manning expectations, 
most of which is Kazakhstan,s retention of a partially 
conscripted force.  Additionally, KAZBRIG suffers a 
continuous retention problem, with losses caused by a large 
number of draftees leaving annually at the end of their 
service, as well as NCOs/officers who are disillusioned by 
the lack of a meaningful deployment and substandard pay and 
benefits.  KAZBRIG officers tend to attribute recruitment and 
retention problems to this lack of deployment.  Additionally, 
Minister of Defense Akhmetov directed his own evaluations of 
KAZBRIG.  By all accounts, these "evaluations" had 
predetermined results that were not very positive.  It was 
not, however, very clear whether Akhmetov was just looking 
for KAZBRIG to fail to prove that cooperation with the United 
States and NATO is a waste of time, or whether he was 
stalling for time on a deployment announcement.  Recently, we 
have received positive indications that the Minister has 
either begun to see the importance of cooperation with the 
United States and NATO or that he has received guidance to 
that effect from above.  In May 2008, Akhmetov ordered a 
no-notice inspection of KAZBRIG that resulted in an influx of 
new personnel, although primarily conscripts, and equipment. 
He also made personal appeals for assistance to several 
Western partner nations for  training KAZBRIG.  Additionally, 
the NATO evaluation from this year,s annual Steppe Eagle 
exercise (US/UK/KZ) indicated the one operational battalion 
of KAZBRIG is NATO interoperable with limitations. 
 
37.  (C/NOFORN)  The Steppe Eagle exercise and NATO 
evaluation were critical to a potential deployment 
announcement for the KAZBRIG.  A successful evaluation of the 
KAZBRIG is a necessary, but not sufficient, condition for a 
deployment announcement.  Given that the only deployable unit 
of KAZBRIG is a single battalion, to sustain operations over 
the long-term the largest deployable unit is a company-size 
element inherent to the 3:1 deploy-reset-train force 
generation model.  The past deployment of a platoon-size 
element in support of OIF did not meet the 3:1 ratio, 
however, future plans to deploy up to a company-size element 
match current capacity.  Our general belief, following a 
deployment announcement, is that manning problems would 
evaporate, training focus and assistance would increase, and 
KAZBRIG would be ready to conduct basic peace support 
operations in a low to medium threat environment under the 
command of a lead nation. 
 
NATO MAINTENANCE AND SUPPLY AGENCY (NAMSA) TRUST FUND 
 
 
ASTANA 00000022  011 OF 011 
 
 
38.  (C/NOFORN)  The NAMSA is the lead for a program to 
destroy MANPADS (Man-P
ortable Air Defense Systems) and excess 
Small Arms/Light Weapons in Kazakhstan.  It is ready to 
propose setting a deadline for Kazakhstan to approve the 
Draft Implementing Agreement for the fully-funded, U.S.-led 
NATO/PfP Trust Fund on MANPADS.  NAMSA would like the United 
States to threaten cancellation of the project if the 
agreement is not soon signed.  The Embassy has demarched the 
Government of Kazakhstan on the issue and consulted with the 
NATO Special Representative to Central Asia, Mr. Bob Simmons, 
and the former resident NATO Liaison Officer to Central Asia, 
Tugay Tuncer.  The Embassy continues to pursue this with the 
Government. 
 
FINAL WORDS 
 
39.  (SBU)  We are very much looking forward to your visit. 
This is an auspicious time to visit Kazakhstan, which very 
much values its strategic partnership with the United States. 
 The entire Mission looks forward to facilitating a rewarding 
and productive visit with a valuable strategic partner who is 
vital to our national strategic interests.  We remain ready 
to answer any of your questions.  The primary point of 
contact during your visit will be Defense Attache Colonel 
Keith Harrington, Tel. 7 7172 702 393. 
HOAGLAND

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