CSTO vs. NATO

If indeed a SCO/NATO showdown is brewing then the dominoes of such a clash could pull an even larger organisation into the fray. Many of the nations from the SCO also belong to the Collective Security Treaty Organisation or CSTO. This was a mutual defence pact set up by Russia within the Commonwealth of Independent States. Following the collapse of the Soviet Union, at the end of the cold war, Russia was looking to retain as many ties as possible to the now numerous independent nations that had once been part of its empire. So it set up the CSTO as its version of NATO. The countries that are part of this collective are Russia, Armenia, Belarus, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan.

As with many of the nations involved in this global confusion mixed signals have been coming out of Russia. Initially President Putin of Russia was hailed as an ally in the “War On Terror” and indeed seemed to be taking the fight to the ‘Islamic’ enemy in its southern provinces, especially in Chechnya. But the neo-cons seem hopelessly stuck back in the days of the cold war and new suspicions about Russia have begun to grow. The US has thus undertaken to undermine Russian authority in its region thus heightening the tensions.

To counter what it sees as a renewed Russian power the US has fostered revolutions in former Soviet nations in an attempt to make them closer to Washington than Moscow. This saw the so-called coloured revolutions being sparked to bring ‘democracy’ to the region. These were peaceful uprisings by the populations of the nations in question designed to bring in democratic governments. The Orange revolution in the Ukraine saw a government friendly to the US being installed within that nation in 2004. It has since emerged that this apparently spontaneous peoples movement was actually carefully funded and encouraged by the US.

A similar revolution, the Rose revolution, also took place in Georgia in 2003. Again evidence has emerged that this revolution was sponsored and aided by the US. Georgia had once been a member of the CSTO but had been slowly slipping towards Washington and had withdrawn from the organisation in 1999. Since its Washington friendly Government has been installed it is now asking to outright join NATO. This is further fuelling the tensions in the region. Because of this there is now a tense diplomatic showdown going on between Georgia and Russia that could even escalate to military conflict prior to any Iran attacks.

Similar attempts to hold a coloured revolution in nearby Azerbaijan were actually thwarted by the US as the current government there has already chosen of its own free will to follow Washington. Azerbaijan is another oil rich nation and some of the oil companies in the region have strong ties to US congressmen. Thus Azerbaijan is not allowed to have democracy and is under the rule of an authoritarian leadership. Azerbaijan too is a former CSTO nation but it has chosen to leave the pact as well. Because of its ties to the US Azerbaijan is also becoming increasingly friendly with NATO.

It seems the Neo-Cons have also begun stirring up trouble in yet another CSTO nation, Belarus. They are attempting to foster yet another coloured revolution there but the Russians are assisting the Belarus government in brutally suppressing it. This attempt at ringing them in is making Russia increasingly more hostile to the US. And so a steady increase in tensions is already building between NATO and the CSTO.

Should an attack on Iran see the SCO getting involved it would seem that the CSTO would also have to become involved. Russia, like China, is very dependant on Iranian oil and will be anything if pleased by the US’s military intervention. And because both organisations have shared nation states as members, any conflict embroiling these countries could see their other allies in the region being called on to help defend them. This would leave us with a very classic cold war style third world war between Russian elements and NATO.

It seems that the Russians have been slowly preparing for this since the Lebanon debacle. A steady military build up has taken place in Central Asia and for the first time the CSTO has held joint military practice runs with the SCO in August of this year. There have been numerous large-scale war games being run by these member nations over the last few months. One of these even saw a Russian fighter jet stray too close to US airspace triggering a response from their NORAD defence system. The incident ended peacefully but it is indicative of the boiling tensions now seething across the entire globe.

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