07MOSCOW4141, PEACE MISSION 2007″: SCO MILITARY LINKS GROWING,

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Reference ID Created Released Classification Origin
07MOSCOW4141 2007-08-24 02:44 2011-08-30 01:44 CONFIDENTIAL Embassy Moscow

VZCZCXRO8562
PP RUEHDBU
DE RUEHMO #4141/01 2360244
ZNY CCCCC ZZH
P 240244Z AUG 07
FM AMEMBASSY MOSCOW
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 3188
INFO RUCNCIS/CIS COLLECTIVE PRIORITY
RUEHXD/MOSCOW POLITICAL COLLECTIVE PRIORITY
RUEKJCS/SECDEF WASHDC PRIORITY

C O N F I D E N T I A L SECTION 01 OF 02 MOSCOW 004141 
 
SIPDIS 
 
SIPDIS 
 
E.O. 12958: DECL: 08/20/2017 
TAGS: PREL MOPS PTER RS CH
SUBJECT: "PEACE MISSION 2007": SCO MILITARY LINKS GROWING, 
BUT A LONG WAY FROM LATTER DAY WARSAW PACT 
 
REF: MOSCOW 3996 
 
Classified By: Deputy Political M/C Colin Cleary. Reasons 1.4 (b) and ( 
d). 
 
1.  (C) SUMMARY:  Experts told us that the Shanghai 
Cooperation Organization's (SCO) Peace Mission 2007 
anti-terrorist exercises, while deemed a success by many 
Russians, do not necessarily point to increased integration 
among SCO member states.  The 6,500 soldiers involved in the 
exercises reportedly lived and trained well together, but 
differences between the member states' governments will 
continue to hobble any efforts to transform the SCO into a 
military alliance.  Lack of a coherent Russian policy toward 
Central Asia will also prove to be an impediment.  The 
experts agreed that Peace Mission 2007 was an anti-terrorist 
exercise, not aimed at any one country.  END SUMMARY. 
 
------------------------ 
The View From The Ground 
------------------------ 
 
2.  (C) Victor Litovkin, Assistant Editor of the online 
journal "Independent Military Overview," observed the August 
9-17 Shanghai Cooperation Organization's Peace Mission 2007 
anti-terrorist exercises and told us that the exercises went 
well (reftel).  "Any such military exercises are a show," he 
said, but the exercises demonstrated a high level of 
coordination between the Russian and Chinese militaries.  He 
attributed this success to the fact that the militaries of 
the various member states have been living and training well 
together. 
 
3.  (C) Litovkin said that on a strategic level, the military 
exercises were intended to showcase the SCO's capability to 
defend Central Asian interests, noting that a chief objective 
of the exercises was to train soldiers how to respond to a 
terrorist attack.  He stressed that the exercises were not 
aimed at the West.  Despite Iranian President Ahmadinejad's 
vague anti-U.S. statements during the SCO's summit in Bishkek 
August 16, "nobody even mentioned the United States during 
the exercises," Litovkin said.  He went on to say the 
exercises were also not designed to train soldiers to 
intervene in Central Asian states, should revolution occur. 
Pointing to the lack of Russian interference during the Tulip 
Revolution in Kyrgyzstan, Litovkin argued that, while Russia 
and China want stability in Central Asia, they will not send 
troops to prop up the governments there. 
 
--------------------------------------------- ----- 
Internal Rivalries Limit the SCO In the Short-Term 
--------------------------------------------- ----- 
4.  (C) Dmitriy Litovkin, political correspondent with 
Izvestia, confidant of First Deputy Prime Minister Sergey 
Ivanov, and son of journalist Victor Litovkin, told us August 
15 that despite Peace Mission 2007, the SCO is not set to 
become a modern-day Warsaw Pact.  China, he pointed out, 
declined to join the Collective Security Treaty Organization 
(CSTO).  Some members of the Russian leadership, he said, 
take this as a sign that, not only is China not interested in 
an alliance with Russia, but it may pose a threat to Russian 
interests.  There is real concern among Russia's political 
elites, he stated, that China desires Russia's natural 
resources.  While this will not soon lead to war, a rivalry 
could ensue.  For this reason, the SCO will remain a largely 
economic organization. 
 
5.  (C) On August 20 Moskovskiy Komsomolets journalist 
Mikhail Rostovskiy agreed, adding that Russia's lack of a 
coherent foreign policy, especially in Central Asia, limits 
Russia's ability to control and direct events in the region 
and in the SCO.  Russia, he said, wants to be strong in the 
face of the United States and China, but does not know how to 
pursue its goals. 
 
-------------------------------- 
The Janus Face of Russian Policy 
-------------------------------- 
 
6.  (C) Andrey Grozin, Head of the Central Asia and 
Kazakhstan Department of the CIS Institute, told us on August 
21 that Peace Mission 2007 is intended to signal Russia's 
willingness to seek Asian and Central Asian partners; in 
reality, however, Russian political elites are more 
comfortable interacting with the West.  Russians, he argued, 
do not trust China because they do not understand it as well 
as they do the West.  There exists in Russia a particularly 
strong anti-Chinese sentiment among the leadership, he 
argued.  Many Russian politicians regard China as a 
"complicated partner," and potential threat since it is 
 
MOSCOW 00004141  002 OF 002 
 
 
strong both militarily and economically.  Seeking a close 
relationship with China, he said, would cause many problems, 
as the two countries are natural rivals for influence in 
Central Asia and the rest of the world. 
 
---------------------------------------- 
Anti-Terrorist, Anti-Islamist, Arms Show 
---------------------------------------- 
 
7.  (C) Deputy Editor of the "Weekly Journal" Alexander Golts &#x000A
;told us on August 13 that Peace Mission 2007 was more 
anti-separatist than anti-terrorist in nature.  Russia and 
China, he stated, want stability in Central Asia, and SCO 
training exercises that promote stability are in Russia's 
best interests.  Golts argued, however, that it will be 
difficult for the SCO to become a military alliance in the 
absence of clear security threats from the outside.  Peace 
Mission 2007 also provided Russia with an opportunity to show 
off its military hardware and attract buyers. 
 
8.  (C) In an August 14 meeting, Pavel Felgenhauer, defense 
analyst with "Novaya Gazeta," echoed Golts's sentiments.  He 
added, however, that, not only does Russia wish to prevent 
separatists from achieving their goals in Central Asia, it 
also wants to keep Islamist radicals at bay.  The show of 
force during Peace Mission 2007, it is hoped, will 
demonstrate the SCO member countries' ability to deal with 
the threat posted by Islamist radicals and separatists. 
Melville

Wikileaks

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