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March 26, 2005
The Counterrevolution That Couldn't Demonstrate Straight

Reuters reports some mildly ominous developments in Kyrgyzstan this morning. The ousted interior minister that had just been appointed by ousted president Askar Akayev will lead thousands in demonstration against the so-called Tulip Revolution in Bishkek today, threatening "civil war" if Akayez is not returned to power. I say "mildly ominous", because the people rounded up for this march on Bishkek apparently don't all agree on their opposition to the new interim Kyrgyz government:

Kyrgyzstan's ousted interior minister led thousands of demonstrators toward the capital on Saturday to protest against the coup that overthrew President Askar Akayev, warning there was a risk of civil war. ...

"They may get there today. They may get there tomorrow, but the important thing is they will go there," Keneshbek Dushebayev, appointed interior minister by Akayev just before he was ousted, told Reuters.

Dushebayev, who is leading the protesters whom he predicted could eventually number 10,000, said: "The country is virtually split and everything is in place for a civil war."

But there was confusion over the aims of the protesters, some of whom expressed support for the new leadership.

Some carried posters saying "No to the coup!" and "The people of Kyrgyzstan are one nation!." Other placards read: "We support general Kulov," referring to opposition leader Felix Kulov.

Some of Dushebayev's marchers told Reuters that they don't support Akayev at all, but are demonstrating against the manner of his ouster. It sounds like Dushebayev has a very odd and only mildly motivated coalition on which to build his civil war, and his tenuous (at best) connection to the security forces in Kyrgyzstan probably means he will not inspire much more confidence along the way to Bishkek.

Perhaps Dushebayev should return home and take a roll call among his so-called supporters. If Bakiev holds June elections as promised, it sounds like Dushebayev would lose most of his constituents. That makes him a agitator, not a rebel, and his association with the previous unpopular autocracy won't give him much comfort when Bakiev and especially Felix Kulov come after him.

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Posted by Ed Morrissey at March 26, 2005 8:54 AM

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