The coming color revolution chaos in Kyrgyzstan

From Russia Insider, March 19, 2015
By Andrew Korybko

It can be certain that the arrival of the ‘Male Nuland’ to Kyrgyzstan, freshly forced out of retirement to take on this pivotal role, portends the Central Asian anti-Russian equivalent of what Nuland unleashed in Eastern Europe over a year ago with EuroMaidan.

The first part of the article discussed Richard Miles’ Color Revolution credentials and why the arrival of the ‘Male Nuland’ in Bishkek likely portends an oncoming destabilization there. It also looked at American policy towards Uzbekistan and the importance of Ambassador Spratlen’s appointment to Tashkent. An overview of the US’s grand strategy against Russia, as adapted for the Central Asian vector, was also explored in that section. At this juncture, the article forecasts what the chaos that Miles is about to unleash in Kyrgyzstan will look like, including the tempting ‘media Crimea’ scenario that is bound to split Tashkent from Moscow and crown Uzbekistan as the US’s long-term Lead From Behind proxy in Central Asia.

The Kyrgyz Game Plan:

Zeroing in on Kyrgyzstan and Richard Miles’ ‘temporary’ appointment as the de-facto ambassador there, it’s likely that the general course of Color Revolutionary chaos will take on a relatively predetermined path. Parliamentary elections are scheduled for October, and will likely serve as ‘the event’ needed to ‘justify’ a Color Revolution. This is a very opportune time for the destabilization to commence, since Kyrgyzstan would have already joined the Eurasian Union, and ‘opposition’ candidates and/or activists can attempt to manipulate this into a campaign issue (either within the country or in front of the foreign media). Also, October represents the tail end of fall and the beginning of winter, which in Kyrgyzstan, leads to a de-facto months-long division between the North and the South owing to the blocking of critical mountain passes connecting the two.

With the country having almost splitduring the last spate of externally driven instability in 2010, the prospects remain for it to do so once more if there’s a repeat of similar violence. This is because the North-South Kyrgyzstan rivalry hasn’t gone away in the years since, but only went underground and outside of the international public’s attention. The emergence of ‘South Kyrgyzstan’ in fact or in form could become an epicenter of future conflicts and easily follow the Afghan model of drug trafficking and terrorism. These fears could create the conditions needed to force Russia and the CSTO into a Reverse Brzezinski intervention, made even more difficult by the mountainous terrain that favors insurgency over counter-guerrilla operations. Left to its own, ‘South Kyrgyzstan’s’ black hole of destabilization could combine with a renewed Taliban threat in Afghanistan to existentially endanger Tajikistan, which aside from further pressuring Russia to intervene and crush the fledgling ‘Central Asian Islamic State’, could raise fears in China that Uighur terrorists will exploit the disorder to establish bases for carrying out attacks in Xinjiang.

The entire dynamic would be complicated by the re-eruption of ethnic violence in Kyrgyzstan’s portion of the Fergana Valley, where the ethnic Uzbeks’ grievances and the tensions between them and ethnic Kyrgyz were simply swept under the rug for the past few years in the same way that the North-South Kyrgyzstan rivalry was. In the event that Miles succeeds in initiating any type of Color Revolution disorder in the country (which given its existing instability, isn’t that difficult to do), it’s expected that the 2010 ethnic chaos will return, when about 300,000 Uzbeks were displaced and 100,000 fled to Uzbekistan. This time, however, instead of Uzbekistan sitting on the sidelines and reacting to the crisis, it’s forecasted that it will directly intervene in the country, which is the tripwire that will irrevocably break Uzbek-Russian bilateral relations and herald in Tashkent’s role as the US’ Lead From Behind partner in Central Asia.

Breaking Kyrgyzstan

If the Kyrgyz authorities and their Eurasian Union and SCO allies aren’t successful in quickly containing and extinguishing Miles’ planned Color Revolutionary violence, then the prospects for foreign military intervention dramatically increase, due to all actors’ fears that the situation will rapidly spiral out of control if left unattended. While it’s never known exactly how any campaign can play out in advance, if the oncoming crisis in Kyrgyzstan even remotely mirrors that which the country experienced in 2010 (as was forecasted above), then the following is the most likely way that events could play out:

The Kant Air Base And Northern Kyrgyzstan:

Russia retains an air base in Kant, located on the outskirts of Bishkek, and it’s forecasted that this would form the nucleus of any stabilization force deployed to Kyrgyzstan. As previously mentioned, Russia will try its best not to get trapped in the Kyrgyz cauldron, meaning that it would likely limit any boots on the ground to Northern Kyrgyzstan, where they can more easily assist in restoring peace and order in cooperation with their legitimate counterparts there. This intervention only becomes possible if the Kyrgyz security forces begin to lose control of the capital and other

major cities in the north straddling the Kazakh border, and specifically request external assistance in restoring governance there. Even then, the Russians could always take a ‘wait-and-see’ approach to avoid being drawn into a Reverse Brzezinski, but if the violence becomes uncontrollable, they’ll be forced to intervene, especially if the Kant Air Base is threatened.

On the other hand, unlike in 2010 when Russia refused to conventionally intervene in support of the friendly revolutionary government, in 2015, the situation may be that the friendly legitimate authorities request Moscow’s help in order to beat back violent anti-Russian mobs trying to seize control of the state a la the EuroMaidan model. In such a situation, it may be hard for Russia to say no, understanding that failure to shore up stability in Kyrgyzstan could either create the black hole of chaos that it’s been dreading or lead to the establishment of a radical pro-Western government obsessed with purusing a Russophobic foreign policy. Not only that, but a serious crisis of that nature sprouting up inside the Eurasian Union could destabilize the entire organization and increase pressure on Russia and the other members (all of which are part of the CSTO) to actively respond.

In any case, it is highly unlikely that Russia and its partners will intervene in Fergana Valley, because just like in 2010, they don’t want to dangerously get caught between two warring ethnicities and/or create the impression (which would be obviously manipulated by the hypocritical Western media) that they’re waging a ‘war on Islam’ by ‘occupying’ conservative Muslim strongholds there. As for Southern Kyrgyzstan, it will most probably remain a ‘no-go’ zone for all foreign military parties due to the forthcoming winter snow (if the destabilization commences in October as predicted) that would hinder all but the most essential military operations in that mountainous and sparsely populated area.

Uzbekistan And The ‘Media Crimea’:

Seeing as how the Fergana Valley isn’t anticipated to have any Russian or CSTO military intervention in the event of any forthcoming Kyrgyz destabilization, this leaves Uzbekistan as the only probable actor that can flex its muscles in that area. At this moment, one needs to recall the first part of this article dealing with the US’ strategy towards Uzbekistan, Ambassador Pamela Spratlen, and Washington’s desire to see the country become the pro-Western Lead From Behind proxy for Central Asia. It should also not be forgotten that Uzbekistan and Russia appear to be on the cusp of a minor renaissance of relations, and that the US has a vested interest in tearing Tashkent and Moscow apart just it did Kiev and Moscow after EuroMaidan. Keeping this in mind, it becomes understandable why the US would press for an Uzbek ‘humanitarian intervention’/’Responsibility 2 Protect’ in the Fergana Valley in the foreseeable event that ethnic clashes resume between Uzbeks and Kyrgyz there amidst a statewide meltdown. Considering that this would amount to Uzbekistan invading a CSTO-member state (Kyrgyzstan), such an action would certainly bring Uzbek-Russian relations to a crisis level, which is exactly what the US wants.

In fact, Pamela Spratlen’s ultimate strategic objective is to convince Uzbekistan to perform a ‘media Crimea’ in the Fergana Valley in order to lay the seeds for prolonged tension between it and Russia for the years to come. By this, it is meant that Uzbekistan actually perform in the Fergana Valley what the Western media falsely stated that Russia had done in Crimea, which is a military invasion and subsequent annexation of its neighbor’s territory on the grounds of protecting one’s ethnic compatriots.

Russia never did any of this, but it doesn’t matter, since it’s still guilty of these ‘crimes’ in the eyes of the Western media, and the international audience is now largely attuned to understanding what the fake ‘Crimea precedent’ means. Thus, if Uzbekistan stages a ‘media Crimea’ and invades and annexes Kyrgyzstan’s Uzbek-populated parts in the Fergana Valley (perhaps even spreading to include all or parts of Osh and Jalal-Abad, Kyrgyzstan’s most important cities in the area), then this would not come as a surprise, and ironically, would actually be cheered on by the West.

Other than precipitating a major crisis between Uzbekistan and Russia/CSTO (which would automatically make Tashkent turn to the West), it would also be a way to ‘stick it to Russia’ by using the fake ‘Crimea precedent’ as a weapon to harm its interests, which could then be touted as an informational victory in its own right (despite not having any real connection to Russia’s actual actions vis-à-vis Crimea). If Uzbekistan balks at Spratlen’s initial ‘suggestion’ of a ‘media Crimea’, then she could always turn up the heat by utilizing existing Color Revolution infrastructure within the country to launch a massive ‘grassroots’ campaign to pressure the authorities to accede to her demands. This could realistically be coupled with Western governments ‘guilting’ Uzbekistan for its failure to intervene next door, much as they attempted to do with Turkey over Ayn al-Arab (Kobani in Kurdish). If the Uzbek authorities continue to refuse Spratlen’s ‘suggestion’, then the ‘grassroots’ movement for a ‘media Crimea’ in the Kyrgyz Fergana Valley can morph into an actual Color Revolution attempt against the government, which might just be the straw that breaks the state’s back.

Chinese Mediation:

Throughout all of this, China’s mediation role is assured due to its strategic interests in all three actors. The Russian-Chinese Strategic Partnership guarantees that Moscow and Beijing have no intention of ever butting heads over something as relatively minor to their bilateral relationship as Uzbekistan, while China’s hefty energy investments and pivotal pipeline transit through Uzbekistan makes it so that Beijing will not turn a blind eye towards Tashkent’s interests as well. While China may publicly chastise Uzbekistan through the SCO format for its ‘media Crimea’ in Fergana, it will by no means support a Russian/CSTO military counter-measure against it (which is unlikely anyhow) because it believes that such a move could further destabilize the country and endanger its pipeline security.

Russia is not expected to behave unilaterally and/or militarily respond to Uzbekistan, and in any case, it will not risk jeopardizing the Russian-Chinese Strategic Partnership after Beijing warns it not to do so. The Strategic Partnership is thus that it is fully dependent on trust between Moscow and Beijing, and that if either one violates this understanding and begins behaving in a manner that is seen as counter to the other’s interests, a classic security dilemma can emerge that could speedily lead to the dismantlement of the ‘gentleman’s agreement’ and a possible Sino-Russian split. Both sides are acutely aware of this and know that the US fantasizes about such a scenario, hence why they will not risk a falling out over something as relatively trivial to them (in the global perspective) as Uzbekistan.

Concerning Kyrgyzstan, China is currently involved in an anti-terror campaign in Xinjiang against militant Uighur separatists, and it fears that a destabilized Kyrgyzstan abutting the province could serve as a terrorist rear base. Thus, it is in Beijing’s interests to see overall stability returned to Kyrgyzstan if it becomes wracked with violence after another US-directed Color Revolution, but due to its tradition of non-interference, it will stop short of committing its troops to any operation on its territory. Instead, it will likely fortify the border as much as it can and take the diplomatic lead in helping all parties in the country reach a negotiated settlement in order to restore peace as soon as possible. Once this is achieved, albeit even partially, then all the countries can begin to (jointly?) tackle the shared problem of Southern Kyrgyzstan.

The Conundrum Over Southern Kyrgyzstan:

Amidst turbulence in Northern Kyrgyzstan and possible Uzbek annexation in the Fergana Valley, Southern Kyrgyzstan will be largely forgotten until these two issues are first dealt with. As was discussed earlier, October (the time of the Parliamentary elections, the suspected Color Revolution onset event) is very close to the beginning of winter, and if the period of destabilization described above is not resolved soon enough, then the inclement weather may de-facto intervene to divide the country by cutting off the few mountain passages linking the north and south. This would have the effect of incubating Southern Kyrgyzstan’s drug and terrorism threats and preventing all but the most serious and determined external interventions from eradicating them before they spread throughout the region.

Of course, the mountainous population of this portion of Kyrgyzstan (minus the Fergana Valley, of course) is very small, but still, the area it covers is large enough to present a critical non-state actor threat that can directly affect Uzbekistan, Tajikistan, and China’s Xinjiang Province. Indirectly, but no less important, the problems festering in Southern Kyrgyzstan can quickly make their way north into the Eurasian Union and further afield into Russia proper, thereby compelling Moscow into some type of action to stem this virus before it becomes uncontrollable (to say nothing of the immediate danger it presents for Russian forces in Tajikistan). Some type of foreign action would have to be taken to resolve this issue, but it’s impossible to know what it will look like. The only thing that can be ascertained is that it would involve the Kyrgyz authorities and potentially a multilateral force incorporating Tajik and/or Russian elements, with Uzbekistan and China notably not taking part (the former due to tensions over the ‘media Crimea’ and the latter due to its policy of non-interference).

Concluding Thoughts

Richard Miles’ return from retirement in order to staff the US Embassy in Bishkek is more than just a random event. The Color Revolution specialist was ordered to Kyrgyzstan not to gently shuffle papers, but to forcibly shuffle the composition of the government. This is in accordance with the 21st-century Reagan Doctrine that Hillary Clinton publicly unveiled in December 2012, whereby it was decreed that the US will do whatever it can to roll back Russian influence in the Near Abroad. In conjunction with the US-inspired destabilization that is projected to hit the country around the October Parliamentary elections, Washington also envisions pulling Tashkent away from its flirtation with Moscow through coaxing it into a ‘media Crimea’ in the Kyrgyz Fergana Valley. Dividing Uzbekistan from Russia in the same manner that Ukraine was separated from it a year prior is the ultimate strategic goal of the US in the region, since it would create a long-term Lead From Behind proxy to challenge Russian influence in Central Asia. Kyrgyzstan’s role, or more precisely, that of Southern Kyrgyzstan, is intended as nothing more than a permanently failed state abutting the Eurasian Union, Uzbekistan, and China, in order to continuously inflict destabilizing pressure on them. No matter which shape the oncoming chaos takes, it can be certain that the arrival of the ‘Male Nuland’ to Kyrgyzstan, freshly forced out of retirement to take on this pivotal role, portends the Central Asian anti-Russian equivalent of what Nuland unleashed in Eastern Europe over a year ago with EuroMaidan.

The US is juggling chaos and coordination in order to contain China

An exceptional, in-depth article on the threats to China, and the U.S. involvement.

From Oriental
By Andrew Korybko
March 16, 2015

It’s no secret by now that the US is dead set on containing China, yet it’s shying away from engaging in a direct confrontation with it. Instead, the US is managing a dual policy of creating chaos along China’s western and southwest reaches, while coordinating a containment alliance along its southeastern and northeastern periphery. Central Asia, northeast India, and Myanmar represent the chaos components, while the ‘unsinkable aircraft carriers’ of Japan and the Philippines are the coordinated ones. In this manner, the US is literally surrounding the country with hostile situations and states (with the obvious exception being the Russian frontier), hoping that this can disorient China’s decision makers and consequently pave the way for the external destabilization to infiltrate inwards. Amidst all this plotting, China isn’t sitting on its hands and behaving passively, since it has three specific strategies in mind to break the Chinese Containment Coalition (CCC) and counter the US’ Pivot to Asia.

Cultivating Chaos

The western and southwestern strategy of the CCC is to create a destabilized ‘rimland’ capable of infecting China’s vulnerable peripheral provinces with contagious chaos. This section examines how American grand strategy in Central and West Southeast Asia is designed to do just that, while a previous publication by the author already explored the prospects of a chain reaction of Color Revolutions emanating from Hong Kong.

The Central Asian ‘hermit state’ is identified as the country most vulnerable to a transnational Taliban offensive sometime in the future. Should this come to pass and the country is not properly prepared to defend itself, then the disastrous consequences would immediately spread to Russia, Iran, and China, as was explained in a previous article by the author. Pertaining to the latter, this involves the massive destabilization of China’s regional gas imports from its largest current supplier, which would of course have negative reverberations in Xinjiang, the ultimate target of the US’ Central Asian chaos policies as they apply to the People’s Republic. The more endangered and insecure China’s continental energy imports are, the more reliant the country becomes on receiving them via maritime channels, which given the US’ naval superiority, places them directly under Washington’s control in the event of a crisis.

The chaotic threat originating in Kyrgyzstan is more tangible than the one in Turkmenistan, as the Map_of_Central_Asiamountainous republic directly abuts Xinjiang. When looking at the US’ destructive Central Asian strategy, it becomes evident that it has an interest in ushering in the collapse of the Kyrgyz government via a new Color Revolution in order to, among other things, create an Uighur terrorist haven that can enflame the externally directed ethno-religious insurgency against Beijing. From the perspective of American foreign policy, then, a crisis in Kyrgyzstan is a geopolitical lever that can be ‘pulled’ to activate more instability in Xinjiang, with the aim of potentially luring the People’s Liberation Army into a quagmire. In the general scheme of things, both Central Asian republics, Turkmenistan and Kyrgyzstan, are essentially anti-Chinese weapons waiting to be (de)constructed by the US for use against the strategic province of Xinjiang, with Uzbekistan also playing a similar role if it implodes (or is prodded to do so by the US).

Northeast India:
In this corner of India, which could culturally be considered the northwestern fringe of Southeast Asia, the myriad ethnic tensions and bubbling insurgencies there could make the leap from being a domestic to an international crisis. The author previously assessed that one of the repercussions of last year’s Bodo-inspired violence was to destabilize the proposed Bangladesh-China-India-Myanmar (BCIM) trade corridor, which would negatively affect Beijing’s plans for a ‘Bay of Bengal Silk Road’. Internationalizing the situation, however, could see ethnic warfare emboldening militant non-state actors in Myanmar, with the end goal that they finally destabilize Yunnan Province, the most culturally diverse area in China that has even been liked to “a perfect microcosm” of it. Although there is no evidence that has yet been procured to suggest that the US played any role in instigating the latest violence in Assam, it doesn’t mean that it can’t do so in the future, especially now that the die of ethnic tension has already been cast. This Damocles’ Sword is continually hanging over the head of India’s decision makers, since they understand that it can be applied against them in the event that they resist Washington’s pressure to commit more closely to the Chinese Containment Coalition (CCC).

The greatest conventional threat to China along its southern edge (notwithstanding a hostile India) lies in the overspill of ethnic warfare from Myanmar into Yunnan. This is actually already happening, since the recent violence in Kokang (Shan State) has forced thousands from their homes and into China as refugees, where they are reportedly being seen as ‘burdensome’ to the authorities. Quite obviously, China comprehends the vulnerabilities of Yunnan to Xinjiang-like external destabilization, albeit manifested in a different manner, hence its sensitivity to what may be the reignition of Myanmar’s civil war. After all, the unexpected outbreak of violence has yet again delayed the country’s long-awaited peace talks from being concluded, which were reportedly set to be finalized prior to this.

Now, however, other ethnic groups have become emboldened by the clashes, and are sending their own fighters and mercenaries to Kokang, which has also been put under martial law. It now looks like the fragile nationwide peace process is on the verge of being completely shattered, and the fighting may spread to other ethnic regions if their respective militias decide to take advantage of any perceived government setbacks in Kokang to launch their own offensives. All of this would lead to the deterioration of Yunnan’s security and the influx of thousands of more refugees, some of whom may even be militant-affiliated and intent on starting their own uprisings inside China. It is this factor that scares Beijing the most, namely, that Yunnan’s jungles could one day become home to Xinjiang-like fighters intent on throwing another corner of the country into chaos.

Chaotic Patterns:
Making sense out of this grand chaos is the fact that it does follow some semblance of order in terms of US strategy. The countries in focus are along China’s western and southwestern edge, which is already j09-xinj-340ripe for ethnic provocations. Additionally, two of the states abutting the targeted provinces, Kyrgyzstan for Xinjiang and Myanmar for Yunnan, are inherently unstable for their own reasons, thus making them ‘ticking time bombs’ that could be prodded by the US to explode on China’s doorstep. As regards Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan, and northeast India, their destabilizations are tripwires for the two main ‘bombs’, Kyrgyzstan and Myanmar, although the disruption of any of the three aforementioned areas does undermine China in its own right. In short, this vector of American grand strategy is aimed at the destruction of key peripheral states surrounding China in order to chip away at the strength of the central government along its own peripheral areas, two of which (Xinjiang and Yunnan) are susceptible to outside-directed destabilization aimed at ethnic agitation.

Coordinating Containment

On the other side of China, the US is crafting a Chinese Containment Coalition (CCC) to confront Beijing and provoke it into a Reverse Brzezinski intervention in the South China Sea (if it isn’t dragged into one in Myanmar first). Japan and the Philippines are the centerpieces of this strategy, and South Korea and Vietnam are envisioned as playing crucial roles as well. Let’s take a look at Washington’s plans for each highlighted country, as well as how they all fit together into the bigger picture:

Continue reading

Washington stalks its next victim, sends color revolution expert “male Nuland” to Kyrgyzstan

From Oriental Review, March 5, 2015
By Andrew Korybko


Image: Richard Miles a.k.a father of Color Revolution

One of the most prominent Color Revolution experts in America’s coup d’état toolkit has been hurriedly recalled from retirement for immediate deployment to Kyrgyzstan. Richard Miles, the engineer of the first Color Revolution in Serbia and the Rose Revolution in Georgia, has been appointed as charge d’affaires in Kyrgyzstan until a new ambassador is confirmed by the Senate, because the former one, Pamela Spratlen, has been reassigned as the US Ambassador to Uzbekistan. While it is not known how long Miles will remain in Kyrgyzstan, which will be the Eurasian Union’s weakest economy when it joins in May of this year, ordinary citizens there already suspect that foul play is being planned against their country and have protested his arrival. Given that Miles’ track record of regime change makes him worthy of the ‘Male Nuland’ moniker, it’s appropriate to investigate what tricks the US may be up to in Central Asia, and how it may be trying to force the Ukrainian scenario onto Russia’s southern doorstep.

“The Male Nuland”

Richard Miles has kept a relatively low profile throughout the years and hasn’t garnered the notoriety that his ideological protégé Nuland has, but this doesn’t mean that he’s any less dangerous for the countries he visits. In fact, since he’s the individual who spearheaded the Color Revolution tactic in the first place, he can even be referred to as a ‘proto Nuland’, owing to his ‘successes’ in Serbia and Georgia that helped make EuroMaidan possible in the first place. While he was no longer the American Ambassador to Yugoslavia when the 2000 Bulldozer Revolution overthrow Slobodan Milosevic, he certainly paved the way for its implementation during his work over the three years prior, including overseeing the NATO War on Serbia. As regards Georgia, he served as US Ambassador from 2002-2005 and repeated the Belgrade template in Tbilisi.

Afterwards, he became the Executive Director for the Open World Leadership Center for most of 2006, during which he fostered the creation of thousands of pro-American ‘leaders’ in the former Soviet Union. To Center’s own mission statement concisely describes the type of work that it does:

“Begun as a pilot program in 1999 and established as a permanent agency in late 2000, the Center conducts the first and only international exchange agency in the U.S. Legislative Branch and, as such, has enabled more than 17,000 current and future leaders from Azerbaijan, Georgia, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Moldova, Russia, Ukraine, Tajikistan, and Turkmenistan to meaningfully engage and interact with Members of Congress, Congressional staff, and thousands of other Americans, many of whom are the delegates’ direct professional counterparts.”

The above statement can be read as an admission that the Center’s purpose is to create pro-American proxies that can seamlessly interact with and do the bidding of their Washington patrons, thereby essentially making it an NGO front for the US intelligence community’s cultivation of Color Revolution assets. The organization doesn’t hide the fact that its purpose is to promote American interests and profit, brazenly bragging that:

“Open World offers an extraordinary “bang for the buck” in terms of efficiency, cost-effectiveness, and value. The Center boasts an overhead rate of about 7 percent, every grant contains cost-shared elements, and more than 75 percent of our appropriation is plowed back into the American economy every year. The Center might best be described as both a mini-stimulus plan as well as a true international exchange program.”

Bearing in mind Miles’ experience in running this Color Revolution recruitment front, as well as his contribution to managing two ‘successful’ regime change operations in Serbia and Georgia, he can easily be identified as one of the most dangerous people in the US deep state establishment, and the fact that he was recalled from retirement to urgently take the ‘temporary’ post in Kyrgyzstan during these tense geopolitical times must absolutely be seen as a warning about Washington’s nefarious intentions.

Uzbekistan’s Role In The US’ Central Asian Strategy

While Washington is poised to destabilize Kyrgyzstan, it’s showing strong signals that it’s ready to do the opposite in neighboring Uzbekistan, and has been reingratiating itself with Tashkent over the past couple of years in a bid to shore up what it intends to become its Lead From Behind proxy in the region. Continue reading