Kyrgyzstan’s new rulers yesterday sought to avert a split in their ranks after their lightning coup, but tension remained high with fresh warnings of possible civil war.

Thursday’s revolt left the ex-Soviet republic with two rival parliaments and clear strains among opposition leaders, united only by the desire to get rid of veteran President Askar Akayev.

Felix Kulov, the new security chief who has persuaded police to return to work and ordered them to open fire on looters, suggested he would not run against acting president Kurmanbek Bakiev in a June 26 presidential vote. ~The Cape Times

Such are the unfortunate, but entirely predictable results of stirring up instability, violence and disorder in a country still unused to a meaningful, peaceful contestation of political power after the 15 year rule of President Askar Akayev. We can hope that Kyrgyzstan steps back from the abyss, but if it does not the ruin of that country can be laid squarely at the feet of the U.S. Ambassador and this administration for inciting the rebels. And for what? That will be an excellent question for Congress to ask the good ambassador and the Secretary of State, who are at least partly immediately responsible for this atrocious, clumsy regime change.

Kyrgyzstan has certainly not enjoyed a widely-distributed sharing of political power, as Mr. Akayev has entrenched his clan, relatives and allies from the north of the country to the general detriment of the south. This is all the more reason why a sudden, violent and confused transition of power was the worst possible way to remove Mr. Akayev, if indeed this is what the majority of Kyrgyz desired and what the alleged election rigging merited.

Unlike the staged Serbian rebellion against Milosevic in 2001, there has been no outside consensus figure, such as a Vojislav Kostunic, among the Kyrgyz opposition figures (as Mr. Kostunic is a reputable and thoughtful constitutional lawyer, and the Kyrgyz opposition are old Soviet hacks, it is little wonder). The minor irregularities of the Kyrgyz election, which pale in comparison to the alleged vote-rigging claimed on both sides in the Ukraine (or our own debacle in 2000), are so trivial that they would be laughable were their consequences not becoming so grim.

As bombs have begun going off in Christian neighbourhoods in Lebanon, revealing the real dangers to the welfare of Lebanon of encouraging rapid and major political change in a finely balanced country of rival sects and interests, it is high time for the main media outlets in this country to report more soberly about these “democratic revolutions” than many have done in the Ukrainian, Lebanese and Kyrgyz cases. Some reflection and some second thoughts are in order from the braying democratists about what these “revolutions” seem to mean for countries that do not have either long experience with real contested, elective government (Kyrgyzstan) or do not enjoy a largely ethnically and more or less religiously homogenous society (Lebanon).