Uzbek Uprising

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Central Asia's wave of unrest has hit Uzbekistan, one of the region's more brutal despotisms. At least one town seems to have liberated itself, at least temporarily:

On Saturday, as news of the violence in Andijan [where troops massacred protesters] filtered into Korasuv, local people went to the mayor demanding that a border crossing to the Kyrgyz side of the town, shut down by the authorities two years ago, be reopened.

Correspondents say locals saw the closed border as an attempt to grind them down by denying them access to the thriving market on the other side.

When the mayor refused, he was beaten. Angry crowds set fire to the militia headquarters, the road police and the tax inspector's office—the three most visible representatives of the central government….

Korasuv residents have been meeting to discuss how to run their own affairs. The town is currently reported to be calm, but there is apprehension that the central authorities may move to take control…

Gateway Pundit has a roundup of Uzbekistan stories here. Scraps of Moscow has been translating Russian coverage here.

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  1. I think I know enough about Uzbekistan’s government to conclude they are bad (collusion with the US or not). But I don’t think I yet know enough about the people involved in the uprising to conclude they are better. I guess we can hope that, at the very least, this leads to Islam Karimov realizing that he can only push his people so far. But I’m not holding my breath.

  2. I think I know enough about Uzbekistan’s government to conclude they are bad (collusion with the US or not).

    phocion, you should know by now that whether a government is bad is determined solely by reference to whether or not it colludes with the US.

  3. Nice to see some domino effect from the inspiring uprising in Kyrgyzstan.

    What?

  4. i wouldn’t at all be surprised to see the united states invade uzbekistan in the future. all the pieces are there. karimov is a totalitarian and an american ally because we have bigger fish to fry. he kills his own people and we blame the silent dead and urge restraint. later it will become politically, ideologically, materialistically or egotistically convenient to disavow him as an ally and invent some meaningless axis to name him to, followed shortly by invasion and the establishment of hegemony and forward bases positioned against the bigger fish.

    that’s how the great-power game is played, after all!

  5. gaius-

    I’m a cynic, but even I’m not cynical enough to think that we’ll invade Uzbekistan.

    Anyway, the real question to ask is whether Karamov’s thugs have ever flushed a Koran down the toilet 😉

  6. It’s my understanding that we already have at least one base in Uzbekistan.

    I can understand why some Americans might think it in our best interest not to join the revolution, if for no other reason, because we have bases in other countries nearby that aren’t so savory.

    …Who wants the United States to have a base in their country if the U.S. is gonna join the rebels?

    Still, assuming the rebels end up in power, I can imagine their leaders welcoming an American presence. Surely an American presence is a deterrent to some foreign invader.

    …some foreign invader other than the United States that is.

  7. Ken-

    Another good reason for the US to adopt a hands-off approach is to avoid tainting the rebels. The most successful liberalization movements are (usually) home-grown. Open US support for the rebels might taint them in the eyes of some fence-sitters.

    Which is not to say that we should support Karamov or use our bases to help cruch the opposition. Ideally we should just use our bases to support our efforts in Afghanistan, and let the Uzbeks determine the fate of Uzbekistan. And if the Uzbeks overthrow Karamov, we should warmly congratulate them after the deed is done.

  8. Oh, and if we really want to stabilize Afghanistan and Tajikistan, we can legalize opium and laugh as the gangsters and warlords watch their profit margins evaporate.

    While we’re at it, we can accelerate the end of Colombia’s civil war simply by legalizing cocaine and pulling the rug out from under the various guerrillas, militias, gangsters, and other armed thugs running around.

    See, I agree that it’s possible to bring about positive change in foreign countries via US policy!

    Too bad the changes that I have in mind won’t happen any time soon.

  9. Thanks for linking to my blog. I do have some original content/attempts at analysis in addition to the translations (which are also original in the sense that they’re my work, I guess). The place to go in the blogosphere for Central Asia news and analysis, though, is definitely Registan.net, which is covering the events in Uzbekistan well, plus it’s read by many people in the region so there are lots of comments by people who may actually know what’s going on.

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