Sunday, May 15, 2005

Uzbekistan update

Registan is the site to check out if you want to track what is happening in Uzbekistan at the moment. From there and other sources, the death toll has risen to 200, and there are more protests, with huge crowds back on the streets chanting "killers, murderers" and demanding that President Karimov step down. Large numbers of refugees have tried to cross the border to Kyrgzstan. The EU has issued a strong statement condemning the massacre and blaming the Uzbek government's lack of respect for human rights for the protests. The UK foreign secretary has followed suit. Meanwhile, the US seems more concerned by the fact that those demanding their freedom are Muslims (and therefore "extremists" and "terrorists") than the fact that innocent people were mowed down in the streets by a tyrannical government which systematicly uses torture...


When it comes down to it I may well support the protestors over the government (even if just for pragmatic reasons) BUT don't you think the people being freed might actually be terrorists? There are actually terrorists in the region...

Also, there are heaps of people that are accepted as terrorists that are not muslim.
But I guess you were just being flippant.

Posted by Genius : 5/15/2005 01:16:00 PM

Genius: the "Islamists" Karimov is arresting are moderates, "more Turkey than Taliban" according to former ambassador Craig Murray. But I'm sure that will change if the US continues to back the Uzbek regime.

Posted by Idiot/Savant : 5/15/2005 03:59:00 PM

Er - the action taken by the protestors doesn't sound moderate.

Still - I assume you have a reason to believe that they are unambiguously innocent and he is unambiguously guilty.

Posted by Genius : 5/15/2005 06:22:00 PM

I'm a little skeptical about the value of Murray's testimony about Akramiya considering he spent a couple hours with a couple people from the group. In my experience, it takes much longer to make sure one's not getting hoodwinked. That being said, the former Chief Mufti of Uzbekistan has a comparable assessment, though he does label them of being too free and loose with Islam.

There most definitely were legitimately imprisoned Islamic militants that were freed, and that is what the US statement expressed concern for. The State Department has been fairly consistent the past few years that it thinks that Uzbekistan isn't meeting its obligations to reform under the 2002 Memorandum of Understanding and has been critical of the government's labeling of Muslims who worship outside of sanctioned mosques as wanting to overthrow the state. That being said, there is a legitimate threat from Islamists, and they likely took advantage of the protests in Andijon, tainting what was a peaceful protest that had nothing to do with wanting to establish a new caliphate.

I certainly would be happy to see a stronger US statement, and I actually wouldn't be surprised to see one in the coming days.

Posted by Anonymous : 5/16/2005 11:24:00 AM