17 december 2017
Central Asia news
There are numerous reports from the northern provinces of Afghanistan about the arrival of well-equipped militants, who do not hide their belonging to the IS terrorist group (the banned terrorist organisation "Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant", ISIL, ISIS or IS Eng., "Daesh" Arab.) The Fergana News correspondent talked with residents, authorities, and learned the details of what is happening in the provinces of Balkh, Jowzjan and Faryab.
In Western Kazakhstan, religious parents are suing the Ministry of Education: their daughters are not allowed to attend schools because they wear headscarves. Officials, representing a secular state, admit the possibility of a cross-claim - the failure to comply with parental responsibilities. Why is it important at all, do the girls wear headscarves in school or not, and what do parents and teachers think - Fergana News tells.
On the eve of the centenary of the October Revolution, the Central Asian Analytical Network (CAAN) is returning to the question surrounding the administrative and territorial demarcation of Central Asia. In a conversation with the political scientist Raffael Sattarov, well-known Russian historian, ethnologist and anthropologist, Sergei Abashin, will shed light on some dark corners of the region’s Soviet period and reflect upon current questions that define the relationship between Russia and the Central Asian countries, most prominently nationalism, labour migration and post-Soviet integration.
Over the past year, as the "Islamic State" has ceded its positions in Syria and Iraq, the architects of the world caliphate are said to be stepping up their activity in Afghanistan. In summer, the U.S. military reported it had liquidated three ISIL field commands in that country, and later the Russian Foreign Ministry announced that somebody had been transferring Islamic militants to Afghanistan using light helicopters without identification marks. At the same time, the decreasing defensive capability of the neighbouring Turkmenistan, which began, according to various sources, in the first half of 2010 could lead to the gradual penetration of the terrorist organisation into the territory of this post-Soviet republic. And Ashgabat's close and friendly relations with Afghan authorities could only simplify and speed up this process.
"We are shocked. It’s a real nightmare. We cannot understand why he did it."
On 31 October, a terrorist attack ruined Halloween in New York. A 29-year-old man at the wheel of a rented truck drove at high speed onto a bike path running along the Hudson River, driving several blocks while crushing random passers-by and bicyclists. Then the pickup truck crashed into a school bus transporting children with disabilities, injuring several bus passengers. The culprit, with cries of "Allahu Akbar!", jumped from the truck, holding a paintball gun and a pellet gun in his hands. Arriving at the scene, police opened fire on him, wounding him in the abdomen. The suspect was hospitalised, underwent an operation, and afterwards interrogated. In all, eight were killed and 15 injured as a result of the terrorist attack.
Emotions, tirades, passion, sharp gestures, stomping, hot fever! I would add “flamenco”, but it is not Catalonia striving for independence from Madrid. Another week rich with symbolic events in Central Asia is over, yet the picture remains obscure. The leadership of this region is reluctant to express its real emotions and feelings, but decisions show who they truly are, paraphrasing a popular fiction writer.
Election of the new head of Kyrgyzstan will be held on Sunday, 15 October. The closer the time of voting, the more bold statements the incumbent president allows himself. He managed to spoil relations not only with his former colleagues. Speaking on 7 October, at the ceremony of awarding teachers, a little too passionate amid election, Almazbek Atambayev "hit" the head of neighboring Kazakhstan Nursultan Nazarbayev, having managed to insult not only the leader but the country and the government together.
The first three weeks of the barely started cotton season in Uzbekistan has already claimed lives of four people. However, since 21 September Uzbek officials are fulfilling the Prime Minister's order prohibiting taking state employees to cotton fields. What made the Uzbek government dramatically change its policy towards using forced labour in agriculture? And is it the end of the long-standing and humiliating "cotton slavery" in the country?
If the presidential elections in Kyrgyzstan, scheduled on 15 October, would have conducted today the clear winner would be Omurbek Babanov. The charismatic, strong-willed and young politician, he has the advantage above all his competitors. And first of all far from the candidate from the party of power Sooronbay Jeenbekov. And it frightens someone. Babanov will become president if the elections are fair, about most independent observers cast huge doubts on including me. Therefore, the vilest method of denigrating a competitor is active - the ethnic.
September visit of the President of Uzbekistan Shavkat Mirziyoyev to the United States intended to participate in the 72nd session of the UN General Assembly, actually accommodated many important events for official Tashkent, diplomatic, economic and humanitarian. Somehow, this trip of the Uzbek leader over the ocean can be considered a landmark for the relations between the two countries, not only because the first president of the country, Islam Karimov had not been visiting the United States for about 15 years, but also because Mirziyoyev actually demonstrated that multi-vector foreign policy, about which his predecessor was endlessly telling but, in fact, usually following a single course changing it with enviable constancy.
“Krysha” (or “krisha”) in Russia means “roof” or “cover”. The term born in the 1990s when the rule of law was weak and racketeers protected vulnerable entrepreneurs from other gangsters for a fee or a share of its gain. Later, central or local government officials started "covering" business themselves. Historically, whenever crime bosses amass a particular influence in a society, they try to legalise themselves – through business by buying up shares in large firms under a false name, or through politics by standing for public office or holding positions in the bureaucracy. Same is in Kyrgyzstan.
The 19th Central Asia media conference named “Open Journalism in Central Asia” organised by the office of the OSCE Representative on Freedom of the Media will be held in Tashkent on 18-19 October 2017. It is expected that participants, “including journalists, representatives from governments, civil society organisations and academia from Central Asia and Mongolia along with international experts will discuss current challenges to media freedom in Central Asia and Mongolia” including “current trends in news media distribution and challenges related to the digital and increasingly mobile environment, and how to better safeguard media freedom whilst combatting hate speech,” as well as “the latest media freedom developments and best practices,” the OSCE website informs.
This month of June brought us a contradictory timeline. Some governments are gaining a popular weight among ordinary citizens, while others are ignoring a wider opinion and a common sense. Any outsider can be lured by honeyed promises, finely drawn charts, glittering buildings from the future. Find optimists and ruin them with a reality.