29 june 2017
Central Asia news: Analytics
In one of its final hearings of the 2012 calendar year and one of the final hearings of several of its most distinguished members, the Foreign Affairs Committee of the lower house of the U.S. Congress (House of Representatives) invited experts to speak on Iranian activities and influence in South Caucasia. Presently, all is calm on the ground in South Caucasia. Development in Azerbaijan, recent democratic elections in Georgia and quiet in Armenia indicate a thaw in this region of frozen conflicts after a harsh blizzard of violence and social disarray that touched three decades. However the tone of this hearing was all but calm, as one would expect a hearing on Iranian influence in a critical hydrocarbon transit corridor at the U.S. Congress in modern times to be. Dan Burton, retiring Chairman of the Committee’s Subcommittee on Europe and Eurasia, who just returned from the region, conveyed his observation from abroad that Washington is not the only World capitol in which such uneasy discussion of Iran can be heard.
Many observers have noticed that the Uzbek president’s oldest daughter has started coming out in the media, on TV screens and on the internet more and more often. Whether she has started some new stage in her PR campaign, and what aims the Uzbek princess is following is yet unknown. Maybe she just likes being in the centre of public attention, under the spotlight… Some experts and political scientists have a different viewpoint. They see Gulnara Islamovna on her father’s place and are almost announcing her as the country’s future president. People say that there are no more deserving heirs, that the Asian model of passing power assumes dynasty, and Gulnara is exactly the one who can unite warring factions etc…
The promising detention of the former Kyrgyz president’s son in London, who left the country with his family and entourage after yet another “revolution” in 2010, was somewhat unexpected for observers. However, it suddenly became clear that Kyrgyzstan is not the only country to have grievances against Mr Bakiyev, but the USA does too. While Bishkek primarily accuses the influential presidential offspring of corporate raiding, embezzling government funds and other grave offences, the US authorities accuse him of “participating in a criminal conspiracy with the aim of committing fraud and colluding to obstruct justice”. It is important to note that there are criminal acts committed by Mr Bakiyev from April 2010 to April 2012, when he was already in London...
“Uzbekistan’s rapid rapprochement with Russia, heard in the voice of Islam Karimov meeting with the Russian president Putin and defense minister Ivanov, has delivered some of the initial tangible results. According to Fergana’s credible sources, in the nearest future Uzbekistan is going to sign some serious bilateral documents capable of impacting the geopolitical situation within the region”. Please don’t be surprised: this is not today’s news about Moscow and Tashkent. Actually, that was the lead to a news story published on Fergana.ru exactly 7 years ago, in June 30, 2005.
Visiting China on June 6-7, Uzbekistan’s president Islam Karimov secured trade, investment and loans worth at least five billion US dollars and signed an strategic partnership treaty. While in Beijing, Karimov also attended a summit of the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation, SCO, a bloc consisting of Russia, China, Uzbekistan, Kazakstan, Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan. NBCentralAsia asled Kamoliddin Rabbimov, an Uzbek political analyst based in France, about the shared security concerns and economic interests that feed China’s growing relationship with Central Asia and Uzbekistan in particular.
"Tragedy in the south" is a study published by Ethnopolitics Papers, authored by three experts who worked at the international Kyrgyzstan Inquiry Commission: Anna Matveeva, University of Exeter and King's College London, Igor Savin, Russian Academy of Sciences & Bahrom Faizullaev, independent researcher. It argues that political processes and the actions of the authorities cannot exclusively account for the violent clashes that occurred there in June 2010. Rather, the violence emerged out of a growing alienation between the Uzbek and Kyrgyz communities which over time developed a mutual antipathy, and lacked a shared vision of the future. Formal provisions for minorities failed to offset the rising nationalism of the majority group in the South. Political resources and mechanisms for managing interethnic relations had been in steady decline since independence, while politicians came to rely on informal arrangements with Uzbek community leaders. The crisis of April 2010 created a window of opportunity to redefine the place of Uzbeks in the new political order, which their leaders grasped. Surge in criminal rivalries and rapid immigration from the countryside influenced social context, in which violence took place. As interethnic grievances became politicised, the ineptitude of the authorities contributed to the transformation of spontaneous riots into full-scale clashes. A logic of collective insecurities, in both rural and urban contexts, lay behind the actions of both sides. The conflict narratives that emerged in the aftermath continue to feed a situation of a latent conflict, making reconciliation more difficult still.
A World economics and world politics club has discussed the situation in Afghanistan and implications for the Central Asia in order to identify some of the most likely regional scenarios following the scheduled withdrawal of the NATO troops from Afghanistan after 2014. The meeting attended by Zamir Kabulov, the Russian President’s special representative for Afghanistan and by Nikolay Borduzha, the secretary general of the CSTO (Collective Security Treaty Organization)has been moderated by Fedor Lukyanov, the editor-in-chief of the “Russia in global politics” magazine.
Access to a website of Fergana news agency was blocked in Kyrgyzstan as of February 21, 2012. The state-controlled “KyrgyzTelecom” company as well as some other internet providers have thus complied with an instructions issued by the State Communication Agency which in turn responded to an inquiry made by the prime-minister Omurbek Babanov who chose to follow up on the last year’s order of the national parliament. One may recall that in June 2011, the parliament had, upon review of the parliamentary commission’s report of investigation of the June 2010 events in Osh, recommended that access to the website of Fergana should be blocked across the country.
Today’s ruling class in Kazakhstan has completely lost its capacity for an open political struggle in absence of administrative resource as an unfair advantage. All of a sudden, the political system cherished by Nazarbaev throughout the “years of reform and progress” has grown into a main threat for the desirable stability of Nazarbaev’s regime. The only way for him to win an election today is through suppression of opponents using force, courts, and intimidation, relying upon the dependent government and local self-governments, imposing political censorship and resorting to hypocritical support from his “Eurasian” friends and “international community”. Nazarbaev (and Putin) has long missed his chance for a breakthrough in modernization, following the Chinese pattern (on any other pattern, anyway). Holding out promises of fair elections and transparent competition, but sinking into lies, in reality, Nazarbaev unavoidably leads the country towards huge social, economic and political problems in the nearest future. The enormous gap between authorities playing the game of democracy and the ordinary people is ever growing. In case of another Zhanaozen, no satellite parties or the puppet parliament are going to rescue the regime.
If people show their discontent quietly, it can just be ignored. Once people take to active actions, they need to be “turned” into terrorists. This is the path chosen by the Kazakhstan’s government to counter actions of protests. If you can not calm the crowd down, for lack of brains or will, doesn’t matter, you have to demonize the crowd, and then start shooting. Afterwards, it would be nice to discover a bit of ammunition or leaflets by a banned Islamic party when searching activists’ homes. In era of a total Islam phobia and war on terror, such evidence could serve as a justification in front of influential partners in Europe, too.
Terrorists increasingly manifest their presence in Kazakhstan. So far they target representatives of the law enforcement and governmental bodies. Internet is full of reports of police operations to apprehend terrorists, seize explosives and demine bridges in various parts of the country. In most cases, any official information is missing, so it is difficult to tell the truth from lies. Besides, religious extremists are often reported as regular criminals. National security committee is rapidly losing the very last remains of its past credibility but still prefers to keep silent, as a rule. Indeed, unless terrorist attacks are too loud to hide.
Presidential election in Kyrgyzstan to contribute to regionalism and set the grounds for future opposition