Congratulations, Mr Karimov!
January 17, 2011 12:11 PM   Subscribe

Congratulations, Mr Karimov! On the eve of your first official visit to Brussels in years, President Islam Karimov of Uzbekistan, you deserve high praise. You have played the long game expertly and outmanoeuvred European foreign-policy makers so deftly that you have become a model of how to shrug off international pariah status. posted by ZenMasterThis (11 comments total) 8 users marked this as a favorite
Ineffectual and toothless international union is both those things. Film at 11.
posted by disillusioned at 12:35 PM on January 17, 2011

There are some that consider the current War on Terror(tm) to partially be blowback from supporting monsters during the Cold War. Can't wait for the blowback from how we dealt with the blowback. Also, it was interesting to see a take on how EU bureaucracy played a part along with the usual "nobody cares about Whatever-a-stan" stuff.

Also, I had the damn Bud Light "Real Men of Genius" song playing in my head while reading this.
posted by charred husk at 12:48 PM on January 17, 2011 [1 favorite]

Uzbekistan is a huge supplier of natural gas to Europe (via Russia). It is also a major cotton exporter. Geographically also a critical staging are for operations in Afghanistan and Central Asia providing rail way transit to truck depots into Afghanistan and a German air base. Recently a pipeline has been opened to China allowing them to export gas via Khazakastan.

The Iranians are providing support to the Islamic Movement of Uzbekistan(IMU). This group has an insurgency in western Afghanistan and Uzbekistan. So perhaps after another decade of destabilization the Iranians can do for them what the Pakistani ISI did for the Afghans. Oh and the Russians have big time influence and outright control of their industry.

Using this background figure out a plan where:
-Uzbekistan is able to separate itself from Russia and Iranian influence
-The supply of natural gas is maintained so Europe doesn't freeze in winter
-Human rights and economic development improve.
-Ongoing humanitarian and military operations in Afghanistan continue
posted by humanfont at 2:12 PM on January 17, 2011 [3 favorites]

practically everything I know about Uzbekistan comes from reading Craig Murray's book, Murder in Samarkand. Which, even if it is partial and flawed, is disturbingly, shockingly revealing, as well as being really interesting. I thoroughly recommend it. From that book, it is clear that the US, abetted by the UK, has learnt nothing from the last 60 years of propping up evil dictators. This one is going to blow up in their face, big time.

Oh, and the cotton in your jeans is probably an ethical and ecological disaster zone too.
posted by wilful at 3:18 PM on January 17, 2011 [1 favorite]

Uzebekistan exports its gas to Russia via Turkmenistan. Which then re-exports to Europe. A key component of EU foreignpolicy has been to try to construct pipelines to Central Asia bypassing Russia. It is a big potential supplier as production should increase substantially. Perhaps you are reading the wrong report
posted by humanfont at 6:56 PM on January 17, 2011

@humanfont: I'm confused. Are you saying Europe (and the US) are justified in ignoring the torture, imprisonment and murder of countless innocent people on the orders of their President because the country might one day be a big gas exporter?

Or just because in the terror-warz, Uzbekistan is "on our side"?

(And another recommendation for (the UK's ex-"Man in Tashkent") Craig Charles' "Murder In Samarkand".)
posted by ceedee at 1:14 AM on January 18, 2011

(Or even, Craig Murray)
posted by ceedee at 1:52 AM on January 18, 2011

Seconding / thirding reading Craig Murray.
As usual USA is not innocent here.
Also child slavery in cotton production.
Then of course there is KarimovĀ“s hated daughter Gulnara and her "grey cardinal" Miradil Djalalov; Gulnara owns 20% of Zeromax.
posted by adamvasco at 2:14 AM on January 18, 2011

Humanfront is not saying Europe is justified, he's trying to give you the context forthe realPolitik that is going on
posted by spicynuts at 6:32 AM on January 18, 2011

Yes thar was my purpose. Also worth reading for more context cablegate archive on Uzebkistan (Embassy Tashkent).
posted by humanfont at 4:22 PM on January 18, 2011

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