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The "Arab spring" headed for Tashkent
Material posted: Publication date: 30-10-2014

Although the Kazakhs don't like to hear, Uzbekistan occupies a key position in Central Asia, and what will happen with this country, will have a huge impact on regional security and stability of the vast space between the Caspian sea and the Western borders of China – perhaps even in Xinjiang. However, among Indian researchers and think tanks are poorly aware of the fact that Uzbekistan is a real volcano, ready to erupt. However, it is a highly closed country, which very reluctantly betrays its secrets to outsiders.

However, from the scraps and fragments of what is happening in Uzbekistan for the last years you could hear the roar of something sinister. Three weeks ago, in Tashkent it was officially announced that the daughter of the President-dictator Islam Karimov, Gulnara (whose candidacy has been widely discussed in the West as a potential successor to his father), placed under house arrest.

Now that the dictator is unable to save his daughter from detention and prosecution, it becomes clear that he no longer controls the levers of power. In fact, in Tashkent began a fierce battle for power. Available on disturbing reports that Uzbek volcano can Wake up any day now.

In fact, the Karimov era ends and begins a dirty fight for power, active participation in which take security services and the famous "clans" (grouping and regrouping which make up the alchemy of politics in all Central Asian societies).

Karimov belonged to the Samarkand clan, but was able to keep his balance. Now, the end of his days, it is not clear which clan is on the rise, but the most important are Jizzakh, Tashkent and Ferghana clans.

Inter-clan fighting may turn the country into a living snake pit. Equally notorious Uzbek security service (successor to the KGB of the Soviet era), and it seems that she went on the offensive with the aim of seizing power. According to former British Ambassador in Tashkent (information which relates approximately to the same period of time, when I was there in the nineties) the dissidents usually put in vats of boiling water, and women raped with scissors and metal objects.

Ferghana valley of Uzbekistan has always been a hotbed of Islamism. So recently there was a question about the reality for the Central Asian region, the threat posed by a sharp increase in Islamic state in the middle East. It also cannot be discounted that the Islamist threat to Central Asia is often exaggerated external regional powers in order to keep dictators.

Of course, local dictators have a vested interest in portraying itself as a Bastion on the way of the tidal wave of Islamic extremism, and for that reason participate in the war of the West against terrorism.

Joseph Stalin knew that control of Uzbekistan is crucial to maintain peace in Central Asia. His catastrophic decision of the national question in Central Asia in 20-ies of XX century reflected in the fact that the Uzbek community was a minority in all 4 neighboring Uzbekistan "Stans". (The Uzbek population is also in the area of the Amu Darya in Afghanistan.)

Further, it is a great game involving Russia, China and the United States. For large powers Uzbekistan could become a valuable prize not only because of its geographical position, but also the rich raw material resources. At this point in the cultivation location Karimov to China was more successful than Russia and the USA. Accordingly, the winner turned out to be Chinese business interests. Karimov is extremely convenient that Beijing has never read notations about democracy, human rights, etc., and busy with trade and investment.

If Uzbekistan falls into anarchy, it will drag along the entire region. The stakes for Russia and China is so high that at a certain stage of them may need a kind of intervention to stabilize the situation in Uzbekistan – joint, under the auspices of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization, or Russia alone. Russia still has a huge behind-the-scenes influence in Tashkent, particularly through the security services.

But the Americans at the hands of trump card – "color revolution". Now, when it became clear that the days of the dictator are over, in fact, Uzbekistan is ripe for a colour revolution.

With the discovery in Afghanistan of U.S. military bases in the region will have a very strong presence of American intelligence. The United States worked with Uzbek dissidents. In short, the infrastructure for organizing a color revolution in stock. That would be a deliberate attempt to paralyze any Pro-Russian drift from Uzbekistan, no doubt.

On the other hand, for Russia friendly regime in Tashkent may try to bring Uzbekistan back into the ranks of the Organization of collective security Treaty (CSTO), and, if lucky, Tashkent may even apply for membership in the emerging Eurasian economic Union, which is the main tool of Moscow on regional integration in the post-Soviet space.

Kazakhstan is already a member of the EEU, Kyrgyzstan intends to join, while Tajikistan is planning, but if Uzbekistan would reject the exclusion kasimovskoy era and instead submitted a request for membership in CSTO and the Eurasian economic Union, this will radically change the geopolitical situation in Eurasia in favor of Moscow, and Moscow will block for the U.S. and NATO the opportunity to extend their influence in the backyard of Russia.

And it is for this reason from the US in the near future we can expect attempts to influence the course of events in Uzbekistan. Ideally, the USA would like to present NATO as a guarantor of stability in Central Asia, and therefore a foothold in Uzbekistan becomes highly desirable.

M. K. Bhadrakumar


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