Home > World Events > Massacre in Uzbekistan (Crossposted at CT)

Massacre in Uzbekistan (Crossposted at CT)

May 14th, 2005

The news on the massacre in Uzbekistan is sketchy, but it seems clear that troops fired on a protest meeting, killing dozens.

The massacre followed violent protests in which government buildings were taken over, and prisoners, including alleged members of Islamist groups, were set free, but it appears that the protestors were simply listening to speeches when the troops attacked them .

The best information seems to be at Registan, which I found through the relatively new system of Technorati tags

The US currently has an air base and around 1000 troops in Uzbekistan. They can’t be regarded as neutral, and their presence clearly supports the mass murdering and torturing dictator Karimov, someone who appears indistinguishable from Saddam circa 1980. A literal reading of Administration rhetoric would suggest that the US should use its power to overthrow Karimov , but there’s zero possibility that this will happen (the official US response is an appeal for restraint, directed mainly at the protestors). But the troops should be withdrawn immediately, and all ties with this evil regime broken.

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  1. James Farrell
    May 14th, 2005 at 18:43 | #1

    A minor correction is needed in the second sentencem John,

  2. James Farrell
    May 14th, 2005 at 18:44 | #2

    Not that I can talk.

  3. Benno
    May 14th, 2005 at 18:53 | #3

    At times like these I have only to turn to Mignight Oil’s lyrics. I think They are up there with the rolling stones as a rock and roll band.

    It is obvious the Howard and Bush and similar conservatives are hypocrites. Tolerating something evil, turning on it when it suits them if it ever does, being selective, being holier than thou and above all gutless bloody wonders. These things though go beyond particular leaders and are the main faults of most governments now and in the past. I hate conservatives for some reason, but Edward was just as gutless and I hate him for destroying my dreams and hopes (aspirations having negative connotations). And now the Howard gubmint is continuing the great legacy of Edward, both in the centralisation of government power and in general disrespect for human beings, particularly if they are Timorese. Is it any different, what I complain about and John’s post? Is it much different to Naziism or to the universal evil conduct of prison guards as EXPOSED FOR THE FIRST TIME THE FEEL-GOOD MOTION PICTURE EVENT OF THE YEAR in Gregory David Roberts autobiography structured as a novel ‘Shantaram’?

  4. Homer Paxton
    May 14th, 2005 at 21:09 | #4

    On the same day as the Electoion in the Ukraine which the US rightly protested about there was an election in Uzbekistan where no opposition candidates were allowed.

    No word of protest was heard of this. There is an US Army base in the country. did this mute them?

  5. tim g
    May 14th, 2005 at 21:51 | #5

    On the same day as the Electoion in the Ukraine which the US rightly protested about there was an election in Uzbekistan where no opposition candidates were allowed.

    We obviously need Chrenkoff to turn his attention to Uzbekistan and attempt to “redress the balance” of media coverage concerning everyday life there.

  6. Benno
    May 14th, 2005 at 22:23 | #6


  7. Daz Rosin
    May 14th, 2005 at 23:22 | #7

    Billmon’s latest at the Whisky Bar is about Uzbekistan as well. http://billmon.org/archives/001863.html

  8. May 14th, 2005 at 23:43 | #8

    “It wasn’t as bad in Soviet days as it is now.” That’s according to Craig Murray, former British ambassador to Uzbekistan. Quite a damning indictment indeed.

  9. May 15th, 2005 at 01:38 | #9

    This little gem is at http://www.alertnet.org/thenews/newsdesk/N13353035.htm

    “”The people of Uzbekistan want to see a more representative and democratic government, but that should come through peaceful means, not through violence,” White House spokesman Scott McClellan added.

    “While we have been very consistently critical of the human rights situation in Uzbekistan, we are very concerned about the outbreak of violence in Andizhan,” State Department spokesman Richard Boucher said. ”

    So after bombing the s–t out of Afganistan and Iraq for the last 2 years NOW they say democracy should come through peaceful means.

  10. production line 12
    May 15th, 2005 at 05:58 | #10

    It would be complete madness for the US or any other western nation to execute regime-changing military campaigns in a CIS member state. If yez want to lay a self-righteous boot into a big bad wolf, focus your sights on the Russian Federation.

  11. jquiggin
    May 15th, 2005 at 08:37 | #11

    AFAIK, Russia doesn’t have a base in Uzbekistan. And I’ve put the boot into Putin fairly regularly in the past.

    But, if you reread the post,I think it ought to be pretty clear that I’m not suggesting that the US should overthrow Karimov. That would be even sillier than invading Iraq. But they should pull their troops out.

  12. May 15th, 2005 at 14:34 | #12

    I think JQ is right. Islam Karimov is a despicable tyrant who should be allowed to fall. If he is kept in power there will only be more anti-Americanism in the future.

  13. Andrew Reynolds
    May 15th, 2005 at 22:07 | #13

    You are right that the U.S.S.R. Russia does not currently have a base in Uzbekistan – but Gazprom is apparently trying to buy the state gas monopoly and Putin has no real interest in promoting democracy in his near abroad.
    I think the next move may be an agreement from Karimov to commit troops to Iraq – or is that being a bit cynical?
    Less cynically, I have to agree with most of the posters here. Karimov needs to go. The U.S. is just conscious of the problems in Russia and elsewhere if they are seen to be supporting a move to topple a useful ally. Governments of all stripes have perpetually got into trouble like this – you would think they would learn.

  14. production line 12
    May 16th, 2005 at 04:37 | #14

    Sorry fella, mistook your post for an excuse to stick it to Unca Sam rather than actually give a damn about Johnny Uzbek. In hindsight, I read it wrong (sorry ’bout that) but I do still think that the withdrawal of US forces alone will do SFA for Mr Uzbek.

    Spose the main point I wanted to get across was that the opportunity to get rid of Karimov will most likely arise from Johnny Uzbek or the RF, but not from the US.

    Shall I phrase this another way? What could the RF do to encourage Karimov’s dismissal, and why would they bother? And, as in Sudan, does anyone care?

  15. Ian Gould
    May 16th, 2005 at 09:18 | #15

    We can criticise US policy in Uzbekistan all we like – and it appears a good deal of criticism is warranted – but we also have to face up to the fact that in much of the islamic world the opposition to the established governments is as bad, or worse.

    There needs to be a lot of serious thought given to how we encourage LIBERAL democracy (Hitler and Mussolini both won Parliamentary elections) in the muslim world and how (if) we can deal with politicised Islam.

    Supporting unending repression is not only unethical it also probably unworkable. Greeting every attempted coup or tribally based looting spree as an exercise in democracy is unrealistic and invites the possibility of more Irans and more Taliban-era Afghanistans.

  16. May 16th, 2005 at 13:01 | #16

    Any “encouraging” will also backfire. It’s like the misreading US Playboy did of British rules. The UK was concerned that the US arm had undue influence; the US arm misread that as fears about US involvement, so they fired the US chairman of British Playboy. Result: the UK regulators had confirming evidence that the British arm did what the US arm told it to.

    The idea that “democracy” will be encouraged by elimintaing undemocratis elements is false. It will not promote democracy since it will show that there is an overriding patron client relationship, or else it will fail and bolster the undemocratic element by giving it patriotic connections.

  17. Ian Gould
    May 16th, 2005 at 15:57 | #17


    There’s a difference between “encouraging” and imposing.

    What I had in mind was things like tying foreign aid to minimal standards of human rights and press freedom; sponsoring academic conferences; local language broadcasts via the BBC, VoA etc.

  18. May 16th, 2005 at 17:32 | #18

    It’s not so much the difference in your own mind that counts. Any encouraging will be taken as evidence of bad faith. You know, like encouraging the Puerto Ricans to give the right answer to US statehood by giving them another chance to vote yes each time they vote no (this is not an anti-US statement but an anti-“democratic” one; the EU uses the same technique – just ask the Danes, the Irish, and soon the French).

  19. May 16th, 2005 at 17:34 | #19

    Oh, what do you think happens to “encourage” when tied aid is converted into a necessity by removing the older alternatives? Hypothetically the same thing could be done to the Australian states. That’s why you should never let these things get started to begin with, welcoming little fishes in with gently smiling jaws. Oh, wait…

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