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Thread: Uzbekistan, and other developments in Central Asia

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    Uzbekistan, and other developments in Central Asia

    Uzbekistan is more or less the most independently minded country in Central Asia. Ergo the amount of co-operation with others in the region is continuously worse and worse. Lots of reason for this but I won't delve into most of them right now.
    About 28 million people (most populous in Central Asia) and fairly agrarian, most of the money ergo foreign exchange comes from Gas and Cotton.
    Indicators for UZBEKISTAN
    Asia Times Online :: Obama prepares to punish Pakistan

    Several interesting developments. The infrastructure investments into rail, into creating a supply network within Northern Afghanistan an probably trade links is fairly interesting. There are now a few lines being built/upgraded from Uzbekistan-Afghanistan border and among some cities in Afghanistan itself by Uzbekistan railways.
    Uzbekistan: Does Tashkent Use an Afghan Supply Route to Tweak Russia? | EurasiaNet.org
    Uzbekistan – Afghanistan rail link opens*-*International Railway Journal

    There are basically two barriers one with Afghanistan and one with Kyrgistan. A lot of trade disputes with Kyrgistan and Tajikistan and border disputes more or less. In reality there is an ethnic mish-mash with heavily mixed population regions due to valleys being criss crossed by borders with heavily concentrated farming populations. In addition water rights, energy and transportation issues. Ergo disputes between Uzbekistan and Tajikistan over rail transport etc...

    If there ever was an attempt for expansion of borders via military means the whole region would more or less be lit-up. Thus far the control of internal population is the most important thing it seems and keeping power is more or less the objective.

    Uzbekistan is basically reacting to the Rogun Dam project in Tajikistan which will lessen the amount of water available for its cotton fields and lately there has been a lot of quiet retaliation economically. Another destabilizing factor is the amount of government control and intervention within the economy.
    Strategic uncertainty in Uzbekistan's Afghanistan policy
    Recent article somewhat interesting.

    Kyrgistan
    Kyrgyzstan: A Nation (Still) Divided | EurasiaNet.org
    One of the reasons there was an ethnic lash-out is after the toppling of Bakyiev (former president) he fled south to his power base. Where support for him in essence did not give way for about a week or two.
    Bakiev Resigns After Support Crumbles - IWPR Institute for War & Peace Reporting - P220
    As long as Bakiev was holding out in Jalalabad region, some commentators expressed concern that Kyrgyzstan risked plunging into civil war between north and south. But analysts interviewed by IWPR said such concerns were unfounded.
    2010 South Kyrgyzstan riots - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
    Political scientist Alexander Knyazev said such a conflict was out of the question because most people in the south did not like Bakiev’s economic policies or the way he concentrated power the hands of family members.
    My guess is the ethnic clashes post political upheaval were born out of political volume which sort of set off a power grab among the whom is whom of the city elites which resulted in the ethnic clashes. Ergo posturing for the elections and re-distribution of power.

    Hundreds dead in clashes and 100k-300k left the region for safety. Now the whole ordeal is repainted as a nationalist-separatist issue for political gains which most likely will determine future political developments to a degree.
    Ferghana Valley: Tajik-Kyrgyz Border a Potential "Karabakh" | EurasiaNet.org
    Originally from Sochi, Russia.

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    future thoughts

    The reality in Central Asia is post Afghanistan there is a lot of pent-up ethnic anger. Most of it stems from redrawing of ethnic and political maps which were mixed to a degree in the Soviet times. However, some of those predate the Soviet period. Quiet a few actually.

    A lot of Tajiks that live in Uzbekistan are basically a hidden minority which is there but "pretends" to not exist and simply acquiesces to the homogeniety imperative of the Uzbek government. Conservatively probably a quarter of the population. This predates Soviet split somewhat because there were Kahanates of Khiva/Samarqand/Bukhara etc... which were not homogeneous and the trade routes along with populations were fluid.

    Tajikistan is the only country which fought an actual civil war on dissolution of Soviet Union, the good thing is it more or less defeated the hard line islamists and the country is somewhat secular for it but there is a rising of moderate islam and normalization to that of Turkey-Iran mix. There is a sort of stability post event such as that since loosers lost and winners won.
    Tajiks and Iranians more or less speak the same language or close to it. Thus the ties are very good between Iran and Tajikistan. Lately the former probed Uzbekistan to resume rail links on the laters behalf.

    Kyrgyzstan is the most secular value wise, and will remain that way most likely. It has a lot to do with Kyrgyz and their culture of semi-nomadic lifestyle. Secular does not mean non-violent, just religion does not dominate the values... It is also the poorer and less developed country compared to Uzbekistan which got descent Soviet investments during its time within that sphere.

    Uzbekistan is the most "successful" it has a lot of infrastructure built up from Soviet times that most likely received some infusion of capital and reinvigoration post collapse. Gas income and cotton, as well as a lot of gold, etc... But lacks water which the other two have and use to build dams which it wildly protests because that uses up river water that could go to their extensive cotton fields.

    Uzbek/Tajik conflict is possible the problem is there are Russian bases in Kyrgyzstan/Tajikistan and a military intervention by Russia/Kazakhstan etc... would be likely but strategically Tajikistan is not as important as Kyrgyzstan.
    Sughd province would be the objective if it happened since it has much needed water resources and the population is mixed so amalgamation would not be as difficult. It would also simplify the border for Uzbekistan but the backlash would be fairly heavy. Likely outcomes if it happened.
    1) Iran would back Tajiks, both monetarily and politically
    2) Russia would do the same
    3) China and South Korea (heavily invested into Uzbekistan lately) would quietly support Uzbekistan since it is more secular and economically favorable. Debt and dependency would open new opportunities for their businesses.
    4) Border resolution post conflict would resemble Azerbaidjan/Armenia ergo lots of talk globally but action mostly regionally among the two countries.
    5) Short term Uzbekistan would most likely take most of the province and might even establish control over most of it. Long term it is far more likely that if Tajikistan keeps up the fight Uzbekistan would destabilize and could see civil war. (reasons are thus: Tajikistan most likely has had some recent military experience, it is somewhat 'freer' politics wise and morale would be higher, Uzbekistan is more corrupt and more likely would have a lot of people that are arm chair generals and soldiers who's heart wouldn't be in the fight.)

    Kyrgyzstan is likely to be defended by Russia/Kazakhstan since Kyrgyz are cultural and ethnic kin of the Kazakh in essence. Also they control strategic mountain-passes into China and in essence the high ground of the area. Thus there was no outcry or attempt to do anything during the Southern Riots expulsions during 2010.

    Post-U.S. pullout we have to remember the following.
    The North of Afghanistan is essentially Uzbeks and Tajiks so if there is a prolonged civil war with people suffering there is a slight chance both could defect to their respective countries. Tajiks are closer to Pashtoons language but both(Uzbeks and Tajiks) are more or less fine with Pashtoons.

    Uzbekistan is less likely to amalgamate or intervene since population would be more religious and keeping power by current or future evolution of current power is unlikely with them within the borders. But Tajikistan could, even geographically it would be easier to add the few provinces south of it.
    Originally from Sochi, Russia.

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    Last edited by cyppok; 28 Sep 11, at 00:08.
    Originally from Sochi, Russia.

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    How to save on labor costs if your producing cotton...
    Easy simply force the entire population of your country to pick cotton for free or go to jail.
    Uzbek Clerics, Doctors 'Ordered To Pick Cotton'

    With no labor component profits keep rolling in, and if a few of those people drop dead from heat exhaustion hey you have others to take their place.

    (sarcastic dramatization)
    Originally from Sochi, Russia.

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    A Self Important Senior Contributor troung's Avatar
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    5) Short term Uzbekistan would most likely take most of the province and might even establish control over most of it. Long term it is far more likely that if Tajikistan keeps up the fight Uzbekistan would destabilize and could see civil war. (reasons are thus: Tajikistan most likely has had some recent military experience, it is somewhat 'freer' politics wise and morale would be higher, Uzbekistan is more corrupt and more likely would have a lot of people that are arm chair generals and soldiers who's heart wouldn't be in the fight.)
    The Tajik army couldn't fight its way out of a wet paper bag. Tajikistan is just as hopelessly corrupt as Uzbekistan but has none of the left over ex-Soviet equipment.

    Uzbekistan also has better pop stars.
    Last edited by troung; 05 Oct 11, at 01:33.
    To sit down with these men and deal with them as the representatives of an enlightened and civilized people is to deride ones own dignity and to invite the disaster of their treachery - General Matthew Ridgway

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    Quote Originally Posted by troung View Post
    The Tajik army couldn't fight its way out of a wet paper bag. Tajikistan is just as hopelessly corrupt as Uzbekistan but has none of the left over ex-Soviet equipment.

    Uzbekistan also has better pop stars.
    I find it more likely that if Tajikistan was loosing they would try to use people from Afghanistan with military experience be they Pashto or Tajik as long as they did their job right, ergo exchange of ideas would occur. Equipment and financing wouldn't be a problem since both sides would have someone to provide it (Iran and Russia would support Tajikistan under some conditions.)

    Morale and willingness to fight in my mind is above equipment and centralization. Overconfidence due to being 'larger' plays into discounting the abilities of your opponent.
    Originally from Sochi, Russia.

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    A Self Important Senior Contributor troung's Avatar
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    I find it more likely that if Tajikistan was loosing they would try to use people from Afghanistan with military experience be they Pashto or Tajik as long as they did their job right, ergo exchange of ideas would occur. Equipment and financing wouldn't be a problem since both sides would have someone to provide it (Iran and Russia would support Tajikistan under some conditions.)
    The Tajik government actually distrusts Russia and barely has an army. Equipment is a huge issue because they have none.

    Jamiat backed the Islamists during the civil war.

    Uzbekistan would beat the Tajiks liked they owed them money in any border clash.
    Last edited by troung; 05 Oct 11, at 05:24.
    To sit down with these men and deal with them as the representatives of an enlightened and civilized people is to deride ones own dignity and to invite the disaster of their treachery - General Matthew Ridgway

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    Quote Originally Posted by troung View Post
    The Tajik government actually distrusts Russia and barely has an army. Equipment is a huge issue because they have none.

    Jamiat backed the Islamists during the civil war.

    Uzbekistan would beat the Tajiks liked they owed them money in any border clash.
    No clue but the following is interesting. Notice they got the base but almost completely removed the border control.

    http://www.jamestown.org/single/?no_cache=1&tx_ttnews[tt_news]=38488&tx_ttnews[backPid]=7&cHash=9e0b6f3f150a179a40b72b42469130dd

    After a year of media speculation and contradictory remarks by Tajik and Russian officials, the authorities in Dushanbe have finally made it clear that Tajikistan does not want Russian troops to return to defend the country’s southern border with Afghanistan.

    Tajikistan and Russia are expected to sign a deal in 2012 allowing Moscow to extend its military bases in the Central Asian country for another 49 years. Initial agreement was reached during Tajik President Emomali Rahmon’s meeting with his Russian counterpart Dmitry Medvedev on September 2 (Kommersant, September 3).

    The deal does not, however, extend to the re-deployment of Russian border guards along the Tajik-Afghan border (Nezavisimaya Gazeta, August 5). It contradicts predictions by some Russian officials, most notably Maksim Peshkov, director of the CIS department in the Russian foreign ministry and a former Russian ambassador to Dushanbe, who said the two countries’ leaders were considering bringing Russians back to Tajikistan’s southern frontiers (Avesta.Tj -, August 3).
    Originally from Sochi, Russia.

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    A Self Important Senior Contributor troung's Avatar
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    The Russian border guards were hopelessly corrupt.
    To sit down with these men and deal with them as the representatives of an enlightened and civilized people is to deride ones own dignity and to invite the disaster of their treachery - General Matthew Ridgway

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    Quote Originally Posted by troung View Post
    The Russian border guards were hopelessly corrupt.
    I completely get that, not the point I was highlighting.

    I think the government is coming to terms with people across the border.
    Originally from Sochi, Russia.

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    A Self Important Senior Contributor troung's Avatar
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    The Tajik president is a control freak. He wanted the Russians out for political reasons and the fact the border guard sucked, not so he could bring over Tajik mercs.
    To sit down with these men and deal with them as the representatives of an enlightened and civilized people is to deride ones own dignity and to invite the disaster of their treachery - General Matthew Ridgway

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    Dynamics

    New Documents Suggest Fresh Evidence Of TeliaSonera Ties To Karimova | EurasiaNet.org
    One of the documents, a point-by-point summary of business negotiations with TeliaSonera during the summer of 2012, appears to have been drafted by a Karimova aide for her review.

    Among other things, the document notes TeliaSonera's "confirmation" that it will pay a one-off fee of $5 million in exchange for 2 million new mobile-phone subscribers.

    The confirmation of the agreement, dated July 31, 2012, is potentially significant, coming just weeks after Uzbek authorities revoked the operating license of a rival company, Russia's MTS, leaving 9 million Uzbek subscribers without wireless service.
    I actually followed this story because when it happened it was sort of obvious the two events had something to do with one another. Ergo MTS being essentially robbed of $1 billion dollar company and TeliaSonera receiving a license. This was obvious to Scandinavian authorities that began investigation into conduct etc...

    This is interesting in the sense that Uzbekistan is shifting away from Russia in a far broader sense which not only seems military cooperation but also economic, transit, etc...
    Some of this is power assertion, some is retaliation for Russian support of Kyrgyz and Tajik authorities in asserting their water rights by arming them and providing some security backing in a "what if" scenario.
    Uzbekistan Leader Warns of Water Wars in Central Asia | EurasiaNet.org
    President Islam Karimov of Uzbekistan has upped his rhetoric against neighboring Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan, warning that their efforts to build hydroelectric power stations on rivers upstream could spark war.

    Speaking during an official visit to Astana on September 7, Karimov launched a broadside against Bishkek and Dushanbe, which, he said, “forget that the Amu-Darya and Syr-Darya are trans-border rivers.”

    “Why do you think such questions [sharing limited international water resources] are discussed by the United Nations?” he asked in remarks quoted by Kazakhstan’s Bnews website.

    It was a rhetorical question: “Because today many experts declare that water resources could tomorrow become a problem around which relations deteriorate, and not only in our region. Everything can be so aggravated that this can spark not simply serious confrontation but even wars.”

    Karimov has long been a vociferous opponent of plans by Tajikistan and Kyrgyzstan to complete long-stalled hydropower dam projects -- Rogun on the Vakhsh River (the headwaters of the Amu-Darya) in Tajikistan and Kambarata on the Naryn River (which becomes the Syr-Darya) in Kyrgyzstan.
    U.S., Tajik Officials Initiate Construction Of Military Training Center
    Wondering what this is about.

    My feeling is that Uzbekistan is trying to assert a power role but cannot act in any way today because it lacks both resources, trained and disciplined troops, and protection from intervention by stronger players around it. The succession (since Karimov is 75y old). I can see Uzbekistan going into Kyrgyzstan or Tajikistan to lop off the south western or north western parts of each respectively. There are theoretical claims since the area was divided in such a way under Soviet authorities and in some sense each country could state claims to every others territory.

    I doubt Karimov will do it however when he gets a little older and effective power becomes resident in someone else, it could happen under his aegis. This could accelerate once the U.S. moves out of Afghanistan and 'donates' the equipment to the surrounding nations. Some of this could embolden nationalists to push them in such a direction.

    Kyrgyzstan Enclave in Turmoil - Institute for War and Peace Reporting - P220

    Map to give some thoughts. (S'ox is actually mostly Tajik even though its an Uzbek enclave, fyi)
    Attachment 33492
    Last edited by cyppok; 01 Aug 13, at 13:18.
    Originally from Sochi, Russia.

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