Reuters is reporting that Uzbek troops have now ‘retaken’ Kara-suu. Mosnews (citing the BBC) say the rebel leader Bakhtiyor Rakhimov has been arrested. Who Rakhimov is, and what he actually represents is far from clear.
Nathan links to a guardian article which attempts to provide some background on this unusual and improbable figure.
“We will establish here a paradise, a Caliphate, in which Muslim cares for Muslim, taking what he needs and giving away what he can do without, as it says in the Qur’an.
“Allah will provide and lead us forward in our struggle,” he said, gesturing to the sky. “Down with slavery!”
The call for an all-embracing Islamic regime will incense the autocratic president, Islam Karimov, who has made it his aim to stamp out what he perceives as Islamic fanaticism, especially in the traditionally devout east of the country.
This really highlights the problem. Muslim opponents of Karimov may well aspire to some sort of Islamic republic or other. Distinguishing between these aspirations and those who are really in the OBL camp is going to be the hard thing as this situation evolves. And remember, the kind of aspirations expressed by Rakhimov are really not that different from those expressed on a daily basis by some of those who now govern Iraq.
This article from AP describes how relatives are being denied access to hospitals.
Jack Straw is also following the UN lead and calling for an independent international inquiry into the “appalling” reports of reported killings of hundreds of protesters in Uzbekistan.