Uzbekistan Update IV

Karimov has unsurprisingly rejected calls for an independent international investigation into events in Andijan. This article on Mosnews gives some analysis and background.

Nathan at Registan, as usual, has some useful links. In particular he points to this interview on Radio Free Europe with Rakhimov’s sister, and this article in the Washington post about the background to the Andijan prison break-out.

Nathan also has an article in open democracy which gives lots of info, and some sound opinions.

Meanwhile, western governments are left with few options in the wake of the violence. In contrast to much conventional opinion, relations between Uzbekistan and the west are lukewarm at best. The United States is indisputably Uzbekistan?s most important western partner, but it has yet to form a cohesive and consistent approach to the country across all its agencies (which the US Committee for International Religious Freedom recommends in a May 2005 report).

The Andijan massacre should be a wake-up call to the United States and other western governments. However, disengagement would be a poor choice. This may be morally satisfying to those outraged by Uzbek government repression, but it would sever the fragile bonds to civil society groups, students, and Uzbek citizens who benefit from western assistance and contacts.

Instead, the west must make crystal clear to the government in Tashkent that there are diplomatic consequences for a regime that massacres its civilians, while offering strong incentives for reform. This combination of criticism and engagement is the only way that the west can make a positive impact in Uzbekistan. There are no short cuts.

I broadly agree with this – I should do, it sums up my initial gut-reaction on reading John Quiggin’s Crooked Timber post.

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About Edward Hugh

Edward 'the bonobo is a Catalan economist of British extraction. After being born, brought-up and educated in the United Kingdom, Edward subsequently settled in Barcelona where he has now lived for over 15 years. As a consequence Edward considers himself to be "Catalan by adoption". He has also to some extent been "adopted by Catalonia", since throughout the current economic crisis he has been a constant voice on TV, radio and in the press arguing in favor of the need for some kind of internal devaluation if Spain wants to stay inside the Euro. By inclination he is a macro economist, but his obsession with trying to understand the economic impact of demographic changes has often taken him far from home, off and away from the more tranquil and placid pastures of the dismal science, into the bracken and thicket of demography, anthropology, biology, sociology and systems theory. All of which has lead him to ask himself whether Thomas Wolfe was not in fact right when he asserted that the fact of the matter is "you can never go home again".