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From the Dept. of Forgetting Afghanistan...,
batten down the uzbek:
Talib Yakubov heads the local Human Rights Society of Uzbekistan. He says the move is part of a process to put increasing governmental pressure on foreign organizations. "It obviously shows that Uzbekistan is still committed to its previous policy. Again, it proves that [official] statements on improving democracy have no basis," he said. "They are continuing to restrict the organizations promoting democracy."
Maybe it's just a change in the bureaucracy.
Uzbekistan has already failed to meet benchmarks for human rights progress required under a separate U.S. program funding disarmament in former Soviet republics - forcing President Bush to step in last month and waive that requirement, citing national security.
U.S. foreign aid to Uzbekistan was $86.1 million for the fiscal year ending in September, part of some $800 million Washington has given the country since its 1991 independence.
US military aid budget appropriations to Uzbekistan between 1995 and 2001 escalated steadily from
$95,000 to nearly $3 million. In 2002 the US earmarked $79 million to Uzbek police and intelligence services alone. Now try convincing me that this sort of escalation in lethal and security aid is essential for the Nunn-Lugar Cooperative Threat Reduction program - we're supposed to be persuing CTR to help destroy mass-weapons, not giving countries weapons to torture people, not persuing military contracts for "defense" (against whom, people who attend mosques?). And earlier this year we heard this:
Representatives of the US State Department have concluded that the government of Islam Karimov is incapable of assuring positive changes in the human rights situation in Uzbekistan.
The prospects are looking dandy. If we keep increasing aid every year Karimov will just have to make progress.
The Russian president, Vladimir Putin, approached Georgia's acting president, Nino Burdzhanadze, and captured the mood with characteristic crudeness. According to two Georgian sources, Putin said to Burdzhanadze, "All the leaders of the CIS are [expletive] in their pants." ....
The lesson learned by other governments, though, may be not to permit the sort of open dissent that fostered the Georgian revolt, analysts said. In Tbilisi, an independent television station effectively sided with the opposition and Shevardnadze did little to crack down on critics. Other countries around the former Soviet Union zealously control television and often do not tolerate rival political organizations.
update: Nathan Hamm over at the Argus - an excellent blog on Central Asia - is rubbed the wrong way. I applaud him for his cynical optimism. He points out that the bulk of US assistance is up for review in two months, whereas last month was a review only of the limited CTR fund.
On a comparative note: Repression, Violence and Azerbaijan's Elections.
:: posted by buermann @ 2004-02-03 16:37:32 CST |