Some News From Uzbekistan

by Nathan Hamm on 4/1/2004 · 2 comments

It’s hard to follow a lot of the news that’s come out since Sunday because it seems that things are being reported twice, not at all, or mis-reported. None of this is particularly the media’s fault. The government is apparently keeping reporters away from the sites of attacks. Judging from my experiences meeting Lutz Kleveman in Tashkent (at least I’m pretty sure he’s who I met), it don’t take much in the way of knowledge to be a correspondent in Uzbekistan, so it’s not necessarily the media’s fault they are screwing things up. Forgive them their ignorance, just remember it’s there.

Anyway, “Esmer Islamov” of EurasiaNet and Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty are doing the best job of keeping track of what’s going on. See this article from Islamov and this invaluable piece from RFE/RL’s Daniel Kimmage.

Thankfully, there has been little in the way of new violence. We seem to be in the “whodunnit and why” phase of things.

First off though, there’s been a few posts from some Americans on the ground in the ‘stan (c’mon Hook, that’s not the real one, sure it’s more dangerous, but I hear the people are nicer).

Seprah, a PCV, is not allowed to return to Tashkent, so she considers herself on extended free vacation.

Margaret Martin is doing well

Emails indicate that my people are all doing fine and that volunteers feel plenty safe. The one interesting tidbit that I hadn’t heard is that phone calls into Tashkent were just getting a busy signal–either because all circuits were being used (doubt it) or because they were shut down (I’ll buy that one).

In news from the agencies, the hostage situation near Chorsu is over, but it’s unclear to me how many people were involved, both hostages and militants. This story mentions that a US official has anonymously said that the IMU is the most likely culprit in the attacks, and I think this makes sense. They’ve been rolling with a-Q for a while now and may have decided to adopt the tactics of their patrons. At the same time, it’s worth noting that none of these attacks seem to have been aimed at foreigners but squarely at the regime.

There’s been an attempted suicide bombing in the Bukhara region (not the city).

WaPo, as Arash will tell you, has great Central Asia coverage. They remind readers that the US and EBRD are reviewing aid to Uzbekistan. The attacks certainly complicate what was looking to be an easy question.

Someone from the AP other than Burt Herman gets a shot at some Uzbekistan reporting, well, it’s more of an analytical piece really.

Ferghana.Ru has an interesting story on how the Uzbek media is criticizing Russian coverage of the attacks, most likely as a pretext to marginalize Russian stations in Uzbekistan. Their popularity has always been a sore point for the Uzbek government, but Uzbek TV sucks compared to Russian stations.

And finally, EurasiaNet has a report on the investigation.


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– author of 2991 posts on 17_PersonNotFound.

Nathan is the founder and Principal Analyst for Registan, which he launched in 2003. He was a Peace Corps Volunteer in Uzbekistan 2000-2001 and received his MA in Central Asian Studies from the University of Washington in 2007. Since 2007, he has worked full-time as an analyst, consulting with private and government clients on Central Asian affairs, specializing in how socio-cultural and political factors shape risks and opportunities and how organizations can adjust their strategic and operational plans to account for these variables. More information on Registan's services can be found here, and Nathan can be contacted via Twitter or email.

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