The Investigation

by Nathan Hamm on 8/2/2004

Israeli and US investigators are heading to Uzbekistan. After Karimov’s outburst, Israel is chomping at the bit to play a role.

Israeli security and political sources expressed doubts as to the ability of the Uzbek authorities to investigate the attacks thoroughly, after President Islam Karimov named the suspects in a televised speech as members of Hizb al-Tahrir al-Islami, the Islamic Liberation Party.

Both the US and Israel think that the IMU or other Al Qaeda associates are more likely culprits. In an interesting angle that I seemed to miss though, the Baku Sun has a story from the AP’s Aziz Nuritov that discusses how HT fits into the puzzle.

During the trial that continued Wednesday of the first 15 suspects in the deadly March-April attacks, Judge Bakhtiyor Jamalov has asked defendants about the ideology behind their own group, known as Jamoat, or “society” in Uzbek.

All seven who have testified so far have said it was Hizb ut-Tahrir.

At Wednesday’s hearing, as on previous days, defendants said they had read Hizb ut-Tahrir literature as part of their training in Jamoat. None of the suspects, however, have said they were members of Hizb ut-Tahrir.

Now there’s the standard caveat that this testimony was coerced. Then again, I don’t find it too hard to believe. HT is probably the #1 distributor of Islamist literature in Central Asia and to hear that it provides inspiration to the more militant-minded Islamist is no surprise.

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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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