Some collected yesterday, some this morning.
First, an exclusive account of May 13 sent to me by a reader from someone in Andijon.
Fighters on the night of the 12th attacked, first the militia’s local department, took weapons, then with partial success attacked the army outpost, also taking weapons there. They rammed the gate of the prison with a truck and attacked the prison, savagely killing all the guards.
All prisoners were FORCED to leave the jail those that refused to leave were threatened with summary execution.
Later, closer to morning, the provincial hokimiyat was attacked and taken, after which they began to search for addresses of province heads and tried to bring them to the hokimiyat (to organize an independent tribunal). Thus the Andijon City Prosecutor, the head of the City Tax Inspectorate and someone else were executed right in front of the crowd.
There were naturally some social problems in the Province, so the crowd somewhat sympathetically reacted to the rebels. But most Andijonis were in shock! Especially because they let all the recidivists out of prison and gave them weapons. It was very stressful.
When the real combat began, there were a lot of idlers and onlookers, a lot of people went to take a look, watch the combat, as if the circus had come to town. And a lot of them were hit by stray bullets.
Both militia and army forces participated in the fight with the rebels.
By the way, a lot of rumors are going around the City that the fighters were financed by America.
Wonderful… Just wonderful. I honestly have to wonder why they would think that.
The Globe and Mail interviewed to one of the 23 men at the center of trial who is currently in Kyrgyzstan attempting to get asylum.
Before he was sentenced early last Friday, he heard shouting outside his cell.
Eight strangers stormed into the prison with guns, he said. They broke the door to his cell and told everyone to get out. He was hustled into a waiting line of getaway cars with the other jailed businessmen. He saw two guards on the ground, bloody and apparently dead.
The gunmen took the businessmen to a government building in the centre of town, which had been taken over by protesters. The rebels persuaded the businessmen to stay and lend their support to a rally the next morning.
The insurgents weren’t religious fanatics, he said. He said they seemed like ordinary people driven to take up arms; most of their rhetoric was about the economy.
Mr. Maksataliev said he stayed at the government building because he hoped to explain the situation to President Karimov. But he felt a sense of foreboding. “I knew it would end badly.”
(Update: The WaPo’s story on this guy is worth a read too)
Diplomats who were taken through Andijon were not shown the scene of the killing. Sounds like one of them got a little feisty.
“Write down in your story that they never took us to the school,” one diplomat shouted to reporters from a bus taking the envoys and foreign journalists back to the airport.
Lyndon has more on the inspection trip.
RFE/RL takes a look at calls for improving US policy. Representative Dana Rohrabacher (R-CA) is one of those calling for an improvement to US policy–a small shift from balancing criticism and support towards criticism.
Last year, for example, the State Department, under a mandate from Congress, suspended $18 million in aid to Tashkent, citing this poor record. But only a few weeks later, the Pentagon gave even more money, $21 million, to Karimov’s government to help neutralize its Soviet-era biological weapons.
On a visit to Uzbekistan at the time, General Richard Myers, the chairman of the U.S. Joint Chiefs of staff, criticized the suspension of aid and praised Karimov’s government for its cooperation with the Pentagon.
According to Ernsberger, Rohrabacher believes this double standard has to stop. Ernsberger says the U.S. policy on Uzbekistan so far has been at the midpoint of a continuum — he calls it a “line” — at whose ends lie the need for an ally and the need to criticize an authoritarian government.
Ernsberger says Rohrabacher believes it’s time for the Bush administration to take at least a small step toward criticism.
“Dana’s view is that we ought to shift a little bit more toward the personal and the democracy end of that line,” Ernsberger said. “And therefore we ought to be more critical of the kinds of behaviors we see going on there, even though we understand that both ends of the line represent important values in our foreign affairs.”
When I talk about better coordination of policy across departments, this is what I mean.
Also at RFE/RL, Amin Tarzi looks at Russia’s allegation that Taliban fighters were involved in the violence in Andijon. I was happy to just call it plain old dumb, but Tarzi lists all the reasons why it is.
T-Moor in Tashkent said that his family awoke to a loud noise–something between thunder and an explosion. Everyone is so on edge that it wasn’t until the rain started that they were convinced it was not a bomb. He goes on to say,
I arrived to the office and told them about this. We watched the latest news and sat discussing what’ll happen next and what to expect. Olya told that some uprisings were taking place in Gulistan, a town near Tashkent, however she might be wrong. I hope she’s wrong!!! Anyway, I did all my translations and at the same time watched the news and read news and articles on the latest situation in Andijan. On one of the websites I found lots of pcitures of dead bodies, that were laying scattered on the ground and I also saw that some of them were taken to the central square of the city and laid on the foot of the monument to Babur [one of the greatest conquerors of India]. I couldn’t watch this pics easily, you know it’s different to watch pictures of dead people in some distant country, but when you see pics of your dead fellowmen, of your compatriots, it’s really hard. Because, you know these people and you feel their pain piercing through your soul…
Do read the rest of the post because it again highlights some points that Laurence and I try to get across about what Uzbeks think about what their president has to say and about Islamic groups like Hizb ut-Tahrir.
One of the issues mentioned in T-Moor’s post is Karimov’s criticism of Kyrgyzstan’s claim that up to 1,000,000 refugees may flee Uzbekistan. Karimov said that the Kyrgyz are only saying that to get money from the west. I think he’s probably right about that.
Feghana.ru is beginning to have a lot more news in English that you probably won’t find elsewhere. Stories such as one about a serial murderer was among those freed from prison. Almost immediately, he and an accomplice murdered his son.
Or, this one about a protest in front of the Russian embassy calling for Russia to stop supporting Karimov.
Or this one about My Sunny Uzbekistan’s (which is the Free Peasants Party plus a few other organizations) calling for a presidential election. I urge caution about these guys. I’m getting the impression that Nigora Khidoyatova is trying to take advantage of the situation and convince the press that her party is the vanguard of democracy in Uzbekistan.
Finally, it may be a sign of how far EurasiaNet has fallen compared to RFE/RL and IWPR, but I just realized I haven’t checked it once in the past week. They still do great work (just less of it, it seems) and there are plenty of articles worth checking out in their Uzbekistan archive.