Additional Updates

by Nathan Hamm on 5/21/2005 · 9 comments

The newest group of Peace Corps Volunteers (Working Definition’s group I believe) is at risk of having to leave the country because the Uzbek government is stalling on renewing their visas. It’s quite possible that the total number of volunteers in country will halve very soon.

Secretary Rice has made statements on the tentative first steps of a US reaction to Andijon.

At a news conference at the State Department Secretary Rice said the United States has relations with the Karimov government and is using them to urge authorities to respond positively to what she termed the international community’s justified concerns about what happened in Andijon.

If it does not, she indicated the Uzbek government could face a repeat of the 11-million dollar aid cut the Bush administration enacted last year under a human rights mandate from the Congress.

“As to what consequences there might be, I think Uzbekistan does not want to endure further isolation from the international community,” said Ms. Rice. “And secondly, I would just note that we have concerns about human rights, which we expressed through a human rights report and which actually have certain certification requirements for any assistance to Uzbekistan. We withheld $ 11 million last year because of those requirements. There are additional funds that we cannot make available to the government without further human rights certification.”

State Department Spokesman Richard Boucher told reporters some $ 22 million in aid earmarked for Uzbekistan this year could be withheld if it was determined it was not meeting international human rights obligations.

She also said that the US is discussing how to proceed with the UN, EU, and Uzbekistan’s neighbors.

What really stinks about these relatively small amounts of money (and I thought it was $18 million last year) is that they don’t provide all that much of an incentive or disincentive to do anything. If we were talking more along the lines of Uzbekistan losing the money for not improving and gaining more money if it does improve, perhaps this would have more of a chance of having an impact. As far as sending a signal, it does have some value though.

And finally, something I forgot to post earlier. Tatyana emailed me a site for Andijon condolences. Most are in Russian or Uzbek, but there’s the occasional in English.

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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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Phil Bailey May 21, 2005 at 11:35 am

You report a “cut” in aid last year. Isn’t it the case that the funds were simply shifted from State to DoD and that the sums disbursed were actually greater than originally intended?

Why, yes, it is. $18 million was cut when State decertified Uzbekistan in July ’04. Richard Meyers went ahead and granted $21 million in August of the same year from DoD.

So, your talk of “cuts” is mere sophistry, though it does function to cloud U.S. support for Karimov’s terror regime.

Finally, I must say that your description of people protesting against Karimov’s fascist tyranny as “pests with nothing to do” is truly sickening.

Nathan May 21, 2005 at 2:51 pm

Phil, first off, read the whole sentence. I said the police were pests. I could leave it at that, call you out for the beginning reader you are, but I’ll say more.

No, the aid was not “shifted.” State cut, and DoD added. Technically, that’s not a shift, that’s one agency undermining another. That’s something I have been complaining about for a while, saying that agencies need to get on one page and not undermine each others’ work.

Phil Bailey May 21, 2005 at 3:32 pm

Nathan, apologies for totally misunderstanding that sentence and barking at you without cause. I deserve the dunces cap for that howler.

Nathan May 21, 2005 at 3:36 pm

OK, I’m much cooler with you now.

RS May 22, 2005 at 1:20 am

Typepad seems to be working now from my office, but thanks for posting what would have been my entry for yesterday.


Dzhanibek May 22, 2005 at 4:48 am

A pretty important piece of news…

Daewoo Motor Quits Uzbekistan

“UzDaewooavto” (Asaka, Andijan Region) has resumed the output of cars which was stopped on May 13, the first day of the uprising. […]

Meanwhile, the “Uzavtosanoat” Company signed an agreement last week with the creditor committee of the Korean Daewoo Motor, on payment and transfer to Uzbekistan of 49% of the “UzDaewooavto” shares which are owned by the Korean company (another 51% of the company’s shares belong to the government of Uzbekistan). The total cost of the shares is not disclosed but it is rumoured that the agreement is quite favourable for the Uzbek side. After acquiring the assets of Daewoo Motor by the American concern General Motors in 2002, the Korean company does not take part in managing “UzDaewooavto”. […]

Dzhanibek May 22, 2005 at 5:09 am

And here’s an excerpt from an article by Mikhail Zygar published on Kommersant on May 16th. (news about UzDaewoo were from as well) As far as I know, this is the clearest explanation of the revolt’s medium-term and short-term causes. (The long-term ones being poverty and the foolish economic policy of Mr. K, as Nathan and others pointed out)
Zygar was in Andijon an spoke with Zainabitdinov on May 14th, the day after the uprising.

“To learn more about the ringleaders of the revolt, I went to see Saijakhon Zainabitdinov, a well known, and probably the only, human rights activist in Andijan. He was the lawyer for the Akromists when they were on trial. […]

Zainabitdinov told me that the Akromists were not actually involved in politics, but only charity and business. For example, one of them had a construction company that built a house for the regional governor, and all of the persecution against them started when the governor was replaced in Andijan. The new governor wanted to lay his lands on their business, so they laid charges against them under articles that allow confiscation of property. However, the human rights activist added that all the Akromists were very religious; they regarded Akrom Yuldashev, who had already been in prison for six years, as their teacher. Yuldashev was also a well-known Andijan businessman. He was charged with religious extremism after he wrote the book The Road to Faith.

“The charges were absurd, far-fetched. Their friends and relatives gathered at the courthouse right from the start of the trial in February. The parties finished their presentations on Wednesday, and the judge said that the time and place of sentencing would be announced separately. But according to my information, they read the Akromists’ sentence right in the prison on Thursday. This is what pushed them to revolt.””

RS May 23, 2005 at 6:21 am

I think that Global Voices needs to correct their statement that “Nathan at said that Typepad blogs are now blocked.” Nathan actually correctly reported that
“access to Typepad appears to be blocked in
Uzbekistan”, emphasis should be placed on the
word “appears”. I hope GV understands the
journalistic responsibilities here. As a blogger in Uzbekistan, I can now report that it is again possible to blog from my office in Tashkent.

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