Muhammed Salih to Speak in US Senate

by Laurence on 6/24/2005 · 1 comment

According to this Commission on Security and Cooperation in Europe, also known as the Helsinki Commission, press release, Salih will testify before Senator Sam Brownback (R-KS) next Wednesday afternoon, alongside NGO representatives and human rights activists:

234 Ford House Office Building
Washington, D.C. 20515-6460
Senator Sam Brownback, Chairman
Rep. Christopher H. Smith, Co-Chairman
For Immediate Release
Media Contact: James E. Geoffrey, II

June 23rd, 2005

(Washington) – Senator Sam Brownback (R-KS), Chairman of the United States Helsinki Commission, announced that the Commission will hold a hearing to discuss the ongoing crisis in Uzbekistan and its implications for the United States.
2:00 p.m. – 4:00 p.m.
Wednesday, June 29, 2005
124 Dirksen Senate Office Building
The featured panelists will be:

Panel I
Mira Ricardel
Acting Assistant Secretary of Defense for International Security Policy
Department of Defense
Panel II

Muhammad Salih
Erk Party
Holly Carter
Executive Director, Europe & Central Asia Division
Human Rights Watch
Robert Templer
Director, Asia Program
International Crisis Group
Galima Bukharbaeva
Institute for War and Peace Reporting

IMHO, there are two interesting aspects to this announcement: (1) Evidence of a Pentagon v. State Department split, as the Defense Department spokesperson is to appear alone on the first panel; and (2) the names on the second panel are evidence of an Islamist-NGO alliance, given the record of the Erk party and the history of Muhammad Salih, a “trojan horse” strategy some Uzbek sources have charged. The apparent American connection–any Washingtonian knows that witness lists are not drawn up by chance–may push Uzbekistan even further from the US, and provide justification to Karimov for shutting down any remaining NGOs, as well as the Karshi-Khanabad base.

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{ 1 comment }

jonathan p June 24, 2005 at 12:05 pm

Why the anti-Solih venom?

Just because Erk is conservative and likely supports a more Islam-centered government for Uzbekistan does not make it a group of Taliban-like Islamists. And it does not make them any less of a legitimate opposition to Karimov. Erk may not be the American ideal of an opposition, but so what?!?

As for his alleged support of Islamic extremism, was it not Karimov himself who, in an effort to discredit Birlik/Erk and other opposition groups, said after the most recent parliamentary “elections” that members of the Erk Party had supported the Taliban regime in Afghanistan?

And was it not the Karimov judicial apparatus that found Solih guilty of organizing the 1999 bombings in a show trial roundly criticised in the west?

I would have expected a more balanced view of Solih from this site. OK, well maybe not Laurence. But I am surprised that Nathan seems to have a marked anti-Solih bent.

OK, sorry for my rant. I’ll crawl back into my hole now.

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