Bakhram Tursonov on Mohammed Salih

by Laurence on 6/27/2005 · 3 comments

I found this 2002 article on “Extremism in Uzbekistan” at the website of the Conflict Studies Research Centre. It may explain why Russian and Uzbek governments label the Erk leader a terrorist:

The first contacts between the IMU and Dzhundullokh took place in 1997. They were established for a number of reasons, the main one being a mutual wish to come to power through radical means (jihad), using the Islamic religion as cover for their true interests. The truly determining event in this plan was the 1997 meeting held in the house of a true ally of the IMU, the not-unknown and extremely radically inclined “democrat”, Mukhammad Salikh (Madaminov Salay) [Mohammed Solih] in Istanbul.

The meeting was attended by IMU leaders Yuldasev, Askarov, Salikh himself and a certain Abduzhalil (the representative of Dzhundullokh in Turkey). This last was charged by his patron to select by election allies from among the Uzbek oppositionists, from whom it was planned to built a strategy for the future actions of the separatist movement abroad. At the talks Uighur separatists agreed mutual solidarity as regards methods for seizing power (jihad), and based on this an agreement on mutual assistance and support was reached.

Salikh was driven to collaborating with Islamic extremists in the form of Yuldashev and Dzhundullokh by an irrepressible craving for power. In turn Yuldashev offered him the post of state president after the coup had taken place in the hope that this would help to attract the so-called˜democratic opposition’ to the side of the fighters and ensure recognition of the new regime by Western governments. Accepting Yuldashev’s proposal, Salikh hurried to guarantee the support of representatives of radical extremist groupings closely connected with the National Movement Party, better known as the Grey Wolves (Enver Altayli, Ogiz Kunt, Drezh Ali, etc), which became the second ruling party after the parliamentary elections in April 1999.

In Istanbul Salikh became close friends with the Chechen bandit Yandarbiyev and the leader of the democratic wing of Uighur separatism, M A Turkistoni, both kindred spirits of Salikh. At Salikh’s request Turkistoni gave US$260,000 to the IMU.

A note on the source. According to its website: “The Centre was formed in 1972 and is part of the Defence Academy of the United Kingdom. It uses original sources to analyse: – Long-term factors of instability in Central and Eastern Europe and the former Soviet Union. – Military and security policy and practice in the region. Using this expertise, the Centre: – Is active in defence diplomacy. – Writes and distributes research papers. – Gives lectures and briefings and supports scenario development.”

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Nathan June 27, 2005 at 9:28 am

Some of my students called him a terrorist and grilled me on why he was interviewed on Radio Liberty. Personally, I think he’s tainted goods for a lot of reasons and should be kept at arm’s length.

jonathan p June 29, 2005 at 1:14 am

Of course your students in Uz called him a terrorist. Especially if you were in pro-status quo Navoi.

Listen, I’m not particularly enamored with Solih, but I don’t understand why we’re spending so much time hammering the guy. I’m sure every single “activist” in Uzbekistan has his/her own agenda. Kisa thinks Mr. Sunshine is evil. Laurence thinks Solih is evil. I’m sure we can find some reason to despise anyone and everyone. But I don’t see why we should dismiss someone out of hand without a careful look at the record. From the first mention of Solih here, there has been nothing but “he’s a bad guy.” I don’t get it.

Nathan June 29, 2005 at 9:25 am

Well, I’m not hammering away him. I’m not a big fan, but I don’t think there’s anything too wrong with him other than him foolishly hanging with the wrong crowd in the past.

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