Rumsfeld and the Refugees

by Nathan Hamm on 8/2/2005

Igor Rotar has an interesting article on the Uzbek refugees in Kyrgyzstan in the Eurasia Daily Monitor discussing the pressures on the Kyrgyz government. Rotar reports that Kyrgyz media claimed that their government was offered a choice between lucrative long-term partnership with the West or friendship with Karimov’s government and that Rumsfeld’s visit was part of this offer.

According to the newspaper Vecherny Bishkek, the new Kyrgyz authorities were put between a rock and a hard place by the international community. They were in fact offered an ultimatum: either friendship with Tashkent (return them to Uzbekistan), or long- term alliance with the West and the United States (send the to a third country). Should Bishkek take the Western option, it would come with substantial economic dividends (Vecherny Bishkek, July 29). Moya stolita novosti suggested that Bishkek’s final decision was likely connected to last week’s visit to Kyrgyzstan by U.S. Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld (see EDM, July 29).

The entire article is pretty interesting and well worth reading.

RFE/RL’s Bruce Pannier discusses the remaining refugees and the difficult position the Kyrgyz government is in deciding their fate.

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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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