Uzbekistan ISO Military Partners

by Nathan Hamm on 1/6/2006 · 4 comments

Roger McDermott writes in today’s Eurasia Daily Monitor on Uzbekistan’s efforts to gain new military partners to replace Western assistance lost in the wake of Andijon. McDermott identifies replacing counter-terrorist training formerly provided by the United States as a high priority, and thirty Uzbeks troops are currently at the Counter Insurgency and Jungle Warfare School in India.

What came as a surprise to me was that,

An international delegation of officers from the Israeli and British armies is expected to observe the training of the Uzbek personnel. Officials within the Ministry of Defense in Tashkent hope that not only will such training herald a deeper security relationship with India, but will also remind Western observers of the needs still facing the Uzbek security structures, as well as conveying the political message that Tashkent can secure alternative sources of security assistance.

I’m not entirely surprised that Israeli officers will be on hand, but the British ones and McDermott’s assertion that one objective of the Uzbeks is to remind the West of its security needs does surprise me.

McDermott also says that the government is trying to boost public confidence in the military and patriotism.

However much these needs are felt in the power circles in Tashkent, much of the internal publicity regarding the armed forces appears carefully crafted to reinforce failing public confidence in the shaken prestige of the military. Ahead of Motherland Defenders’ Day on January 14, a vigorous campaign has been launched throughout the country aimed at promoting an image of patriotic youth keen to serve the regime. In Namangan in eastern Uzbekistan, military personnel and veterans are being dispatched to schools and colleges in order to press home the patriotic message. Widespread publicity has been afforded to the Chortog sergeants training school and the increasing number of sergeants successfully graduating there, eschewing any mention of Western involvement in setting up and sustaining such centers (Uzbek Namangan TV, December 28).

McDermott says that the Uzbek government realizes that it the loss of Western training assistance is a serious blow to improving its military capabilities. It views India as a viable alternative to the West, and he predicts that in addition to consolidating ties with Russia and strengthening contacts with China, Uzbekistan will try to forge new defense ties with India.


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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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{ 4 comments }

Rustam January 7, 2006 at 3:48 pm

“improving its military capabilities” – what military capability, for what purpose, Karimov used to justify heightened security spending and extra powers he has by saying that “extreme moments require extreme measures”, i.e. Uzbekistan is very young democracy and all the evil eyes around us, in the first place Russia, civil war in Tajikistan, Iran, Saudi Arabia are all watching and waiting for the moment to strike. Just read his paranoiac views expressed in his book, “UZBEKISTAN ON THE THRESHOLD OF THE TWENTY-FIRST CENTURY”, that I was forced to read at the Uni, I truly believe that I was the only one in the class who really read it, there you see who he was then and who he is now, in the book you see everyone mentioned as an enemy of the Republic except guess who, you right, USA and EU.
OK, we had IMU, we will not analyse how they come to exist in the first place, and they tried to come into the Uzbekistan in 2000-2002, but after the US operations in Afghanistan, after B-52s, there is no one left, apart from Gen. Dostom. So there is no real apparent threat as such to justify military training.
Now why he needs this “military training” stuff with India, it is just to show that he is still a player, still partner in the “War against terrorism”, still the leader who is doing all he can to stop this WAVE of Islamic fundamentalism in the heart of Central Asia, in Ferghana Valley and a player to reckon with in the grand chess board. Russia signed military contracts with India worth billions of USD only recently, with the Bush calling Musharraf as an extremely valuable ally, it was expected that Karimov would ran to be seen with the Indians, now he wants to be seen with the group of other tough guys who can defend him if needed, at least in the UN Security Council, in the centre of new triangle, Russia, China and India.
He is really a pathetic and paranoiac dictator and all his moves after Andijon are dictated to achieve the survival of his regime, but it will crumble very soon.
January 14th will not help anymore and never helped before, we do not have the feeling of appreciation towards military as in US as such, now after Andijon it is hatred.
The disagreement is there in the MoD itself, between the old MoD generals and the new minister. There were really detailed series of leaks in the Centrasia.ru on this topic, I was amazed with the degree of detail in these articles.

Jack January 8, 2006 at 2:06 pm

Rustam,

I am not agree with you. Training are always justified.

Recently, Japan held exercises. There is almost no threat to Japan, but it is holding trainings.

NATO member countries, China, Russia are also holding trainings. Do you think something/somebody threat to Europe or China? I guess, no.

I also should add that Afghanistan is not calm yet. There is still Taliban forces and they are waiting for their time. Drug traders are also great threat. See this one for example, http://www.onlinenews.com.pk/details.php?id=91876

Can you someone give guarantee that Taliban will not attack any of Central Asian states? No guarantees.

happysam January 8, 2006 at 3:00 pm

I’ve got a feeling that uzbekistan will end up like afganistan if the government keeps the pressure on the people
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Jack January 9, 2006 at 1:17 am

I doubt. The govrnt started to reform economy, using suggestions of IFC (World Bank Group).

This should help, but there is other issue connected with people. SOME Uzbeks are hunting easy money and they do not want to work. They prefer to trade low-quality China products rather than to work in plants or fields.

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