Islam Karimov Still In Charge For Some Reason

by Joshua Foust on 6/18/2007 · 11 comments

podshokarimov.jpgBack in January, Nathan discussed the disconnect between Uzbekistan’s constitutional clauses for the end of Islam Karimov’s term and the laws governing the election of his supposed successor. In short, his term ended at the beginning of January, but elections to replace him are not to be held until December. This really means Karimov is illegally ruling his country, according to Uzbek law, but everyone knows that doesn’t matter.

With that in mind, I found this Reuters piece weirdly empty of information. It relies on a lot of anonymous sources (understandable, given the problems even for western diplomats who speak out), neglects to mention the constitutionally-mandated January expiration for Karimov’s rule, and seems to settle on simply discussing how poor it is and how the bazaars have been shut down.

In any case, there shouldn’t be that much uncertainty as to what will happen. Either Karimov will find some way to capriciously change the law and remain in power, or he might perform a power hand-off to his daughter. Or he might not care and continue on as before, secure in the knowledge that no one has the power to do anything about it. When you get right down to it, does it really matter?


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This post was written by...

– author of 1848 posts on 17_PersonNotFound.

Joshua Foust is a Fellow at the American Security Project and the author of Afghanistan Journal: Selections from Registan.net. His research focuses primarily on Central and South Asia. Joshua is a correspondent for The Atlantic and a columnist for PBS Need to Know. Joshua appears regularly on the BBC World News, Aljazeera, and international public radio. Joshua's writing has appeared in the Columbia Journalism Review, Foreign Policy’s AfPak Channel, the New York Times, Reuters, and the Christian Science Monitor. Follow him on twitter: @joshuafoust

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{ 11 comments }

Brian June 18, 2007 at 9:26 am

I thought the piece wasn’t that bad. I figured it was an article meant to give a brief overview of the situation in Uzbekistan to those who haven’t read much or anything about it before. In that sense I thought it did a pretty good job of describing the atmosphere there. If it was an investigation article I’d be more bothered about anonymous sources, but it wasn’t uncovering new information, it was just giving background to the situation.

Joshua Foust June 18, 2007 at 9:52 am

Brian, that’s fair. I was using the Reuters article more as context than anything else. But you’re right.

wryly June 18, 2007 at 11:43 am

why has`st the vice pres or next n line takin power.
why is he traveling so much to other places/countrys if uzbek budget is so poor.
why has he not been arrested and put on trial for crimes against humanity for past shootings and abuses of his countryman and others.
why him islum & vladie putin doin the borat dance 2gether?
why oh why goo goosha ???

wryly June 18, 2007 at 11:43 am

why has`st the vice pres or next n line takin power.
why is he traveling so much to other places/countrys if uzbek budget is so poor.
why has he not been arrested and put on trial for crimes against humanity for past shootings and abuses of his countryman and others.
why him islum & vladie putin doin the borat dance 2gether?
why oh why goo goosha ???

Brian June 18, 2007 at 12:03 pm

By the way, I sent this to Nathan a week ago, but if you want some good reading about Gulnara and her cronies, whet your appetite here:
http://harpers.org/archive/2007/06/hbc-90000241

And then feast on the entire juicy court deposition here:
http://harpers.org/media/pdf/UzbekTea.pdf

It’s good stuff, it has everything including an Andijan-tea connection.

Nathan June 18, 2007 at 12:45 pm

I’m going to try to do a post on some of that stuff. I’ve been ridiculously busy trying to find a new home in a new city (having only to rely on pictures and emails) and have been plagued by some kind of ailment that has made it extremely painful to sit at the computer until today.

Brian June 18, 2007 at 1:16 pm

Didn’t mean to jump the gun. Everyone ignore my reply. 😛
Well, congrats on your move and (presumably) your new job!

Nathan June 19, 2007 at 2:00 am

No worries. Who knows if I’ll get to it. Trying to strike a deal on a lease from 2,000 miles away is a pain in the ass. As is packing.

Thanks for the congratulations. As far as I know, I’m one of only two who graduated this year from my program who are actually getting jobs related to our degrees right off the bat

Botir June 21, 2007 at 7:43 am

wryly, the answer is the presedential election campaign has begun long time ago…look at the recent developments in uzbekistan…tashkent is full of posters with karimov…president is visiting one province after the other..karakalpakstan, khorezm, bukhara, navoi, namangan, andijan…before he would come to provinces only to remove mayors…but now it is different, it is a mere propaganda campaign..you get my point?

Brian June 24, 2007 at 5:10 am

That’s right Botir. With his road show Karimov is pointing out to everyone that Karimov is in power and will be in power. The only law that applies to that nation is Karimov’s law. He will “serve” his nation as along as he wants it.

Brian June 25, 2007 at 4:38 pm

^ written by _another_ Brian. Brian III?

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