Fallon Goes to Tashkent

by Nathan Hamm on 1/25/2008 · 8 comments

The Commander of CENTCOM, Admiral William Fallon made a stop in Tashkent during a trip through the region. Admiral Fallon met with President Karimov and Uzbek defense officials.

“We consider your visit a remarkable event in mutual relations between Uzbekistan and the US … and a good chance for discussing military-technical cooperation,” Karimov told Fallon.

I’m sure much will be made of the meeting. EurasiaNet ponders its meaning, wondering if it might signal warming US-Uzbek ties. This being an election year with many other more pressing political issues for the US though, I have my doubts that the meeting will lead to anything meaningful. About the only thing we really can be sure of is that the Uzbek government will make a big deal out of the meeting.


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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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{ 8 comments }

Laurence January 25, 2008 at 11:36 am

Well, Nathan, you never know. Probably the Admiral would not have come, had the US not agreed to something in advance. Given the situation in Afghanistan, Pakistan and Iran, perhaps there are geopolitical and military-strategic issues at work…

Thank you for keeping on top of all this!

Michael Hancock January 25, 2008 at 2:40 pm

I think Laurence might be right, but I actually hope Nathan is closer to reality. If this is anything more than politicking, I think that policies planned or passed in such a meeting are nothing good for Central Asians not connected to Karimov’s ‘reign of terror.’

To get concessions from the Uzbek government, you have to play Karimov’s game. It’s an easy game, like having a big red button that says “Pay Karimov,” and all you have to do to win is hit the big red button. Still, what good will that do us when the Karimov regime finally [hopefully, regrettably, catastrophically, horrifically] crumbles.

If it’s to get another military base, you’ll have to hit that big red button with a sledgehammer, unless we’re offering to train and support local Uzbek troops as well. I think that anything offered to Uzbekistan, in order to be successful, has to look to Karimov like he’s one-upping Kazakhstan. There are weaknesses to play off of, and instead of always letting Central Asians play us off the other powers [China, Iran, Russia] in the region, why not play them off of each other?

In any event, I hope that Fallon is successful. If nothing else, it’ll be easier for me to visit Samarkand and Bukhara in the future if US Citizens can get visas more easily.

Dolkun January 26, 2008 at 12:37 am

I’d think hosting Fallon is not inconsistent with Uzbek foreign policy post-2003. Karimov never stopped wanting security assistance; he just didn’t and doesn’t want meddling in his domestic affairs. Closing K2 was a calculation that Russia offered a better alliance, and after the U.S. statements (quite tempered if you’ll remember) about Andjian, Karimov may have doubted his original thinking that the base helped protect his regime. Now, Karimov might be seeking more balance or leverage with the Russians.

But a warming in US relations, would, as Michael writes, require that the US not pursue a multidimensional agenda, but rather focus on hard security issues.

Mister Ghost January 26, 2008 at 7:08 pm

Hopefully it may bring about a return of American and other NGOs. Goodness knows, the Uzbek people need as much help as they can get. I’m always saddened by the parallels I see between Iraq and Uzbekistan, and what may come after the Karimovs are gone. For those arguing for a regime change, sometimes the cure kills you long before the disease does. And I argue against sanctions being placed on Uzbekistan, because like Iraq, only the Uzbek people not the regime will be affected. And if some type of Islamic Regime rather than the current regime of Islam takes hold in Uzbekistan, it will be the women who will suffer the most. For all the flaws of the Soviet presence in Central Asia, liberating women from the village and Sharia Law was not one of them.

1975: Iraqi women stroll around Baghdad in miniskirts, the most liberated women in the Middle East.

2005: Iraqi women fearing being kidnapped and raped from fundamentalist militias, shield themselves in Abbayas.

Don’t want to see the same thing happening in Uzbekistan.

Mister Ghost
Iraqi Bloggers Central
The In T Views

Ataman Rakin January 27, 2008 at 10:09 am

“Admiral William Fallon made a stop in Tashkent during a trip through the region.”

If they sent an admiral, it is certainly about establihsing a US Navy base in Muinak. 🙂

“And if some type of Islamic Regime rather than the current regime of Islam takes hold in Uzbekistan, it will be the women who will suffer the most.”

That’s nonsense. Women are already suffering, impoverished, humiliated, treated like shit and sold into sex slavery etc. under/by the current, very secular regime and by the Western expats who support and fund it. Are minskirts a standard/sign of “liberation” for you? They’re not. They’re just another kind of slavery.

I am actually not surpised at all that the West is kissing ass and trying to strik deals again with Karimov. Let it be. In a number of years, the West will be thouroughly detested by the population as it increasingly is already in the region.

Rustam January 29, 2008 at 12:00 pm

Laurence as always at his best.
Nathan I guess I am getting used to agreeing with you more and more, maybe you are getting to understand how hopeless is Karimov’s dictatorial politicking, that as Ataman correctly says US’s wagon has left the station, it is too late.

Rustam January 29, 2008 at 12:30 pm

Taking into account the fact that McCain could become the next president of the US and his openly hostile comments regarding dictator Karimov and his policies no wonder he is kissing ass of the US’s military establishment.

lone scout February 4, 2008 at 2:20 am

I bet fallon had a nice warm room during his asskissin visit!
as i said in a past comment, uzbek`s need gas & electric services as i guess other poor countrys in the area.
except the clowns in charge in their countrys and here in bushwacked usa think more weapons & pt boats or other crap like this is needed.
and less heating and cooking supplies for the central asian peoples, too bad my father in law had to be one of many to past away from the effects of the cold and supply shortages.
where is the united nations, where is the united states or russia. are you so greedy and self center that you think its ok to freese or starve people.
i think this is a crime against humanity and i hope something is done b4 more our lost.

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