Inoyatov Visits Germany

by Nathan Hamm on 10/28/2008 · 9 comments

inoyatov.jpgWith the EU’s decision to lift the travel ban on Uzbek officials involved in the 2005 Andijon events still a fresh memory, Germany is seizing the dubious distinction of being the first EU member to host one of these officials, Rustam Inoyatov the head of everyone’s favorite Uzbek security agency, the SNB.

Inoyatov is believed to have arrived in Germany on October 23, according to a report posted on Uzmetronom, an Uzbek opposition website … Both the official Uzbek press and German media have been largely silent on Inoyatov’s trip. It is not known whether he is still in the country.

The German federal government confirmed that there was a visit for security talks. Odds are fairly decent that the two sides discussed issues related to NATO’s mission in Afghanistan and transit through Termez. Nevertheless, with one journalist and one political activist each sentenced to long prison terms in Uzbekistan this month, Germany’s decision underlines two important things about EU-Uzbekistan relations. First, Uzbekistan will unapologetically do whatever it damned well pleases on the human rights front without fear that fear or EU reprisals. In other words, the European policy is all carrots and no sticks. Second, and flowing from the first, it is almost better for Western governments to not have any Uzbekistan policy than to have the go-nowhere policy that neither pays dividends nor punishes bad behavior.

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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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shohmurod October 29, 2008 at 5:39 am

Coordinated European and US foreign policy, if such a thing exists, is not all carrots but some stick, too: “US disturbed by torture in Uzbekistan”\10\29\story_29-10-2008_pg4_20

Could the US be applying gentle pressure to coax Uzbekistan into accepting life next to Taliban?

Nathan October 29, 2008 at 6:24 am

I don’t think there’s much coordination between the US and EU on Uzbekistan policy. The impression I get is that the US and Europe try to cooperate on Uzbekistan policy, but that because there are so many EU ambassadorial missions who can veto coordination, there is far more disharmony than harmony.

Laurence Jarvik October 29, 2008 at 4:52 pm

Eurasianet ran the story with this headline: “GERMANY APPARENTLY SEEKS TASHKENT’S HELP TO COMBAT ISLAMIC TERRORIST CELL.” Do you have any reason to think it’s not true? How about that Brazilian shot in London–should countries stop cooperating with the UK because trigger-happy cops panicked by terrorism shoot innocent civilians?

Nathan October 29, 2008 at 6:40 pm

Sure, because that’s exactly the equivalent of the Uzbek government’s track record…

Laurence, human rights isn’t even necessarily the issue. If the EU cared instead about a steady supply of magical pink ponies that only Uzbekistan could supply, and the Uzbek government. It is, at more or less every opportunity, showing the EU that it isn’t going to offer any magical pink ponies. The EU has no moral obligation to work with the Uzbek government if it isn’t cooperative on an issue important to the EU. What I’m arguing is that it’s better for the EU to not waste its time.

shohmurod October 29, 2008 at 6:45 pm


Germany is seeking Uzbekistan’s help because it had an allegedly Uzbekistan-based terror cell discovered in Germany recently with some German and Turk nationals operating it. It was all over the news.

Your second question changes the tone of the conversation from analytic to normative. When you use the word “should” in a question, then it is open season for anyone to give their personal opinion and not just the pure facts.

How does your second question relate to the above discussion about policy cooperation between Europe and US?

Finally, my answer is no, no country should stop cooperating on protecting its citizens from fundamentalists.

Michael Andersen October 30, 2008 at 1:08 am

a) the socalled German-Turkish-Uzbek terror connection is, according to my sources, not for real…. German media has been writing about this in detail. It stems back from the bombings in Tashkent in March 2004….
b) IF the Germans wanted Uzbek cooperation, they surely could invite number two or three in the Uzbek KGB and get the same level of cooperation? (Furtermore, qua point 1, the German authorities know very well that there is nothing to cooperate around)
c) Nathan’s point about the EU not wasting its time is spot on….. and
d) OF COURSE this is a MORAL issue! Germany invites a known mass murderer – Inoyatov was defined as sush, “directly responsible” for the massacre of 700-1000 people…… How can you avoid the MORAL question here? It seems to me that if you can ignore the moral question here, you can ignore it in anything….

Turgai Sangar October 30, 2008 at 9:49 am

The IJU does exist in some form (cf. below) but the question here is whether it is enough of a factor for Germany/the UE to compromise itself once more with the sordid gangster regime in Tashkent and thus lose even more credibility in Uzb-Cenasia.

The Islamic Movement of Uzbekistan and the Islamic Jihad Union: a jihadi nebulous in Central Asia and the EU

Dolkun October 31, 2008 at 2:04 am

Not to stretch my knowledge of the shadowy world of Uzbek govt. officials, but isn’t it Zokir Almatov who usually gets the most blame for Andijan, after Papa himself. The distinction is very important in Tashkent, where the MVD may be a bigger threat to the SNB than the IMU, IMHO.

Not that these distinctions matters in Germany, which admitted Almatov very soon after Andijan for medical treatment, which I consider far worse, and far more ironic, than admitting a govt. rep for security talks.

Turgai Sangar October 31, 2008 at 3:34 am

“How about that Brazilian shot in London–should countries stop cooperating with the UK because trigger-happy cops panicked by terrorism shoot innocent civilians?”

Jarvik, we know your Ziofascist and Karimovist views. Fine. Yet for other readers, I’d like to stress that there is a ‘slight difference’ between the two. What happened in London with the South American bloke could be considered a tragic accident. What happened in Andijan is the logical outcome of years of systematic oppression and humiliation of millions of Uzbeks by your beloved Tashkent regime.

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