CODE: UZ102, UZ104, UZ106
ATTRIBUTION: STRATFOR sources in Washington/Taskent
SOURCE DESCRIPTION: Uzbek Diplomat, Uzbek Political Secretary, Uzbek DCM
SOURCE RELIABILITY: C
ITEM CREDIBILITY: 2
Kyrgyzstan is the top priority for the Uzbek government. It is no secret
that Russia was behind what happened in Kyrgyzstan. Russia could have
simply taken the north/capital and swung the country back into its
control. As soon as violence moved south - especially to Osh-it became
obvious that it had nothing to really do with Kyrgyzstan, but Uzbekistan.
Russia was testing Uzbekistan.
It has been a large discussion in Central Asia whether Uzbekistan had the
ability to stand up to Russia or not. For years, Uzbekistan had the
ability to remain independent from Russia as long as NATO was interested
in the region. But now that NATO has no interest in the region really
anymore, Russia feels more free to move.
So, Russia tested Uzbekistan in the Kyrgyz revolution. Uzbekistan moved
troops to the border and there was a few hours that Uzbekistan considered
going into southern Kyrgyzstan to protect their Uzbek populations there.
Karimov called Medvedev with no answer. It was that time that it became
known that Russia sent in paratroopers into Kyrgyzstan. It felt as if
Uzbekistan could have been possibly being pulled into a Georgia scenario.
So Uzbekistan stopped its plans for going into Kyrgyzstan.
The Uzbek population in Kyrgyzstan is different than the Uzbeks in
Uzbekistan proper. They are much more religious and would not be really
accepted back in Uzbekistan. But this does not mean that Tashkent is okay
with the genocide against the Uzbeks there, like occurred during the
-Uzbekistan won't join any movement overall - such as remaining faithful
to the CSTO. It is looking for a bilateral group instead. For example, it
wants bilateral agreements with Russia, not a CSTO agreement because it
gives Russia a blanket excuse to go in without the guidelines of the
-The population in Ferghana is weak. It is poor, unorganized and with no
real way to push up against the government. This is not a concern.
The top priority is for Uzbekistan to not join any organization in which
Kazakhstan will have a large or overarching role.
Russia and China work very well together in Central Asia. Beijing does run
everything by Moscow in the region. Every Central Asian government knows
The Uzbek government has worked with whoever is in power in Afghanistan.
It really doesn't matter if it is Karzai or the Taliban. Tashkent has
already been in talks with both sides on supplying more electricity and
going in with construction projects in Afghanistan.
In Afghanistan, the numbers of Uzbeks and Tajiks are doubted. Yes they are
there, yes they are elite fighters that are most likely the best trained
and equipped. The interesting thing is that there are quite a few younger
generation that has signed onto the resistance in Afghanistan that are
incredibly educated and trained up. They are starkly different than the
typical Taliban in Afghanistan.
But none of that population will be accepted back home. The Uzbek and
Tajik populations in Afghanistan have become too radicalize and
religiously idealized to have any safe haven back home. There is NO group
in either Uzbekistan or Tajikistan that will have them back. Instead there
have been quite a few villages and communities in Waziristan that are
Uzbek for them to settle in. Also, the border isn't so porous or ill
defined for a large group to cross. Can a few get through - of course, but
it isn't an entire cell.
TAJIKISTAN / IRAN
The Tajiks are enemy #1. Period. They are the largest concern and the one
country Tashkent watches the closest.
There is a concern Russia could use the Tajik population (whether the
regular population or the militants) against Uzbekistan.
The next concern is Iran's influence in Tajikistan. It is somewhat strong,
but Tehran could easily move to make it stronger. This is why Uzbekistan
and Iran do not get along. Also why Uzbekistan was staunchly against Iran
in the SCO - even as a side associate.
It is possible that Iran could try to make a grab for Tajikistan as
revenge against Russia, but it would take A LOT for them to pull this off.
Moreover, Russia has been locking down the country to ensure Iran could
never do this.
TURKEY / GULEN
Turkey is weak and has no place in Central Asia. Turkey would never
attempt to move into Central Asia without Russia's permission.
Gulen moved in at breakneck speed in the early 2000s. They set up an
incredible amount of NGOs, small businesses, but were mainly involved in
lyceums. This was considered some of the best education that anyone could
get inside of Uzbekistan. Moreover, those that graduated the Gulen-funded
lyceums were the top educated in the entire country
Via the lyceums, they ended up setting up libraries and internet cafes.
This was incredibly new to Uzbeks.
Then the Gulens then moved into an Uzbek opposition movement called Norci.
This infuriated the estblishment. This is when the government moved
against the Gulen movement because it wasn't just affecting the social
scene in Uzbekistan, but the political scene. The Uzbek government in 2001
started shutting down the schools, libraries, cafes, businesses, NGOs.
But the interesting thing is that anyone who attended any Gulen lyceum is
now blacklisted in Uzbekistan. There was even a roundup in 2007-2009 of
any Uzbek who attended those lyceum and worked in an important job near or
in the government by the Uzbeks.
The Turks now have NO influence in the country. Their plan was foiled.