Monday, August 01, 2005

Uzbekistan - US worked with Al Qaeda allies to try to oust Karimov?,9115,1541540,00.html

According to Craig Murray, former UK ambassador to Uzbekistan, in the Guardian 3 August 2005:

"The writing was really on the wall for US influence in central Asia when, at the end of last year, Karimov finally came off the fence and opted for Russia's Gazprom rather than US firms to develop Uzbekistan's massive gas fields. The decision calls into question the viability of the hydrocarbons pipeline over Afghanistan to the Arabian Sea, which has been the holy grail of US policy in central Asia since before the Afghan war."

According to Wayne Madsen, 30 July 2005, there is evidence that the USA was involved in the revolt against President Karimov's government in the town of Andijan on May 17.

On July 29, Uzbekistan ordered the United States to vacate its airbase in the country.

The USA intends to keep its bases in Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan.

According to Madsen the Uzbek media has revealed that "Pentagon special operations teams secretly met in Afghanistan with Tohir Yoldashev and members of his Islamic Movement of Uzbekistan (IMU), a group the U.S. State Department considers a terrorist organization allied to 'Al Qaeda.'

"The meetings were reported to have occurred before and after the Andijan revolt, which was blamed on IMU forces."

The US-IMU meetings in Afghanistan were mentioned in an an article in Asia Times by India's former ambassador to Uzbekistan and Turkey, M. K. Bhadrakumar.

Madsen writes: "The Uzbek government obviously believes the Pentagon has been dealing with terrorist groups and decided to deny the Americans a base from which they might be using to foment Islamist terrorist operations in Uzbekistan and in surrounding countries."


Craig Murray, in the Guardian 3 August 2005:

"Eduard Shevardnadze visited Karimov on being ousted and warned him against Soros and other NGOs. Karimov immediately kicked out the Open Society Institute and put crippling restrictions on other NGOs, setting his face against even token democracy. This helped the increasingly warm relationship with Vladimir Putin....

"Uzbekistan has half the population of central Asia, a dominant geostrategic position and the region's largest and best-equipped armed forces...

"The plight of the Uzbek population deepens. Karimov's appalling policies keep his people in ever-greater poverty, effectively a slave-labour force working, most of them on state farms, for the enrichment of his family and cronies."


Craig Murray was the British ambassador to Uzbekistan between 2002 and 2004. He was pushed out of the job after protesting about torture in Uzbekistan.


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