Asia Central (Continuación)

Sept. 1 marked Uzbekistan’s 25th year of independence and the first national celebration of it without the president, Islam Karimov, in attendance. A few days earlier, the Uzbek government announced that Mr. Karimov, 78, had suffered a serious brain hemorrhage — an unusual proclamation considering pronouncements about his health were often as glowing as those made by Donald Trump’s doctor.

Though the government has since reported his death, it was clear from the first announcement of his illness that Uzbekistan had changed. Uzbekistan was built largely around the cult of Mr. Karimov. Secretive and suspicious, he never named a successor.

Roughly half of the country’s population is under 25 years old: These Uzbeks have known no other leader than Mr.…  Seguir leyendo »

Uzbekistan will most likely celebrate its 1st September independence day without long-serving President Islam Karimov, marking a potentially dramatic first for this strategic Central Asian country since it broke free of the former Soviet Union 25 years ago.

The 78-year-old leader has ruled with iron fist since 1991, but suffered a brain hemorrhage on 27 August. The Uzbek authorities have broken their taboo about discussing the president’s health, saying he has a serious problem that may take time to treat. After years of speculation and anticipation, Central Asia’s most populous state may now face a tense transition, a prospect that is deeply unnerving for its neighbours.…  Seguir leyendo »

L’Occident et l’Asie centrale post-soviétique jouent un jeu intrigant. Alors que le premier aime à critiquer les dérives autoritaires des seconds, en réalité l’Occident fait tout pour se faire désirer, du moins économiquement. Les « programmes de développement » économique et les aides militaires et sécuritaires pour lutter contre le terrorisme continuent d’être déversés par l’Union européenne, la Suisse ou les Etats-Unis, qui cherchent à maintenir une influence dans une région de plus en plus convoitée. Du côté des régimes centre asiatiques, adopter des modèles politiques européens « à la carte » leur permet de développer un nationalisme mêlant soutien et contrôle de leur population.…  Seguir leyendo »

Bien que malmené militairement en Syrie-Irak, l’Etat islamique continue d’attirer les candidats au jihad d’Europe, d’Afrique du Nord et du Moyen-Orient. Toutefois, numériquement parlant, le troisième contingent de combattants le plus important, est originaire de l’ex-URSS. L’Etat islamique, mais aussi le Front al-Nusra comptent dans leurs rangs plusieurs milliers de jihadistes centrasiatiques qui étaient jusqu’à présent plus attirés par l’Afghanistan et le Pakistan. Mais si le phénomène jihadiste est opaque en Europe, il l’est plus encore dans l’ex-URSS. Qu’en est-il réellement de la menace ? Celle-ci est-elle bien réelle ou est-ce un nouveau mythe, qui permet aux régimes autoritaires en place de renvoyer aux calendes grecques d’indispensables réformes politiques, et à la Russie d’avancer ses pions ?…  Seguir leyendo »

The appearance of Colonel Gulmurod Khalimov in an Islamic State propaganda video on May 27 sent a chill across Central Asia. The head of Tajikistan’s Special Assignment Police Unit (OMON), a key element in President Emomali Rahmon’s security apparatus, had disappeared shortly before. In the video he promised to return to wage violent jihad.

A veteran of brutal Tajik government operations, Khalimov has the qualifications. And Tajikistan, a desperately poor country ruled by a venal elite, is a vulnerable target. As I drove to its capital, Dushanbe, last summer through the ancient city of Khujand and the rickety, fume-filled, Iranian-built Shariston tunnel, I saw poverty and isolation that eclipses the worst pockets of deprivation in neighboring Kyrgyzstan and Kazakhstan.…  Seguir leyendo »

On May 13, 2005, military forces dispatched by the government of Uzbekistan fired on a massive protest in the city of Andijon, killing hundreds of Uzbek citizens. The day before, thousands had gathered in Andijon’s Bobur Square to protest the imprisonment of 23 businessmen and, more broadly, to protest the deteriorating social, political and economic conditions of Uzbekistan.

The next day the crowd grew to over 10,000, some drawn by an expectation that President Islam Karimov would come to address the protest. Instead, demonstrators were greeted by gunfire. According to eyewitness accounts, the military fired indiscriminately, killing innocent bystanders. Human rights activists put the death toll at more than 700.…  Seguir leyendo »

El domingo 29 de marzo Islam Karímov renovará su mandato presidencial. El resultado no es sólo previsible, sino seguro. Sin embargo, el futuro del país, a medio y largo plazo, resulta muy incierto. La gran cuestión pendiente, y sobre la que sólo cabe conjeturar, es la de la sucesión del presidente Karímov. Sus 77 años hacen de ésta una cuestión cada vez más acuciante.

El hermetismo del régimen uzbeko, la naturaleza opaca de su sistema político y el creciente déficit de estudios sobre el terreno dificultan la prospectiva. Así, los escenarios que barajan los analistas son muy abiertos y cubren un espectro amplio que oscila desde una transición sin apenas cambios, gestionada en las bambalinas del poder –con la emergencia de un nuevo hombre fuerte–, hasta la descomposición del régimen –con fuertes turbulencias políticas y sociales y un papel central para las fuerzas islamistas–.…  Seguir leyendo »

Few post-Soviet countries are as comfortable for a Russian-speaker to visit as Kyrgyzstan. This landlocked mountainous country of roughly 5.6 million, wedged between China, Kazakhstan, Tajikistan and Uzbekistan, kept Russian as an official language after the breakup of the Soviet Union in 1991. Kyrgyz had fallen into disuse during the Soviet era and lacked the vocabulary for affairs of state. As a result, a generation after the collapse of the Soviet Union, the country still speaks Russian.

Recently, Kyrgyzstan has been growing notably more Russian. Although Kyrgyz has gained many words, speakers and advocates for making it the country’s sole state language, activists from nongovernmental organizations say they noticed a couple of years ago that Russian-language media got suddenly more robust, gaining a crop of new freelance writers who seemed to come from nowhere.…  Seguir leyendo »

On June 16, Alexander Sodiqov, a Ph.D student in political science at the University of Toronto, was arrested in his native Tajikistan and reportedly charged with espionage and treason. His crime: investigating a local conflict that the government would rather you not know anything about.

It is easy to keep secrets in the Pamir Mountains — the rugged, sparsely populated eastern region of Tajikistan that borders China and Afghanistan. There is one flight a day from the capital Dushanbe to the region’s main city, Khorog, and it is canceled at the slightest hint of bad weather. The only alternative is a 15-or-so-hour drive over rough mountain roads.…  Seguir leyendo »

«Le Kazakhstan menacé par une occupation russe dès demain ?», titre le journal indépendant Assandi Times, basé à Almaty au Kazakhstan. A l’heure où la Russie célèbre le « retour » de la Crimée dans son territoire et alors que les villes du sud-est de l’Ukraine tombent dans les mains des insurgés pro-russes, il y a matière à s’inquiéter dans les anciennes Républiques soviétiques d’Asie centrale.

Après l’Ukraine, c’est le Kazakhstan qui abrite la plus grande minorité russe du monde. La population russe est également présente dans les autres pays centrasiatiques, à savoir en Ouzbékistan, au Kirghizistan, au Tadjikistan et au Turkménistan.…  Seguir leyendo »

During my 30 years in Congress, I was privileged to visit most countries on this planet as a representative of the U.S. government. From the heart of Africa, to the jungles of Asia, to the rain forests of South America, I have seen it all.

Typically, the congressional delegations with which I traveled would visit these countries during major events, transitions or turning points in their histories. As a result, I consider myself honored to have been present and active in many of the world’s most significant events over the past 30 years.

Some of these events have a prominent place in our history books and our national consciousness, but many more do not.…  Seguir leyendo »

Si no se controla, la toma por parte de Rusia de los puntos clave de Crimea será sólo el primer paso para cambiar el mapa de Eurasia. El argumento de Vladímir Putin de la necesidad de usar la fuerza militar para proteger a los ciudadanos de Rusia y a toda la “población de habla rusa” es de mal agüero. Hay que leerlo como una advertencia de que el presidente de Rusia quiere dar la vuelta a lo que él dice que fueron dos de las grandes catástrofes del siglo XX: la caída del imperio ruso y la desintegración de la Unión Soviética.…  Seguir leyendo »

For more than a decade, the United States has been reaching out to the Muslim world, courting Islamic moderates even as it wages war with religious extremists. Washington’s efforts have been concentrated mostly on the Middle East, with little success. The Americans might do better to focus on another region that has an equal claim to being Islam’s true heartland — the new nations along the old Silk Road through Central Asia.

While violence rages on in Syria, Iraq and Afghanistan, the predominantly Muslim countries of the former Soviet Union — Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan — are experimenting with secular governments and free markets.…  Seguir leyendo »

The Pentagon quietly announced last month that the U.S. military is leaving the air base it has operated in Kyrgyzstan as a staging area for American troops and matériel since 2001. While the move will complicate American efforts to wind down the war in Afghanistan, the decision has much broader ramifications: It marks the end of a brief experiment to extend American power and influence into the distant strategic arena of Central Asia.

The base, formally known as the Transit Center at Manas, is a key installation for the U.S. military, with about 1,500 American airmen processing all the troops going in and out of the Afghanistan theater and operating refueling aircraft.…  Seguir leyendo »

Fifty plainclothes Italian special agents raided a villa on the outskirts of Rome on May 29 and absconded with Alma Shalabayeva and her 6-year old daughter, Alua. Two days later, after uncharacteristically swift legal proceedings, mother and daughter were whisked away to Kazakhstan, a resource-rich former Soviet state in Central Asia.

While Shalabayeva and her daughter are Kazakh citizens, both had European Union residence permits, issued by Latvia, allowing them to stay anywhere in the E.U. Italy has an estimated 440,000 illegal immigrants, many of whom are presumably more dangerous than Shalabayeva and whose cases typically take some time to resolve.…  Seguir leyendo »

Tema: La visita del ministro de Asuntos Exteriores kazajo en mayo de 2013 se encuadra en el deseo de fortalecer las relaciones entre Kazajistán y España en todos los campos.

Resumen: Kazajistán es un país de amplio potencial de explotación económica y como mercado para los productos españoles que viene respaldado por unas buenas relaciones diplomáticas y por una seguridad jurídica superior a la de otros escenarios tradicionales de expansión de las empresas españolas. La Estrategia Kazajistán 2050 y la celebración en Astana de la Expo 2017 suponen una ventana de oportunidades para los intereses españoles.


La importancia de Kazajistán

Cuando en 1991 las repúblicas socialistas soviéticas comenzaron a abandonar la URSS, el futuro político y económico de aquel vasto territorio era una gran incógnita.…  Seguir leyendo »

Not long after I spoke out against a massacre of mostly peaceful protesters in Uzbekistan in 2005, I was arrested by government security services and taken away. I was drugged, beaten, falsely accused of directing the uprising, charged with financial crimes and sentenced to 14 1/2 years in prison. There I was put to work in a brick factory, and my health deteriorated.

During the brutally cold January of 2008, as a punishment for political prisoners, three other inmates and I were put for five freezing days in the «monkey cage» — an unheated, open-air cell — wearing only T-shirts and pants.…  Seguir leyendo »

On the surface, the 12th summit of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization in Beijing was a striking success. The regional organization — comprising China, Russia, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan and Uzbekistan — took a strong position against externally imposed regime change in the Middle East, admitted Afghanistan as a new observer and announced steps to broaden its agenda into the next decade.

That is the dynamic and active image the S.C.O. seeks to present to the world — as a guardian of regional security and a new-style organization that, unlike Western bodies, does not intrude in the sovereign affairs of its members and condemns outside military action.…  Seguir leyendo »

La violencia reciente en Kazajstán y Tayikistán, luego de la guerra civil en Kirguizistán en 2010, intensificó el temor internacional sobre la seguridad de Asia central conforme la región cobra cada vez más relevancia para el suministro de provisiones de la OTAN a la Fuerza Internacional de Asistencia a la Seguridad (ISAF por su sigla en inglés) en Afganistán.

Los países de Asia central permiten a los miembros y socios de la OTAN transportar suministros a través de su territorio para respaldar a las fuerzas militares en Afganistán -un complemento esencial para el flujo de provisiones a la ISAF a través de Pakistán, un país vulnerable a las tensiones con Estados Unidos.…  Seguir leyendo »

The threat from nuclear terrorism is one of the greatest our world faces. If terrorist groups manage to get their hands on material to make nuclear or radioactive weapons, they will not hesitate to use them. The resulting death toll and damage would be unimaginable.

The security of nuclear materials was high on the agenda of the first Nuclear Security Summit in Washington in 2010. This week, along with President Obama and the leaders of 50 other countries, I will be traveling to Seoul for the second summit to report on progress. We will see how we can further improve measures to keep safe nuclear material and to stop its illegal trade.…  Seguir leyendo »