A PLATFORM FOR THOUGHT AND HUMANITY "In generosity and helping others, be like a river. In compassion and grace, be like the sun. In concealing other's faults, be like the night. In anger and fury, be like dead. In modesty and humility, be like the earth. In tolerance, be like the sea. Either appear as you are, or be as you appear" (Mevlana Rumi) "Wisdom is not a product of schooling but of the life-long attempt to acquire it" (Albert Einstein) (Contact Address: email@example.com)
Yasar Sari, University of Virginia Sureyya Yigit, Cambridge University The Journal of Turkish Weekly, May 19 2005
The recent brutal killings in Uzbekistan have forced people all over the world to focus their eyes on Central Asia once more. In the media much focus was laid upon what the original dispute was, how events developed and the nature of the governmental forces response. Whilst these are all newsworthy issues our intention is to look at the role of the United States and other regional powers impact and influence over this tragedy.
Firstly Uzbekistan is a double-landlocked (meaning that even all the neighboring countries have no coastline) state in the middle of Central Asia, sharing a border with Afghanistan among others. Since its independence in 1991 it has been ruled by its old Communist Party boss Islam Karimov.
Being new to international politics Karimov strived to move out of the orbit of the new Russian Federation and made approaches to Turkey and the United States. Whilst Turkey responded generously and warmly extending export credits, investing heavily and opening schools and granting scholarships, the Turkish model of a secular democracy was not to his liking. Relations soured and never regained their initial zenith.
As for the United States, the period before 9-11 consisted of a lack of attention directed towards Uzbekistan and the region in general. The State Department criticised the lack of progress in democratization, the slow moves toward a free and open economy and increasing human rights abuses. In earnest Washington was not very interested in this part of Eurasia; it had other concerns in the post-cold war world. All this came tumbling down on 9-11. The identification of Al Qaeda as being responsible for the attacks and the Afghan Taliban regime providing support forced the United States to engage in Central Asia.
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