, by DR. S. AUSAF SAIED VASFI
Is another Iraq, another Afghanistan in the offing in the Central Asian Muslim Republics?
Yes! Secretly and surreptitiously, moves to that effect are afoot, preceded by visible mobilisation of public opinion. That is how democracy works rather is made to work in the United States of America.
In 1990, in Bosnia-Herzegovina, the ethnic minorities had been forced to leave their hearths and homes, following their planned persecution. As the world saw 20 years ago, now again ethnic cleansing is on and the minorities have, preceded by bloodshed, been left with no option but to leave for safer places. To quote the June 15 UN Human Rights Commission Report: Violence in Kyrgyzstan appears to have begun with co-ordinated attacks and has taken on an inter-ethnic character that may spiral out of control. “We have strong indications that the event was not a spontaneous inter-ethnic clash. It was to some degree orchestrated, targeted and well-planned.”
ANIMAL LIKE KILLINGS
The Geneva-based reportage said it looked like they were “seeking to provoke a reaction.”
The attackers wearing balaclavas were carrying guns. 100,000 refugees have crossed border to Uzbekistan. Osh, an ex-Soviet Union State, erupted, not without notice. A crucial referendum is to usher in democracy and is scheduled to take place on June 27 followed by the violence that left 2,000 victims and one million homeless. Currently, there is an interim government headed by Ms Roza Otunbayeva after a popular revolt against Mr. Kurmanbek Bakiyev. Uzbeks are the targets, who are being killed like animals. First their houses are set on fire. Thereafter the fleeing residents are killed by the Russian troops. The Russian army is with the anti-Uzbek elements.
Before dealing with the American designs, let us, for the perspective, understand the demography of the region. Farghana Valley, the breadbasket of the Central Asia, is divided into Tajikistan, Kyrgyzstan and Uzbekistan. This valley is the cradle of Central Asian civilization. There are Tajiks, Kyrghyzs, Uzbeks in addition to Mekhetian Turks and Arabs, Afghans, Salvics, Russians, Ukrainians. Kyrgyzstan is host to 80 distinct ethnic groups. More importantly, there are two Khanates and Emirates usually. The people felt pride in the past in being related to the Khanates and the Emirates, the latter being representative of all the people. Kokand Khanates and Emirates of Bukhara were the most respected ones.
During the Soviet Union heyday, no one cared for borders drawn by the Communist mapmakers. But now borders have assumed significance. The reason is some Kyrgyzs felt that land given to the Uzbeks was not fairly given to them. That is the core of their grudge. That feeling refuses to die down. The land dispute pitted the Kyrgyzs against the Uzbeks. The under-30 generation is more sensitive to the land issue. According to a Tajik analyst, Islam is partially dormant and partially alive in Kyrgyzstan.
ISLAM DORMANT IN KYRGYZSTAN
The known organisation is Islamic Movement of Uzbekistan, understandably in the bad books of the West.
As the matters stand, Kyrgyzstan is the problem and Uzbekistan is a part of the solution. But this solution dampens the American enthusiasm, which feeds on foreign resources. It goes without saying that the recent discovery of the massive iron ore deposits in Afghanistan has sent the US in a tizzy, which means their longer stay over there. After all Kabul, sadly enough, comes under Washington suzerainty!
How America is likely to create another Iraq or another Afghanistan on this Central Asian soil is the question.
Simple! After preparing a hospitable ground in the strife-torn region, the US would not go as a bullying occupier, but as a wise, selfless good Samaritan and peacekeeper, reformer and as a messiah and well-wisher of the mutually fighting Central Asians. The position that will be given to the victims of America would be that of a “partner in peace which will soon graduate to partner in the construction, partner in production and partner in governance,” which would be done right from Washington.
After the April ouster of President Kurman Bakiyev much depends on the oncoming referendum this month. At the moment Kyrgyzstan is teetering on the brink of a civil war. If the war does not come to an end, it may spill over to neighbouring Tajikistan and Uzbekistan. That would suit the United States to enter into the fray in the garb of a peacemaker, to ostensibly help return normality.
The NATO, which has played the bloodiest role in Bosnia and Kosovo during the last two decades and the US works in close coordination, the results are going to be too obvious for comment.
How the American think-tank and opinion makers think on the issue and what are their suggestions? Mr James F. Collins, former US ambassador to Russia and Mr. Matthew Rojansky, deputy director Carnegie Russian and Eurasian program, shed light on the question.
“NATO and the United States must immediately engage with regional partners to help restore security. For two decades NATO has played the role of policeman in conflicts in Bosnia and Kosovo while Russia has done so secretly in Gorgia and Moldova... the crisis in Kyrgyzstan presents an opportunity for three multilateral groups working in the area – NATO, the Collective Security Treaty Organisation (CSTO), an alliance of seven former Soviet States currently chaired by Armenia, and the Organisation for Security for Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) – to do real, immediate good while building trust and demonstrating that cooperation is possible in the increasingly interconnected and fragile Eurasian security space... Responding to this crisis and restoring stability is a responsibility NATO must share with the CSTO and OSCE... To do so will require the United States and Russia as leading security partners in these groups, to put aside outdated stereotypes and focus on their fundamentally shared interests in Eurasian security... Now is the time for the United States and NATO to look beyond old stereotypes and offer any and all assistance to the Kyrgyz government in full cooperation with partnership with both the CSTO and OSCE.”
RECALL AND REMEMBER
Recall that almost similar strategy had been adopted by Mr. Nixon in Iraq and Afghanistan. He had gone to both the places as a sincere well-wisher. What has to be noted is that Russia too is as enthusiastic about de-Muslimisation of Islam as America. The common denominator between the two is erasal of Islam from the soil of Central Asia.
What grieves and worries the Muslims the world over is that those Arab countries who can speak to America with chin up have mortgaged their sovereignty. Their silence and lack of concern has naturally encouraged the entire Islamic world to keep shut. That is that.