Introduction Full name: Central Asia Area: 4.003, square kilometers Population: 58,2 mln. Religion: Islam, Christian, Russian Orthodox Countries: Uzbekistan, Kazakhstan, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan and Kyrgyzstan Languages: Uzbek, Kazah, Kyrgyz, Tajik, Turkmen, Russian, Karakalpak, Persian, Korean Other: The Central Asian states became independent following the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991.
Central Asia Uzbekistan: Republic of Uzbekistan; area – 447,4 sq. km.; population – 26 mln; language – Uzbek; capital – Tashkent. Kazakhstan: Republic of Kazakhstan; area – 2.724,9 sq.km.; population – 15 mln; language – Kazah; capital – Astana. Turkmenistan: Republic of Turkmenistan; area – 488,1 sq.km.; population – 4,8 mln; language – Turkmen; capital – Ashgabat. Tajikistan: Republic of Tajikistan; area – 143,1 sq. km.; population – 6,507 mln; language – Tajik; capital – Dushanbe. Kyrgyzstan: Republic of Kyrgyzstan; area – 199,9 sq. km.; population – 5,264 mln; language – Kyrgyz; capital – Bishkek.
Presidents of Central Asian Countries Nursultan Nazarbayev Islam Karimov Saparmurod Niyazov Emamali Rahmonov Kurbanbek Bakiyev
Political Opposition in Central Asia Kazakhstan Opposition parties fear increasing consolidation of power by President Nazarbayev; leader of largest opposition party in jail. Kyrgyzstan Worried about intolerance, opposition parties formed movement toward fair elections in Tajikistan President Rahmonov neutralizing IRP, the only Islamist party in the region; UTO entrenched in the political process following 1997 accord. Turkmenistan Opposition parties banned; loose coalition of Turkmen opposition movements in exile. Uzbekistan IMU and Hizb ut-Tahrir promote radical Islamist agenda; secular ERK operates in exile.
Political Trends Central Asian leaders are strengthening their hold on power and neutralizing legitimate political opposition. Continued instability in Afghanistan poses crucial problems for the consolidation of democratic institutions and market economies in the region. Central Asian states have indicated a willingness to work among themselves to solve regional problems, while at the same time reorienting their strategic relationships toward Russia.
Economic and Investment Climate High levels of corruption and heavy state intervention continue to deter Western investment in the region. The construction of legal and regulatory frameworks and the implementation of needed economic reforms remain sluggish. The large sums of U.S. aid that followed after September 11 are now starting to dry up.
The War on Terrorism Authoritarian leaders in Central Asia have exploited the war on terrorism to weaken all forms of political opposition. The closure of legitimate avenues of dissent has forced secular reformist groups and Islamist insurgent movements into a common cause.
In the context of the United States' War on Terror, Central Asia has once again become the center of geostrategic calculations. Pakistan's status has been upgraded by the U.S.-government to Major non-NATO ally because of its central role in serving as a staging point for the invasion of Afghanistan, providing intelligence on Al-Qaeda operations in the region, and leading the hunt on Osama bin Laden, believed to still be in the region. Afghanistan, which had served as a haven and source of support for Al- Qaeda, under the protection of Mullah Omar and the Taliban, was the target of a U.S. invasion in 2001, and ongoing reconstruction and drug-eradication efforts. U.S. military bases have also been established in Uzbekistan and Kyrgyzstan, causing both Russia and the People's Republic of China to voice their concern over a permanent U.S. military presence in the region.War on TerrorMajor non-NATO ally
It is argued that the Russia, China and former SSRs have taken advantage of the War on Terror to increase oppression of separatist ethnic minorities. Washington, which considers Russia and China as strategic partners in the War on Terror, has largely turned a blind eye to these actions. The ethnically diverse former SSRs, especially Uzbekistan have reclassified ethnic separatist attacks as terrorist attacks and pursued more oppressive policies. February 16 - In Uzbekistan, a bomb explodes and gunfire is heard at the government headquarters, in an apparent assassination attempt against President Islam Karimov. It was a big terrorist act in Central Asia after Soviet Union period. After this terrorist groups attack to Tashkent, Buhara, Bishkek and other cities of Central Asia February 16UzbekistanassassinationIslam Karimov
Population and Labor Force Distribution (m), 2001 Uzbek.Kazak.Tajik.Turkm.Kyrgyz. Population Labor force Employed Agricultur e Forestry Industry Other sectors
Terrorism, Religious Extremism, and the IMU in Central Asia Radical Islamic opposition movements have a long history in Central Asia dating back to the Tsarist era. During World War I, for example, Islamic militants took up arms to oppose the Russian government's attempts to mobilize Muslims to work in the rear of the front. Again, in the 1920s, Muslim partisans in the so-called Basmachi movement opposed the Bolshevik takeover and the advance of Soviet power into Central Asia. And, the most recent resurgence of Islamic opposition was spurred by the 1979 Soviet invasion of Afghanistan.
This tied Central Asia's and Afghanistan's fates together in many respects. Central Asian Muslims sent to fight in Afghanistan gained a new appreciation for their history and religion and drew inspiration from the mujaheddin fighters that opposed the invasion. After the 1989 Soviet withdrawal and the subsequent collapse of the USSR, the creation of international Muslim brigades to fight the occupying Soviet forces in Afghanistan set the tone and provided manpower for Islamist insurgents in Central Asia.
Following September 11, Central Asian governments were quick to close ranks behind the United States and tilt away from Russia, a traditional ally. The United States continues to stress balance between securing Central Asian support for the war on terrorism, and criticizing poor human rights records and lack of political liberalization. This dilemma is particularly acute for Uzbekistan. Relations with the United States
The September 11 attacks transformed U.S. policy toward Central Asia virtually overnight. The United States requested and received offers to use a logistical base in southern Uzbekistan (dubbed K2 ) near the Afghanistan border at a former Soviet-era air base near Karshi, at Khanabad. The United States was also offered a base located at the Manas International Airport near Bishkek.18 According to official figures, Ganci Air Base has about 1,500 soldiers, but the figure is much higher than that as troops transit in and out of Afghanistan.
The United States invited Kazakhstan s Nazarbayev, Uzbekistan s Karimov, and Tajikistan s Rahmonov to the White House. Kazakhstan concluded a new strategic partnership with the United States, having previously concluded one in While the Central Asian countries faced very different development and foreign policy challenges, they were united in supporting U.S. resolve to fight terrorism and address what they viewed as the legacy of Afghanistan.
FRAMEWORK AGREEMENT BETWEEN THE GOVERNMENT OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA, THE GOVERNMENT OF THE REPUBLIC OF KAZAKHSTAN, THE GOVERNMENT OF THE KYRGYZ REPUBLIC, THE GOVERNMENT OF THE REPUBLIC OF TAJIKISTAN, THE GOVERNMENT OF TURKMENISTAN, AND THE GOVERNMENT OF THE REPUBLIC OF UZBEKISTAN CONCERNING THE DEVELOPMENT OF TRADE AND INVESTMENT RELATIONS 1) Desiring to enhance the bonds of friendship and spirit of cooperation between and amongst the countries; 2) Desiring to promote further the trade and investment existing between and amongst the countries; 3) Recognizing the importance of fostering an open and predictable environment for international trade and investment; 4) Recognizing that reduced barriers to trade in the region will increase and improve trade relations with and within the region and between the region and Afghanistan and hence will be conducive to regional stability;
5) Taking into account the membership of some of the Parties in the World Trade Organization (WTO) and the intention of other Parties to accede to the WTO and noting that this Agreement is without prejudice to the rights and obligations of the Parties, where applicable, under the Marrakesh Agreement Establishing the WTO and the agreements, understandings, and other instruments relating thereto or concluded under the auspices of the WTO; 6) Recognizing the benefits to each Party resulting from increased international trade and investment, and that trade-distorting investment measures and protectionist trade barriers would deprive the Parties of such benefits; 7) Recognizing the essential role of both domestic and foreign private investment in furthering growth, creating jobs, expanding trade, improving technology, and enhancing economic development; 8) Recognizing that foreign direct investment confers positive benefits on each Party;
9) Desiring to encourage and facilitate private sector and business contacts between and amongst the Parties; 10) Acknowledging the Agreement on Bilateral Trade Relations and the Bilateral Investment Treaty, both signed on May 19, 1992 between the Government of the United States of America and the Government of the Republic of Kazakhstan; the Agreement on Bilateral Trade Relations signed on May 8, 1992 and the Bilateral Investment Treaty signed on January 19, 1993 between the United States of America and the Government of the Kyrgyz Republic; the Agreement on Bilateral Trade Relations signed on July 1, 1993 between the Government of the United States of America and the Government of the Republic of Tajikistan; the Agreement on Bilateral Trade Relations signed on March 23, 1993 between the Government of the United States of America and the Government of Turkmenistan; the Agreement on Bilateral Trade Relations signed November 5, 1993, between the Government of the United States of America and the Government of Uzbekistan;
11) Noting that this Agreement is without prejudice to the rights and obligations of the Parties under the agreements cited in paragraph 10 of this preamble; 12) Recognizing the increased importance of services in the Central Asian economies and in relations between and amongst the Parties; 13) Taking into account the need to eliminate non-tariff barriers in order to facilitate greater access to the markets of the Parties and the mutual benefits thereof; 14) Recognizing the importance of providing adequate and effective protection and enforcement of intellectual property rights and of membership in and adherence to intellectual property rights conventions; 15) Recognizing the importance of providing adequate and effective protection and enforcement of worker rights in accordance with each Party s own labor laws and of improving the observance of internationally recognized core labor standards;
16) Desiring to ensure that trade and environmental policies are mutually supportive in the furtherance of sustainable development; 17) Desiring that this Framework Agreement reinforce the multilateral trading system by strengthening efforts of WTO members to complete successfully the Doha Development Agenda; and 18) Considering that it would be in the respective interests of the Parties to establish a mechanism between the Parties for encouraging the liberalization of trade and investment between and amongst them, including through the Central Asian Cooperation Organization.
Legacies of Afghanistan From the point of view of the Central Asian states, the war on terrorism is a guerrilla struggle against insurgents. This struggle has its origins in Afghanistan. Following the overthrow of King Zahir Shah of Afghanistan in 1973 and six years of political instability, the Soviet government forcibly intervened in 1979 to create an Afghan government loyal to Moscow. Facing mounting costs, however, and unable to cultivate a stable, pro-Moscow government, the Soviet Union withdrew its troops in Afghanistan quickly collapsed into civil war and regained only partial unity when the Taliban rose to power in the mid-1990s.
The years of Taliban rule have had a major impact on Central Asian affairs. Fear of Taliban s extremist doctrines was one of the key factors in resolving the Tajikistan civil war in The Taliban s provision of sanctuary for Uzbek insurgents helped to forge a consensus for regional cooperation among the Central Asian powers. And the Taliban made partners of Russia and the United States the joint sponsors of UN Resolutions1267 and 1333, which demanded the elimination of opium production and the extradition of Osama bin Laden.
Calling themselves the Islamic Movement of Uzbekistan (IMU), insurgents exploded a series of bombs in downtown Tashkent in February 1999, killing sixteen. If the government s account of the events is accurate, a bomb narrowly missed claiming the life of President Karimov. In the summer of 1999 IMU chief Juma Namangani led a brigade of insurgents from Tajikistan into staging areas in Kyrgyzstan in preparationfor a major assault on Uzbekistan s Fergana Valley
Throughout the spring of 2001 Central Asian governments were anxiously developing plans for a coordinated interstate program to repulse new terrorist attacks. Many of these terrorists were originally from Central Asia and returned after receiving training in Afghanistan. They had common cause with other opposition members and formed coalitions against the secular governments of Central Asia.
Russia, the United States, and the Logic of Coalition Central Asia s proximity to regions that pose a challenge to international security, especially in the form of terrorist threats, has introduced a market of security, or antiterrorist, services, which involve the operation of various actors and alliances. In light of this situation, Tashkent is now facing a difficult geopolitical dilemma: which force should it rely on? Uzbekistan s strategic partnerships with the United States and Russia are acquiring special importance under these conditions.
In general, the geopolitical entry of the U.S. into Central Asia, and more importantly the American-Uzbek rapprochement, were largely due to the increased geopolitical importance of the region. It was also motivated by the global terrorist threat, together with the military operation in Afghanistan, started in October Washington worked out its Central Asian strategy in a consistent and systemic manner: in 1992, the U.S. Senate passed the Freedom Support Act, which emphasizes the importance of rendering assistance to newly independent states. Then came the Silk Road Strategy Act, passed in In March 2002, the U.S. and Uzbekistan signed the Declaration on the Strategic Partnership and Cooperation Framework.
Following the disorder that erupted in the Uzbek city of Andijan on May 13, 2005, the United States reduced its presence in Uzbekistan. The U.S., together with other Western states and international organizations, described the measures taken by the Uzbek authorities to suppress the terrorist riot as an indiscriminate use of force, which resulted in numerous casualties among the civilian population. The West demanded an international investigation of those events. Tashkent rejected the idea, saying it was an internal affair of a sovereign state. The West reacted by imposing sanctions on Uzbekistan, leaving it in semi-isolation on the international scene, while its relations with the U.S. deteriorated.
The official Uzbek position blamed Washington for inspiring the Andijan riot. Soon thereafter, Tashkent demanded that the U.S. military force be withdrawn from Uzbekistan by the end of Washington s demand for an international investigation has not changed. Meanwhile, all American nongovernmental organizations have had to terminate their activities in Uzbekistan. The many developments in Central Asia, including Russia s full membership in CACO, the opening of Russian military bases in Tajikistan and Kyrgyzstan, the establishment of allied relations between Uzbekistan and Russia, and the merger of CACO and EurAsEC, are more the result of Central Asia s retreat than Russia s offensive. In June 2004, during a visit by Russian President Vladimir Putin to Tashkent, Russia signed a Strategic Partnership Treaty with Uzbekistan. In the treaty, the Parties pledged to coordinate their efforts to build a strong and effective regional security system in Central Asia, and to create bilateral consulting mechanisms to this end (on a permanent basis and if need be).
Concert of Asia Some analysts argue that the key to security throughout the entire Asian region would be a regional concert of powers along the lines of the classical balance of power of 19th century Europe.47 The common dangers facing the Central Asian countries in recent years have given new life to the urgency of regional cooperation. This has been reflected in the gradual expansion of the mandates of the key regional security organizations, the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO), the Conference on Interaction and Confidence Building Measures, and the CIS Collective Security Treaty Organization (CSTO). Also Russia s renewed role in Central Asia is a bellwether eve nt for U.S. diplomacy. It signals a new stage in the region s s trategic relationships.
The normalization of Afghanistan for Central Asia has broader, long-term economic and political implications. No Concert of Asia will be complete until the Central Asian countries can truly integrate with the markets of South Asia. This is not only an economic goal, but a political necessity for the region. The flip side is that Central Asian leaders tend to misperceive U.S. intentions. Georgia s Rose Revolution produced immediate, negative political reverberations throughout Central Asia. The Central Asian leadership immediately drew the lesson that political succession could come from within as well as from without. The Central Asian countries stand side by side with the other leading countries in the international community in condemning terrorism and political extremism as great evils that confront one and all alike, and these states are crucial allies in a protracted struggle.