Stephen Zunes: Obama to Aid Uzbek Dictatorship

By Stephen Zunes, FPIF, November 9, 2011

Stephen ZunesThe U.S. Senate Appropriations Committee, in a move initiated by the Obama administration, has voted to waive Bush-era human rights restrictions on military aid to the Islam Karimov dictatorship in Uzbekistan, one of the most brutal and repressive regimes on the planet. The lifting of the restrictions, now part of the Foreign Operations bill, is before the full Senate and appears to have bipartisan support. The Obama administration has indicated that it intends to provide taxpayer-funded military assistance to Uzbekistan once the legislation passes both houses of Congress.

Torture is endemic in Karimov’s Uzbekistan, where his regime has banned all opposition political parties, severely restricted freedom of expression, forced international human rights and NGOs out of the country, suppressed religious freedom, and annually taken as many as two million children out of school to engage in forced labor for the cotton harvest.  Thousands of dissidents have been jailed and many hundreds have been killed, some of them literally boiled alive.

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One Response to “Stephen Zunes: Obama to Aid Uzbek Dictatorship”

  1. Rupen Savoulian Says:

    All of the former Soviet republics, when gaining independence in 1991, claimed that democratisation would flourish now that the previous Communist governments were overthrown. The removal of the Communist party from power, and multiparty elections, were among the main demands of those that demands secession from the USSR. Uzbekistan never had a powerful secessionist movement, but it did declare independence in 1991 and went its own way. The statues of Marx and Lenin have been replaced.

    The new hero of democratic Uzbekistan is Tamerlane, a Mongol-Turk despotic conquistador who established the Timurid empire by devastating cities, butchering entire populations (such as at Baghdad and Damascus), and whose favourite tactic was displaying mounds of the decapitated heads of his victims. A megalomaniac and mass murderer is hailed as a hero in a country that is purportedly a democracy. That tells you what kind of regime Karimov upholds as an example to emulate.

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