Of good and bad dictators


Why the Uzbek popular movement does not fit US designs

Only two weeks ago Bush, visiting Tbilissi, has been praising the series of what he happened to call "democratic revolutions" in Ukraine, Georgia and ultimately Kyrgyzstan. What he actually meant were palace coups within the pro-US oligarchy using and canalising the popular discontent with the dictatorial capitalists elites to bring to power puppets even more servile to Washington – but not less corrupt. The most striking example was the Ukraine where the movement against the oligarch Kutchma, who had sent troops to Iraq to serve his masters, had chosen as its icon the main figure of the mafia which enriched herself by stealing state property in connivance with Kutchma, namely Timoshenko. No different in the other places. Under the guise of "democratic revolution" opening the security valve for the popular unrest was used to recycle the regime and to install even worse figures. This was possible as the popular dissent had no organised form but could be modelled by US-funded NGOs according to the example of Otpor in Serbia half a decade ago.

Now in Uzbekistan everything is different. Karimov is by far the most cruel and corrupt tyrant of the region being tapped the new Tamerlan. (The legendary last nomadic ruler of the Central Asian plains used to order pyramids of skulls to be erected after battles to better terrify subdued populations.) By extinguishing in the name of the war against "Islamic terrorism" even the most moderate opposition he has been pleasing his Washington masters. They have been pouring in year by year hundreds of millions of dollars to military back the regime which in return handed over the strategic Khanabad air base.

The occasion of the recent revolt in the Fergana valley was the political trial against quietist Islamic businessmen who by building a network of Islamic charity organisations frightened the slaughterer of Tashkent. So he cracked down also on those who did not only have renounced armed struggle but also politics in general. Karimov´s dictatorship goes thus far that he is closing down countless mosques while the population is turning back to Islam. In this way he is denying the elementary right of religious worshipping.

While Karimov is claiming the eruption of popular unrest as usual on "Islamic terrorists" it is actually a genuine expression of the quest of the impoverished masses for livelihood and elementary political, religious and cultural freedom. The problem for the US is that – different to other former Soviet republics – that the movement is led by well-organised Islamic anti-imperialist forces opposing both the US as well as Russian hegemony. Where ever the people cannot be any more manipulated according to the imperial designs, brute force is unleashed and all empty talk of "democracy" evaporates.

Although the US is engaged in also weakening its allies like Russia wherever possible, the "anti-terrorist" alliance prevails. Consequently both Washington as well as Moscow have confirmed their support to the mass murderer who killed in Andijan alone more than 500 people in cold blood. It is their dictator, thus a good one, according to the old imperial doctrine.

The US support is not even altered by the fact that Karimov seems to have understood that the slavish subordination to Washington is neither tenable in front of the popular masses nor pays for his personal fate. He has seen how easily the US gets rid of former puppets if they cause them troubles and can be replaced by more functional ones. So he turned back to Russia for support even starting anti-US rhetoric (he left the pro-US GUUAM pact while not touching the "security co-operation") which is acceptable for the US as long as they hope to thus contain a greater enemy that is the popular masses led by Islamic organisations.

The Anti-imperialists must not fall in the trap to set their hopes on the Russian capitalist oligarchy led by Putin. He might try to preserve his sphere of influence against US intrusion but regarding the main question, the global pre-emptive war on "terror" that is popular anti-imperial resistance, Washington and Moscow are unified.

Our only hope is the struggle of the popular masses for social and political rights regardless whether they are Islamic or not. We support them in their battle against the US empire and its allies like Russia, the EU and even China which is in full support of the "anti-terror alliance" when it comes to suppress the popular movements even more when they are let by Islamic forces.

Support the struggle of the Uzbek and the Central Asian people for democratic, social and national rights!
Down with the tyranny of Karimov and his regional homologues!
US and Russian military bases out!
Down with the US empire and the Russian hegemonic drive!

Anti-imperialist Camp
May 18, 2005