This was apparently published a month ago, so it's not exactly news, but it's still fascinating: a high-level Uzbek spy has defected, and he brought some pretty damning information along with him. First of all, he says that Karimov himself (president-for-life of Uzbekistan) ordered the Andijan massacre:
Yakubov says Karimov directly ordered senior military officers to instruct troops to fire on protesters in the eastern city of Andijon in 2005, killing more than 1,500 people -- twice as many as rights groups estimated. Karimov has repeatedly denied that charge.
And not only that, but the terrorist group he blamed on instigating the incident was also funded by the Uzbek government:
In a related charge, Yakubov says the regime itself has propped up many alleged extremist groups and their leaders, including Tahir Yuldash, the purported IMU leader, and Akram Yuldash, the alleged spiritual leader of Akramia, the group Uzbek authorities blamed for sparking the unrest in Andijon.
...and despite propping these radical Islamists, it turns out that the 2004 terrorist attacks that won Uzbekistan so much sympathy abroad were really false-flag operations perpetrated by the Uzbek secret services:
The government blamed the explosions on the Islamic Movement of Uzbekistan (IMU), a U.S. State Department-designated terrorist group, and Hizb-ut Tahrir, an organization that eschews violence but seeks Islamic rule in Central Asia. Yakubov says that after speaking to an operational officer directly involved in the bombings, he realized that the government itself had prepared them.
False-flag Islamic terrorist attacks aren't exactly a new idea. Uzbekistan's old bosses in the Kremlin have been big fans of creating false terrorist attacks, having orchestrated the 1999 Russian apartment bombings, which were blamed on Chechen Islamic terrorist groups. And then of course, there's Alexander Litvinenko, who alleged that essentially every example of Islamic terrorism is actually a false flag attack committed by the Russian secret services.
The attacks – specifically the aforementioned 2004 bombings in Tashkent and Bukhara – worked remarkably well, and combined with Karimov's previous support of the Americans after 9/11, led Heritage Foundation scholar Ariel Cohen to declare that the bombings were all the more reason for the US to support Karimov's impoverishing and repressive regime:
Clearly, the terrorists' primary concern was not human rights. On the contrary, by provoking secular or moderate Muslim governments to take harsh measures, Islamist terrorists undermine those regimes' international reputations and drive a wedge between them and their democratic allies.
Furthermore, addressing anti-terrorist activities in Central Asia by targeting U.S. allies, abusing human-rights rhetoric and utilizing it to weaken or topple pro-American regimes is self-defeating and nearsighted. Extremists view U.S. sanctions against its allies as weakness. Such measures empower global terror networks to provoke pro-Western regimes.
A militant Islamic takeover of Uzbekistan may provide radicals a state base larger and militarily and technologically more sophisticated than Afghanistan. Moreover, demise of a secular Uzbekistan may have tumultuous consequences for all Central Asia. If Islamists overrun Uzbekistan, weak Central Asian states, such as Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan and even the totalitarian Turkmenistan, may follow. An Uzbekistan controlled by a radical Islamist regime, emergence of a Central Asian Califate, and waning U.S. influence in the region, will leave human rights and individual freedoms worse off than they are now.
...and then there's this cringe-worthy stab at those narrow-sighted human rights advocates:
Leftist-liberal nongovernmental organizations (NGOs) with global reach, which uphold civil rights and ignore Islamist terrorist threats, make Uzbekistan a cause celebre.
While this is a win for those of us who have been trying to show the world that Islamic terrorism is largely a red herring, the real gratification will come when the bigger and badder truths about al-Zawahiri, al-Qaeda, and 9/11 come out. But then again, to quote Star Wars, "many
Bothan Russian spies died to bring you this information," but nobody was listening.