Uzbekistan, Saudi Arabia 2.0?
Excellent Article from the Christian Science Monitor:
US blocked NATO call for probe of Uzbek 'massacre'?
A report that US defense officials helped block a NATO demand for an international probe into last month's killing of protesters in Uzbekistan is proving an air base there to be one of the more diplomatically costly "lily pads" in Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld's new lean, mean restructuring of the US global military presence.
The Uzbek government has admitted that 173 people were killed on May 13 in Andijan but independent witnesses and human rights organizations put the number of victims at between 500 and 1,000. Human Rights Watch, for instance, has called the incident a "massacre." Karimov has portrayed the killings as a necessary response to a revolt by Islamic extremists.
Comments: Freedom is on the march, right?
There are, of course, no easy solutions to these problems. We need Uzbekistan to fight the GWOT. It's key to our current operations in the region. However, are we sacrificing long term gains in order to achieve short-term goals?
One of the biggest complaints that the Muslims have against us is that we prop up the Saudi regime without demanding much reform. And any actual reforms that have been implemented have moved at glacial speeds. And now we are supporting another repressive regime--Saudi 2.0.
I'm not sure what the answer is, but it seems to me that the Uzbek government needs us as much as we need them. We're there on the ground in a good position to influence things. Are we doing enough to ratchet up the pressure on them? Or do we have blinders on? The Cold War was a multi-generational effort. The GWOT will be the same. Are we laying the groundwork for victory 10 and 20 years from now. Or did the next UBL watch his brother or father die in the massacre while the US stood idly by?