Security and Human Rights in Central Asia

I wrote about the tension between security and human rights in Central Asia for the 19.1 Fall/Winter 2012 issue of the Brown Journal of World Affairs. They have kindly given me permission to reprint the text in full below.

Security and Human Rights in Central Asia

By Joshua Foust

In September of 2011, the United States government signed a new agreement with the government of Uzbekistan: it would reverse previous restrictions on the abusive regime in Tashkent in exchange for concessions allowing increased transport of U.S. equipment and personnel along the “Northern Distribution Network” into Afghanistan. Despite some concerns about the growing challenge of corruption in Central Asia,[1] the U.S. Senate Appropriations Committee approved a waiver that had previously restricted equipment sales to Tashkent, clearing the way for deeper collaboration.[2]

The decision to reengage with the government of Uzbekistan proved deeply controversial in the human rights community. A coalition of twenty human rights groups penned an open letter to Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, urging her to oppose the passage of the waiver and to publicly condemn Uzbekistan’s human rights record.[3]

The U.S. government, however, has a different view. Since the fall of the Soviet Union in 1991 US policy towards Central Asia[4] has generally been needs-based and transactional. Though political liberalization and human rights concerned diplomats and policymakers, the first major focus of U.S. policy toward Central Asia prioritized denuclearizing Kazakhstan through the Nunn-Lugar Nuclear Cooperative Threat Reduction Program.[5]

After the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks in New York and Washington, U.S. policy shifted away from threat reduction and refocused around counterterrorism. Though Islamist terrorism in Central Asia had concerned policymakers beforehand – not just Osama bin Laden in Afghanistan but groups like the Islamic Movement of Uzbekistan as well[6] – countering Islamist terror groups had not dominated U.S. regional policy. The 9/11 attacks resulted in an immediate focus on Islamist terrorist groups in Central Asia,[7] and U.S. policymakers prioritized facilitating the cooperation of Central Asian governments in counterterrorism.[8]

Addressing terrorist threats in Central Asia required securing permission for over flight rights and a local base of operations, especially as the U.S. prepared to go to war in Afghanistan.[9]  However, much like during the 1990s, the U.S. engagement in Central Asian region post-2001 was transactional – which also means it is most likely limited in duration and predicated upon the completion of NATO’s exit from Afghanistan in 2014.[10]

Thus, U.S. engagement in Central Asia is best understood as a strategic policy, designed to achieve limited U.S. objectives rather than expansive social goals.  As a result, the U.S. must engage with governments widely acknowledged as horrific human rights abusers – particularly Uzbekistan but also Kazakhstan and Tajikistan.

American engagement with abusive Central Asian regimes has sparked concerns by human rights advocates who believe that US cooperation with Central Asian governments is morally equivalent to American complicity in human rights violations. [11]

Yet, despite arguing against US cooperation with Central Asia, the human rights community has been unable to produce a clear consensus on the state of human rights in Central Asia and articulate a viable alternative to U.S. policy.  Furthermore, the community is unable to contextualize its arguments in the political and strategic realities facing Central Asia as NATO forces begin departing from Afghanistan.

The resulting discourse is incoherent and unpersuasive to policymakers. It also distracts from the central question of how the US and NATO can most efficiently exit Afghanistan at a reasonable cost, since this jumbled discourse conflates short term strategic goals with long-term policy and development goals.  It also highlights the need for human rights advocates to provide a constructive approach to addressing regional human rights concerns in a manner that is supportive of US strategic objectives. Otherwise, human rights advocates risk excluding human rights concerns from the top of the U.S. agenda in Central Asia.

 

 An ad hoc engagement

The U.S. has never had close relations with the regimes of Central Asia. Those relations have, however, been focused on a few broad objectives: denuclearization, democratic consolidation and government abuses, corruption, disregard for human rights, and (most recently) counterterrorism.[12]  After the fall of the Soviet Union, the region has struggled to reconcile its history of cultural, ethnic, and religious diversity, with severe social, economic, and political rifts between its governments and component demographic groups (like the recent socio-ethnic riots in Osh, Kyrgyzstan, in 2010).[13]

The Soviet Union built the industry and infrastructure of Central Asia to service an international economic bloc; once that bloc dissolved the region was thrown into economic chaos.  Two decades after political transitions to democracy, the political and economic frameworks of these nations have yet to fully eschew their Communist legacies – and many show worrying signs of “backsliding” toward autocracy.[14]  Such a fraught political and economic landscape has made US policymaking a challenge and has often resulted in distant relations and limited political engagement with local regimes.

The US established diplomatic relations with the Central Asian regimes very quickly after the fall of the Soviet Union. Congress passed legislation governing those relations in very short order as well, with the Nunn-Lugar Cooperative Threat Reduction Act of 1991 and the FREEDOM Support Act in 1992.[15] Later, Congress passed another bill shaping U.S. relations with the region with the Silk Road Strategy Act of 1999, which revised U.S. assistance and democracy promotion while seeking closer ties with the region.[16]  The U.S. also engaged in bilateral engagement with individual regimes, focusing on specific trade issues developing energy resources with each country.

The attacks of September 11, 2001, and the US’ subsequent forays into Afghanistan and Iraq, reframed the issue of US-Central Asia relations. The result was a new strategic focus on counterterrorism in the region.  Almost overnight, Central Asia became a strategic access point for the US war on terror, though U.S. interest in the region was initially characterized as a desire to prevent “harbors” for terrorist activity.[17]  The U.S. needed over-flight permissions and bases from which to stage military operations in Afghanistan.  All five regimes struggled throughout the 90s with terrorism and criminal activity bleeding northward from Afghanistan, and quickly volunteered support for the U.S. operation.[18]  U.S. diplomats also took the increased engagement brought about by Afghanistan to advance other regional goals like improving democracy and human rights, economic integration, energy policy, counternarcotic operations, and non-proliferation.[19]

Central Asian cooperation helped the U.S. strategically; in return U.S. officials lavished the regimes of the region with subsidies and aid outlays, improved ties with and access to U.S. businesses, and relaxed standards on the part of the US government. According to Freedom House, four of the Central Asian states are “not free,” with Kyrgyzstan an exception by being “partly free.”[20]  The disparity between the general oppressiveness of local regimes and the increased attention by U.S. officials rankled many human rights groups. Human Rights Watch, for example, repeatedly admonishes Central Asian governments for rampant human rights abuses, arbitrary justice, and restrictive social environments[21] – conditions, they argue, the US has accepted or ignored because of its focus on conducting operations in Afghanistan. (This complain rang a bit hollow when, following the 2005 massacre in Andijon, Uzbekistan, the U.S. complained so much about the Uzbek government’s conduct that it lost access to the Karshi Khanabad airfield outside of Tashkent.[22])

However, the war in Afghanistan did not limit U.S. involvement to Central Asia. The bulk of U.S. supplies, equipment, and aircraft sorties come through Pakistan. In fact, the U.S. is so reliant on the Pakistan supply routes (also called “GLOCs” for “Ground Lines of Communication”) that Army General William Fraser told a Senate Armed Services Committee “we need the Pakistan GLOC open” to keep the war functioning and withdrawing on schedule.[23] This reliance came at a cost: the U.S. felt it needed to develop alternatives to Pakistan. The Northern Distribution Network grew out of a series of bilateral transit agreements with Central Asian states, notably Uzbekistan.[24] The NDN gradually took on more and more of the resupply duties for the war in Afghanistan, making the U.S. posture toward Central Asia more and more important to U.S. policymakers.

The importance of the NDN became clear on November 24, 2011, when several U.S. attack aircraft fired missiles and dropped bombs on a Pakistani border checkpoint during a chaotic firefight. They killed 24 Pakistani soldiers (The U.S. maintains the deaths were accidental).[25]  The government of Pakistan canceled U.S. access to the transport routes through the country’s south, forcing the US to rely on the (NDN) at an additional US$100 million per month.[26]  This event marked the lowest point in US-Pakistan relations, which had recently cooled due to contention over lethal US drone strikes and counterterrorism operations in the region.  The closure of Pakistani transit routes simply made the US reliant on the NDN and, by proxy, the government of Uzbekistan, in order to facilitate the evacuation of non-lethal equipment in advance of the 2014 NATO exit from Afghanistan.

This reliance worked two ways, however, and the recent re-opening of the Pakistani routes has lessened the U.S.’s dependence on the NDN.

Maintaining access to the NDN, however, required the US to make several diplomatic maneuvers to secure Uzbek cooperation,[27] despite continued accusations from the human rights community.[28]  Among these controversial measures was a waiver in 2011 that temporarily and conditionally ended the ban on the provision of non-lethal defensive military equipment to the Uzbek government.[29]  The U.S. has acknowledged that there is a tradeoff between security needs and human rights, but maintains that Central Asia will not be granted a “free pass” on human rights simply because of its cooperation in Afghanistan.[30]

In order to achieve strategic objectives in Afghanistan, the U.S. requires cooperation from Central Asian governments.  The US cannot, both on principle and from a practical standpoint, reliably extract good behavior from Central Asian governments if it expects to facilitate their cooperation in carrying out a military campaign in neighboring Afghanistan.  Similarly, there is a difficult choice at the heart of U.S. policy in the region: should the US cooperate more with Central Asia in ignorance of its poor human rights record than with Pakistan, an inconsistent ally and known safe haven for international terrorism and nuclear proliferation? The U.S. has been forced to tread lightly in human rights circles regarding its engagement with Central Asian nations and ensure that it’s focused, strategic interactions with these governments do not broach the human rights discourse.  As a result, the U.S. can argue it remains absolved of directly contributing to such violations but also fails in its strategic approach to mitigate the situation.

 

A poorly-framed and contradictory discourse

Complicating the US’ implicit stance on human rights in Central Asia is the failure of human rights advocates to adequately and appropriately articulate the human rights situation in the region, contextualize this articulation in political and strategic realities, and outline a realistic course of action.  Addressing human rights in Central Asia is a two-fold problem: current US policy elevates strategic imperatives over human rights principles, but advocates have failed to provide the much-needed insight as to how the US can effectively mitigate the regional plight of human rights abuses.  Polemic and contradictory claims of human rights violations cannot be incorporated into US strategy when they lack context and a roadmap for decisive action.

It is challenging to ascertain the breadth and depth of human rights abuses in Central Asia because of the challenges in information collection, but also because of the manner in which the human rights community chooses to present its findings.  Inappropriate framing and contradictory language distort the hard data that does corroborate claims of extensive human rights abuses at the hands of Central Asian governments, detracting credibility from the assertions made by advocates.  In one example of inappropriate framing, the Human Rights Watch (HRW) report on human rights abuses in Uzbekistan, “No One Left to Witness,” states:

Nearly a decade since the special rapporteur determined that torture in Uzbekistan was ‘systematic’ and ‘widespread,’ and almost seven years since the Andijan massacre, Uzbekistan’s atrocious human rights record and the position of its independent civil society activists continue to worsen.

The problem with HRW’s report is not the data contained within, but the way in which HRW frames its analysis and interpretation of the facts.  Using western – primarily American – policies to frame a discussion of human rights in Central Asia distracts from HRW’s discussion of Uzbekistan itself. Documenting abuses in a manner that values Central Asian human rights on their own merits and leveraging this information into action is difficult when these groups obsess so much over U.S. policy.[31]

This same HRW report also illustrates the contradictory messages emanating from the human rights community.  In characterizing the US relationship with Uzbekistan as transactional, the report argues that “[T]his policy of ‘engagement without strings’ is a short-term strategy that has compounded Uzbekistan’s deepening human rights crisis.”[32]  Yet, just one month prior to the release of this report, the Washington Director for HRW wrote that it was in the best interests of the US to forge only transactional relationships with Uzbekistan and similar governments in light of their undemocratic behaviors, and only with consistent admonishment of their human rights abuses.[33]

Such contradictory language highlights a lack of consensus in the human rights community, sometimes even within a single organization, on both the actual situation in Central Asia and a strategic approach for modifying U.S. policies to accommodate the rights of Central Asian citizens. There is a dearth of strategizing on what to do about Central Asia’s worsening human rights.  In a blogpost by Susan Corke for Freedom House, the US’ strategic engagement with Uzbekistan in light of profligate abuse is called into question: “why is the United States wooing one of the world’s most repressive regimes?”[34]  Corke answers her own question – Afghanistan – but continues to object to the use of the NDN as a means of applying pressure on Pakistan while still facilitating strategic objectives.  Corke then attacks the US Government for failing to consult with the human rights community on its direct engagement with Uzbek leader Islom Karimov and the Minister of Foreign Affairs.

This stance is both confusing and troubling, considering that the US Government has, since 2004 and up until recently, acted on the recommendation of human rights advocates in disengaging with the government of Uzbekistan following the 2005 violence in the city of Andijan.[35]  It communicates a lack of vision and any sense of what steps the human rights community would prefer the US take to address the human rights issues in Uzbekistan, and Central Asia as a whole.  Such conflicting language is also reflective of advocates’ inability to contextualize their findings and arguments in the political and strategic realities of Central Asia, which must account for the U.S.’s continuing presence in Afghanistan and troubled relationship with Pakistan.

Basic statecraft requires working with unsavory regimes, their representatives, and maligned practices.  Looking beyond the 2014 conclusion of the military conflict in Afghanistan, the U.S. has been open about how it will remain engaged in operations to secure, stabilize, and develop the country through training the Afghan security forces.[36]  These operations are foundational to state building in Afghanistan, and could potentially benefit Central Asian nations in the long-term by promoting regional security and economic opportunity.  It may be unfortunate that the US must interact with unsavory regimes in Central Asia to withdraw its military equipment and further its objective of a stable Afghanistan, but it is a political and strategic reality that supersedes all others from the US perspective.

On a more fundamental level, the human rights community does not often recognize that human rights abuses are only symptoms of the structural deficiencies and systemic failures plaguing the governments of Central Asia.  The region is among the most undemocratic in the world,[37] guided by “popularly elected” leaders[38] with nearly unchecked power and security services.  Yet, human rights advocates ignore the means of oppression and instead focus on the end results of undemocratic governance in Central Asia.  This shortsighted focus is only capable of producing similar results that treat the symptoms of human rights abuses – individual cases of abuse, or specific policies – but fail to cure their cause, which remains firmly rooted in the governments of these nations.  There is no real way to alter the behavior of a regime through disengagement, yet that is precisely what the human rights community demands the U.S. do. As long as the human rights community persists in advocating strategies from this perspective, it risks advancing strategies that fail to meet its own expectations in improving human rights in Central Asia while also marginalizing its influence within U.S. policymaking circles.

 

Finding a way forward?

The US is caught between its strategic imperatives and an ineffective human rights discourse.  In an effort to integrate strategic needs with human rights initiatives, the US has posited the New Silk Road as a grand strategy for the region.[39]  Seeking to bridge the rift between US strategy and principle, the New Silk Road is centered on the development of Afghanistan as the preeminent transit and trading hub for the region – an “Asian Roundabout.”

Recognizing Central Asia as a historic crossroads of global trade, the New Silk Road seeks to reclaim this heritage and within the context of modern challenges facing the region.  The foundation of this strategy is “firmly embedded in the economic life of the region” and would seek to benefit, on a local economic scale, not only Afghanistan, but all its neighbors.[40]  If following standard development ideology, increased economic development will generate improved democratic governance, which in turn will inspire greater respect for human rights, and the whole region will somehow suddenly become stable, democratic, and “developed.”

The New Silk Road, like many grand strategies, is brilliant conceptually but practically, it is unworkable.  The strategy relies heavily on the political will of Central Asian governments to cooperate with one another as well as adopt a pro-market stance.  Central Asia remains one of the most challenging environments in which to establish and conduct business.  While Kazakhstan and Kyrgyzstan have semi-free markets, they remain far from open to significant regional and global integration.  Tajikistan and Uzbekistan remain among the most restrictive business environments in the world.[41]  Central Asia’s business environments are crippled by restrictive regulations, frequent enterprise nationalizations, and poor rule of law.  Hence, corruption is one of the only reliable means of doing business in Central Asia, and while such behavior may generally achieve some business objectives, it has deleterious social and political effects.  Ranking as 120 out of 183 nations surveyed, Kazakhstan is the least corrupt nation in Central Asia; by comparison, Tajikistan and Turkmenistan tied at 177 – some of the worst, most corrupt states on Earth.[42]

Additionally, the idea that Central Asian leaders will cooperate to better both Afghanistan and their own nations, while reasonable, is unlikely to come to fruition.  Historically, the nations of Central Asia have held antagonistic stances towards one another founded upon the personal rivalries of their respective leaders.[43]  Differing comparative advantages in domestic and local economies could potentially exacerbate these conflicts, and instead of boosting economic integration, cause a retrenchment of isolationist stances amongst Central Asian nations.[44]

Thus, for all its efforts, the US is again stuck with a vision unlikely to achieve the endgame of a secure Afghanistan and democratic, capitalist Central Asian region.  If an approach such as the New Silk Road fails strike a balance between strategy and principle, what approach has a chance of succeeding?

Germany has grappled with this question in establishing business ties with Kazakhstan.  Fearing a German dependence on China for rare earth mineral, Chancellor Angela Merkel met with Kazakh President Nursultan Nazarbayev in February 2012 to sign a €3 billion partnership in rare earth metals.  In agreeing to the partnership, Merkel acknowledged that human rights and democratic principles must be addressed alongside economic interests, an assertion backed by her calls for improved human rights in Russia and China and a meeting with Tibet’s spiritual leader, the Dalai Lama, in 2007.[45]  However, human rights leaders in Europe suggest that as China’s power increases and resulting pressures are felt in global markets, European leadership, like that of the US, is failing to balance national interests with the human rights issues in the nations with whom they conduct business.[46]

It is reasonable to believe that at some point, the political and social landscapes of Central Asian nations will change: heads of states will die, populations will become increasingly worldly as technology gradually seeps into society, geopolitical shifts external to the region will affect political shifts within it.  Any forward-looking US policy for Central Asia must take into consideration what could change alongside what it would like to see change.  The governments of Central Asia have aging leaderships that have repeatedly and consistently demonstrated that they are far removed from the political and economic realities of a post-Cold War era.  And if there is anything to be learned from the Arab Spring, it is that a people can only be repressed for so long in the face of technological proliferation and information democratization.  Central Asia still remains fairly isolated from global trends – internet penetration is still low, in part due to official pressure – but this is gradually changing.[47]  While it is unlikely for several reasons that Central Asia will experience its own version of the Arab Spring, change will eventually come.  It is a matter of smart policymaking to anticipate its effects.

A smart US policy for Central Asia would honor strategic objectives in Afghanistan, build upon coherent and constructive input from the human rights community, and be prescient in scope.  However, questions remain as to whether Afghanistan will survive the 2014 NATO exit and what shape the human rights discourse should take.  Until the human rights community is able to articulate and contextualize its arguments about Central Asian human rights abuses, the US will be unable to incorporate such considerations into its Central Asia strategy.

REFERENCES


[1] Calendar No. 179, Report 112-85 (2011). “DEPARTMENT OF STATE, FOREIGN OPERATIONS, AND RELATED PROGRAMS APPROPRIATIONS BILL, 2012.” <http://www.gpo.gov/fdsys/pkg/CRPT-112srpt85/pdf/CRPT-112srpt85.pdf>, p. 50.

[2] S.1601, Department of State Appropriations for foreign operations (2011). <http://utas.libguides.com/content.php?pid=27520&sid=273524>

[3] International Crisis Group, et. al (2011). “Joint Letter to Secretary Clinton regarding Uzbekistan.” 27 September 2011. <http://www.crisisgroup.org/en/publication-type/media-releases/2011/asia/joint-letter-to-secretary-clinton-regarding-uzbekistan.aspx>

[4] “Central Asia” denotes the nations of Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, and Uzbekistan.

[5] Mary Kaszynski, “The Nunn-Lugar Cooperative Threat Reduction Program,” American Security Project, 25 July 2012, http://americansecurityproject.org/featured-items/2012/fact-sheet-the-nunn-lugar-cooperative-threat-reduction-program-securing-and-safeguarding-weapons-of-mass-destruction/

[6] Department of State, “Eurasia Overview,” Patterns of Global Terrorism: 1999, April 2000, http://www.fas.org/irp/threat/terror_99/eurasia.html

[7] Christian Caryl, “In The Hot Zone,” Newsweek, 07 October 2001, http://www.thedailybeast.com/newsweek/2001/10/07/in-the-hot-zone.html

[8] Jim Nichol.  “Central Asia: Regional Developments and Implications for U.S. Interests,” Congressional Research Service.  CRS Report for Congress, RL33458.  May 31, 2012, http://www.fas.org/sgp/crs/row/RL33458.pdf.

[9] Joshua Foust.  “NATO’s failure to reopen Pakistani supply routes,” The Hill.  May 23, 2012, http://thehill.com/blogs/congress-blog/foreign-policy/229179-natos-failure-to-reopen-pakistani-supply-routes.

[10] Nathan Hodge.  “U.S. Ends Ban on Aid to Uzbekistan,” The New York Times.  February 1, 2012, http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052970204740904577195320852955792.html?mod=googlenews_wsj.

[11] Human Rights Watch.  “Uzbekistan: No Justice 7 Years after Andijan Massacre,” Human Rights Watch.  May 12, 2012, http://www.hrw.org/news/2012/05/11/uzbekistan-no-justice-7-years-after-andijan-massacre.

[12] Jim Nichol.  “Central Asia: Regional Developments and Implications for U.S. Interests,” Congressional Research Service, available at the Federation of American Scientists.  CRS Report for Congress, RL33458.  May 31, 2012, http://www.fas.org/sgp/crs/row/RL33458.pdf.

[13] U.S. Department of State.  “South and Central Asia Affairs: Countries and Other Areas,” U.S. Department of State.  July 18, 2012, http://www.state.gov/p/sca/ci/index.htm.

[14] Ellen Barry.  “In Kazakhstan, a Good Old-Fashioned Sham Election,” The New York Times.  April 9, 2011, http://www.nytimes.com/2011/04/10/weekinreview/10KAZAKHSTAN.html?_r=1&pagewanted=all.

[15] 102nd Congress.  “H.R. 4547: FREEDOM Support Act of 1992,” The Library of Congress.  July 2, 1992.  http://thomas.loc.gov/cgi-bin/query/D?c102:2:./temp/~c102Cq7fvJ::

[16] 106th Congress.  “H.R. 1152.PCS: Silk Road Strategy Act of 1999,” The Library of Congress.  August 3, 1999, http://thomas.loc.gov/cgi-bin/query/D?c106:3:./temp/~c106Tn7Gyr::

[17] U.S. Senate, Committee on Foreign Relations, Subcommittee on Central Asia and the South Caucasus, “The U.S. Role in Central Asia” Testimony of B. Lynn Pascoe, Deputy Assistant Secretary for European and Eurasian Affairs, June 27, 2002, http://2001-2009.state.gov/p/eur/rls/rm/2002/11535.htm.

[18] Jim Nichol.  “Central Asia: Regional Developments and Implications for U.S. Interests,” Congressional Research Service, available at the Federation of American Scientists.  CRS Report for Congress, RL33458.  May 31, 2012, http://www.fas.org/sgp/crs/row/RL33458.pdf.

[19] Joshua Foust.  “Central Asia and US Strategic Interests Briefing,” Briefing hosted at the American Security Project.  March 2, 2012.

[20] Freedom House.  “Central and Eastern Europe/Eurasia,” Freedom House.  July 18, 2012, http://www.freedomhouse.org/regions/central-and-eastern-europeeurasia.

[21] Human Rights Watch.  “World Report 2012,” Human Rights Watch.  2012, http://www.hrw.org/world-report-2012.

[22] Joshua Foust, “Andijon +6, +ça Change?” Registan.net, 13 May 2011, http://registan.net/index.php/2011/05/13/andijon-6-ca-change/

[23] Brian Everstine, “TRANSCOM boss: Pakistan cargo lines must reopen,” Army Times, 28 February 2012, http://www.armytimes.com/news/2012/02/airforce-transcom-pakistan-cargolines-022812w/

[24] Joshua Foust, “Termez, Where the ‘T’ is for ‘Transit,’” Registan.net, 08 April 2008, http://registan.net/index.php/2008/04/08/termez-where-the-t-is-for-transit/

[25] Salman Masood and Eric Schmitt.  “tensions Flare Between U.S. and Pakistan After Strike,” The New York Times.  November 26, 2011, http://www.nytimes.com/2011/11/27/world/asia/pakistan-says-nato-helicopters-kill-dozens-of-soldiers.html?pagewanted=all.

[26] Tom A. Peter.  “Pakistan open NATO supply line in boon to US forces in Afghanistan,” The Christian Science Monitor.  July 3, 2012, http://www.csmonitor.com/World/Asia-South-Central/2012/0703/Pakistan-opens-NATO-supply-line-in-boon-to-US-forces-in-Afghanistan-video.

[27] Peter Leonard.  “US Cozies Up to Uzbekistan for Afghan Role,” Associated Press in Military News. July 6, 2012, http://www.military.com/daily-news/2012/07/06/us-cozies-up-to-uzbekistan-for-afghan-role.html.

[28] Human Rights Watch.  “Uzbekistan: Detainees Tortured, lawyers Silenced,” Human Rights Watch.  December 13, 2011, http://www.hrw.org/node/103582.

[29] 112th Congress.  “H.R. 2055: Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2012,” The Library of Congress.  2012, http://thomas.loc.gov/cgi-bin/query/F?c112:7:./temp/~c112ca1WXT:e704:.

[30] Joshua Foust.  “Central Asia and US Strategic Interests Briefing,” Briefing hosted at the American Security Project.  March 2, 2012.

[31] Human Rights Watch.  “Who We Are,” Human Rights Watch.  July 23, 2012, http://www.hrw.org/node/75136

[32] Human Rights Watch. “No One Left to Witness: Torture, the Failure of Habeaus Corpus, and the Silencing of Lawyers in Uzbekistan,” Human Rights Watch December 13, 2011, http://www.hrw.org/reports/2011/12/13/no-one-left-witness-0.

[33] Tom Malinowski.  “Kisses for Karimov,” Foreign Policy.  November 14, 2011, http://www.foreignpolicy.com/articles/2011/11/14/islam_karimov_uzbekistan_libya?page=0,2.

[34] Susan Corke.  “In courting Uzbekistan, the United States stoops too low,” blog for Freedom House.  November 3, 2011, http://blog.freedomhouse.org/weblog/2011/11/in-courting-uzbekistan-the-united-states-stoops-too-low.html.

[35] Jim Nichol.  “Central Asia: Regional Developments and Implications for U.S. Interests,” Congressional Research Service, available at the Federation of American Scientists.  CRS Report for Congress, RL33458.  May 31, 2012, http://www.fas.org/sgp/crs/row/RL33458.pdf.

[36] Alissa J. Rubin.  “With Pact, U.S. Agrees to Help Afghans for Years to Come,” New York Times.  April 22, 2012, http://www.nytimes.com/2012/04/23/world/asia/us-and-afghanistan-reach-partnership-agreement.html?pagewanted=all.

[37] Freedom House.  “Central and Eastern Europe/Eurasia,” Freedom House.  July 18, 2012, http://www.freedomhouse.org/regions/central-and-eastern-europeeurasia.

[38] Consortium for Elections and Political Process Strengthening.  “Election Guide,” CEPPS.  July 23, 2012, http://www.electionguide.org/.

[39] Robert D. Hormats.  “The United States’ ‘New Silk Road’ Strategy: What is it? Where is it Headed?”  Address to the SAIS Central Asia-Caucasus Institute and CSIS Forum, Washington DC. September 29, 2011.  http://www.state.gov/e/rls/rmk/2011/174800.htm.

[40] Ibid.

[41] International Finance Corporation and World Bank. “Doing Business: Measuring Business Regulations.” July 25, 2012. http://www.doingbusiness.org/.

[42] Transparency International.  “Corruption by Country/Territory,” Transparency International. 2011 data, accessed July 25, 2012, http://www.transparency.org/country.

[43] Robin Forestier-Walker and Al Jazeera.  “Kazakhstan seeks greater role as NATO route,” Al Jazeera.  July 9, 2012, http://www.aljazeera.com/news/asia/2012/07/201276151731733281.html.

[44] William Byrd, Martin Raiser, et al.  “Economic Cooperation in the Central Asia Region,” World Bank Working paper No. 75.  2006.  Available online: http://siteresources.worldbank.org/INTSOUTHASIA/556101-1101747511943/21363080/WiderCAWorkingPaperfinal.pdf.

[45] Judy Dempsey.  “Balancing Business and Human Rights,” The New York Times Europe.  February 20, 2012, http://www.nytimes.com/2012/02/21/world/europe/21iht-letter21.html?_r=3.

[46] Ibid.

[47] Farangis Najibullah.  “Central Asia: Internet Influence Grows Despite Official Pressure,” Radio Free Europe Radio Liberty/Kazakhstan.  July 26, 2007, http://www.rferl.org/content/article/1077827.html.

 

joshua.foust
Joshua Foust is a writer and analyst who studies foreign policy.

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