Uzbekistan, the most strategically situated Central Asian country, has exhibited the most appalling record on human rights and democratic reforms. Yet, post-September 11, a transformation in US policy has suddenly taken place: US troops are now stationed there; Washington has put the Islamic Movement of Uzbekistan on its list of terrorist organizations; and the Bush administration has promised to triple aid to President Karimov`s highly authoritarian regime.
This unique study explores the central question from a longer-term Uzbek point of view: to what extent are closer ties between Washington and Tashkent contributing to political reforms inside Uzbekistan? Dr Akbarzadeh describes political events since independence, including the emergence of a radical Islamic opposition. He analyses how September 11 has catalysed a transformation in Washington`s attitude as it perceived a common Islamic enemy, and he examines the possible beginnings of a retreat from Soviet-style politics.
Shahram Akbarzadeh is a senior lecturer in global politics at the School of Political and Social Inquiry, Monash University, Australia. He has researched and published on Central Asia affairs for a decade. Akbarzadeh co-authored the Historical Dictionary of Tajikistan (2002) and co-edited Muslim Communities in Australia (2001) and Islam and Political Legitimacy (2003).
Foreword by Yaacov Ro'i 1. From Soviet to post-Soviet authoritarianism 2. Islamic challenge 3. Tashkent's foreign policy decisions 4. Uzbekistan and the United States: A difficult relationship 5. September 11 and the 'war on terror' 6. Human rights and democracy 7. Prospects for authoritarian withdrawal Appendixes