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Islamist Elements Behind Violence, Kyrgystan Government Says

Com­ment: As not­ed pre­vi­ous­ly, the towns of Osh and Jalal-Abad in Kyr­gys­tan, in addi­tion to being flash­points of lethal Uzbek/Kyrgyz eth­nic ten­sions, are epi­cen­ters of activ­i­ty for Hizb Ut-Tahrir [1], a Mus­lim Broth­er­hood affil­i­ate.

The gov­ern­ment of Kyr­gyzs­tan is now claim­ing that Islamist ele­ments, con­spir­ing with the fam­i­ly of the deposed leader, pre­cip­i­tat­ed the vio­lence. In FTR #710 [2], we viewed plans at an appar­ent­ly U.S.-supported con­fer­ence Geor­gia con­fer­ence in Decem­ber of 2009, intend­ed on pro­mot­ing Islamist activ­i­ty in the Cau­ca­sus.

Is the cen­tral Asian vio­lence, alleged­ly Islamist in ori­gin, con­nect­ed to this, and to attempts by West­ern oil-con­nect­ed areas to tease the Cau­ca­sus and its fos­sil fuel resources away from Rus­sia?

Sig­nif­i­cant, also, is the area’s impor­tant sup­ply point for NATO forces in Afghanistan, as well as an impor­tant trans­ship­ment point for hero­in com­ing from that coun­try.

“Kyr­gys­tan Says Islamist Groups Sparked Vio­lence” by Leila Salaye­va [AP]; google.com; 6/25/2010. [3]

Kyr­gyzs­tan’s secu­ri­ty agency claimed Thurs­day that rel­a­tives of the top­pled pres­i­dent col­lud­ed with the Tal­iban and oth­er Islam­ic mil­i­tant move­ments to pro­voke the eth­nic vio­lence that has desta­bi­lized the Cen­tral Asian nation.

The agency pro­vid­ed no evi­dence and there was no way of inde­pen­dent­ly con­firm­ing the claim, which added to a series of alle­ga­tions and counter-alle­ga­tions about the cause of the vio­lence issued by rival groups in Kyr­gyzs­tan.

The secu­ri­ty agency said two of for­mer Pres­i­dent Kur­man­bek Bakiyev’s rel­a­tives met last month in Afghanistan with rep­re­sen­ta­tives of the Tal­iban, the Islam­ic Move­ment of Uzbek­istan and Tajik mil­i­tants to dis­cuss plans to trig­ger unrest in Kyr­gyzs­tan.

At the meet­ing in the Badakhshan region, they agreed that IMU forces would stir up vio­lence and would be paid $30 mil­lion by the Bakiyevs, the agency state­ment said.

The UN said this mon­th’s eth­nic riots were delib­er­ate­ly set off by orga­nized groups of gun­men in ski masks, but has not named the sus­pect­ed insti­ga­tor.

Since the 1991 Sovi­et col­lapse the dense­ly pop­u­lat­ed, impov­er­ished and con­ser­v­a­tive Fer­gana Val­ley that Kyr­gyzs­tan shares with Tajik­istan and Uzbek­istan has become a breed­ing ground for fun­da­men­tal­ist Islam­ic groups, includ­ing the al Qai­da-linked IMU.

In 1999–2001, IMU fight­ers made sev­er­al incur­sions into Uzbek­istan and Kyr­gyzs­tan. The IMU, which had train­ing camps in Afghanistan, was believed to have been set back dur­ing U.S.-led oper­a­tions in Afghanistan, but there have been signs of renewed activ­i­ty in Cen­tral Asia.

The secu­ri­ty agency also implied that some eth­nic Uzbek lead­ers in Kyr­gyzs­tan helped fuel the unrest by their demands for greater rights and auton­o­my.

One of Bakiyev’s broth­ers was believed to have been in Tajik­istan along the moun­tain­ous bor­der with Afghanistan.

The secu­ri­ty agency also said that Bakiyev’s 33-year-old son Max­im, a wealthy busi­ness­man, held a sep­a­rate meet­ing with IMU rep­re­sen­ta­tives in Dubai in April. Max­im Bakiyev, who is want­ed in Kyr­gyzs­tan on fraud charges, has sought asy­lum in Britain, say­ing the new gov­ern­ment has tried to blame him for the vio­lence.

Kur­man Bakiyev was dri­ven from pow­er fol­low­ing dead­ly street protests on April 7 fed by anger over cor­rup­tion in his inner cir­cle. Now in self-imposed exile in Belarus, he has denied the new inter­im gov­ern­men­t’s alle­ga­tions that he insti­gat­ed the eth­nic riot­ing, which killed about 2,000 peo­ple and left 400,000 eth­nic Uzbeks home­less.