March 31, 2005

MORE ON CENTRAL ASIA: StrategyPage is not optimistic:

Uzbek President Islam Karimov and Kazakh President Nursultan Nazabayev are concerned that they will be overthrown like Askar Akayev in Kyrgyzstan. Uzbekistan and Kazakhstan have both been plundered by their presidential families. Kyrgyzstan, Uzbekistan and Kazakhstan all suffer corruption, unemployment and sluggish economies. All three conditions are linked by the greed of the presidential families and the politicians that support them. In all three countries, the support for the leadership is so narrow, that the police and army cannot be trusted to open fire on large demonstrations of angry citizens. But first, Kyrgyzstan has to sort out who is in charge. If this is done in such a way that most corrupt politicians are out of work, then Uzbekistan and Kazakhstan could be next. But for the moment, a lot of the crooked Kyrgyz bureaucrats may be able to buy their way out of this mess, and the “Tulip Revolution” may end up on the mulch pile.

Stay tuned.