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Message-ID: <199806130455.AAA16108@sirocco.CC.McGill.CA>
Date: Sat, 13 Jun 1998 00:53:46 -0400
Sender: CENASIA Former Soviet Republic - Central Asia Discussion <CENASIA@LISTS.MCGILL.CA>
From: Steven Slatin <steven.slatin@PRESSROOM.COM>

Is Islam Karimov crying wolf about ‘Wahhabism?’

A dialog on CenAsia list, June 1998

From: Alan Fogelquist, Eurasia Research Center <eurasia2@SPRYNET.COM>
Date: Thursday, June 11, 1998 2:42 PM

. . . Tajik Democratic and Rostokhiz parties. The Tajik Islamists have been calling for a more or less democratic, pluralistic, and multi-party solution to the conflict, but only time will tell if Islamism and democracy will clash in the future. The Tajik peace agreement has not been consolidated and a new outbreak of civil war will undermine any effort to achieve a democratic solution based on mutual tolerance of political groups.

This leads me to questions about Uzbekistan. I am looking for information about the positions of Uzbek opposition groups today. I have seen some insinuations that Salih and some in his group have not renounced the possibility of am red struggle. Also there may finally be some truth in the claims of the Uzbek and Kyrgyz government's claim that armed Islamist groups using chaotic and still "unpacified" Tajikistan as their base, may be moving into Uzbekistan. The Uzbek government has been crying wolf about the opposition for many years, so that when as in Egypt or Algeria, are real armed Islamist opposition starts to develop the world will not believe Karimov's claims. Judging form the Tajik experience, it would not be suprising to see the emergence of a violent and irreconilable oppostion led by adherents to political Islam.

Anyone with up to date information about changes in the programs, strategy, and or tactics of the Uzbek opposition parties and groups, open or clandestine, or information about new groups which are emerging, please let me know. A well written and informative article on the Uzbek opposition would be a most welcome contribution to our knowledge of political trends in Central Asia.

Alan Fogelquist
Eurasia Research Center

From: Steven Slatin <steven.slatin@PRESSROOM.COM>
Date: Sat, 13 Jun 1998 00:53:46 -0400

I cannot address your comments about Uzbekistan because I am not knowledgeable of these matters.

I do know something of the history of the conflict in Tajikistan, though, and must comment on the excerpt from your posting, below.

To say the "Tajik Islamists" (I presume you are describing the UTO here) as being "democratic, pluralistic, and [favoring a] multi-party solution" to the conflict is simplistic. To see the UTO as inherently different from the current government is also incorrect.

UTO leaders only rarely raise matters of democracy, pluralism, and multi-party issues in public. Rather, they address division of the spoils of government as a direct trade for giving up open armed opposition to the Rachmonov regime, in return for which they openly and repeatedly have offered to allow him to retain the reins of government. The struggle between the Tajik government and the UTO is over division of the spoils more than it is over Islam, democracy, or a multi-party environment.

As for pluralism, supporters of both the government and UTO openly advocate encouraging non-Tajiks to leave Tajikistan.