Permissible Arms

Kyrgyzstan, Mark II

Posted in kyrgyzstan by Karaka on 29 June 2010

As I was clearing out my queue in Read It Later (also known as the single most useful application for a 200-feed-strong RSS reader) I found a couple other Kyrgyzstan-related things to pass on. First, Human Rights Now has satellite images from Osh that show the extent of the damage and destruction done.

Comparison of buildings in the Cheremushki neighborhood, Osh (2007 vs. 2010). Houses without roofs indicate destruction by fire. After Image: © 2010 DigitalGlobe. Before Image: © 2010 DigitalGlobe © 2010 Google Earth. Produced by AAAS.

USIP had an event on Monday, Preventing Ethnic Violence in Kyrgyzstan: Too Little, Too Late?; I can’t find a podcast or video from it yet, but I’ll link to it should it appear.

The BBC news service reported Friday that externally displaced Kyrgyz citizens in Uzbekistan have been sent or encouraged home, the implication being that Kyrgyzstan wanted them back in the country for the constitutional referendum and Uzbekistan wasn’t real keen on massive refugee camps just inside its borders.

The UN Refugee Agency says that of the estimated 100,000 Uzbeks who crossed the border after ethnic violence in Kyrgyzstan, nearly all have returned.

It is unclear how many may have felt pressured to do so. Amnesty International says it has anecdotal evidence that some refugees were forced onto buses to Kyrgyzstan. This was done, the group said, by refugee camp guards and Uzbek security forces.

And The Monkey Cage had a post last week on Stopping Ethnic Pogroms in Kyrgyzstan; it talks about the ramifications of carrying minimal geopolitical weight and the political bind at home and abroad the Kyrgyzstan finds itself in. [As an aside, for all that TCM gets linked hither and yon, it’s one of those odd blogs that doesn’t get a lot of conversation going in the comments. Weird. ]

I don’t know that the referendum and the return of externally displaced refugees is really any sign of future stability; it seems like there’s a good chance rioting and violence could be incited once again by a very determined group of people. Especially when there’s 400,000 people in the city who no longer have homes to go back to. But we can hope.


2 Responses

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  1. War News Updates said, on 29 June 2010 at 19:32

    The satellite images from Osh are striking. I have been following this story closely, but it is the first time that I have seen them.

    You are right about the disconnect in the coverage …. this is a big story and deserves more attention, especially since the U.S. Manas Air Force base in the north of the country plays a vital role in US operations in Afghanistan.

    The Russian media has been the best in covering this disaster. My nationality/background is Russian, so it is easy for me to read the reports. In a nutshell …. President Medvedev is predicting a disaster in the country, and the neighboring Republics are getting ready for ethnic strife to cross into their own regions.

    This story is not ending …. it is just starting.

    • Karaka said, on 29 June 2010 at 20:48

      there’ve been a whole bunch of articles I wanted to read, but couldn’t because they were in Russian! Very frustrating, waiting for English-language news services to update on the situation.

      I think Medvedev is purposefully limiting his role in this to prevent being embroiled in what Moscow considers an ethnic mess–but I suspect there is more too it than ethnic tensions, there are class and anti-revolutionary elements to this as well. Ethnicity is a trip wire (a very important trip wire) that sets off everything else.

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