Is Emomali Rahmon Shooting Himself In the Foot, or Is Someone Else Pulling the Trigger?

Marco Castro/United Nations 

President Emomali Rahmon address the United Nations General Assembly on Sept. 23, 2009.

Tajik Regime Sowing the Seeds of Instability

Afghanistan’s northern neighbor faces an uncertain future.

Tajikistan has few natural resources and a fledgling economy that largely consists of decrepit Soviet factories and remittances from migrant workers abroad (over 40 percent of its economy). The country already weathered a destructive ethno-sectarian civil war from 1992 to 1997, during which opposition forces formed ties with radical Islamists in Afghanistan. NATO is set to leave Afghanistan and will create a security vacuum that regional forces will find difficult to fill. In this tenuous environment, President Emomali Rahmon and his allies are passing ever broader and more stringent anti-Islamic policies aimed at their rivals in the Islamic Renaissance Party, or IRP. As a result, the regime might be instigating conflict with the country’s increasingly devout Muslim majority in its bid to centralize power.

After decades of extreme religious persecution under the Soviet Union, many Tajiks have rediscovered their traditions. Over the last few years, however, the old secular Soviet guard has begun a campaign aimed at restricting religious activities: The government has recalled Tajiks studying at Islamic institutions abroad, established control over the content of Friday mosque sermons, dismissed uncooperative clerics from their positions, limited mosque access to youth, and banned praying in unregistered places of worship.

Although these restrictions are ostensibly meant to fight Islamic extremism, they are in fact targeting the fledgling opposition and its religiously minded constituency. According to a series of leaked government documents published in Polyarnaya Zvezda, a Tajik publication, Rahmon signed orders specifically aimed at identifying, blackmailing, and harassing members of the Islamic Renaissance Party. This effort to centralize power, known as Protocol 32-20, is meant to whittle away at the IRP’s constitutionally mandated 30-percent representation in government by coercing its members into leaving politics.

Almost immediately after publication, scanned copies of the documents were widely circulated and discussed on social media sites like Facebook. The government quickly shut down access to these sites, denied their existence, and launched an investigation into the publication of the materials. Although the supposed author denied writing the piece, the information cannot be discounted, especially in light of the government’s forceful, panic-ridden reaction to its publication.

As a result of the article, the Islamic Renaissance Party has challenged some of government’s recent initiatives in court. The IRP believes that the investigation into its activities and finances are a direct result of the unconstitutional Protocol 32-20 and outside the realm of the procurator’s powers. (The procurator is like a western prosecutor, but with additional responsibilities.) However, there is little reason to believe that Tajik courts have either the power or will to resolve the issue.

The regime is destabilizing an already vulnerable country. In the last few years, Tajikistan has experienced incursions from Afghanistan, mainly from factions that refused to accept the peace deal that ended the civil war. The country is overrun with drug traffickers and constantly dealing with a belligerent Uzbekistan to the northeast. In addition, Tajikistan has minimal security capacity: A single helicopter crash in October eliminated 40 percent of the military’s qualified counterinsurgency personnel. The insurgents can sense that the regime has little ability to tolerate stress and that even a limited campaign has the potential to threaten the regime’s existence.

This all raises the question: Why would the Rahmon regime invite more pressure on a fragile system? Rahmon might be confident in his moves because his actions have, so far, resulted in little pushback. Few of his old foes from the civil war are alive and the country still vividly remembers the horrors of the not-so-distant past. Nevertheless, his policies are provoking outrage and could galvanize the opposition, which will be increasingly influenced by more radicalized and militarized Tajik fighters returning from a post-NATO Afghanistan.

Rahmon might very well be ignorant of the dangers. The regime is lashing out against perceived threats because it is far removed from reality. Rahmon’s yes men — and their yes men all the way down to the traffic officer desperate to make his superior happy — feed misinformation into the system. An International Crisis Group report noted that no one has a clear picture of what is going on: Surges of violence are completely unexpected and shock the system into a panic every time.

Despite the urgent challenges facing Tajikistan, Protocol 32-20 is typical of the country’s unending battles for political positioning. Rahmon’s provocative moves are intended to draw out the Islamic Renaissance Party into an open conflict with the state and untie the hands of the power ministries, which have long wanted to reconfigure the political landscape and gain full control.

Unfortunately, the collateral damage is being felt by the country’s growing Muslim-majority population, which will increasingly turn to the opposition in the face of religious oppression. In a post-NATO Afghanistan, the Tajik opposition will once again seek protection, allies, weapons, and funding. Rather than defusing the threats to its power, the regime’s political attacks against the IRP are merely exacerbating tensions and creating a self-fulfilling prophecy that could ultimately lead to its demise.

Eugene Imas holds master’s degree from the Center for Eurasian, Russian and East European Studies at Georgetown University. He was previously a Peace Corps volunteer in Kyrgyzstan and has studied, traveled, and worked in Russia.

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Turkey: On Verge of Social Explosion

Bouzan Tekin, deputy leader of the Kurdistan Workers’ Party, center, with other party leaders.

Turkey: On Verge of Social Explosion 

image

 

 

Mehmut is a dark-skinned young Kurd from Turkey’s Kurdistan and I met him far from his birthplace in western Turkey last week. He and his family left their place of origin eight years ago and after a brief stay in Izmir they settled in Antalya.

After he learned that I was a Kurd and I held an Iraqi passport, Mehmut said, “Can I tell you something?” I replied, “yes” and he said, “Do you know that the explosions the PKK (Kurdistan Workers Party) is doing works well for us?”

The bombing in Gaziantep had just happened, and surprised, I asked him, “Why?”

“Because until last year the PKK had not done any bombings and the Turks were giving us a hard time,” he replied. “But now they are afraid of us.”

The words of that young Kurd do not carry any logic. To me the killing of human beings is wrong under any circumstances. But what he said does in fact speak of a deep truth. It speaks of how a people respect you only under fear and how another perceives the death and destruction of humans as a means of survival.

Turkey was not able in the recent years to find a balance between its perspective to the Kurdish question and the Kurdish cause. What is the Kurdish cause and what is the Kurdish problem? Robert Wilson, the author of a number of excellent books on the Kurds writes that Turkey always sees the Kurds of other countries as an issue, but fails to see its own Kurds.

At the moment the relations between Turkey and the Kurdistan Region of Iraq have reached such a great level that recently, Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan—in his dispute with Iraqi PM Maliki—was speaking of the Kurds’ constitutional rights with regard to the signing of the country’s oil deals. As for the Kurds of Syria, Turkey has no problem with them living under a federal system, and if tomorrow Iran’s Kurds rise, the same way Turkey will support them. But what about its own Kurds?

As Turkey tries to play the role of the big brother in the region, it is not willing to afford its own Kurds what it gives the Kurds outside its borders. This indicates the lack of a balance in Turkey’s perspective. Apart from the fact that this imbalance has driven Turkey to the edge of social explosion, it has also put the country in a crisis from a foreign policy viewpoint.

Iran, Iraq and Syria have joined hands to fail Turkey’s foreign policy and they use the Kurdish factor in their fight. Turkey should have learned a lesson from its own past. Yavuz Sultan wasn’t able to continue Ottoman conquests until after it made peace with the Kurdish chieftains. So how can Turkey change the traditional regimes of the region while it is stuck with a problem (Kurdish question) that has been dangling on its chest for 90 years like a medal?

Turkey is gambling. It thinks that by the collapse of the Syrian regime, the pressure on its foreign policy will be relieved. To some extent that is true and some of the regional equations will change. But domestically Turkey is standing on the verge of explosion and close to a dead-end.

Also the continuation of the Syrian turmoil has made Turkey think of new ways. It realizes that Syria could become a fire that would engulf the entire region and Turkey will not be able to deal with all the different fronts opened up against it.

Before thinking of putting anyone else’s house in order, Turkey should have thought of putting its own house in order. Turkey knows that by overthrowing the Syrian regime the PKK will not disappear. On the contrary, it might become even stronger. If Turkey fails to create a suitable atmosphere for negotiations with the PKK and a solution for the Kurdish question, all of its dreams will burst like a bubble.

India courts Tajikistan to swing Afghan endgame

India courts Tajikistan to swing Afghan endgame

By Manish Chand, IANS,

New Delhi : Signalling an upswing in its “Connect Central Asia policy”, India is gearing up to roll out the red carpet for longtime Tajik leader Emomalii Rahmon Monday — an important visit from a country which is critical to Afghanistan’s stability and host to the only military facility New Delhi has overseas.

Prime Minister Manmohan Singh will hold wide-ranging talks with Tajikistan President Rahmon, who has helmed the energy-rich strategically located nation for the last two decades, to deepen bilateral economic and strategic ties.

At the end of the talks, India will unveil a substantial development assistance package for the Central Asian country, official sources told IANS.

There will also be discussions on Indian assistance for upgrading the Ayni base and setting up a military hospital in Tajikistan, said the sources. India has its only overseas military base in Tajikistan, which is operated by the Indian Air Force in collaboration with the Tajikistan Air Force.

The visit coincides with the 20th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic ties between India and Tajikistan.

On top of the agenda will be the ongoing flux in Afghanistan, where the hardline Taliban militia is eyeing the exit of the international combat troops in 2014 to recapture the country they ruled for five years till the ouster of the Mullah Omar regime in 2001.

India and Tajikistan had partnered in the Northern Alliance that played a pivotal role in forcing the Taliban regime out and are set to intensify their collaboration to prevent the Islamist zealots from capturing Kabul.

In fact, Tajikistan, which shares over 1,400 km border with Afghanistan, faces threat from Taliban-linked terror groups like Islamic Movement of Uzbekistan and is already reeling from the spillover effects as thousands of Afghans have taken shelter in the country.

Tajikistan’s importance to the shifting Afghan calculus is evident from the way Pakistan is courting the Central Asian country. Pakistan President Asif Ali Zardari met the Tajik president in Tehran on the sidelines of the NAM summit Thursday and invited him for the fourth quadrilateral summit on Afghanistan in Islamabad Sep 26-27, to which the presidents of Russia and Afghanistan have already been invited.

Against this backdrop, India and Tajikistan will be looking to expand their counter-terror cooperation and intensify consultations on the evolving situation in Afghanistan.

India has taken positive note of the secularization policy by the Tajik president. In a bid to shield his country from the malignant spread of extremism, Rahmon has banned religious instruction in schools.

Connectivity will be another key issue in discussions as both sides look to expand the number of flights between New Delhi and the Tajik capital Dushanbe.

India plans to operate up to 14 flights to Dushanbe. Tajikistan, on its part, will begin four flights.

In June this year, India unveiled its Connect Central Asia policy which entails a proactive multi-pronged diplomatic thrust by India to accelerate ties with the energy-rich Central Asian nations, including Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan, Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan.

With its core strengths in capacity building, IT and human resource development, India is uniquely poised to transform the resource-rich strategically-located region that suffers from a massive infrastructure deficit.

India has a long way to go to catch up with other major powers in the region, with its bilateral trade less than $1 billion compared to China’s $29 billion and the US’s $26 billion, respectively.

Davutoglu Crestfallen After His Latest UN Security Council Spanking–Hope He Was Wearing His “Big Boy Pants”

Turkey calls for Syria safe zones, U.N. Security Council remains unmoved

“China’s U.N. Ambassador Li Baodong, asked about the Turkish proposal by AP, said: ‘I think that’s not a solution. The solution is to implement a cease-fire, cessation of violence, and implementation of a political process.’

‘Humanitarian efforts must never be militarized,’ Li told the council meeting.” 

Wael Abou Faour, Lebanon’s Social Affairs Minister, left, listens as Ahmet Davutoglu, Foreign Minister from Turkey, speaks during a meeting on Syria at the United Nations Security Council, Aug. 30, 2012. (AP)

(AP) UNITED NATIONS – Turkey appealed to a reluctant U.N. Security Council Thursday for a safe haven for thousands of Syrians facing a “humanitarian disaster” as Britain and France said they would rule out no options — including a no-fly zone — to aid residents fleeing an escalating civil war.

 

But Turkish leaders held out little hope for the endorsement of a deeply divided council that has been paralyzed on taking action to stop the 18-month uprising that has killed more than 20,000 people.

 

“How long are we going to sit and watch while an entire generation is being wiped out by random bombardment and deliberate mass targeting?” asked Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu. “Let’s not forget that if we do not act against such a crime against humanity happening in front of our eyes, we become accomplices to the crime.”

 

Davutoglu, whose country is hosting more than 80,000 Syrian refugees, said he came to the council with hope that its members would take “long overdue steps” to help suffering people and establish camps inside Syria for those forced to flee their homes.

 

“Apparently, I was wrong about my expectations,” he told the council. “This meeting will not even end with a presidential or press statement, let alone a robust resolution.”

 

The path to the council’s agreement on a safe zone for Syrians is fraught with obstacles, headed by the reluctance of Russia and China, Syria’s most important allies. They have vetoed three Western-backed resolutions in the Security Council seeking to pressure President Bashar Assad’s government with the threat of sanctions.

 

Moscow and Beijing were highly critical of the no-fly zone established by NATO to protect civilians during last year’s Libyan revolt against longtime dictator Muammar Qaddafi, saying its enforcement went beyond the Security Council mandate. Western diplomats said enforcing the zone required taking out Libya’s air defenses and attacking tanks and military vehicles that posed threats to civilians.

 

Russia and China, Syria’s most important allies, have vetoed three Western-backed resolutions in the Security Council seeking to pressure Assad’s government. They vehemently oppose any threat to Syria’s sovereignty and territorial integrity. In addition, Russia has a military base in Syria. There are also serious political differences among council members. While the U.S., its European allies and other members say Assad must go, Russia and China oppose any effort to replace him that doesn’t have the support of the Syrian people.

 

Syria’s U.N. Ambassador Bashar Ja’afari accused unnamed Security Council powers of “promoting imminent military intervention under humanitarian pretexts.”

 

“It is clear that certain states do not see the issue of humanitarian aid any way other than as part of a biased political agenda,” he said.

 

Before Thursday’s meeting, Britain and France announced new funding for refugees and left open the possibility of more aggressive action, including a military-enforced no-fly zone to protect a safe area for those fleeing the war.

 

“We are not ruling out any options for the future,” Britain’s Foreign Secretary William Hague told a news conference.

 

Hague said safe zones should remain an option, although he didn’t say when they might be seriously considered.

 

“We do not know how this crisis will develop … over the coming months. It is steadily getting worse,” Hague said. “We are ruling nothing out, and we have contingency planning for a wide range of scenarios.”

 

Britain and France are veto-wielding members of the Security Council as well as key NATO members. Asked whether the options would include a NATO-enforced no-fly zone, without Security Council authorization, Hague said, “We are not ruling out any options.”

 

French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius said France and the United Kingdom’s views are in “complete unity.”

 

“All the possibilities are before us,” he said when asked about the proposal by Turkey, also a NATO member. “We can’t just say yes or no off the bat. We have to discuss it.”

 

A U.N. diplomat, speaking on condition of anonymity because of the sensitivity of the issue, said the U.S. had consultations with Turkey on its safe zone proposal and the Americans, British and French are skeptical about the feasibility of NATO establishing such a zone, so “for the time being, nobody is there yet.”

In his speech, the Turkish minister told the council that that the camps established for fleeing Syrians inside the country “should have full protection.”

 

Davutoglu also called on the council to visit refugee camps in neighboring countries, to adopt a unified response to stop the indiscriminate bombing of residential areas, and to solve the issue of Syrians displaced from their homes and trapped within the country.

 

Davutoglu mentioned examples of “the cost of procrastination” including the 1995 Serb massacre in Bosnia of more than 8,000 Muslims taken from a U.N. enclave in Srebrenica and Saddam Hussein’s gassing of 5,000 people in the Kurdish village of Halabja in 1988.

 

Referring to the council divisions, Davutoglu said the Cold War is over and it’s time to put aside the mindset, “sterile power struggles and competition of interests” emanating from that era.

 

U.N. refugee chief Antonio Guterres warned the council against safe zones.

 

He praised Syria’s neighbors for keeping their borders open to Syrians fleeing the war, and said their right to asylum “must not be jeopardized, for instance through the establishment of so-called `safe havens’ or other similar arrangements.”

 

“Bitter experience has shown that it is rarely possible to provide effective protection and security in such areas,” Guterres said.

 

Russia’s U.N. Ambassador Vitaly Churkin strongly criticized unilateral U.S. and European Union sanctions against Syria, saying they worsened the plight of the Syrian people, and he agreed with Guterres’ skepticism about safe zones.

 

“He made it very clear he thought that history showed that they cannot be relied on as an effective tool for protecting civilians — that we must work together in order to help alleviate and improve the humanitarian situation for the entire population of Syria,” Churkin said.

 

China’s U.N. Ambassador Li Baodong, asked about the Turkish proposal by AP, said: “I think that’s not a solution. The solution is to implement a cease-fire, cessation of violence, and implementation of a political process.”

 

“Humanitarian efforts must never be militarized,” Li told the council meeting.

 

U.N. Deputy Secretary-General Jan Eliasson also cautioned that proposals for humanitarian corridors or buffer zones inside Syria “raise serious questions and require careful and critical consideration.”

 

Eliasson said more than 2.5 million people — including Palestinian and Iraqi refugees — “are now in grave need of assistance and protection inside Syria,” more than double the number reported in March. Guterres said as of Wednesday, 229,000 people had left Syria and registered as refugees in Turkey, Jordan, Lebanon and Iraq.

 

He said the U.N. humanitarian appeal for Syria seeking $180 million is only half-funded.

 

“Donors should urgently rise to this humanitarian imperative,” Eliasson said. “Hundreds of thousands of lives are at stake.”

 

Hague announced that Britain will contribute an additional 3 million pounds ($4.7 million), to the 27 million pounds ($42.7 million) it has already given for humanitarian aid to the displaced and to refugees. Fabius announced that France was giving 5 million Euros ($6.27 million) in addition to the $20 million Euros ($25 million) it has already contributed.

 

Fabius said the two countries also want to encourage Syrians to defect and Hague urged them to do it sooner rather than later to avoid possible future war crimes prosecution.

 

The ministers said Britain and France are also working on plans for a transition and for a post-Assad era.

 

Fabius said there is a clear message to the Syrian people: “Assad will fall but we won’t drop you.”

More Americans Are Killed By Afghan Government Forces Than By the Taliban

[When your allies become more dangerous than your enemies then it’s time to “get the hell out of Dodge.”]

Insider Attacks Now Biggest Killer of NATO Troops

 

Afghan Local Police gather for a graduation ceremony in Farah province. Photo: ISAF

 

Rogue Afghan soldiers and police turning their weapons on their allies are now the leading cause of death for NATO troops. On Aug. 28 a man wearing an Afghan army uniform opened fire on Australian soldiers in the southern province of Uruzgan, killing three and wounding two.

That attack brought to 15 the total number of NATO personnel killed in so-called “green-on-blue” assaults in August — and raises serious doubts about the alliance’s war strategy, which calls for close cooperation between foreign and Afghan troops as the Afghans gradually assume responsibility for their own security.

Of the other 35 international troops who died in Afghanistan this month, 12 were killed by Improvised Explosive Devices and nine died in helicopter crashes. Insurgent gunfire and a suicide bomber accounted for the remaining fatalities.

Marine Corps Gen. John Allen, commander of NATO’s International Security Assistance Force, told Danger Room he didn’t know why the Afghan troops turned their weapons on their foreign allies. He implied the “sacrifices associated with fasting” during the the Muslim holy month of Ramadan might have played a role — then quickly qualified the remark, saying Ramadan wasn’t exclusively the problem. In any event, “there is an erosion of trust that has emerged from this,” Allen said in a separate interview.

For its part, the Afghan government blames “infiltration by foreign spy agencies.” Allen said he looked forward to seeing proof of this assertion. Along with the green-on-blue attacks, there has also been a spike in Afghan troops killing other Afghan troops. “They’re suffering casualties from the same trend that we’re suffering” from, said Army Gen. Martin Dempsey, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff.

“Were the attacks the result of some kind of Taliban infiltration, the problem would thus be one of counter-intelligence,” explained Andrew Exum, an expert on low-intensity warfare. “The alternative — that relations between Afghan forces and their Western partners have structurally deteriorated in fundamental ways — is a far tougher problem to address.”

During Danger Room’s January visit to remote Paktika province in eastern Afghanistan, the rising tension between U.S. and Afghan forces was evident. When an Afghan police recruit began behaving erratically and overstepping his authority, his American trainers took no chances. They fired him — but only after carefully disarming him.

The reasons for the insider attacks are unclear. But the trend of more and more such assaults is inarguable. Before August, green-on-blue attacks accounted for just 12 percent of NATO troops killed. In 2011 they amounted to just six percent — up from three percent in 2010. Foreign soldiers wounded in green-on-blue incidents have also increased steadily in the past three years.

August’s insider killings occurred in 18 of Afghanistan’s 34 provinces but are concentrated in the southern and eastern battlegrounds, according to an analysis by Long War Journal. The three southern provinces of Helmand, Kandahar and Uruzgan account for the majority of green-on-blue attacks.

In the face of the rapidly-escalating insider threat, Allen, who is due to be replaced soon as ISAF’s top general, has not signaled any change in NATO’s strategy. Foreign troops will continue working closely with the Afghan soldiers who now represent statistically the biggest danger to their lives.

In fact, NATO troops should work more closely with Afghan, Exum advised. “I urge U.S. and allied troops in Afghanistan to remember that the only people who can truly protect them from green-on-blue violence are the Afghans themselves.”

The international alliance is scrambling to mitigate the threat. It’s now policy for at least one NATO soldier — a “guardian angel” — to watch over any gathering of Afghan and alliance troops, weapon loaded, “and hopefully identify people that would be involved in those attacks,” Defense Secretary Leon Panetta said.

But Panetta himself said spotting attackers before they pull the trigger could prove difficult. “It’s clear that there’s no one source that is producing these attacks.”

Tajik Govt. Plays At “Democracy” While Using Stalinist Tactics Against Tajik Religious Authorities

[SEE: Tajik Mufti Who Sees Through Anti-Islamist Western Subversion, Targeted By Tajik Court]

Tajik Prosecutor General’s Office accuses the Islamic Revival Party

 

Mehrangez Tursunzoda, Avaz Yuldashev

Tajik Prosecutor General issued a report on the violations discovered during the audit of the Islamic Renaissance Party of Tajikistan, and the members of the Party who have been accused or charged with crimes against the constitutional order.

In particular, the Attorney General’s Office accused the leader of the Khorog city cells IRP Sherik Karamhudoeva in armed opposition to government forces.

In a report released on August 29, says that Sh.Karamhudoev is a member of an armed group killed Imomnazar Imomnazarova, and during the recent events in Khorog use firearms against government forces.

“Sh Karamhudoev evening of July 23 this year, met in a cafe in Khorog “Ales” with Sultonnazarom Imomnazarovym, brother Imomnazar Imomnazarova. Together they formed an armed group, which employs 21 people. They are all dressed in camouflage clothing, armed with firearms, particularly guns, Kalashnikov rifles, rocket-propelled grenades and improvised explosive devices. Then spread out in front of the city of Khorog border detachment, and in the night from 23 to 24 July, entered into an armed confrontation with government forces “, – stated in the General Prosecutor’s Office reported.

About the activities of the IRP in Khorog, the Attorney General’s Office, with the words Sherik Karamhudoeva, said that “no member of the party has never paid the membership fee, in fact, the party members in Khorog IRP received monthly from 600 somoni.”

Recall Sh Karamhudoev went missing during the active phase of the raid on July 24.Only 8 August it became known that he was in the detention center in Dushanbe, Tajikistan’s National Security Committee. August 23, was killed in Khorog head Badakhshan Oblast cell IRP Sabzali Mamadrizoev. In the ranks of the IRP there are more than three thousand inhabitants of GBAO.

The report of the General Prosecutor’s Office of Tajikistan also has other details on the activities of the IRP. In particular, it states that in the year 2010-2011 IRP reported that Isfara during this period members of the party were 600 people, while the documents were issued only for 80 people.

Prosecutor General also points out that during the reception of new members or exclusion from the party, constantly violated record keeping, payment of membership fees. It also indicates that some members of the IRP involved in the activities of the “Islamic Movement of Uzbekistan” and “Hizb-ut-Tahrir” and, together with members of banned extremist movements in Tajikistan committed crimes against the constitutional order of the country.

Deputy Chairman of the IRP Mahmadali Chait called this post pressure on the party and its members in anticipation of the fall 2013 presidential election.

M. Chait believes that prosecutors Tajikistan, spreading the message is going to stop the desire to challenge in court the IRP of inspection party prosecuting authorities of the country that is not in their power.

“In addition, the Prosecutor General of Tajikistan, to spread the message, which accused some members of the IRP participation in illegal armed formations and extremist, wants to reduce the role and importance of our party in the society”, – said Chait.

He noted that at the end of July, after a two-month review, the court of the metropolitan area did not satisfy the Sino IRP lawsuit against the Prosecutor General to invalidate the order of the agency to audit the activities of the party.

“We are on the subject have already appealed to the court to another body – in the appeal board on civil cases judges in Dushanbe, the party is ready to go further”, – Deputy Chairman of the IRP.

Recall that in May of this year, the IRP has decided to challenge in court the legality of the order of the General Prosecutor’s Office to conduct audits of all political parties. January 6 of this year, prosecutors took the order on the review of all the political parties of the country.

“From January to March were conducted thorough searches for all local, regional cells, and in the central office of the party” – says Mahmadali Chait.

In his view, it was followed by enhanced scrutiny after the “leak” of a secret government protocol 32-20, which was first published on the website of “Polar Star” in the article “Tajikistan on the eve of the revolution.”

Recall that in March poster “Polar Star” host of the article entitled “Tajikistan on the eve of the Revolution,” in which, in particular, has been published report of a secret meeting of the government. The document said to tighten control of political parties, in particular over the Islamic Renaissance Party. After this site “Polar Star”, a social network “Facebook”, where publication is very much discussion, and a few sites have been blocked in the country. Access to the “Facebook” was opened a few days later.

 

Tajikistan on the eve of the revolution

Dushanbe-Moscow

03/01/2012 Sergei Strokan
Rahmon hardly make it to the next presidential elections, started his political intrigue lead to his removalIn November last year, when the attention of Russian and Central Asian media was focused on the “case of the pilots’ Vladimir Sadovnichy and Alexei Rudenko in Tajikistan is closed, there was another event – a meeting of the board under the chairmanship of the Emomali Rahmon.

And if the “pilot case” has not only lazy, then information on the Presidential Council on November 24 and did not become a part of the media. Although, in my opinion, the decisions made at this Council, in its significance surpass everything that happened in Tajikistan over the past year. I will say more. Analysis is not in my possession Protocol № 32-20 dated November 24, 2011, signed by the head of the Administration of the President of Tajikistan M. Dulatov and approved by the President on November 26, suggests that in power “Dangara clan”, led by Rahmon, ready to change the foreign policy Course Tajikistan.And the new course will be more than an unpleasant surprise for the Russian and Iran.

Protocol № 32-30 – welcome to the world of lawlessness and security forces of political repression

Referring to the content of the document (see scan of original pages here , here , here , here , here and here .) Theme of the meeting of the Council, “On consideration of the social situation in the country and the objectives and responsibilities of responsible persons and offices”, originally an ordinary meeting of the impression that the officials conducted a dozen a week. Ingredients present (Kakharov AA – Minister of Interior, Khudoyarov BT – Minister of Justice, Yatimov SS – Secretary of the National Security Council, Salimzoda Sh – Attorney General, Azizov AA Fattayev C . S. – Adviser to the President Tadzhikestan, Holiқov AG – Chairman of the Committee on Religious Affairs, Assad AA – Head of the Secretariat of the President of Tajikistan) – also has a personal emergency. Questions can only call the absence of representatives of the Ministry of Security, but it is understandable. Neither Rahmon nor his entourage did not trust the Ministry of Security of Tajikistan, believing that it is under the full control of the Russian special services.

Actually, the whole of the Council consisted of Rahmon speech, after which he started giving orders. It is these orders that are of particular interest to any analyst.

Some of these orders are a standard set of administrative measures against religious organizations and movements that the Tajik refers to “extremist”:

 

  • strengthen the monitoring of the activities of religious institutions, especially mosques and use all means and forces to combat radical and extremist movements, including Salafi (p.1 protocol order Kaharov AA, the Minister of Internal Affairs, Yatimov SS , Secretary of the National Security Council and Holiқovu AG, Chairman of the Committee for Religious Affairs); 
  • strengthen the process of withdrawal from public places and shops tapes and disks containing radical religious materials (paragraph 3 of the Protocol, the commission Yatimov SS, Secretary of the National Security Council and Kaharov AA, Minister of the Interior, responsible public administration and local government executive bodies); 
  • take the necessary operational measures to arrest and banning illegal religious schools (p.5 protocol order Holiқovu AG, Chairman of the Committee for Religious Affairs);

But special attention to orders, according to the protocol 32-20, play activities against the Islamic Renaissance Party of Tajikistan. Here the events are more diverse and includes not only purely administrative action, but also a set of operational activities uniformed RT:

 

  • in coordination with local government officials and local entrepreneurs with funding to keep under constant review the activities of the Islamic Renaissance Party of Tajikistan, especially the activities of its leaders and members, to take the necessary measures to prepare for a full list of members of the Islamic Renaissance Party, determine the methods and techniques of their missionary work to advance our operational goals, including – to create incentives for them to leave the party (step 2 protocol, the commission instructed Kaharov AA, the Minister of Internal Affairs, Yatimov SS, Secretary of the National Security Council and Holiқovu AG , chairman of the Committee for Religious Affairs).

In fact, this paragraph provides complete control over the activities of the IRP and its leaders. But at the same time put and purpose – a surgical procedure to achieve that members of the party left the IRP. Particularly touched by the passage that to finance the activities of law enforcement agencies should “use the local businesses.” Such legal innovation (contrary, by the way, the legislation of Tajikistan) – not just a new word in the world struggle with the opposition, but neoskudevayuschy extra income for the “fighters against religious extremism.” Basic question – what would happen to an entrepreneur who does not agree to its money “used” Tajik law enforcement agencies? As will be stated the charges against him, the refusal to cooperate? The obstruction of law enforcement? Or, on the principle of “who is not with us,” – promoting religious extremists?

A similar measure in lawlessness of civil servants, and this is how it should be called a state of affairs that prevailed today at RT, gives new impetus to the corrosive Tajikistan corruption. But the implications of this decision are not exhausted. In terms of fiscal poverty, Rahmon, in fact, creates an additional feeder for security forces, to lure them by buying by Tajik (and not only) business loyalty “Dangara clan.”

However, this point – this is only an indication and a certain direction, in which the efforts of law enforcement officers should strive. Further items include the protocol and specific measures against the IRP.

All the same, the third paragraph of the Protocol: “checking passports of citizens, especially in the capital, to find the place and time of their visit, to determine the party affiliation of citizens … With the help of government experts to identify the sources that fund political parties, including the Islamic Revival Party of Tajikistan; take the necessary steps to control their financial activities. ”

Order Hudoyarovu BT, Minister of Justice, AA Azizov and Fattaevu SS, Adviser to the President of Tajikistan, “take control of the political parties and the media” (p.4).Simple, tasteful and again – without being distracted by such things as the Constitution of the Republic of Tajikistan. And again – without specifying what is meant by the term “take control”: censorship? Antioppozitsionnyh to publish materials? Speaking of this form of work speaks directly paragraph 6, the commission Fattaevu SS, Advisor to the President of the Republic of Tajikistan in accordance with the relevant government authorities’ to take necessary measures for the publication in the media of the facts of illegal activities of the leaders of the Islamic Renaissance Party of Tajikistan. ” It’s about what else illegal activity in the presence of such a dense “cap” is all about? I do not about that if that will come up in the offices of security agencies and Rahmon’s administration? You will, but there is the impression that is preparing the groundwork for a public trial of the “enemies of the Tajik people – religious extremists”, a plot against the Republic and President.

Indirectly, this is evidenced by this paragraph from step 7 (order Azizov AA, Adviser to the President Tadzhikestan, Kaharov AA, the Minister of Internal Affairs, Yatimov SS, Secretary of the National Security Council, Sh Salimzoda , the Attorney General, the Supreme Court and other state leaders and authorities), “to take the necessary steps to maintain constant readiness of soldiers and officers.” Ready for what?

Generally, familiar with both the protocol and to another document – a statement of MIA “On measures for the implementation of the working protocol Council in the presence of President of Tajikistan, N 32-20 of 24 November 2011,” signed by the Deputy Minister of Internal Affairs of Tajikistan, General Rakhimov the question arises: officials say that there is threat to the stability of the Republic of Tajikistan on “religious extremists” in the first place – from the Islamic Renaissance Party. But if you carefully analyze these two documents, it becomes apparent that deliberately provoked resentment from the top. Return once more to claim 5 minutes:

 

  • “- To take necessary and effective measures to ensure that all students return illegally studying in religious schools outside the country and warn people about the prohibition of such studies in the future.
  • take the necessary operational measures to stop the operation of illegal religious schools;
  • agreement with the Executive and the relevant bodies of Rasht district, convert to sports and manufacturing, those objects that are registered for social activities and are used as a mosque. “

If you add all the things mentioned above – increased passport controls, restrictions on freedom of movement, restrictions on the right of religious education, the media campaign against the IRP and a number of special events – in particular, in Section 3, there are such:

 

  • to review the activities and the role of women in the Islamic Renaissance Party of Tajikistan, and take appropriate action.
  • use of existing capabilities, identify those who participated in strikes in 1992 (during the Civil War) and to take the necessary measures in their homes. “), the conclusion is clear – the legal opposition, and IRP – first of all, being pushed to overt action against the regime.

What is so clearly provoke discontent? Yes, and given the fact that the credibility of the authorities in Tajikistan today is very low (for example, a recent study published by the “Eurasia”, proves that with setbacks in legal disputes in the public institutions of justice, the ordinary citizens of Tajikistan are increasingly looking for solutions to their conflicts of opinion leaders, read – to the same opposition). Provoke resentment and, at the same time, to create a great feeder for special services, alert the army units and special forces … For what?

You can attribute it to incompetence Rahmon and his entourage. But it will be a big mistake. Yes, the current regime in Tajikistan is incompetent in all things, with regard to economic and social issues. But in matters of maintaining its own power – it may well be the envy of competence and European leaders. The issue of retaining power in the East – it is not a matter of politics, it is a matter of physical survival. So what pushes Rahmon at provoking conflict?

Something about the survival of the regime in a poor country

If you carefully analyze the performances of the Tajik officials, it may give the impression that the main problem of RT – a kind of “religious extremists” and “opposition” whose machinations prevented Tajikistan tomorrow to enter the kingdom of abundance and prosperity. But it is – a lie. The main problem in Tajikistan – is the president Emomali Rahmon and his entourage. In a secret telegram to the U.S. Embassy in Dushanbe, dated February 16, 2010, describes how Rahmon controls the economy of the former Soviet Republic, “All power in the country, from the President to the policeman on the corner, covered by cronyism and corruption. Rahmon and his family control the main companies of the country, including the largest bank, and they are hard to protect their business interests, without regard to the damage to the economy as a whole. As one of the foreign ambassadors, President Rahmon prefers to control 90% of ten-dollar pie rather than 30% of the hundred-dollar. “ All industrial exports Tajikistan – are aluminum and electricity from hydropower. However, a large portion of the proceeds “technically owned by the state,” Tajik Aluminium Company “(TALCO) settles in certain mysterious offshore company controlled by the president,” the authors dispatch, adding sadly, “the State Budget of the income goes to a small part.”

Confirmation of what they say in diplomatic cables can be heard from ordinary Tajiks. All my interlocutors in Dushanbe said that in the country there was not a telephone pole, which would not have privatized many daughters-in-law and close relatives Rahman, not to mention the shops and businesses. I was struck by the unanimous conviction of my interlocutors that Rahmon mentally healthy, no measure does not know and has lost touch with reality.

Rahmon’s regime has brought the country to a complete collapse, destruction and dire poverty. Tajikistan today – it is the poorest of the former Soviet republics.Average annual income of a resident of Tajikistan is 260 dollars. Tajikistan’s GDP per capita has one thousand dollars a year (in Russia the figure was eight thousand dollars). 60 percent of Tajiks live below the poverty line, the unemployment rate is 40 percent. According to the Federal Migration Service of Russia, remittances of Tajik migrant workers in Russia are two annual budgets in the country. Tajikistan’s budget is $ 485 million, and from Russia in the republic shall transfer $ 1 billion, and legally – only $ 500 million if not the help of Tajik migrants, the situation in Tajikistan would be worse than even in Afghanistan.

How ironic that it is the money of those who Rahmon condemned to poverty in their own country and forced to work abroad – maintain social stability, involuntarily working to preserve the regime. Issyakni this thread – and the people’s anger sweep Rahmon and his entourage, all Dangara clan, the whole army of footmen and servants who serve them. Need to see the eyes of Dushanbe, when they talk about their “president”. All with whom I spoke were confident that a little more in the country will begin a revolution. I do not know how to call her later, but it is clear that Rahmon waiting at best fate of Muammar Gaddafi. Members of his family, his inner circle already packing their bags, buy property abroad and transfer downloaded from the republic money to foreign accounts. Therefore, I repeat: the issue of preservation of power – it is a matter of physical survival Rahmon and his family and “Dangara clan.”

And on this, to put it mildly, a difficult social background Rahmon picks risky political game, painted in 32-20 minutes. On what he expects? That gives it confidence?Where such a strange desire to go into open conflict, which certainly also plesnet Tajik blood?

The answer to this question can be obtained by: first, instead of just a “conflict” to use the term “controlled conflict”. And then everything falls into place – actions Rahmon and his team aim to purge the political field. By provoking speeches disgruntled (and well to these speeches prepared, ensuring the loyalty of security forces), “Dangara clan” will be able to completely destroy the opposition and to ensure absolute control of the country. A control that will allow him to carry out any change of course in both domestic and foreign policy.

About the features of assistance to Tajikistan and gratitude-Rahmon

Immediately raises the question – what kind of change of direction in foreign policy is all about? And here comes the “second.” If we compare the action in suppressing Rahmon “religious extremism” legal opposition – the IRP, with similar actions of another, to the other post-Soviet state – Ilham Aliyev in Azerbaijan, opened meaningful coincidences, practically – identity. Azerbaijan is actively “Media” of the Islamic Party of Azerbaijan, are mass arrests of activists of the Azerbaijani counterintelligence reports of disclosure of “terrorist cells” who planned to assassinate Israeli diplomats and prominent figures of the Jewish diaspora. Here’s how to comment on what is happening today in Azerbaijan, leading expert of “Heritage Foundation” Ariel Cohen: “In recent years, relations between Baku and Tehran steadily deteriorating due to strengthening ties between Azerbaijan and the United States and NATO … Iranian pressure on Baku gives the United States and the West in general right with stronger response … In the face of Iranian threats to Azerbaijan seeks to work more closely with the West … The U.S. should increase the volume of cooperation with Azerbaijan, including in the areas of counter-terrorism, intelligence and strengthen border security. The Obama administration should take the initiative in their own hands and push Europe and Turkey to cooperate. “

And here is what the official report Specialist Congressional Research Service (CRS), Jim Nichol, “After September 11, 2001, Tajikistan has expressed willingness to cooperate closely with the United States, but could not go on it because of the negative attitude of Moscow.” Add – and with Rahmon declare a “special relationship with Iran.” Cynically speaking, Rahmon hoped that his position will be paid. What is actually happening – Russia actually subsidizing the Tajik economy, providing 90% of its petroleum products on preferential terms, and the Islamic Republic of Iran has invested in energy projects and small business RT. Thus, direct investment in Iran Tajik economy in the nine months of 2011 amounted to approximately $ 15 million, while trade between Tajikistan and Iran in 2011 amounted to more than $ 204 million (and the goods were imported from Iran to the tune of over $ 161 million).

But at the same time – increasing amount of direct funding from the U.S.. According to the report of the Congress, from 1992 to 2008 in Tajikistan has received irrevocable basis for $ 778.6 million (Freedom Support Act). In 2009 – $ 35.8 million, 2010 – $ 48.3 million in 2011 – $ 47.1 million must be remembered that these figures do not include funding for programs in Tajikistan, which is facilitated through the Defense and U.S. Department of Energy and non-governmental funds, so that the figures can be easily doubled.

By the way, in the approach to solving the economic problems of Tajikistan, there has always been two approaches. Russia and Iran have invested in the real economy. October 16, 2004, during a visit to Dushanbe, Putin announced a major investment (according to various estimates, from $ 1.2 billion to more than $ 3 billion) in the field of special interests Rahmon – hydropower (primarily – Sangtuda-1, then – Rogun) and in the remaining Soviet-era aluminum industry (working on the principle of tolling). From the moment that marked Russia in Tajikistan its fundamental interests, their interest in the creation of a consortium to finance Sangtuda 2 announced Iran, China has pledged to invest in the Nurek hydropower plant. Prior to this, no state, especially in the West, are not taken seriously Rahmon calls to invest in these industrial facilities.

And the West … The West did not put into the economy, and in the development of “democratic institutions.” In fact – in the pocket Rahmon and his surroundings that these public institutions and represented. When traveling in the West, Rahmon has repeatedly emphasized that “satisfied” relations between Tajikistan and the United States. He is particularly pleased with the relationship of security – mainly American help in financing and training, which is designed to strengthen the capacity of the state border control, the fight against drug trafficking and counter-terrorism operations.

And how interesting behaved Rahmon on the one hand, in relation to Russia is increasingly sounded frankly unfriendly statements. The Internet was full of stories about how the Tajik authorities brazenly “threw” Iranian businessmen who had imprudence to do business in Tajikistan. Tajik officials have started talking about the fact that cooperation with Russia and Iran to Tajikistan unprofitable. In an interview with U.S. Ambassador to Tajikistan Richard Hoagland Rahmon said that Moscow was preparing against him. But complaining to his grave share Rahmon in the same conversation made significant hint – first, in the course lasts two and a half hour meeting, the President expressed his gratitude to the United States, curling, that “the international community is important to temper, as he put it,” the worst instincts Russia “. Secondly, Rahmon ambassador hinted that Tajikistan is ready to certain conditions (read – for a fee, and security guarantees personally Rahmon and his entourage) to host the U.S. military base.

Accuracy of the readiness to shift to U.S. Rahmon sufficiently illustrate some of the facts of daily life: in conditions of severe energy savings for the local population (in the winter cold light turns on for 2-3 hours), RT uninterrupted electricity supplies in U.S. controlled Afghanistan. Even in the controversial issue of the American democratic NGOs Rahmon received “Solomonic solution” denied official registration to organizations such as National Democratic Institute and Freedom House, but, nevertheless, allowing them to carry out most of the programs. Another positive signal from Rahmon, he just authorized the use of the national curriculum tutorial on the basics of civil rights, which is the result of long-term work of the International Development Foundation for Electoral Systems (International Foundation for Election Systems – IFES). For several reasons, IFES – the only Democratic U.S. NGO, delivered from the annoying attention of the Tajik authorities and acting without any obstacles.

Coming changes

But happiness calf sucking two queens at once, can not be infinite. From the autumn of last year Rahmon and his team felt that tolerate his “art” nor Russia nor Iran are not going to. On the Russian side, this has resulted in a number of demonstrative deportations of migrants (as a response to “the case of pilots”), and in the introduction of new Russian export duties on light oil in Tajikistan, as in other CIS countries enjoy preferential tariffs before the entry into By the rules of the Customs Union of the three countries – Russia, Kazakhstan and Belarus.

From this point on, “Dangara clan” started making foreign policy shift toward “heart of the alliance” with the U.S.. It is clear that agreement, the alliance provided Hamrokhon Zarifi, Minister of Foreign Affairs, a figure little studied, but – more interesting than his connections and position, just read his article «The Message from the Roof of the World» in the weekly “New Europe” .

Today for the alliance to three conditions – squeezing Russia out of the RT, the opposition sweep with simultaneous elimination pro-Iranian lobby, which should provoke Iran into unfriendly statements. And then there is a good excuse to ask the protection and expansion in the U.S. presence in the country.

Task of squeezing Russia official Dushanbe decides exhibiting absurd claims for $ 300 million for the operation of the 201 military base in Tajikistan. But the other two conditions are quite capable to fulfill the activities outlined in the protocol № 32-20, made famous by those in Tajikistan, said current plans Rahmon and his environment – an adventure that leads to chaos RT.

But the paradox of the situation is that Rahmon overestimating its importance for the U.S.. The plans of the State Department it would play the role of a “bulldozer”, which should be “clean” political field, pro-Russian and pro-Iranian lobby (including physical destruction), to carry out the foreign policy shift, to ensure entry of the U.S. in Tajikistan … and in this role it is pumped. The fruits of these reforms, all the preferences of the “pro-American in Tajikistan”, will take advantage of others. Since 2006, there are leaks that the post of the next president of Tajikistan Americans “try on” the current head of the MFA RT – Hamrokhon Zarifi. That Washington lobbied his appointment to the post. And it is the policy of Washington holds Zarifi now in office, up to the limit of its strained relations with Russia. Let me quote a passage from a State Department diplomatic cables related to Zarifi: “Pro-American Tajik politician agreed to our proposals and asked to observe strict confidentiality of the meeting in the name of the execution of strategic tasks assigned to him and his team friendly country – the United States.”

Washington’s skill players deserves applause. Artfully entwined Rahmon informal guarantees by buying the entire clan for relatively little money, the U.S. actually made it a mechanical doll that comes up that road, which he charted. Goes – without deviating from the course, is – not even responsive to the wishes, but only on the fingers wiggling their owners. Only here the doll does not know that in the end the way it did not expect the power and luxury, but a garbage dump. And in its place a puppet, opening the way to the heart of the United States in Central Asia, will take another doll. The cycle of dictators “banana republics” pawns “The Grand Chessboard” is unknown from what imagined themselves the rulers …

 

 

Mexicans raise questions over CIA role in drug war

 

AFP

Forensic personnel check a vehicle attacked with gunfire in the Tres Marias-Huitzilac highway in Morelos, Mexico (AFP/File, Nuvia Reyes)

Mexicans raise questions over CIA role in drug war

By Laurent Thomet (AFP)

MEXICO CITY — Mexican politicians demanded answers from their government on Wednesday after reports that two Americans wounded when federal police opened fire on a US embassy car were working for the CIA.

The US and Mexican governments have said little about the victims’ work since last week’s shooting, a silence that has put a spotlight on the growing but often secretive US role in Mexico’s brutal drug war.

The left-wing opposition Democratic Revolution Party said it would summon government officials to a Senate hearing in order to clarify the murky role of the US Central Intelligence Agency in Mexico.

“We will ask for a hearing with the public security minister, the foreign minister and the navy to find out what CIA agents are doing in Mexico and why they are fighting each other,” Senator Mario Delgo told MVS radio.

Washington works closely with President Felipe Calderon’s government against drug smuggling under the $1.6 billion Merida Initiative, providing training for law enforcement officials and equipment, including Black Hawk helicopters.

After days of feverish speculation here about who the wounded Americans were working for, the New York Times reported Wednesday that the pair were employed by the CIA as part of an anti-drug task force.

But Mexican daily El Universal, citing a confidential official report, said they were CIA agents who supervise instructors at a navy shooting range.

The CIA and Mexican foreign ministry declined to comment. Calderon voiced regret over the incident on Tuesday and pledged an exhaustive investigation.

A US State Department spokesman would only say on Tuesday that the two were US government employees working on “law enforcement cooperation.” The pair were repatriated to the United States over the weekend.

According to official accounts, the two were driving with a Mexican navy captain to a military training facility south of Mexico City on Friday when federal police shot at their armored US embassy car.

Authorities are holding 12 police officers over the shooting as prosecutors mull charges against them.

Unnamed US officials told the Times that there was no evidence so far that the unidentified Americans were targeted because of their affiliation.

Mexico City Mayor Marcelo Ebrard, a member of the Democratic Revolutionary Party, had already raised questions about the CIA’s presence on Tuesday.

“The Mexican government must give a complete report on what the CIA is doing here, with whom it is working and what is the extent of its work,” Ebrard said. “Everything is in the dark.”

Calderon’s government has been forced in the past to defend the presence of US agents or the use of US drones over Mexican territory in the fight against drug cartels.

Analysts say the number of US security officials in Mexico has soared since Calderon launched an anti-drug offensive in 2006. More than 50,000 people have died since Mexican troops were deployed against the cartels.

But Calderon has refused to disclose the number of US law enforcement agents in Mexico. Under Mexican law, foreign agents or soldiers are forbidden from taking part in operations or carrying weapons in the country.

“Of course many of these operations are taking place, and of course they are bypassing the legal framework in doing so,” Edgardo Buscaglia, a security expert and senior research scholar at New York’s Columbia University, told AFP.

Americans have shed blood before in Mexico’s drug war. A US Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) agent was killed and another wounded last year when Zetas cartel gunmen shot their car between Mexico City and Monterrey.

“The expansion of the US presence within Mexican soil is unprecedented,” Buscaglia said. “We are reaching levels — not in terms of soldiers but in terms of American intelligence — that are close to Afghanistan.”