• UN Human Rights Council passes a resolution adopting the peasant rights declaration in Geneva - Via Campesina

    Seventeen years of long and arduous negotiations later, peasants and other people working in rural areas are only a step away from having a UN Declaration that could defend and protect their rights to land, seeds, biodiversity, local markets and a lot more.

    On Friday, 28 September, in a commendable show of solidarity and political will, member nations of United Nations Human Rights Council passed a resolution concluding the UN Declaration for the Rights of Peasants and Other People Working in Rural Areas. The resolution was passed with 33 votes in favour, 11 abstentions and 3 against. [1]

    Contre : Australie, Hongrie et Royaume-Uni

    In favour: Afghanistan, Angola, Burundi, Chile, China, Cote d’Ivoire, Cuba, Democratic Republic of Congo, Ecuador, Egypt, Ethiopia, Iraq, Kenya, Kyrgyzstan, Mexico, Mongolia, Nepal, Nigeria, Pakistan, Panama, Peru, Philippines, Qatar, Rwanda, Saudi Arabia, Senegal, South Africa, Switzerland, Togo, Tunisia, Ukraine, United Arab Emirates, Venezuela

    Abstention: Belgium, Brazil, Croatia, Georgia, Germany, Iceland, Japan, Republic of Korea, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain


  • Why the West Needs #Azerbaijan – Foreign Policy

    Teenagers from a boxing school take part in a training session in the Caspian Sea near Soviet oil rigs in the Azerbaijani capital Baku on June 27, 2015.

    There are only three ways for energy and trade to flow overland between Asia and Europe: through Iran, through Russia, and through Azerbaijan. With relations between the West, Moscow, and Tehran in tatters, that leaves onlyone viable route for hundreds of billions of dollars’ worth of trade: through the tiny Caspian Sea nation of Azerbaijan.

    When you factor in Armenia’s occupation of almost one-fifth of Azerbaijan’s territory, all that is left is a narrow 60-mile-wide chokepoint for trade. We call this trade chokepoint the " #Ganja_Gap ” — named after Azerbaijan’s second largest city, Ganja, which sits in the middle of this narrow passage. And right now, the Russians hold enough influence over Azerbaijan’s rival neighbor Armenia to potentially reignite the bloody #Nagorno-Karabakh conflict of the late 1980s and early 1990s — giving them a dangerous opportunity to threaten the “Gap” itself.
    It is not just oil and gas pipelines that connect Europe with the heart of Asia. Fiber-optic cables linking Western Europe with the Caspian region also pass through the Ganja Gap. The second-longest European motorway, the E60, which connects Brest, France, on the Atlantic coast with Irkeshtam, Kyrgyzstan, on the Chinese border, passes through the city of Ganja, as does the east-west rail link in the South Caucasus, the Baku-Tbilisi-Kars railway. These are set to become potentially vital connections.

    The ongoing campaign in Afghanistan has also proven how important the Ganja Gap is for resupplying U.S. and NATO troops. At the peak of the war, more than one-third of U.S. nonlethal military supplies such as fuel, food, and clothing passed through the Ganja Gap either overland or in the air.

  • On China’s New Silk Road, Democracy Pays A Toll – Foreign Policy

    To understand how the #Belt_and_Road Initiative can threaten human rights and good governance, consider first how its projects are financed.To understand how the Belt and Road Initiative can threaten human rights and good governance, consider first how its projects are financed. Thus far, China has largely favored loans over grants. It is not a member of the Paris Club of major creditor nations, and it has shown little inclination to adhere to internationally recognized norms of debt sustainability, such as the sovereign lending principles issued by the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development. At the same time, many of the recipient countries participating in the project lack the capability to assess the long-term financial consequences of China’s loans — or they may simply accept them, assuming the bills will come due on a future government’s watch.

    Ballooning, unsustainable debt is the predictable result. Sri Lanka, where in 2017 some 95 percent of government revenue went to debt repayment, represents the best-known example of Belt and Road’s negative impact on a country’s balance sheet. But Sri Lanka is only the most prominent case; a recent study by the Center for Global Development identified eight countries — Djibouti, the Maldives, Laos, Montenegro, Mongolia, Tajikistan, Kyrgyzstan, and Pakistan — that are at particular risk of debt distress due to future Belt and Road-related financing.
    China’s planned development of a “#new_digital_Silk_Road ” has received comparatively less attention than other elements of the initiative but is equally troubling. China’s digital blueprint seeks to promote information technology connectivity across the Indian Ocean rim and Eurasia through new fiber optic lines, undersea cables, cloud computing capacity, and even artificial intelligence research centers. If realized, this ambitious vision will serve to export elements of Beijing’s surveillance regime. Indeed, Chinese technology companies already have a track record of aiding repressive governments. In Ethiopia, likely prior to the advent of Belt and Road, the Washington Post reports that China’s ZTE Corporation “sold technology and provided training to monitor mobile phones and Internet activity.” Today, Chinese tech giant Huawei is partnering with the government of Kenya to construct “safe cities” that leverage thousands of surveillance cameras feeding data into a public security cloud “to keep an eye on what is going on generally” according to the company’s promotional materials. Not all elements of China’s domestic surveillance regime are exportable, but as the “New Digital Silk Road” takes shape, the public and online spaces of countries along it will become less free.
    States financially beholden to China will become less willing to call out Beijing’s domestic human rights abuses, for instance, and less eager to object to its foreign-policy practices. This dynamic is already playing out within the European Union. In mid-2017, for the first time, the EU failed to issue a joint condemnation of China at the U.N. Human Rights Council. Greece, which had recently received a massive influx of Chinese investment into its Port of Piraeus, scuttled the EU statement.


  • Moritz von Oswald Ordo Sakhna - : Honest Jon’s Records

    A kind of intimate scrapbook of the startling collaboration between the techno maestro and this long-standing musical collective based in Bishkek, devoted to the roots music of Kyrgyzstan. Loose-leaved but balanced, lucid and intimate, it sets out from stunning a cappella and virtuosic komuz and kylak, mouth harp and traditional percussion: not field, but expert studio recordings, using marvellous vintage microphones, made over several days in Berlin. Further, a few of these are deftly treated by Moritz, using Reichian de-synced double-tracking, and discreet effects. Also two ten-minute dubs: a deadly, signature Berlin steppers, plus its version; and an echoing, mystical drum session, recorded live on stage in Bishkek. And a side-long, dream-like summation: the locomotive, oceanic, clangorous, dread Facets.

    Ravishing, rooted, searching music; beautifully presented.

    Pour écouter, c’est là

  • Every shade of beige: Soviet-era sanatoriums – in pictures
    With decades-old wallpaper, mosaics glorifying workers and treatments such as ‘electrical hot chairs’, the sanatoriums of Central Asia are a door to another time


    Ultraviolet light-emitting sterilisation lamps are placed in the ear, nose or throat to kill bacteria, viruses and fungi

    Photograph: Michal Solarski

    Jeti-Ögüz­­, Kyrgyzstan

    As well as offering radon and hydrogen-sulphide treatments using local spring water, Jeti-Ögüz is one of the few remaining post-Soviet sanatoriums to offer kumis – a drink made from fermented mare’s milk, reputedly good for chronic diseases including tuberculosis and bronchitis

    Photograph: Michal Solarski
    #photographie #santé #architecture #ex-urss

  • Oliver Wainwright on the glitzy starchitecture of Astana: “Like a teenager trying to show off” | News | Archinect

    Guardian architecture critic Oliver Wainwright reports from the Astana World Expo grounds as part of the paper’s fascinating new series, Secret Stans, which offers a glimpse into the cities of the former Soviet Republics of Central Asia: Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, and Uzbekistan.

    In his piece, Wainwright minces no words and describes the collection of petrodollar-funded starchitecture that Kazakhstan’s lone ruler, Nursultan Nazarbayev, enabled to grow from the Eurasian steppe as a “row of awards in a particularly gaudy trophy cabinet,” and also questions the ’regime-enforcing’ integrity of well known international architects who agreed to build it.

    #architecture #asie_centrale #kazakhstan

  • Kyrgyzstan and Uzbekistan: Once Deadly Foes, Now BFF? · Global Voices

    t wasn’t just about the first ladies and their matching shoes, although that didn’t go unnoticed; Uzbek President Shavkat Mirziyoyev’s visit to Kyrgyzstan last week marked a sea change in relations between two Central Asian countries that up until recently, lived in the long shadow cast by his uncompromising predecessor.

    Islam Karimov, who ruled Uzbekistan from before independence from the Soviet Union in 1991 until his death last year, had few nice things to say about Kyrgyzstan.

    #asie_centrale #turkmenistan #ouzbekistan #dictatures

  • La géographie humaine des régions montagneuses post-socialistes

    Matthias Schmidt
    Human Geography of Post-Socialist Mountain Regions [Texte intégral]
    An Introduction
    Géographie humaine des régions montagneuses post-socialistes [Texte intégral | traduction]
    Une introduction
    Alexey Gunya
    Land Reforms in Post-Socialist Mountain Regions and their Impact on Land Use Management : a Case Study from the Caucasus [Texte intégral]
    Les réformes foncières dans les régions de montagnes post-socialistes et leur impact sur l’aménagement du territoire – une étude de cas dans le #Caucase [Texte intégral | traduction]
    Jesse Quinn
    Gatekhili Mountains, gatekhili State : Fractured Alpine Forest Governance and Post-Soviet Development in the Republic of Georgia [Texte intégral]
    Montagnes gatekhili, État gatekhili : gestion fracturée de la #forêt alpine et développement post-soviétique en République de #Géorgie [Texte intégral | traduction]
    Aiganysh Isaeva et Jyldyz Shigaeva
    Soviet Legacy in the Operation of Pasture Governance Institutions in Present-Day Kyrgyzstan [Texte intégral]
    L’héritage soviétique dans les actions des institutions de gestion des #pâturages au #Kirghizistan [Texte intégral | traduction]
    Irène Mestre
    Quand les bergers creusent la montagne. Impact des activités minières artisanales sur les systèmes agropastoraux du #Kirghizstan. Étude de cas dans la région de #Naryn [Texte intégral]
    When Shepherds Mine Mountains : The Impact of Artisanal Mining on Agropastoral Systems in Kyrgyzstan. Case Study of Naryn Province [Texte intégral | traduction]
    Andrea Membretti et Bogdan Iancu
    Dai contadini operai agli amenity migrants. L’eredità del socialismo e il futuro del ruralismo montano in Romania [Texte intégral]
    From Peasant Workers to Amenity Migrants. Socialist Heritage and the Future of Mountain Rurality in Romania [Texte intégral | traduction]
    #soviétisme #post-soviétisme #post-socialisme #montagne #revue #Roumanie #mines

  • When Climate Change Starts Wars - Issue 45: Power

    The Kyrgyz soldier stepped quietly out of the dark green bushes and swung his Kalashnikov rifle in the direction of our car. Another emerged and did the same. Their checkpoint was a skinny log dragged across a broken asphalt road heading toward an ethnic Uzbek village and the disputed waters of the Kasan-sai, a reservoir that irrigates the agricultural heartland of the ancient Fergana Valley. With a sleepy shake of his head, the special forces sergeant waved his rifle and made us turn our beat-up Mitsubishi around. “There won’t be any fighting here,” the sergeant said. At least not today. The quiet of the hot September afternoon was unbroken as we turned around and slowly ground off through the heat. Driving back the way we came through the parched foothills on the edge of the western (...)

    • RECEDING WATERS The Kasan-sai reservoir, which irrigates the Fergana Valley, stands half drained near the Uzbek border. The reservoir sits in Kyrgyz land but supplies water to Uzbekistan’s Fergana Valley.

      Throughout the spring and summer in 2016, tensions flared after ethnic Uzbek villagers and police blocked access to the reservoir and its water, which lies inside Kyrgyzstan. Uzbekistan drove armored personnel carriers into Kyrgyzstan, and both sides have captured and detained each other’s citizens. Fistfights and potshots have been common. For farmers scratching out a bare existence from increasingly dry land, water is lifeblood, and worth fighting for.

      #Asie_centrale. #climat #eau #conflit

  • Mistaken Identity?: Kyrgyzstan’s Name Tarnished in Attack on Istanbul Nightclub that Killed 39 · Global Voices

    Mistaken Identity?: Kyrgyzstan’s Name Tarnished in Attack on Istanbul Nightclub that Killed 39

    On December 31, 2016, a lone gunman shot 39 people dead in the Reina nightclub in Istanbul, Turkey. On June 28, 2016, gunmen killed 45 people at Istanbul’s largest airport Ataturk. On both occasions citizens of Kyrgyzstan in Central Asia were implicated by media citing Turkish police or other government sources in the aftermath of the attacks.

    In the case of the attack on Reina, claimed by the ISIS group known for its brutal military tactics in parts of Syria and Iraq, a Kyrgyz citizen has already been absolved by both Kyrgyz and Turkish authorities.

    #kirghizstan #asie_centrale #turquie

  • Welcome to the World Nomad Games​: ’If Genghis Khan were alive, he’d be here’ | World news | The Guardian

    The Rio Olympics might have had Usain Bolt, Michael Phelps and the Copacabana beach, but for fans of stick wrestling and horseback battles over a dead goat the shores of Lake Issyk Kul is the place to be this week, as Kyrgyzstan hosts the second World Nomad Games from 3 to 8 September.

    The games, designed to celebrate the nomadic heritage of the Central Asian nations, kicked off with a lavish opening ceremony on Saturday night.

    Forty countries are participating, some of which have long nomadic histories. Others are mainly there for the fun of the games. Sports include eagle hunting, bone throwing and mas-wrestling, a mesmerising game involving two competitors attempting to wrest control of a small stick.

    #kirghistan #jeux_nomades #asie_centrale #nomadisme

  • Water Wars in Central Asia | Foreign Affairs

    Water Wars in Central Asia

    By David Trilling

    The relations of the five former Soviet Republics in Central Asia—Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, and Uzbekistan—are, more often than not, defined by water. When they were still a part of the Soviet Union, the upstream republics—Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan—which have an abundance of water, would release some from their reservoirs in the spring and summer to generate electricity and nourish crops both on their own land and in the downstream republics, which would return the favor by providing gas and coal each winter.

    But since the dissolution of the Soviet Union over a quarter century ago, that system has collapsed. Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan now face constant blackouts and hope to build giant dams to provide for their energy needs. Kyrgyzstan completed its Kambarata-2 power station in 2010 and is building a second one, Kambarata-1, with the help of Russia. Although he doesn’t have the funds, Tajik President Emomali Rahmon often speaks zealously about his mission to build a 335-meter dam, Rogun, which has the potential to turn his impoverished statelet into a powerbroker. But there is one glaring issue: the region’s glaciers, the source of huge and once predictable water supplies, are melting at record rates. Every year, it loses about as much water as consumed by a country the size of Switzerland. And the dams stand to limit water supply even further for the downstream countries. This has set them on edge.

    #eau #asie_centrale

  • Mastermind of Istanbul Airport Attack Had Been Georgian Informant, Official Says

    On Sept. 8, 2012, the general commanded the Georgian counter-terrorist division that arrested Chatayev. But by then, the Chechen had learned how to game the system.

    The alleged mastermind of the Istanbul massacre was a Russian citizen who had applied for refugee status in Austria. There, for several years, Chatayev was a representative in Europe for Doku Umarov, the leader of the Caucasus Emirate terrorist organization, according to the general.

    Russia tried for years to extradite Chatayev. In 2010 he was briefly under arrest in Ukraine but neither Ukraine nor Georgia—long hostile to Russia’s secret services—would give him back to his home country.

    International human rights defenders insisted that the Chatayev, a veteran of the Chechen wars, was protected by the Geneva Convention.

  • An Absence of Diplomacy : The Kyrgyz-Uzbek Border Dispute | The Diplomat

    On March 18, Uzbekistan deployed troops and military equipment, including armored vehicles and trucks, to the unmarked area of Chalasart on the Kyrgyz-Uzbek border, closing the Madaniyat highway checkpoint on the border with Kyrgyzstan and restricting the entry of Kyrgyz citizens at the Dostuk highway checkpoint.

    It is not the first time Uzbekistan has resorted to radical measures on the border with Kyrgyzstan. This time, the Uzbek national security service explained it as a routine reinforcement due to the Nowruz public holiday. Kyrgyz authorities immediately responded by sending troops and military equipment to the disputed area, and also sent a diplomatic note to Tashkent. Panic was reported among locals living in Kyrgyz villages near the occupied zone, and protests ensued.

    #kirghizstan #ouzbékistan #frontière #conflit_frontalier #asie_centrale

    • Francekoul | Article | Ouzbékistan-Kirghizstan : retour sur deux semaines de tensions à la frontière

      La présence de troupes ouzbèkes dans une partie non-délimitée de la frontière suscite l’inquiétude à Bichkek, qui envoie le même jour une note de protestation appelant Tachkent à retirer ses hommes. N’ayant pas reçu de réponse, l’armée kirghize déploie le lendemain deux véhicules de transports de troupes dans la zone.

      Dans les médias et sur les réseaux sociaux kirghiz, l’évènement a une répercussion importante. Le 19 mars, un petit groupe de personnes se réunit devant le siège du gouvernement à Bichkek pour demander le départ des troupes ouzbèkes à la frontière. Trois jours plus tard, un rassemblement de protestation se tient dans la ville de Kerben, qui se trouve à proximité de la zone concernée. Le Premier ministre kirghiz se rend sur place et, selon le site d’information, y est sifflé lors de son discours devant près de 300 manifestants. Deux autres meetings de mécontentement s’étaient déjà tenus à Kerben depuis le début de l’année.

    • In Another Central Asian Security Crisis, Moscow Again Stands Aside |

      A security crisis in Central Asia has yet again raised questions about the efficacy of Russia’s post-Soviet security bloc, the Collective Security Treaty Organization, to maintain peace in the region.

      The dispute between Uzbekistan and Kyrgyzstan over an undelimited part of their border was resolved over the weekend without any shots being fired, as both sides pulled back the armored vehicles and troops they had deployed.

      But before that happened, Kyrgyzstan called a special session of the CSTO’s permanent council in Moscow. (Kyrgyzstan is a member of the organization, while Uzbekistan is not, having dropped out in 2012.) But the response from Moscow was mild: the organization’s deputy secretary general was dispatched to Bishkek to monitor the situation.

  • Tajikistan cedes land to China - BBC News (janvier 2011)

    China and Tajikistan say that they have settled a century-old border dispute, after the Central Asian nation agreed to cede land to China.
    The Tajik parliament voted on Wednesday to ratify a 1999 deal handing over 386 square miles (1,000 sq km) of land in the remote #Pamir mountain range.
    The Tajik foreign minister said that this represented 5.5% of the land that Beijing had sought.
    China said the move thoroughly resolved the border dispute.
    Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Hong Lei gave no details on the treaty.
    But he said the dispute was solved “according to universally recognised norms of international law through equal consultations”.


    Note : la frontière entre le #Tadjikistan et la #Chine ne semble toujours pas avoir été délimitée. Je n’en trouve pas le tracé actuel et Gg:maps non plus qui la laisse en pointillé (sur une longeur d’un peu plus de 100 km. On notera la proximité immédiate de la (très) stratégique #Route_du_Pamir (M41 sur la carte)

  • A lire absolument, le dernier article de « Sy » Hersh dans la London Review of Books, « Military to military » :
    Je tente un long résumé avec citations, mais ce serait plutôt à lire in extenso.

    A partir de l’été 2013, des membres haut placés dans l’appareil militaire américain (notamment le chef de la DIA M. Flynn et le chef d’état-major M. Dempsey) commencent à s’alarmer des conséquences du programme de la CIA d’armement des « rebelles syriens » en collaboration avec les pétromonarchies et la Turquie. Selon leurs informations il renforcerait les groupes les plus radicaux (parmi lesquels al-Nusra et Da’ich) :

    The military’s resistance dates back to the summer of 2013, when a highly classified assessment, put together by the Defense Intelligence Agency (DIA) and the Joint Chiefs of Staff, then led by General Martin Dempsey, forecast that the fall of the Assad regime would lead to chaos and, potentially, to Syria’s takeover by jihadi extremists, much as was then happening in Libya. A former senior adviser to the Joint Chiefs told me that the document was an ‘all-source’ appraisal, drawing on information from signals, satellite and human intelligence, and took a dim view of the Obama administration’s insistence on continuing to finance and arm the so-called moderate rebel groups. By then, the CIA had been conspiring for more than a year with allies in the UK, Saudi Arabia and Qatar to ship guns and goods – to be used for the overthrow of Assad – from Libya, via Turkey, into Syria. The new intelligence estimate singled out Turkey as a major impediment to Obama’s Syria policy. The document showed, the adviser said, ‘that what was started as a covert US programme to arm and support the moderate rebels fighting Assad had been co-opted by Turkey, and had morphed into an across-the-board technical, arms and logistical programme for all of the opposition, including Jabhat al-Nusra and Islamic State. The so-called moderates had evaporated and the Free Syrian Army was a rump group stationed at an airbase in Turkey.’ The assessment was bleak: there was no viable ‘moderate’ opposition to Assad, and the US was arming extremists.

    Ces militaires américains, persuadés que dans ces conditions la chute d’Assad mènerait au chaos, vont tenter de convaincre l’administration Obama de changer de politique en Syrie ; mais en vain.

    Flynn told me. ‘We understood Isis’s long-term strategy and its campaign plans, and we also discussed the fact that Turkey was looking the other way when it came to the growth of the Islamic State inside Syria.’ The DIA’s reporting, he said, ‘got enormous pushback’ from the Obama administration. ‘I felt that they did not want to hear the truth.’
    ‘Our policy of arming the opposition to Assad was unsuccessful and actually having a negative impact,’ the former JCS adviser said. ‘The Joint Chiefs believed that Assad should not be replaced by fundamentalists. The administration’s policy was contradictory. They wanted Assad to go but the opposition was dominated by extremists. So who was going to replace him? To say Assad’s got to go is fine, but if you follow that through – therefore anyone is better. It’s the “anybody else is better” issue that the JCS had with Obama’s policy.’ The Joint Chiefs felt that a direct challenge to Obama’s policy would have ‘had a zero chance of success’.

    Ils vont alors tenter de contre-balancer celle-ci, sans rentrer en franche dissidence vis à vis de Washington, en faisant parvenir du renseignement par des canaux indirects (des militaires allemands, israéliens et russes) à Damas :

    So in the autumn of 2013 they decided to take steps against the extremists without going through political channels, by providing US intelligence to the militaries of other nations, on the understanding that it would be passed on to the Syrian army and used against the common enemy, Jabhat al-Nusra and Islamic State.
    Germany, Israel and Russia were in contact with the Syrian army, and able to exercise some influence over Assad’s decisions – it was through them that US intelligence would be shared. Each had its reasons for co-operating with Assad: Germany feared what might happen among its own population of six million Muslims if Islamic State expanded; Israel was concerned with border security; Russia had an alliance of very long standing with Syria, and was worried by the threat to its only naval base on the Mediterranean, at Tartus. ‘We weren’t intent on deviating from Obama’s stated policies,’ the adviser said. ‘But sharing our assessments via the military-to-military relationships with other countries could prove productive.

    L’article se poursuit avec un paragraphe rappelant l’ambition partagée par l’administration G.W. Bush et Obama de renverser Assad depuis au moins 2003, avec les différentes actions entreprises, malgré une coopération sécuritaire de Damas appréciée par les cercles militaires et de renseignement américains (choses assez bien connues).
    Ensuite Hersh balance une sacrée révélation : à partir de l’automne 2013, dans un contexte où l’effort financier turco-qataro-saoudien augmente et où l’ensemble de l’opération de déstabilisation d’Assad semble échapper aux Américains, ces militaires « dissidents » vont jouer un coup : en remplaçant la ligne d’approvisionnement principale libyenne des rebelles et des jihadistes en Syrie, par une ligne venue de Turquie, ils vont réussir à abaisser la qualité de l’armement obtenu par ceux-ci :

    The CIA was approached by a representative from the Joint Chiefs with a suggestion: there were far less costly weapons available in Turkish arsenals that could reach the Syrian rebels within days, and without a boat ride.’ But it wasn’t only the CIA that benefited. ‘We worked with Turks we trusted who were not loyal to Erdoğan,’ the adviser said, ‘and got them to ship the jihadists in Syria all the obsolete weapons in the arsenal, including M1 carbines that hadn’t been seen since the Korean War and lots of Soviet arms. It was a message Assad could understand: “We have the power to diminish a presidential policy in its tracks.”’
    The flow of US intelligence to the Syrian army, and the downgrading of the quality of the arms being supplied to the rebels, came at a critical juncture.

    Par la suite en 2014, Brennan (directeur de la CIA) tente de reprendre la main dans ce maelström. Il réunit les chefs du renseignement des Etats « arabes sunnites » et leur demande de ne soutenir que l’opposition modérée. Il obtient un oui poli mais non suivi d’effet, tandis que la ligne générale de l’administration Obama reste la même :

    Brennan’s message was ignored by the Saudis, the adviser said, who ‘went back home and increased their efforts with the extremists and asked us for more technical support. And we say OK, and so it turns out that we end up reinforcing the extremists.’

    Et reste le problème des Turcs, moins faciles à manipuler, qui soutiennent à la fois al-Nusra et Da’ich :

    But the Saudis were far from the only problem: American intelligence had accumulated intercept and human intelligence demonstrating that the Erdoğan government had been supporting Jabhat al-Nusra for years, and was now doing the same for Islamic State. ‘We can handle the Saudis,’ the adviser said. ‘We can handle the Muslim Brotherhood. You can argue that the whole balance in the Middle East is based on a form of mutually assured destruction between Israel and the rest of the Middle East, and Turkey can disrupt the balance – which is Erdoğan’s dream. We told him we wanted him to shut down the pipeline of foreign jihadists flowing into Turkey. But he is dreaming big – of restoring the Ottoman Empire – and he did not realise the extent to which he could be successful in this.’

    Suit un long exposé, d’une part sur les relations américano-russes, que certains du côté de ces « dissidents » perçoivent comme trop marquées du côté de Washington par une mentalité anti-russe anachronique venue de la guerre froide, et sur les raisons de la peur de la Russie du phénomène jihadiste, amplifiée depuis la mort de Kadhafi, d’autre part. Evoqué aussi le traitement médiatique hostile aux USA à l’intervention russe en Syrie.
    Reprise du récit. Après l’attentat de novembre dernier en France et le bombardier russe abattu par la chasse turque, Hollande tente d’amener Obama à un rapprochement avec la Russie mais sans succès, la ligne d’Obama restant départ d’Assad, opposition à l’intervention russe en Syrie, soutien à la Turquie, et maintien de l’idée d’une réelle opposiotn modérée :

    The Paris attacks on 13 November that killed 130 people did not change the White House’s public stance, although many European leaders, including François Hollande, advocated greater co-operation with Russia and agreed to co-ordinate more closely with its air force; there was also talk of the need to be more flexible about the timing of Assad’s exit from power. On 24 November, Hollande flew to Washington to discuss how France and the US could collaborate more closely in the fight against Islamic State. At a joint press conference at the White House, Obama said he and Hollande had agreed that ‘Russia’s strikes against the moderate opposition only bolster the Assad regime, whose brutality has helped to fuel the rise’ of IS. Hollande didn’t go that far but he said that the diplomatic process in Vienna would ‘lead to Bashar al-Assad’s departure … a government of unity is required.’ The press conference failed to deal with the far more urgent impasse between the two men on the matter of Erdoğan. Obama defended Turkey’s right to defend its borders; Hollande said it was ‘a matter of urgency’ for Turkey to take action against terrorists. The JCS adviser told me that one of Hollande’s main goals in flying to Washington had been to try to persuade Obama to join the EU in a mutual declaration of war against Islamic State. Obama said no. The Europeans had pointedly not gone to Nato, to which Turkey belongs, for such a declaration. ‘Turkey is the problem,’ the JCS adviser said.

    Hersh s’appuie ensuite sur l’ambassadeur syrien en Chine pour évoquer la cas de la Chine qui soutient aussi Assad. L’occasion de mentionner le Parti islamique du Turkestan Oriental, allié d’al-Qaïda et soutenu par les services turcs, et qui offre à des combattants notamment Ouïghours l’occasion de mener le jihad en Syrie avant peut-être de retourner le pratiquer dans le Xinjiang ce qui inquiète Pékin :

    Moustapha also brought up China, an ally of Assad that has allegedly committed more than $30 billion to postwar reconstruction in Syria. China, too, is worried about Islamic State. ‘China regards the Syrian crisis from three perspectives,’ he said: international law and legitimacy; global strategic positioning; and the activities of jihadist Uighurs, from Xinjiang province in China’s far west. Xinjiang borders eight nations – Mongolia, Russia, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Afghanistan, Pakistan and India – and, in China’s view, serves as a funnel for terrorism around the world and within China. Many Uighur fighters now in Syria are known to be members of the East Turkestan Islamic Movement – an often violent separatist organisation that seeks to establish an Islamist Uighur state in Xinjiang. ‘The fact that they have been aided by Turkish intelligence to move from China into Syria through Turkey has caused a tremendous amount of tension between the Chinese and Turkish intelligence,’ Moustapha said. ‘China is concerned that the Turkish role of supporting the Uighur fighters in Syria may be extended in the future to support Turkey’s agenda in Xinjiang.

    L’article se finit sur le sort de ces « dissidents ». Flynn se fera virer en 2014, tandis que Dempsey et les autres au sein de l’état-major, qui ont été moins insistants, resteront en poste.

    General Dempsey and his colleagues on the Joint Chiefs of Staff kept their dissent out of bureaucratic channels, and survived in office. General Michael Flynn did not. ‘Flynn incurred the wrath of the White House by insisting on telling the truth about Syria,’ said Patrick Lang, a retired army colonel who served for nearly a decade as the chief Middle East civilian intelligence officer for the DIA.

    Dempsey finira par partir en retraite en 2015, mettant fin à cette « dissidence douce » au sein du Pentagone :

    The military’s indirect pathway to Assad disappeared with Dempsey’s retirement in September. His replacement as chairman of the Joint Chiefs, General Joseph Dunford, testified before the Senate Armed Services Committee in July, two months before assuming office. ‘If you want to talk about a nation that could pose an existential threat to the United States, I’d have to point to Russia,’ Dunford said.

    Conclusion :

    Obama now has a more compliant Pentagon. There will be no more indirect challenges from the military leadership to his policy of disdain for Assad and support for Erdoğan. Dempsey and his associates remain mystified by Obama’s continued public defence of Erdoğan, given the American intelligence community’s strong case against him – and the evidence that Obama, in private, accepts that case. ‘We know what you’re doing with the radicals in Syria,’ the president told Erdoğan’s intelligence chief at a tense meeting at the White House (as I reported in the LRB of 17 April 2014). The Joint Chiefs and the DIA were constantly telling Washington’s leadership of the jihadist threat in Syria, and of Turkey’s support for it. The message was never listened to. Why not?


    Very good paper analyzing the myth of the #Yeti: the facts, the fiction, the actual possibilities, the context. “The only result was that every village in the mountains of Tajikistan and Kyrgyzstan got a designated ’Yeti witness’, whose job was to tell visitors tall tales, guide them to remote valleys where sightings were supposedly taking place, and charge them a lot of money for the service.”


  • Syria Calling : Radicalisation in Central Asia - International Crisis Group

    Growing numbers of Central Asian citizens, male and female, are travelling to the Middle East to fight or otherwise support the Islamic State (IS, formerly ISIL or ISIS). Prompted in part by political marginalisation and bleak economic prospects that characterise their post-Soviet region, 2,000-4,000 have in the past three years turned their back on their secular states to seek a radical alternative. IS beckons not only to those who seek combat experience, but also to those who envision a more devout, purposeful, fundamentalist religious life. This presents a complex problem to the governments of Central Asia. They are tempted to exploit the phenomenon to crack down on dissent. The more promising solution, however, requires addressing multiple political and administrative failures, revising discriminatory laws and policies, implementing outreach programs for both men and women and creating jobs at home for disadvantaged youths, as well as ensuring better coordination between security services.

    #asie_centrale #djihadisme #radicalisation #syrie #icg

    • Intéressant, mais toujours le même problème : il nous faudrait admettre que cette forme très spécifique d’islamisme radical naîtrait spontanément de la pauvreté, des discriminations et de la répression.

      Or, voici ce que Labévière écrivait déjà en octobre 1999 (il y a quinze ans !), dans son prologue pour l’édition américaine de « Dollars for Terror » :

      Parallel to the astonishing ideological convergence between the Parisian ex-Leftists and certain former CIA analysts, there is a perceptible propagation of Sunni Islamism (in varying degrees) from Chechnya to Chinese Xinjiang, and it affects all the Muslim republics of the former Soviet Union. With the active support of Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates andother oil monarchies and with the benevolence of the American services engaged in these areas, we can expect a “Talebanization” of Central Asia, particularly in Chechnya.

      Following a series of terrorist attacks in Moscow during the autumn of 1999, the Russian army launched a series of operations in Chechnya and Dagestan. This new war in Chechnya came on the heels of a series of grave events ascribable to the Sunni Muslims, whose networks are still expanding from the Caspian Sea to the gates of China. Aslan Maskhadov, the Chechen president, had sought to unify his country via Islam; in the end, threatened by militants who want to establish an Islamic State in Chechnya similar to that of the Taleban in Afghanistan.

      After the withdrawal of the Russian troops in 1996, incidents between Islamists and the police force escalated dramatically. An emir of Arab origin, who wanted to found an Islamic State covering the whole of the Caucasus, raised an army of 2000 men. On July 15, 1998, conflicts between 1000 Islamic combatants and the security forces killed more than 50 people in the town of Gudermes, 23 miles east of Grozny. Shortly after these clashes, Chechen President Maskhadov called on the population and the local religious authority to resist the “Wahhabis and those who are behind these misled insurrectionaries.” He affirmed his intention to excise from Chechnya “those who are trying to impose a foreign ideology on the population.” On July 31, 1998 he barely escaped an assassination attempt attributed to Islamic activists.

      On December 12, 1998, the Chechen authorities announced the arrest of Arbi Baraev, a Wahhabi militant. He had proclaimed a “Jihad against the enemies of the true religion,” and was implicated in the murder of the four Western engineers (three British and one New Zealander) whose severed heads were found on December 10, 1998. He also admitted participating in the kidnapping and the detention of Frenchman Vincent Cochetel, a delegate from the U.N.’s High Commission of Refugees. Cochetel disappeared in Ossetia; he was released on December 10, 1998, after 317 days in captivity. The Islamists, in addition, acknowledged kidnapping the Chechen Attorney General Mansour Takirov, on December 11, 1998. And on March 21, 1999, the Chechen President escaped a second bombing, right in the center of Grozny.

      While Aslan Maskhadov proclaims his determination to eradicate Wahhabi Islamism in his country, he is opposed by several members of his government who protect the religious activists. Thus Movadi Uklugov, a member of the Chechen government, wants to establish diplomatic relation with the Taleban of Afghanistan. The Chechen Vice President Vakha Arsanov called for reprisals against the United States after the August 20, 1998 bombing of Sudan and Afghanistan. One year later, Chechnya was cut in two by the Russian forces; 170,000 women and children headed for exile in Ingushetia, another Islamic sanctuary. The pressure of refugees fleeing the war in Ossetia is growing and the entire area is slipping into a civil war mode, like Afghan — just what Maskhadov wanted to avoid. But “Talebanization” is gaining ground in Dagestan, Tatarstan, Uzbekistan, Kyrgyzstan and the fringes of China as well.

      In May 1997, in Dagestan, Wahhabi militants wielding automatic weapons clashed with representatives of local Sufi brotherhoods. Two people were killed, three others wounded and eighteen Wahhabis were taken hostage by the Sufis. On December 21, 1997, three units of former volunteers from the Afghan resistance attacked a Russian military base in Dagestan. These combatants, coming from Chechnya, Dagestan, Ingushetia, Uzbekistan and Kyrgyzstan, assassinated several dozen Russian soldiers and officers, and then set fire to some three hundred vehicles. Before retiring to Chechnya, these Islamists handed out leaflets proclaiming, among other things, that new military training camps would be opened in Chechnya to prepare additional combatants “who will teach the impious Russians a lesson.”

      In August 1998, the Wahhabi communities of three Dagestani villages proclaimed “independent Islamic republics,” recognized Sharia as the only law valid in the state, and sought to leave the Russian Federation to join Chechnya. Lastly, August 21, 1998, the mufti of Dagestan, Saïd Mohammad Abubakarov (who had urged the authorities to react firmly against Wahhabi terrorism) and his brother were killed when his residence was bombed. The chaos caused by this attack led the country to the brink of civil war.

      In Tatarstan, the authorities see the development of a radical Islamist movement as a serious threat to the country’s stability, since the appearance of “religious political organizations” endangers the coexistence of the Russian and Tatar populations. In March 1999, Mintimer Chaîmiev — President of Tatarstan — denounced “the action of emissaries from Islamic countries who recruit young people in Russia, and give them military training abroad, leading to terrorist actions.” During 1999, several Pakistani, Afghan and Saudi “missionaries” wereexpelled from the country for proselytism intended to unleash a “holy war.”

      The Ferghana Valley in Uzbekistan has long been the site of an Islamist education and agitation center with close ties to Pakistan and the Saudi Wahhabi organizations. In 1992, after an uprising in Namangan, the biggest town in the Ferghana Valley, President Islam Karimov (the former head of the Uzbek Communist Party) ordered a series of arrests against the Islamist agitators while seeking to promote an official form of Islam through the International Center of Islamic Research financed by the State. In December 1997, several police officers were assassinated by Wahhabi activists. On February 16, 1998, the Uzbek Minister for Foreign Affairs blamed the Islamist organizations in Pakistan and accused them of training the terrorists who conducted these assassinations. According to his information services, more than 500 Uzbeks, Kirghiz and Tajiks were trained in Pakistan and in Afghanistan before returning to their home lands in order to propagate a holy war against the “impious authorities.”

      Between July 1998 and January 1999, a hundred Wahhabi Islamists were tried and sentenced to three to twenty years in prison. On February 16, 1999, six explosions ripped through Tashkent, the Uzbek capital, killing 15 and wounding some 150. The first three charges exploded near the government headquarters; three others hit a school, a retail store and the airport. Shortly after this lethal night, the Uzbek authorities denounced acts “financed by organizations based abroad” and reiterated their intention to fight Wahhabi extremism. On March 18, 1999, some thirty Wahhabi militants (suspected of involvement in the February 16 attacks) were arrested in Kazakhstan. According to Interfax, the Russian press agency, they were holding airplane tickets for the United Arab Emirates, Pakistan, Chechnya and Azerbaidjan.

      In Kyrgyzstan, in February 1998, the Muslim religious authorities launched a vast information campaign to counter Saudi proselytism and the propagation of Wahhabi ideology. On May 12, the Kyrgyzstan security forces arrested four foreigners, members of a very active clandestine Wahhabi organization. This group was training recruits from Kyrgyzstan in military boot camps linked to Afghanistan and Pakistan. The police also seized Afghan and Pakistani passports, a large sum in U.S. dollars, video cassettes summoning viewers to a “holy war,” and other propaganda documents. The authorities announced a series of measures against those who were using religious instruction “to destabilize the country.” In May 1998, the Kyrgyz authorities, who had already arrested and extradited eight Uzbek activists in 1997, signed two agreements on anti-terrorist cooperation with Uzbekistan and Tajikistan.

      China has not been spared. Xinjiang (southern China), has a population that is 55% Uighur (a turkophone Sunni ethnic group); it has been confronted with Islamist violence since the beginning of the 1990’s. Created in 1955, Xinjiang (which means “new territory”) is one of the five autonomous areas of China and is the largest administrative unit of the country. The area is highly strategic at the geopolitical level — Chinese nuclear tests and rocket launches take place on the Lop Nor test grounds — as well as from an economic standpoint, since it abounds in natural wealth (oil, gas, uranium, gold, etc.). Against this backdrop, attacks have proliferated by independence-seeking cliques, all preaching “Holy War.”

      Some are acting in the name of Turkish identity, while others are fighting in the name of Allah (especially in the southern part of the region). As in the rest of Central Asia, in Xinjiang we are witnessing the rising influence of Wahhabi groups and the increasing proselytism of preachers from Saudi Arabia, Afghanistan and Pakistan. Traditionally allied with popular China, Pakistan is nevertheless trying to extend its influence to this part of China, using the Islamists as it did in Afghanistan. For this reason Beijing closed the road from Karakorum, connecting Xinjiang to Pakistan, between 1992 and 1995. Since 1996, the frequency of the incidents has skyrocketed. In February 1997, riots exploded in Yining (a town of 300,000 inhabitants located to the west of Urumqi, near the Kazakh border). This violence caused ten deaths, according to Chinese authorities, and the Uighurs have counted more than a hundred victims.

      Every week in 1998 saw a bombing or an attack with automatic weapons. The region’s hotels, airports and railway stations are in a constant state of alert. In April, Chinese authorities in the vicinity of Yining seized 700 cases of ammunition from Kazakhstan. In September, the Secretary of the Xinjiang Communist Party declared that “19 training camps, in which specialists returning from Afghanistan educate young recruits in the techniques of terrorism, with the assistance of the Taleban,” were neutralized. In January 1999, 29 activists implicated in the February 1997 riots were arrested. On February 12, violent clashes between the police and groups of Uighur militants wounded several dozen people in Urumqi. Two hundred people were arrested. In early March, 10,000 additional soldiers arrived at Yining to beef up security, while in Beijing, the Uighur Islamist organizations took credit for several bomb attacks.

      Le texte du International Crises Group recommande finalement :

      Russia and China are already concerned and have urged the Central Asian states to address the problem of radicalisation in light of the rise of IS. The region’s other international partners, including, the EU and the U.S., should recognise that Central Asia is a growing source of foreign fighters and consider prioritising policing reform, as well as a more tolerant attitude to religion, in their recommendations for combating the problem.

      Ce qui me laisse penser que là, comme dans d’autres situations (notamment la Syrie), on s’abstrait volontairement (et avec une fausse-naïveté épatante) des aspects géopolitiques et de l’histoire des deux dernières décennies. (Parce qu’on ne sait toujours pas à quel moment on devrait admettre que les Occidentaux et leurs relais Séoudiens et Pakistanais auraient définitivement renoncé à jouer la carte jihadiste dans le monde… après 2001, après l’Irak, après la Libye, après la Syrie, après Charlie Hebdo ?).

  • Kyrgyzstan hosts first World Nomad Games, but can they unite the region? | World news | The Guardian

    In the spring of 1206, legend has it, the Mongol steppe saw the largest-ever gathering of nomadic tribes. Featuring athletic competitions and festivities, the weeks-long event marked the unification of warring Mongol tribes under the leadership of Genghis Khan, the legendary Mongol conqueror.

    The Mongol Empire is now history, but the idea of using nomadic sports to unify a nation has lived on in the relatively new independent state in Central Asia as it searches for an identity.

    #asie_centrale #kirghizstan #jeux_nomades

    • Over 400 athletes from 19 countries gathered in a resort on the shores of Lake Issyk-Kul to compete in wrestling, archery, Kok Boru (a game where mounted riders face off over a dead goat), Ordo (a Kyrgyz board game) and Kyz Kumai (chasing women on horseback).

      Pas de course de chevaux !?

      The Nomad Games are also part of Atambayev administration’s objective of strengthening collaboration among Turkic-speaking nations. The idea of the Games first appeared during the 2011 visit of Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan to Kyrgyzstan. Atambayev has repeatedly said Turkey is a top partner.

      Très marqué #panturquisme ou #pantouranisme.
      Ce qui marginalise nettement les Mongols (d’où l’absence des chevaux ?)

  • In the shadow of Lenin Peak – Mining in Kyrgyzstan by Magdalena Borowiec | Foto8

    signalé par @CDB_77 - magnifiques images du travail dans les mines au Kirghizstan

    Kyrgyzstan is usually associated with yurts and picturesque pastures set against a backdrop of endless ranges of majestic mountains. Another side of Kyrgyzstan that is lesser known is that of its numerous uranium and coal mines that sadly pollute the environment and exploit the poor for labour in return for starvation wages.

    Located just 7km from the city of Sary Mogol in the shadow of Lenin’s Peak, an enormous open-cast coal mine excavation has become home to hundreds of people. Divided into two section: the official part where coal is mined with mechanical excavators and sold commercially, often for international export; and the unofficial area, a huge slag heap where the poorest come to scavenge for scraps to sell. Around the mine a hamlet of caravans and yurts has been established where these freelance miners live in primitive conditions with their families throughout the year.

    #photographie #mines #kirghizstan #soviétisme

  • Kirghizistan, une belle empoignade stratégique à venir pour la base de Manas, à 25 km de Bichkek.
    Chine, Russie, Turquie,… sur les rangs.

    U.S. starts relocation from Manas transit center - AzerNews

    The U.S. Department of Defense has begun the process of relocation from the transit center at Manas International Airport in Kyrgyzstan.
    The U.S. plans to complete the transfer of areas and facilities to the Kyrgyz Government by July 2014.
    “The U.S. appreciates the support provided by the Kyrgyz people to U.S. forces and coalition efforts to counter the threat of terrorism and to achieve security and stability in Afghanistan and the region and respects the decision of the Kyrgyz Government to end hosting the transit center after more than 12 years,” the Pentagon said on October 18.
    The Kyrgyz parliament has supported a bill on the denunciation of the agreement between the governments of the Kyrgyzstan and U.S. on Manas transit center. According to the bill, the transit center halts its activity in Kyrgyzstan on July 11, 2014.
    According to the reports published by experts, the first main reason for Kyrgyzstan’s such a decision was primarily a response to Russia’s decision to write off $500 million of Kyrgyzstan’s debt. The second reason was the promise to build two giant hydropower stations on the Naryn River. The last why is the Washington’s decision to dismiss criminal charges against former president’s son Maksim Bakiyev who was indicted on crime of defraud.
    Following the withdrawal of the U.S. military, Kyrgyzstan intends to make the airport an entirely civilian facility.
    However, service and cheap aviation fuel are needed for the hub. Kyrgyzstan is not able to supply the aviation fuel; therefore, negotiations are underway with potential investors.
    Negotiations on creating a hub in the transit center are underway with China, Turkey, Russia and other countries.
    China, which has great interests in the Central Asian region, has the intention of creating a civil hub in the Manas airport.
    Turkey is also ready to assist Kyrgyzstan to transform the Manas airport to a civil hub. Tayyip Erdogan Recep, Turkish Prime Minister, confirmed his country’s intension during his last visit to the country.
    Meanwhile, the U.S. diplomats are still hopeful that if Washington ups the rent, they might be able to keep Manas again.

  • Central Asia: The Complexities of the Fergana Valley | Stratfor

    Signalé par Olivier Pironet

    A recent border dispute in the Fergana Valley, the core of Central Asia, highlights the growing tensions in the strategic and contested region. Kyrgyz and Uzbek border patrol units were removed from the Ungar-Too area in Kyrgyzstan’s Jalal-Abad region Oct. 2, after a two-week standoff over an alleged Uzbek border incursion into the area. Such incursions, coupled with ethnic tensions and sporadic violence, have become increasingly common in the Fergana Valley region, which is split between Kyrgyzstan, Uzbekistan and Tajikistan.

    #asie_centrale #fergana