• Record High #Remittances Sent Globally in #2018

    Remittances to low- and middle-income countries reached a record high in 2018, according to the World Bank’s latest Migration and Development Brief.

    The Bank estimates that officially recorded annual remittance flows to low- and middle-income countries reached $529 billion in 2018, an increase of 9.6 percent over the previous record high of $483 billion in 2017. Global remittances, which include flows to high-income countries, reached $689 billion in 2018, up from $633 billion in 2017.

    Regionally, growth in remittance inflows ranged from almost 7 percent in East Asia and the Pacific to 12 percent in South Asia. The overall increase was driven by a stronger economy and employment situation in the United States and a rebound in outward flows from some Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) countries and the Russian Federation. Excluding China, remittances to low- and middle-income countries ($462 billion) were significantly larger than foreign direct investment flows in 2018 ($344 billion).

    Among countries, the top remittance recipients were India with $79 billion, followed by China ($67 billion), Mexico ($36 billion), the Philippines ($34 billion), and Egypt ($29 billion).

    In 2019, remittance flows to low- and middle-income countries are expected to reach $550 billion, to become their largest source of external financing.

    The global average cost of sending $200 remained high, at around 7 percent in the first quarter of 2019, according to the World Bank’s Remittance Prices Worldwide database. Reducing remittance costs to 3 percent by 2030 is a global target under Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) 10.7. Remittance costs across many African corridors and small islands in the Pacific remain above 10 percent.

    Banks were the most expensive remittance channels, charging an average fee of 11 percent in the first quarter of 2019. Post offices were the next most expensive, at over 7 percent. Remittance fees tend to include a premium where national post offices have an exclusive partnership with a money transfer operator. This premium was on average 1.5 percent worldwide and as high as 4 percent in some countries in the last quarter of 2018.

    On ways to lower remittance costs, Dilip Ratha, lead author of the Brief and head of KNOMAD, said, “Remittances are on track to become the largest source of external financing in developing countries. The high costs of money transfers reduce the benefits of migration. Renegotiating exclusive partnerships and letting new players operate through national post offices, banks, and telecommunications companies will increase competition and lower remittance prices.”

    The Brief notes that banks’ ongoing de-risking practices, which have involved the closure of the bank accounts of some remittance service providers, are driving up remittance costs.

    The Brief also reports progress toward the SDG target of reducing the recruitment costs paid by migrant workers, which tend to be high, especially for lower-skilled migrants.

    “Millions of low-skilled migrant workers are vulnerable to recruitment malpractices, including exorbitant recruitment costs. We need to boost efforts to create jobs in developing countries and to monitor and reduce recruitment costs paid by these workers,” said Michal Rutkowski, Senior Director of the Social Protection and Jobs Global Practice at the World Bank. The World Bank and the International Labour Organization are collaborating to develop indicators for worker-paid recruitment costs, to support the SDG of promoting safe, orderly, and regular migration.

    Regional Remittance Trends

    Remittances to the East Asia and Pacific region grew almost 7 percent to $143 billion in 2018, faster than the 5 percent growth in 2017. Remittances to the Philippines rose to $34 billion, but growth in remittances was slower due to a drop in private transfers from the GCC countries. Flows to Indonesia increased by 25 percent in 2018, after a muted performance in 2017.

    After posting 22 percent growth in 2017, remittances to Europe and Central Asia grew an estimated 11 percent to $59 billion in 2018. Continued growth in economic activity increased outbound remittances from Poland, Russia, Spain, and the United States, major sources of remittances to the region. Smaller remittance-dependent countries in the region, such as the Kyrgyz Republic, Tajikistan, and Uzbekistan, benefited from the sustained rebound of economic activity in Russia. Ukraine, the region’s largest remittance recipient, received a new record of more than $14 billion in 2018, up about 19 percent over 2017. This surge in Ukraine also reflects a revised methodology for estimating incoming remittances, as well as growth in neighboring countries’ demand for migrant workers.

    Remittances flows into Latin America and the Caribbean grew 10 percent to $88 billion in 2018, supported by the strong U.S. economy. Mexico continued to receive the most remittances in the region, posting about $36 billion in 2018, up 11 percent over the previous year. Colombia and Ecuador, which have migrants in Spain, posted 16 percent and 8 percent growth, respectively. Three other countries in the region posted double-digit growth: Guatemala (13 percent) as well as Dominican Republic and Honduras (both 10 percent), reflecting robust outbound remittances from the United States.

    Remittances to the Middle East and North Africa grew 9 percent to $62 billion in 2018. The growth was driven by Egypt’s rapid remittance growth of around 17 percent. Beyond 2018, the growth of remittances to the region is expected to continue, albeit at a slower pace of around 3 percent in 2019 due to moderating growth in the Euro Area.

    Remittances to South Asia grew 12 percent to $131 billion in 2018, outpacing the 6 percent growth in 2017. The upsurge was driven by stronger economic conditions in the United States and a pick-up in oil prices, which had a positive impact on outward remittances from some GCC countries. Remittances grew by more than 14 percent in India, where a flooding disaster in Kerala likely boosted the financial help that migrants sent to families. In Pakistan, remittance growth was moderate (7 percent), due to significant declines in inflows from Saudi Arabia, its largest remittance source. In Bangladesh, remittances showed a brisk uptick in 2018 (15 percent).

    Remittances to Sub-Saharan Africa grew almost 10 percent to $46 billion in 2018, supported by strong economic conditions in high-income economies. Looking at remittances as a share of GDP, Comoros has the largest share, followed by the Gambia , Lesotho, Cabo Verde, Liberia, Zimbabwe, Senegal, Togo, Ghana, and Nigeria.

    The Migration and Development Brief and the latest migration and remittances data are available at Interact with migration experts at
    #remittances #statistiques #chiffres #migrations #diaspora

    #Rapport ici :

    ping @reka

    • Immigrati, boom di rimesse: più di 6 miliardi all’estero. Lo strano caso dei cinesi «spariti»

      Bangladesh, Romania, Filippine: ecco il podio delle rimesse degli immigrati che vivono e lavorano in Italia. Il trend è in forte aumento: nel 2018 sono stati inviati all’estero 6,2 miliardi di euro, con una crescita annua del 20, 7 per cento.
      A registrarlo è uno studio della Fondazione Leone Moressa su dati Banca d’Italia, dopo il crollo del 2013 e alcuni anni di sostanziale stabilizzazione, oggi il volume di rimesse rappresenta lo 0,35% del Pil.

      Il primato del Bangladesh
      Per la prima volta, nel 2018 il Bangladesh è il primo Paese di destinazione delle rimesse, con oltre 730 milioni di euro complessivi (11,8% delle rimesse totali).
      Il Bangladesh nell’ultimo anno ha registrato un +35,7%, mentre negli ultimi sei anni ha più che triplicato il volume.

      Il secondo Paese di destinazione è la Romania, con un andamento stabile: +0,3% nell’ultimo anno e -14,3% negli ultimi sei.
      Da notare come tra i primi sei Paesi ben quattro siano asiatici: oltre al Bangladesh, anche Filippine, Pakistan e India. Proprio i Paesi dell’Asia meridionale sono quelli che negli ultimi anni hanno registrato il maggiore incremento di rimesse inviate. Il Pakistan ha registrato un aumento del +73,9% nell’ultimo anno. Anche India e Sri Lanka sono in forte espansione.

      Praticamente scomparsa la Cina, che fino a pochi anni fa rappresentava il primo Paese di destinazione e oggi non è nemmeno tra i primi 15 Paesi per destinazione delle rimesse.
      Mediamente, ciascun immigrato in Italia ha inviato in patria poco più di 1.200 euro nel corso del 2018 (circa 100 euro al mese). Valore che scende sotto la media per le due nazionalità più numerose: Romania (50,29 euro mensili) e Marocco (66,14 euro). Tra le comunità più numerose il valore più alto è quello del Bangladesh: ciascun cittadino ha inviato oltre 460 euro al mese. Anche i senegalesi hanno inviato mediamente oltre 300 euro mensili.
      #Italie #Chine #Bangladesh #Roumanie #Philippines

  • Agroforestry saves soil and boosts livelihoods in Tajikistan

    Tajikistan is a dry and mountainous country where agroforestry is increasingly stabilizing soils degraded by decades of overgrazing, while growing food and providing cover for wildlife.
    “Alley cropping” is the main agroforestry technique used in the area of Faizobod, in which crops or grains are grown between rows of fruit or nut trees that shield the tender annuals from incessant wind and sun.
    Farm sizes are generally small, but farmers whom Mongabay visited enjoy multiple harvests annually, including 4 to 5 tons of apples a year in some cases.
    Agroforestry also sequesters carbon from the atmosphere in the woody trunks and limbs of trees and vines: it’s estimated that there are currently 45 gigatons of carbon sequestered by these agricultural systems worldwide.

    #Tadjikistan #agroforesterie

  • 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.


  • The midnight train to Moscow

    Riding the rails to Russia with the migrant workers of Central Asia.

    The search began before dawn; the train had just crossed the border of Tajikistan into Uzbekistan. We were only three hours into the four-day train ride between Dushanbe, Tajikistan’s capital, and Moscow.
    #migrations #Russie #Asie_Centrale #Ouzbékistan #Tadjikistan #travail #train #travailleurs_étrangers
    cc @reka

  • Six photographers travel across states that once came under the dominion, or existed in the orbit, of the Soviet Union. Their stories evoke worlds both ordinary and stunning and raises the question of how long the shadow of the the past can be said to linger over the present.

    Journeys — The Calvert Journal

    A quarter century after the collapse of the Wall, what does the landscape look like for peoples of the former Eastern Bloc?

    Here, six photographers travel across states that once came under the dominion, or existed in the orbit, of the Soviet Union. Their stories evoke worlds both ordinary and stunning and raises the question of how long the shadow of the the past can be said to linger over the present.

    From the high mountains of Tajikistan to a failing mining town in Romania and the opulent homes of Russia’s newly rich, history, it seems, is never far away.


    Snow ghosts

    Soviet military-industrial power frozen in time


    anila Tkachenko is a Russian photographer whose series Restricted Areas crystallises the tendencies of many artists working on themes of the post-Soviet space. As Calvert 22’s Power and Architecture season demonstrates, there is a healthy interest in the abandoned or neglected buildings that once served as landmarks of Soviet ambition: the rack and ruin of utopia. What sets Tkachenko apart is the unforgiving simplicity of his compositions.

    The architecture of Restricted Areas is scattered across Eurasia: from an observatory in Kazakhstan to submarines in the Volga region of Samara and oil fields in the remote republic of Bashkortostan. But through Tkachenko’s lens they become part of a single winter landscape, minimal and saturated with whiteness.

    #photographie #soviétisme #urss #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

  • Tajikistan Authorities Invite Ridicule with Demand Wikipedia Correct ‘Spelling Mistakes’

    Tajikistan urges Wikipedia to correct Tajik content – apparently unaware it could do it itself v @RFERL Joanna Lillis (@joannalillis) October 4, 2017

    Tajikistan’s leader Emomali Rakhmon is looking to grow a reputation as a fastidious man who likes his house in order, so it might not come as a surprise that the authoritarian Central Asian country’s language committee has blasted Wikipedia over spelling mistakes on its Tajik language entries. That government officials either do not realise that they can correct the mistakes themselves, or are too lazy to do so, might also not surprise.

    #tadjikistan #wikipedia #asie_centrale

  • Poland : Asylum Seekers Blocked at Border

    (Budapest) – Polish authorities routinely deny asylum seekers at the Belarus-Poland border the right to apply for asylum and instead summarily return them to Belarus, Human Rights Watch said today. Since 2016, large numbers of asylum seekers, mostly from the Russian Republic of Chechnya, but also from Tajikistan and Georgia, have tried to apply for asylum in Poland at the border with Belarus.
    #Pologne #asile #migrations #réfugiés #fermeture_des_frontières #Biélorussie #frontières #push-back #refoulement

    –-> @reka : une autre frontière à épaissir sur les cartes...

  • ’Democracy was hijacked. It got a bad name’: the death of the post-Soviet dream | World news | The Guardian

    The road out of Kommunizm, a small town in southern Tajikistan, is badly paved and bumpy. Like most things here it was built long ago, when the ruling ideology that gave the settlement its name was still thriving.

    Home to just 7,000 inhabitants, Kommunizm was at the very edge of the Russian empire, first tsarist then Soviet; a mere 50 miles from Kunduz in northern Afghanistan.

    All around the former collective farm is the once splendid iconography of the Bolshevik order. Busts of Karl Marx and Vladimir Lenin look on to what used to be the main square, while a trio of heroically poised Soviet archetypes have been cast to one side in a car park

    #asie_centrale #soviétisme #ex-urss #urss #union-soviétique

  • 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

  • The Quiet Tajik Refugee Crisis

    A crackdown in Tajikistan has led to a little noticed surge in Tajik asylum seekers in Europe — particularly Poland.

    A crackdown in Tajikistan has led to a little noticed surge in Tajik asylum seekers in Europe — particularly Poland.
    #Tadjikistan #asile #migrations #réfugiés #réfugiés_tadjiks #Pologne
    cc @shenriod

  • 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.”


  • The U.S.-trained commander of Tajikistan’s special forces has joined the Islamic State

    In late April, the chief of an elite police unit in Tajikistan disappeared. Relatives said Col. Gulmurod Khalimov, who commanded the Tajik Interior Ministry’s special forces, had gone on a business trip. Other rumors suggested he had vanished after falling out with colleagues at a high-level meeting.
    #ISIS #EI #Etat_islamique #Tadjikistan

  • China to construct oil refinery in Tajikistan - AzerNews

    China’s Dong Ying Heli Investment and Development Co. Ltd will start construction of an oil refinery in the Danghara free economic zone, Avesta news agency reported.
    Safarali Taifurov, deputy director of the Danghara FEZ said the Chinese side have completed design and excavation works and fenced the territory of the future refinery.
    The investor has purchased German, Italian, and Chinese equipment worth $25 million, and is working on its delivery to Tajikistan.
    The first production unit of the refinery is expected to be commissioned by late 2015.
    Tajikistan currently relies on imports, mainly from Russia, to meet domestic need for fuel.
    The State Committee of Investment and State Property Management of Tajikistan said the Chinese company will construct the refinery producing the Euro-3 standard gasoline and diesel fuel.
    The project consists of two stages. In the first stage, worth over $160 million, the refinery’s capacity will be 500 thousand tons of crude oil per year and in the second stage, worth over $300 million, it will reach 1.2 million tons.

  • Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty : Russian railways suspends service to Ukraine, other neighbors

    Russia’s state railway company says it will stop almost all service to Azerbaijan, Ukraine, Kazakhstan, and Tajikistan for a year starting December 14, citing a lack of demand. In a statement on its website on December 9, Russian Railways said its Federal Passenger Company unit is suspending the service because it is not profitable.

    Une page qui se tourne…

  • Follow Friday: #sarah_kendzior, commentator, and the ‘full Kendzior’ | Crikey

    Central Asian studies is a dying field, and many of the experts of the region are now unemployed or doing work that has nothing to do with Central Asia. Without money and jobs, the research stops. One of the best-known analysts of Central Asia is training to become a dentist. The world’s foremost scholar of Tajikistan is unemployed.

    The reason is that the money is gone. [US government] funding supporting scholars of Russia and Eurasia was cut. The [2013 budget sequestration] resulted in lay-offs for Central Asia analysts working for the government. Because of the drawdown in Afghanistan, think tank positions dedicated to Central Asia were eliminated. News outlets that covered the region lost funding. There is nowhere for the younger generation of Central Asia scholars to go.

    The implications of this are greater than the effect on the scholars in question. Before the Soviet Union collapsed, Central Asia was rarely studied (other than by Soviet researchers forced to censor and manipulate their own findings). Westerners who studied Central Asia tended to do so through a Soviet lens that privileged Russian language and Russian speakers. This changed in the 1990s and 2000s, when scholars traveled to the region, learned local languages, collaborated with local scholars and produced ethnographically rich work that valued Central Asia in its own right. Historians translated forgotten texts that changed not only perceptions of Central Asia, but how Central Asia relates to the world. (Adeeb Khalid’s work on Islamic intellectual history is a great example.)

    And now it is ending. It is a loss for knowledge and also a deeply stupid move on the part of the US government, who will inevitably be looking for analysts if and when the region experiences turmoil, and may not be able to find people with up-to-date language skills and regional knowledge.

    I’m happy to say there are a few exceptions to this trend. One is George Washington University, with whom I’m working on an initiative to translate Uzbek online works and publish them, with annotated commentary, on the internet. My favourite commentators on Central Asia are Uzbek poets. If you want to learn about Central Asia, read a report; if you want to understand Central Asia, read a poem.

    #Asie_centrale #recherche

  • “A Woman Can Only Become President When All Men Die Out in Tajikistan” - Global Voices

    For the first time in the country’s history, a woman is running for its highest political office. Oynihol Bobonazarova, a prominent lawyer and human rights activist, entered the presidential race on September 9, 2013, after a coalition of Tajik opposition parties and NGOs nominated her as their candidate.

    Réactions de blogueurs relayées par Global Voices.

    #présidentielle #Tadjikistan #femmes

  • INOGATE conference promotes high quality energy statistics

    Espérons que ça ne reste pas qu’un voeu pieux

    The impact of energy statistics in policy making was the focus of an international conference on the Strategic Role of Energy Statistics in National and International Policies, held on 23-24 April in Copenhagen.

    The conference, organised by the INOGATE Technical Secretariat (ITS) with the support of Statistics Denmark, brought together 50 high-level officials from both the EU and the INOGATE partner countries (Armenia, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Georgia, Moldova, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Ukraine and Uzbekistan). Participants included representatives from the National Statistics Institutes, Ministries and Members of Parliament responsible for policy and decision making in the energy sector as well as media.

    #énergie #statistiques #inogate

  • Russia, China, Tajikistan (+Uzbekistan) propose UN “code of conduct” for the ’Net

    China, Russia, Tajikistan, and Uzbekistan, then you’ll love the new code of conduct (PDF) introduced at the 66th session of the United Nations General Assembly in New York last week.

    The proposed code of conduct would be voluntary, but it is clearly aimed at staking out more ground for nation-states when it comes to the Internet. As the document’s preamble states, “policy authority for Internet-related public issues is the sovereign right of States”—not of the IETF, or of ICANN, or of a multistakeholder process that includes business and civil society.

    The code demands that countries show respect for “human rights and fundamental freedoms” and pledges support for “combating criminal and terrorist activities that use information and communications technologies, including networks.” States would also pledge not to use Internet tools to “carry out hostile activities or acts of aggression.”

    But the document commits its signatories to “curbing the dissemination of information that incites terrorism, secession-ism, or extremism, or that undermines other countries’ political, economic, and social stability, as well as their spiritual and cultural environment.”

    #internet #censure

  • As Central Asia Dries Up, States Spar Over Shrinking Resources

    Thousands of people depend on the Amu Darya River, the longest river in Central Asia, for irrigation as well as for personal use. But while the population - and thus the demand for water - has more than doubled in the past two decades, the river is drying up. Central Asian governments are unable to cooperate on water management and relations between Tajikistan and Uzbekistan have worsened. At the core of their disagreement lies Tajikistan’s plan to complete the construction of Rogun, a hydropower dam from the Soviet-era. The existing problems will be magnified by climate change and the increasing demand for water. According to a UNEP report, Central Asian States must cooperate and agree on water sharing, otherwise the situation will continue to deteriorate.

    #asiecentrale #eau

    Brotherhood in Resistance

    Discussions at Friday’s informal summit in the capital of Kazakhstan have focused squarely on the ongoing upheavals in the Middle East, and on how to prevent the Arab Spring protests from spilling over into the territories of the former Soviet states, the Kommersant business daily reported. But the leaders of the CSTO, a military-political alliance of seven countries including Armenia, Belarus, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Russia, Tajikistan and Uzbekistan, needed little persuasion to appreciate “the destructive role” that social networks had played in such protests. After a three-hour meeting behind closed doors, the leaders decided to create a unified preventive strategy for cyberspace, which could mean restricting the use of social networks such as Twitter and Facebook, widely seen as the bane of authoritarian Arab regimes, the newspaper said.

    #twitter #facebook #bigbrother #contrôleDuNet #filtrageDuNet

    • Ca me rappelle étrangement ce que disait SAP à des députés français :

      Cette question en suscite une autre sur les technologies. Internet a été conçu par des militaires pour des militaires. Nous savons tous ce qu’il en est advenu. Facebook devait au départ servir pour rester en contact avec ses amis de faculté. Les dernières révolutions tunisiennes et égyptiennes ont utilisé Facebook dans des conditions qui n’avaient pas été anticipées par ses créateurs. L’introduction d’une technologie peut produire des effets qui n’ont pas été anticipés. Nous ne pouvons certes tout anticiper mais nous pouvons nous garantir contre un certain nombre de mauvaises surprises.