Central Asia-Caucasus AnalystContentsBI-WEEKLY BRIEFINGVOL. 10 NO. 191 OCTOBER 2008Analytical ArticlesPRESIDENTIAL ELECTIONS IN AZERBAIJAN PRESENTA NEW SET OF OPPORTUNITIES 3Alman Mir IsmailRUSSIA PRESSURES CIS MEMBERS TO APPROVE ITS POLICIES 6Stephen BlankTHE NEW “AERIAL SILK ROAD” BETWEEN CENTRAL ASIA AND CHINA 9Sébastien PeyrouseTRILATERAL TROUBLES AMONG KABUL, ISLAMABAD, AND WASHINGTON 11Richard WeitzField ReportsTWO-DAY SHOOTOUT ENDANGERS TURKMENISTAN’S IMAGE OF STABILITY 14Chemen DurdiyevaEU DEPLOYS OBSERVERS IN GEORGIA 15Niklas NilssonHEAD OF KYRGYZTAN’S STATE ELECTION COMMISSION FLEES THE COUNTRY 16Nurshat AbabakirovCHILD LABOR AND COTTON PICKING IN UZBEKISTAN 18Erkin AhmadovNews Digest 20
Central Asia-Caucasus Analyst, 1 October 2008 3PRESIDENTIAL ELECTIONS IN AZERBAIJANPRESENT A NEW SET OF OPPORTUNITIESAlman Mir IsmailThe upcoming presidential elections in Azerbaijan appear to develop in a quiet and lessdramatic environment than in the past. For an outside observer, the boycott of the electionsby the old-guard opposition parties might appear as a bad sign. But a closer look into theprocess identifies key factors, that are both positive for the authorities, new oppositionforces and the overall country. Most importantly, a new crop of opposition forces mayslowly be emerging in Azerbaijan.BACKGROUND: Presidential elections in Azerbaijan,scheduled on October 15, are half-way into thecampaign period. In addition to the incumbent IlhamAliyev, seven candidatesare contesting the mostpowerful political office inthe country. Thesecandidates, althoughconsidered in “loyalopposition”, neverthelessuse the live airtime onPublic TV to decry theauthorities for the currentproblems in the country, aswell as draw the voters’attention to their platformsand their vision for thefuture of Azerbaijan.The mainstream oppositionparties, such as Musavat,the Popular Front, and theAzerbaijan DemocraticParty, have boycotted theelections. They havemotivated this with theabsence of adequatecampaigning opportunitiesfor them, the domination ofthe election commissionsby representatives of theauthorities, an absence of reforms in the election code,and unfavorable conditions in the local media.International organizations have condemned thisboycott, and expressed adesire to see these partiescompete and use theelection campaign toaddress the nation insteadof sitting at home.But these opposition partiesdo not boycott the electionscompletely. Some of themwill deploy field observersat the polling stations, whileothers will actively agitateamong the public. But allare refusing to nominate orendorse a candidate.This is not the first timethat the opposition partiesare boycotting either theelection process, or electionsresults. In the 1998Presidential elections, mostopposition parties, with theexception of the NationalIndependence Party, stayedout of the election processfor similar reasons. ThenIlham Aliyev (Reuters)
4Central Asia-Caucasus Analyst, 1 October 2008President Heydar Aliyev won the elections, and mostpeople quickly forgot about the election process. Butthe boycott cost the opposition not only a uniquechance to unite and put up a strong fight againstAliyev, but also led to a loss of popularity among thegeneral public. Similarly, some opposition partiesboycotted the results of the Parliamentary elections in2000 and 2005 and preferred staying outside Parliamentto using their seats to voice the problems of theirvoters. The Municipal elections of 2004 and thereferendum of 2002 were also boycotted by theopposition. In 2003, the oppositions candidates failed tosettle on a common candidate.The authorities, when asked about the hardcore,mainstream opposition’s boycott of the elections,point to fear among the opposition leaders, such asIsa Gambar, Ali Kerimli, and Lala ShovketHaciyeva, of losing another election and see theirpopularity among the public further reduced. Allof these opposition leaders have been in charge oftheir parties for more than a decade, sometimesalmost two, and have little to show for their timein office. In one sense, the current boycott is aperfect face-saving gesture for the oppositionleaders, who can use the same old excuses forstaying at home.IMPLICATIONS: The outcome of the current race isunlikely to generate surprises. President Ilham Aliyevis at the peak of his popularity. If five years ago therewere any doubts that he could run the country,especially considering the difficult task of succeedinghis father, the grandmaster of politics Heydar Aliyev,all of these doubts have by now disappeared. In the pastfive years, President Aliyev has skillfully played therelations with Russia, Iran and the West to preserve abalanced foreign policy and with that, consolidatingstability in the country and the region. Unlike Georgia,he avoided open confrontation with the neighboringmajor powers and managed to find a way to collaboratewith every power in the region. Domestically, he hasused the oil revenues to build infrastructure andinvestments into the local economy and as a result boththe GDP and the state budget have been increasing atdouble digits during his presidency.Under these conditions, it is unlikely that any ofAliyev’s current opponents will be able to present aserious alternative to the regime. However, in spite ofthat, the current elections do present a new set ofopportunities for the country.First and foremost, the opposition candidates in therace are less radical than those who preferred to stayout of the race. None of them have a major oppositionparty structure behind them, and none advocates streetviolence in the aftermath of the elections. Almost allwill be happy to come second or third, and to showtheir rivals that they were the best of all alternatives.Thus, one can assume that the elections will unfoldwithout serious irregularities, because the authoritiessimply do not need to engage in fraud to help theincumbent President win the elections. Withoutserious irregularities, and without serious intentions onthe part of the running candidates to stir violence afterthe voting, the general electoral process is likely to besmoother this time around. There are already signs ofthis: all candidates have access to Public TV, canpropagate their views among voters and display theirposters freely. In the words of one of the candidates,Gulamhuseyn Alibeyli, who previously broke awayfrom Ali Kerimli’s Popular Front party, “the electionprocess is normal.”Should the elections turn out to be free from seriousirregularities, they would not only differ significantlyfrom previous elections in the country, but could alsosignificantly improve Azerbaijan’s standing in theregion, especially vis-à-vis Armenia. The latter countryexperienced serious turmoil after its own Presidentialelections in early 2008, when eight persons were killedand hundreds were wounded in the post-electionviolence. Should Azerbaijan achieve this positive resultwith its own elections, it will receive a solid trump cardin its international jockeying for positions withArmenia.The mainstream, hardcore opposition parties’ boycottof the elections is also indicative of a generationalchange within the opposition camp. The newcandidates, such as Igbal Agazadeh, FazilGazanfaroglu, Gudrat Huseyguliyev andGulamhuseyn Alibeyli, are no less vocal about theproblems of the country, but favor more pragmatic and
Central Asia-Caucasus Analyst, 1 October 2008 5participatory approaches in the national discourse. Infact, Alibeyli, the chairman of the Supreme Counciland number two man in the Popular Front party, brokeoff from Ali Kerimli exactly for the reason that he didnot agree with the constant boycott tactics.Opposition parties in Azerbaijan are entering aninteresting stage. The ever-increasing wealth in thecountry, and the traditional opposition’s inability toadapt to new realities both strategically and tacticallyhave led them to lose touch with the population.CONCLUSIONS: The radical opposition’s boycott ofthe presidential elections will not make any meaningfuldifference to the voters. Most of the hardcoreopposition leaders are already unpopular among thepopulation. However, their boycott decision helpedyounger, softer and more pragmatic opposition figuresto come to the political scene in the country, otherwisedominated and monopolized by the old-guardopposition parties. The boycott also helps theauthorities conduct elections in a free and calmmanner, and will therefore be able to point to progressin democratic development. It is expected thatPresident Aliyev will easily win the elections, but theactual losers will not be the candidates running againsthim – but those who stayed at home.AUTHOR’S BIO: Alman Mir Ismail is a Baku-basedfreelance writer.New Policy Paper:Russia’s War in GeorgiaBy Svante E. Cornell, JohannaPopjanevski, and Niklas NilssonThis Policy Paper provides a detailedchronology of the time leading up to thewar in Georgia, as well as to the war itself,while providing an analysis of itsimplications for Georgia and beyond.The Paper can be downloaded free atwww.silkroadstudies.org. Hardcopyrequests should be addressed to KatarinaLesandric at firstname.lastname@example.org.
6Central Asia-Caucasus Analyst, 1 October 2008RUSSIA PRESSURES CIS MEMBERS TOAPPROVE ITS POLICIESStephen BlankOne month after the cessation of hostilities in Georgia it would appear that Moscow isattempting to invert Clausewitz’s famous dictum. Russia clearly believes that in regard toGeorgia, diplomacy means the conduct of war by other means. Apart from engineering andthen unilaterally recognizing the sovereignty and independence of Abkhazia and SouthOssetia, Moscow is also seeking to isolate and punish Georgia. Having failed to cajoleSCO members into supporting it, Russia undeterred went ahead and proclaimed its right toan undefined sphere of influence that encompasses the former Soviet Union but also goesbeyond to some unknown stopping point.BACKGROUND: Moscow’s action go beyond itsearlier calls for a criminal trial of GeorgianPresident Saakashvili in the grounds of war crimesand its calls for an arms embargo of Georgia. In lateAugust it vainly tried to persuade the members ofhe Shanghai Cooperation Organization to recognizethe two Georgian provinces and give retrospectiveblessing to Russia’s war, leading it to focus effortson the CIS.Nor has Moscow stopped at extravagantproclamations. It evidently is seeking to pressureindividual CIS governments to recognize Abkhaziaand South Ossetia as states and also to cut offeconomic investments and ties to Georgia.On September 24 Belarus revealed that Russia istrying to pressure it into recognizing these twoprovinces, something that President Alyaksandr’Lukashenka has clearly been loath to do.Lukashenka is clearly stalling for time claiming thatonly a newly elected Parliament could undertakesuch an act. No doubt he also fears another cutoffor squeeze by Russian energy companies as winterapproaches, the time of its neighboring countries’greatest vulnerability to gas cutoffs. It also appearsthat Russia is pressuring Kazakhstan to curtaileconomic ties to Georgia. On September 22, whenRussian President Dmitry Medvedev was meetingwith Kazakhstan’s President NursultanNazarbayev, the Kazakh government announcedthat it was pulling out of a projected grain terminalthat it was building in Georgia’s Black Sea port ofPoti. On September 24, the state company formanaging Kazakhstan’s main gas pipelines,KazTransGaz, announced that it is consideringselling its assets in Georgia. In making thisannouncement it noted that the increased risksituation in the Caucasus was a factor in makingthis decision. But the question is to whom would itsell its assets in Georgia. If, as one suspects, thebuyer is Gazprom or some other Russian statecompany, this would give Moscow a valuable toolfor pressuring Georgia further, and isolating it frompotential foreign investors like Kazakhstan.Before the war, Kazakhstan and Georgia were in theprocess of developing flourishing economic andenergy relationship. Kazakhstan appeared to beclose to a decision to contribute to the Baku-Tbilisi-Ceyhan pipeline. It was investing considerablesums in major projects like the gas terminal at Potiand buying assets in the gas pipeline business.Admittedly, it might have come to an independentconclusion that the risk environment in Georgia istoo uncertain for it to maintain its investmentsthere. But the timing of its announcements tocoincide with Medvedev’s visit seems to be too good
Central Asia-Caucasus Analyst, 1 October 2008 7to be true, particularly if it is selling its gas assets toa company connected to the Russian government. Itis, therefore, quite likely that Moscow is pressuringAstana to disengage from Georgia lest other, vital,Kazakh interests be affected.IMPLICATIONS: Certainly in the Belarusian casewe can see that Russia is cracking the whip. Itsambassador, Anton Surikov, said that while theworld knows no form of instant collectiverecognition of states by other governments and theprocess should not be pressed or speeded up, Belarushas to sort out its relations with these provinces“which have to be recognized.” Surkov furtheradded that while Abkhazia and South Ossetia neednot hurry to join the projected union state withRussia, Moscow does not rule out their futureaccession to it. In other words, Moscow is holdinga club over Minsk’s head that it has to recognizethese provinces as states that could then form aunion with Belarus and Russia wherein Belarusiansovereignty would be essentially dissolved andLukashenka swept aside, or else Belarus will have tosuffer the consequences.Moscow has formally stated that it will defendRussians everywhere and could easily claim thatRussian citizens or compatriots in Belarus are beingvictimized in one form or another. In a little knownepisode in 1919, the Soviet government played asophisticated shell game with Belarusiansovereignty to ward off a feared invasion from thenew Polish government at that time. In otherwords, there is plenty of precedent for Moscow toemulate its recent experience in South Ossetia andAbkhazia and devise pretexts for detachingprovinces form Belarus to Russia or in underminingthe effective bases of Belarusian sovereignty.Finally, Surikov’s other chief claim to fame is hismany statements intimating that Moscow could putmissiles in Belarus against NATO enlargement ormissile defenses in Europe.At the NATO–Russian council during theBucharest summit last April, Putin memorably toldU.S. President George W. Bush that Ukraine wasnot a real state and that if it sought to join NATO,Russia would dismember it. This remark was of apiece with the Russian government’s oft-stated viewthat other CIS members are not truly sovereignstates, a point that frequently emerges from thestatements of Russian ambassadors. Since then, wehave seen in South Ossetia and Abkhazia just howlittle regard Moscow has for other states’sovereignty, even for these provinces, as itsambassadors are already intimating that theirsovereignty will be dissolved in a larger, futureUnion state.Likewise, in practice Russia is moving to compelother states to abandon their sovereign right to haveeconomic relationships and investments withwhomever they choose, and to recognize whomeverthey choose to recognize, lest they suffer retributionfrom Russia. Russia also is holding over itsneighbors’ heads the club of inciting separatistmovements as in Ukraine where numerous reportsallege that Russia is handing out passports to ethnicRussians in the Crimea. Moscow’s newlyannounced doctrine of its extra-territorial right to
8Central Asia-Caucasus Analyst, 1 October 2008protect its citizens wherever they live (echoes ofboth Hitler’s and Stalin’s pretexts for imperialismin the 1930s), and its open arrogation to itself of asphere of influence throughout the entire CIS andbeyond, are land mines placed under he sovereigntyof all the states that emerged at the end of the ColdWar and the dissolution of the Soviet Union.CONCLUSIONS: Russia is also still trying tofurther weaken Georgia and isolate it form sourcesof potential support inside the CIS, as it seeks inboth rhetorical terms and active practice to impressupon CIS governments that in fact they are nottruly sovereign. Whether the issue on the agenda isenergy, e.g. Russian efforts to persuade Azerbaijanto integrate its energy systems with Russia’s or thecutoff of foreign investment, takeover of both thegas supply and gas networks in CIS and otherstates, or the threat of territorial revision, in allcases we see a clear effort by Moscow to postulateand then enforce a de facto asymmetry in thesovereignty of these states vis-à-vis Russia. Theactivities described here also show that Moscow iseffectively still waging war (albeit not a violentone) against Georgia, seeking to isolate it and gainpositions of strength and influence – in it an over it– by foreclosing forever the decision on the formalstatus of the two breakaway provinces, and bysecuring key economic bastions from which tothreaten it. Even as the international conference onGeorgia and its provinces that is supposed to beginon October 15 approaches, Moscow clearly is seekingto retain a free hand to remap the CIS in whateverfashion it deems necessary. Can a policy based onthe foundations now imposed and proclaimed byMoscow truly impose a legitimate order in the CIS?The unlikely nature of an affirmative answer to thisquestion suggests that the ultimate outcome ofRussian efforts to undermine both Georgia and thesovereignty of other CIS members can only be anegative one.AUTHOR’S BIO: Professor Stephen Blank,Strategic Studies Institute, U.S. Army War College,The views expressed here do not represent theviews of the U.S. Army, Defense Department or theU.S. government.New Policy Paper:In Defense of Greater Central AsiaBy S. Frederick StarrThe idea of an open Greater Central Asiathat is an economic and transport centerrather than a periphery, and a selfdeterminedsubject of international affairsrather than a pliable object, stands incontrast to the territorial colonialism ofyore and to the energy-driven colonialismwhich threatens the region today.The Paper can be downloaded free atwww.silkroadstudies.org. Hardcopyrequests should be addressed to KatarinaLesandric at email@example.com.
Central Asia-Caucasus Analyst, 1 October 2008 9THE NEW “AERIAL SILK ROAD” BETWEENCENTRAL ASIA AND CHINASébastien PeyrouseThe globalization of the world economy has made a significant impact on the transportationof goods, as well as that of passengers, because air travel reduces distance through itsspeed. At a June 2006 meeting of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO), CentralAsian states and China launched a proposal for an East-West air corridor. This plan aimsto reap the benefits of the central geographic location of Xinjiang and of the Central Asianstates, and to create an “aerial Silk Road.”BACKGROUND: Since 2006, Chinese authoritieshave sought to advance the autonomous region ofXinjiang as an aerial gateway between Europe andAsia, and to further capitalize on the seventeen freetrade areas that exist there, of which approximatelyhalf are with Central Asia. Following such hubs ofworld commerce like Shanghai, Guangzhou, andBeijing, the Chinese government plans to transformKunming, in Yunnan, into a transit zone for SouthAsia. It seeks to do the same in Urumqi for tradewith Europe, the post-Soviet space, and the Indiansubcontinent. Toward this end, work has begun torenovate the international airport of Urumqi so thatby 2015 it will be able to accommodate over 16million tourists and foreign businessmen, and tomanage 150,000 takeoffs and landings annually.At present, the Urumqi International Airport hasconnections to Seoul, Tehran, Islamabad, as well asMoscow, Irkutsk, Novosibirsk, Yerevan, Baku, andUlan Bataar. However, flights to Central Asia areincreasing the fastest. To strengthen this trend, theChinese authorities have allowed visas to be issuedat the Urumqi airport since June 2007. This allowsbusinessmen from Central Asia and from the entireCIS to avoid red tape in the embassies of theircountries of origin or a several hour detour toBeijing. With its industrial and technological parks,Urumqi has become a major commercial hub inCentral Asia. Two-thirds of the trade betweenCentral Asia and China actually takes place withXinjiang. More than 70 percent of the commercialair cargo in Urumqi is so-called “return” freightpurchased locally by Central Asian and Russianbusinessmen.Scheduled flights between China and Central Asiaare growing, and Urumqi is often used as aconnection between Beijing and the Central Asiancapitals. Air Astana offers five flights betweenAlmaty and Beijing each week, while ChinaSouthern Airlines has four between Almaty andUrumqi. Strangely enough, Astana does not yethave any direct flights to Beijing; however duringthe summer months, Hainan Airlines operates someto Urumqi. The Kazakh and Chinese governmentsplan to establish by 2009 direct flights from Astana,Chymkent, and Ust-Kamenogorsk toward thecapital of Xinjiang, with no need to travel throughAlmaty. In Kyrgyzstan, the former XinjiangAirlines, which has been a part of China Southernsince 2003, provides four flights each week toUrumqi. A private Kyrgyz company, Air Itek,offers two flights each week, but only between themonths of March and October. In Uzbekistan,shuttle trade with Xinjiang is gaining momentum.Although Uzbekistan Airways has only one weeklyflight between Tashkent and Beijing, Urumqi hastwo scheduled flights to the capital of Uzbekistan.An irregular flight between Urumqi and the town of
10Central Asia-Caucasus Analyst, 1 October 2008Fergana serves as confirmation that the FerganaValley has become the unofficial port of entry forChinese goods coming into Uzbekistan. InTajikistan, China Southern Airlines offers a weeklyflight to Beijing via Urumqi. The state companyTajik Air and the private company Somon Air alsohave occasional flights to Urumqi. InTurkmenistan, the national carrier TurkmenAirlines operates one weekly flight to the Chinesecapital.These ties are expected to gain momentum in thecoming years with the diversification of southboundair, rail, and highway routes out of Central Asia.IMPLICATIONS: Regarding the movement ofgoods, one of the objectives of the aerial Silk Roadroute between China and Central Asia is to dividethe Eurasian continent into two halves, joining theport of Lianyungang on the Pacific side to Lanzhou,Urumqi, Dostyk, and Russia, and then to WesternEurope. The cargo potential on the aerial Silk Roadis enormous, but so are the challenges. At present,nearly all the goods that China exports to Europeare transported by sea. Even products from thehinterlands of Xinjiang, Gansu, and Inner Mongoliamust first be transported by rail to seaports beforethey are shipped to Europe. Even if the time savedby air is incommensurable compared with seatransport, companies must still be convinced thatthe higher cost of air transport can be profitable.The Chinese authorities emphasize the expeditednature of air transport as a driving force ofglobalization. Yet Chinese air companies must faceanother disadvantage: the competitive prices ofcompanies in the Gulf, which like UzbekistanAirways and Air Astana but unlike Chinesecompanies, enjoy discounted oil prices.In terms of the transit of passengers, airlines inChina, as well as Uzbekistan Airways and AirAstana, are hoping for a boom in internationaltourist flights. The modernization of the Urumqiinternational airport is meant to allow Chinesecompanies to enter the growing travel marketbetween Western Europe and Southeast Asia,which Thai Airways and Singapore Airlines madesuccessful. The Uzbek national airline gainedmarket share in this sector in the late 1990s, but hassince partially lost it. Chinese and Central Asiancompanies also make up a part of the triangularEurope-Asia-Africa market dominated by Gulf Air(Bahrain), Etihad Airways (Abu Dhabi), QatarAirways, and Emirates (Dubai), which is one of thefastest growing airlines in the world. However, inaddition to offering quality of service aboard thecarrier to attract tourists from all over the world,these airlines must also have a solid network of dutyfree shops, like the ones for which Dubai has anexcellent reputation. This not yet the case inUrumqi, let alone Tashkent or Almaty.Finally, Central Asia and Xinjiang hope to invest inthe “Great Game” of the twenty-first century, theNorth Pole. In coming years, the opening of Arcticairspace will reconfigure the map of flightsworldwide in the favor of the former Soviet space.Overflight will link the old continent to the newwith just a several hours long flight. Tashkent,Astana and Urumqi therefore have a vested interestto position themselves now on this futuretransportation market, for which a rapid expansionis promised.CONCLUSIONS: To give rise to an aerial SilkRoad, several Chinese, Japanese, and Koreanharmonization projects and carrier alliances—alongthe lines of what is now happening betweenEuropean airlines—have been proposed. Thenational airlines of Uzbekistan and Kazakhstanmust invest in this future Asian alliance if theywant to take full advantage of their central locationat the crossroads of both East and West, and Northand South.AUTHOR’S BIO: Sébastien Peyrouse is a SeniorResearch Fellow with the Central Asia-CaucasusInstitute of the Johns Hopkins University School ofAdvanced International Studies in Washington,DC.
Central Asia-Caucasus Analyst, 1 October 2008 11TRILATERAL TROUBLES AMONG KABUL,ISLAMABAD, AND WASHINGTONRichard WeitzRelations among Afghanistan, Pakistan, and the United States have long been troubled dueto their collective inability to repress Islamist extremists that have at various times foughtagainst all three governments. The September 20 bombing of the Marriott hotel inIslamabad, however, has highlighted both the need for increased security cooperationamong all three countries and the obstacles in obtaining it.BACKGROUND: According to press reports, U.S.President George Bush has authorized a majorexpansion in the permissible range of unilateralAmerican military operations across the Afghan-Pakistan border. The most controversial element ofthe new strategy is the use of U.S. SpecialOperations Forces in ground operations insidePakistan. Even if tacitly endorsed by Pakistan’s newcivilian government, the escalation represents arisky approach given strong popular opposition inPakistan to such violations of the country’ssovereignty.Evidence of the new policy first arose on September3, when U.S. helicopters attacked a suspectedterrorist base in Pakistan’s South Waziristan region,killing over a dozen people. Yet, the recentrevelations regarding direct U.S. military raidsacross the Afghan-Pakistan border represent but thelatest in a series of escalating American militaryoperations against al-Qaeda and Taliban militantsbased in Pakistan.The CIA has long been rumored to employremotely piloted drones to launch direct attacks onhigh-value al-Qaeda and Taliban leadership targetsin northwest Pakistan. In recent years, CIAPredator unmanned aerial vehicles armed withHellfire missiles have reportedly killed hundreds ofpeople in northwest Pakistan. These air strikes haveintensified in recent months and extended deeperinto Pakistani territory. Even so, they havedrawbacks. The attacks often lead to highly visiblecivilian casualties. By killing the target, moreover,they do not yield as much intelligence as would onsiteraids or live-capture “snatch-and-grab”operations, which President Bush may now haveauthorized.In August 2007, a memorandum publicly revealingthat U.S. Special Forces could operate up to tenkilometers inside Pakistan to support soldiers underattack or conduct raids against al-Qaeda leaders wasleaked. Certain American commanders haveapparently expanded the concept to justify eitherpre-emptive or preventive strikes designed todisrupt an attack before it could occur, which wouldexpand the notion of “hot pursuit” considerably.During the past year, moreover, American militarycommanders have maintained that the Pakistanigovernment has facilitated cross-border infiltrationby Taliban fighters into Afghanistan by negotiatingpeace deals with leaders of the Pakistani Talibanbased in northwest Pakistan and the FederallyAdministered Tribal Areas (FATA). They allegethat these agreements have failed to includeadequate safeguards against non-Pakistani extremistgroups conducting operations in nearbyAfghanistan.Since the negotiation of these ceasefire accords, thenumber of American combat deaths in Afghanistanhas exceeded those in Iraq, despite the fact that fivetimes as many U.S. troops are in Iraq thanAfghanistan. This year has already seen more U.S.
12Central Asia-Caucasus Analyst, 1 October 2008soldiers killed in Afghanistan than any year sincethe 2001 invasion.U.S. analysts also complain that some members ofthe Pakistani intelligence services continue tocooperate with the Taliban and have alerted them topast American air strikes on Pakistani territory. Forthis reason, the new U.S. rules of engagementreportedly do not provide for advanced Americannotification to Pakistani authorities of impendingattacks on the country’s territory.For months, U.S. military commanders have issuedpublic warnings that any future 9/11-style attackagainst the United States from al-Qaeda wouldprobably originate from the group’s new safe havenin Pakistan’s tribal regions. Earlier this month, theChairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, AdmiralMichael Mullen, singled out the terrorist camps innorthwest Pakistan as one of the most seriousthreats confronting the next U.S. presidentialadministration: “Al-Qaeda is there. Its leadership isthere. We know that. And it continues to planagainst the West, including against our homeland.”On September 10, 2008, U.S. Defense SecretaryRobert Gates told the House of RepresentativesArmed Services Committee that, while hisdepartment was seeking to cooperate with the newPakistani government, it was essential to reverserecent al-Qaeda and Taliban gains along theAfghan-Pakistan border. “The war on terror startedin this region,” he explained. “It must end there."IMPLICATIONS: Since assuming office earlierthis year, Pakistan’s new civilian government haspublicly refused to authorize U.S. militaryoperations against al-Qaeda and Taliban militantsinside Pakistan. Instead, its members have insistedthat Pakistani regular troops and paramilitary forcescan deal with the insurgents and any high-valueterrorist targets. They also have argued that theyhave only negotiated with the Pakistani Taliban,not their Afghan counterparts or internationalterrorist groups using Pakistani territory as a safehaven.Following reports of the American raid in SouthWaziristan, Army Chief of Staff Gen. AshfaqKyani issued a written statement denying that “anyagreement or understanding [existed] with thecoalition forces” [in Afghanistan] allowing them tostrike inside Pakistan.” The general pledged todefend Pakistan’s sovereignty and territorialintegrity “at all cost.” Prime Minister Yousaf RazaGilani said the statement reflected his government’sposition.President Asif AliZardari, inaugurated onSeptember 9, has statedthat he intends tocollaborate moreeffectively with Kabuland Washington toenhance bordersecurity, but he too hascriticized alleged U.S.military operations onPakistani territory.Pakistani leaders havemade these statementswith two audiences inmind. On the onehand, they have soughtto limit U.S. militaryThe Islamabad Marriott (The Boston Globe)
Central Asia-Caucasus Analyst, 1 October 2008 13operations in their country by underscoring theircommitment to reign in extremist activity inPakistan and across the border. On the other, theyhave tried to reassure Pakistani public opinion thatthey are not American lackeys and will resistWashington’s pressure to permit direct militaryoperations in Pakistan.Pakistani public opinion is clearly hostile to theU.S.-led war on terror. A poll conducted in May andJune 2008 by the Pakistan Institute for PublicOpinion found that support for a negotiatedsolution to Islamic militancy has soared in Pakistansince the beginning of the year. Backing for al-Qaeda and dissatisfaction with U.S. policies hasalso substantially increased.On September 16, the Pakistani army announced itwould shoot at any U.S. forces attempting to crossthe Afghan-Pakistan border. On several occasionssince then, Pakistani troops and militia have fired atwhat they believed to be American helicoptersattempting to cross the border.Afghan President Hamid Karzai has longcomplained about the cross-border infiltration ofTaliban insurgents from northwest Pakistan.Despite various U.S. and NATO initiatives, Karzaiand former Pakistani President Pervez Musharrafrepeatedly clashed over responsibility for thedeteriorating security situation along their jointborder. Karzai termed the recently adopted U.S.approach of expanded air strikes and ground raidsinto Pakistan as something that the Afghangovernment has been urging for years.Two days after the Marriott bombing,Afghanistan’s Defense Minister, Rahim Wardak,said that Afghanistan, Pakistan, and the UnitedStates were evaluating a plan to create a combinedmilitary force to operate in the Afghan-Pakistaniborder region. The concept would enable theirtroops to cross the border as required by tacticalmilitary considerations.Both Karzai and Zardari met with Bush and othersenior U.S. officials while they were attending theopening of this year’s United Nations GeneralAssembly session in New York last week. Yet, noneof these meetings gave any indication that such acombined force would soon be created. In his speechto the UN, Zardari pointedly stated that, “Wecannot allow our territory and our sovereignty to beviolated by our friends.”CONCLUSIONS: The Pakistani government hasrejected past U.S. proposals to conduct jointoperations with American forces inside Pakistan.Although the three governments have agreed tocreate border security coordination centers withrepresentatives from Afghanistan, Pakistan, andNATO, only one of the eight centers has begunoperating. Distrust among the parties haspersistently weakened the ability of the tripartiteintelligence sharing center established last year topromote a common understanding of borderchallenges. Although the Afghan, Pakistani, andAmerican governments have recently adoptedseveral new initiatives to augment their cooperationagainst Islamist militants, these past failuresunderscore the difficulties facing renewed efforts atimproved trilateral security cooperation.AUTHOR’S BIO: Richard Weitz is a SeniorFellow and Director for Project Management at theHudson Institute.
14Central Asia-Caucasus Analyst, 1 October 2008FIELD REPORTSTWO-DAY SHOOTOUT ENDANGERS TURKMENISTAN’SIMAGE OF STABILITYChemen DurdiyevaOn September 12, the Turkmen capital Ashgabatwas caught by sounds of continuous shootingsbetween the representatives of law enforcementagencies and a still unidentified group of militants.This unprecedented gunfire stopped after two daysof fierce shootings with several casualties amongpolice and special services. Although the shootingswere heard all over the city day and night, theauthorities did not officially report on the incidentuntil the Security Council session on September 15,leaving the public shocked and confused.The shootings in Khitrovka, often regarded as acrime ridden district of Ashgabat, raised manyquestions about the stability and overall security inTurkmenistan. The unidentified group of heavilyarmed militants had reportedly seized the waterplant “Cheshme”, located close to the internationalairport and a few kilometers away from thepresidential palace. As local sources report, theassailants were heavily armed with grenadelaunchers, different types of rifles and small arms.On the third day after the gunfire broke out, theMinistry of Foreign Affairs released a statementwhich said a group of drug dealers had been“neutralized”. While some reports have identifiedthe group as radical Islamists, or as an oppositiongroup trying to plot a coup in Turkmenistan, themajority of both foreign and local Central Asiaanalysts agree that the group consisted illicit drugtraffickers in the process of transferring opium fromneighboring Afghanistan to a third country.According to some unnamed local sources, thefighting in Ashgabat may be related to a riot thattook place in a prison in Seydi district in easternTurkmenistan a few days before the incident inAshgabat. Reportedly, the illicit flow of drugs andtobacco to prison inmates was suddenly cut andrioters caused massive disorder, beatingrepresentatives of the prison security and the specialservices. The chief of the assailants in Ashgabat,Ajdar by nickname, was reportedly released fromprison in 1995 and has since been one of the mostwanted persons in the country.During a televised speech at the Security Councilsession on September 15, PresidentBerdimukhammedov termed the group a gang ofdrug dealers and terrorists, labeling them as thenation’s enemies. The president went on saying thatthe Turkmen law enforcement agencies hadsuffered heavy losses and promised to provide thefamilies of the deceased with pensions, universityeducation and other material support, and that allparticipants of the operation should be rewardedwith high state honors.The exact number of victims and casualties stillremain unclear and any information regarding thecase is strictly controlled. But some of theindependent sources in Moscow, such as the émigréopposition group website gundogar.org and theTurkmen Initiative for Human Rights, report thatat least 20 law enforcement representatives werekilled. No information is available about civiliancasualties, except for public rumors that theexecutive director of the water plant was also shotdead and 30 people injured. The water plant wasstormed, all of the assailants were eliminated andthe battle scene was sealed off until everything was
Central Asia-Caucasus Analyst, 1 October 2008 15clear. But it appears that the target of the “drugdealers” were the law enforcement bodies solely.Fighting drug smugglers and the consumption ofnarcotics among the population was one ofBerdimukhammedov’s main promises as thepresidential candidate in 2007. Since then, the useand consumption of “nas,” smashed tobacco putunder the tongue, was banned in Turkmenistan.Smoking in streets and public places has long beenforbidden in the country by the past president.Besides, a special State Coordination Commissionon Drugs was created under the Cabinet ofMinisters and the country also joined three UNconventions against illicit traffic in narcotic drugsand psychotropic substances. However, the fact thatthe shootings in Ashgabat was drug-related willhave further implications for import andconsumption of other types of tobacco as well.Selling cigarettes was stopped in local bazaars a dayafter the incident, causing some panic among thecountry’s smoking population, who rushed to find aplace to buy a pack of any cigarette. Later the newsspread that only the state-licensed sellers could sellthe registered marks of cigarettes in Turkmenistan.The battle in Ashgabat with drug smugglers hasonce again reminded the administration of theurgency in addressing the drug problem in thecountry and forced it to declare an “ideological war”on drugs. The significance of this unprecedentedevent is as important for regional security as forstability in Turkmenistan. The fact that theshootings were not foreseen by the TurkmenNational Security Services and that a large numberof law enforcers were killed raises doubts regardingthe strength of the security forces in the country. Aswas noted by Berdimukhammedov, this attack onlaw enforcerment in Turkmenistan requires the restructuringand modernization of the Turkmensecurity structures. As such, the Presidentemphasized the necessity of urgently creating antiterrorismunits and specialized secondary typepolice schools in all of the five regions ofTurkmenistan. To prevent any similar cases in thefuture, the authorities will also have to furthercoordinate its efforts with neighboring countries incombating illicit drug trafficking. The authoritieswill have to acknowledge that drug trafficking anddrug consumption constitute a first priority problemfor the country and that it needs internationalsupport to reduce the domestic consumption andflow of drugs via Turkmenistan’s territory.EU DEPLOYS OBSERVERS IN GEORGIANiklas NilssonOn October 1, the EU began deploying the EUMonitoring Mission (EUMM) in Georgia which isto consist of over 200 observers from 22 EU memberstates, and additional staff reaching a total of 352.The EUMM’s headquarters are located in Tbilisi,and regional offices are set up in the towns of Gori,Poti and Zugdidi. The EUMM is tasked withmonitoring the situation on the ground, overseeingthe compliance of the conflicting parties with theAugust six-point agreement, and the return ofrefugees, as well as facilitating confidence buildingmeasures between the parties. The EUMM willcoordinate its work with the OSCE mission inSouth Ossetia and UNOMIG in Abkhazia.The EUMM on its first day conducted a total offourteen patrols in areas close to Abkhazia andSouth Ossetia and was reportedly at three locationsallowed to enter the Russian-controlled “securityzone” around South Ossetia. The security zoneentry was allowed in spite of statements made by aRussian military spokesperson on September 30,that the observers would not be granted access to
16Central Asia-Caucasus Analyst, 1 October 2008the security zones until the division of roles hadbeen determined between the EUMM and theRussian peacekeeping forces.Russia agreed to the October 1 EUMM deploymentduring President Sarkozy’s visit to Moscow onSeptember 8, where it was also settled that Russiantroops must withdraw from the security zones intoAbkhazia and South Ossetia by October 10 andallow the EUMM permanent access to the zones.While it remains to be seen whether Russia willhonor its commitment to withdraw, the continuedimplementation of the six-point agreement willpresent even thornier issues.The original wording of the six-point agreementclearly states that all forces must withdraw to thepositions held before August 7, implying Russiawould eventually also need to pull out of SouthOssetia and Abkhazia, regions Russia is nowrecognizing as independent states. Russia has clearlystated its intention to retain its military forces inthese regions, in numbers far exceeding the preconflictpeacekeeping contingents located there. Ineffect, it seems that French diplomacy has left theissue aside for now, focusing on Russian withdrawalfrom the security zones and preparing the way forthe introduction of the EUMM.This focus may well be reasonable, allowing forresolving contentious issues one step at a time.However, the EU’s ambition is to gradually extendEUMM observation to also include South Ossetiaand Abkhazia. Russia is very unlikely to allow suchactivities and has claimed that a potential EUMMpresence must be approved by the independentgovernments of the two regions. Thus, the EUMMmay end up monitoring only the de facto bordersbetween Georgia and these regions, thus beingunable to fulfill its mandate.At the international talks on the conflict to be heldin Geneva on October 15, the EU will seek to securecontinued Russian compliance with the six-pointagreement, and among other issues hopes tonegotiate an extension of the EUMM’s monitoringto Abkhazia and South Ossetia. The outcomes ofthese talks will have consequences for the currentlyfrozen negotiations on a new EU-RussianPartnership and Cooperation Agreement (PCA).From Russia’s perspective, it is imperative tonormalize its relations with its main EU partnersGermany, Italy and France if such negotiations areto be reassumed. Granting the EUMM a presence inthe security zones may well be one such measure toregain lost credibility among these partners.The heavily Russia-skeptical, newer EU membersare unlikely to settle for anything less than a fullRussian compliance with the six-point agreementbefore accepting renewed negotiations.Nevertheless, allowing the EUMM access to thesecurity zones and a gradual Russian withdrawalfrom these may well be viewed as sufficient signs ofRussian “good will” for the heavyweight memberstates to advocate a restart of PCA negotiations.While the EU has so far tried hard to form acommon approach to the Russian-Georgian conflict,such developments would likely again provide for adeepened wedge within the Union over preferablepolicies toward Russia.HEAD OF KYRGYZTAN’S STATE ELECTION COMMISSIONFLEES THE COUNTRYNurshat AbabakirovShortly ahead of local elections expected thisOctober, the resignation of the chair of the CentralElection Commission (CEC), Klara Kabilova,seems to have sown another seed for future politicalinstability. According to a videotape she left to theopposition, Kabilova had to flee the country due to athreat against her life from Maxim Bakiev, the sonof the country’s president. Although the real
Central Asia-Caucasus Analyst, 1 October 2008 17motivations that pushed Kabilova to leave thecountry are still debated, they nevertheless arelikely to solidify accusations against Bakiev offamily rule and falsification of both the recentreferendum and the results of parliamentaryelections.On September 26, the opposition presented avideotaped statement by Kabilova saying that theson of the president “scolded her with harshrhetoric” and “threatened her life” for allowingIshenbay Kadyrbekov, an unwelcome oppositionmember, who has been jailed for months for allegedfinancial machinations, to run for local councilelections. According to her statement, she had to usean international business trip to leave the country inorder to escape and safely reveal her “anguish.” Shepurportedly included the name of the imprisonedopposition member to the list of candidates after shedid not receive any instructions from thegovernment on this sensitive issue. IshenbaiKadyrov was one of the key participants of theMarch 2005 events and was even acting presidentduring the turmoil.The government has attempted to cover up theincident with the help of pro-governmental TVchannels showing the case in opposite colors or notmentioning it at all. A few hours after theopposition distributed the video, Bakiev “dismissed”Kabilova from her office. The newly appointed headof the election commission, Damir Lisovskiy,voiced strong support for the president’s decision.Lisovskiy questioned Kabilova’s professionalism asthe head of the commission by stressing “extensivereshuffling” of the staff and an “unreasonablyswollen” budget request for the local elections inOctober. This untimely request failed narrowly toundermine the local elections, he said. Thecommission’s new chair argued that theseprofessional failures pushed Kabilova to avoidresponsibility and seek refuge abroad.The ruling Ak Jol party kept the parliament silentas well. Its speaker, Aytibai Tagaev, warned theparliamentarians not to raise the issue and turnedoff the microphone of a parliamentarian, IsaOmurkulov, member of the minority oppositionleaningSocial Democratic Party (SDPK), who triedto comment on the issue. Defending the president’sson, a member of the Ak Jol party, ParliamentarianKabai Karabekov, even wondered as to why such aprominent businessman like Maxim Bakiev wouldwant to interfere in the local elections that havesuch a “low significance.”Nevertheless, for the opposition and civil activists,Kabilova certainly represents a trump card againstthe Bakiev’s regime. This case has the potential toinvigorate their vociferous, but somewhat longworn,rhetoric against family rule andmanipulations of the parliamentary election results.Notably, even after one year, the detailed figures ofthe December parliamentary elections are stillunknown. With orders from the government, theCentral Election Commission is believed to havedisproportionately allotted votes in favor of thepresidential party, Ak Jol.Nevertheless, expectations that Kabilova’ssensational statement will be followed by furtherrevelations against the government may be in vain.“Irrespective of how much destructive effect it mayhave on the system built by Bakiev, I do not trustKabilova,” stressed the former secretary of theSecurity Council, opposition member MiroslavNiyazov. He argued that one of the dirtiestparliamentary elections in the history of Kyrgyzstanis closely associated with her name. Additionally,according to Niyazov, an ambiguity in Kabilova’sstatement leaves a room for negotiations with thegovernment. The latter is interested in preservingits party’s legitimacy, whereas Kabilova is interestedin personal and family security. Reportedly,Kabilova’s daughter studying in Moscow hasalready been pressured to report her mother’swhereabouts and to persuade her mother to retracther statement.If facts of falsification are disclosed and theallegations prove to be true, it may leave thegovernment extremely vulnerable. Ballot stuffingand multiple voting in the referendum in Octoberand the parliamentary elections in December werewidely registered. It is claimed that during theparliamentary elections, by using thresholds and
18Central Asia-Caucasus Analyst, 1 October 2008manipulating the election results, the CEC was akey tool for the government to grant thepresidential party, Ak Jol, a majority vote in theparliament. The opposition, in its turn, is in noposition to effectively make a case against thegovernment, given its limited access to the public.Nevertheless, it has revealed plans to start its owninvestigation of the matter.Against the backdrop of growing economic hardshipand the government questionable ability to helppeople to make it through the winter, analystsexplain the widespread nervousness over localelections through the March 2005 events, whichstarted in rural areas. Thus, strong support for thegovernment from the local councils would ensurestability if social discontent takes place in spring.Just like many other criminal cases involving thePresident’s family members, this one may easily beobscured by the simple means of public rejectionand acquittal of the accused. Initially refusing tostart a case without a personal appeal by Kabilova,Elmurza Satybaldiev, the General Prosecutor, latersaid that if facts mentioned in the videotape are notconfirmed, the case will be closed. Maxim Bakievhas already rejected the accusation.CHILD LABOR AND COTTON PICKING IN UZBEKISTANErkin AhmadovThe issue of using child labor for picking cotton hasbeen on the table for a long time in Uzbekistan.However, the existence of forced child labor as suchwas strongly rejected by the Uzbek authorities,claiming that “children work in the agriculturalindustry on a legitimate and secure basis, as allother kids in the world”. This summer, fourinfluential European import unions and clothmanufacturers sent an official letter of request toPresident Karimov, asking to stop the use of childlabor in the cotton fields of Uzbekistan. Such callsfor banning child labor have been made before, buthave not brought any results. This year, however, itseems that the Uzbek authorities have finallyresponded to international concerns and opened fora dialogue. Nevertheless, while internationalconventions on child labor and child protection arebeing ratified, it seems that the issue is not yetclosed.Cotton, often called the “white gold” of Uzbekistan,is one of the major sources of state income. Lastyear’s production of raw cotton was about 3,7million tons, and the production of cotton fiberreached 1,2 million tons. Apart from localconsumption, Uzbekistan annually exports about900,000 tons of cotton fiber, and is the third largestcotton exporter in the world.The four associations that signed and sent the letterof discontent to the Uzbek authorities control 90percent of the cotton production volumes sold in theU.S. and other states of the world. Therefore, it istheir assumption and a plausible outcome that ifUzbekistan decides to maintain its current laborpolicy, the result will be a full boycott of Uzbekcotton exports, resulting in a significant reductionof export revenues.The prospect of such losses may have convinced theUzbek authorities to consider the consequences ofinternational discontent. A conference addressingthe issue of forced child labor in Uzbekistan washeld on August 11, 2008. It brought together therepresentatives of several Western states’embassies, the International Labor Organization,and UNICEF. The option of revising Uzbekistan’sstatus as a country included in the common systemof trade preferences was one of the key issuesconsidered at the conference.
Central Asia-Caucasus Analyst, 1 October 2008 19Soon after the conference, on 12 September 2008, thehead of Uzbekistan’s government, ShavkatMirziyoev, signed a resolution “On measures forimplementation of the Convention on minimal ageof employment and the Convention on banning,and applying immediate measures for, theeradication of grave forms of child labor ratified bythe Republic of Uzbekistan”. Both Conventionswere ratified in April 2008, and now thegovernment has approved a National plan of actionfor their implementation. As such, it demandsministries and departments “to provide control overthe banning of forced child labor and following thenorms and regulations on the labor conditions ofminors”.While legislative measures are still in the process ofcoming into force, some local observers report thatin certain parts of the country, children still work incotton fields. For instance, in the Tashkent region,pupils and students have not been forced to go to thefields yet, whereas in other regions (such as Jizzakhand Bukhara), and especially in rural areas, childlabor is still common practice. Usually the dailyquota that needs to be collected is 80 kilos.Nonetheless, Uzbek authorities have an explanationfor this. Now, since the conventions are signed andratified, it is claimed that children work in the fieldsvoluntarily. Unfortunately, in many cases, this istrue. Coming from poor families, they earn theirlivelihoods by helping out the farmers.They are paid 40 Sums ($0,03) per kilo, thus pickingabout 70-80 kg per day brings them about $2-3. Asituation where children go to the fields willingly toearn money brings up another interesting debate. Ifthey “voluntarily” choose to skip school and workinstead, that brings up the issue of improvements ofa poor welfare system and economic conditions.In light of all the issues that child labor brings intodiscussion, it is remarkable to note that the practiceas such was common and acceptable for many years.In spite of internal discontent and calls forprohibition by the international community, verylittle has been done to abolish or eradicate childlabor. Now that important economic interests are atstake, it seems that the children of Uzbekistan areprovided with a legal basis to protect their rights.However, in a country that gets its major sources ofincome from cotton exports and desperately needs“free hands” to do the work, it seems to be quitedifficult to secure the rights and freedoms of themost vulnerable, as their economic conditions donot allow them to leave aside even such a hardearned and small income.
20Central Asia-Caucasus Analyst, 1 October 2008NEWS DIGESTARMENIA LINKS ISSUE OF ABKHAZIA, S.OSSETIA TO N.-KARABAKH19 SeptemberArmenia will not recognize the independence ofAbkhazia and South Ossetia before Nagorno-Karabakh’s independence receives internationalrecognition as "recognition of the independence ofother states without the recognition of theindependence of Nagorno-Karabakh is nonsense,"an Armenian diplomat said on Friday. Armeniaitself has not recognized the independence ofNagorno-Karabakh, an Armenian-speaking enclavein Azerbaijan, though there have been "political,legal, moral, ethical, ethnic and other reasons forthis," Oleg Yesayan, Armenian ambassador toBelarus, told a news conference in Minsk. "Theindependence of the Republic of Nagorno-Karabakhwas declared on October 2, 1991, in full conformityto the then constitution of the USSR andinternational law. Then a general referendumwas held and supreme bodies of state authoritywere elected – a parliament and government. OnJanuary 6, 1992 – more than 16 years ago – the stateindependence of the Republic of Nagorno-Karabakh was proclaimed. Both then and nowArmenia had and has all necessary reasons torecognize the independence of Nagorno-Karabakh,"Yesayan said. However, there began aninternational legal process of settlement of theNagorno-Karabakh conflict, and this is whyArmenia has still not recognized the enclave'sindependence, he said. "It is for the same reasonthat Armenia has not recognized the independenceof Kosovo," the ambassador said. (Interfax)IRAN TO MEET ARMENIAN ENERGYDEMANDS23 SeptemberIran will supply Armenia with enough natural gasthrough the Iran-Armenia pipeline to meet itsenergy demands for the winter, officials said. RezaKasaei Zadeh, director of the Iranian Gas ExportCo., told the Iranian Students' News AgencyTuesday Iran would surpass the original estimatedgas exports of 2.5 million cubic meters per year."Iran will pump 3 million cubic meters of gas toArmenia during this winter," he said. The $220million, 87-mile pipeline began construction in 2007during a ceremony attended by Armenian PresidentRobert Kocharian and Iranian President MahmoudAhmadinejad to bring diversity to the region. Russiawas a primary exporter of natural gas to Armenia.Construction on the pipeline concluded Sept. 12.IRAN’S PRESIDENT BLAMES WEST FORGEORGIA WAR24 SeptemberIranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad said atthe UN General Assembly that NATO’s“provocations” are to blame for the August war inGeorgia. “The lives, properties and rights of thepeople of Georgia, South Ossetia and Abkhazia arevictims of the tendencies and provocations ofNATO and certain western powers and theunderhanded actions of the Zionists,” PresidentAhmadinejad said. (Civil Georgia)IRAN, PAKISTAN TO FORM IPI FIRM24 SeptemberIran and Pakistan on the sidelines of the U.N.meeting in New York agreed to create a jointcompany to create revenue for a gas pipeline project.Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad met withPakistani President Asif Ali Zardari to discussimplementation of the proposed Iran-Pakistan-Indianatural gas pipeline to bring resources from theSouth Pars gas field in Iran east. The joint firm willgenerate revenue in Iran, Pakistan and the MiddleEast, while Iran will provide a sovereign guaranteefor the company, the Pakistani Dawn saidWednesday. India and Pakistan are facing alooming energy crisis, but pressure fromWashington to avoid dealing with Iran and pricingdeals have slowed progress on the proposed 1,724-mile pipeline. Pakistani Information MinisterSherry Rehman said the two countries also agreed toestablish two bilateral committees to examinefurther details of the pipeline. "The two sides made
Central Asia-Caucasus Analyst, 1 October 2008 21good progress," she said. Foreign ministers fromboth sides plan to meet in October to discuss theway forward on the project. (UPI)REPORTS: KAZAKHSTAN DROPS OILREFINERY PLANS IN BATUMI24 SeptemberKazakh state oil and gas company KazMunaiGashas dropped its plans to build a USD 1 billion oilrefinery in Georgia’s port town of Batumi, Reutersreported. The decision, however, is not linked withthe political situation in Georgia, an unnamedsource from the company told Reuters. “We have alot of interest in many different projects but we relyon economic feasibility when choosing,” the sourcesaid. “So you should not drag politics into thisone.... Our experts have carefully studied it anddecided that it is not feasible.” Kazakh AgricultureMinister Akylbek Kurishbayev told lawmakers thatAstana had dropped plans to build a grain terminalin Georgia’s port town of Poti, citing “the currentsituation in Georgia.” Plans for an oil refinery inBatumi first emerged in March 2007, whenKazMunaiGas went into partnership with GreenoakGroup, the then owner of Batumi oil terminal andsea port. In February 2008, Greenoak Group,however, sold both the oil terminal and sea port inBatumi to KazMunaiGas for an undisclosed sum.(Civil Georgia)GEORGIAN OPPOSITION CALLS FOREXPULSION OF KAZAKH GAS COMPANY24 SeptemberGeorgia's opposition Labor Party has demandedthe expulsion of Kaztransgaz from the countryand the nationalization of Georgia's assets.Kaztransgaz owns the right to distribute natural gasin Tbilisi. "Without any notice, from August 1Kaztransgaz increased rates per cubic meter of gasfrom 50 tetri (35 cents) to 70 tetri, and not only forbusinesses, but for a certain group of individualsas well, so we demand that Georgia should expelthis company and nationalize its assets," one ofthe Labor party leaders Paata Dzhibladze told apress conference on Wednesday. "Kaztransgaz isrobbing Georgians with the help of the currentGeorgian government, which in effect hasinterest in this robbery," Dzhibladze said. (Interfax)U.S. NAVY RELIEF AID SHIP REACHESGEORGIA24 SeptemberThe U.S. Navy says it has joined humanitarianefforts to help Georgian refugees by sending adestroyer laden with 155,000 pounds of supplies.Officials with the Pentagon's European CommandSunday reported the USS McFaul arrived inBatumi, Georgia, with 82 pallets of hygiene items,baby food and care supplies, bottled water and milkdonated by the U.S. Agency for InternationalDevelopment. "Our job was to get the supplies toGeorgia as quickly as possible," Navy Capt. JohnMoore said. "The entire crew of this ship realizesthe significance of their efforts in helping to providecomfort to the people of Georgia." Military officialsalso said two U.S. Coast Guard cutters have loadedhumanitarian supplies destined for Georgia. Oneleft Crete Thursday with more than 76,000 poundsof relief supplies and is to arrive in Georgia within aweek. The officials said tens of thousands ofhygiene kits have been flown into Georgia by U.S.Navy aircraft in the wake of its conflict withRussia. (UPI)FORMER RUSSIAN MP YAMADAYEVKILLED IN MOSCOW24 SeptemberFormer State Duma member Ruslan Yamadayevhas been killed in Moscow. "Unknown peopleopened fire from assault rifles at RuslanYamadayev's car at 6:30 p.m. outside N10 inSmolenskaya Naberezhnaya," a source in lawenforcement authorities told Interfax. "As a resultof the shooting Yamadayev died on the scene," thesource said. Another man who was with himinside the car is severely wounded, he added.(Interfax)TAJIKISTAN FORCES KILL AFGHAN OPIUMSMUGGLERS25 SeptemberTajik border guards have shot dead a group ofAfghan drug smugglers and seized more than 250 kg(550 lb) of opium and other drugs, a border guardspokeswoman said on Thursday. Ex-SovietTajikistan lies on the main trafficking route out ofneighbouring Afghanistan – the world's topproducer of opium and its refined form, heroin – towestern Europe. Yelena Alekseyeva, thespokeswoman, said a number of Afghan smugglerswere killed in a shootout with Tajik forces on theborder but could not say how many. "During the
22Central Asia-Caucasus Analyst, 1 October 2008operation a large quantity of drugs was seized and anumber of criminals were killed," she said. Withtreacherous terrain and leaky borders, Tajikistan is ahaven for drug smuggling out of Afghanistan whichproduced a record 8,200 tonnes of opium last year.The impoverished nation has struggled to containthe problem since independence from Moscow, withanalysts saying its security forces intercept only afraction of the total traffic. (Reuters)YAMADAYEV'S MURDER BLOOD REVENGE– KADYROV25 SeptemberBlood revenge could be the leading theory in theinvestigation of the murder of former RussianDuma member Ruslan Yamadayev, said ChechenPresident Ramzan Kadyrov. "I am 80-90% surethat the murder might have been motivated byblood revenge," Kadyrov told journalists in Groznyon Thursday. "Sulim Yamadayev [RuslanYamadayev's brother] "was involved in manycivilian kidnappings for ransom, and shot everyonefor whom money was not paid," the Chechenpresident said. "In Chechnya, murder is somethingthat will never be forgiven. The revenge may comeeven after one hundred years," Kadyrov said. "It iswith great regret that I learnt about Yamadayev'sdeath," he said. "A hero of Russia, a former MP, aChechen killed in the center of Moscow. How canI take it? I am very unhappy. If Ruslan Yamadayevwas guilty of something, he should have been tried,"Kadyrov said. (Interfax)TON OF DRUGS SEIZED IN CSTOOPERATION IN TAJIKISTAN26 SeptemberMore than 954 kg (2,101 lbs) of drugs wereconfiscated in Tajikistan in the course of the specialoperation of regional security organization membersbetween September 16 and 22, country's policeofficial said Friday. A spokesman for the TajikDrugs Control Agency said the drugs wereconfiscated during the first stage of the Channel-2008 anti-drugs operation, conducted by members ofthe Collective Security Treaty Organization(CSTO). "Within the stated period lawenforcement bodies in cooperation with borderguards detected and stopped 38 crimes, connectedwith smuggling and trade of drugs," the spokesmansaid. The operation, he added, was monitored byrepresentatives of law enforcement bodies fromAzerbaijan, China, Latvia, the United States andUkraine. The CSTO is a security groupingcomprising the former Soviet republics Armenia,Belarus, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Russia,Uzbekistan and Tajikistan. Narcotics trafficking isan acute problem for the Central Asian republicsdue to the constant flow of illegal drugs fromneighboring Afghanistan, the world's largest heroinand opium producer. The drugs are then smuggledvia Russia's Urals region onto Western Europe.(RIA Novosti)TURKMENISTAN BACKS MULTI-PARTYPOLITICS FOR FIRST TIME26 SeptemberThe hermetic state of Turkmenistan formallyendorsed political pluralism and market economicsfor the first time Friday, approving a newconstitution that opens the door to ties with theWest. Some 2,500 tribal elders and local officials at ameeting of the People's Council in the capitalAshgabat raised their hands to give unanimousapproval to the new constitution, proposed byPresident Gurbanguly Berdymukhamedov. Thereform marks a dramatic change for this longisolated and highly authoritarian ex-Soviet CentralAsian state that has signalled it wants to open up tothe West to encourage investment in its hugeuntapped gas reserves. Turkmenistan is strategicallylocated on the Caspian Sea between Iran andAfghanistan and is seen by Western officials andmultinational corporations as a potential key energysource that could reduce dependency on Russianreserves. "The new constitution corresponds to allinternational and democratic norms. By adopting it,we will show our country's authority at aninternational level," Berdymukhamedov told thePeople's Council ahead of the vote. He also said theold constitution was "outdated" and did not fit withTurkmenistan's "progress," a reference to timidreforms he has introduced since coming to powerafter long-time dictator Saparmurat Niyazov, whodied in 2006. "Our country is now open and supportscooperation with every country in the world,"Foreign Minister Rashid Meredov told the People'sCouncil session. But experts quoted by Russia'sNesavisimaya Gazeta daily warned the newconstitution had major faults such as the absence ofa constitutional court and was aimed at pleasingWestern partners instead of bringing true reform."A constitution for the West," read a headline in thenewspaper, which quoted Turkmen politicalobserver Batyr Mukhamedov as saying:"Berdymukhamedov came up with it for export...The constitution is oriented to Western values."
Central Asia-Caucasus Analyst, 1 October 2008 23One expert, Farkhad Ilyasov, told NezavisimayaGazeta: "As far as democratic norms are concerned,as long as there are political prisoners, as long asthere are no opposition parties and no free media,these are just words." The new constitution allowsfor the formation of multiple political parties in acountry that currently only has one party. TheDemocratic Party headed by Berdymukhamedov isin practice the successor to the Soviet-eraCommunist Party. Also on Friday, the Turkmenpresident said parliamentary elections would be heldbefore the end of the year. The last elections wereheld in December 2004 and were won by theDemocratic Party with 100 percent of the vote. ThePeople's Council, which was created byBerdymukhamedov's predecessor Niyazov to reduceparliament's authority, will now become a purelyconsultative body and the country's parliament willbe enlarged from 65 to 125 seats. The constitutionalso enshrines market economy principles for thefirst time in this largely Soviet-era commandeconomy, confirming the "right to private property"and support for the development of smallbusinesses. (AFP)GEORGIAN PARLIAMENT ENDORSES LAWON OCCUPIED TERRITORIES26 SeptemberThe Georgian parliament has unanimouslyapproved a draft law on the occupied territoriesimposing various restrictions on Abkhazia andSouth Ossetia, which are to remain in place untilsuch time as Georgian jurisdiction is restored. “Ourgoal is that this law does not create problems forGeorgian citizens living there,” MP PavleKublashvili, co-author of the draft law, said.“Hence, the restrictions will concern only non-Georgian citizens.”He said that the draft law envisages threerestrictions. In particular, it will restrict freemovement into the occupied territories, obligingforeigners to enter Abkhazia and South Ossetiafrom the rest of Georgia, in agreement with theGeorgian authorities. The second restrictionconcerns property rights, which will have no legalforce as long as the occupation lasts. And the third,dealing with business activities, will see real estatedeals and investment in the two regions prohibited.“We should not create favorable conditionsfor investors carrying out business activities underthe orders of the separatists,” Kublashvili said. Thedraft law geographically covers the AbkhazianAutonomous Republic and the former AutonomousDistrict of South Ossetia. It also covers areas underGeorgian control before the war, namely the UpperKodori Gorge, the Akhalgori district and Georgianvillages north of Tskhinvali, which are currentlyunder Russian occupation. Parliamentary ChairmanDavit Bakradze said that the draft law would befurther improved before its final approval. (CivilGeorgia)ISRAEL TO SELL ARMAMENTS TOAZERBAIJAN26 SeptemberThe Israeli government has agreed to sell mortars,radio equipment and ammunition to the Caucasusstate of Azerbaijan, signed agreements show. Theagreements signed by the Israeli Defense Ministryand the Azerbaijani government say Israel willsupply Azerbaijan with munitions including rocketartillery and mortars, Haaretz reported Friday. Theinternational agreements, said to be worth hundredsof millions of dollars, will be supplied by the Israelifirms of Soltam, Israel Military Industries andTadiran Communications. Former Israeli DefenseMinister Benjamin Ben-Eliezer had previously saidAzerbaijan would be a valuable ally for Israel due toits supply of oil and gas, Haaretz said. The Israelinewspaper said the Israel-Azerbaijan agreementscome after a number of Israeli firms signed similarsales agreements with Kazakhstan, a countryneighboring Azerbaijan. (UPI)AZERBAIJAN SHOULD JOIN THE GROUPOF INDUSTRIALLY DEVELOPEDCOUNTRIES – ALIYEV26 SeptemberAzerbaijan should join the group of industriallydeveloped countries, Azerbaijani President IlkhamAliyev said, speaking late at night on Thursday atiftar (supper after a day’s fasting during the sacredmonth of Ramazan), which was held by theSpiritual Board of Muslims of the Caucasus.Aliyev, who is running for presidency for thesecond time, formulated in this way the mainobjective of his work, in case he is re-electedpresident. The presidential elections are scheduledfor October 15. “During the years to come we shallcontinue to exert efforts in all directions. Stabilitywill be preserved in Azerbaijan, and important stepswill be taken for ensuring the democraticdevelopment of the country, consolidating itssecurity, continuing the implementation of theeconomic reforms and of social programmes. Majorinfrastructure projects are planned to be
24Central Asia-Caucasus Analyst, 1 October 2008implemented,” Aliyev said. According to hisinformation, the 2009 state budget will amount to 15billion dollars, which is bigger than the budget fiveyears ago, when he became president, by almost 15times. “This is unprecedented progress,” Aliyevstressed. Aliyev said he was very much optimisticabout the future and knew the future of Azerbaijanwould be brilliant. “The tasks we planned have beenpartially fulfilled, partially are being fulfilled now,and a major part of them remains to be fulfilled inthe future. I can state with confidence thatAzerbaijan will join the group of industriallydeveloped countries of the world. All the criteria inthe economic, political, social and other spheres willbe the same as those of the best developedcountries,” Aliyev said. He stressed he wouldfurther uphold the interests of his nation andconsolidate the positions of the state. He pointed tothe fact that Azerbaijan was a stabilising factor inthe region, which became especially clear during therecent Caucasian crisis. “All our initiatives – in thepolitical, economic, energy and transport spheres –are aimed at promoting regional cooperation, peaceand security in the region,” the Azerbaijani leadersaid. He stressed that Azerbaijan’s influence and therole it plays in the region would continue to grow inthe coming years, together with its feeling ofresponsibility. “We are taking all steps in thedomestic and foreign policy with a deep feeling ofresponsibility,” he stressed. (Itar-Tass)LAVROV: ‘PROBLEM OF S.OSSETIA,ABKHAZIA CLOSED-OUT’28 SeptemberTbilisi’s aggression against South Ossetia has put anend to Georgia’s territorial integrity, Sergey Lavrov,the Russian foreign minister, said in an addressto the UN General Assembly on September 27. Inthe speech Lavrov brought up the August war in thecontext of what he called U.S. “unipolar” policies,which he said had failed not only in Iraq andAfghanistan, but also had helped to provoke theAugust war. “The illusion of a unipolar worldconfused many,” he said. “For some people, itgenerated a desire to make an all-in stake on it. Inexchange for total loyalty they expected to receive acarte blanche to resolve all their problems by anymeans. The all-permissiveness syndrome that theydeveloped went rampant, out of all possible control,on the night before 8 August when the aggressionwas unleashed on South Ossetia.” “The bombing ofthe sleeping city of Tskhinval, the killing ofcivilians and peacekeepers trampled under foot allsettlement agreements thus putting an end to theterritorial integrity of Georgia.” Lavrov justifiedRussia’s military intervention by the need to savethe lives of its citizens and peacekeepers. He saidthat Russia helped South Ossetia “to repelaggression.” He also said that the recognition of theindependence of South Ossetia and Abkhazia byMoscow was “the only possible measure to ensuretheir security,” especially “taking into account allprevious record of the chauvinistic attitude of theGeorgian leaders.” He then mentioned Georgia’slate President Zviad Gamsakhurdia and said thatGamsakhurdia “under the slogan of ‘Georgia forGeorgians’ ordered the deportation of Ossetians toRussia, abolished the autonomous status of SouthOssetia and Abkhazia and later unleashed war.” Hesaid that the current Georgian leadership pursued "apersistent policy" to undermine negotiatingmechanisms through "continous provocations."“Finally [the Georgian leadership] trampled underfoot the peace process by launching a newmurderous war on the night before August 8,”Lavrov said. “This problem has been closed outnow. The future of the peoples of Abkhazia andSouth Ossetia has been reliably secured by theTreaties between Moscow and Tskhinval andSokhum,” he continued. “With the implementationof Medvedev-Sarkozy plan and our strongcommitment, the situation around the two republicsis going to be finally stabilized.” He also said thatthe foreign policy of the “Georgian regime” wasaimed “exclusively at provoking confrontation inthe world in the pursuit of their own objectives,which have nothing in common with the goal ofensuring security in the Caucasus.” “This crisis inthe Caucasus proved again that it is impossible oreven disastrous to try to resolve the existingproblems in the blind folds of the unipolar world,”Lavrov said. (Civil Georgia)COUNTER-TERROR WORKSHOP HELD INUZBEKISTAN29 SeptemberThe Organization for Security and Cooperation inEurope held a workshop in Uzbekistan on Mondayin a move to bolster counter-terrorism efforts inCentral Asia. The two-day workshop is designed toimprove cooperation in Central Asia among lawenforcement and other security authorities to bettercombat transnational criminal organizations andterrorist groups operating in the region, the OSCEreported. Officials say the workshop, organized bythe OSCE Strategic Police Matters Unit and the
Central Asia-Caucasus Analyst, 1 October 2008 25OSCE Action against Terrorism Unit, amongothers, includes more than 75 security expertsdiscussing techniques and strategies to prevent andrespond to terrorist attacks. "This meeting helpsparticipants better understand the roles andresponsibilities of the different institutions inrelation to fighting terrorism," Kevin Carty, OSCEsecretary-general senior police adviser, said in astatement. "We hope this will spark the creation ofnetworks and lasting cooperation." (UPI)CEYHAN REFINERY ON HOLD29 SeptemberThe price of real estate in the Turkish port ofCeyhan put joint plans by Kazakhstan andAzerbaijan to build a refinery there on hold. Theproposed refinery in the Turkish port between thestate-run KazMunaiGas and the State Oil Co. ofAzerbaijan Republic has stalled over the purchase ofland in the region, the European weekly NewEurope reported Monday. Ceyhan is a major energyhub in the Mediterranean, making furtherexpansion of the infrastructure there attractive.About 1 percent of the world's oil travels throughthe Baku-Tbilisi-Ceyhan pipeline, and plans toexpand several pipeline routes to northern Turkeyand into Iraq make sense to several regional energyplayers. With the first suggestions of newdevelopment in Ceyhan, however, privateinvestments in the real estate sector drove landprices sharply up. "A part of the land that wasplanned for the refinery belongs to the governmentof Turkey, while the other part has become privateproperty. The prices that the private owners ask areexorbitant, driving the cost of the project up," ananonymous source in the Kazakh energy sector toldNew Europe. (UPI)RICE: RUSSIAN VETO ON NATOEXPANSION IMPOSSIBLE29 SeptemberRussia cannot be allowed to veto NATOmembership for Ukraine and Georgia, U.S.Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice said onSeptember 28. “We will not permit Russia to vetothe future of NATO, neither the countries offeredmembership nor their decision to accept it,” Reutersquoted Rice as saying. “We and our European allieswill give our help to Georgia ... The United Statesand Europe strongly support the independence andthe territorial integrity of Russia’s neighbors,” shesaid. NATO rejected Georgia’s bid for aMembership Action Plan (MAP) at its Aprilsummit in Bucharest, but gave temporizingassurance that it would become a member of thealliance in the future. Rice also warned that theAugust war and Russia’s unilateral recognition ofthe independence of Abkhazia and South Ossetiacould derail its efforts to join the World TradeOrganization and the Organization for EconomicCooperation and Development (OECD).SOUTH OSSETIAN, ABKHAZREPRESENTATIVES TO ATTEND UNSECURITY COUNCIL'S MEETING, APPLYFOR VISAS29 SeptemberRepresentatives of South Ossetia and Abkhaziahave applied for U.S. visas to be able to participatein the United Nations Security Council'sinformal meeting in New York, South Ossetia'sacting Prime Minister Boris Chochiyev announcedMonday. "Russia has initiated an informal meetingbetween Security Council members andrepresentatives of Abkhazia and South Ossetia todiscuss the situation in the Caucasus in the wakeof Georgia's aggression. We have applied [forvisas] but no visas have been issued yet. So far wehave not received permission to enter the UnitedStates," he said. Up to now, the U.S. authoritieshave been refusing to let Abkhaz and SouthOssetian representatives attend Security Councilmeetings because they do not represent official UNmember-states. Meanwhile, Moscow holds that aninformal meeting of the council may be transferredto Geneva. "I think the Security Council maytransfer its informal session to Geneva due to theUnited States' position on South Ossetia andAbkhazia," Russian Deputy Foreign MinisterAlexander Yakovenko said in an interviewpublished in the Rossiiskaya Gazeta early last week.The Security Council has previously convenedoutside its New York headquarters. "It's time toresume this practice," the diplomat said. (Interfax)KYRGYZ PRESIDENT'S SON QUESTIONED30 SeptemberInvestigators from the Kyrgyz ProsecutorGeneral's Office have questioned the Kyrgyzpresident's son Maksim Bakiyev, following aclaim made by the former chairman of thecountry's Central Elections Commission (CEC)."Investigators from the Kyrgyz ProsecutorGeneral's Office on Tuesday questioned MaksimBakiyev, the son of President KurmanbekBakiyev, as part of the investigation opened
26Central Asia-Caucasus Analyst, 1 October 2008following a videotaped address by former CentralElections Commission chief Klara Kabilova on thebasis of an article dealing with 'impeding the workof an elections commission,'" Uchkun Karimov, anofficial with the Prosecutor General's Office, toldreporters. At the end of last week, the Kyrgyzopposition issued a videotaped address byKabilova, in which she said she was receivingthreats from the Kyrgyz president's younger son,which she links to the October 5 elections inKyrgyzstan, and announced her decision toresign as chairman of the Central ElectionsCommission. Bakiyev's questioning lasted forabout an hour, Karimov said. The official wouldnot give any details, citing the interests of theinvestigation. In addition, Karimov said Kyrgyzopposition activists, who made Kabilova'sstatement public, have been summoned to come tothe Kyrgyz Prosecutor General's Office forquestioning on October 2. Among these people areKyrgyz parliamentarians, members of theopposition Social Democratic Party, the leader ofthe opposition party Ata Meken, and former Kyrgyzparliament speaker Omurbek Tekebayev. (Interfax)AIG UNIT SAYS NO PLAN TO SELLKAZAKH BUSINESS30 SeptemberThe Kazakh unit of AIG said on Tuesday it had nointention of selling its insurance business in theCentral Asian state. On Monday, Kazakhstan's No.1insurer Eurasia said it had made a formal offer tobuy the Kazakh unit of the U.S. insurance companywhich was bailed out by the Federal Reserve thismonth. On Tuesday, it responded by denying thepossibility. "Yesterday a number of news agenciesreported that a takeover offer had been made withregard to AIG Kazakhstan which is part of theAmerican International Group Inc. (AIG) group ofcompanies," it said in a Russian-language statement."We officially announce that AIG Kazakhstan'sbusiness is not for sale. ... Our ability to work in theusual mode has not been affected in the light ofrecent events. ... We continue to work in our usualmode." Eurasia, owned by the three keyshareholders of mining giant ENRC, said in astatement on Monday it had sent the offer to AIG'sLondon office on Sept. 24. The Kazakh company didnot say how much it was ready to pay for AIGKazakhstan, but said it could consider further bidsfor AIG assets. AIG, once the world's largestinsurer, was forced to seek a government rescueearlier this month after its shares crashed, leadingratings agencies to cut its credit ratings and forcingthe company to post billions of dollars in additionalcollateral on derivatives contracts it insured.(Reuters)WAL-MART TAKES ACTION ONUZBEKISTAN CHILD LABOR30 SeptemberWal-Mart Stores Inc. said Tuesday it has toldsuppliers to stop acquiring cotton from Uzbekistanto try and put an end to forced child labor in cottonharvesting. The world's largest retailer said it hasformed a coalition representing 90 percent of U.S.purchases of cotton and cotton-based merchandise."There is no tolerance for forced child labor in theWal-Mart supply chain," said Rajan Kamalanathan,Wal-Mart's vice president of ethical standards. OnSept. 12, the Uzbekistan government issued a plandetailing steps to stop the use of child labor,following a letter from a number of industry tradegroups demanding the end of forced child labor incotton harvesting. Wal-Mart will modify its stanceonce these steps can be independently verified. (AP)EU OBSERVERS START PATROLS INGEORGIA1 OctoberThe EU Monitoring Mission (EUMM) officiallystarted patrols on October 1. The first patrols, eachconsisting of two vehicles, have already startedpatrolling in Samegrelo and Shida Kartli regions.Local and international media reported that the EUmonitors have entered the buffer zone aroundbreakaway South Ossetia, despite a Russian officialsaying on September 30 that EU monitors wouldnot have immediate access to the so-called “securityzone” inside Georgia. Vitaly Manushko, a Russianpeacekeeper spokesman, stressed the necessity for amemorandum between the Russian and Georgiansides and the European Union to clearly define theEUMM mandate, as well as the strength ofGeorgian police, who will enter the Georgianvillages currently occupied by Russian forces afterthe latter withdraw. The EUMM, comprisingunarmed monitors, aims to stabilize the situationand ensure compliance by Georgia and Russia withan EU-brokered peace plan. The EUMM will workin close coordination with the UN ObserverMission in Georgia (UNOMIG) and the OSCEMission in Georgia. Over 200 monitors from 22EU members-states will conduct permanent patrolson the ground. The total international missionpersonnel, including HQ staff, will be 352.The HQ
Central Asia-Caucasus Analyst, 1 October 2008 27is in Tbilisi, with regional field offices inTbilisi/Bazaleti (96 monitors), Gori (70 monitors),Poti (30 monitors) and Zugdidi (70 monitors).Themission has a budget of Euro 35 million and isexpected to remain for at least one year. (CivilGeorgia)20 EU MILITARY OBSERVERS ENTERSECURITY ZONE TO MONITORSITUATION1 OctoberOctober 1 (Itar-Tass) - Twenty military observersfrom the European Union have entered the securityzone in the Georgian-South Ossetian conflict areato monitor the situation, Lieutenant-Colonel VitalyManushko, representative of the Russianpeacekeepers’ headquarters in the conflict zone, toldItar-Tass on Wednesday. He said, “Two groups ofmilitary observers accompanied by observers of theRussian peacekeeping forces in the zone of theGeorgian-South Ossetian conflict entered thesecurity zone at 10:00 Moscow time today.” “Thefirst group of EU military observers entered thesecurity zone through the check point of the Russianpeacekeeping forces in the area of Kvenatkopapopulated locality and is monitoring the situationon the Kvenatkopa-Abisi route in both directions.The second group entered the security zone throughthe check point of the Russian peacekeeping forcesin the area of the populated locality of Karaleti andis monitoring the Karaleti-Tkviavi route,” thespokesman said. (Itar-Tass)UZBEKISTAN: WAL-MART BANS COTTON1 OctoberWal-Mart Stores said it was requiring its suppliersto stop sourcing cotton from Uzbekistan in an effortto end child labor there. Wal-Mart’s move followssimilar steps by retailers including the Britishgrocery chain Tesco and the department store chainDebenhams, which have already banned Uzbekcotton in products they sell. Wal-Mart saidinstructions to suppliers to stop buying cotton andcotton materials from Uzbekistan came aftermonths of work with industry trade associations,government agencies, nongovernmentalorganizations and socially oriented investmentgroups. Wal-Mart said four industry trade groups,including the National Retail Federation, sent aletter to officials of Uzbekistan on Aug. 18 askingfor an end to forced child labor in cotton harvesting.Wal-Mart said that the Uzbekistan governmentresponded on Sept. 12 by outlining steps to stopchild labor; the chain said it would revisit itsdecision once it can verify those steps. (Reuters)