The United States of America has stepped up its activities in Central Asia. Condoleezza Rice, State Secretary of this country, made a trip to five countries of the region, including Afghanistan. However, shortly before the trip, Uzbekistan was excluded from this list. This was stated by Deputy Secretary of State Daniel Fried. Fried himself visited Tashkent at the end of September and, according to him, “saw an atmosphere of fear there,” which no longer exists in any of the states of the region. And this, in principle, is not surprising. According to eyewitnesses, the repression in Uzbekistan has evolved with a new force. Law enforcement officers and special services with a special predilection monitor the mood in society. Now, after a long time after the Andijan events, the authorities have begun to “sweep” human rights organizations and foreign media. Both foreign and local journalists are under pressure, and constant surveillance of human rights defenders has become the norm. Recently, for example, Uzbek human rights activist Mutabar Tadjibayeva was arrested. At the time of the detention, no charges were brought against her.
According to some observers, the refusal to come to Uzbekistan is also related to the fact that official Tashkent refused to Washington to continue leasing the Karshi-Khanobad military air base, in retaliation for the fact that the latter, after a while, was strictly condemned Uzbekistan in the shooting of a demonstration in Andijan.
However, in all other countries in the region that Rice is visiting - Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, and Afghanistan - the United States feels more comfortable. As for Kyrgyzstan, it’s not a secret to anyone here that the US is only interested in the Manas military base and the extension of its lease. At the same time, no one doubts that everything will be as the American government wants, that is, Bishkek will agree to all the proposals. It is officially considered that the visit of the US Secretary of State is aimed at convincing the leadership of these countries to continue to follow the principles of democracy and is in no way connected with the solution of military issues. In particular, it was stated that during the visit of Condoleezza Rice to Tajikistan, the question of the deployment of the American military base will not be discussed. Thus, according to KZ-today, Igor Satarov, head of the information department of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Tajikistan, told reporters that “the republic’s leadership does not intend to discuss with it (Rice - note) the issue of deploying a US military base in Tajikistan. According to him, the talk about the allegedly planned deployment of the US base in Tajik territory arose after the authorities of neighboring Uzbekistan asked the Americans to leave Karshi-Khanabad, and as for the visit, it will take place as part of a tour of the region, during which Rice intends to to meet with a number of officials of the republic and discuss issues of regional security.
But such an explanation suits, of course, not all. Many experts are inclined to see this as nothing more than an intensified struggle for the region between the United States, Russia and China, especially after the last significant successes of Russia. “Obviously, the purpose of the visit is an inventory of the American presence in Central Asia,” said Andrei Grozin, head of the Central Asia and Kazakhstan department at the Institute of CIS Countries, in an interview with Interfax. Independent American experts, for their part, believe that the United States is losing today in the struggle for the region: “America cannot be an important player in this region,” said Kimberley Martel, a political science professor at Columbia University. - The Central Asian countries are moving toward rapprochement with China and Russia, since they do not exert pressure on them in such sensitive areas as democracy and human rights. The regimes in this region are extremely concerned about their stability and are afraid to trust America. ”
Russia itself already feels more confident here than before, when Islam Karimov skillfully and deftly tacked between the West and Russia, depending on their own economic and political gain. Now he has no choice left, just like Vladimir Putin himself, who is not particularly scrupulous in choosing a political partnership.