Uzbekistan Juggles Ties With Russia, China, Other Great Powers

Uzbekistan in Central Asia commands enormous attention from great powers, and Islam Abduganievich Karimov was adept at exploiting such interest. His death will do little to change the country’s manipulative or authoritarian ways, suggests author Dilip Hiro: “Karimov succeeded in getting the better of all three world powers, offering them what each needed at a particular time: local oil and gas resources for energy-hungry China; participation in the waging of Washington’s ‘war on terror’; and joining the Moscow-led military alliance to back up Russia’s insistence on maintaining influence on its ‘near abroad.’” The government takes a hard line against any hint of nationalist, ethnic or Islamist movements in the population of 32 million, about 85 percent of whom are Muslim. The country’s parliament elected the premier under Karimov since 2003 as interim president. Patterns of manipulating world powers while quieting domestic complaints about corruption and poverty will likely continue. – YaleGlobal