Monday, September 04, 2006

Craig Murray and the West's Re-engagement of Uzbekistan

Craig Murray, the former British ambassador to Uzbekistan, is a controversial figure. People either see him as adefender of democracy and human rights in the face of the hypocrisy of the Global War on Terror (GWOT) or as a self-promoting trouble maker with an axe to grind who is loose with the truth. In fact, on the Wikipedia page devoted to him, there is even a special warning disputing the neutral point of view (NPOV) of the page’s content. He ran for parliament last year, he continues to promote himself through his own website, and he has recently published a book about his work in Uzbekistan entitled “Murder in Samarkand.” With such a public profile, Craig Murray undoubtedly will continue to be a controversial figure.

For watchers of Central Asia, however, the most important accomplishment of Craig Murray is that he has made the foreign policy of the U.K. towards Uzbekistan a matter of public importance, and to some degree, an issue in Britain’s domestic politics. Furthermore, he seems to seek to accomplish the same in the United States. His large article in Sunday’s Washington Post, in addition to being an obvious part of his book’s promotion, was one step further towards making Americans aware of Uzbekistan and its position in U.S. foreign policy.

No matter what one thinks of Mr. Murray, his opinions, or his tastes in “women and whiskey,” he is an important addition to public debates on Central Asia. With more established scholars such as Fred Starr and Shirin Akinermore or less condoning the March 2005 killing of civilians in Andijan and Martha Brill Olcott trying neither to condemn nor to condone the bloody events of Andijan, Mr. Murray’s uncompromised outrage at the policies of the Uzbek Government (in Andijan and elsewhere) is critical in providing everybody with a reality check. No matter what one thinks of the messenger, his message is important. Furthermore, his book’s release is timely in that it will undoubtedly play a role in the ongoing debates of how (and if) the west should try to re-engage Uzbekistan once again.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Watch the video and complain to her boss!


Her boss:

Professor Paul Webley, Director and Principal of SOAS

Email Address:
Telephone: +44 207 898 4014
Fax: +44 207 898 4019

intro to video:
Lecturer in Central Asian Studies at the School of Oriental and African Studies (SOAS), University of London, Dr Shirin Akiner has been condemned by human rights groups, liberty campaigners and Craig Murray (ex-UK Ambassador in Tashkent) as an apologist for brutal Uzbek dictator President Karimov. This short report on the Andijan massacre concludes with an interview with Dr Akiner in which she attempts to downplay and justify the horrific murderers by Karimov's regime.

7:59 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

SOAS Academic Shirin Akiner is Uzbekistan regime agent

see above

8:00 AM  

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