Tuesday, May 13, 2008

The Next “New Thing” From Rakhat?

PhotobucketGlobal Options
Yesterday’s Wall Street Journal has a very interesting investigative piece that touches on both ”Kazakhgate” and the seedier side of US companies that do consulting for foreign governments (warning the article’s link will only last seven days). According to the article, Dariga Nazarbayeva had hired a US firm called GlobalOptions (which appears to be a “fixer” for foreign governments and international corporations alike) in 2003 to gather intelligence on the progress of the “Kazakhgate” trial of James Giffen. Furthermore, the documents gathered by Global Options now are allegedly in the possession of Rakhat Aliyev. Besides being an interesting development in the long saga of the never-ending “Kazakhgate” trial, this information shines an interesting light on the rocky family relations of the Nazarbayevs. Was Dariga in 2003 trying to help her father by gathering information on the trial, or was she gathering ”kompromat” for use against her father? Afterall, this was about the same time she was developing her infamous Asar party, which challenged her father's party in the 2004 parliamentary elections and eventually led to her downfall. Was this operation part of a long-term plan to undo her father's hold on power? Regardless of the original intentions of collecting this information, given that the documents now sit with Rakhat in Europe, if there is anything incriminating in them, we will probably hear about it soon enough. Unless, of course, he is hoping to use them as “kompromat” to buy himself back into good graces, which is highly unlikely at this point. Keep an eye out on Rakhat’s webpage kaztoday.ru for some leaks in the near future. Thanks to GlobalOptions, “Kazakhgate” might get interesting again.

Remembering Andijan 3 Years Later

The events that took place in Andijan three years ago today on May 13, 2005 remain a subject of controversy. On the one hand, eyewitness accounts tell a story of senseless and bloody slaughter of innocent people. On the other hand, some western academics have tried to justify the response of the Uzbek government and have endorsed the government’s alleged video evidence of the events’ links to Muslim extremism. Today, on the anniversary of the tragedy, however, I do not wish to re-hash these old arguments. Instead, I want to remember those who died that day, especially as the international community and the Uzbek government both try to forget the tragedy ever happened. Thus, if you have a moment today, remember the events of Andijan in May 2005 and those who were killed as a result of them – however one interprets it, it was one of the most unfortunate incidents of collateral damage in the Global War on Terror.

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