Sunday, March 11, 2007

Berdymukhamedov's Turkmenistan

Joshua Foust blogs about changes in Turkmenistan since the death of long-time dictator Saparmurat Niyazov. These have geopolitical implications:
"There are some extraordinary changes happening in Turkmenistan. Unless there are some super-secret talks going on, it seems President Bush is content to allow Russia and Iran to be the major players in Turkmenistan, rather than any western governments. Indeed, Iran has made public its intention to strengthen economic ties with the country, including the start of direct flights between Ashgabat and Tehran. Everyone save the U.S., it seems, wants better ties...

"So, Iran is pushing its hand in Turkmenistan. Russia has maintained its interest in keeping its place as the primary export market for Turkmen natural gas.

The new regime is also toning down the personality cult, using the excuse that no one could equal Niyazov, for whom it was designed.


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