Tuesday, May 20, 2003

Over the past couple of weeks, there has been a series of terroristic attacks in Kyrgyzstan which authorities are blaming on the Islamic Movement of Uzbekistan. After 9-11 this group dedicated most of its resources to support the Taliban in Afghanistan, where they were crushed; however, they seem to have revived along with the rest of the al-Qaeda-associated network. This could be bigger trouble than al-Qaeda's activities. Ahmed Rashid and others have been warning about the potential powderkeg that is Central Asia for a long time, and Kyrgyzstan is one of the weaker states in that region.

My Arabic dictionary remains AWOL, but this Washington Post article confirms my suspicion that yesterday's Baghdad protest was largely a Sadriyun event. In addition, Juan Cole (archives confused) has been watching numbers, and seems less than impressed with the turnout, saying, "It appears to be the case that Iraqi Shi'ites are just not that upset with the U.S. at the moment."

Hamid Karzai today won an agreement from 12 regional governors (including Ismail Khan) to start getting the tax revenue from the provinces, which would certainly help bolster the authority of the central government in Kabul. Karzai has threatened to resign if the political situation has not improved by August. An additional note: According to the RFE-RL Daily Afghan Report, a Kabul newspaper called Iffat has called for a constitutional provision making women responsible for the care of their husbands' personalities and moral purity.


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