Daily Archives: November 1, 2017


Blowback and the Manhattan Terror Attack

UPDATE: On 21 Jan 2010 I predicted exactly this wave of anti-Western violence from Uzbekistan, in this excellent Michael Andersen documentary for Al Jazeera:

“We are creating a timebomb of discontent in Central Asia; and because the West is seen to be backing the dictatorships, that discontent will take an anti-western turn.”

The latest Manhattan Terror Attack appears to have been conducted by an Uzbek, Sayfullo Saipov, and a worrying proportion of such attacks worldwide are being carried out by Uzbeks, including the ramming attack in Stockholm and the Istanbul airport bombing.

When I was British Ambassador in Uzbekistan I very explicitly warned that the support NATO countries were giving the appallingly repressive Uzbek regime – military, financial and political support – would cause hatred of the West among Uzbeks. I felt so strongly about this I was prepared to give up my career for it, and in Murder in Samarkand (Dirty Diplomacy in the USA) I published a 440 page account of how our policy was fundamentally wrong. It gives me no pleasure whatsoever to be vindicated in this way.

Newsweek today gets it spectacularly wrong, publishing:

The presence of radical Uzbeks around the world may seem damning, but Uzbekistan has been a U.S. partner in the war on terror. The U.S. operated an airbase in the country from 2001 to 2005, and continued to use Uzbekistan as a strategic location to bring goods and military equipment into Afghanistan even after the base closed. Former Secretary of State John Kerry visited the country in 2015.

The point they miss is that it is because of the Uzbek regime’s mutual cooperation with the USA in the War on Terror, and the use of that pretext by the dictatorship, aided and abetted by the CIA, to ramp up repression, that Uzbek terrorism is occurring.

There are two other points worth noting:

1) The rigid suppression of all religious belief, as in Uzbekistan, is equally as likely to promote radical religious extremism as the inculcation of a single religion in noxious form, as in Saudi Arabia.

2) I complain specifically in Murder in Samarkand that the successful and systematic attempts by Germany to prevent EU criticism of Uzbek regime human rights abuse, were motivated by Gerhard Schroder’s personal interest in Gazprom. I suffered some derision for this at the time, but his behaviour has now become notorious.

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