A Blog by the Editor of The Middle East Journal

Putting Middle Eastern Events in Cultural and Historical Context

Sunday, September 4, 2016

Uzbekistan After Karimov: Now What?

I need to catch up on my blogging over the Labor Day holiday; as I'm still recovering from the latest surgery and there's a hurricane coming up the coast I'll be chair-ridden anyway.

The death of Uzbekistan President Islam Karimov in recent days raises a great many questions about the succession, but what struck me as particularly bizarre was that after days of rumors about his health, the first official confirmation came when the Turkish Prime Minister sent his condolences. That's right: news of the death of Uzbekistan's only President since independence was announced by another country.

Of all the autocratic "Khans" running the countries of Central Asia, Karimov was among the worst. Juan Cole presents the bill of particulars here. The succession is muddled. His own daughter was once considered a possibility, until he put  her under house arrest.

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