Over 75,000 Uzbeks flee ethnic violence in Kyrgyzstan in worst ethnic violence in 20 years

June 13: Ethnic Uzbeks residences burn after being torched by Kyrgyz men, in Jalal-Abad, Kyrgyzstan. In Jalal-Abad on Sunday, thousands of Kyrgyz men brandishing sticks, metal bars and hunting rifles gathered at the city's horse racing track and marched out to burn Uzbek property while frightened police stayed away (AP).

BISHKEK, Kyrgyzstan (AP) — Kyrgyz mobs burned Uzbek villages and slaughtered their residents Sunday in the worst ethnic rioting this Central Asian nation has seen in 20 years, sending more than 75,000 Uzbeks fleeing across the border into Uzbekistan.

Most of the Uzbek refugees were elderly people, women and children, and many had gunshot wounds, the Uzbek Emergencies Ministry said in a statement carried by Russia’s RIA Novosti news agency. It said refugee camps were being set up for them in several areas of Uzbekistan.

Fires set by rioters have destroyed most of Osh, the second-largest city in Kyrgyzstan, and food was scarce after widespread looting. Triumphant crowds of Kyrgyz men took control of Osh on Sunday as the few Uzbeks still left in the city of 250,000 barricaded themselves in their neighborhoods. Fires continued to rage across Osh and shots were heard but police were nowhere to be seen.

The rioting has significant political overtones. Former President Kurmanbek Bakiyev was ousted in a bloody uprising in April and fled the country. Uzbeks have backed Kyrgyzstan’s interim government, while many Kyrgyz in the south support the toppled president.

Interim President Roza Otunbayeva blamed Bakiyev’s family for instigating the unrest, saying it aimed to derail a June 27 constitutional referendum and new elections scheduled for October. A local official in the south said Bakiyev supporters had attacked both Kyrgyz and Uzbeks to ignite the rioting.

From his self-imposed exile in Belarus, Bakiyev denied any role in the violence and blamed interim authorities for failing to protect the people.

The interim government has ordered troops to shoot rioters dead but even that failed to stop the spiraling violence that has left more than 100 people dead and over 1,250 wounded since Thursday night. Doctors say that toll is far too low because wounded minority Uzbeks are too afraid of being attacked again to go to hospitals.

The rampages spread quickly Sunday to Jalal-Abad, another major southern city, and its neighboring villages, as mobs methodically set Uzbek houses, stores and cafes on fire. The rioters seized an armored vehicle and automatic weapons at a local military unit and attacked police stations around the region trying to get more firearms.

Police and the military appeared to be on the defensive across the south, avoiding clashes with mobs. Flights to both Osh and Jalal-Abad were canceled.

“Bakiyev’s entourage has funded and organized these riots,” Otunbayeva’s deputy Omurbek Tekebayev told The Associated Press.

Kyrgyzstan hosts both U.S. and Russian military air bases, but they are in the north, away from the rioting. Otunbayeva had asked Russia for military help Saturday to quell the rioting, but the Kremlin refused.

But Russia on Sunday sent a battalion of paratroopers — about 300 people — to reinforce security at its air base, the Interfax news agency reported. The base has about 500 personnel, most air force members.

The U.S. Manas air base in the capital, Bishkek, is a crucial supply hub for the coalition fighting the Taliban in Afghanistan, but a Pentagon spokesman said the interim government had not asked for any U.S. military help.

The U.S. Embassy in Kyrgyzstan voiced a deep concern about the raging violence and called for the “immediate restoration of order and a respect for rule of law.” It said it was discussing humanitarian aid with the interim government.

In New York, U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said he was “alarmed by the scale of the clashes” and the mounting death toll and was discussing what aid the U.N. could send to help the fleeing refugees.

Uzbekistan’s Foreign Ministry condemned the riots and voiced hope that Kyrgyzstan will re-establish order, but the country’s authoritarian President Islam Karimov is unlikely to interfere in the conflict.

In Jalal-Abad on Sunday, thousands of Kyrgyz men brandishing sticks, metals bars and hunting rifles marched together to burn Uzbek property while frightened police stayed away. Uzbeks felled trees on the city’s main street, trying to block their advance. Jalal-Abad is 45 miles (70 kilometers) from Osh.

Kyrgyz mobs tried to storm the city’s hospital, but Uzbeks drove them off after a fierce gunbattle that raged for hours, witnesses said. Mobs also surrounded a local prison, trying to free its inmates and attempted repeatedly to capture the Jalal-Abad police headquarters, but were repelled.

Kyrgyz mobs killed about 30 Uzbeks Sunday in the village of Suzak in the Jalal-Abad region, Talaaibek Myrzabayev, the chief military conscription officer in Bishkek, told the AP. Another Uzbek village, Dostuk, was burned by Kyrgyz assailants, but it was not known how many people were killed, he said.

Ethnic Uzbeks ambushed about 100 Kyrgyz men Sunday on a road near Jalal-Abad and took them hostage, he said. Vehicles on the main highway near Jalal-Abad repeatedly came under fire from unidentified gunmen.

In the nearby village of Bazar-Kurgan, a mob of 400 Uzbeks overturned cars and killed a police captain, local Asyl Tekebayev said. Residents said armed Kyrgyz men were flooding into the village to retaliate.

The fertile Ferghana Valley where Osh and Jalal-Abad are located once belonged to a single feudal lord, but it was split by Soviet dictator Josef Stalin among Uzbekistan, Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan. The Stalinist borders rekindled old rivalries and fomented ethnic tensions.

Both ethnic groups are predominantly Sunni Muslim. Uzbeks are generally better off economically, but they have few representatives in power and have pushed for broader political and cultural rights.

In 1990, hundreds were killed in a violent land dispute between Kyrgyz and Uzbeks in Osh, and only the quick deployment of Soviet troops quelled the fighting. With no Russian troops in sight, the interim government announced a partial mobilization of military reservists up to 50 years old.

“No one is rushing to help us, so we need to establish order ourselves,” said Talaaibek Adibayev, a 39-year old army veteran who showed up at Bishkek’s military conscription office.

The official casualty toll Sunday rose to at least 97 people killed and 1,243 wounded, the Health Ministry said. The figure didn’t include the 30 or more deaths Sunday around Jalal-Abad.

Maksat Zheinbekov, the acting mayor of Jalal-Abad, told the AP that Bakiyev’s supporters had triggered the riots by attacking both Uzbeks and Kyrgyz.

Kyrgyz residents interviewed by AP Television News in Osh blamed Uzbeks for starting the rioting by attacking students and Kyrgyz women. Ethnic Kyrgyz from neighboring villages then streamed into the city to strike back, they said.

“Why have them Uzbeks become so brazen?” said one Osh resident, who gave only her first name, Aigulia, because she feared for her safety. “Why do they burn my house?”

Aigulia said her house was destroyed by Uzbeks overnight and all her Kyrgyz neighbors had to run for their safety. She said the area was still unsafe, claiming Uzbek snipers were shooting at them.

A Kyrgyz man, Iskander, said he and others burned Uzbek property to avenge their attacks.

“Whatever you see over there — all the burnt restaurants and cafeterias — were owned by them and we destroyed them on purpose,” he told the AP. “Why didn’t they want to live in peace?”

A Movie About Our Present Federal Government, a Vision From 2006

I only wish our present government was as smart as some of the people in this movie. Obama should play this for his movie night as he plays around while ignoring his duties as our President.

—-
C. Lewis

Smoking Gun: The Free Gaza Movement and Hamas

By Martha O’Connor

The Free Gaza Movement advertises itself on its website as “a human rights group that in August 2008 sent the first international boats to land in the port of Gaza in 41 years.” Most media outlets continue to portray the group as a benevolent and even constructive organization committed to advancing the cause of peace between the Palestinians and Israelis.

Nothing could be farther from the truth. Consider the letter (below) that was sent by the Hamas Minister of Youth and Sport, Dr. Bassem Naim, dated November 1, 2007 and written on official stationery, inviting Dr. Paul Larudee and the Free Gaza Movement “to help lift the siege of Gaza.”

The invitation was no mere gesture, because Dr. Larudee and the other participants in the first Gaza flotilla actually ran through the Israeli blockade on August 24, 2008 and met with the leadership of Hamas, including Prime Minister Ismail Haniyeh. The photos below show members of the Free Gaza Movement in Gaza City proudly receiving medals from Haniyeh himself before a large poster of the Dome of the Rock in Jerusalem! In the first two photos, Dr. Larudee is seated second from left, and Haniyeh is seated at center in a pale blue shirt, surrounded by more than a dozen “activists” interspersed with Hamas killer goons.

After their top-level meeting with one of the world’s most dangerous terrorist organizations, whose charter explicitly calls for the destruction of the State of Israel and jihad and against the Jewish people, Dr. Larudee and his friends returned to the their homes and happily announced to the world that they successfully broke through the Israeli blockade. Yet they made every effort to conceal their meeting with Hamas, the climax and true aim of their mission. In fact, the meeting (more like a summit) is absent from the FGM website and from virtually all reportage on the Free Gaza Movement — that is, until now.

One local Bay Area news channel exhibited (for about a second) one of the photos above and for the first time revealed the Free Gaza-Hamas connection to the general public. When questioned by a reporter about the meeting with Hamas, Dr. Larudee visibly swallowed hard and acknowledged the event, unapologetically. He had been unmasked, and soon the world would know of his connections to Palestinian terrorism.

Let us be clear. The Free Gaza Movement from its beginnings has enjoyed intimate ties with the leadership of Hamas and, through its acceptance of Prime Minister Haniyeh’s hospitality and his medals of recognition, has given its sanction to the terrorist group’s nefarious strategic objectives. Dr. Larudee and his “peace activist” friends are much worse than frauds, or even useful idiots. They are philo-terrorist extremists who, as is clear from their behavior during the last ill-fated flotilla sailing, are prepared to give their lives in support of the Islamist cause.

Let us hope that their 501c3 status will be revoked and that their California-based leaders will be prosecuted by the government of the United States of America for violating the U.S. Neutrality Act, among other serious crimes.

Troy Stouffer for Maryland District 2: More On Issues

Spending – Returning to fiscal responsibility

The career politicians in Washington D.C. have spent their way into a recession and their only answer has been to spend even more of YOUR money on the bloated government programs that sucked the life out of our economy in the first place. Think Fannie, Freddie and the near-trillion dollar “spendulus” package from last year. Their solution: an attempted takeover of 1/6th of the economy via health care reform and introduction of yet more spending bills. Don’t you wish you had more control over YOUR money?

We need to stop the reckless spending on political pet projects (earmarks) and the Washington folks just plain will NOT do it. Why would they? They need those earmarks to overcome the public’s anger over spending and arrogance. We need to end deficit spending via the line item veto and a constitutional amendment requiring a balanced budget – just like the one you need in your home. That long-promised “bottom up” review of government agencies is central to Troy’s fiscal principles. In lean times, the only entity that doesn’t need to review is the one spending YOUR hard earned money.



Health Care Reform – Reforming Health Care instead of destroying it

The health care debacle on display last year showed that the career politicians in Congress were more interested in acquiring power and paying off political cronies rather than accomplishing what they claimed was their goal. If they really want to reduce your cost, why aren’t they addressing the issues?

There shouldn’t even be a conversation until tort reform is paragraph #1 of any proposed reform, thereby addressing frivolous lawsuits. Opening up consumer options from coast to coast will inject competition to the industry. Reduced lawsuits and increased competition will allow YOU to make the most cost effective and intelligent health care choices for your family. Plus it allows doctors to do the job they love without the continuous fear of frivolous reprisal.

We have the best health care in the world because of our innovation and leadership. Rather than break down incentive to innovate and take care to its lowest common denominator, let’s instead focus on preventive care, tort reform, and coast-to-coast availability of the best plans YOUR hard earned dollars can buy.

Read more here.

The Post-Modern President….

Mark Steyn

So a man swept into office on an unprecedented tide of delirious fawning is now watching his presidency sink in an unstoppable gush. That’s almost too apt.

Unfortunately, in the real world, a disastrous president has consequences. So let me begin by citing the Leader of Her Majesty’s Loyal Opposition in Canada. Whoa, whoa, don’t stampede for the exits! The Canadian thing’s just a starting point, I promise. If I’m still droning on about inside-Ottawa stuff five paragraphs down, feel free to turn the page to our exclusive twelve-page pictorial preview of Sex and the City 3, starring Estelle Getty as Kim Cattrall.

Anyway, a couple of years back, Michael Ignatieff, a professor at Harvard and previously a BBC late-night intellectual telly host, returned to his native land of Canada in order to become prime minister, and to that end got himself elected as leader of the Liberal party. And, as is the fashion nowadays, he cranked out a quickie tome laying out his political “vision.” Having spent his entire adult life abroad, he was aware that some of the natives were uncertain about his commitment to the land of his birth. So he was careful to issue a sort of pledge of a kind of allegiance, explaining that writing a book about Canada had “deepened my attachment to the place on earth that, if I needed one, I would call home.”

Gee, that’s awfully big of you. As John Robson commented in the Ottawa Citizen: “I’m worried that a man so postmodern he doesn’t need a home wants to lead my country. Why? Is it quaint? An interesting sociological experiment?”

Indeed. But there’s a lot of it about. Many Americans are beginning to pick up the strange vibe that, for Barack Obama, governing America is “an interesting sociological experiment,” too. He would doubtless agree that the United States is “the place on earth that, if I needed one, I would call home.” But he doesn’t, not really: It is hard to imagine Obama wandering along to watch a Memorial Day or Fourth of July parade until the job required him to. That’s not to say he’s un-American or anti-American, but merely that he’s beyond all that. Way beyond. He’s the first president to give off the pronounced whiff that he’s condescending to the job — that it’s really too small for him and he’s just killing time until something more commensurate with his stature comes along.

And so the Gulf spill was an irritation, but he dutifully went through the motions of flying in to be photographed looking presidentially concerned. As he wearily explained to Matt Lauer, “I was meeting with fishermen down there, standing in the rain, talking . . . ” Good grief, what more do you people want? Alas, he’s not a good enough actor to fake it. So the more desperately he butches up the rhetoric — “Plug the damn hole!”; “I know whose ass to kick” — the more pathetically unconvincing it all sounds.

No doubt my observations about Obama’s remoteness from the rhythms of American life will be seen by his dwindling band of beleaguered cheerleaders as just another racist, right-wing attempt to whip up the backwoods knuckle-dragging swamp-dwellers of America by playing on their fears of “the other” — the sophisticated, worldly cosmopolitan for whom France is more than a reliable punchline. But in fact my complaint is exactly the opposite: Obama’s postmodern detachment is feeble and parochial. It’s true that he hadn’t seen much of America until he ran for president, but he hadn’t seen much of anywhere else, either. Like most multiculturalists, he’s passed his entire adulthood in a very narrow unicultural environment where your ideological worldview doesn’t depend on anything so tedious as actually viewing the world. The aforementioned Michael Ignatieff, who actually has viewed the world, gets close to the psychology in his response to criticisms of him for spending so much time abroad. Deploring such “provincialism,” he replied: “They say it makes me less of a Canadian. It makes me more of a Canadian.”

Well, yes, you can see what he’s getting at. Today, to be an educated citizen of a mature Western democracy — Canada or Germany, England or Sweden — is not to feel Canadian or German, English or Swedish, heaven forbid, but rather to regard oneself as a citoyen du monde. Obviously, if being “more Canadian” requires one literally to be a Harvard professor or a BBC TV host or an essayist for the Guardian, then very few actual Canadians would pass the test. What he really means is that in a post-national, post-modern Western world, the definition of “Canadian” (and Dutch and Belgian and Irish) is how multicultural and globalized you feel. The U.N., Greenpeace, Amnesty International, Bono: these are the colors a progressive, worldly Westerner nails to his mast. You don’t need to go anywhere, or do anything: You just need to pick up the general groove, which you can do very easily at almost any college campus.

This Barack Obama did brilliantly. A man who speaks fewer languages than the famously moronic George W. Bush, he has nevertheless grasped the essential lingo of the European transnationalist: Continental leaders strike attitudes rather than effect action — which is frankly beneath them. One thinks of the insistence a few years ago by Louis Michel, then Belgian foreign minister, that the so-called European Rapid Reaction Force “must declare itself operational without such a declaration being based on any true capability.” As even the Washington Post drily remarked, “Apparently in Europe this works.”

Apparently. Thus, Barack Obama: He declared himself operational without such a declaration being based on any true capability. But, if it works for the EU, why not America? Like many of his background here and there, Obama is engaged mostly by abstractions and generalities. Indeed, he is the very model of a modern major generalist. He has grand plans for “the environment” — all of it, wherever it may be. Why should the great eco-Gulliver be ensnared by some Lilliputian oil spill lapping round his boots? He flew in to Cairo to give one of the most historically historic speeches in history to the Muslim world. Why should such a colossus lower his visionary gaze to contemplate some no-account nickel-’n’-dime racket like the Iranian nuclear program? With one stroke of his pen, he has transformed the health care of 300 million people. But I suppose if there’s some killer flu epidemic or a cholera outbreak in New Mexico, you losers will be whining at Obama to do something about that, too.

In recent months, a lot of Americans have said to me that they had no idea the new president would feel so “weird.” But, in fact, he’s not weird. True, he’s not, even in Democratic terms, a political figure — as, say, Clinton or Biden are. Instead, he’s the product of the broader culture: There are millions of people like Barack Obama, the eternal students of a vast lethargic transnational campus for whom global compassion and the multicultural pose are merely the modish gloss on a cult of radical grandiose narcissism. As someone once said, “We are the ones we’ve been waiting for.” When you’ve spent that long waiting in line for yourself, it’s bound to be a disappointment.

Bob Ehrlich for Governor of Maryland on the Issues

ECONOMIC GROWTH:

Bob Ehrlich’s first priority is to strengthen Maryland’s economy and help the private sector create jobs. To reach that goal, he will treat small business owners as a source of new jobs – not a source of new tax revenue like the O’Malley Administration has the past four years.

Roughly 230,000 Marylanders are currently unable to find work, and the unemployment rate in Maryland has doubled since the O’Malley Administration took office. Approximately 3,000 small businesses have closed in Maryland in the last year alone. Maryland ranks 45th out of 50 states in CNBC’s 2009 “Cost of Doing Business” ranking of the states. Bob Ehrlich believes this status quo in unacceptable.

To help create jobs, he will lower the tax burden in Maryland and cut bureaucratic red tape that discourages entrepreneurs from starting new companies and hiring new employees. He believes we must get government off the backs of job-creating small business owners so they can flourish and invest in people, technology, and Maryland’s future.

When Bob Ehrlich served as governor from 2003 to 2007, more than 100,000 private sector jobs were created in Maryland. Unemployment consistently remained around 4 percent, and business confidence in Maryland reached an all-time high, according to surveys.
TAX RELIEF:

Bob Ehrlich will cut taxes in Maryland in order increase prosperity for everyday Marylanders and entrepreneurs. As governor from 2003 to 2007, Ehrlich defeated for vetoed $7.5 billion in tax hikes proposed by the Maryland General Assembly.

Bob Ehrlich opposed the O’Malley’s Administration’s enactment of the largest tax increase in Maryland history in 2007. He believes it had a crippling effect on Maryland families and small business owners who were already struggling under the weight of a national recession. The O’Malley Administration enacted a record $1.4 billion tax increase, including a 20% increase in the sales tax, which disproportionately punishes low and middle income Marylanders. The O’Malley Administration also raised the corporate income tax, making it harder for small businesses to grow and create jobs. Maryland has the 4th highest combined personal income tax in the nation, according to the Tax Foundation.

Bob Ehrlich firmly believes in lowering the tax burden to help Marylanders get back to work. As governor, he will repeal the O’Malley Administration’s 20 percent increase in Maryland’s sales tax, which disproportionately hurts small businesses and low and middle-income Marylanders.
FISCAL RESPONSIBILITY:

Bob Ehrlich believes Maryland must begin spending within its means. In the last three years, the O’Malley Administration has plunged Maryland into its largest budget deficits in history without offering any plan to balance the budget. In addition to this deficit, total state spending today is nearly $2 billion higher than it was when the O’Malley Administration took office. When the O’Malley Administration called a special legislative session in Annapolis to “reduce spending,” it actually approved $600 million in new spending just as the state was entering a recession.

As governor, Bob Ehrlich will immediately cut wasteful spending and make government more responsive to the taxpayers. When he served as governor from 2003 to 2007, Ehrlich turned $4 billion in inherited budget deficits into a budget surplus and nearly tripled the State’s Rainy Day Fund. He did so without increasing sales or income taxes. Under his leadership, Maryland was one of just six states with a coveted Triple A bond rating from all three major rating agencies.
CHESAPEAKE BAY:

Bob Ehrlich believes the environmental, cultural, and economic benefits of the Chesapeake Bay are priceless. He wants his two sons to inherit a Bay that is cleaner and healthier than the one his generation inherited, but the task will require uncommon political leadership.

He is proud to have authored the landmark Chesapeake Bay Restoration Act as governor in 2004. This innovative plan financed upgrades to faulty wastewater treatment plants that emitted millions of pounds of pollution into the Bay and its tributaries every year, harming wildlife and Maryland’s watermen community. As a result of his leadership, the Bay Restoration Act is currently preventing one million pounds of pollution from entering Maryland’s waterways every year.

As governor, Bob Ehrlich will continue to pursue innovative and nonpartisan solutions to restore the Bay and the wildlife that depends on it, and he has a record of delivering once-in-a-generation results for this great national treasure.
EDUCATION:

Maryland is blessed to have many school districts that have performed at consistently high levels for decades. Unfortunately, those blessings are not extended to tens of thousands of students trapped in failing schools across Maryland.

Bob Ehrlich believes every child in Maryland has a civil and constitutional right to a quality education. As governor, he will dramatically expand charter schools in Maryland to give children and parents stuck in failing schools a choice to move to a better and safer learning environment. Charter schools are publicly funded schools that operate with greater freedom to help students reach their full potential.

As governor in 2003, Bob Ehrlich authored Maryland’s first-ever charter schools law. As a result, more than 12,000 students in Maryland are currently learning and growing in 42 charter schools across the state. He also strengthened Maryland’s needs-based college scholarship program, helping 37,000 students go to college who could not otherwise afford it.

AUTHORITY: BOB EHRLICH FOR MARYLAND COMMITTEE, TREASURER: H. TERRY HANCOCK