The Boring Future History of Central Asia in 2013

I recently wrote a post for on how Central Asia will have a quiet year, neither fixing long-term problems, nor descending into immediate conflagration. After I had written it, I found a Foreign Policy post that chalked up Central Asia as a region heading for apocalypse before 2012 got going, in a post called “Next Year’s Wars“.

Several states in the region are surviving on luck: their infrastructure near collapse, their political systems eaten away by corruption, their public services almost nonexistent.

All of this, and everything else written here, was true in 2011, and will be true throughout 2013.

At this point, the odds of Uzbekistan invading one of its neighbors, Tajikistan being overwhelmed by repatriated jihadis, or Kyrgyzstan descending into full-scale Tajik-style civil war are close to zero. Not that it won’t happen, or that it isn’t more likely to happen here than elsewhere, but the actual likelihood of chaos is quite low for any given 12 month period in any given failing state. The likelihood rises with time as these issues go unresolved for ever.


Southern Kyrgyzstan Tinderbox Awaits Next Spark

A recent International Crisis Group (ICG) report on tensions in Kyrgyzstan’s south has raised pointed questions about the country’s underlying stability. The ICG report, “Kyrgyzstan: Widening Ethnic Divisions in the South,” calls the current peace in Osh “superficial,” noting that “neither the Kyrgyz nor Uzbek community feels it can hold.” The ICG describes the central government as unwilling or unable to remove nationalist Osh Mayor Melis Myrzakmatov and engage in the long-term effort that would be required to mitigate mistrust and dislocation between the two communities.

Continue reading Southern Kyrgyzstan Tinderbox Awaits Next Spark