Following Uzbekistan blog day at the start of the month (my contribution here), trying to raise awareness of the decidedly unpleasant regime of Islam Karimov and calling for sanctions, someone has decided at last to act – and that someone is, as I had hoped, the EU.
The proposed sanctions won’t do much, being easily avoided – they appear simply to be “an embargo on exports … of arms, military and other equipment that might be used for internal repression”, but there is also to be another formal condemnation of the “excessive, disproportionate and indiscriminate use of force by the Uzbek security forces” (unlike the Met police, eh? Well, Britain did train the Uzbeks as well…)
There’s also some mention of cutting aid programmes and imposing Robert Mugabe-style visa limitations on members of Karimov’s regime. Even the people proposing them know that these are all largely symbolic actions – but at least they are actions and not merely words, which is all we’ve seen from our highly principled, anti-dictator leaders to date.
Even if all these particular sanctions mean is that Karimov will just buy all his arms from Russia instead and carry on with his show trials to excuse his massacres as before, it’s still a step in the right direction. There will doubtless be more on this over at the weblog of former British Ambassador to Uzbekistan, Craig Murray, later, as well as at the always top-notch Registan, Publius Pundit and Disillusioned Kid.