Appeasing the Uzbek Dictator: Who’s Afraid of the Ruler of the Silk Road? – Spiegel article

By Erich Follath and Christian Neef

Uzbekistan is both a nation of terror led by brutal dictator Islam Karimov and a partner of the West that is an important staging ground for NATO’s war in Afghanistan. Its story is best told through the eyes of two men — the flamboyant former British ambassador and the current top German diplomat in the country.

Some cities are tedium set in stone, joyless places where people don’t live but merely survive.

And then there are the cities whose names alone are the stuff of legend. They are places of stunning geography, impressive history and breathtaking architecture. Three of these cities are Samarkand, Bukhara and Khiva, located on the legendary Silk Road in Uzbekistan in Central Asia, lined up like a string of pearls, each rising up from the shimmering heat of the surrounding deserts like mirages. These are magical places.

Read complete article in Spiegel International

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