Security issues of the newly independent states of Central Asia : the cases of Kazakhstan and Uzbekistan
The thesis is a comparative examination of selected security threats and vulnerabilities which confronted Kazakstan and Uzbekistan between 1991-96. Through this study, the broader economic, political and social processes that accompanied their transition from Soviet republican status to independent statehood are exemplified. The research is concerned with three case-studies which are prime regional concerns and will be central to the future development of the republics. These are: - Government-minority relations; in Kazakstan between Almaty and the Russian community, and in Uzbekistan between Tashkent and the Tajik minority. This case-study explores issues of group political consciousness and mobilisation, political access and participation, and nation- and state-building; - Competition and conflict over the region's riverine waters. The relationship between environmental resources, economic development and social stability are central to this study. The research suggests that elite and popular attitudes towards the exploitation and/or management of environmental resources, resource ownership and economic and environmental reform are of as equal significance to this debate as are actual environmental degradation and absolute resource scarcity; and - Islam's ideological and physical challenge to the republics' political and security stability. Central to this debate are the issues of the state's ideological foundation, regime legitimacy, the blurred nexus between regime and state security, and the economic and social context in which political ideas compete. The case-studies also offer a challenge to and critique of traditional Realist International Relations (M) assumptions on the concepts of state and security, because of their characteristics; intra- and/or trans-state in location, frequently indirect and non-specific in their consequences, and rooted as equally in the subjective and perceptual as they are in the physical realm. Consequently, a comprehensive security approach, based upon Pluralist IR. assumptions, has been applied. This perspective emphasises the multiple sources of insecurity that the two republics are confronted by, and the need for a broad range of policies to address such problems, which are particularly acute during transitional periods.