Weekly Geopolitical Report – After Karimov (September 12, 2016)
by Bill O’Grady
On August 29, the president of Uzbekistan, Islam Karimov, died from a cerebral hemorrhage. Karimov had been in office since the founding of Uzbekistan following the fall of the Soviet Union. Given his long tenure in office and the uncertainty that always surrounds the transfer of power in an authoritarian regime, there are concerns about the stability of Uzbekistan, in particular, and Central Asia, in general.
In this report, we will frame the geopolitical importance of Uzbekistan. We will offer a short history of the country, focusing on how outside powers conspired to play various tribal groups against each other to support the effective colonization of the region. We will examine the role of clans in Uzbekistan and how managing clan relationships is key to maintaining power. We will use this analysis to discuss potential successors to Karimov and the likelihood of future stability. As always, we will conclude with potential market ramifications.