All countries of Central Asia except Kazakhstan are vulnerable to ISIS - Aleksei Malashenko
The reason is not just recruitment of volunteers in our region but also their possible plots to destabilize the situation in Central Asia. For these purposes, ISIS, probably, allocated $70 mln to «Maveranahr», which is staffed with volunteers from our region Editorial staff of KyrTAG questioned a noted orientalist, co-chair of the program «Religion, society and security» of moscow research center of Carnegie Aleksei Malashenko.
What interests, except recruitment of voluteers, does ISIS have in Central Asia?
- As you have said, the first - is the recruitment of volunteers. The second, ISIS – is an organisation, which seeks international influence. It is looking for territories, where it can establish its power and declare about its existence.
On the other hand, the power of the organisation and influence on Central Asia is not big yet, therefore ISIS will not have any impact on coming presidential elections in Uzbekistan. Meanwhile, both in Kyrgyzstan and, for instance, in Dagestan and Chenchnya, there live many people, ready to associate themselves with ISIS. It plays into hands of the organisation in terms of demonstration of its influence.
However, I can say, that currently ISIS does not cause any disturbances on religious and political situation of Central Asia.
Quite often there appear information about brigades of afghan talibans on borders of Central Asia. Thus there is an information about presence of
ISIS brigades. Is it possible ISIS will join talibans in Central Asia?
- There appear different information about brigades of ISIS - now they are with pakistani talibans, now – with afghanis. These information should be checked, because there are a lot of rumours and journalistic fantasies. One should analyze opposite points of views.
If to answer immediately your question, then it is complicated, because there are different talibs. Part of them focus on Afghanistan, willing to come to power and deal with afghan affairs. They, for example, will not be engaged in economic reforms in Uzbekistan or in other countries of the region.
There are international talibs, close to ISIS in nature. But it is important to know whom ISIS contacts in Afghanistan, to talk about possible joint actions.
What interest can ISIS harbor directly to Kyrgyzstan?
- I think, ISIS has some interest to your country. But it is unlikely to have extremistic and terroristic goals, because nobody wants to blow up anything, for it is expensive and foolish. But islamisation policy of Kyrgyzstan – is another question.
For example, if to compare Kyrgyzstan with 90-s, when i used to correct grammatical mistakes in arabic at your muftiat, and have a look at current situation, then it is just oil and vinegar.
Now the situation is extremely ambiguous and awfully interesting, therefore I would name main four public tendencies in Kyrgyzstan. The first has a goal by any means to preserve independence, the second focuses on normal western world, the third group wants to join Russia, and the fourth – surely, islamic. How they will interact among themselves is clear only to Allah.
What country in Central Asia is a weak link and where there is a risk, that the power will stop to be secular?
- The risk is everywhere except Kazakhstan. Uzbekistan, like Kazakhstan needs change of power, but these are the states with different conditions of game and prerequisites. As for Kyrgzystan – you have already seen two Oshs, and it can not undergo the third, because islamic factor will play its role. As for Turkmenistan, which by sight seems to be prosperous and quite state, but it is not so. If this country has problems, then islam will break out in such a scope, which will be hard to stop.