Microkhan by Brendan I. Koerner

Long Tentacles

March 1st, 2012 · No Comments

I’m genuinely surprised that this story, about the attempted assassination of a dissident Uzbek cleric, has remained so off-the-radar. The victim, Obidkhon Qori Nazarov, was reportedly shot multiple times—not in his native country, but rather in the small Swedish town of Strömsund. I can’t imagine the Swedes are too happy about a foreign nation’s assassins operating on its turf, which may explain why they’ve gone to such great lengths to keep the violent incident under wraps. Few details have yet emerged, for example, regarding the assassin’s modus operandi, though this United Nations dispatch claims that a discarded silencer was found near Nazarov’s wounded body.

There will inevitably be debate over whether Nazarov deserved the protection he received, as he was suspected of orchestrating violent attacks against Western targets in Uzbekistan. But the larger issue has to be Uzbekistan’s tactics in its ongoing efforts to clamp down on Islamist opponents. Even the worthiest of political goals should be achieved with transparency and according to the rule of law. And that obviously ain’t what’s happening in Tashkent.

Related: Following the “two equals trend” rule of tabloid journalism, shall we say that Scandinavian countries aren’t too adept at keeping out foreign assassins?

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