The anti-desecration unrest in Afghanistan and Pakistan is now spreading to the Palestinian territories.
Oh, goody. Sure glad we decided to show those Gitmo ragheads who was boss.
Meanwhile, apparently those silly Uzbeks heard Bush's call for freedom and democracy in Central Asia (in his speech in Georgia) and took it a bit too seriously. Fortunately, the government of Islam Karimov -- our ally and a big fan of boiling dissidents, understands that Bush wasn't really advancing an inviolate principle:
Soldiers opened fire on thousands of protesters in eastern Uzbekistan on Friday after demonstrators stormed a jail to free 23 men accused of Islamic extremism. At least 50 people may have been killed in clashes with police and security forces, a protest leader said.
Protesters fell to the ground as the troops surrounded the crowd of some 4,000 and started shooting outside the city's administration building, which had been seized by the demonstrators. An Associated Press reporter saw 10 people who apparently had been hit, including at least one dead, and participants in the rally said two more had been killed....
I'm not a big fan of the Karimov government. On the other hand, I'm not sure I really want to start rooting for the other guys:
The 23 businessmen who were on trial are members of Akramia -- a group named for their founder, Akram Yuldashev, an Islamic dissident sentenced in 1999 to 17 years in prison for allegedly urging the overthrow of Uzbekistan's secular government in a pamphlet published in the late 1990s. He has proclaimed his innocence.
... authorities claim [Akramis] are linked to the outlawed radical Islamic party Hizb-ut-Tahrir, a group that seeks to create a worldwide Islamic state and has been forced underground throughout most of formerly Soviet Central Asia and Russia.
Uzbek authorities blame Hizb-ut-Tahrir for inspiring deadly attacks and bombings last year that killed more than 50 people in Uzbekistan. Hizb-ut-Tahrir, however, claims to disavow violence and has denied responsibility.
The Islamic Movement of Uzbekistan, which is linked to al-Qaida and the Taliban, also fought for establishment of an Islamic state in the valley in the late 1990s. Concerns are high that Fergana could be a flashpoint for destabilizing wide swaths of ex-Soviet Central Asia.
Occasionally, we on the left try to tell right-wingers that the world is complex. For this we are accused of "moral relativism." They tell us that the world is easy to understand -- it consists of (a) good people who love freedom and (b) evildoers.
OK, folks -- then who's who?