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Geographic Role
A1 Uzbekistan and Surrounding Region
The role that geography plays in the shaping of the Uzbekistan conflict is a major one. One of the first major geographic items that affect Uzbekistan is that it is one of only two countries that is double landlocked from the ocean. Being in such a position Uzbekistan needs to rely on its neighbors to a large degree. The combatants of this conflict are also primarily in Uzbekistan, which creates for a mostly enclosed situation. Uzbekistan is located in an area of immense tension concerning conflict such as neighbor Afghanistan, as well as Pakistan, Iran, and to a degree, Iraq (See Map A1).

The environment does not play an especially important role in this conflict, but it does help to support the ideas of the governments rule over its people and what could happen to the environment if the conflict continues for time to come. The most important natural resource in the Central Asia area is water. After the collapse of the Soviet Union the management of this water has caused a degree of regional tension. Uzbekistan is a water dependent nation who lays downstream receiving water from the two main sources of water, the Amu Darya and the Syr Darya (See map A2). Nations such as the gas and oil poor, but water rich Kyrgyzstan mostly control this water, forcing Uzbekistan to trade items such as cotton and gas for water. In 1997 Uzbekistan tried to deal with the situation unilaterally by cutting off 70 percent of the flow downstream, which prompted a riot by Krygz farmers and caused Uzbekistan to deploy 130,000 troops to guard the reservoirs on the boarder. While not directly relating to the Uzbekistan conflict, the conduct the Uzbekistan has for other countries certainly do affect it.

A2 Map of Uzbekistanian Region

Uzbekistan was always thought to become the leader of Central Asia, and it certainly has resources that would allow it to achieve this goal. The location of Uzbekistan near neighboring Afghanistan has also allowed for them to receive more financial aid from the United States in return for housing troops in their country. This money has been said to contribute to increased security for the country, and thus contributes to the problem Uzbekistan has with trying to protect itself from the threats of terrorism against it. Uzbekistan’s placement in the world makes it more likely to be a target for terrorism as terrorism is a more accepted way of social change in the region, but it also has to deal with being considered a “power” in its region, and what that means to other surrounding countries and the world as a whole.