The Passionate Attachment

America's entanglement with Israel

Was ‘Arab Spring’ Coined by a Guardian of Zion?

leave a comment »

Writing in Foreign Policy, Joshua Keating asks, “Who first used the term Arab Spring?” As Keating points out:

It’s not well remembered at this point, but the term “Arab Spring” was originally used, primarily by U.S. conservative commentators, to refer to a short-lived flowering of Middle Eastern democracy movements in 2005.

The reference to “conservative commentators” is supported by a link to an article entitled “The Arab Spring of 2005” by none other than Charles Krauthammer — a recipient in 2002 of the prestigious Guardian of Zion award, “an annual award given since 1997 to Jews who have been supportive of the State of Israel.” In that 2005 piece, the Guardian of Zion opined:

The democracy project is, of course, just beginning. We do not yet know whether the Middle East today is Europe 1989 or Europe 1848. 1989 saw the swift collapse of the Soviet empire. 1848 saw a flowering of liberal revolutions throughout Europe that, within a short time, were all suppressed.

Nonetheless, 1848 did presage the coming of the liberal idea throughout Europe. (By 1871, it had been restored to France, for example.) It marked a turning point from which there was no going back. The Arab Spring of 2005 will be noted by history as a similar turning point for the Arab world.

That year was indeed a “turning point” for Arab democracy, as AP reported on March 12:

The American democracy promotion campaign dates back to the 1980s, when Poland’s Solidarity movement was one beneficiary. But for Egypt, 2005 was the watershed year, when Campbell’s NDI opened a Cairo office and through Egyptian groups trained 5,500 election observers to monitor a referendum giving Mubarak another six-year term, his fifth.

From Egypt’s polling places that September, NDI-paid teams reported election violations via innovative cell-phone texting in code, deciphered by headquarters computers.

The report was immediate: Widespread manipulation of the polls, and a turnout of a mere 23 percent, shattering the myth of 90-percent landslides for the “popular” Mubarak.

“It had the effect of showing the emperor had no clothes,” Campbell said. “Egyptians could make a difference. They could change things.”

The government reacted, restricting NDI and IRI operations in Cairo, ordering host hotels to cancel training sessions, putting security men in institute offices.

But Mubarak couldn’t be too tough on the Americans, donors of $1.5 billion in annual military and economic aid. And the democracy promoters carried on, often sending Egyptian proteges abroad for sessions.


Written by Maidhc Ó Cathail

November 6, 2011 at 12:07 pm

Posted in Uncategorized

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: