The Passionate Attachment

America's entanglement with Israel

A Response to Raimondo’s ‘Arab Spring’ Surprise Claim

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In his latest column, Justin Raimondo claims:

Although the “Arab Spring” looks to have taken the US by surprise, Washington moved quickly – via the NED and USAID – to coopt the movement.

To which I posted the following comments:

It must have been preemptive co-option. According to a March 13, 2011 AP report entitled “US training quietly nurtured young Arab democrats”:

National Endowment money, $100-million-plus a year, is at work in more than 90 countries worldwide. But it’s the USAID grants, from an $800 million budget for developing “political competition” and “civil society” in 67 nations, that have proved vital to activists in a half-dozen Arab lands, from Morocco to Yemen. Some $104 million was requested for them in the proposed 2011 budget.

An April 14, 2011 article in the New York Times entitled “U.S. Groups Helped Nurture Arab Uprisings” reported:

A number of the groups and individuals directly involved in the revolts and reforms sweeping the region, including the April 6 Youth Movement in Egypt, the Bahrain Center for Human Rights and grass-roots activists like Entsar Qadhi, a youth leader in Yemen, received training and financing from groups like the International Republican Institute, the National Democratic Institute and Freedom House, a nonprofit human rights organization based in Washington, according to interviews in recent weeks and American diplomatic cables obtained by WikiLeaks.

And an April 8, 2011 AFP report entitled “US trains activists to evade security forces” doesn’t exactly leave one with the impression that the “Arab Spring” took Washington by surprise:

The US government, Posner said, has budgeted $50 million in the last two years to develop new technologies to help activists protect themselves from arrest and prosecution by authoritarian governments. And it has organized training sessions for 5,000 activists in different parts of the world. A session held in the Middle East about six weeks ago gathered activists from Tunisia, Egypt, Syria and Lebanon who returned to their countries with the aim of training their colleagues there. “They went back and there’s a ripple effect,” Posner said.


Written by Maidhc Ó Cathail

February 10, 2012 at 8:11 am

Posted in Uncategorized

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