US helping spark political unrest in the Middle East
"The New Middle East" = "Color Revolutions"
So many devastating changes in the Middle East's so-called 'Arab Spring' aftermath are being blamed on misguided US policies in many countries. This in-depth report reveals how Washington institutions allegedly groom destructive elements when attempting to destabilise nations. Their tentacles are now even touching Turkey's fully-fledged democracy - one that has achieved economic transformation in only a decade, with tourism and foreign investment booming. Even its armed forces were depoliticised. Sadly, its rise as a regional power capable of maintaining regional stability is now threatened...
AMERICA has been accused of training political activists to encourage unrest in Bahrain and across the Middle East.
The US administration has poured millions of dollars into financing leading personalities who launched campaigns of destabilisation and mobilised protesters via social media, according to the New York Times.
The newspaper said the Bahrain Centre for Human Rights, April 6 Youth Movement in Egypt, and activists such as Yemeni Entisar Qadhi have all received training and financing under the guise of promoting grassroots democracy in Arab countries.
It has reportedly come from groups such as the International Republican Institute (IRI), National Democratic Institute (NDI) and Freedom House, a non-profit human rights organisation based in Washington and other think tanks known for playing a dubious role in engineering the wave of unrest and destabilising regimes.
These details were confirmed by interviews with leading personalities and American diplomatic cables obtained by WikiLeaks.
Sanaa authorities are said to have suspected Washington was seeking to partition Yemen and back the separatist Houthis, who happen to be funded and trained by the belligerent Tehran regime in order to fragment Yemen, destabilise Saudi Arabia and back dubious calls to sever the Eastern Province from Saudi Arabia and establish a so-called Greater Bahrain.
Activists from Tunisia, Egypt, Syria and Lebanon and other Arab countries attended training sessions in the US and returned with the aim of passing on their knowledge at home.
The leading US daily said this had been backed up by the Assistant Secretary of State for Democracy, Human Rights and Labour, who tours Arab countries, with a special focus on the Arabian Gulf.
He said about these US-trained activists: "They went back and there's a ripple effect.
"That ripple effect of course, is the Arab Spring."
The newspaper singled out the April 6 Youth Movement and Bahrain Centre for Human Rights and other grassroot activists who came under the media spotlight and were turned into stars by the Western media, including Entisar Qadhi, trumpeted in her home country as a youth leader.
These groups and individuals were later directly involved in the unrest which swept the region.
"The US democracy-building campaigns played a bigger role in fomenting protests than was previously known, with key leaders of the movements having been trained by the Americans in campaigning, organising through new media tools and monitoring elections," said the New York Times.
IRI and NDI are offshoots of the Republican and Democratic parties.
They were established by the US Congress and are systematically funded through the National Endowment for Democracy, a think tank founded in 1983 to channel money allocated to promote democracy in developing nations.
As for Freedom House, it is being funded by the US Administration, especially the State Department.
The so-called leaders and grassroot Arab activists were trained, most often on US soil, on using social media tools such as Facebook, Twitter and advanced mobile technologies.
It was also revealed that Facebook, Google, MTV, Columbia Law School and the US State Department and other partners played a pivotal role in sponsoring such meetings and training schemes.
Co-founder of the Egyptian April 6 Youth Movement Bassem Fathy said grassroots activists had been trained on how to organise and build coalitions and alliances.
Mr Fathy, who attended a training programme sponsored by Freedom House, said the tactics fostered among the grassroots activists later helped them fuel and drive the uprisings and mobilise protests during the revolution.
Former US Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) deputy director Stephanie O'Sullivan, who spent 30 years in the intelligence work, was among the top officials in charge of optimising the use of social media under President Barack Obama's administration.
She recognised the extent of the US interference which dates back years, admitting that millions of dollars had been pumped to grassroots democracy advocates and non-government organisations to foment unrest in the Arab World in the name of democracy and human rights.
WikiLeaks cables reveal the US administration poured millions to NGOs opposing the Egyptian regime.
One of the leaked cables revealed that US aid allocated $66 million in 2008 and $75 million to finance programmes promoting democracy and so-called new governance.
The newspaper confirmed the extent of the US involvement, saying that Washington had a direct role in "building forces opposing President Hosni Mubarak's regime".
The cables revealed how US officials intentionally deceived Arab leaders when some of their dubious tactics were laid bare, saying the programmes they fund and encourage aim to promote reforms and democracy, denying any hidden agenda to sow chaos, foment unrest or push for regime change in the Arab world.
US officials deny encouraging separatist movements in the Arab world although most of these Arab separatist movements, which have been founded on ethnic, religious or sectarian considerations, have their headquarters in the US and are heavily funded by the US authorities to push their separatist or federalist agendas in their respective countries in the Arab world.
The New York Times said Yemeni officials kept complaining about so-called US efforts in the name of democracy-building competence, which amount to blatant interference in internal affairs.
German sources also said that the Sanaa government complained that US activities were in total discrepancy with the overt US rhetoric.
Insiders in Washington said the New York Times article, entitled "US Groups Helped Nurture Arab Uprisings", was repeatedly scrutinised by US intelligence authorities.
Media experts reportedly added touches to the article to give it a positive taint for propaganda reasons to depict the US as a staunch advocate of democracy and human rights mantra.
German sources said all references to the US intelligence role and other security agencies in training activists to direct and manipulate Arab uprisings were deleted.
It has led many to believe the unrest was long planned, with activists from Tunisia and Egypt on record as having received training and support from abroad so they could return to their home nations and sow unrest in a region-wide co-ordinated campaign.
American officials and others looking back at the uprisings of the Arab Spring have started to see that US democracy-building campaigns played a bigger role in fomenting protests than was previously known, with key leaders of the movements having been trained by the Americans in campaigning, organising through new media tools and monitoring elections.
In an attempt to downplay the US role in hijacked spontaneous grassroots movements for reform and turning them into tools of destruction and fragmentation in the Arab world, Stephen McInerney, executive director of the Washington-based advocacy and research group Project on Middle East Democracy, said: "We didn't fund them to start protests, but we did help support their development of skills and networking... that training did play a role in what ultimately happened, but it was their revolution. We didn't start it."
An article published on April 18, 2001 in The Washington Post said the US secretly funnelled millions of dollars over several years to fund anti-government projects in Syria.
Citing newly-disclosed leaked diplomatic cables, it said the US State Department had contributed several million dollars over a four-year period to the operators of a satellite channel critical of the Syrian government.
Indeed, cables leaked to The Washington Post said the US State Department earmarked $6 million since 2006 to help a group of Syrian exiles operate a London-based satellite channel called Barada TV.
In fact, the US role in funding those segments of the Syrian opposition, which have been critical of the Assad regime, can be traced back to Bush administration.
Indeed, in April 2001, WikiLeaks released a diplomatic cable showing the US had been actively funding the Syrian opposition since as early as 2005, when Washington decided to recall its then ambassador to Damascus.
In 2006, the Bush administration announced funding of $5 million to speed up "the work of reformers in Syria".
Funding of anti-Syrian forces has continued under President Obama's administration.
The State Department did not comment on the veracity of the cables or the funding of the London-based channel, Barada, named after the most famous river in Syria.
"There are a lot of organisations in Syria and other countries that are seeking changes from their government. That's an agenda that we believe in and we're going to support," a US State Department spokeswoman then told The Washington Post, without giving further details.
The protests, which swept several Arab countries, started off as peaceful movements calling for political and economic reforms, combating rampant corruption.
The grassroots and "indigenous" were quickly infiltrated by segments of "protesters" and by some people working in security services.
The first deaths and injuries among protesters added to the animosity between Arab demonstrators and political regimes.
Slogans calling for reforms, jobs, dignity and freedom were quickly hijacked into calls to topple regimes, governments and dissolve state institutions, leading to chaos and unrest which wreaked havoc on several Arab economies which lost billions of dollars.
On April 21, 2011, Egypt's former Finance Minister Samir Radhouane said his country's economy shrank by seven per cent during the first three months of the year due to protests which crippled the economy and scared off tourists.
The outlook is still dim for the Egyptian economy as experts and international monetary and rating agencies forecast a rate of growth of less than two per cent.
Before the protests erupted in January 2011 in Egypt, Cairo authorities were banking on an economic growth rate of more than six per cent.
The country is still reeling under the repercussions of the unrest and is seeking to secure $11 billion from creditors and international financial institutions, such as the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and World Bank, in an attempt to revitalise its economy and put the country back on track.
Mr Radhoune agrees the US played a crucial role in engineering and nurturing revolts in the Arab world, before hijacking the "popular" and "indigenous" uprisings to serve a particular agenda.
In the former George Bush administration, the neo-conservatives were advocating the "creative" or "constructive chaos" doctrine, championing regime change in the Arab world, in the name of democracy and human rights.
In the aftermath of the Egyptian uprising in particular, the US-funded grassroots movements that played a crucial role in fuelling the social unrest have started to disintegrate, losing a large section of their followers as their appeal waned beyond recognition.
Other movements, which were described as engines of the uprisings in Egypt and other Arab countries, chose not to continue implementing the plans set for them to impair and erode state institutions and cause their downfall.
On April 18, the April 6 Youth Movement, withdrew from the Coalition of the Revolution, while leaders of the coalesced movements traded accusations and sacked each other from the grassroots movement which was launched in 2008.
Several active members in the movement later announced they had sacked their general co-ordinator Ahmed Maher.
Reports said that violent disputes erupted between leading members of the "revolutionary" movement over foreign sources of funding and the organisational framework for the coming period, in the aftermath of the uprising.
The dissensions of the movements, which were manipulated, funded and trained by Washington over years to hijack the development process in the Arab world, prompted the US agencies to look for other alternatives, lest they lose control of the changes on the ground.
These included the orchestration of deceptive media campaigns seeking to fuel the rage of citizens against the true forces which had succeeded in preventing the momentum of change from falling in the hands of foreign entities.
On April 14, 2011 US President Barack Obama received the Amir of Qatar Shaikh Hamad bin Khalifa Al Thani at the White House and hailed his "crucial role" in supporting changes in the Arab world.
At the time, he said: "I expressed to him my appreciation of the leadership that the Amir has shown when it comes to democracy in the Middle East and, in particular, the work that they have done in trying to promote a peaceful transition in Libya.
"We would not have been able, I think, to shape the kind of broad-based international coalition that includes not only our NATO members but also includes Arab states without the Amir's leadership.
"He is motivated by a belief that the Libyan people should have the rights and freedoms of all people.
"In addition to our efforts in Libya, we have a strong relationship between our two countries.
"It is an economic relationship. It is a military relationship. It is a cultural relationship and obviously Qatar has done very well under His Highness's leadership, but his influence extends beyond his borders.
"And so we've had discussions about how we can continue to promote democracy, human rights, increased freedom and reform throughout the Middle East".
Such an official American political and diplomatic discourse is a real insult to everyone's intelligence!
US Vice President Joe Biden received the Amir of Qatar Shaikh Hamad bin Khalifa Al Thani at the White House "... and the two reaffirmed support for the 'historic changes' sweeping the Middle East region..."
"Biden commended Qatar for its leadership on Libya and for successfully hosting the first Libya Contact Group meeting in Doha, which aimed at "advancing the Libyan people's desire for lasting peace and stability in their country," said a statement issued following the meeting.
US Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton and other senior US administration officials commended Qatar's involvement and lauded the crucial role of Qatari Al Jazeera satellite channel for "encouraging the Arab revolutions and highlighting the problems facing ethnic and religious minorities in Arab world".
German sources said the satellite channel started granting fixed funds to several media outlets to encourage them to emulate the "Al Jazeera" news editorial line.
Other insiders affirmed the government of Qatar bankrolls a large number of internet bloggers and activists, including those that have been trained and funded by the US administration in the past few years to serve as fifth column in Arab countries.