The so-called Arab Spring is one of the most pivotal geopolitical happenings of the current century and one which will no doubt reverberate and define the academic discourse on the subject in later generations.
That being said, it becomes disheartening to find out that the majority of the talking points on the Arab Spring echoed from both mainstream media as well as “non-aligned”, independent sources ring of the stereotypical western narrative of spontaneous, indigenous uprisings rising up corruption and despotism.
While no doubt unsavory strongmen like Ben Ali of Tunisia and Hosni Mubarak of Egypt had well earned the resentment of their population, to engage in a reductionist paradigm of the Arab Spring illustrating down-trodden masses merely rising up against political exploitation does injustice to the behind-the-scenes networks of NGOs and special interests who helped influence popular sentiment and channel it in ways to bolster western objectives.
While the notion that the US government, and specifically the corporate-financiers overlords of Wall Street and London, were behind the Arab Spring are scoffed at by “skeptics” and “academics”, the financial and political connections are well established and open for all to independently verify. The year 2011 was truly the “Year of the Dupe” and unless we collectively identify this engineering of our past and by extension our destiny, we run the risk of making true yet again Napoleon Bonaparte’s adage that, “History is a set of lies that people have agreed upon.”
The Mainstream Left, the Fake Neo-Con “Right”, and the Islamists
Our first stop in deconstructing the myth of the Arab Spring relates to the standard view propagated by the mainstream left and the likes of MSNBC, CNN, most of academia, and well-intentioned “critics of the conspiratorial right-wing” (which does warrant legitimate criticism but for different reasons). A classic case of this which can be found replicated across a host of websites is the article “How the Conspiratorial Right is Spinning Egypt’s Protests” by Sarah Posner. According to her thesis, she claims the Arab Spring was a legitimate popular uprising spurred spontaneously by political reasons and that Islamists and religious groups played a marginalized role in the January 2011 protests in Egypt. From her perspective, any assertion to the contrary is a byproduct of a conspiratorial right-wing spinning the protests against the ambitions of a politically awakened populous.
Where I agree with her most definitely is when she calls out the lunacy of the Neo-Con Islamophobic right-wing featuring the likes of “former terrorist” Walid Shoebat (also exposed by conservative writer here) among others like WorldNetDaily who wittingly or unwittingly perpetuate the neo-imperialist strategy of tension revolving around an engineered “clash of civilizations.” The role of these figures is to perpetuate the fake left/right political paradigm in context of the narrative of the mainstream left wing, spinning reality into partisan categories and keeping the concerted imperialist agenda from coming to light.
Islamophobic interpretations mainly keep the political hamster wheel spinning in a strategy of tension keeping people divided and squabbling over unnecessary and artificial points. In the Neo-Con right wing’s fantasies, Obama is an “anti-American secret Muslim” and Posner correctly sums their disinformation as being, “that the Muslim Brotherhood is behind the protests, and that Obama is somehow linked to the Muslim Brotherhood, and an evil plot to subvert “Judeo-Christian” values, America, and Western.”
The right-wing narrative is a disingenuous ploy by the imperialist establishment to spin US financing of terrorism by the NATO-GCC powers, specifically through Saudi Arabia and Qatar by jettisoning all the blame on the Obama “left” using the Fox News/WND/Neo Con mantra of “Obama the Muslim”. In doing such, the tracks of money and the political connections are covered up and repackaged into a rhetorical box to be used by the right wing to frighten the average unaware American with propaganda about a growing Islamic threat, completely ignoring the fact that from Mali to Pakistan, we can see a direct connection of US support for terrorist groups to push forward its hegemonic designs, and under US/Saudi control. Saudi Arabia is the primary underwriter of global terrorism, created through its network of madrassas and Islamic charities, an outgrowth of Operation Cyclone during the Soviet-Afghan War where both the US and the Saudis collaborated to leverage Islamic proxies against the Soviet Union. This isn’t merely conspiracy theory or a conflated connection; the US West Point Combating Terrorism Center notes (pg. 24, PDF):
During the first half of the 1980s the role of foreign fighters in Afghanistan was negligible and was largely un‐noticed by outside observers. The flow of volunteers from the Arab heartland countries was just a trickle…but by 1984, the resources being poured into the conflict by other countries—especially Saudi Arabia and the United States—had become much greater, as had the effectiveness and sophistication of the recruitment efforts.
It is worth noting that US funding for the Islamists began BEFORE the Soviet invasion, contrary to the mainstream narrative. Some might defend the operation from the perspective of the fact that it facilitated the collapse of the Soviet Union but to do so would be myopic to the true power brokers and their full-scale agenda. Also noteworthy is the financial connections between the GCC and the West.
Where does Posner (and the mainstream left) go wrong? They go wrong in ignoring the fact that there is indeed a conspiracy although different from the myopic misperception of the right wing so focused on bashing Obama, Muslims and the left they fail to see the true power-brokers and their hegemonic designs. The Muslim Brotherhood also played a prominent role along with the moderate and secular youth cannon-fodder in the streets and the subsequent political landscape but for different reasons. It is correct to assert that secular, politically-minded individuals made up a bulk of the protestors in Egypt to a degree but also served as a smokescreen for a resurgent Muslim Brotherhood. However, who was coordinating them? In April 2011, the New York Times published “US Groups Helped Nurture Arab Uprisings” which noted:
“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.”
In clarifying who these particular groups were, it further notes:
“The Republican and Democratic institutes are loosely affiliated with the Republican and Democratic Parties. They were created by Congress and are financed through the National Endowment for Democracy, which was set up in 1983 to channel grants for promoting democracy in developing nations. The National Endowment receives about $100 million annually from Congress. Freedom House also gets the bulk of its money from the American government, mainly from the State Department. “
The role of US-funded, Serbian-based NGO, CANVAS (formerly known as “Otpor!”), in coordinating protest movements around the world according to US geopolitical interests is noted in the JourneyMan Pictures documentary “The Revolution Business.” NGO leader Srdja Popovic openly admits to his antics and confirms that the iconic “Otpor! fist” used by his organization during the Serbian protest movement in 2000 that ousted Slobodan Milosevic was deliberately replicated in copy-cat “color revolutions” (see here for examples).
No one doubts that the masses in the street were legitimately agitated and wanting change. What we must point out, however, is that these misguided people are being lead by individuals towing the western agenda and channeling their ambitions to accomplish what the west and the financial power-brokers seek. Interesting is the role of the National Endowment for Democracy in financing these NGOs and movements; according to one of its founders, Alan Weinstein, “Alot of what we [NED] do was done 25 years ago covertly by the CIA.” Interestingly, the US State Department has been attempting to cover its track in these actions amid growing public awareness.
In “Google’s Revolution Factory”, Tony Cartalucci points out the specifics behind the Egyptian uprising’s NGOs and their western corporate funding and notes the role of what he calls “globalist con-man in chief” Mohammed ElBaradei. While feigning opposition to the US and Israel, it is revealed that ElBaradei sits on the board of trustees of the International Crisis Group (ICG), a corporate-funded institution alongside George Soros, “geopolitical advisor” Zbigniew Brezinzski, Neo-Cons like Richard Armitage, suspected financial criminal Larry Summers, and most striking of all considering his feigned anti-Israeli rhetoric, the President of Israel, Shimon Peres, Stanley Fischer who serves as governor of the Bank of Israel, and former-Foreign Minister of Israel Shlomo Ben-Ami. The ICG has taken down ElBaradei’s profile from their website, probably because many people were linking to it as evidence, but a screenshot can be seen here.
ElBaradei led the National Front for Change which included the CANVAS-trained, US State Department-funded April 6 Movement, Wael Ghonim of Google, and a coalition of opposition parties. ElBaradei arrived not in 2011 but in February 2010 where April 6 members would be arrested waiting for his arrival. The April 6 Movement took part in the US-State Department-backed “Alliance for Youth Movements/Movements.org” conference in December 2008 attended by the State Departments’ James Glassman and Jared Cohen after which they would subsequently travel to Serbia to receive training from CANVAS.
Worth repeating is that many if not most of those in these movements are legitimate people but with political demands focused on political abstractions as opposed to concrete, pragmatic solutions put forward simultaneously, they are doomed to continue running the political hamster wheel and generating the power for western destabilization and corporate interests.
Counter-revolutions would define Egypt after January 2011 with ElBaradei ousted by his own movement. After that, the Muslim Brotherhood was installed into power per western objectives and ultimately removed in July 2013 when the west directed its proxies in the Egyptian military to capitalize on popular agitation against the Brotherhood and channel that revolutionary fervor to ensure the west remained at the top of the pyramid as noted by Dr. Michel Chossudovsky. The controlled nature of Egyptian politics can also be noted by Tony Cartalucci in “Morsi & the Muslim Brotherhood Challenged in Egypt.”
The Arab Spring, because of outside interference and lack of cohesive, indigenous pragmatism, would increase despair and result in political failure and in the case of Syria and Libya, western-backed insurrection. While the political pieces at the bottom of the pyramid continue to shift like a jigsaw puzzle, the apex remains the same and the equation remains constant.
Islamists and Syria
In “Muslim Brotherhood Are Western Proxies”, Tony Cartalucci gives us the true role the Muslim Brotherhood are playing in executing western objectives across the Middle East, namely acting as a proxy in a premeditated sectarian and political front against Iran. This is not the conjecture of conspiracy theory but was documented as far back as 2007 by Pulitzer-Prize winning journalist Seymour Hersh in his New Yorker piece, “The Redirection”, cited literally hundreds of times by the alternative media and Tony Cartalucci but stubbornly ignored in the mainstream media where Justin Bieber’s marijuana habits are apparently more significant to our destinies than US support for international terrorism. In “The Redirection”, it is stated,
To undermine Iran, which is predominantly Shiite, the Bush Administration has decided, in effect, to reconfigure its priorities in the Middle East. In Lebanon, the Administration has coöperated with Saudi Arabia’s government, which is Sunni, in clandestine operations that are intended to weaken Hezbollah, the Shiite organization that is backed by Iran. The U.S. has also taken part in clandestine operations aimed at Iran and its ally Syria. A by-product of these activities has been the bolstering of Sunni extremist groups that espouse a militant vision of Islam and are hostile to America and sympathetic to Al Qaeda.” –The Redirection, Seymour Hersh
As if to address those who would claim that such support was passive, the active nature of the destabilization campaign was noted as follows:
“…[Saudi Arabia’s] Bandar and other Saudis have assured the White House that “they will keep a very close eye on the religious fundamentalists. Their message to us was ‘We’ve created this movement, and we can control it.’ It’s not that we don’t want the Salafis to throw bombs; it’s who they throw them at—Hezbollah, Moqtada al-Sadr, Iran, and at the Syrians, if they continue to work with Hezbollah and Iran.” –The Redirection, Seymour Hersh
The US-backed and supported Saad Hariri political faction in Lebanon has been the driving force behind this destabilization on Syria’s border, serving as a logistical conduit and staging ground for radical Sunni militants in a premeditated sectarian division. Interestingly, a US intelligence professional interviewed by Hersh noted that:
”Robert Baer, a former longtime C.I.A. agent in Lebanon, has been a severe critic of Hezbollah and has warned of its links to Iranian-sponsored terrorism. But now, he told me, “we’ve got Sunni Arabs preparing for cataclysmic conflict, and we will need somebody to protect the Christians in Lebanon. It used to be the French and the United States who would do it, and now it’s going to be Nasrallah and the Shiites” –The Redirection, Seymour Hersh
Some may try to defend this engineered clash of civilizations by asserting that it was necessary to avert a rival and resurgent Iran and its Hezbollah proxy from dominating the region and perpetuating terrorism. One must question how the US bolstering radical Islamist groups isn’t perpetuating a resurgence of extremism that would increase terrorism across the region. The reality is not that the west wants to prevent a crisis but rather that it wants to engage in what is called “crisis management”. It wants to channel the violence and tension that it engineers as the “Swiss Army knife” with which it could carve out a Middle East and world order in its own image.
Some may claim that this is all conflated conspiracy theory where individual points are taken and connected on baseless ”guilt-by-association” to form a false paradigm. Putting to rest this particular criticism is the fact that Gary Gambill of the Neo-Con “Middle East Forum”, which regularly features Islamophobic propaganda perpetuating the talking-points of the fake “War on Terror”, wrote a disgustingly titled article, “Two Cheers for Syrian Islamists”. In his article, Gambill attempts to justify and defend US support for the Syrian rebels which he admits are made up of mostly radical Islamist Al Qaeda types. He claims that it is justifiable on the basis of undermining Iranian influence and curtailing the Syrian government’s “foreign policy adventurism” along with bringing Syria into the orbit of the petrodollar-tied conservative Sunni monarchies of the Gulf.
Gambill gives a frank insight into the depths of depravity perpetuating the western campaign against Syria. He attempts to mislead readers into believing that the rise of Islamists is coincidental and merely aligned to “US interests”, ignoring the work of Hersh pointing out the deliberate engineering of regional terrorism by the west. Tony Cartalucci’s analysis of this intellectually-insulting article by can be found in “Globalist Rag Gives “Two Cheers” for Terrorism” which notes that Gambill’s talking points are merely pandering to the lower and mid-level pawns of the imperialist establishment’s myriad of “intellectuals” and think-tanks. Considering the blood and toil spent supposedly fighting “the terrorists”, US financing of terrorism to achieve premeditated geopolitical ends is an insult to the blood of veterans shed fighting a monster of the west’s creation.
Let’s not forget Ed Husain’s piece published on the Council on Foreign Relations’ website in August 2012 titled “Al Qaeda’s Specter in Syria” which stated:
“The Syrian rebels would be immeasurably weaker today without al-Qaeda in their ranks. By and large, Free Syrian Army (FSA) battalions are tired, divided, chaotic, and ineffective. Feeling abandoned by the West, rebel forces are increasingly demoralized as they square off with the Assad regime’s superior weaponry and professional army. Al-Qaeda fighters, however, may help improve morale. The influx of jihadis brings discipline, religious fervor, battle experience from Iraq, funding from Sunni sympathizers in the Gulf, and most importantly, deadly results. In short, the FSA needs al-Qaeda now.”
To make matters worse, the West is not simply financing extremism against Syria, Iran and its proxies but also in locations where western logistical and financial interests are geopolitically at stake. One particular case is against Pakistan where Chinese investments in the deep-sea port city of Gwadar in the southwestern Pakistani province of Baluchistan province a is being intentionally destabilized with an armed “Free Baluchistan insurgency” coupled with a simultaneous National Endowment for Democracy-backed network of NGOs. The technicalities of the region’s political dynamics notwithstanding, the west is exploiting and stoking tension to accomplish its objective of keeping down any alternative axis of power from developing in an inevitably mutli-polar world. Interestingly, many of the “Baluchi rebels” are on record radical Salafi and militant Sunni Taliban-types and though this is exposed and is a verifiable open secret, western aggression continues unabated.
A Word of Advice to the Alternative Media
When will we learn to put aside the futile and artificial paradigms foisted upon us in the media and realize the complexity of the Middle East and how the west capitalizes on division to further its hegemony? The time of resistance is now or never. Resistance is our existence and our very identity against the wave of disinformation drowning the world; we should not let what we do not know stop us from speaking out against what we do know. That being said, I urge the alternative media to not simply resort to an “anti-West” approach and in the process end up accidentally absorbing the very toxic pieces of disinformation that are the byproducts of a politicized perception management.
An example of this is a recent episode on RT’s “CrossTalk” titled “Springless Arabs.” While well-intentioned and seemingly “critical” of the west, it ended up perpetuating various pieces of critical disinformation that bolster the western agenda. In particular, the myth that the west was somehow “taken aback” and “surprised” at the rise of Islamists (as opposed to having deliberately engineered their rise to target rival secular nationalist regimes) was one that is commonly perpetuated in the western media and echoed on this show. Another myth was echoed by Professor Joshua Landis and journalist Nabila Ramdani on the show was the bogus idea that somehow, the west is propping up “secular regimes” to keep “Muslims down” and in opposition to the Islamists as opposed to the fact that the secular regimes are the target of the west. Nabila Radmani even implied that Assad is being preferred by the west over the rebels because the west is somehow afraid of political “Islam”.
NO. The west deliberately engineered the Arab Spring. The west deliberately engineered the rise of Islamists to destabilize the Middle East and create a united front against Iran and ultimately undermine RUSSIA and CHINA.
Yes, the people in Tunisia, Egypt, and elsewhere like Bahrain had every right to rise up and overthrow western-propped strongmen like Ben Ali and Mubarak but the political reality that succeeded them was one of western hegemony.
In the case of Syria and Libya, regardless of political nuances that were present, the west deliberately empowered radical elements and opposition parties to overthrow the Libyan state and attempt the Balkanization of Syria but to no avail. Anything beyond the paradigm documented here on the psyop of the Arab Spring is disinformation, intentional or not. Unless this pivotal event in global geopolitics is accurate conveyed to later generations, we run the risk of basing our analysis of subsequent and inter-related events on a mythology crafted by the west and for the west through its characteristic means of compartmentalization and spin.
Let us truly democratize our resistance and make it pragmatic by escaping the deadly chamber of the US’s “democracy theater” and realize that it is no hyperbole to note that there are puppet masters behind the scenes. Already, Americans are talking about the 2016 elections. Liberals want Hillary Clinton; conservatives are pondering everybody from Rand Paul to Marco Rubio and some even Jeb Bush.
To do so would be to spit in the face of the truth; no matter who wins the elections, if the corporate-financier interests behind the scenes crafting the agenda are not exposed, boycotted, and replaced, who we vote for doesn’t matter and all the public will receive is the same objective regurgitated through the appropriate partisan spin. To tip the balance of power in our favor, we must reach out to our communities with information like this and work to develop local, pragmatic, and technological solutions to everyday problems.
Sam Muhho is a student of history at Florida State College and an advocate of anti-imperialism and anti-globalism who has previously contributed to “Centre for Research on Globalization”. He can be reached at [email protected].