For over 3 years countries of the Arab world have lived under the influence of “revolutions” which have shaken the political foundations of a number of states in the region, bringing about a change in the ruling elite and the emergence of new political parties and movements. Among local – and external – media outlets there is tireless discussion of the fundamental question: to whom did these “revolutions” prove profitable and who was their real instigator?
These questions are posed by columnists following the emergence and development of “colour revolutions” in other world regions, particularly the events in Ukraine, which have seen a resurgence in recent times. Experts are especially perplexed by the actions of EU and U.S. politicians, calling the Ukrainian opposition to greater action against the country’s legally elected government – with whom, incidentally, the EU and the U.S. foster diplomatic relations, as officially attested to by those currently in power in Kiev. The matter is not only limited to calls by U.S. Senator John McCain & Company to change out the current Ukrainian regime, however; it extends also to organized financial support of individual opposition “leaders”, to whom residency is undoubtedly offered in the U.S. or countries of the EU “for revolutionary services”. A prime example of this is the Ukrainian opposition “leader” Klitschko, who has received residency in the U.S. and Germany.
Within this context, conclusions drawn by experts of the highly respected French Centre for Research on Intelligence (CF2R) may prove especially interesting: conclusions on whether “colour revolutions” are spontaneous or could be the result of coordinated operations.
The French experts believe that revolutionary reform activists in countries of Eastern Europe as well as the Arab world – in particular the April 6th Youth Movement which ousted Egyptian president Hosni Mubarak – and even South America were educated through seminars on “nonviolent revolution” strategy, held in Serbia by the famous organization, CANVAS (Centre for Applied Nonviolent Action and Strategies), which was born in 2001 of the Serbian political entity Otpor!, becoming a training centre for “nonviolent action” after the felling of Slobodan Milosevic’s regime.
CF2R experts tracked the activities of CANVAS “advisors” preparing for Georgia’s Rose Revolution and the Orange Revolution in Ukraine, as well as their close ties with the Belorussian organization Zubr (“Bison”), founded in 2001 with the goal of toppling the regime of Alexander Lukashenko. They also discovered CANVAS ties with the Venezuelan opposition.
During the winter of 2011 flags with CANVAS emblems, inherited from Otpor!, were waved by Egyptian students of the April 6th Youth Movement, playing an active role in the demonstrations on the streets of Cairo.
CF2R paid particular attention to CANVAS’s claimed funding sources, as activities of this structure require substantial financial support. In the words of CANVAS director Srda Popovic, the organization operates “exclusively on private donations”. Authors of the study, however, paint quite a different picture. According to informed French sources two American organizations actively finance CANVAS – the International Republican Institute (IRI) and Freedom House.
The International Republican Institute is a political organization associated with the U.S. Republican Party, founded in 1983 following American President Ronald Reagan’s speech before the British Parliament in Westminster, where he offered political parties and organizations abroad aid in creating “infrastructures for democracy”. It is well known that the IRI is financed by the U.S. government (in particular, through the State Department, the Agency for International Development – USAID – and the National Endowment for Democracy). Its activities include “providing broad assistance to political parties and training their activists”.
The French experts, however, clearly indicate that the International Republican Institute is, in fact, nothing more than a screen for the CIA. Under these circumstances it is worth noting that the famous activist of the Euro Maidan in Kiev, U.S. Senator John McCain, is not only a representative of the U.S. Republican Party, but also a champion of the IRI. On the basis of this information questions as to who may be guiding his actions are answered in and of themselves.
As far as Freedom House, its main activity is the “export of American values”. This Non-Government Organization was founded in 1941 and conducts research on the status of political and civil liberties in various countries. Between 60 and 80 percent of its budget is made up of grants from the U.S. government (mainly the State Department and USAID). Until 2005 its director was former CIA head James Woolsey, which, according to the opinion of CF2R experts, clearly indicates U.S. intelligence involvement with Freedom House activities. A highly remarkable fact, established by the French, is Freedom House’s invitation to famous Egyptian blogger Israa Abdel Fattah, co-founder of the April 6th Youth Movement, to attend an event held by the organization. There, she underwent training in a program for “political and social reformers”. All activities were funded by USAID.
The financial participation of the IRI and Freedom House, as well as that of the U.S. Special Forces hidden behind them, can be traced in “revolutionary activities” not only in Egypt, but also in Tunisia, Libya, Syria and other States in the Middle East region.
As noted by the French, it is extremely difficult under these conditions not to notice the U.S. role and American manipulation of events in the Middle East in recent years, even with the lack of direct references to such activities on the part of the Obama administration. Even more surprising is the fact that the Western press has been and continues to be highly discreet on this issue (with rare exceptions) and is silent about the relationship between current events in the Arab world and US “advisors”. “Even individuals who are usually forthcoming with ‘conspiracy theories’ are strangely silent”, remark the French experts.
Given that the activities of the IRI, Freedom House, USAID and other organizations heavily used by Washington in “political reforms” continue to be carried out (and not only in the Middle East), we can hardly expect a quick decline of “revolutionary” movements in the world, including those in the Middle East, Ukraine and elsewhere.
Vladimir Platov, Middle East expert, exclusively for the online magazine “New Eastern Outlook”.