WikiLeaks: US Groups Helped Mideast Uprisings

The US Government may have aided and abetted a coterie of dictators in the Middle East and North Africa--dictators who  have either been ousted or are being vigorously protested--but U.S. government funded groups also helped grease the engines that led to revolution.  Why is it not surprising to find our hand in every pot?

A new story from the New York Times has a fascinating look at how various US "Democracy-Building Groups" had a hand in training many of the young activists behind the "jasmine revolutions."

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.

The work of these groups often provoked tensions between the United States and many Middle Eastern leaders, who frequently complained that their leadership was being undermined, according to the cables.

Ultimately, however, these young activists were aware that while the US-sponsored NGOs were helping them, the US government itself was helping the dictators. And officials from these NGOs stressed to theTimesthat though some of the training these young and brave firebrands received was Western in origin, their bravery and politics was homegrown: "it was their revolution."

AlterNet / By Sarah Seltzer

Posted at April 15, 2011, 3:19am