Mideast uprisings: No more room for doubt

Secret Report Ordered by Obama Identified Potential Uprisings link
President Obama ordered his advisers last August to produce a secret
report on unrest in the Arab world, which concluded that without
sweeping political changes, countries from Bahrain to Yemen were
ripe for popular revolt,  known as a Presidential Study Directive,
the 18-page classified report identified likely flashpoints, most
notably Egypt, and solicited proposals for how the administration
could push for political change in countries with autocratic rulers
who are also valuable allies of the United States...how to balance
American strategic interests and avert broader instability ... The
White House held weekly meetings with experts from the State
Department, the C.I.A. and other agencies. The process was led by
Dennis B. Ross, the presidentbs senior adviser on the Middle East;
Samantha Power, a senior director at the National Security Council
who handles human rights issues; and Gayle Smith, senior director
responsible for global development....The report singles out four
for close scrutiny, which an official said...suggest Jordan, Egypt,
Bahrain and Yemen.

By issuing a directive, Mr. Obama was also pulling the topic of
political change out of regular meetings on diplomatic, commercial
or military relations with Arab states. In those meetings, one
official said, the strategic interests loom so large it is almost
impossible to discuss reform efforts....

Joseph Nyebs introduction of the concept of bsoft powerb as an
essential complement to bhardpowerb captures the essence of public
diplomacy. Nye wrote of the bsoft power of attractionbessential bto
draw target publics into the U.S. web of influence.b4 The achievement
of U.S. foreignpolicy goals is greatly facilitated when more friends
and allies share our interests and contribute totheir accomplishment.
In the case of the War on Terror, victory is directly related to
prevailing in abattle of ideas, which public diplomacy tools seek
to shape.The 9/11 Commission called for action bto compete as
vigorously on the ideological battlefieldas we do on the military
and intelligence fronts.b5 The Department of State (DOS) Advisory
Groupon Public Diplomacy, the General Accounting Office, the Heritage
Foundation, the Council onForeign Relations, and the 9/11 Commission
have all issued reports stating that a greater emphasisis needed
by the U.S. Government on public diplomacy.6This chapter takes the
position that current approaches to public diplomacy are flawedand
must be reconsidered and appropriately funded in order to acquire
the public diplomacycapabilities needed to win the War on Terror.
Furthermore, public diplomacy must be integratedinto the policymaking
process in the form of a comprehensive and coherent strategy.
W.L. 30-09-2009 - 05.02.2011 04:38 08CAIRO2572 2008-12-30 09:09
S E C R E T SECTION 01 OF 02 CAIRO 00257 Classified By:
ECPO A/Mincouns Catherine Hill-Herndon for reason 1.4 (d).


The key question is, will the localized incident in Mahalla spark
a wider movement? The government is clearly focused on containing
unrest. Even while the riots were still winding down, PM Nazif
traveled to Mahalla, paid bonuses to factory workers and praised
those who did not join in the riots (ref D). The government has
also accelerated arrests of activists in Cairo (ref E). The organizers
of the April 6 strike have already called, via Facebook, for a
follow-on national strike on May 4, Mubarak's eightieth birthday.
Even regime insiders have acknowledged the political savvy behind
this tactic -- channeling current outrage towards the next big

April 6 brought together disparate opposition forces together with
numerous non-activist Egyptians, with Facebook calls for a strike
attracting 70,000 people on-line, and garnering widespread national
attention. The nexus of upper and middle-class Facebook users, and
their poorer counterparts in the factories of Mahalla, created a
new dynamic. One senior insider mused, "Who could have imagined a
few kids on the internet could foment a buzz the entire country
noticed?...The riots introduce a new dynamic for us as well. Under
these stressful conditions, Mubarak and his regime will be even
more sensitive to US criticism. April 15, Foreign Minister Aboul
Gheit, meeting with the Ambassador, cited the Mahalla incident as
a strain and hoped US would be supportive of Egypt during this
difficult period. RICCIARDONE

Council on Foreign Relations: major U.S. think tank spells it out
Soft Power: Democracy-Promotion and U.S. NGOs link

Democracy-promotion has long been an aspect of U.S. foreign policy,
but it became a central component after September 11. The U.S.
government has several channels for promoting democracy, most notably
the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID); the State
Department's Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights, and Labor (DRL) and
Middle East Partnership Initiative (MEPI); and the Millennium
Challenge Corporation, which provides funds to nations that already
meet certain democratic standards. But a plethora of U.S. nongovernmental
organizations (NGOs) also exist for this purpose, with varying
degrees of financial dependency on the government. In recent years,
their budgets have increased dramatically...However, the majority
receive funding from the U.S. government, and Justin Logan, a foreign
policy analyst at the Cato Institute, does not subscribe to
democracy-promotion as a foreign policy goal, arguing it is essentially
regime change. Private institutes like financier George Soros' Open
Society Institute may be able to make progress toward opening some
societies, but Logan says the governmentbeven if it's achieving its
aims by supporting NGOsbshould not be involved. Some argue NGOs can
hinder and even work against U.S. interests. Recently, the New York
Times accused the International Republican Institute (IRI) of
undermining U.S. government policy in Haiti by siding with the
opposition to ousted President Jean-Bertrand Aristide....NED, the
biggest American NGO focused on democracy-promotion, distributes
equal amounts of funds to four affiliated institutes: the National
Democratic Institute for International Affairs (NDI), the International
Republican Institute (IRI), the Center for Independent Private
Enterprise (CIPE), and the American Center for International Labor
Solidarity ("Solidarity Center")...Open Society Institute (OSI) and
Soros Foundations network does not call itself a democracy-promoting
organization, but pursues activities contributing to this goal....

Read more at link (to groups.google.com/group/misc.activism.progressive)

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