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Butterflies not in Brazil but in the White House set off or end political tornadoes

Reader comment on item: The Slap Heard Around the World
in response to reader comment: Not really?

Submitted by Ianus (Poland), Dec 21, 2011 at 12:04

Dr.Pipes wrote :

>I've written two books on conspiracy theories. Perhaps you should consult them.<

responding to the comment by Westie that

"I know you do not think a Tunisian fruit vendor's problems set off the "Arab Spring" revos? I think this meme must just be for laughs, right? I think with a minimum amount of investigation into the US State Dept's pet program The National Endowment for Democracy should provide the most likely catalyst of the most recent events in NE Africa."

My question to you . Do you consider official US cables published by 'Wikileaks' also as part of conspiracy theory? If I am not mistaken you have never mentioned this resource in your articles even though the documents it publishes give a first-hand insight into what is going on in this world and in the Near east in particular.

Consider e.g. this confidential cable created on 6.12.2007 by the US Embassy in Cairo. It eloquently corroborates the sober view expressed by Westie whom you dismissed as a "conspiracy theorist".

The document shows i.al. a remarkable increase in US finacial support for such US agencies working in Egypt as the International Republican Institute, the National Democratic institute , the International Foundation for Electoral Systems and Freedom House - all of them , epecially the last one, notorious for their role in preparing "color revolutions" in such places as Serbia, the Ukraine, Georgia,Kyrgystan. Their spending rose dramatically - from $5,1 mln in 2006 to $13,71 mln in 2008 , i.e. by more than 100% in just two years and the cable complains that they have more money at their disposal than they can handle and boasts that "We believe we are funding very nearly every organization in Egypt that wishes to work with us"!

I guess the numbers and the confession explain much better what happened in 2011 in North Africa than butterflies in the Western hemisphere or a slap on a poor vendor's face that under usual circumstances if it provoked a local riot or rally would end with detentions, disappearances and executions and more slaps.

And frankly, what do you think - how many slaps of the sort occur daily in North Africa?None in teh region which enjoys ill-fame for cruelty and contempt for human dignity ? And how many butterflies in Brazil flap their wings daily and yet no meteorological or political tornadoes arise while what I'd call a tiny butterfly in the White House that judiciously distributes funds to promote a definite political objective in can either unleash one storm in a definite region (North Africa) and at the same time suppress one in another ( Bahrein, the Gulf) ?

http://www.wikileaks.org/cable/2007/12/07CAIRO3423.html

Let me quote from the interesting cable where I stressed the most striking passages :

" 1. After a great deal of deliberation, in which Embassy Cairo participated fully, the inter-agency agreed to allot $66.5m for democracy and governance programs in Egypt for FY08 and $75m for FY09. These figures represent annual totals of our support for civil society -- both US and Egyptian NGO's -- and also for programs carried out with the Government of Egypt in the areas of administration of justice, media reform and decentralization. We believe that the likely negative Egyptian response to this level of funding, and the inability of US and Egyptian NGO's to spend at this level with intended results and required accountability, argue for reducing the FY09 D&G figure to $50m. If conditions change, or our projections prove too conservative, we could consider adding funds from other Egypt ESF sources.

2. (SBU) The political party institutes, NDI and IRI, as well as IFES and Freedom House, are conducting commendable programs in Egypt under very difficult circumstances. Regrettably, there is no reason to believe that they will be registered and permitted to carry out the full range of national activities originally envisioned in their grants.

3. (SBU) On November 29, NDI's regional director told us that, under the current constrained environment, NDI does not envision asking for additional funds through the end of FY09. On December 3, IRI's Egypt director told us that IRI is preparing a proposal to substantially increase its current grant to provide training in the lead-up to the Spring 2008 municipal elections. We expect that this may be as much as $6.5 million in FY08 funds, in addition to $1.5 million granted in FY07.

4. (SBU) Freedom House received a $900,000 grant in FY06 to support the development of civil society advocacy and reform in Egypt. They have spent approximately $400,000. Freedom House's deputy director of programs told us in Cairo November 7 that they will probably not be able to spend this money by March 2008 but should be able to finish by September 2008. We also expect them to submit a new proposal asking for as much as $5 million in FY08 money.

5. (SBU) IFES currently has a one-year grant for $1.3 million, signed in FY07. They are spending this money on schedule, and expect to continue to do so. IFES has requested additional $750,000 in FY08 DRL funding to spend in Egypt. We also expect them to ask us for another $1.5 million in FY08 ESF.

(U) Current and projected spending is as follows:

– FY06 FY07 FY08 (millions of US dollars)

IRI 1.5 1.5 6.5*
NDI 1.4 0.75 0.75
IFES 1.3 1.3 1.5*
FH 0.9 0 5.0*
TOTAL 5.1 3.55 13.75

7. (SBU) In addition to the funding for the institutes, we have given direct grants to about forty Egyptian NGOs. We believe we are funding very nearly every organization in Egypt that wishes to work with us and meets the direct grants criteria. Again, these organizations are working under the most difficult circumstances. They cope with onerous GOE restrictions, both in operating within Egyptian law and in accepting foreign donor funding. Some are also struggling to meet USAID accountability requirements. Indeed, AID has designed a contract to lend technical support to help them handle USG funds properly and responsibly. After receiving a total of $15.5m in multi-year grants in FY06 and FY07, and possibly up to $15 million in FY08, we believe that this sector has reached its absorptive capacity. We judge that expenditures at higher levels in FY 09 would undermine their effectiveness...

8. (U) Existing bilateral programs with the government continue to make important inroads. For instance, the government has adopted a USG-supported decentralization policy that will devolve political, fiscal and administrative authorities to the governorate and district levels. This gives those entities the resources and authority to address local needs more directly. It also gives residents a stake in monitoring and participating in their own local governments. This program, as well as programs in justice and media reform, need continued funding at roughly current levels of $25 million per annum....

10. (C) Political conditions in Egypt could change substantially and suddenly at any time within the next few years, if President Mubarak dies or is incapacitated before completing his term in 2011. Until then, GOE restrictions affecting the operations of civil society groups are unlikely to improve substantially or quickly. Nonetheless, if our projections prove too conservative or civil society groups prove they can take on more activities in Egypt, we can replenish funds from the Egyptian ESF account. In any event, we do need to consult with the Egyptians on the democracy and governance account. They are angry that they were not able to have input into overall funding levels. We owe them an answer soon on the D&G account."

Submitting....

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