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INTERNATIONAL AFFAIRS -
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Syrian Opposition: No Thanks to MEPI Money

Posted in the database on Tuesday, February 28th, 2006 @ 14:14:50 MST (1545 views)
by Kurt Nimmo    Another Day in the Empire  

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Earlier this month, the State Department allocated $55 million “to finance the Syrian opposition,” that it to say anybody who would agree to work against the Ba’athist regime of al-Assad. “The money would come from the department’s Middle East Partnership Initiative, announced in 2002 to promote reforms in the Middle East and North Africa,” al-Jazeera reported at the time. MEPI is funded through the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) and the National Endowment for Democracy (NED).

“Neoconservatives have held tight control over NED’s agenda and its institutional structure since its founding,” notes Right Web. “NED’s chairman is Vin Weber, who along with current NED board member Francis Fukuyama and former board members Paula Dobriansky and Paul Wolfowitz … signed the founding statement of the Project for the New American Century,” the organization responsible for devising the invasion of Iraq.

“Allen Weinstein, who was a member of the USAID-working group known as the Democracy Group that proposed the formation of a quasi-governmental group to channel U.S. political aid, served as NED’s acting president during its first year. Talking about the role of NED, Weinstein told the Washington Post in 1991 that ‘a lot of what we do today was done covertly 25 years ago by the CIA.’”

MEPI and several other “cutting-edge and highly focused democracy programs” were created to avoid “cumbersome regulations,” in other words oversight by Congress and the American people (quotes taken from Kenneth Wollack, president of the National Democratic Institute, an organization “very amenable to the US transnational project,” according to William I. Robinson of the Global and International Studies Program at the University of California, in other words very amenable to the neoliberal “free trade”—unencumbered transnational corporate theft—and the Straussian neocon “clash of civilizations” project).

The Damascus Declaration, a group of a dozen opposition political parties in Syria, has told MEPI and the State Department thanks but no thanks. “Syria’s liberal opposition has said it will not accept money from a U.S. offer to fund democratic groups in the country, saying that its credibility would be damaged if it took the cash,” reports Reuters. “Damascus Declaration founding member Hassan Abdel Atheem told Reuters the United States cannot expect popular support for its policy toward Syria while it maintained sanctions against the country.”

In other words, the Straussian neocons can’t have their cake and eat it too. “The opposition says opening up the political system is the best way to counter the United States, which is leading international efforts to isolate Syria for its alleged role in the killing of former Lebanese Prime Minister Rafik al-Hariri a year ago.” Of course, Syria had no reason to kill Rafik al-Hariri, and in fact doing such would be immensely stupid and counterproductive, but we cannot expect Reuters to point this out (it is far more likely that the United States and Israel are attempting to pin the assassination on Syria as part of its effort to break the Arab and Muslim Middle East into small pieces along religious and ethnic lines; see my Rafik al-Hariri and the Syria Blame Game).

Now that Syrian opposition groups have told the State Department to take a hike, the Straussian neocons may resort to more obvious and brutal tactics, as they attempted to do in Venezuela with an aborted coup and accomplished in Haiti, kidnapping the democratically elected leader Jean Bertrand Aristide and sending in thugs trained by U.S. Special Forces (see Witnesses: U.S. Special Forces Trained and Armed Haitian Anti-Aristide Paramilitaries in D.R.) Of course, Syria is not Haiti and it still has enough influence to stir up trouble and exacerbate the delicate political situation in the region.



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