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2011: Folly of funding the Arab Spring

January 5, 2012

The year 2011 will be remembered for the Arab Spring, and it will only look worse as the fog clears.  We saw the power vacuum created by the ouster of Arab leaders.  Now we see the filling of the vacuum by Islamist elements bent on imposing sharia law, subjugating their non-Muslim minority populations, and putting peace agreements with Israel into a paper shredder.  What’s worse—we bankrolled it.

Whether it was Pres. Obama’s insistence on a massive G8 stimulus package for the Islamic world or Hillary Clinton’s halal food distribution to the Libyan rebels, 2011 is one for the record books in terms of funding the very same menacing global force that we’ve been fighting since 9/11.

Here are 2011’s low points of squandered, taxpayer-originated Western aid money to a region falling under the shadow of the Muslim Brotherhood:

  • $135 million in U.S. financial aid to Libyan rebels and their newly forming Islamist government
  • €70 million ($90 million USD) from the European Commission humanitarian aid department (ECHO), €20 million from Sweden, over $15 million from the U.K. in aircraft and ships, and other EU member aid for a sum of $195 million in total European aid to Libya
  • Most notably, $20 billion in aid and loans for Egypt and Tunisia from the taxpayers of the G8 economies
  • France provided at least “40 tonnes of weapons” to Libyan rebels
  • For Tunisia, U.S. aid to the tune of $2 million in “Transitional Initiative” funds; and an additional $5 million to support “civil society” groups to peddle their influence with the new Islamist government
  • Federal grants to facilitate remittance programs to Tunisia and Libya
  • Pentagon officials announced in November that U.S. arms deals with Egypt will continue even though Egypt will most likely not honor its peace treaty with Israel

Supporters of the funding will say that this is helping to promote “reform” in the Arab world.

But recall that the Taliban itself was originally seen in the 1990s by several observers as a “reform movement” that would purge Afghanistan of its violent history of rival warlords that competed along ethnic, tribal, and regional lines.  There are many to this day (including State Department employees in private) who say we shouldn’t be worried about the Taliban because they’re more concerned with controlling Afghanistan than they are in exporting terrorism.

But the simple fact of 9/11, which the Taliban enabled by playing handmaiden to Al Qaeda, disproved the delusional concept that Islamist government presents no risk to the West.

We paid for the new Islamist regimes, and it’s time we demand a refund.

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