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US groups nurtured Mideast protests
WASHINGTON, Apr 16 (Agencies):
Published on 16 Apr. 2011 11:09 PM IST
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Even as the US poured billions of dollars into foreign military programs and anti-terrorism campaigns, a small core of American government-financed organizations were promoting democracy in authoritarian Arab states.
The money spent on these programs was minute compared with efforts led by the Pentagon. But as American officials and others look back at the uprisings of the Arab Spring, they are seeing that the US’ democracy-building campaigns played a bigger role in fomenting protests than was previously known, with key leaders having been trained by the Americans in campaigning, organizing through new media tools and monitoring elections. 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 US and Middle Eastern leaders. nyt news service.

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