The Fikra Forum (FF) (sometimes referred to as Project Fikra) is:
- "an online community that aims to generate ideas to support Arab democrats in their struggle with authoritarians and extremists. At a time of dramatic change across the region, Fikra Forum is the first near real-time, fully translated Arabic-English blog to provide a two-way platform for those in the region seeking to shape the future of their countries and U.S.-based decision makers and opinion leaders who are trying to understand and support those efforts".
The Fikra Forum was set up by The Washington Institutue for Near East Policy (or WINEP), which in turn was set up by AIPAC. While FF was set up ostensibly to promote dialog and understanding, it is really an organ to influence US policy in the area and to affect the transformation of Middle Eastern societies. Most of the WINEP members of the FF are long-time neocons, and the FF project can be seen as a means to foster like-minded individuals and groups in the Middle East.
Jeffrey Blankfort reports:
- [The NED] is currently involved in Syria where the Damascus Center for Human Rights Studies, headed by Radwan Ziadeh, has served as a front for its activities. Ziadeh is also the director of the Syrian Center for Political and Strategic Studies in Washington DC, and has served as a spokesperson for the Syrian National Council, an organization of Syrian living abroad who have been calling for Western military intervention in Syria, a move that has been so far opposed by the opponents of the regime within the country. This has endeared him both to the Foundation for the Defense of Democracies and the Foreign Policy Intiative, two pro-Israel neocon think tanks that are the successors to the Project for the New American Century. A less well-known connection to Ziadeh is to the Fikra Forum (Fikra meaning "idea" in Arabic), which describes itself as "an online community that aims to generate ideas to support Arab democrats in their struggle against authoritarians and extremists, and to provide a platform for those in the region seeking to shape the future of their countries, and US-based decision makers and opinion leaders who are trying to understand and support those efforts." What the site doesn't say is that the Fikra Forum is a project of the Washington Institute for Near East Policy (WINEP), arguably the most influential Capitol Hill think tank on Middle East issues. It was founded by AIPAC in 1985, and it has served as a vehicle to push Israel’s agenda ever since – a fact that the mainstream media never mentions. The presence of 18 Fellows or Associates of WINEP, including several of its leading officials, as Fikra’s list of contributors alerted me to what pretends to be an independent forum. But to understand what is happening in Syria today it is necessary not only to consider the repressive history of the Syrian regime under Hafez El Assad, and now under his son Bashir, but also the outside forces represented by the likes of Radwan Ziadeh, that have co-opted what initially started as a peaceful non-violent protest for a democratic reordering of Syria society in the spirit of the Arab spring. Prior to the peaceful protest, those outside elements soon began to use them as a cover for armed attacks on government forces with the obvious intention of provoking the Assad regime with heavy military force, as it has – thereby leading for external demands for foreign intervention and the demand for Assad’s ouster. Who is behind it? Well, the US, the British, the French, the Turks, the Saudis, Qatar and Israel.
Contributors and Principals
Fikra Forum is "grateful to the Nathan and Esther K. Wagner Family Foundation for their contribution to the launch of Fikra Forum".
- WINEP – Parent organization
Contact and Web prescence
- The Washington Institute for Near East Policy
- 1828 L STREET NW SUITE 1050
- WASHINGTON, DC, 20036 US
- Website: fikraforum.org
- Facebook: www.facebook.com/Fikra-Forum
- Maidhc Ó Cathail, Fikra: Israeli Forum for Arab Democrats, Palestine Chronicle, 21 February 2012.
- Fikra Forum: About Us (Accessed: 11 February 2012)
- 3:10 min mark, Takes on the World, 8 February 2012.
- Fikra Forum Inside the Free Syrian Army, organizational web page, accessed 14 February 2012.
- WINEP: AboutUs (Accessed: 12 February 2012)
- Accessed: 10 February 2012
- Determined from this list on 1 March 2012
- About Us (Accessed: 11 February 2012)
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