Israel lobby celebrates Treasury’s successful use of “financial tools” to support Arab Spring
By Maidhc Ó Cathail
The Passionate Attachment
June 14, 2012
In his introduction to “Finding a Balance: U.S. Security Interests and the Arab Awakening,” the recently published fifth volume (.pdf) of The Washington Institute’s counterterrorism lecture series, editor Matthew Levitt writes:
Together, these lectures provide a window into both the struggle against extremism and the challenges and opportunities presented by the Arab Spring during the Obama administration’s third and fourth years in office. From finding new counterterrorism partners to keeping al-Qaeda and other illiberal forces at bay as new regimes take root, Washington and its allies must continue showing the flexibility and creativity that produced the State Department’s CSCC and facilitated the Treasury Department’s spectacular success at using financial tools to support democratic transition in the Middle East (emphasis added). After all, events in the region are still unfolding, and the outcome remains to be seen. Even as Washington and its allies contend with an evolving but still potent terrorist threat—including the rise of homegrown violent extremism—they have much more work to do in aiding the forces of democracy and liberalism in the Middle East. Although al-Qaeda and its affiliates have been remarkably absent from the Arab Spring to date, violent or nonviolent Islamist extremists could still hijack the revolutions orchestrated by liberal Arab youths and turn them to their own purpose. Preventing this will require timely analysis and creative thinking of the kind presented in this volume.
As Daniel L. Glaser, assistant secretary for terrorist financing in the Treasury Department’s Office of Terrorism and Financial Intelligence, remarked in his lecture, “Treasury’s Response to the Arab Spring,” Levitt, the director of WINEP’s Stein Program on Counterterrorism and Intelligence and former deputy assistant secretary for intelligence and analysis at the Treasury Department, “played an integral role in the development of Treasury’s Office of Terrorism and Financial Intelligence.”
Those who still believe that the Arab Spring poses a threat to Israel need to consider this question: Why is the think tank AIPAC built so enthusiastic about the “spectacular success” of the lobby’s Treasury Department creation “at using financial tools to support democratic transition in the Middle East”?