Who Funds Crooke’s Conflicts Forum?

An interesting article by Hussein Ibish and Michael Weiss in the Lebanon Daily Star:

In 2007, an organization called Conflicts Forum, which at the time was being funded by the European Union, issued a report intended to promote a “positive assertion of Islamist values and thinking” in the West. It laid out a public relations campaign for rebranding “resistance movements” in the eyes of Westerners in terms of “social justice,” specifically promoting “Hamas’ and Hezbollah’s values, philosophy and wider political and social programmes.”

“We need to clarify and explain that Islamist movements are political and social movements working on social and political justice,” the report explained, “and are leading the resistance to the U.S./Western recolonisation project with its network of client states and so-called ‘moderates.’” The authors also asserted that “the progressive space of social movements [in the West] is empty” and asked “how the West can learn from the values and the notion of society that Hezbollah and Hamas have at the centre of their philosophy.”

Conflicts Forum, which received $708,000 from the EU between 2007 and 2009, is the brainchild of Alastair Crooke, a former long-serving British intelligence agent and adviser to the former EU foreign policy chief, Javier Solana. In recent years Crooke has emerged as the leading Western champion of Arab and Muslim extremists and anti-Western regimes. Conflicts Forum, in other words, does not seek to resolve conflicts but rather exacerbates them.

Crooke’s most recent intervention was a commentary in Asia Times in which he argued that the Syrian uprising is almost entirely the work of extremist followers of the late Al-Qaeda terrorist Abu Musab al-Zarqawi. Crooke also affirmed that a large majority of Syrians back the dictatorship of President Bashar Assad, who they believe shares their desire for radical reforms. In this way he merely parroted the demonstrably false propaganda of the Syrian regime.

In an earlier essay for Foreign Policy, Crooke insisted that Assad was uniquely immune to the “Arab Spring” because of his championing of “resistance” movements – news, no doubt, to the 10,000 detained Syrians and the families of the 1,400 dead, who Crooke now expects us to believe are all followers of Zarqawi.

Crooke is noted for arranging back-channel meetings between Western officials and members of groups like Hamas and Hezbollah. But other than the grant from the EU, the rest of his funding remains mysterious, as do his core motivations, about which he is decidedly coy.

Crooke is a strong supporter of the Iranian ruling faction and its ideology …

Read on

My view – could be Iran, who knows. Crooke would probably do this sort of thing for free, however. I’ve read Crooke’s book: Resistance: The Essence of the Islamist Revolution. As far as he’s concerned, groups like Hamas and Hezbollah are the most exciting and wonderful political development, like, ever. The work reads like a book on Justin Bieber written by a teenage uber-fan. Crooke is Miss Jean Brodie, all hopped up over Franco.

Alistair Crooke is living proof that a man can convert to Islamist politics, without converting to Islam.