Intelligence Director: ‘Arab Spring’ Has Benefited Islamists

Patrick Goodenough
CNS News

The “Arab spring” has benefited Islamists rather than democracy advocates, while political transitions and unrest in the region have provided opportunities for terrorists to mount attacks against U.S. interests, Director of National Intelligence James Clapper told lawmakers Tuesday.

Delivering the intelligence community’s annual report on threats facing the United States, Clapper gave what amounted to a downbeat assessment of the upheavals that many initially viewed as a promising movement towards greater democracy in a region dominated by long-ruling autocrats.

“Islamist actors have been the chief electoral beneficiaries of the political openings, and Islamist parties in Egypt, Tunisia and Morocco will likely solidify their influence in the coming year,” he told the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence in a written statement…

…Clapper highlighted three specific issues in the region which he said would affect U.S. interests…

…In her opening remarks committee chairman Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) also raised concerns about the region, citing “the instability that seems to be festering across northern Africa, from Mali to Egypt to Libya and beyond, breeding and harboring a new generation of extremists.”

“Some of the governments in the region are unable or unwilling to take action against these terrorist groups,” she said, “meaning the rest of the world will need to focus energy and attention to preventing a safe haven and launching-pad for future attacks.”…

…Also taking part in Tuesday’s hearing were FBI Director Robert Mueller, Defense Intelligence Agency director Lt. Gen. Michael Flynn, and new CIA Director John Brennan.


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This is James Clapper:

“The term Muslim Brotherhood is an umbrella term for a variety of movements.” It is “a very heterogeneous group, largely secular, which has eschewed violence and has decried al-Qaida as a perversion of Islam.”

~Director of National Intelligence James Clapper
February 2011


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