Tuesday, April 21, 2015

The State Department, U.A.E. & CVE...

Among America’s illustrious allies in its global counterterrorism effort is the United Arab Emirates, which with the United Kingdom co-chairs the CVE working group at the Global Counterterrorism Forum, launched in New York in 2011. Abu Dhabi also plays host to Hedayah, the International Center for Excellence in Countering Violent Extremism, which is listed as one of DHS’s crucial CVE partners.
Never mind that the Emirates’ version of CVE appears to include such dubious actions as deporting resident Shiites en masse and hiring Erik Prince, the founder of Blackwater (rebranded as Academi), to form secret mercenary armies. It’s no doubt fitting that the UAE, an eager client of the U.S. defense industry, has been propelled to the vanguard of counter-jihad.
A State Department fact sheet boasting $188 million worth of “ongoing and planned CVE efforts” emphasizes support for Hedayah as well as other initiatives such as those that “seek to create safe spaces for dialogue between women community leaders and law enforcement” and that “amplify … the voices of victims/survivors of terrorism.” Drone-strike survivors need not apply.
This brings us to the question: how does one counter violent extremism when so much of what one does qualifies as extreme violence? Furthermore, don’t one’s own violent acts — drone assassinations, bombing civilians, torturing people and supporting oppressive governments — help breed the very violence that must then be countered? Owning up to this arrangement would, of course, mean ceasing to have our cake and eat it too.
In an op-ed for Al Jazeera America on the February summit in Washington, Amnesty International USA director Steven W. Hawkins warned that abusive regimes could take advantage of CVE-mania and use international funding to violate human rights if the U.S. failed to insist on appropriate safeguards.