A new article by Douglas London in Foreign Policy warns of the dangers of the US CIA involvement in fomenting civil unrest.
This excerpt below is valuable:
“Fomenting civil unrest, whether it’s in the interest of regime change or simply to increase an adversary’s burden, can and does lead to an array of second- and third-order circumstances, some predictable, others not. At a minimum, the lawyers, of which there are many in the U.S. intelligence community, will tell you that there’s an expectation that facilitating such unrest will result in violence. The outcome will inevitably include deaths—requiring the written direction of the president with ensuing authorities and a memorandum of notification to congressional leadership and its intelligence oversight committees.
“The United States pursued regime change in Iraq and Afghanistan via military intervention, and against Bashar al-Assad in Syria by a problematic mix of overt and covert engagement with rebels. The outcomes have hardly been favourable. And while the August 1953 coup that toppled Iranian Prime Minister Mohammad Mossadegh may have provided short-term gains in the eyes of Cold War-era U.S. policymakers, the enduring price of how Iranians view the United States continues to have a toll on U.S. security interests.
“According to documents the CIA released in 2013 acknowledging its role, Britain’s MI6 and the CIA enjoyed a much more permissive and advantageous operational environment than found today in Russia, China, or Iran. Iran in 1953 was a relatively open and democratic society. In supporting the coup, the United States and the United Kingdom recruited allies among the Islamic clergy and leveraged bribery to secure the cooperation of the Iranian majlis and senior military officers and to rent crowds. That sort of approach is more difficult today.”
The full article can be read here:
Douglas London: U.S. Rivals Are Facing Unrest. Is It Due to Luck or Skill?
Mass protests create a favourable environment for intelligence agencies—but the CIA should tread carefully in China, Iran, and Russia.