International Crisis Group (ICG)

International Crisis Group (ICG)


* NGO that seeks to avert and resolve deadly conflicts around the world
* Many of its board members have ties to the far left.
* Funded by George Soros’s Open Society Institute

Founded in 1995, the International Crisis Group (ICG) is an independent, non-profit NGO with some 130 staff members[1] who use “field-based analysis and high-level advocacy to prevent and resolve deadly conflict.” ICG’s “teams of political analysts” produce “regular analytical reports containing practical recommendations targeted at key international decision-makers” — which include prominent figures from the fields of politics, diplomacy, business, and the media.

While maintaining its international headquarters in Brussels, ICG also has 4 advocacy offices (in Washington DC, New York, London, and Moscow) and 17 field offices in cities around the world.[2] The organization’s analysts are stationed in more than 60 crisis-affected countries and territories on four continents — Africa, Asia, Europe, and South America.

ICG’s president and CEO is Louise Arbour, former United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights.[3] One of the group’s co-chairs is Christopher Patten, who, as a British commissioner in the European Union (EU) from 2000-2004, was particularly critical of Israel and played a key role in impeding investigations into Palestinian misuse (for terrorism-related purposes) of EU funds. ICG’s other co-chair is Thomas Pickering, former U.S. ambassador to the United Nations (as well as to Russia, India, Israel, Jordan, El Salvador, and Nigeria), who made headlines in 2009 after meeting with Hamas leaders and urging the U.S. to open ties to the terrorist group.

Other key members of the ICG board include:

Among ICG’s senior advisors are such notables as:

  • Oscar Arias: This former leftist president of Costa Rica once hired Mark Engler of the Boston Democratic Socialists of America as a speechwriter.
  • Jorge Castenada: This former Mexican foreign minister is believed to have worked as a spy for Fidel Castro‘s regime in Cuba. He was also a member of the Mexican Communist Party and a biographer of Che Guevara.
  • Joaquim Alberto Chissano: former Marxist-Leninist president of Mozambique
  • Jacques Delors: former French Socialist Party minister, and onetime president of the European Commission
  • Cyril Ramaphosa: This former secretary-general of the African National Congress was a committed socialist and an ally of the South African Communist Party.

Other significant ICG officials include:

  • Robert Malley, program director for the group’s Middle East and North Africa division: In 2007 Malley was named as a foreign-policy advisor to Democratic presidential candidate  Barack Obama. The following year, however, the Obama campaign severed its ties with Malley after the latter informed the Times of London that he had been in regular contact with Hamas as part of his work for ICG.
  • Peter Harling, ICG project director: Based in Syria, Harling has co-written with Robert Malley a number of op-eds criticizing American actions in Iraq, and advocating U.S. diplomatic outreach to Muqtada al-Sadr, Iran, and Syria.
  • Nicholas Pelham, senior analyst: Pelham has called for U.S. outreach to Hamas.

Former ICG analyst Issandr el Amrani accused the George W. Bush administration of promoting sectarian strife and fomenting international opposition to Iran in an effort to create what Amrani called “a new regional security arrangement with the Jewish state firmly as its center — the holy grail of the neo-conservatives who … continue to craft U.S. Middle East policy.”

Shortly after Hamas’s landslide victory in the January 2006 Palestinian Authority (PA) elections, ICG bemoaned the fact that both the U.S. and the European Union were planning to “deny funding” to the PA because of Hamas’s newfound prominence. Said ICG: “This attitude has had several, essentially negative, results: estranging Palestinians from Western donors; losing touch with an increasingly large segment of the population; jeopardizing projects; and reducing accountability.” By ICG’s reckoning, only political engagement — as opposed to political isolation — could eventually lead Hamas to renounce its genocidal goals vis à vis Israel.

On February 28, 2007, ICG issued a report calling on the international community to ease the “political and economic boycott” against the Palestinians, so as to “give Hamas an incentive to further moderate its stance.”

In October 2007, ICG released a report exhorting the European Union, Russia, the UN, and the United States to help Hamas and Fatah collaborate in the formation of a unity-government. The report also urged Israel to pursue a negotiated “two-state solution” with such a government.[

]( 2008, ICG helped establish the Global Center for the Responsibility to Protect, along with Human Rights Watch, Oxfam International, Refugees International, WFM-Institute for Global Policy, and some leading figures in government and academia.

In a June 2008 report, ICG urged Egyptian president Hosni Mubarak to “pave the way for the regularization of the [Muslim Brotherhood‘s] participation in political life” as an Islamist party, characterizing Egypt’s longstanding government crackdown on that organization as “dangerously short-sighted.”

In early February 2011, Egypt was hit by a massive wave of riots and demonstrations whose participants demanded Mubarak’s resignation. There was much speculation that if Mubarak were to be forced out of office, the Muslim Brotherhood, which supported ICG executive-committee member Mohamed ElBaradei as a replacement for the president, was likely to fill the power vacuum. ICG called on the Mubarak government to negotiate with ElBaradei and other political opposition leaders, in order to form “an interim government of national unity … which would pave the way for free and fair elections” later that year. A few days thereafter, Mubarak stepped down.

As of April 2011, ICG was one of the 31 member organizations belonging to the International Coalition for the Responsibility to Protect; another noteworthy member was the Stanley Foundation.

Operating on an annual budget of $15.5 million,[4] ICG raises funds from governments, charitable foundations, private companies, and individual donors. Among the organization’s key benefactors are the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation; the Carnegie Corporation of New York; the Compton Foundation; the David and Lucile Packard Foundation; the Flora Family Foundation; the Ford Foundation; the John D. & Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation; the Ploughshares Fund; the Rockefeller Foundation; and the William & Flora Hewlett Foundation. Most notably, in 2008 George Soros’s Open Society Institute pledged to give $5 million to ICG.

[1] This was the figure as of February 2011.
[2] This was the figure as of February 2011.
[3] All of the ICB officials named in this profile held these positions with the organization as of February 2011.
[4] This figure is for 2009.

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