Tensions between long-standing allies Egypt and the US climbed to a new
high this week as Egypt's ruling generals arrested 43 employees of the
country's non-profit non-governmental human rights organizations --
including several from the US.
But many are suggesting that the US organizations are simply being used as
pawns in a larger game -- the military's increasingly desperate efforts to
make a deal with the country's Muslim Brotherhood that would define and
secure the Army's role in the future Egypt.
The Background: Last week the Egyptian Ministry of Justice swooped down
on the offices of all the major non-governmental organizations (NGOs) in
the country, searched the offices, confiscated computers and other files, and
arrested 43 employees and charged them with "accepting funds and benefits
from an international organization" to pursue activities "prohibited by law"
and carrying out "political training programs."
Accepting foreign funds was Mubarak's bogeyman under his repressive and
restrictive NGO law. Now that law has been held over by Mubarak's
successors, the military, which threatens to make it even more draconian.