The 21st Century Phenomenon




The White House said, on Monday 01/30/2012, it is disappointed by Egypt’s move to bar six American citizens from leaving the country as some of them sought refuge at the U.S. embassy in Cairo and tensions escalated over a probe into foreign-funded pro-democracy groups in Egypt.

The White House said it has discussed the situation with Egyptian military authorities and made its concerns clear. Spokesman Jay Carney told reporters U.S. officials are working to resolve the matter as quickly as possible.

Tensions between the two states have escalated following unprecedented raid by Egyptian security forces on 17 human rights and pro-democracy organizations in Egypt. The organizations included the US-government funded National Democratic Institute -NDI founded by former secretary of state Madeleine Albright – and the International Republican Institute -IRI , whose chairman is Republican senator John McCain (see – EGYPT’S DIRECTION).

Both organisations are affiliated with the two major US political parties and the crackdown has been viewed as highly provocative in Washington, which underwrites military aid to Egypt to the sum of $1.3bn (£827m) annually.

Among those barred is Sam LaHood of the U.S.-based International Republican Institute -IRI. LaHood is the son of U.S. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood. It remains unclear whether LaHood is at the embassy, but a former IRI official quoted in The Washington Post Sunday said his colleagues would only seek diplomatic protection if they feared imminent arrest.

U.S. officials said an Egyptian military delegation is expected in Washington this week for regular talks expected to focus on the impasse over the non-governmental organizations. The USA has recently threatened to withhold its $1.3-billion annual aid to the military if it fails to take steps toward democracy, including respect for such NGOs.

Following the elections to the to the Egyptian Parliament lower house, in which the Islamic Brotherhood and the al-Nour Salafist party won together more than 70% of the seats, it is now clear that the leading civilian political power in Egypt is the Political Islam and Egypt will be ruled by a sort of power sharing deal between the Islamists and the Army. The Egyptian Muslims Brotherhood is not necessary anti-American but is not an ally to America either.

Their approach will be, most likely, to coexist with American influence in Egypt , to manipulate as much as they can to their benefit the relations with America but, at the same time, to remain suspicious toward America and to keep their own independent policy, similar to the ambiguous ties between Pakistan and USA (see – Ambiguous Ties).

There are serious doubts about the nature of Egyptian “democracy”- what is clear that it does not include free NGOs operations in the country and does not welcome Western influence on the Egyptian society. USA options in Egypt are very limited since its military aid is the only efficient way to influence Egypt. It is therefore unclear who is depended more on American military aid – Egypt or America itself.


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