It came out this weekend that Egypt is bringing criminal charges against forty people including some Americans over foreign funding of NGO’s in the wake of last years Revolution that toppled longtime strongman Hosni Mubarak.
The U.S. allied itself with the military council that took power following Mubarak’s ouster. The United States increased funding for democracy organizations, hoping to ease the transition to democracy. But the Egyptian military has cracked down on NGO’s requiring them to register as a means of screening them out.
The organizations in question: International Republican Institute and National Democratic Institute filed paperwork, but it was never approved or denied, allowing the military a grey area to crackdown on. Source: http://www.csmonitor.com/World/Middle-East/2012/0205/Americans-face-prosecution-as-Egypt-ignores-Clinton-Congress.
This is either a gutsy or stupid maneuver by the military authorities in Egypt. The United States pays Egypt 1.5 billon in aid every year, most of which is military aid. A budget crunched United States may be willing to consider yanking the aid forcing Egypt to concede.
The military council is already under pressure for failing to provide security to the Egyptian people in the face of last weeks soccer riot that killed eighty people. In addition, the military has been slow in transitioning to democratic elections. A cut in U.S. aid isn’t going to help the military’s fortunes.