NGOs in Egypt: Scapegoats of Imperialism?

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A man looks at a graffiti showing half the face of ousted President Hosni Mubarak joined to half the face of Field Marshal Hussein Tantawi, the head of the ruling council in Tahrir square, implying they are two sides of the same coin, in Tahrir Square in Cairo 22 February 2012. (Photo: REUTERS - Asmaa Waguih)

By: Rana Mamdouh

Published Thursday, February 23, 2012

The Supreme Council of Armed Forces (SCAF) in Egypt has put US$1.5 billion of United States aid on line in its fight against NGOs, accusing them of being agents of imperialism.

Cairo – Day after day, it becomes clearer to Egyptians and the rest of the world that the Supreme Council of the Armed Forces (SCAF) is a mirror image of the old regime that the Egyptian revolution sought to eliminate. The story of the current war being waged on NGOs may be an example of how the Egyptian military will deal with matters of politics.

This comes at a time when many NGOs are working to ensure that the military council upholds its promise to hand over its authority to a democratically elected government. It appears that SCAF is using the same methods as Mubarak and his cronies by creating diversionary issues in order to conveniently bypass more important ones.

International human rights organizations had always criticized the policies of the Mubarak regime, especially those tied to individual freedoms. Today, the response of SCAF to these organizations mirrors those of the old regime. The army, just like Mubarak, says it will not tolerate “interference in Egyptian domestic affairs or violations of Egyptian sovereignty.”

They accuse local NGOs of being agents of imperialism and accepting foreign funds in the same way that Mubarak did to get away with fraudulent elections, the court martial of civilians, and widespread torture in prisons and police stations.

SCAF does not use anti-American rhetoric solely to win over the silent majority that some refer to as “the couch party.” In the last few months, it has also become a means of justifying raids on the headquarters of 17 foreign and local organizations and the detention of 43 NGO workers of various nationalities.

They accuse NGOs of receiving “illegitimate” funds and using them for prohibited activities, thereby violating the sovereignty of the state. This is in addition to accusations of political training for the parties, conducting opinion polls from random samples of the population, supporting election campaigns, and mobilizing voters for the elections without a permit.

It is for these reasons, according to SCAF, that they have arrested a number of activists who will be put before the courts. The first trial date is set for February 26.

Minister of International Cooperation Faiza Abul Naga, who was a pillar of the Mubarak regime for 10 years, denied that the persecution of NGOs is tied to their role in exposing the crimes and shortcomings of the military council.

Abul Naga justifies the campaign against NGOs by saying that before 2011, there were 800 NGOs in Egypt, whereas by the end of 2011 there were 4,500, including 80 foreign organizations.

She adds that the most suspicious aspect of this increase was the rise in foreign aid to these organizations. Between 2006 and 2010, NGOs in Egypt reportedly received US$60 million, whereas between March and June of 2011, this aid totaled US$28.8 million.

By then why has Abul Naga been silent all these months about NGOs and not decided to pursue them until the deadline for the transition to civilian rule was near?

She has not explained why her government has been silent about the opening of branches for US Democrats and Republicans in Egypt since 2004 and only suddenly realized that they are operating without permission and receiving funds from abroad.

Professor of political science Hassan Nafaa attributed this move to the rise in criticism that the political movements and human rights organizations have leveled at SCAF, because of its mismanagement of the transitional period.

Since the revolution, the military has taken strong action against American NGOs. They have arrested 16 US citizens, including the son of the US secretary of transportation, something that Mubarak himself would have never done.

This has negatively impacted the relationship between Cairo and Washington, which is now threatening to cut off its aid to Egypt. Abul Naga, for her part, warns that “if Washington is not careful, they will push Egypt closer to Iran,” adding that “every state has trump cards in the field of politics, and Egypt is not an exception.”

Activists have seen this “anti-imperialist” campaign against NGOs as a farce. The director of the Arab Center for Independence of the Judiciary and Legal Profession, Nasser Amin, says that prosecuting activists is a strategy intended to trick the public into thinking that there is a foreign conspiracy targeting Egypt.

He points to the contradiction in SCAF’s stance, saying that the military council will in no way be able to survive without American aid, of which the military receives the lion’s share.

This article is an edited translation from the Arabic Edition.


Dear Rana Mamdouh and Egyptian readers of all persuasions. I am a 71 y.o.Dutch national residing in Australia since 1960 and have been a student of geopolitics since acquiring the age of reason.

I like to present the following comments on the article: NGOs in Egypt: Scapegoats of Imperialism? My remarks are based on the study of some 150.000 documents, books and writings from all over the world during the last 50 years.

American NGO's such as the National Endowment for Democracy, Freedom House, and Amnesty International and others are but Trojan Horses for the stated aims of Total Control of the World's Markets and Resources, Cyber space and Outer space for the benefit of the multinational corporate state empire headed by the US.

If color revolutions fail to succeed to gain imperial control of countries that still have a measure of independence, control is implemented by armed force using the NATO military juggernaut, spearheaded in the Middle East by a nuclear armed Israel.

Recent examples are the break-up of former Yugoslavia and followed by the subjugation of Serbia, the conquests of Afghanistan, Iraq, and Libya.

By 2005 the US had been unable to subjugate the Iraqi nation. So the US implemented the "Salvadorian Option", e.g. triggering a civil war, by first having covert operators blowing up religious shrines, leading to the Sunni-Shiite divide and the deaths of 1.3 million Iraqi's.

Under Saddam 30% of all marriages were mixed marriages between Sunni and Shiite. The civil war led to the break-up of many Iraqi families. Many thousands of top intellectuals and former bureaucratic and military personnel were murdered by the use of death squads.

As a result, 3 million of the brightest fled the nation. Iraq is a solitary lesson on of a "Decapitation of a Nation". This fate has also befallen Libya and is now happening in Syria.

Iran, Pakistan, Belarus Somalia and the oil and gas-rich countries of Central Asia are next on the list of break-up and takeover and complete subjugation by the empire. Then there are only Russia and China left conquer...

Please do not allow the destruction of Egypt to happen because you are internally divided or allowing yourselves to be so divided by outside political and economic interference.

The empire is not a democracy, it operates by the empire's dictum: Divide and Rule and by a system of debt-slavery instead of the direct rule of say pre-WWII colonialism. Greece is a current case in point.

To avoid complete takeover and subjugation by the empire, Egyptians need to do two things.

End all division on religious grounds by allowing total freedom in the exercise of religions in your constitution and in practice.

And by ending the foreign debt-slavery system implemented by the IMF and World Bank for the benefit of of the few by creating an Egyptian constitutional Sovereign Credit System controlled by an elected government and distributed for the implementation of the economic objectives and aspirations of the people of Egypt.

Join the Brother and Sisterhood of Mankind by becoming a Global Citizen in attitude and practice. Yours Truly, Raymond

You may contact me by email:
[email protected]

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