With Egypt’s first post-Mubarak elections drawing ever closer, both the nation’s interim military junta and opposition political leaders are expressing growing disquiet about the massive amounts of US grants being provided to key NGOs across the nation.
Reports have the US already committing some $200 million in grants to “assist with their participation in the political life of the country.” Many see this as an attempt by the US to buy the election or at least to exert undue influence on it.
US Ambassador Ann Patterson has defended the moves, saying that they “will serve as a model for the rest of he Arab world,” but it is not just the junta complaining. Reports have both Islamist and liberal factions complaining that the junta should ensure that the first “free elections” in the nation’s history be free of foreign intervention.
Faced with the complaints, the junta has set up a committee to investigate the funding as well as ordering all banks to keep on eye on a list of NGOs and would-be political movements known to have asked USAID for funds, eager to see which are being granted a bankroll and what impact it might have on the vote.
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