Friday, March 2, 2012

More on the Nonprofit Trials in Egypt

Sorry for harping on this topic, but the rich irony delights me.  As discussed in yesterday's post, employees of several Western-financed NGOs, including several Americans, were charged with criminal offenses and banned from leaving Egypt as a result of their Rule of Law work.  Now, further details have emerged about how Egypt has avoided losing billions of dollars in American and IMF support.

The New York Times reports that the NGOs paid approximately $4 million in bail to the Egyptian government, which permitted eleven remaining NGO employees (including six Americans) to fly home on a chartered jet.  More interesting, the deal appears to have been brokered by the Muslim Brotherhood, an organization that not long ago was portrayed by the West as a bogeyman and the enemy of democratic reform. Now the Brotherhood publicly embraces the notion that independent NGOs play an important role in society and it maintains that NGOs were partly responsible for exposing the atrocities of the former government.  Senator John McCain, usually a harsh critic of the Brotherhood, publicly thanked them for their role in resolving this crisis.

Meanwhile, anger and criticism mounts within Egyptian society for permitting this "political interference in the judicial process," which clearly it is.  The Muslim Brotherhood, demonstrating that it  has already mastered advanced techniques of political tussling within a democratic political system, has has called for an investigation into how all of this happened and who let the Americans go.  It's the well known "send it to a committee" dodge.

American officials have stated privately that it is "unthinkable" that the American defendants will actually return, though one American employee of the National Democratic Institute has voluntarily chosen to remain and stand trial.

So, is the Muslim Brotherhood good or bad, and is it acceptable or not to subvert Rule of Law (at least in certain circumstances) while promoting it?


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