A New Wave of Anti-Americanism in Cairo

(Los Angeles Times) David Schenker - As 16 U.S. citizens await trial in Egypt for accepting foreign financing to promote democracy, for the first time in more than 30 years there is a serious debate in Washington about whether to end the $1.3-billion annual military assistance to Cairo. By deciding to prosecute Americans, post-Mubarak Egypt has intentionally provoked a bilateral crisis. Yet with as little as $11 billion remaining in foreign reserves depleting at a rate of $2 billion a month, Egypt is on the precipice of an economic crisis. Fayza Mohamed Aboulnaga, the minister of planning and international cooperation, has emerged as a symbol of the new populist politics of post-revolution Egypt. She has consolidated her position by promoting crass conspiracy theories, suggesting that U.S. democracy funds are used for "acts of sabotage." After 30 years and $66 billion in U.S. funding, these claims of U.S. subversion are insulting. Facing extreme challenges at home and in need of distractions, anti-Americanism has become Cairo's preferred populist recourse. The writer is director of the program on Arab politics at the Washington Institute for Near East Policy.

2012-02-17 00:00:00

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