The Egyptian military’s raids of the National Democratic Institute, International Republican Institute and Freedom House appears to be an obvious attempt to play the nationalism card against the broad movement for dissent in that country. As I have touched upon previously, these so called “civil society” groups are far from the innocent, pro-democracy actors they are made out to be and suspicions surrounding them are probably justified in any country. It has been established that such organizations have played a large role in undermining democratically elected governments in countries such as Bolivia, Venezuela and especially Haiti. In Egypt, US tax dollars helped promote crooked privatization schemes that benefited Mubarak’s cronies. Generally speaking, these groups are part of “Trojan Horse” strategy of imposing neo-liberal economics and subservience to US interests through the use of soft power.
Regardless of these documented facts, this move by Egypt’s government is almost certainly a cynical attempt to tar any and all opposition to military rule as US financed astroturf. This is especially rich from Egypt’s armed forces, which the Washington Post correctly notes is “by far the country’s largest recipient of U.S. aid, receiving about $1.3 billion a year.” While it is probably the case that the raided groups were backing the Egyptian resistance movement, that does not mean the entire movement should be seen as a puppet of USAID and the NED. Most likely, the case is that the US is backing both sides in this battle (while leaning more towards the military) to preserve its influence no matter who comes out on top.