Egypt state media accuses US of spreading anarchy
By Tom Perry
CAIRO (Reuters) - State-run newspapers splashed accusations of a U.S. plan to spread "anarchy" in Egypt across their front pages on Tuesday, escalating a dispute Washington says must be resolved to ensure their continued military cooperation.
Based on remarks by a government minister, the headlines marked another low in the crisis between Washington and Cairo triggered by the investigation into U.S.-based non-governmental organisations that has led to criminal charges against Americans who have been prevented from leaving the country.
"America is behind the anarchy," declared the front page of Al Gomhuria newspaper. "American funding aims to spread anarchy in Egypt," read the front page of Al Ahram newspaper. The papers are two of Egypt's most widely distributed dailies.
The headlines were based on comments made in October to the investigating judges by Minister of International Cooperation Faiza Abul Naga - but which only came to light on Monday when they were released to state news agency MENA.
Like Al Ahram and Al Gomhuria, MENA is part of a state-run media loyal to the government which has long been a tool for shaping public opinion in favour of Egypt's establishment.
In her remarks, Abul Naga linked what she said was a surge in U.S. funding for civil society groups last year to an attempt to steer the course of the post-Hosni Mubarak transition in "a direction that realized American and Israeli interests."
"All the indications show that there was a clear desire to abort any chance for Egypt to emerge as a modern democratic state with a strong economy," she was quoted as saying, adding that that would be a threat to "American and Israeli interests".
Egypt insists the NGO case is a judicial matter and that all NGOs, regardless of origin, must heed Egyptian law. Continued...