The charges against these groups came on the heels of the months-long persecution of Egypt’s democracy promotion community that began this past December, when the offices of 17 foreign nongovernmental organizations were raided by Egyptian security forces. In the weeks since, Egyptian officials have played it coy. First implying that the NGO shutdowns were a mere misunderstanding, they have since refused to grant them legal permission to operate, and have orchestrated a media attack resembling a witch-hunt.
Understandably, these groups are incensed by Egypt’s latest moves. So are foreign dignitaries. The past few days have witnessed a litany of indignant statements issued by, among others, Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton, the European Union’s foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton, and even The New York Times. Tensions have mounted so fast and furiously that some even suggest that the 30-year old alliance between Egypt and the United States hangs in the balance.