Foreign funding in Egypt

Check out this article in yesterday's al-Ahram [PDF, I can't find the link on al-Ahram's abominable website]. It discusses ongoing government investigations into foreign funding of NGOs. About 80% of the article is dedicated to $65m in US government funding of American NGOs such as NDI and IRI. It goes on in some detail, although all of this info is no revelation and is published by the US authorities. The rest — an afterthought — is about millions of pounds being sent by the Gulf to unnamed organizations (it is known that the Salafi dawa group Ansar al-Sunna al-Mohammediya is among them). At one point they even talk about millions being sent by "the finance ministry of a small Gulf country" which probably means Kuwait. It's just that al-Ahram does not want to offend the Kuwaitis.

They have already investigated the personal accounts of NGO people in Egypt, who could face all sorts of legal hassles. But while dozens of human rights groups are cited in the reports, the Salafi groups that received funding barely get a look. And most of this money came in February and March. Some of the money that came in — LE86,150,000 to be exact — went to the Muhammad Alaa Mubarak foundation, set up in memory of Hosni Mubarak's grandson. But there, no details.

Issandr El Amrani

Issandr El Amrani is a Cairo-based writer and consultant. His reporting and commentary on the Middle East and North Africa has appeared in The Economist, London Review of Books, Financial Times, The National, The Guardian, Time and other publications. He also publishes one of the longest-running blog in the region, www.arabist.net.