Global Civil Society

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timer Asked: Dec 23rd, 2018
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The focus this week is on the future world, including the concept of a global civil society. Drawing on the Newby (2012) article and the lesson for this week, please answer the following questions:

What does the concept of global civil society mean? What are its characteristics, role, etc.? How does the concept of global civil society apply to Egypt? To what extent do you agree with Newby's five part strategy for US aid to civil society in Egypt? In other words, do you find this approach effective or not? Why?

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U.S. Civil Society Assistance to Egypt: Thinking Long Term Anna Newby Dialogue Programs Coordinator Project on Middle East Democracy (POMED) Washington, DC The interim Egyptian government’s excoriation of U.S. support for nongovernmental organizations (NGOs) in the country has sparked a crisis that some analysts have called the worst deterioration of United States–Egypt relations in history. As Cairo’s smear campaigns against the civil society community foment public mistrust among many Egyptians of NGO activity and foreign funding, U.S. policymakers and practitioners face new challenges in supporting civil society work in Egypt. For a number of reasons, however, Washington’s assistance to Egypt should and almost certainly will continue, even if the environment for civil society activity in the country does not improve. Grantors and implementers must think seriously, therefore, about long-term strategies for assisting civil society development in Egypt, which will require at least some coordination with a government that may be suspicious of U.S. efforts. By standing firm on red lines, improving public messaging in Egypt, carefully fostering local ownership of projects, remaining strictly neutral in identifying grantees and diversifying partnerships, distinguishing between short-term foreign policy objectives and long-term efforts to assist civil society development, and using varied democracy assistance tools appropriately, the United States can assist NGOs in Egypt in a way that gives them—and democracy—the best chance for success. The historic popular uprisings across the Middle East and North sparked by revolutions in Tunisia and Egypt brought attention to the critical role that civil society organizations play in democratic development. In his May 19, 2011, speech on the Middle East, President Barack Obama (2011) identified a vibrant civil society as a key component of the Arab transitions. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton has called civil society “a force for progress around the world,” describing nongovernmental organizations (NGOs) as “the lifeblood of democratic politics” (Clinton, 2011a, para. 35; 2011b, para. 2). Observers of democratic transitions have noted that while coordinated action by NGOs rarely triggers democratic openings, NGOs can help expand and enrich the This article is an updated version of a paper presented at the Middle East Dialogue 2012 Conference in Washington, DC, on February 24, 2012. bs_bs_banner Digest of Middle East Studies— Volume 21, Number 2—Pages 327–352 © 2012 Policy Studies Organization. Published by Wiley Periodicals, Inc. public sphere after a shift has occurred. During Egypt’s historic uprising in early 2011, broad-based popular movements played a vital role in facilitating the mass protests that forced former president Hosni Mubarak from power. In the postrevolution transition period, it is NGOs that have taken center stage. Egypt’s sudden democratic opening could have provided the space for Egyptian and international organizations to have a more influential role in the country’s public sphere than ever before. Unfortunately, the environment for NGOs working in Egypt only deteriorated after the revolution, to a degree unprecedented in Egypt and arguably elsewhere in the world. Organizations working to advance democracy-related causes in Egypt have been the victims of overt hostility and even legal action at the hands of the ruling Supreme Council of the Armed Forces (SCAF) and its appointed interim government. Over the past year, that government has accused NGOs of pursuing foreign agendas, launched public investigations into their funding, raided their offices, and even arrested their leaders on charges of accepting “illegal” assistance from abroad. Clearly, such a climate makes free and meaningful civil society activity a fantasy. This reality is particularly disappointing during a period in which NGOs could have had a real opportunity, following a momentous political opening, to help consolidate genuine democracy in Egypt. The actions of the country’s interim government make it difficult, if not downright impossible, for the United States to support independent organizations there. For decades, the U.S. government, particularly the State Department, has supported civil society development in Egypt through a variety of mechanisms. The largest provider of grants for NGOs abroad is the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID), which has an FY2012 budget of about $400 million for democracy and governance programming across the Middle East (McInerney, 2011).The agency was specifically tasked with leading assistance efforts during Egypt’s transition. As USAID work is built on a bilateral agreement between the American and Egyptian governments, officials from both sides must come to a general agreement over what the United States will fund.With tensions between the two countries at their highest in history, arriving at an agreement about the legitimacy and permissibility of NGO assistance is highly unlikely in the short term. During this period, assistance efforts by donors with more maneuverability, like the U.S. Department of State’s Middle East Partnership Initiative (MEPI)—with an FY2012 budget of $80 million for the region—and the Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights, and Labor (DRL)—with an FY2012 budget of $93 million for the entire world—must be redoubled to ensure that NGOs in Egypt do not lose support during this chaotic time (McInerney, 2011). In the long run, however, U.S. assistance to civil society organizations in Egypt can and should be more thoroughly considered. Importantly, the NGO community in Egypt has shown itself to be persistent and adaptive, and it will continue to play a role in the country’s complicated transition regardless of the conditions. Thus, American policymakers and practitioners must think about long-term strategies for civil society Digest of Middle East Studies 328 U.S. Civil Society Assistance to Egypt... assistance in Egypt, particularly through USAID. The agency must simultaneously achieve utmost aid effectiveness by supporting independent civil society organizations, whose results have been the most significant, while maintaining a relationship with the Egyptian government (whatever that might look like) for the sake of other common interests. Unfortunately, Cairo’s relentless campaign against NGOs over the past year has soured perceptions of U.S. democracy assistance. More Egyptians than ever now distrust civil society organizations and their work, particularly when foreign funded. So, whatever the nature of the next government of Egypt, its policies will likely be colored by widespread popular suspicion of U.S. efforts. Whether it is favorable or not, Washington will probably hope to maintain an alliance with the Egyptian government moving forward. How, then, can large-scale donors like USAID continue to foster genuine democratic development via direct grants to independent organizations in Egypt while simultaneously engaging constructively with officials in Cairo? In seeking solutions to this dilemma, there are lessons that can be gleaned from past experiences with the Egyptian government as well as democracy assistance efforts in challenging environments elsewhere in the world. Under the Bush administration, American officials steadfastly insisted that Cairo take particular steps on democracy issues and the broader relationship remained intact. By standing firm on red lines, improving public messaging in Egypt, carefully fostering local ownership of projects, remaining strictly neutral in identifying grantees and diversifying partnerships, distinguishing between short-term foreign policy objectives and long-term efforts to assist civil society development, and using varied democracy assistance tools appropriately, the United States can assist NGOs in a way that gives them the best chance for success. In the wake of a historic democratic opening, independent organizations operating in Egypt today have been deprived of the opportunity to advance real democracy in the country. Outside support is critical in both the short and the long term. Although the volatility of the short-term situation may make crisis management a priority over big-picture strategizing, it is essential that the United States think seriously about its longterm plans for supporting NGOs in Egypt, understanding that the space for their activity may or may not improve down the road. The Role of NGOs in Democratic Development Experts on political transitions have observed that coordinated action by NGOs rarely triggers democratic openings. Amy Hawthorne (2004), a senior adviser for MEPI, has described “civil society’s weakness as a democratizing force,” noting that while its activity is widely considered essential for democratic development, “Arab civil society on the whole has not been a force for democratization” (pp. 3, 10). In the run-up to Egypt’s 2011 revolution, Amira Maaty (2011) of the National Endowment for Democracy (NED) writes that NGOs helped “marinate” society for change but Fall 2012 Newby 329 did not spark it (para. 7). The main strength of NGOs lies in their ability to help expand and enrich the public sphere after a political shift has occurred. Democracy experts Thomas Carothers and Marina Ottaway of the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace write that “although it cannot on its own ensure democracy, a strong civil society clearly can contribute by increasing the pluralism of the political system” (Ottaway & Carothers, 2000, p. 303). Active and diverse civil societies play an invaluable role in sustaining democratic openings by monitoring and pressuring state leaders, aggregating and articulating citizens’ interests, and enlarging participation in the political process (Carothers, 1999/2000). While broad-based popular movements such as the “April 6 Youth Movement” and the “Coalition of the Youth of the Revolution” took center stage in organizing the mass protests that ousted Hosni Mubarak, more formalized NGOs have been vital in the postrevolution transition period. Human rights organizations such as the Cairo Institute for Human Rights Studies have built diverse coalitions and released joint statements listing demands; the Egyptian Democratic Academy has held workshops to educate citizens on political campaigning and using social media tools; the Hisham Mubarak Law Center has held press conferences on issues such as ex-patriot voting and writing draft constitutions (“Let’s write,” 2011; “Press conference,” 2011); and the Egyptian Initiative for Personal Rights has conducted independent investigations into sectarian violence, to name a few examples (Bohn, 2011; Egyptian Initiative for Personal Rights, 2012). The prodemocracy agenda, which had been the focus of a number of respected Egyptian NGOs for years, is now suddenly at the forefront of the national discourse. The powerful sentiments that emboldened Egyptians to pour into the streets en masse and demand the fall of the regime was not generated by organized NGO efforts, but NGOs certainly aggregated those demands, articulated them in compelling ways in public forums, and amplified them for the world to hear. The opening sparked by Mubarak’s resignation could have provided the space for Egyptian and international organizations to have a more influential role in the country’s public sphere than ever before. Egypt Not Safe for NGOs Egyptian civil society is impressively multifaceted and vibrant, and NGOs addressing an array of social, political, and economic issues number well over 25,000, according to the International Center for Not-for-Profit Law (ICNL, 2012). Although the country’s constitution expressly protects various civil and political freedoms, de jure and de facto realities make NGO work in Egypt difficult if not impossible. After the uprising, many organizations quickly discovered that their room to operate had only deteriorated from the repressive Mubarak era, as groups working to advance democracy-related causes encountered intense hostility from the ruling SCAF and its appointed interim government. Since taking power in February 2011, that government has accused NGOs operating in Egypt of pursuing foreign agendas, launched Digest of Middle East Studies 330 U.S. Civil Society Assistance to Egypt... public investigations into their funding, raided their offices, and even taken legal action against their leadership. In this climate, civil society activity is far from free. This reality is particularly disappointing because now is a moment when NGOs could have had a real opportunity to help consolidate genuine democracy in Egypt. Mubarak Years Under President Mubarak’s 30-year reign, government interference in NGO activity severely inhibited civil society growth. In 2002, Egypt’s parliament—dominated by the ruling National Democratic Party— passed Law 84/2002, which continues to govern associational activity today. The law forbids organizations from “threatening national unity, violating public order or morals,” and working on political issues (Law No. 84 of the Year 2002, 2002, Article 11). It also enables the government to dissolve groups by decree and extends the reach of the Ministry of Insurance and Social Affairs, granting it authority over organizations’ activities and board membership (“Egypt: Margins,” 2005). Moreover, the law requires all NGOs operating in Egypt to receive government approval before accepting foreign funds. These regulations, which the ICNL contends as inviting “subjective and arbitrary government decisionmaking,” are among the strictest in the world for civil society organizations (ICNL, 2012, under “Barriers to Entry”). Even more repressive versions of the NGO law have been proposed in recent years. In April 2010 and again in January 2012, a draft law was put forth that would prevent NGOs from registering as other entities, such as civil corporations, to try to reduce government invasiveness and funding restrictions (El-Amrani, 2010). It would also constrict organizations’ freedom to form coalitions and allow more state interference in internal NGO management. Nongovernmental leaders in Cairo warn that the law would grant unparalleled control over civil society and could even criminalize human rights organizations, in addition to endangering some of the most influential indigenous movements for political reform (“The Egyptian NGO campaign,” 2010). In spite of this, the legal adviser for the Insurance and Social Affairs Ministry has defended the law, claiming in Al-Masry Al-Youm that “there is no animosity toward civil society” (Carr, 2012, para. 14). Not surprisingly, many NGOs were denied official approval to operate under Mubarak, and those that were sanctioned were “not at all threatening to regime interests,” according to Shadi Hamid (2010) of the Brookings Doha Center (para. 11). Others chose not to register as NGOs in an attempt to avoid state interference. Either way, legal and extra-legal realities encouraged civil society activists to selfcensor (such as by avoiding political or human rights issues) in order to obtain some respite from government harassment. Hamid called the environment one that “encourage[d] accommodation with the state and discourage[d] confrontation” (para. 4).Rather than empower people to “come together to advocate and agitate,”as Hillary Clinton (2010) described civil society’s role in a 2010 speech before the Community Fall 2012 Newby 331 of Democracies, NGOs in Mubarak’s Egypt were either silenced or subsumed under the state apparatus (para. 30). After the Uprising Under the SCAF and its appointed interim cabinet, the environment for NGOs in Egypt has only worsened. Although the military leadership promised that it would work to “realize the legitimate demands of the people for a true democratic environment,” it has cracked down harshly on civil society activity (“Egypt’s Supreme Council,” 2011, para. 1). Within months of assuming power, the interim leadership launched what one Egyptian coalition called a “vicious media campaign” against NGOs (“Re: The Campaign by the Government,” 2011). As part of this effort, the SCAF summoned prodemocracy activists for questioning, accusing their organizations of illegally accepting funds to work on behalf of foreign agents (Essam El-Din, 2011, para. 19). The figurehead of this endeavor has been Minister of International Cooperation Fayza Aboul Naga, who publicly denounced U.S. efforts to support civil society development in the country and accused U.S. Ambassador to Egypt Anne Paterson of imposing herself on Egypt by making grants available to local organizations (“Minister rejects,” 2011). She all but accused the United States of attempting to hijack the revolution, asserting that “[t]he United States decided to use all its resources and instruments to contain [the revolution] . . . and push it in a direction that promotes American and also Israeli interests” (“US Used NGOs,” 2012, para. 7). In July 2011, Aboul Naga announced the establishment of an intrusive fact-finding committee to “compil[e] a detailed report over the amount of aid given to Egyptian civil society” (Maher, 2011, para. 2). She vilified foreign funding and any organizations that received it, calling it an intervention in Egypt’s internal affairs. Adding fuel to the fire, Social Solidarity minister Gouda Abdel Khaliq announced a few weeks later that the Egyptian Central Bank would inform him of all transactions on bank accounts held by NGOs, a practice that is illegal under Egyptian law (“Egyptian banks,” 2011). In August, official newspapers reported that some of the activists associated with the organizations in question could be charged with high treason, conspiracy against the state, and compromising national security (Trew, 2012). In September, Al-Fager newspaper reported on the investigation’s findings: 39 Egyptian and foreign organizations were found to be operating without a license, and 28 Egyptian organizations were recipients of “illegal” foreign funds (“Official report,” 2011). The investigation committee reportedly stressed “the necessity of applying the law to the illegitimate organizations in an effort to deter foreign intervention in domestic affairs” (“Official report,” 2011, p. 5). It was later reported that inquiries were made into approximately 400 organizations (“Egypt’s paradox,” 2012).This escalation of the state’s “vilification campaign,” in the words of Egyptian Initiative for Personal Rights director Hossam Digest of Middle East Studies 332 U.S. Civil Society Assistance to Egypt... Bahgat, critically damaged the reputations of long-standing human rights organizations and democracy-oriented groups in the eyes of the Egyptian public (Khazbak, 2011, para. 7). As one Egyptian human rights coalition charged, the “provocative allegations . . . serve to make Egyptian society wary of these groups and suspicious of their objectives, and ultimately, to undermine their work” (“Re: The campaign by the government,” 2011, under “Incitement”). The government’s efforts to silence civil society reached unprecedented levels in late 2011 and early 2012. On December 29, 2011, officials from the police, army, and judiciary raided the offices of at least eight NGOs working in Egypt. Offering no explanation, they confiscated documents, computers, and cash and sealed the office doors with wax as they left (Beaumont & Harris, 2011). Among the targeted organizations were the U.S.-based National Democratic Institute (NDI), the International Republican Institute (IRI), Freedom House, and the International Center for Journalists. Few observers failed to point out, of course, that the selections were almost certainly political, and the intrusions were excoriated within Egypt and abroad. In a statement on the raids, the Arabic Network for Human Rights Information asserted that “[t]he goal of this campaign is clear to everyone, which is gagging us from exposing the violations and oppressive practices which are still being committed” (“Egypt: Human rights,” 2011, para. 3). Another statement, signed by 31 local civil society groups, called the raids “part of a broader campaign . . . to smear and stigmatize” human rights groups and other NGOs (“Conclusions of the civil society,” 2011, para. 2). In Washington, State Department spokeswoman Victoria Nuland (2011) relayed the official U.S. line that the government in Egypt must “immediately end the harassment of NGOs” (para. 2). Unofficially, an anonymous senior administration official told the New York Times that “[t]his crosses a line” (Kirkpatrick & Myers, 2011, para. 8). Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta, Assistant Secretary of State for Near Eastern Affairs Jeffrey Feltman, and numerous highranking members of Congress all condemned the raids, with Senator Patrick Leahy (2011) calling the operation “another jarring and disappointing turn for the worse.” For her part, Fayza Aboul Naga defended the raids as a legitimate component of the government’s investigation into groups that “influence public opinion in non-peaceful ways” (Batrawy, 2012, para. 5). And despite Field Marshal Hussein Tantawi’s assurances that his government would return the confiscated material immediately and allow the offices to reopen, officials have yet to follow through as of this writing. Council on Foreign Relations expert Steven Cook (2012b) predicted ominously that the raids were “yet another step in the long goodbye between the two countries” (para. 6). In February, 43 employees of the raided organizations—including 16 Americans—were indicted by Egypt’s public prosecutor, prohibited from leaving the country, and ordered to stand trial on charges of “accepting funds and benefits from an international organization” to help support unregistered organizations’ work (Fleishman & Hassan, 2012; Hussein, 2012, para. 2). Among the targeted were the country directors of the IRI and the NDI, leaders of Freedom House and the Fall 2012 Newby 333 International Center for Journalists, as well as numerous Egyptian and other nationals working with international organizations in Egypt. The IRI called the prosecutions “a politically motivated effort to squash Egypt’s growing civil society,” U.S. Ambassador to the UN Susan Rice said the move “has serious consequences for our bilateral relationship,” and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton warned that the step could jeopardize the $1.3 billion Egypt receives in military aid annually (“Egypt names,” 2012, para. 5; “IRI statement,” 2012, para. 3). Egyptian authorities, meanwhile, contended that the matter is the sole prerogative of the independent judiciary, with Aboul Naga (2012a) adding that “[a]ll the evidence indicates a clear desire and determination to abort any chance for Egypt to advance as a modern democratic nation” (para. 1). On the one hand, the Egyptian government’s treatment of civil society is merely a continuation of Mubarak-era practices. As one anonymous NGO worker, cited by Al-Ahram, contended, “[i]t’s only new in the sense that we’re now supposed to be ‘post-revolution’ ” (Trew, 2012, para. 29). In the past, Egyptian officials used legal and extra-legal means to block or neutralize initiatives they opposed, and the same tactics are pervasive under the current leadership. On the other hand, Egyptian and American analysts have repeatedly stressed that the nature and degree of the attacks are unprecedented in Egypt (Kramer, 2011). Because of state harassment, according to the ICNL’s Kareem Elbayar, groups that acted boldly in the past “are now afraid to conduct their activities” (Lodono, 2012, p. 2). Somewhat ironically, the country’s ranking actually fell in the 2012 Reporters without Borders’ Press Freedom Index, which cited attempts by the SCAF to “rein in the revolution’s successive phases” (“World Press Freedom,” 2012, p. 12). Even under Mubarak, prodemocracy civil society organizations were not investigated en masse as they have been under SCAF rule; nor were they charged and prosecuted in criminal courts on account of their registration status with the government. The military council and interim cabinet have deliberately fomented a climate of fear in Egypt: NGOs exist in fear of government reprisal, and ordinary Egyptians have been encouraged to fear NGO activity. The scurrilous campaign is a clear attempt to intimidate civil society activists and depict them as representatives of foreign meddling, a potent and provocative charge in postrevolution Egypt.With the tacit acceptance of the Egyptian state, hundreds of NGOs were forced to operate underground for decades. Now, authorities are selectively investigating and prosecuting organizations that work on human rights and democracy issues. As one Egyptian coalition has asserted, “[t]hese accusations are a direct response to the role played by Egyptian civil society, particularly human rights defenders, in exposing abuses committed by the Supreme Council of the Armed Forces” (“Re: The campaign by the government,” 2011, para. 2). In what many observers have called a “witch hunt” (“Egypt’s witch hunt,” 2012), prodemocracy activists have come under heavy attack by, as Egyptian blogger Issandr El-Amrani (2012b) writes, “a state media machine that painted them as troublemakers and, increasingly, traitors” (para. 8). Digest of Middle East Studies 334 U.S. Civil Society Assistance to Egypt... With the eventual lifting of the travel ban on American and other foreign nationals, many in Washington appear to assume that the NGO crisis is over. This is far from the truth, however. With the charges still in place, many Egyptian NGO workers are still in danger, the same draconian rules are governing civil society activity, and Egyptian officials continue to insist that the law is being applied fairly. It is difficult to predict exactly how deeply these events will affect the United States–Egypt relationship or what it will mean for NGO activity in Egypt down the road. U.S. Assistance to Civil Society in Egypt The Egyptian government’s attacks severely impede U.S. efforts to support indigenous forces that are working to consolidate democratic gains.The largest grantor for NGOs abroad is USAID, which funds democracy and governance programs among its various aid activities and was specifically tasked with leading U.S. assistance efforts during the Egyptian transition. As USAID work is built on bilateral agreements between the American and Egyptian governments, officials from both countries must come to a general agreement on what kinds of projects the United States will fund—a tricky task when there is considerable disagreement over matters like civil society assistance. In the immediate term, coming to agreement on what type of NGO assistance is permissible is likely to be impossible. During this period, assistance by other, more nimble entities like MEPI and the DRL must be redoubled to ensure that NGOs in Egypt do not lose support during this critical yet uncertain time. In the long term, however, the more consistent and developmental USAID support for civil society activity in Egypt will remain crucial. MEPI and the DRL in Egypt Launched in 2002, MEPI has emerged as a leading (U.S.) State Department entity for supporting independent civil society in the Middle East. Outside the confines of a formal bilateral relationship with host governments, MEPI takes a “bottom-up” approach and is freer to engage in politically sensitive work. Focusing on “political and economic reform, expanding civic awareness and participation, and promoting government transparency, opportunity, and fundamental rights,” its projects tend to be more short term and smaller in scale, which give it additional agility amid changing circumstances (“Middle East Partnership,” 2011, para. 1). Most of MEPI’s work in Egypt is done through unregistered NGOs. The DRL implements the State Department’s efforts worldwide to support democracy and human rights, sometimes filling in where USAID may be less active on democracy work.While the DRL does not directly support local NGOs, it does give grants to U.S. assistance organizations like the National Endowment for Democracy, which usually subgrant to local organizations. In Egypt, the DRL has trained individuals and NGOs in political camFall 2012 Newby 335 paign management and platform development, worked with labor unions to develop more effective collective bargaining techniques, and helped professionalize independent media, for instance (“Bureau of Democracy,” 2012). Being originally designed for democracy assistance work, MEPI and the DRL are better positioned to respond to short-term fluctuations in host countries. USAID in Egypt USAID integrated democracy assistance into its broader development agenda in the 1990s, and raised the priority of democracy and governance work in Egypt in 2004 (“USAID/Egypt strategic plan,” 2004). From 2002 to 2008, under the Bush administration, USAID direct grants to civil society organizations were available to organizations that were formally registered with Egypt’s Ministry of Social Solidarity and those that were not. For the most part, the unregistered recipients were international organizations with field offices in Egypt, such as the NDI and the IRI, that had sought formal registration with the authorities but were either denied approval or left in legal limbo. The incoming Obama administration quietly changed this practice in 2009, awarding USAID grants only to organizations that were approved by the Egyptian government.The shift, which coincided with substantial overall cuts to USAID’s civil society grant program, sparked criticism in both the United States and Egypt, where democracy advocates charged that the decision amounted to tacit acceptance of Egypt’s repressive NGO law (McInerney, 2010).1 In Washington, observers contended that the decision violated the intent of an important clause in the appropriations bill for foreign operations, which specified that democracy assistance “shall not be subject to the prior approval by the Government of Egypt” (Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2005, under “Economic Support Fund”).2 The move also signaled a decline in U.S. support for civil society in Egypt. Stephen McInerney (2012) of the Project on Middle East Democracy wrote that the move appeared to legitimize the Egyptian government’s asserted right to control the delivery of U.S. dollars, essentially giving the government veto power over American civil society assistance. Former Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for Near Eastern Affairs Scott Carpenter (2009) similarly contended that the message from the Obama administration was: “Mr. Mubarak... [p]rovide stability and govern as you choose” (response 5, para. 5). Egyptian civil society activists accused Washington of seeking to appease the repressive government, insisting that the decision worked against the best interests of NGOs in Egypt (Bradley, 2010). This tacit acceptance of Egypt’s associational regulations also barred many of the most effective NGOs in the country from receiving USAID grants, to the detriment of civil society development overall. In a 2009 audit, the agency’s evaluators reported that the positive impact of democracy and governance programming in Egypt was “unnoticeable in indexes describing the country’s democratic environment” (“Audit of Digest of Middle East Studies 336 U.S. Civil Society Assistance to Egypt... USAID,” 2009, p. 1). Auditors largely attributed this to resistance from the Egyptian authorities, who suspended NGO activities, delayed project approvals, and made unexpected changes to work plans, implying that the programs were too aggressive. Significantly, the auditors found that NGOs receiving direct grants in Egypt were the most effective of all aid recipients. In Egypt, therefore, government involvement in civil society activity only reduces the opportunity for that activity to achieve meaningful results. By withholding USAID grant funds from unregistered organizations, the most effective NGOs were denied access to the largest source of U.S. democracy assistance funding. It was not until after Egypt’s uprising that USAID grant-making practice in the country changed, returning to the policy of awarding funds to both registered and unregistered organizations. At that juncture, the U.S. government also announced that $65 million would be available for democracy and governance projects in Egypt in the wake of the uprising, most of which had been reprogrammed from other projects.With access to the bulk of this money, USAID now selects awardees without regard for their registration status. In response to a March 2011 call for proposals publicized in local newspapers, more than 1,000 Egyptians reportedly lined up in Cairo to apply for USAID grants, which one agency official called “a huge success in spite of sharp criticism that has been leveled at U.S. funding of political activities” (Essam El-Din, 2011, para. 7). The decisions to redirect much-needed funds to the transition and to once again award USAID grants to unregistered NGOs in Egypt were warmly welcomed by democracy advocates. The Egyptian leadership, however, responded with predictable animosity. Outraged, Aboul Naga suggested in a Wall Street Journal interview that the policy was “forced”on Egypt,later accusing the United States of “ignoring the bilateral agreement that governed how to handle the disbursement of U.S. assistance” (Aboul Naga, 2012b, para. 7; Trofimov, 2011, para. 3). She used the shifts as pretense to the launch of the public investigations into organizations’ funding. Her senior adviser, Talaat Abdel-Malek,added,“[t]here is a difference between your development partners extending a helping hand and beginning to interfere in what is essentially national affairs.... USAID in particular crossed that line” (Kessler, 2011, para. 17). Frustrated officials inWashington contended that USAID’s call for proposals was “pretty innocuous,” while agency employees in Cairo complained: “[w]e weren’t doing sexy enough activities” for the work to be considered aggressive (Snider & Faris, 2011, p. 53). The overall increase in funds and the decision to broaden access to USAID grants were positive steps for democracy support to Egypt. The renewed opportunities for unregistered groups have given a vital boost to independent, prodemocracy voices in the country. The move also increased the effectiveness of American assistance dollars because grants are now more likely to go to the most effective organizations. Furthermore, it demonstrates Washington’s commitment to democracy—not only within Egypt, where many people have been encouraged to question U.S. motives and sincerity, but also for people elsewhere in the region who are engaged in Fall 2012 Newby 337 struggles for democratic change (as well as their governments). The director of the Atlantic Council’s Rafik Hariri Center, Michele Dunne (2011), appropriately calls Egypt the “whale” of the Middle East, emphasizing that its uprising and transition are of huge importance region-wide (p. 1). Whether intended or not, Washington’s policy in Egypt will invariably set an important precedent for its action elsewhere in the region amid varied political and social upheavals. The Future of U.S. Civil Society Assistance In the face of unprecedented hostility, the NGO community in Egypt has shown impressive tenacity; and it will inevitably continue to play a role in the country’s transition regardless of the conditions. The employees of raided organizations have kept at their work in spite of unambiguous messages to cease, and domestic criticism of the SCAF and interim cabinet has only intensified as the crackdown worsens. Amira Maaty (2011) writes that even in the face of serious obstacles, “[t]here is a substantial pool of incredibly creative and persistent activists and NGOs” in Egypt (para. 9). The urgent need to maintain support for independent civil society in the country will not disappear, and grantors must think about both shortand long-term strategies for continuing to fund civil society in a way that will have the most constructive impact. With the volatility of the current situation in Egypt, assistance organizations are in “crisismanagement” mode and even short-term planning is difficult. Nonetheless, providers can draw on lessons gleaned from similarly unstable environments elsewhere in the world. In the long term, donors like USAID must work to simultaneously achieve utmost aid effectiveness by supporting independent civil society organizations, whose results have been the most significant, while maintaining a relationship with the Egyptian government—whatever that might look like—for the sake of other common interests. Unfortunately, the interim government’s relentless campaign against NGOs over the past year has greatly increased levels of mistrust among ordinary Egyptians for civil society and its work, particularly when foreign funded. A December 2011 Gallup poll found that 74% of Egyptians oppose the United States sending direct aid to civil society groups, and 71% opposed U.S. economic aid to Egypt altogether (Younis & Younis, 2012). By “fanning the conspiratorial views . . . of what the American NGOs were doing,” as Marina Ottaway (2012) writes, the SCAF has fueled “hyper nationalistic sensitivity,” which has made Egyptians deeply wary of U.S. assistance to the country, and even of domestic NGOs in general (para. 11, 3).The popular distrust for U.S. democracy promotion in the region has deeper roots, too—former president Bush’s ex post facto rationalization of the Iraq invasion as an attempt to promote democracy, for example, did great damage to perceptions of assistance efforts elsewhere. Now, as Cairo University professor Mustapha Kamel Al-Sayyid contends in Funding Virtue, “Arab countries do not believe that the West, and in particular the United States, is truly committed to democracy” (Ottaway & Carothers, 2000, Digest of Middle East Studies 338 U.S. Civil Society Assistance to Egypt... p. 69).Thomas Carothers (2011) likewise argues that U.S. policies in the Middle East have caused “local political actors in the Arab world [to] harbor enormous and often bitter skepticism of our democratic bona fides” (para. 8). Financial support from the United States, therefore, is deeply unpopular among Egyptians at this time. Whatever the nature of the next government of Egypt, its policies will almost certainly be colored by this widespread suspicion of U.S. engagement. Even if the next government is as difficult to work with as the current one, policymakers in Washington will strive to keep the United States–Egypt alliance intact. Will the United States continue to fund civil society groups in Egypt? For a number of reasons, the answer is almost certainly yes. With the highly developed democracy assistance infrastructure in the United States, as well as the broad and vocal constituency in support of democracy assistance overseas, and particularly in Egypt, civil society support will not simply terminate. More importantly, NGO development is at the crux of democratic development more broadly, with experts Stephen McInerney and Michele Dunne arguing that “support for indigenous civil society is perhaps the single-most effective tool of the international community in Egypt” for supporting democracy (Dunne, McInerney, & El Fegiery, 2008, p. 92). Maintaining civil society assistance projects in Egypt requires the cooperation, or at least the consent, of its government, however; and significant changes in policy and practice will be necessary from the Egyptian side. USAID and others cannot effectively work in Egypt unless there is a permissive environment to do so. That said, there are ways that the United States can improve its longterm strategy for aiding civil society in Egypt, even if the space for NGOs remains restricted, distrust of the United States is high, and relations with the government in Cairo are tense. Improving Civil Society Assistance in the Long Term In seeking solutions to this dilemma, there are important lessons that can be gleaned from past experiences in Egypt as well as from democracy assistance efforts in other challenging environments.The interim Egyptian government’s crackdown on NGOs is, in many ways, unprecedented both in Egypt and elsewhere. Nevertheless, backlash to civil society assistance in other countries—and the response from NGOs and U.S. officials—can guide the reactions to current challenges in Egypt. In an extensive 2006 report detailing government crackdowns on civil society throughout the world, the NED documented a host of legal and extra-legal constraints on NGOs, including restrictions on the right to associate and freedom to form NGOs; impediments to registration and denial of legal status; restrictions on foreign funding and domestic financing; ongoing threats through use of discretionary power; restrictions on political activities; arbitrary interference in NGO internal affairs; establishment of “parallel” organizations or ersatz NGOs; and the harassment, prosecution, and deportation of civil society activists. (“The backlash,” 2006, p. 4) Fall 2012 Newby 339 The Solidarity Center alone cited impediments such as strict travel restrictions in Zimbabwe, Russia, Kazakhstan, and Uzbekistan; arbitrary investigations by security services in Bangladesh and Cambodia; surveillance and burglaries of offices in Indonesia and Nigeria; harassment and even assassinations of local civil society partners in Colombia and Cambodia; and extra-legal dissolution of legitimate organizations in Venezuela, among numerous other obstacles. In Uzbekistan, a state committee puts a hold on incoming foreign funds until activities are approved, effectively blocking all outside money from reaching Uzbek civil society groups. In Russia, the U.S. ambassador once had to personally intervene in order to get the country director of an American democracy assistance organization released from detention. Numerous countries, including Ethiopia and Uzbekistan, have expelled groups like the NDI, the IRI, International Foundation for Electoral System (IFES), Freedom House, the Open Society Institute, and IREX, and there is an alarming worldwide trend toward increasingly restrictive legislation aimed at weakening civil society. In climates characterized by what the NED calls a “growing prevalence of lowintensity harassment,” as well as more overt attacks, NGOs and democracy assistance organizations alike have shown remarkable tenacity (“The backlash,” 2006, p. 31). To cope with crisis situations, assistance groups have relocated to adjacent territories and/or held trainings there, distanced their engagement with local partners by providing assistance through third parties, reduced their on-theground presence, sought to engage reform-minded elements in the host government and reassured them about the true nature of their activities, mobilized support from members of Congress or other influential individuals, and coordinated with local partners on the best ways to respond to state harassment.To address the broader problem of adversity to democracy promotion by some governments, the report recommended that Congress continue appropriating funds for relevant entities, that the administration be wary of rewarding regimes for making merely cosmetic changes, and that economic aid and trade benefits be conditioned on meaningful steps toward political reform. Under the Bush administration, American officials staunchly insisted that Cairo take tangible steps on democracy issues, without rupturing the wider relationship. By standing firm on red lines, improving public messaging in Egypt, carefully fostering local ownership of projects, remaining strictly neutral in identifying grantees and diversifying partnerships, distinguishing between short-term foreign policy objectives and long-term efforts to assist civil society development, and using varied democracy assistance tools appropriately, the United States can assist NGOs in a way that gives them the best chance for success. Following a historic democratic opening, NGOs operating in Egypt today have been largely deprived of the opportunity to independently advance real democracy in the country. Outside support is critical in both the short and the long term. Although the volatility of the short-term situation may make strategizing difficult, long-term thinking about U.S. support of civil society in Egypt is both possible and essential, even if the environment for NGO activity does not improve. Digest of Middle East Studies 340 U.S. Civil Society Assistance to Egypt... 1. Sustain Pressure One crucial lesson that should be recalled from previous periods of tension with the Egyptian government is that applying pressure to reform—even substantial pressure—is unlikely to rupture the broader United States–Egypt relationship. That does not exclude the possibility, of course, nor is it meant to suggest that previous disagreements parallel recent ones in severity. Nevertheless, it is useful for policymakers and practitioners to remember that the relationship has withstood a considerable amount of tug and pull. The United States should not hesitate to apply direct pressure on Egypt and insist on implementing civil society grant programs as it has in the past. In 2002, the Bush administration withheld additional requested aid to Egypt in protest of Cairo’s prosecution of human rights activist Saad Eddin Ibrahim, which a State Department official called the “last straw” on a mounting pile of provocations (Slevin, 2002, para. 7). Three years later, administration officials strongly objected to the harassment, imprisonment, and torture of opposition leader Ayman Nour; and then Secretary of State Condoleeza Rice abruptly suspended a planned visit to Egypt over the matter (Kessler, 2005). In response to this pressure, combined with loud criticism from domestic groups, the Mubarak regime made significant concessions on political freedoms, including allowing direct popular election of the president, civil society election monitoring missions, and a more open environment for the media. During this time, as Michele Dunne (2009) asserts, U.S. pressure made a critical difference (p. 134). Pushing on civil society matters does not preclude cooperation on other issues. Like any other state, Egypt makes decisions according to its own strategic interests. Now, arguably much more so than in the past, the United States is a partner that Egypt cannot afford to lose. A looming economic crisis only heightens the importance of American assistance and the invaluable role that Washington plays at international institutions like the International Monetary Fund. Acknowledging the extent to which Egypt, and particularly the military, relies on Washington’s friendship and support helps put the long-term relationship in perspective, illustrating that the perceived trade-off between pushing Egypt toward reform and securing its cooperation on other issues is probably overblown. For both practical and symbolic reasons, the United States must insist that the Egyptian government allow its NGO assistance to continue. Reverting to old practices of restricting USAID funds to registered organizations risks dramatically reducing the effectiveness of U.S. assistance dollars, an unacceptable prospect especially amid a tight budget climate in Washington. Some analysts (El-Amrani, 2012a) have argued that now is the time for the United States to back away from politically sensitive assistance work—or even “wind down the aid program” altogether, as Steven Cook (2012a) advocates—focusing instead on institution-building and state-tostate development aid (para. 4). But with Egyptians and the world watching, appalled, as authorities raid NGO offices and press criminal charges against activists with apparFall 2012 Newby 341 ent impunity, now is precisely the wrong time for the United States to cut back on NGO assistance in Egypt. Even if Washington were to want to reduce its involvement, American influence in Egypt will remain a reality; as such, it is important to get it right. Washington must also pressure the Egyptian government on relevant policy issues. Assistance organizations and NGOs can only have a real impact if Egypt allows a permissive environment for civil society activity. Without high-level policy changes that create a free space to operate, grants to local NGOs quickly lose meaning. As Michele Dunne (2004) emphasizes, an integrated approach in which assistance efforts are part of a broader policy strategy that includes “active engagement with the Egyptian government on structural changes in law and practice” will be the most effective (p. 13). Experts and policymakers have suggested a range of mechanisms to apply pressure on Cairo, the most common of which involves conditioning aid or other benefits on measurable progress on political reform. 2. Get the Message Right It is imperative that the United States improve its public messaging in Egypt. Through direct statements and via the state-run media, Egyptian authorities have utterly misrepresented the nature of American engagement with the country, and it has deeply damaged the U.S. reputation. As if in an echo chamber, these gross mischaracterizations have spread throughout the country and been further distorted. A July 2011 cover story by the state-run October Magazine declared: “Ambassador [f ]rom Hell Is Setting Tahrir on Fire,” referring to U.S. Ambassador to Egypt Anne Patterson (Hosnein, 2011). More recently, widely read state newspapers have published brazen headlines, charging “American funding aims to spread anarchy in Egypt,” for example (Perry, 2012). Fayza Aboul Naga, meanwhile, has publicly testified that NGOs such as Freedom House are working in coordination with the CIA (Kramer, 2012). Hossam Bahgat points out the twisted logic in the government’s strategy: when the NGO investigation, for instance, is depicted as a principled stance against U.S. meddling, “most Egyptians side with their army and against the Americans” (Lodono, 2012, para. 9). In a confusing environment in which Egyptian policy decisions tend to be quick, ad hoc, and inconsistent, the status of NGOs and American engagement is never clear. Understandably, this makes communicating a clear message about U.S. intentions and projects exceedingly difficult. Adding to the complexity is the fact that American policymakers do not have a single, coherent message. Director of the Arabic Network for Human Rights Information Gamal Eid has complained that vague messaging by U.S. officials in Egypt has caused his own organization’s work and financing to be misrepresented, damaging its reputation (Hussein, 2012). In a country where there are long-standing debates among civil society activists about the merits of accepting foreign funding, the United States cannot afford to let the SCAF and an interim cabinet use fearmongering tactics to distort what Washington’s assistance really does. Digest of Middle East Studies 342 U.S. Civil Society Assistance to Egypt... Getting the U.S. message right is essential for mitigating popular mistrust, both now and in the long run. Human Rights First highlighted this problem in a 2012 report and recommended greater transparency, which can “help push back the weight of disinformation and thereby support the development of independent civil society groups” (“Egypt’s transition,” 2011, p. 1). In conversations with Egyptian activists, Human Rights First found that even more consequential than conditionality on aid is transparency in the aid given both to the military and to civil society. By being as open as possible about the details of the broader aid arrangement, including what institutions receive it and for what purposes, the United States can tangibly demonstrate that civil society assistance comprises a very small portion of U.S. aid to the country. The truth is that the vast majority of American assistance to Egypt, even within the democracy and governance realm, goes to consensual government-togovernment projects that are approved in Cairo, and the United States must make that clear to the Egyptian public. U.S. officials and democracy practitioners should also focus on elucidating the nature of their work with civil society organizations (without naming specific recipients of American grants) and explaining the legal grounds on which U.S.based organizations operate in Egypt. All of these steps can help lessen the disproportionate public concern caused by official misinformation. 3. Emphasize Local Ownership In light of the real nervousness among many Egyptians about foreign “interference” in domestic affairs, it is more important than ever that civil society assistance foster genuine local ownership of projects. Thomas Carothers (2009) contends that the value of local ownership is “perhaps the single most widely agreed-upon ‘best practice’ in the international assistance world,” and it is particularly crucial in democracy and governance work where there are heightened sensitivities surrounding governments’ support of political work across borders (p. 26). The legitimacy of those projects depends, in large part, on whether the host society feels a strong sense of ownership over the work. In Egypt, some civil society activists have complained that U.S.-funded projects are not sufficiently based on needs identified by the local community. As one Egyptian NGO partner participating in a U.S.-funded project stated, “[i]t was a completely American agenda” (Snider & Faris, 2011, p. 61). Amy Hawthorne (2004) highlights the dangers of such “overly instrumental” projects that effectively serve to advance U.S. goals, which undermine civil society’s purpose as a forum for articulating indigenous interests (p. 17). USAID branding requirements (“from the American people”), for instance, are an obstacle to cultivating a sense of local ownership and are especially detrimental in more politically sensitive projects. For the effectiveness of the programs themselves, the credibility of the recipient organizations, and the credibility of U.S. donors, it is vital that all programming fully reflect indigenous aspirations. As USAID administrator Rajiv Shah (2012) has emphasized, the goal of assistance is to develop domestic civil society so that future assistance is not necessary. For this to be Fall 2012 Newby 343 possible, local organizations must have the freedom to drive foreign-funded projects, and accountability need not be sacrificed in the process. Genuine ownership helps build more meaningful partnerships, which contribute to the development of mutual trust and respect. This enables relationships between U.S.-based donors and local partners to flourish over the long term. 4. Stay Neutral by Broadening Horizons Democracy assistance scholars and practitioners stress that donors must remain as neutral as possible in grant making. While this may seem self-evident, the hypersensitive environment in Egypt requires that all outside actors take particular care in this regard. State officials and others are looking for every excuse to accuse the United States of attempting to manipulate the political arena, and even the perception of political favoritism will be more likely to hurt the very voices in Egypt that the United States is trying to help empower. While pure neutrality is not realistic, a more concerted effort toward that end must be made. Related to this is the importance of engaging a wider segment of Egyptian civil society. Although “civil society” encompasses all voluntary organizations that exist outside the family and also outside the state, U.S. assistance efforts focus heavily on supporting secular, liberal NGOs. In their book Funding Virtue, Ottaway and Carothers (2000) stress that “it is essential that providers of civil society aid abandon their notion that civil society is mostly about NGOs” (p. 296). Egypt’s civil society has grown tremendously since the revolution, with a wealth of new actors coming onto the stage. For the United States to truly promote the development of a healthy Egyptian democracy, it should help diversify public discourse, empower marginalized voices, and foster dialogue between different cross-sections of Egyptian society. Hawthorne (2004) points out that the prodemocracy NGOs to which the United States directs the bulk of its assistance are “overwhelmingly the province of the secular, liberal elite”whose efforts “often seem alien to the real-life concerns of Arabs” (p. 13). A genuine effort to engage with average Egyptians, therefore, must include work with charity groups, labor activists, cultural societies, associations with Islamic roots, and other entities. 5. Use Different Tools to Achieve Short- and Long-Term Gains The delicate circumstances in Egypt highlight the importance of fully utilizing all of the varied democracy assistance tools at Washington’s disposal. In the short term, responding to the NGO debacle requires additional work by faster and less bureaucratic donors like MEPI and the DRL. With greater flexibility to adapt to changing realities, these entities are well equipped to respond to the immediate problems of office closures, criminal investigations, and day-to-day antagonism from authorities. But, because U.S. engagement with civil society organizations throughout the world is “a defining feature of U.S. foreign policy,” according to the State Digest of Middle East Studies 344 U.S. Civil Society Assistance to Egypt... Department’s 2010 Quadrennial Diplomacy and Development Review, short-term crisis management is not sufficient (“Leading through,” 2010, p. 59). Democratic development is a long process that is vulnerable to backsliding, and democracy assistance efforts must operate on a similarly long-term horizon. USAID remains a key player in this effort, even though it is in need of substantial institutional reform. As a development agency, USAID operates in terms of months and years, and the agency’s long-standing presence on the ground lends support to the so-called “bread and butter” of democracy promotion. This enables USAID to commit itself to long-term NGO assistance as a matter of principle rather than as a vehicle for immediate foreign policy interests. Although democracy promotion is a component of foreign policy, it will lose credibility if it becomes a tool of short-term U.S. interests. A crucial advantage of USAID is that it operates with some distance from day-to-day U.S. foreign policy objectives, which are distrusted by many Egyptians. Policymakers and practitioners must clearly distance U.S. assistance for civil society from other facets of United States–Egypt cooperation, as well as from policies elsewhere in the region. While Egyptians and Americans may disagree over foreign policy issues, the merits of democratic systems and healthy nongovernmental communities are broadly agreed on by all. USAID cannot operate in total isolation from U.S. policy debates, of course, but it does have less political baggage than democracy assistance entities in the State Department. As such, the agency serves as an important symbol of Washington’s long-term commitment to democratic development. The most effective policy for assisting civil society in Egypt will include both short- and long-term visions, led by democracy assistance entities with different strengths. Thomas Melia (2005) writes that “democratization as a project is both developmental (and thus can be enhanced by long-term involvement and deliberate, nurturing strategies) and opportunistic (thus requiring at times concentrated bursts of diplomatic, NGO, or other activity . . . at critical moments)” (p. 28). As the main tools of the U.S. government’s democracy assistance work, USAID, MEPI, and the DRL are complementary mechanisms with similar objectives. Together, and in coordination with nongovernmental assistance organizations, they can help provide holistic support to NGOs in Egypt. There are, of course, sophisticated debates about what strategies really work in democracy promotion. Nevertheless, there are broadly agreed-upon best practices in NGO assistance, gleaned from more than two decades of democracy promotion work around the world, which can and should be applied to Egypt today. With officials in Washington tied up with the daily management of the current NGO crisis, planning for how the United States will aid civil society in Egypt in the long run—probably in the face of ongoing hostility—has been lacking. Even after a full transfer of power to civilian leadership, the space for NGOs to operate in Egypt may not improve. Assistance providers should not be caught off guard, and agencies like USAID must start thinking now about their long-term strategy for supporting civil society in Fall 2012 Newby 345 Egypt. By standing firm in the face of Egyptian pressure, improving public messaging about assistance work, cultivating genuine local ownership of projects, widening the scope of civil society partnerships, and using short- and long-term assistance tools wisely, the United States can work to ensure that its assistance has the most constructive impact possible. It is important to remember, however, that even the best designed civil society assistance programs will quickly lose their meaning if the host government is staunchly resistant to outside NGO support. As Isobel Coleman, a Council on Foreign Relations expert, writes, “[y]ou can pour money into a country, but if it’s not willing to support the policies, then it’s money down a black hole” (Otterman, 2003, sec. 10). Attempting to promote democracy in Egypt without regard for other interests in the bilateral relationship will be unlikely to succeed.Thus, improving civil society assistance to Egypt also requires working with Egyptian officials to loosen the overall environment. One strategy might be to engage reform-minded offices or individuals in Cairo to work on negotiating access to the political space. Even with the interim government being as uncooperative as it is, sustaining (or rebuilding, as the case may be) the United States–Egypt bilateral relationship directly serves democracy assistance goals, too. Conclusion In the wake of Egypt’s January 2011 uprising, Egypt’s volatile domestic environment and hostile interim government has complicated United States–Egypt relations. This has made long-term thinking about the future of U.S. civil society assistance in Egypt difficult—both because the litany of matters requiring immediate attention can delay strategic planning and because the direction of Egypt’s transition is, in general, quite unpredictable. As the postrevolution political system develops, Egyptian civil society must develop in tandem to simultaneously assist and challenge the state. U.S. assistance is by no means a panacea for the daunting challenges that Egypt and its NGOs face, but it is an essential component of the country’s efforts to grow into a healthy democracy. For this reason and others, it is essential that U.S. civil society assistance to Egypt continue in the long run. Policymakers and practitioners must be prepared for new difficulties, particularly because the interim government’s public excoriation of U.S. civil society assistance has deeply soured Egyptian perceptions of NGO activity and Washington’s support. Amid these hurdles, long-term strategic thinking is of critical importance. Both now and in the long run, U.S. support of Egypt’s transition will be more meaningful if policymakers and practitioners make red lines clear, craft a clearer message about the nature of civil society support in Egypt, ensure that projects are truly driven by local actors, broaden the scope of grant awardees, stress that long-term efforts to help Egypt build a healthy democracy are distinct from other U.S. foreign policy goals, and use different assistance tools according to their strengths. For civil society assistance Digest of Middle East Studies 346 U.S. Civil Society Assistance to Egypt... to be effective and credible, the United States must be willing to invest considerable resources and commit for the long haul, expecting obstacles along the way. Thankfully, as one democracy assistance worker stated in the 2006 NED report, “[t]he kinds of groups that openly work with us . . . are fairly resilient and don’t scare easily” (“The backlash,” 2006, p. 35). In Egypt, where Jennifer Windsor says “the most promising part of... society is precisely the new generation of leaders who have emerged outside of the government,” one of the most significant steps that Washington can take to help Egyptians consolidate the democratic gains they made in 2011 is to directly support the development of indigenous civil society (Carpenter, 2009, reponse 4, para. 7). Notes 1. Coterminous with the cut in USAID funds was an increase in the budgets of MEPI and the DRL to provide support for civil society; however, those offices’ budget increases were not sufficient to compensate for the cuts to USAID. 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Attached.

OUTLINE
Introduction
Body
Conclusion
Reference


Running Header; Global Civil Society

Global Civil Society
Name;
Institution;

2

Global Civil Society
The concept of global civil society
Global Civil Society refers to the vast assemblage of groups operating across borders
and beyond the reach of governments. It is also perceived as the logical continuation of the
growth of civil society elevated from the level of merely domestic democratic society. Global
civil society is the advocate and intermediary for the people of the world both in the nascent
institutions of global governance as well as against those transitional actors- transnational
economic actors and the US, principally-that impede the emergence of global governance that

reflect progressive values. Without global civil society, individuals around the world will end up
having no voice and no representation to advocate for correct values before the world’s
transnational institutions.
The Global civil society consi...

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