Nineteen Americans are among the forty foreign and domestic pro-democracy activists who have been banned from leaving the country and accused by Egyptian judicial authorities of managing unlicensed nongovernmental organizations that receive foreign funds. While the transitional government in Egypt has said it cannot interfere in judicial matters, two members of the country's diplomatic apparatus told Reuters on condition of anonymity that Egypt's ruling generals want to ease tensions created by the flap to ensure that $1.3 billion in annual U.S. military aid continues to flow and to get American help in securing favorable terms on a support package from the International Monetary Fund.
The dispute has exposed tensions between members of Congress and Department of Defense officials, who want the issue resolved in a way that doesn't threaten the military relationship between the two countries. "It's our sense that much of the NGO issue in Egypt has a lot to do with internal politics," a U.S. official told Reuters. "The Egyptian military leadership is watching that trend very closely, and thus may not want to act too hastily to intervene."