Analysis

Egypt: Close But Rocky Relations Ahead With U.S.
Egyptian soldiers stand guard in front of the US National Democratic Institute, an NGO rights group in downtown Cairo, December 29, 2011. (FILIPPO MONTEFORTE/AFP/Getty Images)
March 9, 2012
| Security
| Middle East and North Africa
Summary
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The sudden but ultimately satisfactory end to the NGO crisis is a barometer for the future of U.S. relations with Egypt in two respects. First, it reflects the sustained level of political turmoil in Egypt that is likely to prevail, particularly in the short term. Second, it affirms the ability of the United States to help influence outcomes during Egypt’s rocky transitional period.
The crisis that had strained the U.S.-Egypt relationship for more than two months ended as the travel ban imposed on employees of non-governmental organizations was abruptly lifted on March 1 after the judges on the case unexpectedly recused themselves. Among those who had been prevented from leaving Egypt was Sam LaHood, director of the International Republican Institute in Egypt and the son of U.S. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood, formerly a Republican congressman from Illinois. Sam LaHood and 15 other Americans working in Egypt were facing trial and had been turned back at the airport when they attempted to leave the country in January.


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