US used NGOs to create chaos in Egypt: minister
CAIROAn Egyptian minister seen as the driving force behind impending trials of democracy activists, including 19 Americans, had told investigators that Washington funded their groups to create a state of prolonged chaos in Egypt, official media reported yesterday.
International cooperation minister Fayza Abul Naga, one of the few remaining ministers from president Hosni Mubarak’s era, added that the U.S. and Israel wanted to hijack Egypt’s uprising that toppled Mubarak a year ago to serve the interests of Washington and Israel.
Fans, police blamed in football deaths
“The U.S. and Israel could not create a state of chaos and work to maintain it in Egypt directly, so they used direct funding to organizations, especially American, as a means of implementing these goals,” the official MENA news agency quoted her as saying, in the first public disclosure of the claims.
The impending trials of 44 activists, including 19 Americans, have deepened a rift between the traditional allies, with the State Department hinting that the crackdown could jeopardize American aid to Egypt. Meanwhile, an Egyptian parliamentary inquiry into the deaths of 74 people in a football stadium disaster has found both fans and lax security to blame for the worst incident of its kind in the country’s history, the legislator leading it said on Feb. 12.
The incident occurred at the end of a match between Port Said-based Al-Masry and Cairo’s Al-Ahly. Ashraf Thabet, the member of Parliament who headed the inquiry, said fans were not inspected while entering the stands and there was a lack of order inside and outside the stadium. “Security facilitated, allowed and enabled this massacre,” he said. The security forces had failed to predict trouble and control the crowd stampede, he added.
He also laid blame on “Ultras”, the hardcore soccer fans who regularly confront riot police at matches and have been on the front line of confrontations with the security forces since the uprising that toppled Hosni Mubarak from power. Thabet said there had been tension between the fans before the match. “Both ultras and thugs attacked Ahly fans and this is part of Ultras’ culture,” Thabet said.