The PJ Tatler

US State Department Using Tax Dollars to Train Islamist Parties in Egypt, Among Others

The best that can be said about this policy is that it’s kind of dumb. It’s not a good idea to foster democracy by training people who would use it seize power and then do away with democracy.

U.S. assistance to Egypt is helping political parties of all ideologies prepare for the upcoming elections — even Islamic parties that may have anti-Western agendas.

“We don’t do party support. What we do is party training…. And we do it to whoever comes,” William Taylor, the State Department’s director of its new office for Middle East Transitions, said in a briefing with reporters today. “Sometimes, Islamist parties show up, sometimes they don’t. But it has been provided on a nonpartisan basis, not to individual parties.”

The programs, contracted through the National Democratic Institute for International Affairs (NDI) and the International Republican Institute (IRI), include helping political parties in Egypt conduct polling, provide constituent services, and prepare for election season. NDI’s chairwoman is former Secretary of State Madeleine Albright. IRI’s chairman is Sen. John McCain (R-AZ).