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      Egypt Lifts Travel Ban on US Citizens

      A weeks-long standoff between Washington and Cairo over a travel ban on US citizens in Egypt involved in a campaign funding scandal ends.
      By Gabe Kahn.
      First Publish: 3/1/2012, 2:15 AM

      Egyptian soldier guards central Cairo square
      Egyptian soldier guards central Cairo square
      Reuters

      Egyptian authorities Wednesday lifted their travel ban on 16 US citizens accused of fraud and stirring up unrest.

      Judge Abdel Moez Ibrahim, the head of Egypt's Court of Appeal, said the accused still face fines of 2 million Egyptian pounds (about $332,000).

      The US citizens were among 43 people detained in a series of raids targeting non-governmental organizations who distributed foreign funds to liberal parites in Cairo's recent parliamentary elections.

      Only seven US citizens are believed to remain in Egypt, all of them holed-up in the US Embassy in Cairo.

      The Obama administration spent some $200 million backing liberal and pro-Western political parties in Egypt's elections.

      According to Campaigns & Elections magazine, the money was funneled into Egyptian politics through the State Department, the US Agency for International Development (USAID), the International Republican Institute, and the National Democratic Institute.

      In addition to proving to be an utter failure in organizing Egypt's moderate and secular parties into a meaningful force at the polls, Obama's left-handed funding of political parties in Cairo has fueled an underlying anti-American sentiment on the banks of the Nile.

      Charges of  US “meddling” led state prosecutors in Cairo to launch a probe into campaign contributions by foreign NGOs and a series of raids and arrests targeting their employees, especially those holding US passports.