Officials from Egypt's infamous mukhabarat have hired two US public relations firms to lobby on behalf of the country and boost Egypt's image in the US, the Associated Press has revealed.
Weber Shandwick and Cassidy & Associates Inc. will help Egypt promote a "strategic partnership with the United States" and highlight its economic development, leading role in managing and settling regional turmoil and – perhaps most controversially – showcasing its civil society.
The Egyptian government has gone to great lengths – including passing legislation to curb protests and imprisoning and torturing tens of thousands of members of the opposition – to ensure civil society cannot operate in the country.
The Weber Shandwick contract is worth some $1.2 million annually whilst the Cassidy & Associates contract is worth $600,000 a year. The combined $1.8 million is a huge sum of money for Egypt whose economy has continued to plummet in recent years. The 2011 uprising and reports of grave human rights abuses have kept tourists away from the country.
Egypt is already a key ally of the US and receives some $1.3 billion of military aid annually.