The G8 summit of world leaders in France in May 2011 announced billions of dollars of 'aid' for the Arab Spring. Yet it was the G8 who armed and financed the dictators of Egypt and Tunisia, who have now been overthrown.
So how are they really offering to help? By pushing up to $20 billion of loans to Egypt and Tunisia and new 'free trade' agreements which will primarily benefit Western corporations.
In my new article for the Guardian, I ask "Is the G8 supporting or undermining the Arab spring?" (http://www.guardian.co.uk/global-development/poverty-matters/2011/jun/03... ), and conclude that If the G8 genuinely wants to help the people of Egypt and Tunisia, it could have started by declaring a moratorium on debt repayments, supporting an audit of the Mubarak and Ben Ali debts, cancelling those that are found to be unjust, and giving any immediate money as grants, not loans.
Instead, the G8 has begun the process of undermining genuine democracy in Egypt before a democratic government has even been elected, putting a certain construction of a 'market economy' before other crucial factors. The pressure against this trajectory needs to be not just regional, but international.
© Tim Jones is a senior policy and campaigns officer for the Jubilee Debt Campaign - http://www.jubileedebtcampaign.org.uk/
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