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Could the U.S. Help Foot the Bill for ‘Democratic’ Arab Spring?


$40 billion is the overall goal.

Democracy, it seems, has a price tag. And now the countries that have been the focus of the "Arab Spring" are asking leaders of the free world to foot the bill.

Officials say that rich countries and international lenders are aiming to provide $40 billion in funding for Arab countries trying to establish free democracies. Tunisia's finance minister said leaders of the Group of Eight industrialized nations floated the figure at a summit in this French resort Friday.

A French official says $40 billion is the overall goal, but that breakdowns by country and timetables are still under discussion. The official was not authorized to be publicly named according to his office policy.

The prime ministers of Tunisia and Egypt met Friday with President Barack Obama and other G-8 leaders and appealed for help after uprisings earlier this year that overthrew longtime autocrats but also scared away tourists and investors.

The uprisings have largely been touted as "democratic" revolutions. But as some have pointed out -- mainly Glenn Beck -- the revolutions have been rife with controversy. In Egypt, for example, the Muslim Brotherhood has been intimately connected to the revolts and some Muslims have admitted wanting to hijack the movement to establish Shariah Law and a Muslim caliphate.

Additionally, just days after the successful ousting of Egyptian dictator Hosni Mubarak, a mob surrounded CBS reporter Lara Logan and raped her while chanting "Jew!"

Even Osama bin Laden, in his last taped message before his death, praised the benefits of the Arab Spring to the Muslim world.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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