Feb 6, 2011 6:01 pm


Muhammad El Baradei thought that the Gods were smiling on him. After decades of living abroad he used the demonstrations to return to Cairo as"a leading opposition leader" and immediately sought to establish close ties with the Muslim Brotherhood on the assumption was that the West knows him and will trust him to tame the powerful Islamist party. At first the Brotherhood played along hoping El Baradei will provide them with an entre to the negotiations. Alas, things changed.

Rather than needing an acceptable front man, the Brotherhood discovered that not only were Western forces including President Obama not opposed to Brotherhood participation, they demanded it. In other words, El Baradei lost his usefulness to the organization and they dumped him unceremoniouly as is obvious from this exchange between Christiane Amanpour and Egyptian vice president Omar Suleiman:

AMANPOUR: You said that you would start a dialogue with the opposition parties.


AMANPOUR: Including Mr. ElBaradei?

SULEIMAN: No, ElBaradei is not one of the opposition. He has his own group, which -- related to the Brother Muslimhood (ph) or have links with Brother Muslimhood (ph). And Brother Muslimhood (ph) ask me that they want to open a dialogue with me without Mr. ElBaradei.

What doe El Baradei do? He goes on Meet the Press and hints to the Brotherhood that they can trust him to be"flexible" on the issue of peace with Israel. Afer all, Rashad al-Bayumi, the Brotherhood's number two told Japanese TV that the Brotherhood would"join a transitional government in order to cancel the peace treaty between Egypt and Israel, as it 'offends the Arabs' dignity and destroys the interests of Egypt and other Arab states.'" which the Brotherhood is seeking to abrogate.

The more"sophisticated" if hardly less ruthless or opportunistic El Baradei told David Gregory that the continuation of the Egyptian Israeli peace treaty will depend on Israeli treatment of the Palestinians. A shaken Gregory asked him to clarify but El Baradei slip slided away.

MR. GREGORY: And yes or no, should Egypt in the future always maintain the peace treaty with Israel?

MR. ELBARADEI: I, I think so, but it's not just dependent on Egypt, David, it also depends on Israel. Israel should not continue to apply a policy of force, vis-a-vis the Palestinians, should agree to what everybody knows that Palestinians have the right to establish a state similar to what the proposal of former...

MR. GREGORY: Dr. ElBaradei, I think a lot of people hearing this--Dr. ElBaradei, people hearing this will hear equivocation, and there'll be great fear about a potential leader of Egypt saying that the peace treaty is not rock solid with Israel.

MR. ELBARADEI: Well I think, I think everybody saying it is rock solid, but, but, but everybody also saying that, at the same breath, that whether Egypt is a democracy, whether Egypt is a dictatorship everybody in Egypt, everybody in the Arab world will want to see an independent Palestinian state, David. I don't think anybody disagree with that. That has nothing to do with the peace treaty between Egypt and, and Israel, which is, as you said, has been concluded, and I assume that Egypt will continue to respect it, you know?

In fact, El Baradei tries to position himself as the leader of the most extremist constituency, the one rejecting the interrum agreement reached by Suleiman and representatives of the opposition parties and demanding the immediate exit of Mubarak. That agreement includes major concessions including an end to the emergency rule, freedom of the press, release of political prisoners and preparation of democratic elections.

So what?

So plenty. Muhammad El Baradei should not be treated as the head of the opposition. He knows Egyptians needs time to organize the non Islamists political parties they were not premitted to organize under Mubarak. El Baradei himself suggested that a September elections would not provide the opposition with enough time to organize. He advocates an interum period dircted by a triumverat because he sees that as a ticket to power. He knows Egyptians do not know him and tries to use the gullible media to help him to become a major player.

El Baradei must not succeed. He has proven himself untrustworthy as the head of the IAEA by covering up for Iran and now by taking more extreme positions than the Brotherhood. Egypt should and hopefully will do better provided the demonstrators ignore El Baradei and his ilk and accept yes for an answer.


On the absurdity of Obama's demand that the Brotherhood be included in the talks, read the letter exchange between Mansur and Berlinski

To my dismay, the media both in the US and Israel misrepresents El Baradei's equivocation about the peace treaty with Israel as a reassurance.

Bloomberg - Egypt’s Treaty With Israel Is ‘Rock Solid,’ ElBaradei Says

Haaretz: Egypt opposition figure: Peace treaty with Israel is 'rock solid'

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