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Who Is Mohammed Elbaradei?

January 31, 2011 by  
Filed under The Latest from Our Blog

published with permission from Joel Rosenberg

Last week, few Westerners knew the name Mohammed ElBaradei. Today, this well-educated, genteel-sounding, Nobel laureate has suddenly emerged as the face of the protest movement in Egypt. But who is he really, and is he a force for genuine, positive change? Three clues tell us the answer is “no,” ElBaradei is not someone we can trust, and we do not want him running Egypt.

1. ElBaradei is an apologist for Iran. As head of the International Atomic Energy Agency, the U.N. nuclear watchdog agency, from 1997 to 2009, the Iranians repeatedly lied to ElBaradei’s face, and he either let them or didn’t know the difference. The Iranians dramatically accelerated their nuclear enrichment program in violation of U.N. resolutions and international law during those 12 years. But ElBaradei never seemed bothered. Iran built three secret nuclear facilities during this time, yet ElBaredei never seemed to notice (until other intelligence agencies called his attention to them). For more on this, please read:

2. ElBaredei is anti-Israel. During his tenure at the IAEA, Iranian leaders publicly and consistently called for the “annihilation” of Israel, denied the Holocaust of six million Jews during World War II, said that the Jewish State was doomed to destruction, that the fall of Israel was “imminent,” as was the coming of the Twelfth Imam which would coincide with the destruction of not just Israel but also the U.S. At the same time, the Iranians feverishly accelerated their illegal uranium enrichment program even as they developed ballistic missiles capable of reaching Israel and Europe. Yet in 2009, ElBaradei actually declared that Israel was the greatest threat to the peace and security of the Middle East, not Iran.

3. Third, ElBaradei is an apologist for the Muslim Brotherhood. For starters, the Brotherhood is openly supporting ElBaradei and saying they want to form a “unity” government with him, and he’s welcoming their support. What’s more, in an interview on CNN on January 30, 2011, ElBaradei flatly denied that the Muslim Brotherhood is a fundamentalist Islamic organization, claiming that this was “a myth that was sold by the Mubarak regime.” He went on to deny that if the Brotherhood gained control of the Egyptian government they wouldn’t create a Radical Islamic regime that would be similar to what happened in Iran in 1979. To be sure, the Brotherhood are Sunni Radicals and the Ayatollah Khomeini was a Shia Radical. But aside from those theological differences, the Brotherhood has been one of the most anti-Western, virulently jihadist organizations in the Middle East for decades. They have believed and taught that Islam is the answer, and violent jihad is the way. This was true of its founder Hassan al-Banna. This was true of its intellectual leader Sayyid Qutb in the 1950s and 1960s. This is true of its most famous and deadly disciples, Osama bin Laden and his deputy, Dr. Ayman Al-Zawahiri, an Egyptian national. It remains true with the Hamas terror movement in Gaza, which is an offshoot of the Egyptian Brotherhood. I document all this in my non-fiction book, Inside The Revolution.

Here’s the transcript of the stunning interview with CNN’s Fareed Zakaria (or watch this video — this portion begins at 7:12 minutes into the clip):

CNN’s FAREED ZAKARIA: Mohamed, one of the visions that haunts Americans is of the Iranian revolution, where a dictator, pro-American dictator, was replaced by an even worse regime that was even more anti-American and more threatening to the region.  People worry about the Muslim Brotherhood.  Are you confident that a post-Mubarak Egypt will not give rise to some kind of Islamic fundamentalist force that will undermine the democracy of Egypt?

MOHAMMED ELBARADEI: I’m quite confident of that, Fareed.  This is a myth that was sold by the Mubarak regime, that it’s either us, the ruthless dictators, or above them the al Qaeda types. You know, the Muslim Brotherhood has nothing to do with the Iranian model, has nothing to do with extremism, as we have seen it in Afghanistan and other places.  The Muslim Brotherhood is a religiously conservative group.  They are a minority in Egypt.  They are not a majority of the Egyptian people, but they have a lot of credibility because all the other liberal parties have been smothered for 30 years. They are in favor of a federalist state.  They are in favor of a wording on the base of constitution that….every Egyptian has the same rights, same obligation, that the state in no way will be a state based on religion.  And I have been reaching out to them.  We need to include them.  They are part of the Egyptian society, as much as the Marxist party here.  I think this myth that has been perpetuated and sold by the regime has no – has no iota of reality. As you know, Fareed, I’ve worked with Iranians, I’ve worked here.  There is 100 percent difference between the two societies.

ZAKARIA: If there were a democratic government with Muslim Brotherhood participation, do you believe that Egypt would still be at peace with Israel?

ELBARADEI: Of course.  I mean, I – again, the whole issue of peace in the Middle East is an issue which everybody – nobody wants to go to war, Fareed.

For more on the dangers posed by the Muslim Brotherhood: