ElBaradei: Hit the road, Mubarak; Update: Muslim Brotherhood backs ElBaradei? Update: What ElBaradei means to Iran

posted at 11:50 am on January 30, 2011 by Ed Morrissey

Samuel Johnson once remarked after seeing a dog walking on its hind legs that the wonder wasn’t in the fact that the dog did it so well as much as it was in the dog doing it at all. CNN’s Fareed Zakaria interviews the man who has become — at least to Westerners — the face of the opposition in Egypt as Hosni Mubarak struggles to retain power after almost 30 years of dictatorship. Mohammed ElBaradei, known mostly until now as the ineffective head of the UN effort to keep Iran from developing nuclear weapons, tells Zakaria that Mubarak must go:

If he wants to save his skin — if he has an iota of patriotism — I advise him to leave the country.

ElBaradei calls Mubarak’s expulsion “non-negotiable for every Egyptian,” but he comes across as a rather bloodless, bland bureaucrat. If this is his negotiating persona, it’s pretty easy to see why the Iranians feared him so little. The only real passion ElBaradei exhibits is when he furrows his brow and talks disdainfully of the support Mubarak has received for decades from nations around the world in the name of “stability,” which again seems like a bit of hypocrisy when one recalls ElBaradei’s insistence on moderation in dealing with the despots running Iran.

Still, the wonder here is that ElBaradei is appearing publicly at all these days.  Supposedly, Mubarak had ElBaradei under house arrest just a couple of days ago.  Now he’s giving live interviews on CNN and calling for Mubarak’s ouster — and the army and police are nowhere to be seen.  Given ElBaradei’s influence with the opposition, keeping him under wraps would normally be one of the top priorities of Mubarak, especially given ElBaradei’s connections to the West through the UN.  ElBaradei undermines Mubarak’s almost-certain strategy of attempting to drum up support from his soon-to-be former allies using an apres moi, le deluge argument.  If ElBaradei remains at the head of the revolt, Western governments may feel that they can deal with ElBaradei a lot more reasonably than Mubarak at this point. Mubarak knows this, and so his inability to keep ElBaradei in seclusion signals that Mubarak may have already hit the end stage of his dictatorship.

The Western nations that think ElBaradei will be a leader they can trust had better hope that ElBaradei can deal with the Islamists in his own backyard better than the ones in Tehran.  He seems more like a convenient beard for the Muslim Brotherhood at this point than a charismatic revolutionary leader for democracy and personal liberty.  Obama and the EU don’t have many choices here — in fact, they have none at all, really — but ElBaradei is a long shot at best to survive as leader of a free Egypt.

Update (AP): Sounds like the Muslim Brotherhood has decided on its cat’s paw.

The Muslim Brotherhood on Sunday threw its support behind Egyptian opposition figure Mohamed ElBaradei to hold proposed negotiations with the government in order to form a unity government.

Speaking to Al-Jazeera, Muslim Brotherhood official Essam el-Eryan said that “political groups support ElBaradei to negotiation with the regime.”

As I write this, to add a little gloss to his new image as Egyptian savior, Al Jazeera’s airing footage of ElBaradei at the main protest in Tahrir Square in Cairo. To give you a sense of the level of dishonesty this stooge is willing to stoop to for his new patron, here’s what he told ABC earlier today:

“This is total bogus that the Muslim Brotherhood are religiously conservative,” he said. “They are no way extremists. They are no way using violence. They are not a majority of the Egyptian people. They will not be more than maybe 20 percent of the Egyptian people.

“You have to include them like, you know, new evangelical, you know, groups in the U.S., like the orthodox Jews in Jerusalem,” ElBaradei said.

He said the Islamists were “not at all” behind the uprising.

Update (AP): Iran, naturally, is root root rootin’ for the Brotherhood to turn this into an Islamist triumph, notwithstanding their sectarian differences with the group. This quote sums up the stakes:

While Egypt’s chances of transitioning to representative democracy remain an open question, especially with events on the ground so fluid, even the prospect remains deeply unsettling to Iran. “The focus would no longer be on Arabs being inspired by Iranian fundamentalism, but Iranians being inspired by Arab democracy,” says Sajadpour.

No doubt Iran is already working on ways to get money and arms to the Brotherhood for the power struggle ahead, which will end up being Exhibit 8,943 that Shiite and Sunni fundies are perfectly capable of cooperating against a common enemy. (See also Hamas.)

Update (AP): Just to put a cherry on top of this sundae, check out the screencap comparison at Big Peace between the Brotherhood’s English and Arabic websites. They’re practicing the same sort of deception by backing ElBaradei.

Update (AP): Needless to say, Egypt isn’t the only place where Islamists are looking to capitalize on recent unrest. Tunisia’s most famous fundie arrived home today after years spent abroad — and a crowd of thousands turned out at the airport to cheer him on.

Update (AP): One more point on ElBaradei. Even if he ends up as a compromise choice for leader, without any sort of formal Islamist takeover, having him at the top is guaranteed to weaken the west’s alliance with Sunni Arab regimes against Iran. Back when he was head of the IAEA and ostensibly charged with inspecting Iran’s nuclear sites, he was perfectly candid in saying that he didn’t consider that to be his main task. His main task, he felt, was preventing a western attack on Iran, a bias which made his reporting on their nuke program fatally suspect. If he was willing to do that in the name of “peace,” what else would he be willing to do if/when things finally come to a head between Iran, the U.S., and Israel? And if he, as ruler of Egypt, sides with Iran in that standoff, where does that leave other western-allied but weak Sunni regimes like Jordan and Saudi Arabia?

Update (Ed): Here’s a reminder of where ElBaradei’s sympathies lie in the Iranian nuclear crisis.  Covering up Iran’s weaponization efforts, and doing it so ineptly that France and Germany publicly protested ElBaradei’s omissions, hardly stokes confidence in either ElBaradei’s inclination or ability to stand up to the Muslim Brotherhood, if it comes down to that — and if he’s not totally in bed with the Ikhwan as many suspect, it certainly will come down to that.  For that matter, it doesn’t provide much confidence in ElBaradei’s executive abilities at all, even without the complications of radical Islamists.

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So tired of hearing about Muslims all day, every day. Muslims here, Muslims there, Muslims everywhere and a partridge in a pear tree.

jeanie on January 30, 2011 at 10:57 PM

On Glenn Beck, a college student thought “vitriol” meant “addicted to victory”. Oy vey! Oy g’velt!

Gob on January 30, 2011 at 8:31 PM

Well they both start with a “v”. I guess the left is planning to vitriol it’s way to victory.

shmendrick on January 31, 2011 at 3:37 AM

Egypt is being prepared for its role in the Psalm 83 war.

zoyclem on January 31, 2011 at 6:55 AM



“My friends from China said to me just recently — they didn’t know that I might be thinking about running for president — we cannot believe how stupid your politicians are to allow us to get away with what we’re getting away with. “They thought they were talking to me as a business guy and they were all laughing and smiling. We are a laughing stock throughout the world.”

Referring to President Obama’s State of the Union speech, Trump says: “He didn’t talk about the deficit, he didn’t talk about how to pay off all the debt that we have. Instead he’s telling everybody what a great country China is, that China has the fastest computer in the world. That should be for the president of China to talk about, not President Obama.

“By the way, any time a country comes up with oil they invite them in. Join OPEC. The United States is stupid, the people who represent the United States are really stupid, so join us and we’ll take advantage of the United States, sell them oil at inflated prices. They’re draining our life blood. We cannot allow that to continue. What kind of power do we have over OPEC? They wouldn’t even exist if it weren’t for us.”

Keemo on January 31, 2011 at 8:16 AM

Meanwhile, Obama is playng a game of wait and see.

kingsjester on January 31, 2011 at 8:24 AM

Keemo on January 31, 2011 at 8:16 AM

bongo was fellating china during his campaign

nothing new

Sonosam on January 31, 2011 at 8:31 AM

-10 degrees here this morning… Al Gore must have done a fly-over.

Keemo on January 31, 2011 at 8:36 AM

Another good one KJ

Dear leader’s MO.

cmsinaz on January 31, 2011 at 8:47 AM

cmsinaz on January 31, 2011 at 8:47 AM

Thanks! The research is easy to do. Too bad no one wants to do it.

kingsjester on January 31, 2011 at 8:52 AM

Mohammed ElBaradei, known mostly until now as the ineffective head of the UN effort to keep Iran from developing nuclear weapons…

And that really tells us much of what we need to know about this fellow, if we didn’t already have a sense of his heart and inclinations.

Although ‘ineffective’ lends a sense that he actually wanted to keep Iran from developing nukes. There’s not really any reason to believe that such was the case.

Midas on January 31, 2011 at 9:03 AM

Just about the only bit of humor I’ve found in this situation is the fact that a Fox reporter has repeatedly described it as “a tense calm.”

KyMouse on January 31, 2011 at 9:10 AM

When Obama failed to support the opposition in Iran, it made Islamists more powerful than ever. Can you imagine the difference in how we would see the people on the streets of Egypt now if the Islamists were discredited and some kind of free elections were being held in Iran?

Obama may have lost the entire Middle East when he refused to support the people in the streets of Iran.

All we can do is go forward from here.

I can not support the slaughter that would have to occur to put Mubarak back in power.

I hope Israel can hold on. Pray for Israel.

petunia on January 31, 2011 at 9:20 AM

The current situation in Egypt is very troubling. Not because it is deposing, President Honsi Mubarak Egypt’s 30 year dictator. But because, Muslim Brotherhood representative, Mohammed ElBarade name is being tossed about with a sense of hope that he can bring peace to Egypt.

Please remember, extremist/fundamentalist Islamic Muslims have the patience of Job in their path to World dominance and eradication of Israel.

Also remember your geography, Egypt to the South, Syria to the North and Saudi Arabia to the East. Israel has its back to the Mediterranean Sea and is surrounded by Fundamentalist Muslims under the umbrella of the Muslim Brotherhood. The outcome is not good, unless Israel is provided some support from its small number of global partners, U.S. among them.

Let U.S. remember the Muslim Brotherhood has a very close friend among U.S., the good reverend Louis Farrakhan, who will do what it can to mitigate our intervention in their number two goal, on their way to number one.

MSGTAS on January 31, 2011 at 9:23 AM

Glad you are here with us KJ

cmsinaz on January 31, 2011 at 9:29 AM

Obama hates Israel and its leader, Benjamin Netanyahu. When considering the action Washington DC takes in response to the Egyptian crisis, this is the fundamental fact to bear in mind.

Mutnodjmet on January 31, 2011 at 9:29 AM

So tired of hearing about Muslims all day, every day. Muslims here, Muslims there, Muslims everywhere and a partridge in a pear tree.

jeanie on January 30, 2011 at 10:57 PM


Shy Guy on January 31, 2011 at 10:20 AM

Of the Egyptian Muslim Brotherhood revolution, their proposed “unity government” with ElBaradei requires the entire omission of the current party in power. “Together We Thrive”…Obama yet promises the Muslim radicals with whom Obama identifies. Watch as the MSM spin “Obama, the Potus who lost Egypt” into “Obama who promoted Hope and Change for the poor Egyptians denied food subsidies by the infidel Mubarak” — problems being reality that disproves any mantra that Egyptian radical protests were “for food”. Ignore that Mubarak’s food subsidies have long been in place, and Egypt’s economy was boasted as secure until this week.

But the unrest also threatens to unravel an economy that officials had proudly pointed to one of the few to withstand the global financial meltdown.

maverick muse on January 31, 2011 at 11:13 AM

Mubarak’s presidency-for-life enjoyed US tax dollar funding.

Suleiman’s roots are Soviet military/intelligence trained.

ElBaradei is an Islamofascist front man for Iranian sponsored Jihadists and with the Muslim Brotherhood’s Nasser name again rearing its VIOLENT anti-Israeli head after all these years.

“Present” Obama’s White House spokesman announced that this administration is struggling to understand the very problem that during his campaign, Obama touted himself to be the know-it-all specialist with insider relations and knowledge, being himself a Muslim reared by Muslims abroad. “Egypt, I am one of you.”

maverick muse on January 31, 2011 at 11:23 AM

bongo was fellating china during his campaign

Bongo? Is that the new wingnut nickname for Obama? I wonder why?

Grow Fins on January 31, 2011 at 11:35 AM

Obama hates Israel and its leader, Benjamin Netanyahu.

A fact? Ha hahahhahha. Evidence?

Grow Fins on January 31, 2011 at 11:35 AM

Michael Yon is saying there are UNconfirmed reports the Egyptian president may have fled. U.S. govt working to confirm.

Yakko77 on January 31, 2011 at 12:24 PM

Did we send tut back yet? Did they loot the museums? Going to start checkin ebay maybe i can get some mummies cheap.

Greed on January 31, 2011 at 1:34 PM

Just so you know, there are/were so many mummies laying around in Egypt that at one time, maybe even still, they use them for fuel in their locomotives. In addition they have exported them here for use in paper making because of their high rag content. I used to work at a historical research library where one of the people was a top mummy expert. And… she was also a mommy.

shmendrick on January 31, 2011 at 6:24 PM

Well, this isnt just someone can walk on in and takeover because he feels like it. I assure you if the area gets too unstable, it wll be hell in two years when a republican prez gets back in. Between Hillary and this B.O. dude, this world is getting royally f’d up.

johnnyU on January 31, 2011 at 7:09 PM

IAEA…aren’t these the same clowns who completely dismissed the tons of yellow cake uranium ore Saddam had stockpiled in Iraq?

Oh, yeah…no hidden agendas with that bunch I’m sure.

Dr. ZhivBlago on January 31, 2011 at 8:46 PM