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ElBaradei Blasts West For Supporting Tyrants, Killing Muslims

Posted by Newshoggers.com on March 31st, 2010

From our partners at Newshoggers.com

By Steve Hynd

Mohammed el Baradei, former IAEA head and a favorite pinata of the "Real Men Go To Tehran" crowd, has spoken out against the West's support for repressive regimes and its inability to put fine-sounding rhetoric into action in the Middle east and further afield.

In his first English-language interview since returning to Cairo in February, the highly respected Nobel peace prize-winner said the strategy of supporting authoritarian rulers in an effort to combat the threat of Islamic extremism has been a failure, with potentially disastrous consequences.

ElBaradei, who has emerged as a potential challenger to the three-decade rule of Egypt's president, Hosni Mubarak, said: "There is a need for re-evaluation … The idea that the only alternative to authoritarian regimes is Bin Laden and co is a fake one, yet continuation of current policies will make that prophecy come true."

He said: "I see increasing radicalisation in this area of the world, and I understand the reason. People feel depressed by their own governments, they feel unfairly treated by the outside world, they wake up in the morning and who do they see – they see people being shot and killed, all Muslims from Afghanistan, Iraq, Somalia, Sudan, Darfur."

The former head of the International Atomic Energy Authority also said he felt vindicated in his cautious approach while he was head of the nuclear inspection agency. He revealed all his reports in the run-up to the Iraq war were designed to be "immune from being abused" by governments.

"I would hope that the lessons of Iraq, both in London and in the US have started to sink in," he said.

"Sure, there are dictators, but are you ready every time you want to get rid of a dictator to sacrifice a million innocent civilians? All the indications coming out of [the UK's Chilcot Inquiry] are that Iraq was not really about weapons of mass destruction but rather about regime change, and I keep asking the same question – where do you find this regime change in international law? And if it is a violation of international law, who is accountable for that?"

ElBaradei said that western governments must withdraw the unstinting support for autocrats who are seen to be a bulwark against extremism.

"Western policy towards this part of the world has been a total failure, in my view. It has not been based on dialogue, understanding, supporting civil society and empowering people, but rather it's been based on supporting authoritarian systems as long as the oil keeps pumping …

"If you bet on individuals, instead of the people, you are going to fail. And western policy so far has been to bet on individuals, individuals who are not supported by their people and who are being discredited every day.

"When you [the west] see that the most popular people in the Middle East are [Iranian president Mahmoud] Ahmadinejad and [Hezbollah leader] Hassan Nasrallah, that should send you a message: that your policy is not reaching out to the people. The policy should be, 'we care about you, we care about your welfare, we care about your human rights' ."

…"Only if you empower the liberals, if you empower the moderate socialists, if you empower all factions of society, only then, will extremists be marginalised."

Personally, I agree with el Baradei, and consider his comments to be self-evident statements of fact. But I'm also certain that anti-Iran hawks will take them as proof-positive that he was always an America-hatin', Iran-lovin' double agent for Ahmadinejad, or something.

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  1. Anyone would be better than Mubarek. It sounds like El Baradei is feeling free to speak a little more plainly now that he now longer has his formal position with the UN. I don't know enough about him to know if he would truly serve the will of most of the Egyptian people, as he says, but at least he's talking about some important issues. The test will be, if he comes to power, does he dismantle the wall and permanently open the border?

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