Mohamed ElBaradei may be seen as having parallel interests in some ways with the United States in regard to the revolution in and the future of Egypt, but he has been very critical of the role of the United States and specifically of U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton. Clinton, he says, calls the government of President Hosni Mubarak stable; ElBaradei calls it pseudo-stability. Stability, ElBaradei says, only comes with a democratically elected government. He says the Egyptian Parliament is a “mockery.” The Judiciary is not independent. ElBaradei also says that the current government of Egypt has retained for 30 years what were designed as “emergency laws,” following the chilling assassination on Armed Forces Day, 1981, of Anwar Sadat by members of the Muslim Brotherhood. ElBaradei views, he says, social disintegration, economic stagnation, and political repression, and hears nothing from the Americans, nor from the Europeans.
Mohamed ElBaradei mentions Tunisia, and Iran. He says that the West believes the only options in the Arab world are “authoritarian regimes or Islamic jihadists.” This he says is “obviously bogus.” “In Egypt, there is a whole rainbow variety of people who are secular, liberal, market-oriented, and [if given a chance] they will organize themselves to elect a government that is modern and moderate. They want desperately to catch up with the rest of the world.” Speaking at a demonstration in Alexandria on June 25, ElBaradei told the crowd, “I am going back to Cairo, and back onto the streets…”
Mohamed ElBaradei has deep and timely interests in areas of nuclear energy, and nuclear proliferation. From December, 1997, until November, 2009, he was the Director General of the International Atomic Energy Agency. He was involved in the multi-national inspections in Iraq prior to the crippling strikes by the Western Alliance, and the war that followed. He has also been involved with Iran’s nuclear aspirations. He calls for, in all matters, a conduct of activities in a way that is cost-effective and respective of a process with equitable representation, transparency, and open dialogue. He, along with Hans Blix, led a team of UN weapons inspectors in Iraq. Concurrently he disputed at the time U.S. claims supportive of the invasion of Iraq. He avowed that documents purporting to show that Iraq had tried to acquire uranium from Niger were not authentic. ElBaradei further said that “we learned from Iraq that an inspection takes time, that we should be patient, that an inspection can, in fact, work, and that [he had] been validated in concluding that Saddam Hussein had not revived Iraq’s nuclear weapons program.”
In 2004 ElBaradei warned the world in a New York Times op-ed that if it did not change course it risked self-destruction. He said the notion that it is morally reprehensible for some nations to pursue weapons of mass destruction, while other nations may refine and postulate plans for their security—that notion is unworkable.
Mohamed ElBaradei’s clashes with the George W. Bush administration are legendary. In December of 2004, the Washington Post exposed that the Bush administration had intercepted dozens of ElBaradei’s phone calls with Iranian diplomats, in an effort to force ElBaradei out. Iran responded to the Washington Post reports by accusing the United States of violating international law in intercepting the communications.
ElBaradei’s calls were in connection with his work with the International Atomic Energy Agency. A spokesman for that agency at the time said the IAEA worked on “the assumption that one or more entities may be listening to our conversations.” “It’s not how we would prefer to work, but it is the reality. At the end of the day, we have nothing to hide.” The United States under Bush was the only country to oppose ElBaradei’s reappointment; it later dropped the objections. Countries supporting ElBaradei included China, Russia, Germany, and France. China strongly praised ElBaradei’s work.
Mohamed ElBaradei’s work has extended far beyond political matters of nuclear power, and of non-proliferation of nuclear armaments. He initiated a global Program of Action for Cancer Therapy. He said: “A silent crisis in cancer treatment persists in developing countries and is intensifying every year. At least 50 to 60 percent of cancer victims can benefit from radiotherapy, but most developing countries do not have enough radiotherapy machines or sufficient numbers of specialized doctors and other health professionals.” PACT went on to build cancer treatment capacity in seven member states. For this work, ElBaradei was awarded the 2005 Nobel Peace Prize.