Monday, April 12, 2010

POLITICS-EGYPT: Critics Question ElBaradei's Promises of Change

By Adam Morrow and Khaled Moussa al-Omrani

"CAIRO, Apr 11, 2010 (IPS) - Mohamed ElBaradei, former head of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), rocked Egypt's political arena last year by announcing his desire to contest the presidency. But while the idea has fired the imagination of political activists, many analysts remain sceptical.....

While ElBaradei has focused on domestic matters - frequently citing figures on poverty, illiteracy and Egypt's economic growth - he has largely avoided addressing regional or international issues. ElBaradei's performance as IAEA director, meanwhile, has been subject to little if any scrutiny by most political commentators.

Soheir Morsy, former university professor and author of a UNICEF report on the impact of pre-war sanctions on Iraqi children, criticised ElBaradei's role in the U.N.-imposed sanctions regime. According to Morsy, the sanctions -- which lasted from 1990 to 2003 -- were prolonged by the regular dispatch of U.N. inspectors, including ElBaradei, to Iraq.

ElBaradei "could have declared his disapproval and resigned," Morsy was quoted as saying in the Mar. 11 edition of the government-run Al-Ahram Weekly. She pointed out that several high-level diplomats within the U.N. tendered their resignations in protest over the sanctions' deadly effects on the Iraqi people, especially children.

By contrast, ElBaradei "served for three terms at the helm of the IAEA and was rewarded, receiving a Nobel Prize in 2005," she said, adding: "The blood of the Iraqis is on his hands." "

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