Egypt Rebellion: Mohamed ElBaradei to be Interim President?

When the Egypt protests broke out, ElBaradei returned from exile to the Cairo streets. Is he a political opportunist? A puppet-in-waiting of the U.S. government, or a thorn in its side? Or will he be a force for good in the North African nation?

Egypt Rebellion: Mohamed ElBaradei to be Interim President?

My first impression upon Mohamed ElBaradei’s return to Egypt was that it seemed rather like political opportunism.  He did not have a hand in generating the protests, but it didn’t stop ElBaradei from annointing himself the opposition leader—as if he speaks for all activists in the streets, which are now totaling around 2 million in Tahrir Square according to Al Jazeera.

According to the Telegraph, ElBaradei is not a particularly popular figure in Egypt, even though he—as UN weapons inspector—defied the Bush administration by declaring Iraq did not have WMD’s. The very same Telegraph article quotes a woman named Noha Suweilam, who called ElBaradei an “opportunist.”

As happens in many popular uprisings, it seems that Egypt’s is being co-opted by a man with his own particular set of interests. The people of Egypt should decide how they want their nation structured, not ElBaradei. But it almost seems like a foregone conclusion now after reports from Reuters that the U.S. Ambassador to Egypt has been in talks with ElBaradei. White House Spokesperson P. J. Crowley stated in a Twitter message, “As part of our public outreach to convey support for an orderly transition in Egypt, Ambassador Scobey spoke today with Mohammed ElBaradei.”

Remove the layers of political speak, and it will become apparent that the U.S. government and ElBaradei are only interested in a transition of government—in stability. And while some protesters support ElBaradei, a stable Egyptian government led by the technocrat might not be the best option for Egypt, especially given his recent negotiations with the Muslim Brotherhood, who now support him as opposition leader.

The  most important conclusion to draw here is that installing a life-time diplomat and politician like ElBaradei is the best way to snuff out a revolution.

This is how the state perpetuates itself.

[Image via The Week]