Egyptian Nobel laureate Mohamed El Baradei addresses the controversy surrounding the role he played in Mohamed Morsi's ouster and the dispersal of the Rabaa sit-in.
Egyptian Nobel laureate, scholar, diplomat, and former Director of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) Mohamed El Baradei broke his three-year silence to address his position on the ouster of former Egyptian president Mohamed Morsi and the subsequent Rabaa protest dispersal through a Facebook post that has now gone viral.
Baradei was appointed Vice President serving under then-interim President Adly Mansour following the ouster of Morsi, and stepped down when the decision was made to disperse the Rabaa sit-in the way it was, which has been viewed by many as unnecessarily violent. He was branded a sellout by the opposition for collaborating with the government, and a traitor by the pro-Sisi camp, which is why he took to Facebook to clarify a few things.
Through this post, he addressed the controversy over his role in the government following Morsi's ouster from power, saying that when he participated in the Armed Forces' meeting on July 3rd 2013, along with representatives from other political factions, the purpose was to discuss a way out of the crisis on the ground.
Baradei claims that all political parties were blindsided by the military's detention of Morsi during the meeting, and with the Freedom and Justice Party (the Muslim Brotherhood's political arm) out of the picture, there was very little they could do because by then it was too late to hold a presidential referendum, adding that his priority at the time was to prevent a civil war, and that he accepted to serve as Vice President under the condition of total autonomy.
He then explains his resignation, which has been viewed by many as jumping ship and turning his back on the country in such a difficult time, by saying that great progress had been made in reaching a peaceful resolution to the crisis and brokering an agreement with the Muslim Brotherhood and its supporters, arguing that he stepped down not only on moral grounds, but also because the bloodshed was avoidable.
The diplomat says that his statement aims to deflect the wrongful accusations and baseless vitriolic attacks against him, like publishing his leaked phone call with an American official, in which Baradei asked the US for economic aid to Egypt. The media then used the illegally obtained recording to paint him as a 'spy', and some even went as far as saying that he supported terrorism.
Another form of character assassination was accusing him of collaborating with the Bush administration to legitimise the war in Iraq, which, according to Baradei's post, couldn't be further from the truth, saying that during his time at the IAEA, the entity spared no effort to demonstrate that Iraq was in fact free from weapons of mass destruction. In addition, he claims that, at the time, the agency was applauded by the international community for its rigorous investigation, including Egypt.
Baradei also claims that he was attacked by the opposition, who accused him of conspiring with Israel, the Armed Forces, and the European Union to topple Morsi, something he also denies.