Two pieces on El-Baradei
Two articles, one from Egypt's Socialist movement (in Arabic at the bottom) criticizing the rapid adoption by the opposition of a vague Baradei rather than actually building up more grassroots action, and criticizing Baradei's policy similarities to Mubarak (especially with regards to wealth disparities in Egypt and support for Egyptian participation in crimes against the Palestinians). And the second (in English above) with a quite different take from Baheyya, one of my favorite Egyptian bloggers. She doesn't seem to see Baradei as vague at all but rather as supportive of many of the opposition's long-standing policy aims and a potentially very strong force for at least opening up the system and forcing Mubarak and the NDP cronies into a tough, embarrassing spot. Dunno, hard to say where this all lands. I have no doubt Mubarak and cronies will ensure he can't be President through combinations of smears, violence, and twisting of the law. And I agree with the Socialist critiques of Baradei's cowardice vis a vis the Israelis and US, and that the opposition is just grabbing onto a personality and that they're still neglecting grass-roots action despite the fact that the increasing dis-satisfaction of many sectors with life in Egypt has proven that it is possible (the numerous strikes over the past few years and even the seemingly impossible success in setting up a union truly independent from the regime). But on the other hand, somehow the various disparate opposition movements keep surviving and each event (Kifaya, pro-Palestinian marches, worker strikes, 2005 elections, judicial independence movements, etc.) seems to revive the apparently dead corpse and breathe some life into it. Perhaps in this sense, for all Baradei's many shortcomings, there's enough going for him as a political actor and symbol to accomplish some real good. It will be interesting to watch. And of course, through it all the US will keep the guns and money flowing to Mubarak as reward for helping to starve the Palestinians in Gaza, so don't expect any real help from Washington on this front. Though I would expect at some point Clinton will feel the pressure to provide some rhetorical postive words for Baradei. Words that will probably be clumsy, easily and accurately dismissed as insincere, and probably used by Mubarak to smear the opposition with.