A little weak, indeed. Not to mention a craven opportunist and a stooge for the Iranians. Yet for some reason this tool is being foisted upon the world as possibly the next leader of Egypt, or at least a transitional figure. Be very leery.
Egyptians on the streets of Cairo said on Monday they had reservations about opposition leader Mohamed ElBaradei, who has offered to act as transitional leader to prepare Egypt for democratic elections.Hard to believe people are suspicious, huh?
ElBaradei, former head of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), returned to Egypt on the eve of the protests which swept the country on Friday, when tens of thousands of people called for the overthrow of President Hosni Mubarak.
Awarded the Nobel Peace Prize for his work with the IAEA, ElBaradei and the powerful Muslim Brotherhood said on Sunday he had a mandate from opposition groups to make contact with the army and negotiate a government of national unity.
At least one opposition party, the Arab nationalist Karama Party of Hamdin Sabahi, has rejected ElBaradei outright as a transitional figure, saying he was trying to jump on the bandwagon of the popular uprising.
ElBaradei joined protesters at the hub of anti-Mubarak protests in central Cairo on Sunday.
ElBaradei, 68, began overt opposition to Mubarak on his return to Egypt in February 2010 and won a widespread following among the young and the middle classes.
But the Egyptian authorities harassed his supporters and ElBaradei lost much credibility through his long absences abroad. The official media tried to ridicule him, saying he knew nothing about Egypt and had no political experience.
Some elements of the government's campaign appear to have stuck. "ElBaradei won't do. He doesn't have the experience here and he's a little weak," said Khaled Ezzat, 34, an information technology engineer who had joined the evening vigil in Tahrir Square.
Omar Mahdi, a sales manager, said: "I'm not convinced by ElBaradei, even as a transitional figure, he hasn't really been present in the country."
Some of the protesters objected to ElBaradei on the grounds that he was too close to the United States, despite the frictions between him and the U.S. administration over the Iranian and Israeli nuclear programs when he was head of the U.N. nuclear watchdog body.
"ElBaradei's positions toward other Arab countries, and toward Iran and North Korea, were not neutral... So I don't find him very acceptable," said Walid Abdel-Mit'aal, 36, who works for a public sector company.
"He would follow Mubarak in the same policies and would take U.S. aid," he added, reflecting an anti-American strand which was largely absent in the first four days of protests.
ElBaradei's cosmopolitanism -- he lived abroad for years and speaks fluent English -- may be an advantage among some Egyptians but it is also a source of suspicion among others.
Update: Need another reason to be leery of ElBaradei? He's gets a tongue-bath from Mike Lupica today. That should really worry anyone with a clue.
Instapundit links. Thanks!