Egypt: ElBaradei Remains the Center of Attention

Egypt: ElBaradei Remains the Center of Attention

 Will he travel to Washington DC? Will he meet with policy makers? Will he make public statements about political reform or will he concentrate on nuclear policy? Also, will he visit with the expatriate Egyptian community?

An article yesterday in Al-Masry Al-Youm reported that his itinerary is not entirely clear, but that he has definite plans to deliver a speech at Harvard University’s Kennedy School on April 27. Once in the U.S., he will not likely meet with representatives from the Obama administration because the “Americans don’t want to anger their ally, the Egyptian government, by openly endorsing ElBaradei’s cause” and because ElBaradei “wouldn’t want to jeopardize his Egyptian street credibility, or open himself up to charges of being an American puppet.” Some in the U.S., however, are skeptical of the formal Nobel laureate’s capacity to effect change. Sherine El-Abd, a board member of the Arab-American Institute and president of the New Jersey Federation of Republican Women, was quoted as saying: “Obviously, people want democracy in Egypt and don’t believe that having the same president for 30 years represents democracy. But [ElBaradei] is someone who hasn’t lived in Egypt for many years, so I’m not sure how much support he will receive internally.”

Meanwhile, a number of American publications are jumping on the bandwagon with profiles and features of their own. Newsweek’s Cristopher Dickey travelled to ElBaradei’s home to get a sense of the man behind the phenomenon. At this crossroad in Egypt’s future, he predicts, the country can move in one of multiple directions – stagnation, Islamization or democratization. ElBaradei would be the one to push the country on a path toward reform. “These are nervous times, certainly, for anyone afraid of change,” writes Dickey.

The Wall Street Journal’s Ashraf Khalil also penned a piece today giving readers an overview of ElBaradei’s political challenge to Hosni Mubarak.