Mohamed Mustafa ElBaradei (Arabic: محمد مصطفى البرادعى, Muḥammad Muṣṭafā al-Barādaʿī, Egyptian Arabic pronunciation: [mæˈħæmmæd mosˈtˤɑfɑ (ʔe)lbæˈɾædʕi]; born 17 June 1942) is an Egyptian law scholar and diplomat who was the acting Vice President of Egypt from 14 July 2013 to 14 August 2013.
He was the Director General of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), an intergovernmental organization under the auspices of the United Nations, from 1997 to 2009. He and the IAEA were jointly awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 2005. ElBaradei was also an important figure in recent politics in Egypt, particularly the 2011 revolution which ousted President Hosni Mubarak, and in the 2013 protests and military coup that toppled President Mohamed Morsi.
Family and personal life
ElBaradei was born and raised in Cairo, Egypt. He was one of five children of Mostafa ElBaradei, an attorney who headed the Egyptian Bar Association. ElBaradei’s father was also a supporter of democratic rights in Egypt, supporting a free press and an independent judiciary.
ElBaradei is married to Aida El-Kachef, an early-childhood teacher. They have two children: a daughter, Laila, who is a lawyer living in London; and a son, Mostafa, who is an IT manager living in Cairo. They also have two granddaughters, Maya and Nina.
A native speaker of Egyptian Arabic, ElBaradei is also fluent in English and French, and knows “enough German to get by, at least in Vienna.”
Education and early career
ElBaradei earned a bachelor’s degree in law from the University of Cairo in 1962, a master’s degree in international law at the Graduate Institute of International Studies in Geneva, and a J.S.D. in International Law at the New York University School of Law in 1974.
His diplomatic career began in 1964 in the Ministry of External Affairs, where he served in the Permanent Missions of Egypt to the United Nations in New York and in Geneva, in charge of political, legal, and arms-control issues. From 1974 to 1978, he was a special assistant to the foreign minister. In 1980, he became a senior fellow in charge of the International Law Program at the United Nations Institute for Training and Research. From 1981 to 1987, he was also an adjunct professor of international law at the New York University School of Law.
In 1984, ElBaradei became a senior staff member of the IAEA Secretariat, serving as the agency’s legal adviser (1984 to 1993) and Assistant Director General for External Relations (1993 to 1997). ElBaradei is currently a member of both the International Law Association and the American Society of International Law.
Public career as IAEA Director General (1997–2009)
ElBaradei began to serve as Director General of the IAEA, which is based in Vienna, on 1 December 1997, succeeding Hans Blix of Sweden. He was re-elected for two more four-year terms in 2001 and in 2005. His third and last term ended in November 2009. ElBaradei’s tenure has been marked by high-profile, non-proliferation issues, which include the inspections in Iraq preceding the March 2003 invasion, and tensions over the nuclear program of Iran.
First term as Director General
After being appointed by the IAEA General Conference in 1997, ElBaradei said in his speech that, “for international organizations to enjoy the confidence and support of their members, they have to be responsive to [members’] needs; show concrete achievements; conduct their activities in a cost-effective manner; and respect a process of equitable representation, transparency, and open dialogue.”
Just a couple of months before ElBaradei took office, the Model Additional Protocol was adopted, creating a new environment for IAEA verification by giving it greater authority to look for undeclared nuclear activities. When in office, ElBaradei launched a program to establish “integrated safeguards” combining the IAEA’s comprehensive safeguard agreements with the newly adopted Additional Protocol. In his statement to the General Conference in 1998, he called upon all states to conclude the Additional Protocol: “One of the main purposes of the strengthened-safeguards system can be better achieved with global adherence. I would, therefore, urge all states with outstanding-safeguards agreements to conclude them, and I would also urge all states to accelerate their consideration of the Model Additional Protocol and enter into consultations with the Agency at the earliest possible opportunity. We should work together to ensure that, by the year 2000, all states [will] have concluded outstanding-safeguards agreements and also the Additional Protocol.” ElBaradei repeated this call through his years as the Director General of the IAEA. In November 2009, 93 countries had Additional Protocols in force.
ElBaradei’s first term ended in November 2001, just two months after the terrorist attacks of 9/11. These attacks made clear that more needed to be done to protect nuclear material and installations from theft or a terrorist attack. Consequently, ElBaradei established a nuclear security program to combat the risk of nuclear terrorism by assisting member states to strengthen the protection of their nuclear and radioactive material and installations, the Nuclear Security Fund.
Second term as Director General
One of the major issues during ElBaradei’s second term as the director general of the IAEA was the agency’s inspections in Iraq. ElBaradei disputed the U.S. rationale for the 2003 invasion of Iraq from the time of the 2002 Iraq disarmament crisis, when he, along with Hans Blix, led a team of UN weapons inspectors in Iraq. ElBaradei told the UN Security Council in March 2003 that documents purporting to show that Iraq had tried to acquire uranium from Niger were not authentic.
ElBaradei described the U.S. invasion of Iraq as “a glaring example of how, in many cases, the use of force exacerbates the problem rather than [solves] it.” ElBaradei further stated that “we learned from Iraq that an inspection takes time, that we should be patient, that an inspection can, in fact, work,” and that he had “been validated” in concluding that Saddam Hussein had not revived his nuclear weapons program.
In a 2004 op-ed piece on the dangers of nuclear proliferation, in the New York Times (12 February 2004), ElBaradei stated that “[w]e must abandon the unworkable notion that it is morally reprehensible for some countries to pursue weapons of mass destruction, yet morally acceptable for others to rely on them for security – and indeed to continue to refine their capacities and postulate plans for their use.” He went on to say “If the world does not change course, we risk self-destruction.”
Third and final term as Director General
The United States initially voiced opposition to his election to a third four-year term in 2005. In a May 2005 interview with the staff of the U.S. Senate Foreign Relations Committee, Lawrence Wilkerson, the chief of staff to former U.S. Secretary of State Colin Powell, charged former Undersecretary of State for Arms Control and International Security John Bolton with an underhanded campaign to unseat ElBaradei. “Mr. Bolton overstepped his bounds in his moves and gyrations to try to keep [ElBaradei] from being reappointed as [IAEA] head,” Wilkerson said. The Washington Post reported in December 2004 that the Bush administration had intercepted dozens of ElBaradei’s phone calls with Iranian diplomats and was scrutinizing them for evidence [that] they could use to force him out. IAEA spokesman Mark Gwozdecky said the agency worked on “the assumption that one or more entities may be listening to our conversations.” “It’s not how we would prefer to work, but it is the reality. At the end of the day, we have nothing to hide,” he said. Iran responded to the Washington Post reports by accusing the U.S. of violating international law in intercepting the communications.
The United States was the only country to oppose ElBaradei’s reappointment and eventually failed to win enough support from other countries to oust ElBaradei. On 9 June 2005, after a meeting between U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice and ElBaradei, the United States dropped its objections. Among countries that supported ElBaradei were China, Russia, Germany, and France. China praised his leadership and objectivity, and supported him for doing “substantial fruitful work, which has maintained the agency’s role and credit in international non-proliferation and promoted the development of peaceful use of nuclear energy. His work has been universally recognized in the international community. China appreciates Mr. El Baradei’s work and supports his reelection as the agency’s director general.” France, Germany, and some developing countries, have made clear their support for ElBaradei as well. Russia issued a strong statement in favor of re-electing him as soon as possible.
ElBaradei was unanimously re-appointed by the IAEA board on 13 June 2005.
Comments on no fourth term
In 2008, ElBaradei said that he would not be seeking a fourth term as director general. Moreover, he said, in an IAEA document, that he was “not available for a further term” in office. In its first five rounds of voting, the IAEA Board of Governors was split in its decision regarding the next director general. ElBaradei said, “I just hope that the agency has a candidate acceptable to all—north, south, east, west—because that is what is needed.” After several rounds of voting, on 3 July 2009, Mr. Yukiya Amano, Japanese ambassador to the IAEA, was elected as the next IAEA director general.
ElBaradei and U.S. Relations
ElBaradei, leader of the National Coalition for Change, has been a major voice for democratic change in Egypt since 2009 and was a significant leader during the recent protests. However, he has a rocky history with the U.S. government and supports some policies that do not support current U.S. foreign policy in the Middle East. During his tenure as Director General of the IAEA (1997-2009), for instance, ElBaradei downplayed claims of possible military dimensions to Iran’s nuclear program, which undermined U.S. efforts to press Iran over its safeguards violations. According to a 3 July 2003 article in Time Magazine, ElBaradei also maintained that Iraq’s nuclear program had not restarted before the 2003 Iraq War, contradicting claims by the Bush Administration. He told the German news magazine Der Spiegel on 12 July 2010 that he wanted to open the Gaza Strip – Egypt border and accused Israel of being the biggest threat to the Middle East because of their nuclear weapons.
ElBaradei has called for international criminal investigation of former Bush administration officials for their roles in planning the war on Iraq.
Multinational control of the nuclear fuel cycle
In an op-ed that he wrote for the Economist in 2003, ElBaradei outlined his idea for the future of the nuclear fuel cycle. His suggestion was to “limit the processing of weapon-usable material in civilian nuclear programs, as well as the production of new material, by agreeing to restrict these operations exclusively to facilities under multinational control.” Also, “nuclear-energy systems should be deployed that, by design, avoid the use of materials that may be applied directly to making nuclear weapons.” He concluded by saying that “considerable advantages would be gained from international co-operation in these stages of the nuclear-fuel cycle. These initiatives would not simply add more non-proliferation controls, to limit access to weapon-usable nuclear material; they would also provide access to the benefits of nuclear technology for more people in more countries.”
Non-nuclear-weapon states have been reluctant to embrace these proposals due to a perception that the commercial or strategic interests of nuclear-weapon states motivate the proposals, a perception that the proposals produce a dependency on a limited number of nuclear fuel suppliers, and a concern that the proposal restricts their unalienable right to use nuclear energy for peaceful purposes.
Technical cooperation and cancer control[edit source | edit]
ElBaradei’s work does not only concentrate on nuclear verification. Another very important aspect is development through nuclear technology. In 2004, ElBaradei sponsored a comprehensive global initiative—the Programme of Action for Cancer Therapy (PACT)–to fight cancer. In one of his statements, ElBaradei said: “A silent crisis in cancer treatment persists in developing countries and is intensifying every year. At least 50 to 60 percent of cancer victims can benefit from radiotherapy, but most developing countries do not have enough radiotherapy machines or sufficient numbers of specialized doctors and other health professionals.” In the first year of operation, PACT provided cancer-treatment capacity in seven member states, using the IAEA’s share of the 2005 Nobel Peace Prize.
In his speech to the 2008 General Conference, ElBaradei said that “development activities remain central to our work. Our resources have long been insufficient to keep pace with requests for support, and we have increasingly made use of partnerships with other organizations, regional collaborations and country-to-country support. I again emphasise that technical cooperation is not a bargaining chip, part of a political ‘balance’ between the development and safeguards activities of the agency.”
International Crisis Group
ElBaradei served on the Board of Trustees of the International Crisis Group, a non-governmental organization that enjoys an annual budget of over $15 million and is bankrolled by the Carnegie, the Ford Foundation, the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, as well as George Soros’ Open Society Institute. Soros himself serves as a member of the organization’s Executive Committee.