US Sizes Up ElBaradei

He hated Bush, and used to love Obama; where is he now?
By Kevin Spak,  Newser Staff
Posted Feb 1, 2011 9:48 AM CST
Egyptian Nobel Peace laureate and democracy advocate Mohamed ElBaradei addresses the crowd at Tahrir Square in Cairo, Sunday Jan.30, 2011.   (AP Photo/Khalil Hamra)

(Newser) – Until now, Mohamed ElBaradei and Barack Obama have always had something of a bromance. When Obama won the Nobel Prize, ElBaradei praised his commitment to “restore moral decency.” When ElBaradei toured Latin America in 2009, he told each leader to “help President Obama succeed.” When Obama gave a speech on nuclear non-proliferation that year, ElBaradei joked that he could have written it himself. Yet the administration is a suddenly little wary of Egypt’s ascendant opposition leader, the New York Times reports.

ElBaradei this week savaged the US for supporting President Mubarak, calling it a “farce.” He also might clash with Israel over the Gaza blockade, which he has called “a brand of shame on the forehead of every Arab, every Egyptian and every human being.” And he fiercely opposed President Bush—which actually gives him more legitimacy in Egypt, one Bush-era State Department counselor said, adding, “God forbid we should do anything to make it seem like we like him.”

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