Get ready for it: If former director of the International Atomic Energy Agency Mohammed El-Baradei becomes the next leader of Egypt, he will be the face proclaiming the victory of secular democracy. Don’t fall for it. El-Baradei is nothing but a mask for the Muslim Brotherhood, a group slick enough to know it’s better to have a prettier face than its own.
The Muslim Brotherhood, despite being an Islamist group, has rallied behind El-Baradei to bring down the Mubarak regime. The thinking behind this is honestly stated by Brotherhood official Mohamed al-Katani who is quoted in the New York Times as saying:
“The Brotherhood realizes the sensitivities, especially in the West, towards the Islamists, and we’re not keen to be at the forefront.”
As the president of Egypt, El-Baradei will be no more than the press secretary for the Brotherhood. The Islamists will undoubtedly be pulling his strings as he acts as a voluntary marionette when the Brotherhood gets unofficial veto power with its power in the next parliament. He can say what he wants to the West, but every decision will require the Muslim Brotherhood stamp of approval.
As I wrote in FrontPage today, El-Baradei is not an opponent of the Brotherhood. He may not be an Islamist himself (though he could very well be), but his foreign policy won’t be dissimilar from the Brotherhood’s. He has defended what he calls the “Palestinian resistance” because “the Israeli occupation understands only violence.” He claims the Brotherhood “are [in] no way extremists” and is the Muslim equivalent of Christian evangelicals and orthodox Jews. And then there’s those unconfirmed Arab press reports about his alleged Iranian financing.
If El-Baradei comes to power, the Brotherhood won’t have achieved an official takeover of Egypt: It will have achieved something better. It will be able to pursue its agenda while wearing a Halloween costume named Mohammed El-Baradei.
Ryan Mauro is the founder of WorldThreats.com, a strategic analyst with Wikistrat, and a regular contributor to FrontPage Magazine.