ElBaradei Resigns as Egyptian VP

When I woke up this morning, I heard about the violent displacement of pro-Morsy demonstrators in Egypt by the military-led government. I have been opposed to the military coup in Egypt from the beginning, and today the violent crackdown on essentially peaceful protesters who were unwilling to recognize the resulting military-led government, really brought the situation to a new low. It was in that state of mind that I wrote the following Tweet at 10:02 am:

How can ElBaradei, Nobel Peace Prize winner, justify participation in an unlawful military coup turned violent, repressive government?

Mohamed Elbaradei was, of course, the longtime Director General of the IAEA, who was proven correct in his approach to claims about Iraqi WMD, and who generally was a voice for reason, prudence, and the rule of law during his tenure (having previously served as the Director of the IAEA Office of Legal Affairs).  These qualities and achievements led to his being awarded, jointly with the IAEA, the Nobel Peace Prize in 2005. ElBaradei is a man I have long respected.  And the fact that he had joined the interim government in Egypt as Vice President was something about which I was increasingly dismayed.

Imagine my happiness, then, when I heard just a couple of hours later, that ElBaradei had resigned from his government post in protest of the violence against Morsy supporters. In his resignation letter, he said that:

the beneficiaries of what happened today are those who call for violence, terrorism and the most extreme groups . . . As you know, I saw that there were peaceful ways to end this clash in society, there were proposed and acceptable solutions for beginnings that would take us to national consensus . . . It has become difficult for me to continue bearing responsibility for decisions that I do not agree with and whose consequences I fear. I cannot bear the responsibility for one drop of blood.

Now THAT is what I would expect from ElBaradei. Upon hearing the news, at 11:56am I Tweeted:

So glad to see that ElBaradei has resigned in protest of the gov’t’s violent crackdown on protesters!!! Respect restored!!!

I think ElBaradei has shown that his intentions all along were honorable, as is in complete harmony with his long-proven character. I don’t know all of the facts and considerations that led him to accept a post in the interim government, but I’m confident that he acted at all times in good faith, in furtherance of good principles, and in the best interests of the Egyptian people, as he perceived those principles and interests at the time. And now, in nobly standing up for similar good principles, he has fully restored any previously diminished respect that I have for him. I think he has made a powerful statement in today’s resignation – one that will have a significant effect on outside observers’ opinions of the interim government, due to his international stature.  I applaud his actions today, and I think in light of them, the interim government needs to do some serious reflection, and change its course.


4 Comments on “ElBaradei Resigns as Egyptian VP”

  1. A coup is a coup is a coup. I never understood why ElBaradei supported the coup. By joining the regime he was supporting the remnants of the old regime and the corrupt military, and pushing Islamic forces to take up arms, igniting a civil war.

    I personally do not like the Brotherhood in particular, and any role for religion in governance – but not in politics – in general. But, the only way to bring Islamic groups into the mainstream is by letting the rule when they win elections. They were prevented from doing so in Algeria 20 years ago, and the result was a civil war that killed 200,000. We may see the same in Egypt.

    • Dan Joyner says:

      I completely agree. You just can’t run a democracy by revolutioning every time you don’t like what the government is doing. You’ve got to settle these things at the ballot box. Believe me, during the Bush years there were alot of us in the US who felt he was fundamentally harming our country, and who would have revolutioned if that’s how it worked. But we waited and played by the rules and eventually we had enough support to get him and his type out of office. Morsy may have done very disagreeable things in office, but I don’t see anything he did that justified an extra-constitutional deposing. It’s not about whether you support Morsy and his particular policies. It’s about supporting a democratic, rule of law based governmental system.

      • Johnboy says:

        That’s the rub, isn’t it? Governments can turn out to be screw-ups.

        It Happens.

        But a democracy has a mechanism for dealing with governments that are screw-ups, and it is called “re-election”.

        You screw up, ya’ don’t get re-elected.
        You don’t screw up, ya’ do get re-elected.

        Morsi may or may not have led a government of screw-ups. Whatever.

        But the Egyptian army has no right – none whatsoever – to instigate a coup against his government merely because the military believes that he is incompetent.

        That. Is. The. Job. Of. The. Electorate.

        Honestly, if Obama can’t call this a military coup then what, exactly, is it?

  2. I completely agree with you, Dan, that military coup must be condemned or not condoned by democracies like the US. What is interesting is that the African Union (AU) was the first IGO to denounce the ‘coup’ which led to the suspension of any dealings of the Union and that of its members with Egypt. However, I also feel that the Egyptian situation was different from other usual coups’, as it was a either a response to popular demand or disguised by it, as I have argued in my recent post with EJIL: Talk (http://www.ejiltalk.org/author/zyihdego/). However, what happened in the last 36 hours or so is concrete evidence of the fact that ousting Morsi by might was not only wrong but dangerous. I will post the implications of the situation for arms control law and the arms trade asap.

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