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ElBaradei Says U.S. Should Tell Mubarak to Give Up Power in Egypt

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Mohamed ElBaradei, who has emerged as one of the leading opponents of the regime of President Hosni Mubarak of Egypt, said Sunday that President Obama needed to press Mubarak to give up power and that failing to take more forceful action to make that happen will cost the United States "whatever is left" of its credibility.

"People expected the U.S. to be on the side of the people ... and to let go of a dictator, " ElBaradei said on ABC's "This Week."

ElBaradei said the response of Mubarak so far to the protests and calls for reform by the United States "doesn't even begin to address people's concerns. Peoples' concerns right now is Mubarak has to go, immediately. The first step, if we need to get out of this mess -- and it's total mess, security is not there, it's a total chaos situation right now -- first step, he has to go."

Later on Sunday, ElBaradei joined thousands of demonstrators gathered in Cairo's central square. "You are the owners of this revolution," he told the crowd. "You are the future. Our essential demand is the departure of the regime and the beginning of a new Egypt in which each Egyptian lives in virtue, freedom and dignity."

ElBaradei said, in his interview with ABC, that Obama's public statement, calling on Mubarak to undertake reforms, fell short of what was needed. "To ask a dictator to implement democratic measures after 30 years in power is an oxymoron," he said.

"They need to side with the people," ElBaradei said. "They need to go for ... transition, smooth transition, through a government of national salvation. This is only way out."

ElBaradei is the former head of the International Atomic Energy Agency and a Nobel Prize winner. He returned to Egypt after the protests erupted against the government to join the opposition. He was placed under house arrest Friday afternoon.

Speaking on the CNN's foreign affairs program "GPS," ElBaradei called Mubarak's response to the protests "a hopeless desperate attempt ... to stay in power."

Mubarak appeared on television Friday, promising reform, firing his cabinet and naming a vice president for the first time since he took power. But at the same time, he said he needed to protect the stability of the country and has deployed troops in the streets and cut off cell phone access, and access to the Internet.

Appearing on the Sunday news shows, Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton said the United States was not satisfied with steps taken by Mubarak so far, but she carefully finessed questions about whether the administration believed Mubarak needed to step down.

However, Clinton also put more distance between the administration and Mubarak by saying what was most important was not who was in power, but that Egypt become a true democracy.

"It's not a question of who retains power," she said on ABC. "That should not be the issue. It's how are we going to respond to the legitimate needs and grievances expressed by the Egyptian people and chart a new path."

Asked on "Fox News Sunday" whether the "Obama administration still backs Mubarak as the legitimate president of Egypt," Clinton said: "We have been very clear that we want to see a transition to democracy. And we want to see the kind of steps taken that will bring that about. We also want to see an orderly transition."

She added: "What President Obama and I have been doing is sending a very clear message about where the United States stands. We want to see an orderly transition to a democratic government, to economic reforms, exactly what the protesters are seeking."

When Clinton was asked on CBS' "Face the Nation" whether reform was possible if Mubarak stays in office, she said: "I'm not going to speculate. What we are focused on now is a transition that will meet the needs of the Egyptian people and that will truly establish democracy, not just for one election and then no more elections after that or not for radicals, extremists, violent elements to take over."

And on NBC's "Meet the Press," when asked whether she would like to see Mubarak stay in power, Clinton said to host David Gregory: "You keep trying to put words in my mouth. I've never said that, I don't intend to say that. I want the Egyptian people to have the chance to chart a new future. It needs to be an orderly, peaceful transition to real democracy. Not faux democracy, like the elections we saw in Iran two years ago where you have one election 30 years ago and then the people just keep staying in power and become less and less responsive to their people."

The New York Times reported Sunday that the White House "has refrained from calling publicly for Mr. Mubarak to step down ... because it worried about losing its leverage over him and about contributing to a political vacuum in Egypt, which could be filled by extremist, anti-American forces."

However, ElBaradei said on CNN that "it is loud and clear from everybody in Egypt that Mubarak has to leave today, and it is non-negotiable for every Egyptian."

Asked about Obama's statements so far, he said, "I can tell you in honesty, as a friend of the U.S., that your policy right now is a failed policy, it is a policy that is lagging behind" and that the U.S. is "losing whatever is left of [its] credibility."

He said Mubarak will inevitably have to give up power and that "It's better for President Obama not to appear he is the last one to say to President Mubarak, 'It's time for you to go leave in dignity before things are going out of hand.'"

ElBaradei said that the fear a post-Mubarak Egypt would turn into another Islamic fundamentalist country like Iran "was a myth that was sold by the Mubarak regime" to keep the support of Western governments.

He said the Muslim Brotherhood, which had the largest organized opposition to the government, did not pose the threat of turning Egypt into another Iran.

"This is totally bogus," ElBaradei said. "They are no way extremists. They are no way using violence. They are not a majority of the Egyptian people. They will not be more than maybe 20 percent of the Egyptian people. You have to include them like, you know, new evangelical, you know, groups in the U.S., like the orthodox Jews in Jerusalem."

ElBaradei said that there was a "100 percent difference" between Egypt and Iran.

Looking to the future, ElBaradei said, "There have been a number of declarations by different parts of Egyptian society, from right, left and center, mandating me to work with the army, with everybody in Egypt with the outside world ... to ensure a smooth transition."

However, he said that as of Sunday morning, he had not been in contact with army leaders.

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706 Comments

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morrisonwilliam5

Mr. ElBaradei's intentions may be good, but he could never be more wrong. The U.S. or any other nation for that matter has the right to tell any leader he needs to go, Egypet included.That's for him and his fellow citizenry to do.

Bill Morrison

February 05 2011 at 11:34 AM Report abuse +2 rate up rate down Reply
asglir

McCain said that ElBaradei is no friend to the US ....this guy seems like a rank opportunist to me.McCain said that ElBaradei could be a figurehead for the Muslim Brotherhood and they would set up a government that would resemble Iran more than a democracy....funny how this article leaves out the McCain comments...Don't let the lefty newsmedia prop up this guy liberals in the US make up 20% of the population and they control a lot....they would ban free speech and have the government mandate anyting tht it wants...ie healthcare...ElBaradei would be worse than Mubarak...as McCain says El Baradei has hardly spent any time in Egypt.... he most likely is a puppet for the radicals

February 04 2011 at 3:48 PM Report abuse +2 rate up rate down Reply
beyefh

Uh ya might wanna take a look at who and what handpicks those "leaders" in the Middle East. And who and what yanks them out of those positions when they are no longer of value.

The Vatican has been at it for a LONG time, creating designs and havoc to gain control of the Middle East. (Read some of the really old reports from that area). The only traction the Vatican ever gained was violence, not a complete takeover except in some very small areas. It was, by the way, the Vatican who originally came up with the idea to relocated all the Jews to Israel -- and claim God wanted it to be so. Then somehow England and the USA got hitched to the Vatican agenda, and they all together began handpicking the "leadership" often deliberately picking goons for those positions. That tactic is never about good government for those people. It's only about the fact it's easier for the control freaks to get rid of a goon so they (England or the Vatican) can take ratchet control of the area.

It would be no surprise to discover the Vatican is playing a key role in what is happening in Egypt right now -- and England as well. Both seem to be hiding behind silence right now -- or diversions such as another "royal wedding" (that nobody cares about).

That entire Mubarak thing stank to high heaven from the get-go, and it still stinks of goons with hidden hands. Now it appears the Vatican and/or England is cleaning house in several Middle Eastern areas to prepare for the next set of handpicked goons they can control -- for a while at least. If you notice, they change their handpicked goons every so many years -- about the same time they decide their hands aren't bloody enough and also decide to change their underwear.

Follow the murders, assassinations and violence. It's always the same stinking agenda goons who happen to be very dangerous control freaks.

The goons always have the same message -- do as I say or you die.

Mubarak never should have been in a position of authority and it appears the hidden hands are done with another creep. England seems to think only they have some sort of superior knowledge of what is best for people. Noting the mess in England that has been very longterm, they might want to reconsider their nutty ideas. Herding their population into cities from rural areas turned out not to be such a good idea. (Did ya get that USA authorities????).

I suppose England and the Vatican would also create havoc in the USA should we refuse to play the role of their junkyard dog any more.

February 04 2011 at 8:40 AM Report abuse -1 rate up rate down Reply
fredlynn07

Egypt is a soverin country. We can't demand anything. It would be nice if everyone in the world would stop requireing us to solve their problems

February 03 2011 at 6:42 PM Report abuse +2 rate up rate down Reply
viamarineusa

I would agree, we were born of revolution and absent of violence this has been, to this point a true peoples revolution,the time has come for us to stand shoulder to shoulder with the people of the revoluion. Mubarek needs to leave.

February 02 2011 at 5:21 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
vicbar88

I know that Muslims are not all Islamic Extremists but there is a lot of influence that comes from those extremists which tells me that a Muslim Brotherhood needs to be carefully watched from a safe striking distance in case things go bad for U.S, and Western interests and for the people of Egypt. This one will have to be handled with kid gloves, experience and finesse, and from an objective view point that obviously this cannot provide.

February 02 2011 at 11:41 AM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply
JBD

alpcoutinho: “…you have tugs and extreme shiites which are not aftraid to kill or to die, like in Iran.”

I might add like in Iraq and Afghanistan also. In fact, shortly after we leave those countries they will become Islamic Law governments. I’m not anti-military (I worked with our military for 40 years and love our patriotic men and women), but my question is can anyone in this country use logic and common sense? Like Vietnam, if we are going to leave sooner or later without winning, why not leave now and save thousands of American lives. Most certainly we have a dilemma – we cannot occupy the Middle East forever and if we “abandon” those countries, most will go fundamentalist; if we stay there we will go bankrupt! Simple logic says if we leave the Middle East, Muslims will be fighting among themselves so the fundamentalist don’t really win, but if we go bankrupt they do. Osama’s plan was never to conquer the U.S.A., it was to bankrupt us just like the Soviet Union was bankrupted.

Our most logical move right now is to get out of the Middle East, create an anti-terrorism unit of SOFs, Rangers, GOOD CIA, etc. to work with Mossad and other country’s counter terrorist groups -- to kill terrorist anywhere in the world who are plotting against free countries. Instead of “nation building,” we need to go back to our founding fathers' notion of staying out of other country’s problems and protecting our homeland.

Anyone who has taken a close, objective look at our social programs knows that the financial problems caused by these programs will be in the future (SS in 2050). ObamaCare, notwithstanding, we are on the verge of bankruptcy because we must be the “Policemen for the World.” Close down the Dept of Homeland Security and create the terrorist killing machine mentioned above; bring our troops home from all over the world (750 military bases overseas alone); stop buying exotic military-gear we don’t need to fight guerrillas; cancel stupid 30 year projects like Star Wars that still don’t work; forget the F-22 that we don’t need and use all the savings to protect our country from rag-tag terrorists, reduce our debt and take care of OUR CITIZENS. How about it Obama??

January 31 2011 at 11:56 AM Report abuse +7 rate up rate down Reply
alpcoutinho

Without the military backing any government, there is no future for any attempt of a more "participative" society in Egypt, with or without Mubarak, because on the other side you have tugs and extreme shiites which are not aftraid to kill or to die, like in Iran. Mubarak is not such a bad guy.
Civil issues are and should be the main issues of the 21 century.
Religions is still playing a major role in our societies and that should be ended.
If Muslims and catholics and other religion followers would know a little bit more about what is around us and which they cannot see, they would be more, much more wise, and civil issues could then be dealt with in a completely diferent setting, because Humans would be much more rational that they are now.

January 31 2011 at 5:52 AM Report abuse +3 rate up rate down Reply
sgentilejr

Egypt is YOUR problem___everyone of you, because all the oil in the middle east goes through the Suez Canal inside Egypt. If we end up paying $5.00 for a gallon of gasoline___you will lean fast how much it is YOUR problem.
President Mubarak has been a steadfast supporter of US policy for he past 30 years. Turning our back and allowing Egypt to fall to Islamic Radicals would be a huge mistake. We have this mess with Iran today only because the former Shah of Iran who supported the USA fell to radicals 30 years ago.

January 31 2011 at 5:48 AM Report abuse +7 rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to sgentilejr's comment
vicbar88

Interesting points - I think you may have something there. When the Muslim brotherhood takes control and the cost to use the canal skyrockets people will all be singing different tunes.

February 02 2011 at 11:43 AM Report abuse +2 rate up rate down Reply
gamas2004

It"s a perfect time for us to stop aid, see what happenns, then open up negotiations with the new government. We have seen in the past money doesn't make friends, they hate us anyway, so, the people of Egypt could go into the stone age or choose the light, meanwhile, that year of aid money could go to our southern border for fences and weapons.

January 31 2011 at 5:46 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to gamas2004's comment
vicbar88

The money could be used to create some much needed jobs in the form of another branch of service namely the Border Patrol - one Northern and one Southern which will create jobs, stimulate the economy, and put us on a real path to recovery at the same time securing our country.

February 02 2011 at 11:54 AM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply

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