Friday, February 19, 2010

El-Baradei, the home coming man

Egypt, or many Egyptians at least, are quite excited these days: Mohammed El-Baradei, the former chief of the International Atomic Energie Agencey IAEA yesterday returned to Egypt. Many crowded, in spite of a large police presence, at the aiport in order to see if he would speak (what in the end he did not do) and to welcome him.
Why all this fuss? Baradei has annnounced that he will stand for president in the upcoming 2011 elections. And the prospect that someone credible and (somewhat) popular is going to be a contender for the Mubarak throne (which, as is widely expected is going to be passed on by the older Mubarak to his son Gamal) is really thrilling to many Egyptians who are sick and tired of all those years of Mubarak and his omni present National Democratic Party. El-Baradei already has a real campaign with a website, and a small campain headquarters led by a certain Abdel Rahman Youssef (who, as Iskander Amrani of the blog The  Arabist revealed, interestingly enough is the son of sheikh Youssef al-Qaradawi, a one time Muslim Brother and a famous Sunni moslim scholar). What the real impact of Baradei's campaign will be, now and in the long run, is still unclear, but will probably  transpire in the coming days and weeks.

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