Woe The ElBaradei Policy Initiatives
I don't know about you, but I am tiring rapidly of what I call the ElBaradei policy initiatives. Latest case in point, the friction over his insistance that Syria be allowed to pursue nuclear technology. What is it with this man and state sponsors of terrorism being "innocent until proven guilty"?
The Syrian request was harmless, he said.
"This project did not parachute out of the sky. We have been working with Syria since 1979 with a view to introducing nuclear power. Thirty years!" he said. "All the equipment that is provided is relevant to the project, and is of an innocuous nature. None of it requires any [nuclear] safeguards."
Above all, ElBaradei said the Western pressure reflected poorly on the agency's independence.
"I am concerned about the concerns expressed because they cast doubt on the ability of the [IAEA] secretariat to conduct itself with the necessary professionalism and impartiality," he said.
ElBaradei has reacted strongly at other times when he felt that nations were impugning his credibility. Last year he walked out of board meeting after perceiving too much criticism of a plan he had brokered with Iran to examine that nation's past nuclear activities (see GSN, Sept. 12, 2007).
"This latest clash between Dr. ElBaradei and the Bush administration and some Western powers is reminiscent of other clashes in recent years," said a senior IAEA official. "It goes back to his insistence on maintaining the agency's independence, following due process and preventing the IAEA from becoming a kangaroo court" (Greg Webb, Global Security Newswire, Nov. 25).
Despite ElBaradei's complaints, U.S. officials yesterday continued to rail against the Syrian request.Providing IAEA assistance would be "totally inappropriate, we believe, given the fact that Syria is under investigation by the IAEA for building a nuclear reactor outside the bounds of its international legal commitments," U.S. State Department Spokesman Sean McCormack said yesterday. "And then for the IAEA to be involved in providing technical information concerning nuclear activities would seem to be contradictory, if not ironic."
Well, I have other more colorful adjectives to describe the IAEA's provision of nuclear technical assistance of any level to a state sponsor of terrorism.
But then, one American Cowboy Nation's state sponsor of terrorism is another UN agency's "innocent until proven guilty" purveyor of electricity generation.
As ElBaradei himself said with such conviction, "Thirty years!"
Indeed, sir. Thrity years.