Thursday, February 10, 2005

Dumping an appeaser

The AP notes that the US is leaning on allies in the UN to disapprove Mohammed El Baradei's bid to retain his position of the International Atomic Energy Agency for an unprecedented third term. The US position is simple: El Baradei is a do-nothing talker who tacitly appeases Islamic regimes that seek to obtain nuclear arsenals (Pakistan - went nuclear on his watch; Iran - attempting to go nuclear; Saudi Arabia and Egypt - also endeavoring to develop nuclear capacity; Libya - was far down the road toward going nuclear before Qaddafi came [semi-]clean in the wake of the US overthrow of Saddam). The infamous A.Q. Khan nuclear weapon network thrived under El Baradei's stewardship of the IAEA -- an organization that is supposed to be the world's nuclear power watchdog -- and the NoKors went nuclear during El Baradei's misrule.

El Baradei also tried unsuccessfully to influence the US elections. He did so with a selectively timed leak from the IAEA designed to make the Bush Administration look like it had allowed the Iraqi-Saddamites to smuggle out 380 tons of WMD precursors, as we noted here.

El Baradei has constantly fought against referring Iran's non-compliance with the non-proliferation treaty to the UN Security Council for sanctions. He has also denied that Iran is seeking to gain nuclear power for weaponry, even though the Iranians have said they would do just that and use the nuke against Israel when they have it completed. The US has no faith that the Iranians will be "persuaded" by the UN and the "EU-3" (UK, France, Germany) into peacefully agreeing not to build the bomb; nor should it.

Here's the likely scenario if El Baradei is re-elected: (1) the US seeks referral of the Iranian nuclear activities to the Security Council and is rebuffed; (2) the US begins multilateral cooperation outside the UN to thwart Iran's nuclear program; (3) the US, upon fears that Iran is in fact building the bomb, takes unilateral action (or gives Israel a back-channel go-ahead) to prevent Iran from achieving its mission. If a different, and tougher, IAEA chairman is brought in, the US may play ball with the UN and the IAEA a little longer. The US should get El Baradei dumped (and Kofi Annan too, but that's for another day) and still turn up the heat on the Iranians as much as it can.

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