CAIRO (AP) — Egypt’s former vice president and democracy advocate Mohammed ElBaradei lashed out Sunday against what he called a “fascist” security-organized media campaign against him because of his calls for an inclusive political process.
ElBaradei was apparently reacting to reports accusing him of working from abroad to undermine Egypt’s transitional road map in collaboration with the Muslim Brotherhood.
The Brotherhood is facing a security crackdown since the military deposed President Mohammed Morsi, a member of the group, in July. The interim government accuses the group of inciting violence and seeking to undermine Egypt’s national security, and has rounded up hundreds of its leadership on such charges. Morsi himself is detained and facing trial on charges of inciting deadly violence against his opponents while in office.
ElBaradei, who was a vocal opponent of Morsi and was appointed vice president after his ouster, had argued that a security crackdown on the Brotherhood was counterproductive. He said its members who have not been accused of violence should be integrated into the military-backed political process. But reconciliation efforts have failed, and Morsi’s supporters insisted that he be reinstated.
ElBaradei resigned and left Egypt nearly a month after he took office in protest after security agencies moved in on two weekslong sit-ins held by Morsi supporters, in a violent crackdown that left hundreds dead. Security agencies say participants of the sit-ins were armed and constituted a threat to national security.
When he resigned, ElBaradei said he opposed bloodshed and “exclusionary” policies like those adopted by the Brotherhood while Morsi was in office.
But his resignation earned him harsh criticism by supporters of the military coup and some youth groups who had originally rallied around his call for change. The media campaign against him has intensified, with newspaper articles and talk-show hosts accusing him of plotting with the Brotherhood to undermine the new political road map, and cause chaos to destabilize the country. Reports of meetings between him and Brotherhood officials abroad were floated in the local media, often quoting security officials revealing the secret meetings.
“An organized fascist campaign from ‘sovereign security sources’ and an ‘independent’ media against those who insist on valuing life and the necessity of national reconciliation,” ElBaradei tweeted. “Violence begets violence.”
ElBaradei has often come under similar criticism over the past three years because of his vocal criticism of ousted President Hosni Mubarak, the military’s transitional rulers and Morsi. The Nobel prize laureate returned to Egypt in 2010, calling for Mubarak to step down, and rallying large segments of Egypt’s youth groups behind his call. Many viewed him as the leader of the uprising against Mubarak.
But Abdullah el-Sinawi, a political columnist in newspapers and TV shows, said ElBaradei lost much of his clout by leaving Egypt at a critical juncture, suggesting that his statements do not offer a solution to deadlocked reconciliation efforts.
“The situation in Egypt is much more complex than a 140-character tweet,” el-Sinawi said.