|Biographical detail : ||He dreamt of a world free of nuclear arms.
Muhammad El Baradei wanted ‘a security structure that turns the Middle East into a zone free from nuclear and other weapons of mass destruction.’
While in office as world’s chief nuclear inspector, Muhammad El Baradei, had proved repeatedly that he was no faceless international bureaucrat doing the bidding of the great powers. He had no qualms about speaking his mind even when his message was unpopular.
As America prepared to invade Iraq, in 2003, El Baradei withstood US pressure to exaggerate the threat of Saddam Hussein’s nuclear potential while insisting that weapons inspectors should be allowed more time to establish the truth about Iraq arms programmes. He told the Security Council less than two weeks before the start of invasion on Iraq by the American led forces that there was “no evidence, or plausible indication of the revival, of a nuclear weapon programme in Iraq.” He also contradicted US allegations that Iraq had tried to buy uranium from Niger.
El Baradei also hinted that Israel’s presumed arsenal of unconventional arms should become a topic for discussion. Without a security dialogue in the Middle East, he warned, the countries of the region would always find an incentive to try to develop prohibited weapons to match the Israeli arsenal.
The Nobel committee bestowed el-Baradei the prestigious award for 2005; the man who dared to tell the Americans that the main plank of the US argument for waging war on Iraq was based on lie.
He decided against standing for fourth term as the International Atomic Energy Agency’s director general and stood down in November 2009.
He was a hated figure in Washington’s corridors of power and that El Baradei explains in his book, The Age Of Deception: Nuclear Diplomacy in Treacherous Times, why the Americans despised him.
Muhammad El Baradei was born in Egypt and was trained as a lawyer. He joined Egyptian diplomatic service, became special assistant to the foreign minister (1974-78). He headed international law programme at UN institute for Training and Research (1980-84), taught at New York University (1981-87).