Had Mohamed ElBaradei been awarded the Nobel Peace Prize ten years ago, the prize would not have made such an impact on the international level as it did on Thursday for reasons other than his outstanding efforts in halting nuclear proliferation. In fact, his achievement is all the more special given the standing of Arabs and Muslims worldwide, currently at its lowest, primarily due to terrorism which has not spared any religion, race, age, or location.
One of the world’s most prestigious organizations has recognized ElBaradei as a man of peace who has actively sought to minimize the menace of nuclear proliferation.
His selection is in response to those who have criticized him in the past, including Arabs and Muslims who have resorted to terrorism and killing and disgraced their compatriots and those who hate all thing Arab and Muslim citing religious and ethnic differences.
The prize is important because it has been granted to a man who has assiduously negotiated to save the region from imminent danger and played as well as playing an important role to promote peace and protect the planet from nuclear confrontation and the use of weapons of mass destruction in regional wars. This award is in gratitude for the ElBaradei’s outstanding work, in exceptional circumstances, on one of the most dangerous issues to face our region and elsewhere.
Some will claim that the Egyptian head of the UN nuclear watchdog was rewarded to deprive Muslim countries and specifically Iran from building a nuclear arsenal. They are partly right but not because these countries are Muslim but because they remain a danger and we must call for them to be disarmed. The International Atomic Agency allowed Pakistan to acquire nuclear weapons because its neighbor India already had, in the hope that the two former foes would one day destroy their weapons.
For its part, Iran has a number of disputes with non- nuclear neighbors and has adopted a bullish stance fort the last quarter of a century. Tehran, despite its denials, will use its arsenal against its Arab neighbors and its current meddling in Iraq is only the beginning. Hosting al Qaeda leaders and assisting them in carrying out terrorist attacks indicate the regime intends to continue its hostile foreign policy and use its animosity towards Israel as a propaganda tool, similar to Saddam Hussein’s rhetoric during his occupation of Kuwait.
Of course, the question of Israeli nuclear weapons will haunt ElBaradei wherever he goes, as was the case recently during a press conference. But the Nobel Peace prize winner has indicated that as head of an international agency, the International Atomic Energy Agency, his mandate is to clampdown on signatory countries, such as Iran. Tehran is bound by the provisions of the treaty on the non-proliferation of nuclear weapons while Israel is not amongst signatory countries.
ElBaradei believes, as the rest of us, that Israel represents a major as it threatens the world with its nuclear and military arsenal and provides justification for other countries to acquire nuclear arms.