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A Daily Analysis
By Marc Schulman

November 8, 2007 Israel Campaigns to have Mohamed El Baradei Replaced

Yesterday I wrote about the criticism the Director General of the Foreign Ministry leveled against Mohamed El Baradei.  Today, Transport Minister and former Defense Minister Shaul Mofaz publicly called for El Baradei’s resignation. Israel has always been careful not to criticize El Baradei. Why the sudden change in policy?

In the last few months El Baradei has been the leading figure on the international scene to come out against sanctions for Iran.  He has been claiming that his agreement with the Iranians to slowly put the Iranian nuclear program back under international supervision is the best way to proceed.  He has further stated that sanctions are counter- productive.  His statements have been used by China and Russia to justify their opposition to the UN Security Council passing further sanctions.

Why is El Baradei taking the position he has? It’s not clear.  Some think its because he want to remain in the game, if a sanctions regime is imposed by the UN, and Iran cuts off any ties with the IAE then his role is finished. Others think it his way of exacting revenge against the United States for undermining him and the IAE commission in the run up to the Iraq war.

There may be another reason, but it's not really relevant.  What is relevant is the fact that the sanctions against Iran are clearly causing dissension within and without the Iranian government. The economic sanctions are hurting Iran. Is it enough to force them to stop building a nuclear weapon?  That is unclear.  But this seems to be the best option Israel, the United States and its allies have at the moment.  President Bush continues upping the ante- he clarified his earlier remarks about World War III today in an interview, in which he stated that World War III would break out if Iran tried to attack Israel with nuclear weapons.  Bush's rhetoric is designed to help convince as many countries as possible to go along with sanctions- The implication is if you do not go along with sanctions you are enabling a world war. El Baradei is standing in the way of the sanctions and thus, he is now fair game.