Monday, September 26, 2005

ElBaradei Approved for Third IAEA Term

The IAEA approved Mohamed ElBaradei as head of the 139-nation nuclear energy oversight commission for his third consecutive term. The US had originally opposed his approval due to ElBaradei's soft stance on nuclear weapons research in Muslim countries, specifically Iran and Iraq. (Syracuse.Com: IAEA chief OK'd for third term). The US withdrew opposition several months ago when it became obvious he would be confirmed anyway.

ElBaradei's prior two terms have been less than impressive. Under his watch, at least three nations successfully joined the Nuclear Club with both Pakistan and India conducting nuclear tests and North Korea announcing they have at least seven nuclear warheads. Meanwhile, Iran continues to pursue nuclear technology despite efforts by the US for the last two years to obtain IAEA intervention.

The IAEA under ElBaradei has been essentially leaderless, and the UN watchdog agency has proven to be ineffective at best. The reappointment of ElBaradei over western objections underscores a major problem with the UN as a whole. It is in the best interests of the non-nuclear bearing nations to have a weak figurehead at the helm of the IAEA, and they have certainly achieved that with the reappointment of ElBaradei. What we can expect over the next four years is more of the same: nothing.

At the very least, the IAEA needs to be run by someone from one of the nuclear bearing nations. Since the goal of the IAEA is nuclear nonproliferation, it simply does not make sense to have the commission run by someone from a nation and culture that would benefit militarily from the development of nuclear technology. As it stands now, the organization is ineffective and all-to-often turns its back on the obvious problem. That won't change, at least over the course of the next four years.


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