In brief: Reform leader back in politics in Egypt, founding new party
Cairo – Reform leader Mohamed ElBaradei launched a new political party Saturday that he said aims to unite Egyptians and save the country’s revolution from a messy democratic transition.
The Constitution Party marks a return to public life for ElBaradei, who declared in January that he would not run for president and that a fair vote would be impossible during a muddled transition period.
His pullout four months before the start of the presidential vote dealt a blow to the liberal and leftist groups who were behind the Jan. 25 uprising that forced Hosni Mubarak out of office last year. The groups, many of whom had found in ElBaradei a rallying figure for their calls for democracy in Egypt, had been badly defeated at the ballot box in the first parliamentary elections after Mubarak.
ElBaradei, who received the Nobel Peace Prize for his work as head of the U.N.’s nuclear watchdog agency, said a new organized political group is necessary to unite Egyptians, and prepare the youth behind the uprising for a political future.
Ex-chief of security agency splits with top Israelis on Iran
Jerusalem – The former head of Israel’s Shin Bet security agency has accused the country’s political leaders of exaggerating the effectiveness of a possible military attack on Iran, in a striking indication of Israel’s turmoil over how to deal with the Iranian nuclear program.
Yuval Diskin said Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Defense Minister Ehud Barak – who have been saber-rattling for months – have their judgment clouded by “messianic feelings” and should not be trusted to lead policy on Iran. Diskin, who headed Shin Bet until last year, said a strike might actually accelerate the Iranian program.
Shin Bet addresses security in Israel and the Palestinian Territories only and is not involved in international affairs.
Diskin’s comments deepened the sense that a rift is growing between the hawkish Netanyahu government and the security establishment over the question of a strike – and Netanyahu allies quickly rushed to his defense.