JERUSALEM — Mohamed ElBaradei, the favored candidate to head a transitional government in Egypt, was a longtime member of a George Soros-funded “crisis” group with deep ties to the Middle East revolutions.
Soros himself is one of eight members of the executive committee of the International Crisis Group, or ICG.
ElBaradei suspended his board membership in the ICG in January 2011 after he returned to Egypt to help direct protests then led to the ouster of president Hosni Mubarak. ElBaradei was an early presidential candidate in the elections to replace Mubarak.
Now, ElBaradei is widely reported to be the favored candidate to head a transitional government after the military overthrow of Muslim Brotherhood-backed President Mohamed Morsi.
"ElBaradei is our first choice," a source close to the military high command, which selects the transition president, told Reuters.
ElBaradei is also the reported pick of the main alliance of liberal and left-wing parties youth groups that led the anti-Morsi protests.
He is a former United Nations nuclear agency chief and a Nobel Prize winner for his work as head of the International Atomic Energy Agency.
ElBaradei was also a longtime member of the ICG board alongside Soros.
U.S. board members of the ICG include Zbigniew Brzezinski, who was national security adviser to Jimmy Carter; Samuel Berger, Bill Clinton’s national security adviser; and retired U.S. ambassador Thomas Pickering, who made headlines in 2009 after meeting with Hamas leaders and calling for the U.S. to open ties to the Islamic group.
Pickering was the State Department’s lead investigator into the Sept. 11, 2012, attack against the U.S. facilities in Benghazi following the ouster of Libya’s leader, Muammar Gadhafi.
Another ICG member is Robert Malley, a former adviser to Obama during the 2008 presidential campaign who resigned after it was exposed he had communicated with Hamas.
WND was first to report that Malley had petitioned for dialogue with Hamas. Malley is the ICG’s Middle East and North Africa Program Director.
Malley is now reportedly on a shortlist for the post of deputy assistant secretary of state for Near Eastern Affairs, according to the Washington Free Beacon.
The ICG, meanwhile, defines itself as an “independent, non-profit, multinational organization, with 100 staff members on five continents, working through field-based analysis and high-level advocacy to prevent and resolve deadly conflict.”
The ICG is one of the main proponents of the international “Responsibility to Protect” doctrine.
The doctrine is the very military protocol used to justify the NATO bombing campaign that brought down Gadhafi's regime in Libya.
Gareth Evans, president emeritus of the ICG, is the founder and co-author of the doctrine.
President Obama’s national security adviser, Samantha Power, helped to craft Responsibility to Protect, which was also devised by several controversial characters, including Palestinian legislator Hanan Ashrawi, a staunch denier of the Holocaust who long served as the deputy of late Palestinian Liberation Organization leader Yasser Arafat.
Powers in April 2012 was named the head of the new White House Atrocities Prevention Board.
Responsibility to Protect, or Responsibility to Act, as cited by Obama, is a set of principles, now backed by the United Nations, based on the idea that sovereignty is not a privilege but a responsibility that can be revoked if a country is accused of “war crimes,” “genocide,” “crimes against humanity” or “ethnic cleansing.”
The term “war crimes” has at times been indiscriminately used by various U.N.-backed international bodies, including the International Criminal Court, or ICC, which applied it to Israeli anti-terror operations in the Gaza Strip. There has been fear the ICC could be used to prosecute U.S. troops.
The Global Centre for Responsibility to Protect is the world’s leading champion of the military doctrine. Soros’ Open Society Institute is a primary funder and key proponent of the Global Centre. Several of the doctrine’s main founders sit on boards with Soros.
The committee that devised the Responsibility to Protect doctrine included Arab League Secretary General Amre Moussa as well as Palestinian legislator Ashrawi.
Soros also has other ties to opposition groups in the Middle East.
His Open Society Institute’s Middle East and North Africa Initiative has provided numerous grants to a wide range of projects that promote so-called democratic issues across the region, including in Egypt.
Soros’ Open Society also funded the main opposition voice in Tunisia, Radio Kalima, which championed the riots there that led to the ouster of President Zine El Abidine Ben Ali.
In September 2011, Soros’ group was looking to expand its operations in Egypt by hiring a new project manager for its Egyptian Initiative for Personal Rights, which is run in partnership with the Open Society Justice Initiative.
The group is seeking to develop a national network of legal empowerment actors for referral of public-interest law cases.
Soros himself in February 2011 made public statements in support of the anti-Mubarak protests in Egypt in which he cited ElBaradei.
In a Washington Post editorial titled “Why Obama Has to Get Egypt Right,” Soros recognized that if free elections were held in Egypt, “the Brotherhood is bound to emerge as a major political force, though it is far from assured of a majority.”
He stated the U.S. has “much to gain by moving out in front and siding with the public demand for dignity and democracy” in Egypt.
He claimed the Muslim Brotherhood’s "cooperation with Mohamed ElBaradei … is a hopeful sign that it intends to play a constructive role in a democratic political system.”
Soros did not mention his ties to ElBaradei.
Soros did, however, single out Israel as “the main stumbling block” in paving the way toward transition in the Middle East.
“In reality, Israel has as much to gain from the spread of democracy in the Middle East as the United States has. But Israel is unlikely to recognize its own best interests because the change is too sudden and carries too many risks,” he wrote.