, LONDON, Apr 1 – Former UN nuclear chief Mohamed ElBaradei has warned the West\’s support of authoritarian regimes in the Middle East risks encouraging Islamic extremism, in an interview Thursday with a British paper.
"There is a need for re-evaluation," he told the Guardian newspaper.
"The idea that the only alternative to authoritarian regimes is [Osama] Bin Laden and co is a fake one, yet continuation of current policies will make that prophecy come true."
ElBaradei, Egypt\’s most high-profile dissident who until the end of 2009 headed the International Atomic Energy Agency, said he saw "increasing radicalisation" in the Arab world.
"People feel repressed by their own governments, they feel unfairly treated by the outside world, they wake up in the morning and who do they see — they see people being shot and killed, all Muslims from Afghanistan, Iraq, Somalia, Sudan, Darfur."
Western policy in the region amounted to a "total failure", said ElBaradei, who returned to Cairo in February after stepping down as head of the nuclear watchdog.
"Western policy towards this part of the world has been a total failure, in my view," he told the paper at his home in the Egyptian capital.
"It has not been based on dialogue, understanding, supporting civil society and empowering people, but rather it\’s been based on supporting authoritarian systems as long as the oil keeps pumping."
The former nuclear watchdog\’s chief has said he would be willing to run for Egyptian president in 2011 against incumbent Hosni Mubarak, who has been in power since 1981.
ElBaradei, 67, returned from Vienna to a rapturous welcome from supporters and has been leading a reformist campaign.