by Graeme Wood

Last week Andrew noted the triumphant return to Egypt of ex-IAEA chief Mohamed ElBaradei, widely believed to be the most promising political alternative to a continuation of the Mubarak clan's three decades in power.  Presidential elections are next year, and ElBaradei has already attracted a large youth following. 

Now in his Cairo villa, ElBaradei is talking rarely to journalists, and spending his time watching his Facebook group grow and playing a sly political game:

"I would only run if people coalesce around me," said ElBaradei, who has spent years based abroad.

Speaking at his home on Cairo's outskirts, he said he could keep up momentum for his call for change "from wherever I am".

[...]

Asked about his view on a possible bid by Gamal Mubarak, ElBaradei said: "I believe the current system is not free and fair, and, whoever would run under the current system, I would make it very clear that this is not democracy as it should be."

[...]

Asked if his supporters should take to the streets, ElBaradei said: "People are talking about all sorts of things and they might go to civil disobedience if there is no change."

We want to hear what you think about this article. Submit a letter to the editor or write to letters@theatlantic.com.