17 April 2013, 16:47

Will Brahimi challenge the Arab League?

Лахдар Брахими

Rumors that Lakhdar Brahimi, the United Nations and League of Arab States’ special representative for Syria, may resign are strongly exaggerated. According to UN diplomatic sources, he intendsto distance himself from the LAS, while retaining his post as a UN emissary. Brahimi has every reason to be disappointed with the Arab League’s tough stance on Syria.

The LAS took the opposition’sside and refuses to see President Bashar Al-Assad as a potential negotiatingpartner. The last drop in Brahimi’s patience was the LAS March summit’sdecision to give Syria’s seat at the League to the irreconcilable opposition.The LAS has repeatedly urged comprehensive aid to the Syrian rebels, including military aid. Brahimi’s mandate as a peace mediator in theSyrian crisis does not allow him to take sides but obliges him to be strictlyimpartial. That’s probably why he wants to slam the door in the League’s faceafter accusing it of seeking to destroy Syria. Being just a UN envoy will enable Brahimi to maintain neutrality, says Said Gafurov, a researcher at theInstitute of Applied Oriental and African Studies in Moscow.  

"Brahimi’s position is reasonable, justified and noble. It rests on hispersonal integrity and political expediency. Brahimi’s position has very goodprospects and may actually promote a political solution to the Syrian problem. The information I receive from my friends in Syria shows that the military situation there is changing in favor of Damascus. A military victory over the rebels willpave the way for a political settlement. And then Brahimi’s mission wil lcontribute to resolving the crisis through political means. A military solution just doesn’t exist." 

As long as outside support forradial Syrian rebels continues and as long as money and weapons are pumped in,no solution is possible, says Director of the Moscow-based Institute of theMiddle East Yevgeny Satanovsky.

"What is happening in Syria is a civilwar. It is inspired, financed and orchestrated from abroad. That Qatar, SaudiArabia and Turkey are involved in that and have full support from the West isan open secret. The situation in Syria is such that there is absolutely nochance for a settlement. Lakhdar Brahimi may have harbored some noble illusions,which certainly does him credit, but his mission was doomed from the very start."

Brahimi’s predecessor Kofi Annanresigned last summer after failing to find points of tangency between Damascusand the opposition and also because a number of Arab monarchies, Turkey and theWest provided moral, military and financial support to the Syrian rebels. It lookslike history is repeating itself. The UN Security Council is due to hold aclosed-door session on Syria soon, during which Brahimi will report the resultsof his mission. He is also expected to raise the issue of his full or partialresignation. Moscow fears it may have a negative effect on peacemaking effortsin Syria. According to Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Gennady Gatilov, Brahimidid his best to get all sides to cooperate, but the opposition stubbornlyrefuses to enter dialogue. Meanwhile, the UN Secretary General’s officialspokesman Martin Nesirky announced that Brahimi enjoys the full support of boththe UN and the Arab League. 

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