Why Brahimi is a much better fit for Syria

Visiting Scholar for the Carnegie Middle East Center´s Sami Moubayed has got it all right. His magnificent article Brahimi won´t risk his reputation in vain highlights the poignant truth about of one of the most serious mistakes the international community (and particularly both the UN and the League of Arab States) has made since the breaking out of the conflict: choosing the wrong mediator. And taking into account the many many (many) things at stake, it really shocks me why nearly nobody stressed that fact earlier. Appointing an special envoy to show unity/consensus and be able to speak to Assad? Great idea. Not bearing in mind what was exactly needed? Failure. Even though he will have to face several setbacks, let´s only hope Brahimi´s appointment somehow clears the path of the Syrian mess…
His advantages, as presented by Moubayed:
  • He is “the man who helped end Lebanon’s civil war, who managed Iraq’s troubled post-Saddam elections, and propped up Hamid Karzai as president of Afghanistan” (well, I´m not sure this last point could even be considered an achievement, but that is another story)
  • He is “an Arab Muslim who knows the Middle East inside out”; Annan wasn´t, and that was clearly a matter of concern for Syrians themselves
  • “His positions brought him often to Damascus” and knows the Syrian´s “fears, concerns and mentality”
  • He “won’t sound like an Orientalist approaching the region with white gloves”
  • He “won’t take things at face value”; he is bound to resort to sound judgement when confronted with different versions of the same story
  • “People trust and respect him, not only in Syria but globally”; Annan, a former UN Secretary General, was broadly respected, but also had to bear the consequence of the spread mistrust towards the UN system.
  • Last but not least, “he won’t risk his reputation for a failed mission in Syria which, if it materialises, would probably be his last before retirement”.
The article I am talking about also raises one outstanding question: “what will Brahimi’s point of reference be?” Annan’s six points plan? The 30 June Contact Group Geneva conference? The Cairo-held opposition meeting? The UNSC and LAS Resolutions? We will have to wait and see, even though time has been running out for months in Syria…



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