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Brahimi, Said to Have Nobel, Says "Too Soon" on Assad, Fabius' Threat?

By Matthew Russell Lee

UNITED NATIONS, August 18, updated -- The Lakhdar Brahimi public relations machine kicked into gear on August 17 after he was named Joint Special Representative to Syria.

  He did phone interviews first with French state media France 24, telling them that the UN only cares about helping the Syrian people.

  Later on August 17 Brahimi did a phone interview with Al Jazeera English, which put together a package with old footage of him embracing South Africa's then Ambassador Dumisani Kumalo in the UN Security Council, which mentioning that Brahimi serves on The Elders with Nelson Mandela.

   On August 18 Brahimi called Reuters, which then wrote for yet another time that Brahami is "a Nobel Peace laureate."

  But a simple search of the official Nobel web site does not turn up the name Brahimi. A Nobel was given in 1988 to UN Peacekeeping, but if that makes Brahimi a Nobel laureate many others can claim that same prize. So why the designation? We'll wait and see.

Update: while others took note of this fact-check, the "Brahimi as Nobel Peace laureate" phrase continued to proliferate, from Reuters to SABC, Malta Today, Euronews, Ghana Broadcasting Corporation, Eyewitness News, Channel 4

Brahimi has said it's too early for him to say if Assad should leave power. In this, he differs from Annan, and is sure to make Moscow, Damascus and at least 10 other capitals happy.

  But, at least in terms of the US presidential election, of Hillary Clinton's and the US Mission to the UN's quick rote praise of Brahimi?

  On the other hand, French foreign minister Laurent Fabius, appearing with Turkish foreign minister Davotoglu, said that Bashar al Assad "has no place on this planet" or "doesn't deserve to be on this earth."

  What with Ban Ki-moon's quick criticism of Iranian statements about Israel, one wondered if he or the UN might express some view of Fabius' dictum. But so far, no.

  It was reported that Egypt's Muslim Brotherhood presidency would like to be one of four regional powers to address Syria, along with Saudi Arabia, Kuwait and Iran. The exclusion of Qatar would surely be noted, and loudly, not least on Al Jazeera.

  Amid conflicting reports of the defection of Assad's vice president, some notes that Saudi Al Arabiya was all over the defection while Al Jazeera stayed quiet. Was this new restraint? Or indicative that Saudi and Qatar have dibs on different defectors? Watch this site.

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