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On Eve of Return to NY at 81, Brahimi's Jordan & Anti-Election Links Eyed

By Matthew Russell Lee, 1 in a series

UNITED NATIONS, August 22 -- With Lakhdar Brahimi on his way to the UN in New York, already some bad-mouthing of him has started. The opposition's critique is not only of his statement that it's too early for him to say that Assad must go, but is more fundamental.

  "Wasn't he part of annulling the Islamists' electoral victory in Algeria?" one source pointedly asked.

  Another pointed out Brahimi's connection by daughter's marriage high into Jordan's royal family.

   Inner City Press, which has pointed out that contrary to wire and then other reports Brahimi is NOT a "Nobel Peace laureate" was itself corrected, for having said Brahimi is 78.

  "He's 81," a source said, noting that in 2004 Brahimi presented himself in Iran as being 73 years old. Once this is confirmed, as the Nobel Foundation confirmed to Inner City Press that Brahimi is NOT a Nobel Peace laureate, we will have more.

   So why did Brahimi take the job? One source said, "These guys just can't stand to give up power, even if it is only the UN kind of power."

  It was predicted Brahimi will try for a smaller team than Annan, perhaps keeping on Ahmad Fawzi and trying to place three or four people in Damascus. That, like after his meeting with Francois Hollande, he will now present himself as in the "listening mode."

   And that it is late, too late, for a mediated solution. "This will be decided," a well placed UN source said, "on the ground."

   The problem is that there are many, many armed groups in the opposition, he said. There's an Al Qaeda-like movement; there's the Muslim Brotherhood, supported by Egypt and Qatar. And then there are 200 groups, who control areas here and there and will not bow down to any Syrian outside. So even if a deal is cut, "these guys won't stop."

   "This will be a failure for the UN," the UN source concluded. "It will be seen as weak and ineffectual. Ban Ki-moon is trying to avoid the fall-out by appointing one high profile envoy after another, and letting them take the heat." The source paused and then marveled, "It's actually pretty smart."

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Click here for Sept 26, 2011 New Yorker on Inner City Press at UN

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