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On Syria, Beyond Brahimi An Alawite Army, UN Budget & De Mistura

By Matthew Russell Lee, Exclusive, Analysis

UNITED NATIONS, August 16 -- Amid competing accounts of if Lakhdar Brahimi has or has not already accepted to replace Kofi Annan as Syria envoy, the questions is, why would he?

  Well placed sources told Inner City Press late Thursday Brahimi is still undecided. He has been told that a fast solution is unlikely, having been told of the high percentage of army officers who are Alawite, for example.

  The defectors leave as individuals, without the thousands of soldiers similar defectors took with them for example in Yemen.

  So who WANTS there to be a replacement for Kofi Annnan? As Inner City Press has already reported, Ban Ki-moon, in order to stay relevant.

  More than that, appointing a high(er) profile envoy makes them the lightening rod for failure, not him.

  Inner City Press' Thursday stakeout and noon briefing question, who pays for the mission, has since been answered off the record: it will begin as "unforeseen expenses," a/k/a the slush fund, and then be a special political mission. This may raise Fifth (Budget) Committee issues about backstopping and the different scales of assessment for SPMs and peacekeeping missions.

Meanwhile promoting himself to replace Kofi Annan is the hybrid Italian Swede Staffan de Mistura, who STILL dreams of being the next Secretary General. While some think the next turn is for Eastern Europe -- can you say, Srgjan Kerim? -- the counter argument is that most of these state are now members of the EU. Scandanavia wants another shot, and de Mistura plays up that he is half Swedish, half Italian.

Regarding Brahimi, Annan's deputy Mark Malloch Brown wrote in his book "The Unfinished Global Revolution" that Annan

"sent his senior adviser on Muslim and Middle East matter, Lakhdar Brahimi, to Iraq to build bridges.. The Bush administration made selective use of Brahimi's help, jeopardizing what was left of our neutrality." (Page 164-165).

  Other sources tell Inner City Press that MMB resented Brahimi, who never took MMB seriously. And so it goes at the UN. Watch this site.

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