Lakhdar Brahimi

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Lakhdar Brahimi (1934-) was a diplomat for his native land of Algeria, the Arab League, and a United Nations diplomat in Afghanistan and Iraq. He now works with the Global Leadership Foundation, a group of individuals with extensive government experience who privately advise national leaders.

United Nations

He served in a variety of senior assignments for the United Nations, both in overall functions such as peace operations, as well as specific assignments in Afghanistan and Iraq.

Afghanistan

As Special Representative of the Secretary-General for Afghanistan and Head of the UN Assistance Mission in Afghanistan (from 3 October 2001 to 31 December 2004), Ambassador Brahimi was entrusted with overall authority for the political, human rights, relief, recovery and reconstruction activities of the United Nations in Afghanistan. Mr. Brahimi previously served as the Secretary-General's Special Envoy for Afghanistan from July 1997 until October 1999.[1] Ashraf Ghani was his local adviser.

He welcomes the new Afghanistan talks proposed by the Obama administration, but fears they may be years too late. [2]

Iraq

In addition to the Afghanistan work, he was the United Nations representative to Iraq during the formation of the Interim Iraqi Government, which was established in June 2004 after extensive negotiations. He resigned his UN post as Special Adviser to the Secretary-General, stating frustration with L. Paul Bremer in establishing a government in Iraq.[3] He concluded he did the best job possible under the circumstances.[4]

The friction was not only with Bremer. He was strongly criticized by Americans, opponents of Pan-Arab nationalism, about his silence, while Algerian foreign minister or an Arab League official, about Saddam's atrocities in the past. Fouad Ajami accused him of sympathies with Saddam's system: "Mr. Brahimi hails from the very same political class that has wrecked the Arab world..his technocracy is, in truth, but a cover for the restoration of the old edifice of power."[5] Michael Rubin had similar comments in the National Review.

While in Iraq, he was also critical of Ariel Sharon's government of Israel and George W. Bush's support of it. He told a French radio station in April 2004, "There is no doubt that the great poison in the region is this Israeli policy of domination … as well as the perception of all of the population in the region, and beyond, of the injustice of this policy and the equally unjust support … of the United States for this policy." He confirmed this to ABC News: "I think there is unanimity in the Arab world, and indeed in much of the rest of the world, that the Israeli policy is wrong, that the Israeli policy is brutal, repressive, and that they are not interested in peace no matter what you seem to believe in America." [6]

Peace operations

Between Afghanistan assignments, Mr. Brahimi served as Under-Secretary-General for Special Assignments in Support of the Secretary-General's Preventive and Peacemaking efforts, producing the "Brahimi Report" about improving the peace operations system. [7]

Prior to his first Afghanistan appointment, Mr. Brahimi served as Special Representative for Haiti (from 1994 to 1996), and Special Representative for South Africa (from December 1993 to June 1994). In the latter position, he led the United Nations Observer Mission until the 1994 democratic elections that resulted in Nelson Mandela taking the presidency of post-apartheid South Africa. He has also undertaken special missions on behalf of the Secretary-General to a number of countries, including Zaire (now the Democratic Republic of the Congo), Yemen, Liberia, Nigeria and Sudan.

Algeria and the Arab League

He was Minister for Foreign Affairs of Algeria from 1991 to 1993. He served as Rapporteur to the 1992 United Nations Conference on Environment and Development (the Earth Summit).

From 1984 to 1991, he was Under-Secretary-General of the Arab League, and from 1989 to 1991, served as Special Envoy of the Arab League Tripartite Committee to Lebanon, mediating the end of the civil war in that country.

For his home country of Algeria, he was Diplomatic Adviser to the President of Algeria from 1982 to 1984, Ambassador to the United Kingdom from 1971 to 1979, and Ambassador to Egypt and the Sudan, as well as Permanent Representative to the Arab League in Cairo, from 1963 to 1970.

From 1956 to 1961, during the Algerian War, he was the National Liberation Front (FLN) representative in Southeast Asia, resident in Jakarta, Indonesia.

Early life

Mr. Brahimi was educated in Algeria and France (law and political science), and is fluent in Arabic, English and French.

References

  1. Biography of Lakhdar Brahimi, United Nations
  2. Barbara Crossette (9 March 2009), "Lakhdar Brahimi: Afghanistan's Future", The Nation
  3. Asia Times, 22 June 2004
  4. Tom Lasseter (3 June 2004), "UN's Brahimi: Bremer the 'Dictator of Iraq' in Shaping Iraqi Government", Knight-Ridder
  5. Fouad Ajami (12 May 2004), "The Curse of Pan-Arabia", Wall Street Journal
  6. Chris Suellentrop (13 May 2004), "U.N. Envoy Lakhdar Brahimi: Can he save Iraq?", Slate
  7. Report of the Panel on United Nations Peace Operations, United Nations, 2000