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This isn’t the first time that Brahimi has served as the United Nations special representative to a hotspot with questionable results. He served in that capacity in Iraq during the formation of the Interim Iraqi Government, which was established in June 2004 after extensive negotiations. He sympathized with the insurgents in Iraq, who were killing innocent civilians as well as targeting American troops.
“I think it’s a little bit too easy to call everybody a terrorist,” he explained. Alluding to the role of the U.S. administrator in Iraq at the time, Paul Bremer, Brahimi called him a “dictator.” Brahimi ended up resigning his post in frustration, much as his mentor Kofi Annan just did with respect to the position that Brahimi is now taking over for Syria.
Aside from these disturbing details regarding Brahimi’s supposedly illustrious diplomatic career, he has made some alarming remarks about terrorism and Israel.
During a 2005 interview at Berkley, Brahimi said:
If you are talking about terrorism, you need to sit down and understand what is making these people put dynamite around their waists and blow themselves up. Because they are Muslims, because they are stupid, because they want to go to paradise? Maybe some do, but I think most of them have other motivations.
One such motivation appears to be what Brahimi called the “Israeli policy of domination and the suffering imposed on the Palestinians,” which Brahimi told French radio in 2004 was “the great poison in the region.” He went on to condemn “the equally unjust support…of the United States for this policy.”
Brahimi amplified his attack on Israel in an ABC television interview with George Stephanopoulos a few days later: “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.”
The feckless Kofi Annan was bad enough as the joint UN-Arab League peace envoy in Syria. Lakhdar Brahimi, his successor, is even worse. He brings to the table a checkered career in which he rationalized the kind of brutal repression in his own country of Algeria that Assad is displaying in Syria, and in which he enabled Syria and Hezbollah to strengthen their stranglehold in Lebanon under the phony National Reconciliation Accord that he helped mediate.
In sum, Brahimi is not a man of peace or true reconciliation, as further evidenced by his ambivalence about terrorism and his incendiary rhetoric against Israel. Yet – no surprise – the Obama administration supports Brahimi 100 percent for his new position.
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