Well-known Algerian diplomat Lakhdar Brahimi is still the number one choice for the position of joint United Nations and Arab League Special Envoy to Syria , replacing Kofi Annan at the end of August
According to reliable sources speaking to Al Arabiya on the condition of anonymity, Wednesday will be D-Day for Lakhdar, where he will either accept or decline the position offered.
Al Arabiya has also learned that the United Nations Deputy Secretary-General, Jan Eliasson, will call Brahimi, who is currently vacationing on the Indonesian island of Bali, to ask for his final answer.
Al Arabiya broke the story on August 3 that the astute and experienced Algerian diplomat made his acceptance conditional on the Security Council passing a resolution backing his mission and implementing consequences on those who do not fulfill their commitment.
According to diplomats speaking to Al Arabiya, decision day has arrived and the Deputy Secretary-General will either gain the acceptance of Brahimi or the U.N. will be forced to deal with his refusal and move forward.
Everyone, including Brahimi is aware of the near impossibility of obtaining a Chapter 7 resolution from the Security Council on Syria for the time being.
It is however noteworthy that there is understanding as to why Brahimi insists on a Security Council resolution under chapter 7, backing his mission to the fullest and threatening those who do not implement commitments. After all, this is what Jamal Benomar, the Secretary General’s Special Envoy to Yemen, was given. Many argue that without a consensus resolution from the Security Council, Benomar would have been unable to accomplish what he has so far.
However if Brahimi declines the position due to failure of fulfilling his set conditions, what other options does the United Nations have?
The U.N., fully aware of the difficulty that lies ahead with having to meet Brahimi’s conditions, has reached out to a number of internationally recognized political figures. So far, there have been no takers.
However, sources have told Al Arabiya that after the refusal of many, the obvious candidate, in case of Brahimi’s rejection, would Mr. Staffan de Mistura.
The renowned 66-year-old Swedish-Italian diplomat, is currently Undersecretary of State for Foreign Affairs in the Italian cabinet, and has worked for the U.N. for over 40 years, during which he obtained several significant international posts. Between 2001 and 2004, de Mistura was the Special Representative of the Secretary-General in Southern Lebanon. During the period 2007-2009 he was the Secretary-General’s Special Representative for Iraq and in the period between 2009 and 2011 he was the Secretary-General’s Special Representative for Afghanistan.
And whether Mr. Brahimi’s accepts or refuses the “offer” and hence opening the door for Mr. de Mistura or others to step in, the position of Joint Special Envoy to Syria will remain “mission impossible,” as Mr. Kofi Annan put it, as long as the Security Council remains divided and unable to act.