Lakhdar Brahimi


The quite and seasoned Arab diplomat. Lakhdar Brahimi who has been handling difficult international missions was rewarded with a comfortable appointment in New York as special advisor on conflict resolution to the UN secretary-general. Brahimi has now been charged with sorting out Iraq, possibly the most daunting challenge of his career. His crafting of a temporary caretaker Iraqi government to assume sovereignty on 30 June 2004 has become a crucial milestone - for the country and for the veteran troubleshooter. The Arab media is hardly charitable to him, they warned him against saving the US mission in Iraq. Brahimi's position as under-secretary of the Arab League and his brokering, in 1979, of the Taif accord ended 17 years of civil war in Lebanon. Softly spoken and known for his calm, he earned a reputation at the UN as a mediator who takes on peace missions that others refuse, including Afghanistan when the Taliban ruled the country, Zaire under Mobutu Sese Seko and, briefly Iraq under Saddam Hussein in the late 1990s. Lakhdar Brahimi grew up in Algeria and as a young man living under the French occupation and was something of a revolutionary. When he was studying law and political science in France he worked with Algeria's National Liberation Front, the party that won the country's independence from France in 1962. Brahimi honed his skills as a diplomat for Algeria, in 1970s and 1980s, as a newly independent country and forged an international role as a leader of the non-aligned movement. In the most controversial stints, he served as Algeria's foreign minister in 1991 when the military cancelled elections that an Islamic party was poised to win, plunging the country into civil strife. His justification of the military move has remained a stain on his career. Two years later, he left Algeria disenchanted, and joined the UN.

Compiler: M. Nauman Khan

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