The Continentalist: Three Plan Bs for U.N.’s Brahimi in Syria

The Continentalist: Three Plan Bs for U.N.’s Brahimi in Syria

Editor's note: Richard Gowan will be writing the Continentalist column for the month of December.

Does Lakhdar Brahimi have any good options for ending the Syrian war? Brahimi has served as the United Nations-Arab League envoy to Syria for more than three months, having been chosen to replace Kofi Annan in August. Unlike Annan, who tried to mediate a resolution to the conflict under constant media scrutiny, Brahimi has adopted a low profile. But like Annan, he has struggled to find a way to bring the regime and rebels together.

Brahimi’s sole significant public initiative to date was an effort to engineer a temporary cease-fire during the Muslim holiday of Eid in late-October. The agreement fell apart in less than a day, and some Islamist rebels refused to participate at all, raising corrosive doubts about the envoy’s leverage. Meanwhile, the Security Council, having fought itself to a diplomatic standstill over Syria in the first half of the year, has concentrated on other, less divisive crises during Brahimi’s tenure.

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