Brahimi, Lakhdar

Brahimi, Lakhdar
▪ 2005

      On Jan. 1, 2004, diplomat Lakhdar Brahimi celebrated his 70th birthday and was named special adviser to UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan. Brahimi's primary duties involved conflict prevention and resolution, areas that would take him to the world's toughest and most dangerous places. It was a path that he had trod before at the UN; Brahimi had headed missions to South Africa and Haiti. He also led the reconstruction effort in Afghanistan for the UN, following the U.S.-led mission that toppled the Taliban regime there in late 2001. When the focus of U.S. antiterrorism efforts was diverted from Afghanistan to Iraq, Brahimi was also diverted to Iraq. In May 2004 he arrived in Iraq to aid in the effort to restore independence, which hinged on the country's first democratic elections, scheduled for early 2005. Keeping in mind Iraq's ethnic and religious diversity, Brahimi helped build a transitional government, forming a National Assembly of 100 members and overseeing the June implementation of the Coalition Provisional Authority and the selection of Ayad Allawi (q.v. (Allawi, Ayad )) as interim Iraqi prime minister. Concerned about the country's continuing instability, Brahimi left Iraq before the transfer of power at the end of June; he implied that the U.S. invasion in 2002 might have caused more problems than it had solved.

      Brahimi was born on Jan. 1, 1934, in Algeria, which at the time was under the rule of France. He was educated in both countries, and he participated in Algeria's struggle for independence from France in the late 1950s and early '60s as a diplomatic representative of the National Liberation Front (FLN) in Southeast Asia. Continuing in his role as foreign ambassador through the 1970s, he represented independent Algeria within Egypt, The Sudan, the United Kingdom, and the Arab League. He served in the Algerian government as presidential adviser (1982–84) and then served as under-secretary-general (1984–91) of the League of the Arab States before returning to the Algerian government as foreign minister (1991–93).

      Brahimi joined the UN in 1992, when he attended the Earth Summit. He first represented the UN in Afghanistan in 1997–99. He was lauded for his report in 2000 that was critical of UN inaction in Rwanda in 1994 and in Srebrenica, Bosnia and Herzegovina, in 1995, the sites of horrific massacres. In 2002, while he was working in Afghanistan, he was honoured by Harvard University Law School with its annual Great Negotiator Award.

Tom Michael

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Universalium. 2010.

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