Former Syria Special Envoy Lakhdar Brahimi tells Al Jazeera English that Syrian conflict could have been solved in 2012
Former United Nations and Arab League Special Envoy to Syria, Ambassador Lakhdar Brahimi, speaks exclusively to Al Jazeera English:
- Says that “there were no good guys in the Syrian tragedy” and puts “a lot of blame on the outside forces […] the governments, and others who were supporting one side or the other.”
- Denounces outside powers who never “had the interest of the Syrian people as their first priority.”
- Reveals that the Syrian conflict “could have been solved in 2012” if “everyone had a better understanding of what was happening in Syria.”
- Claims that “the Russians had a much more realistic analysis of the situation than practically everybody else,” and acknowledges that “everybody should have listened to the Russians a little bit more” because “they knew what the situation was.”
- Says that as President of Syria, Assad must accept number one responsibility for bloodshed in his country.
(Washington DC – 11th March, 2016) – In an interview with Al Jazeera English’s current affairs show, ‘UpFront’, ahead of UN-sponsored peace talks in Geneva, Lakhdar Brahimi, former United Nations and Arab League Special Envoy to Syria, criticised all parties involved in the Syrian conflict for not putting “the interest of the Syrian people as their first priority.”
“Everybody is to blame,” Brahimi told ‘UpFront’ host Mehdi Hasan, referring to both the Muslim-majority world and the West. And “What did the Americans do? What did the French do? What did the British do?” he added.
He said that, as envoy, he had discovered “there were no good guys in the Syrian tragedy” and thus placed “a lot of blame on the outside forces, the governments, and others who were supporting one side or the other.”
Referring to recent news reports that Western governments ignored a Russian offer in 2012 to force Syrian President Bashar al Assad to step aside, Brahimi conceded that it may have been a missed opportunity and agreed that the conflict “could have been solved in 2012”. “There was a possibility if everyone really had a… better understanding of what was happening in Syria,” he told Hasan.
Brahimi argued that at the time Russia had “a much more realistic analysis of the situation than practically everybody else” on Syria.
“Everyone should have listened to the Russians a little bit more than they did,” he added.
Brahimi, a former Algerian foreign minister who served as UN and Arab League Special Envoy to Syria between August 2012 and May 2014, said Syria “is probably not a failed state, but certainly not a functioning state.”
On the future role of Syria’s president, the former UN special envoy said that Assad would be part of the solution “but being part of the solution does not mean he’s going to govern for another 40 years.”
Brahimi also said Assad must accept his responsibility for the bloodshed in Syria. “The number one man must bear the number one responsibility for what has happened,” he added.
This interview is available at www.aljazeera.com/upfront from 11 March at 19.30GMT
NOTES FOR EDITORS:
- This UpFront interview airs on Friday March 11th at 19:30 GMT
- If using quotes please credit Al Jazeera English and ‘UpFront’ and please add this link to online copy www.aljazeera.com/upfront
- UpFront, hosted by Mehdi Hasan, broadcasts on Fridays at 19.30 GMT
- Follow UpFront on Twitter @AJUpFront