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With Gambari Set to Leave Darfur, Tries for OIC or Qatar, Syria Contradictions

By Matthew Russell Lee, Exclusive

UNITED NATIONS, August 6 -- The UN and its officials always know which side their bread is buttered on.

  Take outgoing Darfur envoy Ibrahim Gambari.

   While UN staff complained to Inner City Press that Gambari was flying around looking for his next job, less and less present in El Fasher, despite building a $600,000 house there, Inner City Press held off writing about his job search. Click here for UN confirmation of Inner City Press' exclusive on Casa Gambari, and a (Gulf) television pick up - video here, from Minute 14:25.

  During Gambari's last appearance at the UN Security Council, Inner City Press asked him a pointed question about this job search. I am exploring all my options, Gambari said. He declined an on-camera stakeout, saying he speak one-on-one later.

  Now comes exclusive news to and from Inner City Press that Gambari might like to replace Ekmeleddin Ihsanoglu of Turkey as Secretary General of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation. Not only is OIC headquartered in Jeddah -- here is the lead of a recent Saudi Gazette article:

"No Muslim leader can unite the Muslim nation like King Abdullah, Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques, said Ekmeleddin Ihsanoglu, Secretary General of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC), during an Okaz Forum held recently and attended by members from the Shoura Council, Syrian National Council."

  The irony in light of OIC's support, like Saudi Arabia, for anti-Assad rebels in Syria is that Gambari repeatedly had run-ins with Western powers on the Security Council for his closeness first with the Myanmar military government then with Sudan's International Criminal Court indicted president Omar al Bashir.

  But to head OIC, and please its main Saudi backers and host, Gambari would have to be on the same side as the West on Syria.

  On the other hand, his historic closeness with Myanmar's government might get him access, at least, to the country on the issue of the Rohingya. And it could bring a new focus on Boko Haram in Gambari's native Nigeria.

  Gambari's fall-back position, sources say, would be as some sort of adviser on Africa to the rulers of Qatar, based in Doha to which he traveled so often in his Darfur post. But given Qatar's position in Libya, and that country's new leaders' aversion to sub Saharan Africa, how would a Gambari role play out.

We maintain, only partially tongue in cheek, the suggestion we made directly to Gambari: that if a UN envoy to Mali and Northern Mali / Azawad is named, Gambari go for this post. Real race at the OIC? We'll see.

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