Top of the Morning: Lakhdar Brahimi May Replace Annan as Syria Envoy; Aid Reaches Aleppo; Global Food Price Concerns

Top stories from DAWNS Digest.

Lakhdar Brahimi May Become Next Special Envoy to Syria

Word is leaking that the the veteran and highly respected international troubleshooter may succeed Kofi Annan as the joint UN/Arab League envoy to Syria. “Brahimi, 78, a former Algerian foreign minister, has handled difficult assignments in the past for the world body, including serving as special representative and head of the UN Assistance Mission in Afghanistan from 2001 to 2004. Previously, he was the secretary-general’s special envoy for Afghanistan for two years until October 1999. As special representative for South Africa, he led the UN Observer Mission from 1993 until the 1994 democratic elections that installed Nelson Mandela as president of post-apartheid South Africa. He has also taken on UN assignments in Iraq, Haiti, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Yemen, Liberia, Nigeria and Sudan, according to the UN. An announcement may come as early as today, according to three UN diplomats who asked not to be identified since Brahimi’s assignment was still under discussion.” (Bloomberg

Aid Delivered in Aleppo Says Red Cross

Red Cross convoys gained access to the embattled Syrian city of Aleppo to deliver food and medical supplies. “A convoy of trucks brought one month’s food supplies for 12,500 people and wound-dressing material for up to 1,000 injured, depending on the severity of their wounds, the International Committee of the Red Cross said in a statement. “Despite the difficult security conditions, the convoy managed to get inside the city,” ICRC spokesman Hicham Hassan told Reuters. “The assistance reached the city proper and will be dispatched by the Syrian Arab Red Crescent, which is working to assist thousands of people staying in 80 schools around Aleppo.”” The Red Cross had trouble previously delivering aid in Homs. (AlertNet

Buying Spree May Fan Global Food Crisis

The drought in the United States might trigger nations to buy up food in international markets with the hopes of protecting against rising prices. In doing so, they could make matters worse. “”A cascade effect is not inconceivable and may well be taking place – wheat prices have shot up nearly 50 percent since the beginning of July,” said J.Peter Pham, a director with U.S. think tank the Atlantic Council. “If such proves to be the case, some of the most fragile states may well be shaken,” added Pham, who also advises U.S. and European governments on strategic issues. In 2007/08, food prices rose when a jump in oil – which pushed up production costs such as for chemical fertilisers – mixed lethally with speculation on commodity markets and export restrictions imposed by some leading agricultural nations.” (AlertNet