UN secretary general prepares to welcome more than 140 heads of state to organisation's general assembly this week.

Read the full Guardian article Ban Ki-moon: 'World living in an era of unprecedented level of crises'

Sep 22, 2014
Richard Gowan

Against the grim backdrop of global terrorism and a deadly health crisis, world leaders are preparing to convene in New York for their annual gathering at the United Nations General Assembly. The terrorist group calling itself the Islamic State and efforts to control the spread of the Ebola virus are expected to dominate discussions.

Sep 19, 2014
Richard Gowan
Europe, Middle East, United States

On September 17, 2014 CIC Director Barnett Rubin spoke on a panel at the Woodrow Wilson Center. The event accompanied the launch of a report which examines the impact of US policy on a nuclear agreement on the Middle East. For more information on the event and report, please visit the Woodrow Wilson Center.

Sep 17, 2014
Middle East, United States

Worlds apart, two leaders are planning to intervene in worsening conflicts outside their borders, and citing humanitarian concerns as their rationale. In Iraq, President Barack Obama and his administration are considering how to contain the violent march of radical Islamist militants and provide help to those whom the Islamists threaten with extermination. In the conflict in eastern Ukraine, Russian President Vladimir Putin sent a convoy of 280 trucks with what the Russians describe as “humanitarian aid” for the embattled region.

Aug 18, 2014
Richard Gowan
Europe, Middle East, United States

The Cameron government's decision to arm Kurdish fighters brings the UK in step with the US and France in an effort to bolster Kurdistan as a bastion against the spread of a particularly murderous form of Islamic extremism and maintain a safe haven for Iraqis and Syrians forced to flee their homes by the tidal wave of violence sweeping the region.

Read the full Guardian article Arming the Kurds may help break up Iraq

Aug 14, 2014
Richard Gowan
Middle East

Europe’s strategic situation is simultaneously precarious and curiously comfortable. From eastern Ukraine to northern Africa, conflicts crowd in on the European Union (EU). Yet the bloc’s security may actually benefit from the ongoing instability in cases such as Ukraine, Mali and even Syria. The longer these conflicts absorb the energies of potential foes, ranging from Russian President Vladimir Putin to various Islamist radical groups, the less likely they are to menace the EU directly.

Jul 28, 2014
Europe, Middle East, Syria

There has been a lot of talk about humanitarian interventions over the past week, but much of it has been muddled, misleading or both.

Read the full World Politics Review article U.S., Russia Duel Over Humanitarian Interventions in Iraq and Ukraine

Aug 12, 2014
Richard Gowan
Europe, Middle East, United States

The conflicts in Ukraine and Gaza, not to mention the war in Syria, have presented diplomats with emotional testimonies of civilian suffering, even alleged crimes against humanity. Yet the 15-member Council has been unable to end these conflicts. The problem is not that the major world powers don’t care. It is that they care too much.

Read the full New York Times article here

Jul 28, 2014
Richard Gowan
Europe, Middle East

The UN is currently in poor health but the severity of its condition is not yet clear, Richard Gowan argues in this paper commissioned by the Centre for Humanitarian Dialogue for the 2014 Oslo Forum for senior mediators. Gowan assesses the impact of events in South Sudan, Syria and Ukraine for the UN, and warns that the organization's operational and political credibility is weakening.

Jul 15, 2014
Richard Gowan
Europe, Horn of Africa, Middle East

The 2003 Iraq war split the Security Council, but the United Nations ultimately sustained only limited long-term damage from the incident. In the 11 years since the fall of Saddam Hussein, the council has passed over 600 resolutions on issues ranging from Iran’s nuclear program to African conflicts. Now the U.N. faces another war in Iraq, at a time when its overall credibility may be in greater danger than it was in 2003.

Jun 30, 2014
Richard Gowan
Middle East

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