Foreign Policy

For three bloody years, Russian President Vladimir Putin has proved time and time again that his relationship with Syrian strongman Bashar al-Assad is more important to him than winning the world's approval.

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Feb 13, 2014
Richard Gowan
Peace and Security

A last-minute decision by the United Nations to invite -- and then disinvite -- Iran to this week's widely-anticipated Syrian peace conference threatened to unravel the entire diplomatic effort on Monday. The invitation, delivered by U.N. Secretary General Ban Ki Moon, exposed a rare fault line between Ban and Secretary of State John Kerry, two close allies who have been working together for months.

Jan 20, 2014
Richard Gowan
Middle East, Syria, United States
Peace and Security

The United States and Iran, having clinched a landmark interim deal suspending some aspects of Tehran's nuclear program in exchange for sanctions relief, turned their attention this week to addressing the humanitarian crisis in Syria.

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Nov 26, 2013
Richard Gowan
Middle East, Syria
Peace and Security

Saudi Arabia took the extraordinary step Friday of refusing to take its seat on the U.N. Security Council -- despite pursuing the position for years. It's an unprecedented protest over the council's failure to take firmer action in Syria and Palestine. And it comes at a time of growing Saudi frustration with American-led policies across the Middle East.

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Oct 18, 2013
Richard Gowan
Middle East, Syria, United States
Peace and Security

U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry and Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov met under the steely gaze of Russian leader Vladimir Putin, whose portrait hung over their negotiating table at U.N. headquarters, and hammered out their latest agreement Thursday on a U.N. Security Council resolution to scrap Syria's chemical weapons.

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Sep 26, 2013
Peace and Security
United Nations

Can a humanitarian firebrand help forge a deal with Syria's dictator?

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Sep 23, 2013
Richard Gowan
Middle East, Syria, United States
Peace and Security

Saudi Arabia, has been quietly exploring the possibility of seeking a U.N. General Assembly vote that would provide some cover for military action.

Sep 06, 2013
Richard Gowan
Middle East, Syria
Peace and Security

It is time to set Lakhdar Brahimi free. After a year's service as envoy for the United Nations and Arab League to Syria, the veteran Algerian mediator faces the final breakdown of his efforts to end the war. Disillusioned with both the Syrian government and its opponents, he came close to resigning in May. Since then he has hung on, mainly because his departure would look like an admission that a peace deal is impossible. His demeanor suggests that he is painfully conscious of the hopelessness of his situation.

Sep 03, 2013
Richard Gowan
Middle East, Syria
Peace and Security

Read the full Foreign Policy article here.

Oct 25, 2012
Richard Gowan
Middle East, Syria

Read the full Foreign Policy article here

Jan 06, 2012
Richard Gowan
Middle East, Syria

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