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.
The Syrian civil war is becoming simultaneously more brutal and more confusing. As the battle for Aleppo has dragged on and diplomatic efforts to forge a peace deal have been derailed, it has been hard to assess whether Syrian President Bashar al-Assad and his regime are close to collapse or able to sustain a protracted war. Yet there is a growing sense that, if and when Assad falls, some sort of international peacekeeping force will likely be needed to prevent Syria from descending into worse chaos.
With the Syrian refugee population swelling in his home country, Jordan’s envoy to the United Nations made a desperate plea during a meeting of diplomats last month: Visit the squalid camps and help Jordan cope with the crisis.
Is the United Nations on the verge of a disastrous summer? The organization is always vulnerable to political shocks as it juggles its peacekeeping duties, humanitarian aid and crisis diplomacy. It now faces an especially perilous period as it tries to navigate the wreckage of peacemaking in Syria while launching a potentially flawed peace operation in Mali. U.N. troops are also preparing to mount risky offensives against militias in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC). If the U.N.
The Obama administration signaled that it intends to set the diplomatic pace over Syria as the U.S. and Russia announced joint plans for a peace conference. This was not only an accommodating gesture to the Russians, who have made immense political capital out of the conflict, but also a setback for Britain and France, which have agitated for a more hawkish Western line, including arming the Syrian rebels.