The United Nations Security Council has different tools at hand to maintain international peace and security. Yet, beside prominent blue helmets and controversial sanctions, another sophisticated instrument often goes unnoticed: Political Missions.

Mar 01, 2011
Alischa Kugel

It took France the better part of a year to craft a UN-backed plan for dealing with the Islamist takeover of northern Mali that would avoid a French military intervention. Yet itonly took only a few hours to turn that project on its head.

Read the full BBC article here

Jan 22, 2013
Richard Gowan
Europe, Middle East

History may be about to play a nasty trick on the Obama administration. The diplomatic renaissance in the U.S. seems to be coinciding with a worrying decline in interest in diplomacy among other powers.

Read the full World Politics Review article here 

Jan 07, 2013
Richard Gowan

The Annual Review of Global Peace Operations and the Review of Political Missions have evolved into the Global Peace Operations Review, an interactive web-portal presenting in-depth analysis and detailed data on military peacekeeping operations and civilian-led political missions by the United Nations, regional organizations, and ad-hoc coalitions. The website can be accessed here Global Peace Operations Review

United Nations (UN) peace operations face an extended and dangerous period of strategic uncertainty. Since the end of the Cold War, global peacekeeping has undergone cycles of expansion and contraction. After a round of boom and bust in the 1990s, UN operations expanded through the last decade, as did those of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO), the African Union (AU), the European Union (EU) and other organizations. But a series of set-backs have coincided with military overstretch and the financial crisis, raising the risk that UN peacekeeping may contract once more.

This paper, commissioned by the Permanent Mission of Denmark to the United Nations, analyzes current trends in United Nations peacekeeping and makes predictions about the development of UN operations over the next five years (to 2017).

For a man who regularly receives disturbing reports from war zones, last week was a particularly bad one for U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon.

Read the full World Politics Review article here

Nov 19, 2012
Richard Gowan

Sanctions imposed against Iran and North Korea have failed to curb both states' nuclear programs. Senior Fellow, W.P.S Sidhu argues that the key to more effective sanction regimes may lie with talks that cover a broader range of issues, alongside sanctions that have been endorsed by the entire international system.

Read the full Eurasia Review article here

Nov 10, 2012
WPS Sidhu
East Asia, Middle East

The United Nations General Assembly met on 18 October to elect five new nonpermanent members of the Security Council. Although the winners will not begin their terms until January, the U.N. is approaching the end of two turbulent years in which three major powers -- Germany, India and South Africa -- have held temporary seats in the council, playing prominent roles in its debates over Libya and Syria.

Oct 18, 2012
Richard Gowan
Europe, Middle East, Libya, Syria, India
India, United Nations

Over the past six years U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon has undergone a metamorphosis from a soft-spoken diplomat cautiously juggling conflicting demands from big powers into an outspoken defender of human rights in Syria, Iran and elsewhere.

Oct 12, 2012
Richard Gowan
Middle East