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

The Syrian war, currently overshadowed by its offshoot in Iraq, remains a ruinous blight on international diplomacy. Nearly half a year after the furiously hyped but fundamentally hopeless peace talks between the government and moderate rebels in Geneva, no end to the fighting is in sight.

Read the full World Politics Review article Syria’s Chemical Arms Destroyed, but Aid Effort Unravels

Jul 07, 2014
Richard Gowan
Middle East, Syria

The UN security council has voted unanimously to authorise deliveries of humanitarian aid to rebel-held areas of Syria, without the approval of the Damascus regime, in a rare show of international unity that diplomats say will help get food to 1.3 million people trapped behind the lines.

Read the full Guardian article UN security council votes to deliver aid to rebel-held areas of Syria

Jul 14, 2014
Richard Gowan
Middle East, Syria

Eighteen months into their two-year term on the Security Council, Australia’s diplomats at the UN have become masters of crisis management. For more than a year they have played a major role in talks on humanitarian aid to Syria, forging a fragile consensus with Russia and China on the need to assist the suffering.

Read the full Sydney Morning Herald article Australia's battle at the UN

Jun 10, 2014
Richard Gowan
Europe, Middle East, Syria, South Asia
United Nations

Last October, with security concerns in Libya mounting, the United Nations dispatched a high-level delegation to Tripoli to determine whether U.N. staff could function safely in a country beset by Islamist extremists and renegade militias that had killed America's top envoy, attacked foreign embassies, raided the country's oil resources, and temporarily abducted both the Jordanian ambassador and the former Libyan prime minister.

May 29, 2014
Richard Gowan
Middle East, Libya

On February 22, 2014, the United Nations Security Council did something that they haven't done since September 2013 on the Syria file: They agreed to come together and pass a resolution.

Read the full Huffington Post article Time to Enforce the Security Council's Syria Resolution

May 28, 2014
Richard Gowan
Middle East, Syria

Après presque deux ans d'efforts, Lakhdar Brahimi jette l'éponge. Dans les couloirs de l'Organisation des Nations unies (ONU), où sa démission était régulièrement annoncée, son départ ne surprend personne.

Lit l'article entier de Le Monde Lakhdar Brahimi, le médiateur de l'ONU en Syrie, jette l'éponge.

May 14, 2014
Richard Gowan
Middle East, Syria

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