Donald Trump likes attacking soft targets, and the United Nations is about as soft as they come. Over the past two months, U.N. officials have been bracing for an entirely inevitable clash with the next U.S. administration. Their only question has been exactly what would set off the showdown. Would it be climate change? Torture?

Dec 28, 2016
Richard Gowan
Peace and Security
United Nations

Germany can either save Europe or refugees — not both. To stem the rise of the far-right, the chancellor will be forced to make gut-wrenching decisions.

Dec 12, 2016
James Traub
Europe, Middle East, Syria
Peace and Security

Displaced people are occupying an increasingly central role on the world stage. Conflict and persecution have led to the highest number of refugees, internally displaced persons, and asylum seekers ever recorded. Moreover, approximately two-thirds of refugees are trapped in protracted exile, lasting five years or longer.

Oct 25, 2016
Gizem Sucuoglu
Middle East, Syria
Humanitarian Crises

The first time I heard the German word “zwangsoptimist” was in a meeting to discuss ways to improve how the international system functions. Meaning “someone who feels compelled to be an optimist,” the word not only succinctly sums up my work for and alongside the U.N. over the past 27 years, but could also be a one-word job description for the organization’s next secretary-general.

Mar 28, 2016
Jim Della-Giacoma
Europe, Middle East, Syria, South Asia
Peace and Security
United Nations

Barack Obama’s foreign policy reflects a moral duality that has befuddled friends and enemies alike

Mar 14, 2016
WPS Sidhu
Middle East, Libya, Syria, United States

The Afghan militant group that sheltered Osama bin Laden before the Sept. 11 attacks is closing the door to the Islamic State.

The Taliban is giving up on holding talks with the group and will prevent it from gaining a foothold in Afghanistan, spokesman Zabihullah Mujahed said by e-mail. He accused the media and intelligence agencies of inflating the Islamic State’s strength.

Feb 03, 2016
Barnett Rubin

Last week had no shortage of shocking images to illustrate our collective paralysis in the face of the Mediterranean refugee crisis. A three year old boy dead on a beach, waves lapping around his shoes. Thousands of forcibly displaced people marching through the heart of Europe watched by silent onlookers. Borders going back up in Schengen under the guise of traffic control and migrant searches.

Sep 08, 2015
Sarah Cliffe
Europe, Middle East, Syria
Peace and Security

Unless the Syrian refugee emergency is treated as a truly global responsibility, we can't expect hard-pressed countries to maintain the generosity they have demonstrated since the crisis erupted.

Read the full Open Democracy article Syria’s refugees: a global responsibility

Jun 29, 2015
Richard Gowan
Middle East, Syria
Peace and Security

Last week, the United Nations was thrust back into the center of international crisis management in the Arab world. 

May 11, 2015
Richard Gowan
Middle East, Syria
Peace and Security

The UN embarked this week on a renewed bid to negotiate a political transition in Syria.

May 06, 2015
Richard Gowan
Middle East, Syria
Peace and Security

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