Syria’s descent into civil war is accelerating, with reports of massacres coming in daily. But Russia and China are blocking a decisive response at the United Nations, just as they have since the middle of 2011.

Read the full Daily News article here.

Jun 10, 2012
Richard Gowan
Middle East, Syria

Richard Gowan writes on what the UN supervision mission in Syria (UNMIS) can really achieve and draws comparison to the current situation in South Sudan.

Read the full Signal article here.

Jul 17, 2012
Richard Gowan
Middle East, Syria

If the critics of the United Nations were to design a scenario to make the organization seem absolutely irrelevant, it would look a lot like this week’s debacle over Syria.

Read the full World Politics Review article here.

Jul 20, 2012
Richard Gowan
Middle East, Syria

Is the European Union about to engage in a proxy war in the Sahara? In late-July, European foreign ministers directed EU officials to come up with “concrete proposals” for supporting an African stabilization force in Mali. There’s no doubt that Mali needs stabilizing: Islamist separatists with links to al-Qaida have seized the north of the country, and the south has been in political turmoil since a coup in March.

Aug 06, 2012
Richard Gowan
Middle East, Syria

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.

Aug 13, 2012
Richard Gowan
Europe, Middle East, Syria

A malaise has settled over diplomatic discussions of the Syrian civil war at the United Nations. Last week, there was confusion over whether the U.N. had a replacement for Kofi Annan as envoy to Damascus. Algerian diplomat Lakhdar Brahimi had been offered the post, but it was unclear whether he would accept it.

Read the full World Politics Review article here.

Aug 20, 2012
Richard Gowan
Middle East, Syria

The European Union has stumbled into long-term operations in Bosnia, Kosovo and Afghanistan in recent decades. Syria could be the next example

Nov 22, 2012
Richard Gowan
Middle East, Syria

The wars in Mali and Syria have followed very different trajectories over the past month. While Syria has become symbolic of international inaction, France’s use of force in Mali has shown that some Western governments are still willing to launch new interventions abroad. And while there have been no dramatic military shifts in Syria, French troops have pushed deep into northern Mali with growing speed.

Jan 28, 2013
Richard Gowan
Peace and Security

Once upon a time, skittish European leaders came to Washington to warn their trigger-happy American counterparts about the dangers of war. Not anymore.

Read the full Daily Beast article here

May 14, 2013
Richard Gowan
Peace and Security

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.

May 13, 2013
Richard Gowan
Peace and Security