If you take any interest in the Syrian war and international diplomacy, you may well experience a disturbing sense of deja vu this week. U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry is heading to Moscow. His visit is part of a renewed American campaign to make Russia rethink its strategy of support for the regime in Damascus, which could culminate in talks between Presidents Barack Obama and Vladimir Putin at the June G-8 summit in Northern Ireland.

May 06, 2013
Richard Gowan
Middle East, Syria
Peace and Security

United Nations-Arab League Syria peace envoy Lakhdar Brahimi is on the verge of quitting amid growing frustration at deadlocked international efforts to end the worsening conflict, diplomats. Brahimi, who took over from former UN leader Kofi Annan in August last year, is “itching to resign but being persuaded to hang on for a few more days,” said one UN Security Council diplomat.

Read the full Gulf News article here.

May 01, 2013
Richard Gowan
Middle East, Syria
Peace and Security

The Obama administration not only confirmed that it is “very likely” that the Syrian military has “used chemical weapons on a small scale in Syria” but also added that “the United States and international community have a number of potential responses available, and no option is off the table.”

Read the full World Politics Review article here.

Apr 29, 2013
Richard Gowan
Middle East, Syria
Peace and Security

As Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon and his advisers look for the resources for a new generation of missions, they will face pressure to cut costs and downsize existing missions -- even if that means leaving some fragile states’ problems unresolved.

Read the full World Politics Review article here

Apr 22, 2013
Richard Gowan
Middle East, Syria, West Africa
Peace and Security
United Nations

In this exclusive interview with ECSSR Website Richard Gowan, talks about a range of issues related to conflict prevention and resolution. Gowan also sheds light on the progress on United Nations reforms, EU’s peacekeeping ambitions, ongoing conflict in Syria and possibilities of conflagration in the Korean peninsula. The interview was conducted on the sidelines of ECSSR’s 18th Annual Conference – The Future Warfare in the 21st Century.

Apr 15, 2013
Richard Gowan
East Asia, Europe, Middle East, Syria
Peace and Security
United Nations

When it comes to Syria, the United Nations is stuck. You could almost be forgiven for thinking otherwise, given the extraordinary number of meetings, investigations, and resolutions currently devoted to resolving a crisis that has left more than 70,000 dead and raised the specter of chemical warfare.

Read the full Foreign Policy article here

Apr 12, 2013
Richard Gowan
Middle East, Syria
Peace and Security

Abu Dhabi: The UAE’s soft power and well-trained military can fill gaps in the United Nations peace-keeping missions around the world, a regional security conference was told Wednesday.

Apr 10, 2013
Richard Gowan
Middle East, Syria
Peace and Security

At the UN, hundreds of staffers have been working on a secret contingency plan, code named, "Syria, the day after."

Apr 04, 2013
Richard Gowan
Middle East, Syria
Peace and Security

The UN's mission in Lebanon (UNIFIL) marked its thirty-fifth anniversary last week (ironically, the first "I" in UNIFIL stands for Interim). With the Syria civil war raging next door, it's been a traumatic time for UN peacekeeping efforts in the region, which include UNIFIL and the even older UNDOF mission (tasked with monitoring the disputed Golan Heights).

Read the full Foreign Policy article here.

Mar 25, 2013
Richard Gowan
Middle East, Syria
United Nations

March 16, 2013 marks the one year anniversary of Kofi Annan's presentation of his six-point peace plan for Syria at the United Nations. In an article in the journal Stability , Richard Gowan takes this opportunity to reflect on Annan's role as mediator and the effect that uncertainty has in conflict resolution.

Read the full commentary here

Mar 15, 2013
Richard Gowan
Middle East, Syria