Europe’s strategic situation is simultaneously precarious and curiously comfortable. From eastern Ukraine to northern Africa, conflicts crowd in on the European Union (EU). Yet the bloc’s security may actually benefit from the ongoing instability in cases such as Ukraine, Mali and even Syria. The longer these conflicts absorb the energies of potential foes, ranging from Russian President Vladimir Putin to various Islamist radical groups, the less likely they are to menace the EU directly.

Jul 28, 2014
Europe, Middle East, Syria
Peace and Security

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
Peace and Security

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
Peace and Security

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
Peace and Security
United Nations

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
Peace and Security

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
Peace and Security

Russia agrees to a UN resolution on Syria.

Read the full Le Monde article here

Feb 23, 2014
Richard Gowan
Europe, Middle East, Syria
Peace and Security

Will the Ukrainian revolution help or harm the Syrian rebellion? The two uprisings currently appear to be on very different trajectories. It is three years since Syrian citizens began protests against President Bashar Assad, precipitating the cycle of violence that would lead to civil war. By contrast, Assad’s Ukrainian counterpart, Viktor Yanukovych, was forced from the capital, Kiev, last week after just three months of demonstrations. Assad may view Yanukovych’s humiliation as proof of the need for utter ruthlessness against his opponents. But the two men’s fates remain intertwined.

Feb 25, 2014
Richard Gowan
Europe, Middle East, Syria
Peace and Security

For three bloody years, Russian President Vladimir Putin has proved time and time again that his relationship with Syrian strongman Bashar al-Assad is more important to him than winning the world's approval.

Read the full Foreign Policy article here.

Feb 13, 2014
Richard Gowan
Peace and Security

The morning after an aid convoy came under fire when it tried to reach a besieged Syrian city, a meeting here on a draft resolution that would force all parties in the bloody conflict to allow access for humanitarian organizations fell apart when representatives from Russia and China failed to show up, United Nations Security Council diplomats said.

Read the full New York Times article here

Feb 10, 2014
Richard Gowan
Peace and Security