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

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

Russia agrees to a UN resolution on Syria.

Read the full Le Monde article here

Feb 23, 2014
Richard Gowan
Europe, Middle East, Syria

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

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

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

Il s'en est fallu de peu pour que la conférence internationale sur la Syrie n'échoue avant même d'avoir commencé. Le plus surprenant est que cet obstacle de dernière minute est venu de Ban Ki-moon, le secrétaire général des Nations unies, qui doit présider au lancement de ce processus de négociations, baptisé « Genève 2 », mercredi 22 janvier à Montreux, en Suisse, en présence d'une quarantaine de pays.

Jan 21, 2014
Richard Gowan
Europe, Middle East, Syria

At an international peace conference for Syria in June 2012, participants agreed to what has become known as the Geneva Communiqué. It laid out a six-point plan intended to stop the violence and move the two sides towards a political settlement. The United Nations is trying to implement that framework at peace talks going on now in Switzerland where the two parties have finally agreed to meet.

Jan 27, 2014
Richard Gowan
Europe, Middle East, Syria

In Montreaux Switzerland, Syrian peace talks have begun towards the so-called Geneva II process. Nobody thinks the conference will lead to peace. Even optimists call it a "possible first step" to ending three years of appalling civil war. President al Assad has gained strength by giving up chemical weapons and fighting extremists, despite charges that he's a war criminal. Will the US have no choice but to deal with him, rather than ending his rule-if only to gain a temporary ceasefire for humanitarian reasons?

Jan 24, 2014
Richard Gowan
Middle East, Syria, United States
United Nations