WORLDVIEWS

The Syrian War and the Refugee Crisis: Spawning the Rise of the Far Right

The butterfly effect teaches us that seemingly insignificant actions can have enormous future consequences. A tiny pair of fluttering wings can disturb the air in a way that helps trigger a hurricane halfway around the world. Witness Syria, where the Arab Spring made its debut in 2011 in the form of a tame wave of … Read more

There Is No Military Solution for Syria

Only close cooperation between the United States and Russia can end the “terrible tragedy” in Syria, says Lakhdar Brahimi, the highly respected international mediator in the Middle East for more than two decades. Brahimi, who led United Nations missions in Lebanon, Afghanistan and Iraq before becoming the special joint envoy of the Arab League and … Read more

A Task for the Next UN Secretary-General: Review the Special Envoy System

When a tough independent report sharply criticized the United Nations in December for its bungled attempts to cover up, or at least ignore, the sexual abuse of children by peacekeeping troops in the Central African Republic in recent years, it named among the people responsible for letting the children down Leila Zerrougui, Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon’s … Read more

A UN Envoy Tries Something New in Syria

Four working groups formed to dissect and discuss the Syrian crisis in concrete terms are being set up by the United Nations in a plan conceived by Staffan de Mistura, the UN envoy in Syria since July 2014. The working groups and their Syrian interlocutors will discuss safety and protection; political and legal topics; military … Read more

 

WORLDVIEWS

From Brahimi to Ramos-Horta, a 15-Year Peacekeeping Quest

SYDNEY, Australia — In August 2000, Lakhdar Brahimi, a prominent United Nations diplomat from Algeria, submitted his landmark review on UN peacekeeping to the secretary-general at the time, Kofi Annan. The previous year had been crucial for peacekeeping. The retrenchment of the mid-90s had subsided and a new era of peacekeeping activism had begun. Missions were deployed … Read more

Lakhdar Brahimi: When Will the US Learn From Its Mistakes in the Middle East?

More than two decades of American naivety or misunderstanding of Arab and other regional societies, astonishingly poor planning and post-conflict miscalculations that undercut claims of success have left a deep mistrust and lack of confidence in the United States in the Middle East, in the view of the United Nations’ most experienced and savvy international … Read more

GOINGS-ON

Another Veteran UN Diplomat, Staffan de Mistura, Is Named Syrian Envoy

Staffan de Mistura is the new United Nations special envoy for Syria, replacing Lakhdar Brahimi, a veteran Algerian diplomat who resigned in May after nearly two years of rising frustration trying to broker a peace deal between the Syrian government and the main opposition group in the country. Despite formal negotiations that were convened by the … Read more

GOINGS-ON

Lakhdar Brahimi, UN Special Envoy for Syria, Quits in Despair

Lakhdar Brahimi

Lakhdar Brahimi, the United Nations-Arab League special envoy on the Syrian crisis, has resigned as of May 31, ending many months of speculation on his leaving, particularly after the peace talks held this winter in Geneva between the Syrian government and the opposition failed. At that point, Brahimi blamed the collapse on the Syrian regime. … Read more

 

WORLDVIEWS

UN Peace Talks on Syria Collectively Failed Women

Women Lead to Peace campaign 2014

This is a difficult time for peace advocates. How can we talk about women participating at the peace table when talk has not translated into action? How can we discuss the implementation of the women, peace and security agenda, first mandated by the United Nations Security Council in 2000, when despite rhetoric, goodwill, ministerial support, … Read more

The Elders Support a Diplomatic Opening to Iran

Kofi Annan and President Rouhani, Iran

The Elders, a group of distinguished former global leaders led by Kofi Annan, the former United Nations secretary-general, made an unusual three-day visit to Iran at the end of January to meet with numerous officials, including President Hassan Rouhani of Iran. It was the first trip to Iran by The Elders, who said at the … Read more

Syrian Women Win Active Role in Geneva Peace Conference

Women Lead to Peace summit, Montreux 2014

The United Nations-led peace talks in Switzerland to begin the laborious discussions to end the war in Syria have officially started, but Syrian women activists who have been demanding to sit at the crucial peace-talks table on Jan. 24 in Geneva did not know until the last minute whether any women would be involved. Rima … Read more

At Geneva II Talks in January, It Is Not Enough to ‘Add Women and Stir’

Lakhdar Brahimi

The campaign to ensure women’s equal participation at the peace talks on Syria in January has become more urgent, as certain parties recognize that women are vital in rebuilding and reconciling Syrian society. Yet only a few weeks before the talks are scheduled to start, no commitment has been made as to whether women will … Read more

 

Syrian Women’s Groups Push for Equal Role at Geneva II Talks

Recognizing that women in the Middle East and North Africa must play an active role in their countries’ political processes, especially amid the regional backdrop of upheavals and conflicts, the Netherlands government is providing money for a new program, Women on the Frontline, to help women-run initiatives organize themselves better to assert their rights to … Read more

GOINGS-ON

The Elders Group Expand Its Membership

Hina Jilani

The Elders, a unique group of former heads of government and other global leaders, founded in 2007 under the leadership of Nelson Mandela, has added a former president of Mexico and an internationally known Pakistani human-rights advocate to its membership. The inclusion of Ernesto Zedillo, president of Mexico from 1994 to 2000, and Hina Jilani, … Read more

The Syrian War, Picked Apart by a Diplomat Who Knows

Jean-Marie Gguehenno of Columbia University

The new creation of a national Syrian coalition to make the opposition groups more coherent could propel a much-needed breakthrough in the country’s 20-month civil war, Jean-Marie Guéhenno a professor of international and public affairs at Columbia University, told an audience there on Nov. 13. It has been a costly affair humanitarian-wise: close to 40,000 … Read more

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