Stewart M. Patrick

The Internationalist

Patrick assesses the future of world order, state sovereignty, and multilateral cooperation.

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Showing posts for "Syria"

The Peace Imperative: Creating Sustainable Peace through Gender Inclusion

by Stewart M. Patrick and Guest Blogger for Stewart M. Patrick
Democratic Forces of Syria women fighters gesture while riding a pick-up truck near the town of al-Shadadi in the Hasaka countryside of Syria on February 18, 2016. Democratic Forces of Syria women fighters gesture while riding a pick-up truck near the town of al-Shadadi in the Hasaka countryside of Syria on February 18, 2016 (Rodi Said/Reuters).

Coauthored with Erin Sielaff, intern in the International Institutions and Global Governance program at the Council on Foreign Relations.

The United Nations is attempting to restart yet another set of peace talks in Syria and Yemen, two deeply conflicted states. After years of struggling to foster a negotiated peace, hopes are high that these latest rounds will be successful. The more likely scenario is that they end like their numerous predecessors—in failure. Read more »

The Tragic Irony of Syria: The System “Worked”

by Stewart M. Patrick
U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Samantha Power speaks with her Russian counterpart, Vitaly Churkin, before the UN Security Council votes on a resolution—which Russia goes on to veto—regarding the Ukrainian crisis on March 15, 2014. U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Samantha Power speaks with her Russian counterpart, Vitaly Churkin, before the UN Security Council votes on a resolution—which Russia goes on to veto—regarding the Ukrainian crisis on March 15, 2014 (Andrew Kelly/Reuters).

For nearly five years, the UN Security Council has failed to end Syria’s suffering. The numbers are numbing: The war has claimed 250,000 lives and displaced over 50 percent of Syria’s prewar population of twenty-two million. The grinding conflict has deepened sectarian turmoil in the region and created the world’s largest humanitarian catastrophe. The tragedy has also laid bare an inconvenient truth about the inherent limits of the Security Council in an era of great power rivalry. Because in Syria, the system worked—just not for the Syrian people. Read more »

Fiddling in Yemen: A Messy War’s Lessons for Global Conflict Management

by Stewart M. Patrick and Guest Blogger for Stewart M. Patrick
Protesters demonstrate against the Saudi-led air strikes outside the United Nations offices in Sana'a, Yemen, on November 2, 2015. Protesters demonstrate against the Saudi-led air strikes outside the United Nations offices in Sana'a, Yemen, on November 2, 2015 (Khaled Abdullah/Reuters).

Coauthored with Callie Plapinger, intern in the International Institutions and Global Governance program at the Council on Foreign Relations.

As the world watches Syria burn, a tiny glimmer of hope shines in Yemen. Today, the U.S. Senate Foreign Relations Committee disclosed that it will use new oversight powers to more closely monitor U.S. weapons sales to Saudi Arabia, which for nine months has been carrying out a brutal campaign against Houthi rebels that’s left thousands of civilians dead. The news comes on the heels of an announcement earlier this week by Ismail Ould Cheikh Ahmed, the United Nations Special Envoy for Yemen, that he would begin a renewed push for peace talks in Geneva next week. To be sure, near-term prospects for peace are low, given the conflicting interests of Saudi Arabia and Iran and the growing presence of both al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP) and the self-proclaimed Islamic State. Even so, the United States should welcome the UN’s latest initiative. More broadly, it should consider what Yemen teaches about the limits of backing proxy interventions—and the need to build up the UN’s multilateral conflict management capabilities. Read more »

Après Paris: Reverberations of the Terrorist Attacks

by Stewart M. Patrick
In a French poster popularized during World War I, a French soldier carries a gun and encourages his countrymen under the phrase "On les aura!" or "We will have them!" In a French poster popularized during World War I, a French soldier carries a gun and encourages his countrymen under the phrase "On les aura!" or "We will have them!" (Abel Faivre/Library of Congress).

Following Friday’s horrific assault on Paris—the world’s most vibrant monument to the open society—there is a welcome global determination to crush the Islamic State. There can be no negotiation with this apocalyptic movement. The international response against the perpetrators must be, in the words of French President François Hollande, “pitiless.” Achieving this aim will require a broad coalition, including not only NATO allies but also strange bedfellows like Russia, Saudi Arabia, and Iran. There will be necessary debates, of course—about whether to introduce Western (including U.S.) ground forces in Syria and Iraq, about whether to treat the Assad regime as an enemy, bystander, or partner in this effort, and about how the West can escalate its involvement without sparking the global religious war that ISIS desires. An effective response will require the Obama administration to be out in front: there must be no leading from behind in this effort. Read more »

Limiting the Security Council Veto in the Face of Mass Atrocities

by Stewart M. Patrick
French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius speaks at a session of the UN Security Council on September 19, 2014. French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius speaks at a session of the UN Security Council on September 19, 2014 (Shannon Stapleton/Courtesy Reuters).

PARIS — The veto held by the five permanent members (P5) of the UN Security Council is one of the most contentious rules of the United Nations. It was included in the UN Charter of 1945 as the explicit price for agreement among the P5—the members that bore the greatest responsibility for maintaining world order—to establish the UN in the first place. However, the veto has repeatedly stymied the Security Council in the face of mass atrocities, despite unanimous endorsement by all UN member states of their individual and collective responsibility to protect (R2P) all people from crimes against humanity. Read more »

A Massive Humanitarian Failure in Syria

by Stewart M. Patrick and Guest Blogger for Stewart M. Patrick
A Syrian girl carries bread in the Bab al-Salam refugee camp in Azaz, near the Syrian-Turkish border, October 27, 2014. A Syrian girl carries bread in the Bab al-Salam refugee camp in Azaz, near the Syrian-Turkish border, October 27, 2014 (Hosam Katan/Courtesy Reuters).

Coauthored with Shervin Ghaffari, intern in the International Institutions and Global Governance program at the Council on Foreign Relations. Read more »

ISIS and Foreign Fighters: Cutting off the Global Pipeline

by Stewart M. Patrick and Guest Blogger for Stewart M. Patrick
ISIS fighters stand atop a tank during a military parade in Syria's Raqqa province on June 30, 2014. The parade was held to celebrate the group's declaration of a "caliphate" spanning its territory in Syria and Iraq one day earlier. ISIS fighters stand atop a tank during a military parade in Syria's Raqqa province on June 30, 2014. The parade was held to celebrate the group's declaration of a "caliphate" spanning its territory in Syria and Iraq one day earlier (Stringer/Courtesy Reuters).

Coauthored with Daniel Chardell, research associate in the International Institutions and Global Governance program. Read more »

Learning to Compartmentalize: How to Prevent Big Power Frictions from Becoming Major Global Headaches

by Stewart M. Patrick
U.S. President Barack Obama (C) participates in a G7 leaders meeting during the Nuclear Security Summit in The Hague March 24, 2014. At the table (L-R, clockwise) are the President of the European Council Herman Van Rompuy, French President Francois Hollande, British Prime Minister David Cameron, Obama, German Chancellor Angela Merkel, Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, Italy's Prime Minister Matteo Renzi and President of the European Commission Jose Manuel Barroso. (Jerry Lampen/Courtesy Reuters). U.S. President Barack Obama (C) participates in a G7 leaders meeting during the Nuclear Security Summit in The Hague March 24, 2014. At the table (L-R, clockwise) are the President of the European Council Herman Van Rompuy, French President Francois Hollande, British Prime Minister David Cameron, Obama, German Chancellor Angela Merkel, Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, Italy's Prime Minister Matteo Renzi and President of the European Commission Jose Manuel Barroso. (Jerry Lampen/Courtesy Reuters).

Coauthored by Stewart Patrick and Isabella Bennett, Assistant Director in the International Institutions and Global Governance program.

The G7 is back. Today in Brussels, it meets for the first time since 1998. The group—which includes the United States, France, the UK, Japan, Germany, Italy, and Canada—replaces the G8, after suspending Russia for its annexation of Crimea. Read more »

Voting Against Accountability for Syria

by Stewart M. Patrick
Russia's UN Ambassador Vitaly Churkin votes in the United Nations Security Council against referring the Syrian crisis to the International Criminal Court for investigation of possible war crimes at the U.N. headquarters in New York May 22, 2014 (Lucas Jackson/Courtesy Reuters). Russia's UN Ambassador Vitaly Churkin votes in the United Nations Security Council against referring the Syrian crisis to the International Criminal Court for investigation of possible war crimes at the U.N. headquarters in New York May 22, 2014 (Lucas Jackson/Courtesy Reuters).

Coauthored with Claire Schachter, research associate in the International Institutions and Global Governance program.

Today the UN Security Council voted on a French draft resolution referring the situation in Syria—where government forces have systematically slaughtered civilians—to the International Criminal Court (ICC). Russia and China vetoed the resolution. While not surprising, the double veto is enormously frustrating to those demanding a stronger international response to war crimes in Syria. To some observers, the failure of this referral may signal the impossibility of ensuring accountability in a context of geopolitical rivalry. But the Obama administration’s decision to support the resolution, even in the face of near certain defeat, was appropriate and necessary—appropriate in light of its evolving relationship with the ICC and necessary given its limited options for ending the conflict in Syria. Read more »

Syria and the Global Humanitarian Crisis

by Stewart M. Patrick
Syrian refugee children play at Al Zaatri refugee camp in the Jordanian city of Mafraq (Muhammad Hamed/ Courtesy Reuters). Syrian refugee children play at Al Zaatri refugee camp in the Jordanian city of Mafraq (Muhammad Hamed/ Courtesy Reuters).

Three years after the outbreak of war in Syria, the agony only deepens for its civilian population. The conflict has already killed 140,000, forced 9.5 million­­—44 percent of the nation’s prewar inhabitants—to abandon their homes, and led some 2.5 million Syrians to flee to neighboring countries, including Lebanon, Jordan, Turkey, and Iraq. Syrian refugees now constitute more than 20 percent of Lebanon’s population, on top of 400,000 Palestinian refugees already present. In January, the United Nations sponsored a conference in Kuwait City, requesting that international donors provide $6.5 billion in emergency assistance for the victims of the Syria conflict—a figure dwarfing any previous humanitarian appeal. The scale of this effort underscores the magnitude of the human tragedy in Syria. It also points to broader strains and dilemmas confronting the humanitarian enterprise globally. Read more »