Stewart M. Patrick

The Internationalist

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

Posts by Category

Showing posts for "Syria"

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 »

The Global Response to Armed Conflict: From Aleppo to Kinshasa

by Stewart M. Patrick
IIGG announces updated Global Governance Monitor (Yurri Erfansyah/Courtesy Reuters). IIGG announces updated Global Governance Monitor (Yurri Erfansyah/Courtesy Reuters).

As the civil war in Syria rages on, and the United States and its international partners appear unable to mobilize a collective response to stem the bloodshed, CFR’s International Institutions and Global Governance program has launched an update to its Global Governance Monitor: Armed Conflict. The revamped multimedia guide uses a new technology platform to track and analyze recent multilateral efforts to prevent, manage, and respond to armed violence around the globe. Combining stunning images and compelling narrative, it identifies the major successes and failures in global conflict mitigation during 2013. Read more »

On Display in Syria: The Costs of UN Security Council Dissensus

by Stewart M. Patrick
A U.N. chemical weapons expert, wearing a gas mask, holds a plastic bag containing samples from one of the sites of an alleged chemical weapons attack in the Ain Tarma neighbourhood of Damascus August 29, 2013 (Mohamed Abdullah/Courtesy Reuters). A U.N. chemical weapons expert, wearing a gas mask, holds a plastic bag containing samples from one of the sites of an alleged chemical weapons attack in the Ain Tarma neighbourhood of Damascus August 29, 2013 (Mohamed Abdullah/Courtesy Reuters).

Syrian foot-dragging in destroying its arsenal of chemical weapons has again exposed the limitations of UN collective security when the Security Council’s permanent members fail to speak with one voice. UNSC Resolution 2118, passed on September 27, 2013, requires the government of Bashar al-Assad to destroy all chemical weapons production and mixing equipment by November 1, 2013, and eliminate all materials by mid-2014. This was always an ambitious deadline given the challenges of loading and securely transporting large quantities of weapons in the midst of a civil war. It is now apparent that the Syrian government will miss its deadline by a wide margin. As of January 30, Syrian forces had transported less than 5 percent of the required material. Read more »

Geneva II: The Diplomatic Headaches Have Just Begun

by Stewart M. Patrick
Leader of Syria's opposition National Coalition Ahmad al-Jarba and Badr Jamous, secretary-general of the coalition, arrive for the Geneva 2 talks on Syria, at Geneva International airport January 21, 2014 (Salvatore Di Nolfi/Courtesy Reuters). Leader of Syria's opposition National Coalition Ahmad al-Jarba and Badr Jamous, secretary-general of the coalition, arrive for the Geneva 2 talks on Syria, at Geneva International airport January 21, 2014 (Salvatore Di Nolfi/Courtesy Reuters).

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

How to interpret the diplomatic kerfuffle over the United Nations’ decision to invite—and then disinvite—Iran to the Syria peace conference, scheduled to begin tomorrow in Montreux, Switzerland? Read more »

The 2013 Nobel Message: Hold the Line Against Chemical Weapons

by Stewart M. Patrick
Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) Director General Ahmet Uzumcu speaks during a news conference in The Hague October 11, 2013. The OPCW, which is overseeing the destruction's of Syria's arsenal, won the Nobel Peace Prize, the Norwegian Nobel Committee on Friday. Set up in 1997 to eliminate all chemicals weapons worldwide, its mission gained critical importance this year after a sarin gas strike in the suburbs of Damascus killed more than 1,400 people in August (Michel Kooren/Courtesy Reuters). Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) Director General Ahmet Uzumcu speaks during a news conference in The Hague October 11, 2013. The OPCW, which is overseeing the destruction's of Syria's arsenal, won the Nobel Peace Prize, the Norwegian Nobel Committee on Friday. Set up in 1997 to eliminate all chemicals weapons worldwide, its mission gained critical importance this year after a sarin gas strike in the suburbs of Damascus killed more than 1,400 people in August (Michel Kooren/Courtesy Reuters).

In awarding this year’s Peace Prize to the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW), the Norwegian Nobel Committee had three clear objectives. The first was to reinforce the global taboo against chemical weapons, violated by the large-scale sarin gas attack on civilians in the Damascus suburbs on August 21, which the Obama Administration says was launched by Syrian government forces. The second was to bolster the work of OPCW inspectors newly arrived in Syria as they seek to locate, quarantine, and destroy that country’s one thousand ton arsenal. The third was to chastise international laggards, including the United States and Russia, who have failed eliminate their remaining stockpiles of these horrific weapons. Read more »

The Realist Idealist: Obama’s UN Speech

by Stewart M. Patrick
U.S. President Barack Obama addresses the 68th United Nations General Assembly at UN headquarters in New York, September 24, 2013 (Mike Segar/ Courtesy Reuters). U.S. President Barack Obama addresses the 68th United Nations General Assembly at UN headquarters in New York, September 24, 2013 (Mike Segar/ Courtesy Reuters).

President Barack Obama stuck to the anticipated script in his UN General Assembly address, focusing on diplomatic openings in the Middle East. He outlined U.S. hopes to: Read more »

Russia’s Syria Initiative: Beware Strangers Bearing Gifts

by Stewart M. Patrick
U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry shakes hands with Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov (R) after delivering opening remarks to the media before their meeting to discuss the ongoing crisis in Syria, in Geneva September 12, 2013. Syria applied on Thursday to sign up to the global ban on chemical weapons, a major first step in a Russian-backed plan that would see it abandon its arsenal of poison gas to avert U.S. military strikes (Larry Downing/Courtesy Reuters). U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry shakes hands with Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov (R) after delivering opening remarks to the media before their meeting to discuss the ongoing crisis in Syria, in Geneva September 12, 2013. Syria applied on Thursday to sign up to the global ban on chemical weapons, a major first step in a Russian-backed plan that would see it abandon its arsenal of poison gas to avert U.S. military strikes (Larry Downing/Courtesy Reuters).

Moscow has seized the initiative in the increasingly dizzying diplomacy over Syria’s chemical weapons (CW). By picking up on Secretary of State John Kerry’s offhand remark—that Damascus might avoid a U.S. military strike by eliminating its CW stockpiles—Vladimir Putin has offered a lifeline to a beleaguered White House. Bereft of domestic and international support for a hard line against Bashar al Assad, Barack Obama must be sorely tempted to make this new initiative work. After all, by disarming Syria of chemical weapons, he can declare “victory” without dragging an exhausted American public into another Middle Eastern quagmire. But before making this leap, the President needs to take a hard look at the political as well as technical requirements for an effective inspection regime. Read more »