War and Conflict Articles

Displaced South Sudanese women leave a makeshift camp in the United Nations Mission in South Sudan (UNMISS) base in the town of Bentiu, South Sudan, Sept. 22, 2014 (AP photo by Matthew Abbott).

In South Sudan, U.N. Peacekeepers’ Biggest Challenge: Staying Neutral

By Aditi Gorur
, , Briefing

Protecting civilians from violence in South Sudan’s civil war rests in large part on U.N. peacekeepers, who to do so must be perceived as neutral. An upcoming Security Council resolution on the peacekeeping mission’s mandate could expand its writ, but also threaten its much-needed neutrality. more


Diplomatic Fallout

Bold or Not, Next U.N. Secretary-General Faces World of Pain

By Richard Gowan
, , Column

Earlier this month a campaign was launched to overturn the “outdated and opaque” process for selecting the U.N. secretary-general. But with global divisions threatening the organization’s ability to improve international cooperation, it’s questionable how much impact the post can really have. more

Strategic Horizons

Understanding the Enemy: Inside the Mind of the Islamic State

By Steven Metz
, , Column

This week, military planners from more than 30 countries are gathered in Florida to plot their approach against the so-called Islamic State. Meanwhile, IS is mulling its strategy as well. Both know that if their strategies are to work, they must first try to get inside the mind of their enemy. more

Diplomatic Fallout

U.N.’s Syria Cease-Fire Plan a Risky Gamble, but Worth It

By Richard Gowan
, , Column

Is the U.N. heading for another diplomatic humiliation in Syria? A proposal for a series of local cease-fires between the government and some rebel groups, beginning in Aleppo, has received some slight encouragement from the Syrian regime and a great deal of criticism from outside observers. more

World Citizen

Houthi Rise in Yemen Puts Saudi Arabia, Iran on Crash Course

By Frida Ghitis
, , Column

One look at a map shows why Yemen has the potential to create serious problems not just for its neighbors but also for the global economy. The country’s troubles have escaped the spotlight mostly because the troubles elsewhere in the region look more acute. That, however, is likely to change. more

Diplomatic Fallout

Frustrations Mount for Both the U.S. and Its Foes at the U.N.

By Richard Gowan
, , Column

Criticisms by Vladimir Putin and Samantha Power of the international system last week are illustrations of a well-established paradox: While many countries believe the U.S. wields too much influence, American policymakers are repeatedly frustrated by the system’s failure to deliver in major crises. more

Strategic Horizons

Updated Weinberger Principles Still a Guide for Use of U.S. Force

By Steven Metz
, , Column

In 1984, at the height of the post-Vietnam malaise, then-Secretary of Defense Caspar Weinberger suggested a set of principles to guide the use of the American military. Since then, the principles fell by the wayside, resulting in renewed malaise. It might be time to dust off the Weinberger principles. more