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David L. Phillips
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David L. Phillips is currently Director of the Program on Peace-building and Rights at Columbia University’s Institute for the Study of Human Rights. Phillips has served as Foreign Affairs Expert and as Senior Adviser to the U.S. Department of State and as Senior Adviser to the United Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs. Phillips has worked at academic institutions as Executive Director of Columbia University’s International Conflict Resolution Program, Director of American University’s Program on Conflict Prevention and Peace-building, Senior Fellow at Harvard University’s Future of Diplomacy Project Fellow and Fellow and at Harvard University’s Center for Middle East Studies, and Professor at the Diplomatic Academy of Vienna. He was Deputy Director of the Center for Preventive Action at the Council on Foreign Relations, Senior Fellow at the Preventive Diplomacy Program of the Center for Strategic and International Studies, Senior Fellow at the Atlantic Council, and Project Director at the International Peace Research Institute of Oslo. Phillips has also been a foundation executive having been President of the Congressional Human Rights Foundation. Phillips has been an analyst and commentator for NBC News and the British Broadcasting Company. He has authored books, policy reports, and hundreds of articles in leading publications such as the New York Times, Wall Street Journal, Financial Times, International Herald Tribune and Foreign Affairs.

Entries by David L. Phillips


(1) Comments | Posted January 9, 2015 | 2:43 PM

By David L. Phillips

I received five messages in less than an hour from Turks, warning me about Fethulleh Gulen, head of the Gulen movement, which they called a "terrorist organization." Why is so much vitriol being directed at Gulen? Who's...

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Kobani Crossroads

(4) Comments | Posted November 20, 2014 | 2:19 PM

By David L. Phillips

Kobani represents a crossroads in the war against the Islamic State (IS). The battle for Kobani is also a defining moment in US policy toward the Kurds, the construction of Kurdish national identity, and the West's view of Turkey as an ally.

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Research Paper: ISIS-Turkey List

(22) Comments | Posted November 9, 2014 | 10:25 AM



Research Paper: ISIS-Turkey Links

By David L. Phillips


Is Turkey collaborating with the Islamic State (ISIS)? Allegations range from military cooperation and weapons transfers to logistical support, financial assistance, and the...

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Save Syrian Kurds From Slaughter in Kobani

(39) Comments | Posted October 11, 2014 | 3:41 PM

ISIS is on the verge of occupying Kobani, the Kurdish city on the Syria-Turkey border. The UN Special Envoy warns that up 700 people, mainly elderly, will "most likely be massacred." Kurdish fighters desperately need arms and ammunition to stave off the ISIS onslaught. The UN Security Council should also...

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Tradition and History Matter to Albanians

(0) Comments | Posted June 5, 2014 | 3:09 PM

Tradition and history matter to Albanians. As voters go to the polls tomorrow, they should remember that Kosova's independence was no gift. The decision to go to war and the determined effort by the United States and its allies to realize Kosova's independence was the culmination of efforts over many...

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Power-Sharing in Ukraine

(0) Comments | Posted May 14, 2014 | 5:38 PM

The Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) is organizing roundtable talks on power-sharing in Ukraine. OSCE Member States are well-placed to share their experience distributing governance responsibilities in post-conflict countries undergoing political transition.

Following are some legal and political issues for Ukrainians to consider:


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Blood Brothers: Milosevic and Putin

(0) Comments | Posted April 21, 2014 | 10:21 AM

Slobodan Milosevic and Vladimir Putin are cut from the same cloth. Just as the West's experience with Milosevic can inform its approach to Putin, diplomacy during the Yugoslav crisis can inform strategies for dealing with Russia today.

The political careers and tactics of Milosevic and Putin are parallel. Neither...

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"Consequences" for Russia's Aggression

(0) Comments | Posted April 9, 2014 | 7:54 PM

Pro-Russian demonstrators in Eastern Ukraine are sponsored by the Kremlin to create chaos as a pretext for Russia's military intervention. With at least 40,000 Russian troops massed on the border threatening to invade the Donetsk, Kharkiv and Luhansk regions in Ukraine, President Barack Obama has warned of "

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Crimea's Technically Flawed Referendum

(6) Comments | Posted March 19, 2014 | 10:51 AM

By David L. Phillips and Carina Perelli

The referendum in Crimea was neither an exercise in democracy, consulting Crimeans on important decisions about their future. Nor was it an effective conflict management tool, distributing power between competing interests. Crimea's referendum was technically flawed. It therefore, lacks...

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Crimea Is Not Kosovo

(24) Comments | Posted March 10, 2014 | 3:37 PM

Russia is pointing to the "Kosovo precedent" as justification for its actions in Crimea. This is a false argument. There are fundamental legal and political differences between the internationally sanctioned process, which culminated in Kosovo's independence, and Russia's land-grab in Crimea. Kosovo's independence is based on international law;...

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Boycott Crimea's Bogus Referendum

(10) Comments | Posted March 7, 2014 | 3:49 PM

Crimea's regional parliament wants to hold a referendum on seceding from Ukraine and joining Russia on March 16. Ukrainian, Tartar, and Western leaders say the referendum is a non-starter. They insist it violates Ukraine's constitution, as well as international law. The Assembly of Crimean Tartars has called for...

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Putin's Calculus in Ukraine

(4) Comments | Posted March 3, 2014 | 10:02 AM

Crimea is more than a flash-point for conflict between Ukraine and Russia. War between Ukraine and Russia has potential regional and global implications. While supporting Ukraine's sovereignty, the Obama administration must be careful not to escalate tensions. It may be possible, however, to change President Vladimir Putin's calculus through a...

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The Two Sudans: Problems Are Linked - So Are Solutions

(0) Comments | Posted February 5, 2014 | 4:00 PM

By David L. Phillips and Ahmed Hussain Adam

Sudan and South Sudan are a revolving door of deadly conflicts. Comprehensive and sustainable peace can only be achieved through parallel steps affecting conditions in both countries. Managing crisis in one while neglecting the other is a stop-gap. If problems are...

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Solutions to Communal Conflict in Myanmar

(1) Comments | Posted February 3, 2014 | 9:00 AM

A local man from central Myanmar explained tensions between Buddhists and Muslims. "Myanmar is a Buddhist country," he declared. "We are under siege from Muslims who came from Bengal to take our land and rape our children." He insisted, "We Buddhists are a peaceful and tolerant people, but Islam is...

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Buddha's Teachings on Social Harmony

(1) Comments | Posted January 3, 2014 | 6:53 PM

Yangon -- In June and October 2012, scores of Muslims were killed and about 140,000 displaced in clashes between ethnic Arakan Buddhists and Rohingya Muslims. Rohingyas now live in squalid refugee camps, locked-down and under curfew. The conflict in Rakhine State also has an ethnic dimension; Rohingya are treated as...

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Tough Love for Turkey's Prime Minister Erdoğan

(4) Comments | Posted January 2, 2014 | 7:47 AM

Istanbul -- Turkey's Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan weathered international criticism for last summer's violent crackdown against peaceful protesters, while keeping his domestic base of support largely intact. However, recent revelations of corruption by senior members of his Justice and Development Party (AKP) have sparked more street protests. Domestic tranquility...

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European Union Leverage in Turkey

(6) Comments | Posted December 12, 2013 | 5:05 PM

Recent actions by Turkey's Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan cast doubt on his democracy credentials and raise doubt about the reliability of Turkey as an ally of the West. The international community can help get Turkey back on track by demonstrating commitment to its Euro-Atlantic integration and using the framework...

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Protection in the Syrian Crisis

(4) Comments | Posted November 21, 2013 | 2:31 PM

Failing to protect civilians in the Syrian crisis represents a collective failure of the UN Security Council. Not only does it cast doubt on the UN's ability to prevent and punish genocide. It also calls into question a core principle of the world body. Article 24 of the Charter assigns...

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Iraqi Kurds: "No Friend but the Mountains"

(2) Comments | Posted October 7, 2013 | 11:05 AM

The Kurdistan Region of Iraq has been an island of peace and stability surrounded by sectarian strife and civil wars. Until last week when several suicide bombers struck Erbil, the capital of Iraqi Kurdistan, decimating the Interior Ministry, killing 6 people, wounding scores, and sparking gunfights in the streets of...

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On the Brink in Sudan

(0) Comments | Posted September 30, 2013 | 2:21 PM

By David L. Phillips and Ahmed Hussain Adam

A spiral of deadly violence engulfed Sudan last week. Nearly 200 peaceful protesters were killed in protests that started in Darfur and swept across the country, including Khartoum. Gulf States, including Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates, condemned the...

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