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You searched for: Content Type Policy Brief Remove constraint Content Type: Policy Brief Publishing Institution Norwegian Peacebuilding Resource Centre Remove constraint Publishing Institution: Norwegian Peacebuilding Resource Centre
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  • Author: Terje Østebø, Wallelign Shemsedin
  • Publication Date: 03-2015
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Norwegian Peacebuilding Resource Centre
  • Abstract: The Intellectualist movement is one of the major Islamic reform movements in contemporary Ethiopia. Informal and decentralised in character, it has attracted young students, professionals and urban intellectuals. The movement was inspired to a great extent by the ideas of the Muslim Brotherhood, which were critically contextualised and applied to the Ethiopian context. This has entailed avoiding the more political aspects of Brotherhood thinking while emphasising the positive role of Islamic virtues in the formation of individual and societal piety. The Intellectualists have further been formative for Ethiopian Muslims' thinking about secularism, democracy and constitutional rule, and have played a significant role in mediating between various religious actors in Ethiopia, as well as negotiating the position of Islam in relation to the political authorities. Of particular importance is the way in which the movement has served as a moderating force in a rapidly changing and fluid political and religious landscape. This demonstrates the inherent complexity of the trend commonly labelled as Islamism, and points to the need for nuanced and localised approaches when trying to understand this trend.
  • Political Geography: Ethiopia
  • Author: Wenche Hauge
  • Publication Date: 01-2015
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Norwegian Peacebuilding Resource Centre
  • Abstract: In recent decades Haitian migration to the Dominican Republic has been unregulated. It has garnered more attention after the 2010 earthquake in Haiti caused a slight peak in cross-border migration. The ruling of the Dominican Republic's Constitutional Tribunal on September 23rd 2013, which effectively denationalised many Dominicans of Haitian ancestry, has increased this attention. However, a narrow focus has defined the debate in terms of human rights concerns versus the Dominican Republic's sovereignty. This policy brief shows why it is necessary to broaden the focus to include other aspects of the relationship between Haiti and the Dominican Republic, such as asymmetrical trade relations and how they affect Haitian communities along the border between the two countries in particular. It also points out the importance of social representation, and how images that Dominican and Haitian populations have of each other are formed, and influence the situation of Haitian migrant workers and their families in the Dominican Republic. Finally, it argues that more attention should be paid to the role of local civil society in support of Haitian migrant workers in the Dominican Republic, because civil society has proven to be very active, using a multifaceted strategy in its work.
  • Author: Morten Bøås
  • Publication Date: 01-2014
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Norwegian Peacebuilding Resource Centre
  • Abstract: Political instability and administrative weakness have been permanent features of the Central African Republic (CAR) ever since independence. This is, therefore, the history of a collapse foretold. Michel Djotodia may have had good intentions when he put together the Séléka alliance; the problem was that the only thing that kept it together was the desire to get rid of François Bozizé. When Bozizé was gone, the coalition's internal coherence also disappeared. Thus, for lack of other options, the alliance members continued to make their livelihoods based on plunder. As the situation worsened, the communities plundered established their own militias, and the stage was set for a simmering sectarian conflict between Christians and Muslims. It is in this mess of communal violence that the international forces are supposed to re-establish law and order. The main challenge, however, is how to avoid adding fuel to the sectarian fire. The international forces must tread carefully, and any attempt at disarming militias must be conducted with this in mind. What has happened and is happening is tragic, but it is neither genocide nor a full-blown sectarian conflict. This can still be avoided if the international forces behave impartially with regard to the two main religious communities in the country.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution, International Cooperation, Religion, Sectarian violence, Peacekeeping
  • Political Geography: Africa
  • Author: Mona Yacoubian
  • Publication Date: 02-2014
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Norwegian Peacebuilding Resource Centre
  • Abstract: The Syrian crisis is rapidly turning into a humanitarian and security nightmare with regional and possibly global implications. The conflict is now firmly entrenched in a military stalemate. While "stalemate" conveys a sense of stasis, the impasse translates into the deepening deterioration of conditions on the ground. Meanwhile, the supercharged sectarian dynamic emanating from Syria is severely threatening regional stability, particularly in Iraq and Lebanon, which have both witnessed significant increases in sectarian violence.
  • Topic: Diplomacy, Humanitarian Aid, International Cooperation, Sectarian violence
  • Political Geography: United Nations, Syria
  • Author: Gunnar M. Sørbø
  • Publication Date: 04-2014
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Norwegian Peacebuilding Resource Centre
  • Abstract: While the crisis in South Sudan that started in December 2013 was triggered by a power struggle in the ruling party (SPLM), the causes for the rapid breakdown of peace run deep. Over time, several rebel groups were integrated into the army (SPLA) without resolving the causes of their rebellions. The army therefore became a coalition of ethnic militias loyal to their commanders, and when the shooting started in Juba, the country blew apart along these fault lines. However, the idea that there are two discernible camps – i.e. a Dinka-dominated government and a Nuer-dominated opposition – is grossly inaccurate. South Sudan has been at odds with itself for a long time. A weak but centralised government, scarce resources, patronage politics, the legacy of war, and a lack of peace dividends have provided a recipe for crisis and collapse for years. While Uganda's military involvement has given the conflict a dangerous regional dynamic, the greater challenge will be to move beyond striking a narrow peace deal between the main belligerents that will likely only restore the status quo. In order to reach a sustainable political solution a comprehensive rethink of South Sudan's national project is required that will address the root causes of the conflict.
  • Topic: Political Violence, Armed Struggle
  • Political Geography: Uganda, Africa, South Sudan, Juba
  • Author: Rabab el-Mahdi
  • Publication Date: 05-2014
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Norwegian Peacebuilding Resource Centre
  • Abstract: The puzzle of Egypt's apparently wild swings from the Mubarak regime to a Muslim Brotherhood government and then back to a military dictatorship have been manipulated to fit the simplistic linear and binary categorical models of democratic transition, with an emphasis on procedural outcomes, when in fact deeper structural issues are at stake. Three challenges explain mainstream Egyptians' choices and the tumultuous path the revolution has been following. The first is the structural economic crisis facing Egypt, coupled with lack of state administrative capacity, which no government has been able to effectively deal with. The second is the repercussions of Egypt's post-colonial history, which as a consequence tends to see the army as the "saviour" and "liberator" of the nation. The third is the failure of alternative groups to to provide solid political alternatives for the majority to rally around against the two reactionary poles and their inability to devise strategies to break loose from and reconstruct the hegemonic discourse . Consequently, international actors who throw their weight behind one reactionary faction or the other based solely on pragmatic considerations of their ability to bring about stability will be backing the wrong horse.
  • Topic: Economics, Islam, Armed Struggle, Regime Change, Popular Revolt
  • Political Geography: Middle East, Egypt
  • Author: Oliver Stuenkel
  • Publication Date: 05-2014
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Norwegian Peacebuilding Resource Centre
  • Abstract: Emerging powers frequently stress the importance of sovereignty and the inviolability of international law. As a consequence, many Western observers expected that emerging powers such as Brazil would be quick to condemn Russia's annexation of Crimea. Yet Brazil remained neutral and abstained from the UN General Assembly resolution that criticised Russia. Together with the other BRICS countries, it opposed suggestions to exclude Russia from the G-20, thus markedly reducing the effectiveness of Western attempts to isolate President Putin. Brazil's unwillingness to criticise Russia may have less to do with its opinion on Russia's annexation of Crimea per se and more to do with Brasília's scepticism of Western attempts to turn Russia into an international pariah. From Brasilia's perspective, pushing countries against the wall is rarely the most constructive approach. In addition, many in Brazil are wary of a global order that privileges the U.S. and allows it to flout many norms that apply to everyone else, arguing that these double standards are far more damaging to international order than any Russian policy. Finally, Russia annexed Crimea at a time when anti-Americanism around the world still runs high as a consequence of the NSA spying scandals, making alignment with U.S. positions politically costly at home.
  • Topic: Emerging Markets, Politics, Sovereignty
  • Political Geography: Russia, Europe, Asia, Brazil, South America
  • Author: Balkan Devlen
  • Publication Date: 06-2014
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Norwegian Peacebuilding Resource Centre
  • Abstract: From the start of the Ukrainian crisis Turkey kept a low profile and adopted a strategy best described as "don't poke the Russian bear". Russia is a major Turkish trading partner and Turkey relies heavily on Russian natural gas for its energy needs, while Turkish prime minister Erdogan has also been dealing with serious domestic challenges in the last year. Therefore, due to both external and internal factors, Turkey will avoid confronting Russia directly and will pass the buck to the U.S. and EU. In the short to medium term there are three plausible scenarios under which Turkey will change its current policy. They include the oppression of Crimean Tatars by the Russian authorities; military confrontation in the Black Sea between Russia and NATO; or a more unified, tougher stance against Russia by the West. In the long term Turkey most likely will revert to its traditional role of balancing Russia by strengthening its ties with the West, while reducing its energy dependence on Russia.
  • Topic: Foreign Policy, Economics, Governance
  • Political Geography: Russia, United States, Europe, Turkey, Ukraine, Asia
  • Author: Varun Sahni
  • Publication Date: 06-2014
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Norwegian Peacebuilding Resource Centre
  • Abstract: The statement by India's national security adviser on March 6th 2014 referring to "legitimate" Russian interest in Ukraine was unsurprisingly criticised in the West, but appreciated in Russia. Most observers missed other important elements in the statement: reference to Ukraine's internal issues; recognition that both Russian and other interests were involved; and emphasis on a peaceful settlement, reconciliation and negotiation. Debate on the Ukrainian crisis has been largely absent in India due to preoccupation with national elections, widespread consensus that Russia is a dependable "friend of India", and sneaking admiration of President Putin for his "decisiveness" in promoting Russia's interests and open defiance of the West. While China and Pakistan have deployed historical/ethno-cultural arguments to dispute Indian sovereignty over territories that India considers its own, India has consistently rejected claims to alter the territorial status quo on grounds of kinship across sovereign borders.
  • Topic: Security, Foreign Policy, Sovereignty, Territorial Disputes
  • Political Geography: Russia, Ukraine, India, Asia
  • Author: Chris Alden
  • Publication Date: 06-2014
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Norwegian Peacebuilding Resource Centre
  • Abstract: Assessments of the official Chinese reaction to the crisis in Ukraine have focused primarily on China's abstention in the vote on a UN Security Council resolution condemning Russian actions and, to a lesser degree, on the three-pronged Chinese proposal for addressing the crisis. However, by examining an array of Chinese sources, including media reports, editorials, and research think-tank publications, a number of viewpoints are presented that provide a better sense of the scope of Chinese thinking on the subject. These concentrate on the notion of Chinese neutrality, Western interference, the domestic sources of the Ukrainian crisis, and possible policy options available to Chinese decision-makers. Understanding these provides a more nuanced understanding of Chinese reactions to the Ukrainian crisis and its possible significance for China.
  • Topic: Foreign Policy, Mass Media
  • Political Geography: Russia, China, Ukraine, Asia