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  • Author: Peyton Cooke, Eliza Urwin
  • Publication Date: 12-2015
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: United States Institute of Peace
  • Abstract: Long-standing social and political grievances, combined with an unresponsive, factionalized government and abusive militias, facilitated the Taliban’s capture of Kunduz in September 2015. The fall of Kunduz raised questions regarding future political and security implications across the northeast region of Afghanistan. This Peace Brief highlights findings from interviews with a range of actors comparing what the government’s political and security response should look like and what it’s expected to look like, as well as offering recommendations for government and civil society.
  • Topic: Security, Corruption, War, Governance, Military Affairs
  • Political Geography: Afghanistan, Central Asia
  • Author: Antonio Giustozzi, Casey Garret Johnson
  • Publication Date: 11-2013
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: United States Institute of Peace
  • Abstract: The Taliban have more resources and are better organized to disrupt Afghanistan's 2014 national elections than was the case in any of the country's last four elections. Still, there are disagreements between insurgent leaders about carrying out a campaign of violence and intimidation. One group, led by Akhtar Mansur and tied to the Quetta Shura, favored, at least for some time, a more conciliatory approach and in the spring met informally with Afghan government officials to discuss allowing the polls to go forward. Another Group, led by Taliban military commander Zakir and the Peshawar Shura, favors disrupting the election. These upper-level divisions may have little consequence on the ground since rank-and-file fighters are either vowing to carry out attacks regardless or, as has happened in the past, may strike local deals with political entities to look the other way and allow voting to take place.
  • Topic: Security, Political Violence, Democratization, Islam, War, Insurgency
  • Political Geography: Afghanistan, Central Asia, Taliban
  • Author: Qamar ul Huda
  • Publication Date: 03-2012
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: United States Institute of Peace
  • Abstract: The recent desecration of the Koran and Islamic writings caused violent unrest in Afghanistan and raises concerns about essential training in culture and religion for U.S. personnel. Basic knowledge of religious actors and their roles in peacebuilding and conflict management is still barely factored in by policymakers and advisers to U.S. government. There needs more effort by local, regional, and international religious leaders to promote nonviolent and tolerant reactions even in midst of incendiary events. An assessment is needed to evaluate whether efforts at promoting inter-cultural sensitivity are working or not, and identifying processes for mitigating tensions.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution, Islam, Religion, War, Counterinsurgency
  • Political Geography: Afghanistan, United States
  • Author: Moeed Yusuf
  • Publication Date: 05-2012
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: United States Institute of Peace
  • Abstract: Out of the proposed alternatives for dealing with Pakistan discussed in Washington, one that seems to have gained some traction calls for aggressively playing up Pakistan's civil-military divide by propping up civilians while dealing harshly with the military and the Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI). While normatively attractive, the approach to deal with Pakistan as two Pakistans is unworkable. It grossly exaggerates the U.S.'s capacity to affect institutional change in Pakistan and fundamentally misunderstands what underpins the civil-military dynamic. In reality, any attempt by the U.S. to actively exploit this internal disconnect is likely to end up strengthening right wing rhetoric in Pakistan, provide more space for security-centric policies, and further alienate the Pakistani people from the U.S. A more prudent approach would be one that limits itself to targeted interventions in areas truly at the heart of the civil-military dichotomy and that would resonate positively with the Pakistani people: by continuing to help improve civilian governance performance and by providing regional security assurances to Pakistan.
  • Topic: Foreign Policy, Arms Control and Proliferation, Corruption, Islam, Terrorism, War, Bilateral Relations
  • Political Geography: Pakistan, United States, South Asia, Washington
  • Author: William Byrd
  • Publication Date: 04-2012
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: United States Institute of Peace
  • Abstract: This report reflects the author's research interests and several publications on security sector reform from a financial and development perspective. It is intended to lay out key issues and trade-offs in this area, and brings in concepts and tools of public financial management which are applicable to the security sector. The views expressed in this brief do not necessarily represent the views of the U.S. Institute of Peace, which does not take policy positions.
  • Topic: Security, Terrorism, War, Counterinsurgency
  • Political Geography: Afghanistan, United States, Chicago
  • Author: William Byrd
  • Publication Date: 07-2012
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: United States Institute of Peace
  • Abstract: The numerous high-profile international meetings on Afghanistan since 2001 have helped keep attention focused on Afghanistan, elicit financial support, give a “seat at the table” to all partners, generate good strategic documents, and provide a forum for the Afghan government. However, the meetings often have raised excessive expectations; lacked meaningful follow-up; undermined their own objectives; prioritized diplomacy over substance; focused more on donors' issues than Afghan problems; oriented the Afghan government toward donors; diverted resources toward meetings; resulted in meeting fatigue; and sometimes seemingly substituted for action. These meetings can be made more effective by: (1) keeping to realistic expectations; (2) not expecting meetings to substitute for difficult decisions and actions; (3) having substantive, disciplined agendas and avoiding co-optation by diplomatic priorities; (4) matching objectives with the issue(s) the meeting is supposed to address; (5) ensuring quality background work; (6) focusing follow-up on key areas and a few simple, monitorable benchmarks; and (7) keep­ing the number and frequency of meetings manageable.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution, Foreign Policy, Diplomacy, Peace Studies, War, Counterinsurgency
  • Political Geography: Afghanistan
  • Author: Patricia Gossman
  • Publication Date: 01-2011
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: United States Institute of Peace
  • Abstract: The Afghan public, along with the international community, appears increasingly supportive of opening negotiations with the Taliban to end the war. The Karzai administration also supports this, as reflected by the June 2010 Peace Jirga held in Kabul and the 70-member High Peace Council that was formed thereafter. In spite of the talks, no one in Washington or Kabul has clarified what reconciliation means in practice, particularly with respect to accountability for abuses that occurred during the rule of the Taliban as well as those that occurred when rival factions fought with each other before the Taliban came to power. On November 10, 2010 representatives from Afghan and international NGOs, as well as the UN, gathered for a one-day Conference on Peace, Reconciliation, and Justice in Kabul to revitalize public discussion on peace and reconciliation among the government of Afghanistan, the international community, and Afghan civil society. The discussions revealed a troubling disconnect between the High Peace Council and Afghan civil society representatives who strongly criticized the Council\'s inclusion of former militia leaders among its members, the lack of transparency in its activities, and the lack of clarity in its objectives. These criticisms indicate that for a peace process to have broad, popular support, the Afghan government and the international community must make greater efforts to engage local leaders in a dialogue and account for the interests of communities and interest groups that are not represented in the High Peace Council.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution, Human Rights, Islam, War, Insurgency
  • Political Geography: Afghanistan
  • Author: Whitney Parker, Scott Worden, Shani Ross, Sahar Azar
  • Publication Date: 03-2011
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: United States Institute of Peace
  • Abstract: Post-conflict justice mechanisms such as truth commissions, war crimes tribunals and reparations programs have emerged as a fundamental building block of durable peace settlements in Latin America, Africa and Asia. They are relatively rare, however, in Muslim countries recovering from conflict-despite the fact that social and criminal justice is a fundamental principle of Islamic law.
  • Topic: Conflict Prevention, Crime, Islam, War, Law Enforcement, Law
  • Political Geography: Africa, Asia, Arabia, Latin America
  • Author: Lawrence Woocher, Jonas Claes, Abiodun Williams
  • Publication Date: 07-2011
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: United States Institute of Peace
  • Abstract: USIP's annual “Preventing Violent Conflict” conference is designed to spotlight the importance of the subject, address specific challenges facing prevention efforts and identify priority areas for USIP's future work on conflict prevention. This brief summarizes the highlights of that conference.
  • Topic: Conflict Prevention, Political Violence, Crime, War
  • Author: Noah Coburn, Shahmahmood Miakhel
  • Publication Date: 06-2011
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: United States Institute of Peace
  • Abstract: Currently numerous disputes at the local level are unresolved in Afghanistan, leading to local instability, a growing distance between the government and people and encouraging communities to turn to the Taliban. In March 2010, USIP began working with local elders, government officials (particularly governors and officials from the Ministry of Tribal Affairs) and religious figures to address a range of disputes in Nangarhar and Kunar provinces in eastern Afghanistan. These networks of elders, working closely with government officials and, in some cases, the international military, have addressed conflicts that include land disputes, criminal cases, and disputes involving the Taliban. Since 2010, USIP's Dispute Resolution Project has participated in and recorded the resolution of over 120 cases. The project suggests several methods for facilitating dispute resolution that rely on flexible networks of locally legitimate political figures which will strengthen the government, promote rule of law and decrease the appeal of the Taliban.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution, Peace Studies, War, Insurgency
  • Political Geography: Afghanistan, Taliban
  • Author: Deedee Derksen
  • Publication Date: 09-2011
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: United States Institute of Peace
  • Abstract: The Afghan Peace and Reintegration Program (APRP) aims to reintegrate insurgents in return for security, jobs and other incentives, but has seen limited results. Rapid implementation of the program has failed to address adequately a variety of political, employment and security concerns.
  • Topic: Security, Islam, War, Insurgency
  • Political Geography: Afghanistan
  • Author: Scott Worden, Sylvana Q. Sinha
  • Publication Date: 11-2011
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: United States Institute of Peace
  • Abstract: The recent controversy in Afghanistan over the outcome of the 2010 parliamentary elections ultimately resolved the question of who sits in Parliament, but left a more fundamental question unanswered: "Who has the power to interpret the Afghan Constitution?" Ambiguities in the language of the Constitution make it difficult to determine who has the legal authority to interpret it. The Supreme Court maintains that the Constitution gives it the power of judicial review, but the Constitution also calls for the Independent Commission on the Supervision of Implementation of the Constitution (ICSIC), which the Parliament has mandated to decide constitutional issues instead. Without political and legal consensus over who has final authority to decide different types of constitutional claims, Afghanistan cannot achieve a rule of law where government activities are subject to consistent and transparent rules. Afghanistan must establish clear and unambiguous rules for constitutional interpretation to avoid damaging crises about political leadership and the separation of powers as the security transition and Presidential election approach in 2014.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution, Democratization, Islam, War, Insurgency
  • Political Geography: Afghanistan
  • Author: Julie Flint
  • Publication Date: 11-2011
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: United States Institute of Peace
  • Abstract: The response to the renewed war in Sudan's Nuba Mountains has been driven largely by a human rights and humanitarian crisis. The crisis will continue indefinitely without a political agreement that acknowledges the Nuba rebellion is self-sustaining and reflects a wider malaise within the new Republic of Sudan. With Sudan facing financial collapse, economic normalization must be part of negotiations with Khartoum to end the war in the Nuba Mountains and promote democratization throughout Sudan.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution, Democratization, Development, Human Rights, War, Insurgency, Financial Crisis
  • Political Geography: Africa, Sudan
  • Author: John Dempsey, Noah Coburn
  • Publication Date: 02-2010
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: United States Institute of Peace
  • Abstract: Stability in Afghanistan will remain elusive unless disputes between individuals and among communities can be resolved through peaceful and equitable means. However, state justice institutions are barely functioning in much of the country and are incapable of meeting many justice and dispute resolution needs of Afghans. Instead, the majority of Afghans turn to traditional justice mechanisms—including tribal councils and village and religious leaders—to address both civil and criminal disputes. In many parts of the country, including areas recently cleared of insurgents, the best way to make signi_cant, visible, short-term (12 to 18 months) gains in peacefully resolving disputes is to work with community-based structures. USIP has drawn important lessons from its work with Afghan partners to implement pilot programs exploring links between the state and traditional justice systems in four provinces across the country (in Nangarhar, Khost, Paktia and Herat). Programs designed to create or strengthen existing links between traditional justice bodies and state institutions can build mutual trust and harness the strengths of each. Donor-funded traditional justice programs need to involve the Afghan government while also accounting for the practical needs of communities to settle disputes in line with their own traditions and procedures, as well as Afghanistan's laws and human rights norms.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution, Terrorism, War
  • Political Geography: Afghanistan, Asia
  • Author: Robert M. Perito
  • Publication Date: 02-2010
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: United States Institute of Peace
  • Abstract: Legislative oversight of the security sector is crucial to ensure that security policies and expenditures are undertaken with full transparency, accountability and concern for other national priorities and popular attitudes. This is important in conflict states, particularly during peace or stability operations. Establishing legislative oversight is difficult in conflict countries because of the absence of historical tradition, the complexity of security agencies, the technical nature of the issues, secrecy laws and the lack of expertise among parliamentarians and their staffs. The U.S. Congress provides a model for effective legislative oversight of the security sector for other countries to emulate. Congress has developed the legal authorities and the traditions required to form an effective partnership with the Defense and Justice departments, the U.S. military forces and civilian security services. Due to the importance of legislative oversight of the security sector to the democratic process, the U.S. Congress provides advice and training to foreign parliaments and parliamentarians in security sector reform. Congress has important partnership arrangements with parliaments in Afghanistan, Pakistan, Georgia, Kosovo and other conflict countries.
  • Topic: Security, Political Violence, International Cooperation, Regional Cooperation, War
  • Political Geography: Pakistan, Afghanistan, Kosovo, Georgia
  • Author: Lisa Schirch
  • Publication Date: 09-2010
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: United States Institute of Peace
  • Abstract: The intense challenge of coordinating government civilians with military actors in the International Security Assistance Forces' Provincial Reconstruction Teams in Afghanistan has inhibited development of military relationships with civil society. The counterinsurgency strategy of “shape, clear, hold, build” invites civil society organizations (CSOs) to play key roles in the final “build” stage at the operational level. Yet many CSOs resist “coordination” in a mission and strategy different from their own. CSOs seek greater policy dialogue and “communication” with high-level ISAF decision makers, particularly during planning stages. An ongoing, high-level forum for civil society-military policy dialogue could help address tensions, provide a mechanism for CSOs to share their conflict assessments, and explore areas for possible collaboration such as in security sector reform.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution, Civil Society, War
  • Political Geography: Afghanistan, Indonesia
  • Author: William B. Taylor
  • Publication Date: 09-2010
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: United States Institute of Peace
  • Abstract: President Barack Obama's policy of a conditions-based redeployment in Afghanistan starting in July 2011 leaves him a lot of flexibility. The administration will likely decide to maintain the troop numbers in Afghanistan near the surge level next year, pending another review.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution, Terrorism, War
  • Political Geography: Afghanistan, United States
  • Author: Noah Coburn, Shahmahmood Miakhel
  • Publication Date: 09-2010
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: United States Institute of Peace
  • Abstract: The need to engage local Afghan leaders and support community decision making has recently been promoted as a key element of both development and counterinsurgency strategies in Afghanistan. The resulting proliferation of community councils—commonly called shuras or jirgas— sponsored by different actors within the Afghan government and international community has decreased the effectiveness of local governance and rule of law in many places. Traditional Afghan dispute resolution and governance bodies are most effective when they are formed by local residents and genuinely reflect the interests of the community. Their legitimacy decreases if international or government sponsors create shuras or jirgas to promote their own interests. This paradox creates a dilemma for programs designed to foster good governance: how to promote community self-rule that reflects traditional values and mechanisms and that develop locally, while adhering to rigid counterinsurgency and development timelines and strategies. These so-called 'traditional' political structures have an important place in local governance in Afghanistan, but the international community should not assume that such bodies fairly represent their respective communities. Rather, sound understanding of local dynamics and in-depth consultation with local government actors and community leaders are necessary to help ensure that such bodies are represented and thus, legitimate within the community. A more coherent, sustainable vision of long-term local governance and coordinated strategies between the Afghan government and international forces is necessary to bring both stability and development to Afghanistan. In particular, this Peace Brief supports the attempts to create a coherent long-term goal of local governance based on legitimate local actors, most likely selected through elections.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution, Development, War, Counterinsurgency
  • Political Geography: Afghanistan
  • Author: Daniel Serwer
  • Publication Date: 11-2010
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: United States Institute of Peace
  • Abstract: Kosovo should not be allowed to stagnate as a "frozen conflict." There are well-established principles that can provide a basis for moving forward. Talks between Belgrade and Pristina on a framework for managing their relationship on practical issues are both possible and necessary, even if they do not happen right away. The time available should be used for careful preparations, especially by Pristina. As Belgrade and Moscow present serious challenges, a joint EU/U.S. effort has the best prospects for success to prevent a "frozen conflict."
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution, Diplomacy, Treaties and Agreements, War
  • Political Geography: Kosovo, Moscow, Balkans
  • Author: Scott Worden
  • Publication Date: 10-2010
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: United States Institute of Peace
  • Abstract: On September 18, Afghanistan held its second parliamentary elections since the fall of the Taliban. Like last year's vote, these elections were marked by high levels of violence, low turnout and widespread reports of fraud.Despite the challenges, however, Afghans across the country defied Taliban threats and overcame problems with the electoral administration to signal their support for the democratic process. Participation appeared higher among the youth demographic, which is a promising sign for the future of democratic processes in Afghanistan. It is still too early to tell whether the quality of the elections was better than the flawed 2009 process, but the Independent Election Commission (IEC) has improved its procedures and transparency both before and after the elections, and has so far helped to restore the credibility of the institution as a neutral administrator of the electoral process. Meanwhile, the Electoral Complaints Commission (ECC) is again under-resourced, has had little time to establish and train the Provincial Electoral Complaints Commissions (PECCs) that will be adjudicating the 4,200 election day complaints, and has yet to make public its decisions regarding the campaign or polling complaints.The ultimate success of the 2010 elections depends less on the level of fraud that was committed on election day-which was bound to be high-and more on the way in which the fraud is handled by the IEC and ECC. If they are transparent and honest about the problems, and take responsible corrective action, then the elections can be considered a partial success despite its flaws.
  • Topic: Corruption, Democratization, War
  • Political Geography: Afghanistan, Central Asia
  • Author: Leonard Rubenstein, Anjalee Kohli
  • Publication Date: 09-2010
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: United States Institute of Peace
  • Abstract: There is increasing recognition that the violence, displacement, disruption of communities and social networks, and deprivation stemming from war deeply impact the mental health of individuals and the social cohesion of communities. In response, donors and providers are creating programs for psychosocial or clinical services that seek to be culturally appropriate, attentive to the need to build local capacity, and sustainable. The quality and comprehensiveness of mental health programs offered in crises, however, generally remains mixed. Too often the programs do not sufficiently differentiate among widely varying individual needs or focus predominantly on either community-based interventions or the clinical needs of more severely affected people but not both. Services for people with more severe disabilities often replicate institutional models, and accompanying human rights violations, that existed in the pre-war period. The challenge of providing sound programs, moreover, is complicated by a relatively thin evidence base. In the face of these challenges, the “Guidelines on Mental Health and Psychosocial Support in Emergency Settings” adopted in 2007 by the Interagency Standing Committee (IASC) offer a promising approach. They stress understanding local context, programming that attends to psychosocial support needs of the entire community, meeting clinical needs of people with more severe conditions, and respecting human rights. Following the IASC and building the evidence base by assuring adequate evaluation of funded programs can help meet the tremendous mental health needs of suffering populations.
  • Topic: Political Violence, Health, Humanitarian Aid, War
  • Author: Jacleen Mowery, Demis Yanco, Ryan McClanahan
  • Publication Date: 12-2010
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: United States Institute of Peace
  • Abstract: Post-conflict governance requires simultaneous and complementary action on three levels. national governance, local governance, and civil society. Norbert Mao, a parliamentary leader from Uganda, offered this progression for managing the trade-off between short-term stabilization and long-term capacity building: "In the emergency phase, you should do it for us. In the reconstruction phase, you should do it with us. And in the development phase, you should do it through us." Efforts to develop the capacity of local governments to deliver services may be more responsive to external assistance than programs aimed at overcoming systemic dysfunctions in the central government, in part because municipal officials are more accountable to their communities. Civil society should be a prominent player in transitioning to “local ownership,” which may erroneously be conceived in terms of ownership by national and perhaps local governments. Building the capacity of civil society entails connectivity with international partners and ideas, not just financing. There are trade-offs involved among the three stakeholders. Among the most salient, when a legacy of abuse of power by the national government and repression of opposition groups must be confronted, an active civil society is essential. An invigorated civil society can fundamentally challenge illicit structures of power that profited from conflict.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution, Civil Society, Government, Peace Studies, War, Governance, Peacekeeping
  • Political Geography: Uganda
  • Author: Delphine Djiraibe
  • Publication Date: 12-2010
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: United States Institute of Peace
  • Abstract: Political crises and armed opposition movements have plagued Chad for several years. After several failed peace initiatives, the August 13 Agreement was reached in 2007. The agreement is the most viable framework for bringing peace to Chad. It calls on the Chadian government to reform critical electoral institutions, undertake a credible electoral census and demilitarize politics in order to ensure fair and transparent elections. To date, the agreement has been poorly implemented. It jeopardizes the credibility of the upcoming legislative elections, currently scheduled for February 2011. Only comprehensive reform that addresses the development and governance challenges facing Chad will definitively end its political crisis.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution, Peace Studies, Treaties and Agreements, War, Peacekeeping
  • Political Geography: Africa
  • Author: Kelly Campbell, Linda Bishai, Jacki Wilson
  • Publication Date: 03-2009
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: United States Institute of Peace
  • Abstract: Sudan's upcoming elections in 2009 raise hopes and concerns for the country's future. According to the Comprehensive Peace Agreement (CPA), signed in 2005 between the ruling National Congress Party (NCP) and the Sudan People's Liberation Movement (SPLM), Sudan is scheduled to hold national and state level elections in 2009. (Elections are to take place for president of the Government of National Unity, president of the Government of Southern Sudan, members of the National Assembly and the South Sudan Legislative Assembly, and governors and state legislatures in all of Sudan's 25 states) However, delays in each phase of electoral preparation—including the passage of the electoral law, the appointment of the nine National Election Commission members responsible for overseeing elections, and the census—have raised doubts about whether the elections will be held within the timeframe outlined in the CPA.
  • Topic: Political Violence, Civil Society, Democratization, Government, Peace Studies, War
  • Political Geography: Africa, Sudan, South Sudan
  • Author: Alistair Harris
  • Publication Date: 03-2009
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: United States Institute of Peace
  • Abstract: Last week's international donor conference to address the question of humanitarian assistance to Gaza underscores the myriad challenges confronting the process. Namely, how should the international community respond to the complex issues surrounding assistance in post-conflict recovery and reconstruction, particularly when several key donors reject any contact with Hamas, the governing authority on the ground? By any estimation, the Gaza reconstruction process will face several perplexing issues: How can billions of US dollars be effectively, transparently and accountably dispersed in a coordinated way, when several key donors and the Government of Israel reject any moves that will bolster the fortunes of Hamas, who m they classify as a terrorist organisation? What impact will an emerging Palestinian National Unity Government have on the mechanisms for overcoming many donors' reluctance to deal directly with Hamas? What opportunities and challenges does the reconstruction of Gaza pose for a rapprochement between Hamas and Fatah? Who will lead the reconstruction process and how will meaningful activity take place in the face of severe restrictions on access and movement? With Hamas in power in Gaza and Israel ref using to consider opening their common borders until kidnapped Israeli Defence Forces Corporal Gilad Shalit is released by Hamas, how is meaningful recovery and reconstruction even possible? In the absence of a credible political process, what use is reconstruction anyway if it merely returns the population of Gaza to their pre-conflict socio-economic imperilment? Lebanon faced a similar situation following the 2006 war between Hezbollah and Israel.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution, Foreign Policy, Political Violence, Humanitarian Aid, Peace Studies, War
  • Political Geography: Middle East, Israel, Palestine, Arabia, Gaza, Lebanon
  • Author: J Alexander Thier, John Dempsey
  • Publication Date: 03-2009
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: United States Institute of Peace
  • Abstract: The current political crisis over elections in Afghanistan stems, in part, from a fundamental gap in Afghanistan's legal and political system: lack of agreement on what entity(s) has the power to resolve constitutional disputes, and how that power is accessed. Without a clear path to settling constitutional disagreements, the system becomes deadlocked as disputes arise, exacerbating tensions between Afghanistan's fragile institutions and factionalized political elite.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution, Foreign Policy, Political Violence, War
  • Political Geography: Afghanistan, United States, Central Asia
  • Author: Kelly Campbell, Linda Bishai, Jacki Wilson
  • Publication Date: 03-2009
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: United States Institute of Peace
  • Abstract: Sudan's upcoming elections in 2009 raise hopes and concerns for the country's future. According to the Comprehensive Peace Agreement (CPA), signed in 2005 between the ruling National Congress Party (NCP) and the Sudan People's Liberation Movement (SPLM), Sudan is scheduled to hold national and state level elections in 2009. (Elections are to take place for president of the Government of National Unity, president of the Government of Southern Sudan, members of the National Assembly and the South Sudan Legislative Assembly, and governors and state legislatures in all of Sudan's 25 states.) However, delays in each phase of electoral preparation — including the passage of the electoral law, the appointment of the nine National Election Commission members responsible for overseeing elections, and the census — have raised doubts about whether the elections will be held within the timeframe outlined in the CPA.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution, Democratization, Development, Peace Studies, Treaties and Agreements, War
  • Political Geography: Sudan
  • Author: Kurt Bassuener, James Lyon
  • Publication Date: 05-2009
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: United States Institute of Peace
  • Abstract: This is the first of three papers USIP will publish this month on Bosnia, each with a different analytical perspective on what is happening in Bosnia and what needs to be done there to prevent a return to violence. We do this in the hope that these papers will generate a fuller debate on options that might be pursued by the U.S. government (USG), Europe and Bosnians.
  • Topic: Conflict Prevention, Democratization, Peace Studies, War
  • Political Geography: United States, Europe, Bosnia, Herzegovina, Balkans
  • Author: Robert Perito, Madeline Kristoff
  • Publication Date: 08-2009
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: United States Institute of Peace
  • Abstract: Iraq's Ministry of the Interior (MOI) is responsible for the supervision, training and administrative support for Iraq's non-military security forces. These include: the Iraqi Police Service, the Iraq National Police, the Iraqi Border Enforcement Service and the Facilities Protection Service. In total, MOI is responsible for nearly 600,000 men under arms or a force that is three times the size of the new Iraqi Army, Navy and Air Force combined.
  • Topic: Security, Corruption, Crime, Ethnic Conflict, War
  • Political Geography: Iraq, Arabia
  • Author: Jim O'Brien
  • Publication Date: 08-2009
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: United States Institute of Peace
  • Abstract: USIP has circulated several papers analyzing the situation in Bosnia and Herzegovina. Collectively, they offer diverse but insightful portraits of developments in Bosnia. This short note takes a different approach. I focus on what can be done, not on causes or description. Because there is attention or money for only a few things to be done in Bosnia, we should pick our initiatives carefully.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution, Peace Studies, War
  • Political Geography: Europe, Bosnia, Herzegovina, Balkans
  • Author: Michael Dziedzic, Megan Chabalowski
  • Publication Date: 09-2009
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: United States Institute of Peace
  • Abstract: On June 25, 2009, USIP hosted a public forum, “Bosnia and Herzegovina: Parsing the Options,” where various courses of action for U.S. policy toward Bosnia and its unfinished state-building were debated. At issue are Bosnia's current conditions and what to do about them: Is the country on a trajectory toward instability and violence, or is it making hesitant progress? What is needed to overcome ethnic tensions between Bosnia's political leaders and how can the international community induce them into productive negotiations over reforms? What should the U.S.'s role be in Bosnia's integration process into the EU?
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution, Regional Cooperation, Treaties and Agreements, War
  • Political Geography: Europe, Balkans
  • Author: Renata Stuebner
  • Publication Date: 11-2009
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: United States Institute of Peace
  • Abstract: This report is intended to examine the status of religious reconciliation and coexistence in Bosnia and Herzegovina (BiH). Bosnia and Herzegovina's centuries-old tradition of religious coexistence is rapidly disappearing. Memories of a time when people shared the same schools, office space and living conditions are slowly giving way to a fear of “the others.” Some positive interactions still take place due to family ties from mixed marriages, economic interdependence and old, enduring friendships. However, some efforts of top religious leaders, similar to those of the nationalistic politicians, seem to be driving society in the opposite direction.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution, Ethnic Conflict, War
  • Political Geography: Bosnia, Herzegovina, Balkans
  • Author: J Alexander Thier, William B. Taylor
  • Publication Date: 12-2009
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: United States Institute of Peace
  • Abstract: By all accounts, the civilian role in creating a stable Afghanistan, capable of protecting its citizens and providing essential services, is at least as important as the military operation.
  • Topic: Security, Civil Society, War
  • Political Geography: Afghanistan
  • Author: Alistair Harris
  • Publication Date: 05-2008
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: United States Institute of Peace
  • Abstract: On the surface, peace has broken out in Lebanon, bringing to an end the 18-month political impasse between the governing March 14th coalition and opposition March 8th parties. Following a week of sectarian violence in Beirut, Tripoli and the Chouf mountains—the worst since the end of Lebanon's 15-year civil war in 1990—the opposing sides agreed to undertake talks in Qatar to resolve their longstanding political stalemate. The Qatari-sponsored Doha Accord that broke the logjam paved the way for the May 25 election of former Army Commander Michel Suleiman as a consensus president, to be closely followed by the formation of a national unity government and the adoption of a revised election law. The re-invigoration of Lebanon's political institutions, the opening of parliament and ending of the presidential vacuum are welcome signs of a return to what passes for normalcy among Lebanon's confessional elites; they are not however a return to the status quo ante. For many months Arab League Chairman Amr Moussa, like French Foreign Minister Bernard Kouchner, had tried to cajole the Lebanese belligerents into a compromise deal based on the much-vaunted concept of "no victor, no vanquished". These efforts failed. The fact that Doha succeeded where others did not is a clear indicator that there were indeed winners and losers. Therein lies the potential for future conflict.
  • Topic: War
  • Political Geography: Middle East, Lebanon, Syria
  • Author: J Alexander Thier, Azita Ranjbar
  • Publication Date: 07-2008
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: United States Institute of Peace
  • Abstract: This USIPeace Briefing discusses the enormous problem of civilian casualties in Afghanistan; the “troops-in-contact” dilemma regarding air power; challenges in intelligence gathering; losses in the information war with Taliban forces; and policy recommendations to mitigate this trend.
  • Topic: War
  • Political Geography: Afghanistan, United States, Asia
  • Author: Elizabeth Detwiler
  • Publication Date: 07-2008
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: United States Institute of Peace
  • Abstract: This USIPeace Briefing, summarizing remarks from a former commander for detainee operations in Iraq, discusses recent successes in improving the conditions of insurgent detainees in the country.
  • Topic: Government, War
  • Political Geography: United States, Iraq, Middle East
  • Author: David Smock
  • Publication Date: 02-2008
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: United States Institute of Peace
  • Abstract: Juba, Southern Sudan – Northern Uganda is one of the world's humanitarian disaster areas. Twenty thousand have been killed and up to two million have been displaced in Internally Displaced Person (IDP) camps over the last 20 years. This havoc has been created by the notorious Lord's Resistance Army (LRA), whose agenda and purposes have remained murky. Joseph Kony, the rebel commander, asserts that the LRA political program is based on the Ten Commandments, despite the fact that the LRA routinely violates most of them.
  • Topic: Ethnic Conflict, Human Welfare, War
  • Political Geography: Africa, North Uganda, South Sudan
  • Author: Elizabeth Detwiler
  • Publication Date: 11-2008
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: United States Institute of Peace
  • Abstract: On October 3, 2008, six prominent Iraqis resident in the U.S. offered advice on Iraq policy to the incoming U.S. administration at an event convened by USIP. The panelists were: Qubad Talabani, U.S. representative of the Kurdistan Regional Government; Nesreen Barwari, former Iraqi minister of municipalities and public works (2003-2006);Raid Juhi al-Saedi, Middle East fellow, Cornell University School of Law, Clark Center for International and Comparative Legal Study, and former USIP Jennings Randolph Fellow; Feisal Istrabadi, visiting professor, Indiana University School of Law and former deputy permanent representative of the Iraqi Mission to the United Nations(2004-2007);Ghassan Atiyyah, visiting fellow, Washington Institute for Near East Policy;Karim Almusawi, U.S. representative of the Islamic Supreme Council of Iraq. This USIPeace Briefing summarizes the event's main themes of discussion. Despite a few sharp disagreements, the speakers agreed that the next U.S. administration should support Iraq in its transition by 1) maintaining security while respecting Iraqi sovereignty; 2) strengthening institutions; 3) ensuring free and fair elections; and 4) encouraging positive regional engagement.
  • Topic: War
  • Political Geography: United States, Iraq, Middle East
  • Author: Julie Montgomery
  • Publication Date: 09-2008
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: United States Institute of Peace
  • Abstract: The dramatic improvement in security in Iraq has changed the U.S. policy debate. The Iraqi Security Forces (ISF) are taking a bigger role, the Maliki government's capacity is improving and the U.S. is gradually stepping aside.
  • Topic: Diplomacy, War
  • Political Geography: United States, Iraq, Middle East
  • Author: Sam Parker, Rusty Barber
  • Publication Date: 12-2008
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: United States Institute of Peace
  • Abstract: Since their 2005 inception in Iraq, PRTs have struggled to fully define their mission, overcome structural problems, learn to work alongside their military counterparts and assist Iraqis down the path to self-governance and stability so that U.S. forces can withdraw. While the concept was born in the Afghan conflict, PRTs in Iraq bear little resemblance to their Afghan cousins, which are led and largely staffed by military officers. PRTs in Iraq are largely civilian-led and are required to address a host of issues including local governance, economic and women's development, health, agriculture, rule of law and education. In this respect, they resemble mini development task forces, harnessing civilian expertise sourced from the U.S. and augmented by military civil affairs officers.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution, Security, Economics, Health, Terrorism, War, Governance
  • Political Geography: Afghanistan, United States, Iraq, Middle East
  • Publication Date: 12-2008
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: United States Institute of Peace
  • Abstract: The following U.S. interests underlie any U.S. consideration of policy toward Iraq and should guide the Obama administration: Restore U.S. credibility, prestige and capacity to act worldwide. Improve regional stability. Limit and redirect Iranian influence. Maintain an independent Iraq as a single state. Prevent Iraq from becoming a haven or platform for international terrorists. These interests cannot be fully achieved without continued U.S. engagement, even as the level of American forces needed to maintain security declines. Iraq is important to the U.S. Ignoring or hastily abandoning Iraq could risk a collapse with catastrophic humanitarian and political consequences that the new Administration would not be able to ignore.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution, Humanitarian Aid, War
  • Political Geography: United States, Iraq, Middle East, Arabia
  • Author: Catherine Morris, Go Funai
  • Publication Date: 12-2008
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: United States Institute of Peace
  • Abstract: This USIPeace Briefing discusses a recent event that focused on human security implications of resurgent violence which left hundreds dead, thousands displaced and millions destitute in North Kivu province in the Democratic Republic of the Congo. The conclusions and recommendations from this event highlight the importance of going beyond traditional short-term humanitarian interventions to adopt more comprehensive and sustainable solutions that effectively balance security and development.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution, Security, Political Violence, Ethnic Conflict, Genocide, Humanitarian Aid, War
  • Political Geography: Africa, Democratic Republic of the Congo
  • Author: Scott Worden, Rachel Ray Steele
  • Publication Date: 12-2008
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: United States Institute of Peace
  • Abstract: Documentation centers dedicated to researching, recording, archiving and protecting information related to mass crimes and human rights abuse conflict have been organized in countries as diverse as Cambodia, the Democratic Republic of Congo, Guatemala and Iraq. Their work is an integral part of a transition from an authoritarian regime or war to sustainable peace. Victims want to tell what happened to them, be acknowledged, and know how and why atrocities occurred. Moreover, an accurate accounting of past crimes applies pressure to remove perpetrators from power and raises awareness toward preventing future abuse.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution, Human Rights, War, International Affairs
  • Political Geography: Afghanistan, Iraq, Central Asia, Asia, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Cambodia, Guatemala, Southeast Asia
  • Author: Paul Wee
  • Publication Date: 03-2007
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: United States Institute of Peace
  • Abstract: The interfaith peace movement in the Middle East has foundered recently, a casualty of major geo-political events, among them the war in Iraq, the increase in hostility between Iran and the West, the Israel-Hezbollah war, and the failure of efforts to resolve the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. In addition, fallout continues from the Danish cartoon controversy and the remarks of Pope Benedict XVI in 2006. These and related factors have contributed to undermine interfaith efforts and limit opportunities for meaningful dialogue and common action.
  • Topic: Conflict Prevention, Islam, War
  • Political Geography: Iraq, Middle East, Israel
  • Author: Daniel Serwer, Yll Bajraktari
  • Publication Date: 03-2007
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: United States Institute of Peace
  • Abstract: At the end of the NATO/Yugoslavia war almost eight years ago, the Albanian-majority Serbian province of Kosovo was removed from Serbia's governance and placed temporarily under a United Nations protectorate, administered by the UN Mission in Kosovo (UNMIK). Last summer, UN Special Envoy Martti Ahtisaari was tasked by the Security Council with resolving the question of Kosovo's future status, with support from U.S. and European Union envoys (Frank Wisner and Stefan Lehne respectively). Ahtisaari's effort is now drawing to a close. He has delivered to both Pristina and Belgrade a plan that explicitly allows a great deal of protection for Serbs and their religious monuments in Kosovo but implicitly ends Belgrade's sovereignty. His plan opens the prospect of a sovereign and independent Kosovo under continuing international supervision. It is anticipated that Ahtisaari will take his plan, with some revisions, to the UN Security Council this month. This USIPeace Briefing discusses potential drivers of conflict in Kosovo during the status decision and in the period thereafter. These drivers of conflict arise from the international community, the Kosovo Albanians, Serbia and the Kosovo Serbs. They have the potential not only to make Kosovo dysfunctional but also to destabilize the region.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution, NATO, Ethnic Conflict, United Nations, War
  • Political Geography: Kosovo, Yugoslavia, Serbia, Balkans
  • Author: Robert Perito, Beth Cole
  • Publication Date: 05-2007
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: United States Institute of Peace
  • Abstract: In the State of the Union address this year, President Bush joined calls for a U.S. civilian reserve corps that could rapidly deploy to restore public order and begin reconstituting the institutions of governance so desperately needed in states emerging from conflict. The Office of the Coordinator for Reconstruction and Stabilization (S/CRS) at the U.S. Department of State was created in part for this purpose, but it has never received adequate resources. The current challenge of locating qualified and willing civilians to join Provincial Reconstruction Teams in Iraq and Afghanistan has given renewed impetus to initiatives aimed at overcoming this chronic shortcoming.
  • Topic: Civil Society, Political Economy, War, Governance
  • Political Geography: Afghanistan, United States
  • Author: Sarah Dye, Linda Bishai
  • Publication Date: 05-2007
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: United States Institute of Peace
  • Abstract: On April 20, 2007, the United States Institute of Peace (USIP) and the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health (JHSPH) Task Force on Public Health and Conflict wrapped up its 2006-2007 activities with a public event featuring Dr. Christopher Murray of Harvard University School of Public Health. This USIPeace Briefing summarizes Dr. Murray's presentation and the discussion that followed on armed conflict as a public health problem.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution, International Relations, Health, War
  • Political Geography: United States
  • Author: Christina Parajon
  • Publication Date: 06-2007
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: United States Institute of Peace
  • Abstract: While a considerable amount of analysis has focused on the media's potential to support democracy efforts and build sustainable peace, no similar effort has been given to analyze the role media can play in conflict prevention. Nor has the media's capacity to incite conflict been sufficiently analyzed and the lessons learned.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution, Conflict Prevention, International Relations, War
  • Author: Beth Cole, Catherine Morris
  • Publication Date: 07-2007
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: United States Institute of Peace
  • Abstract: Afghanistan supplies more than 90 percent of the world's opium. Despite concerted efforts to tackle the drug problem in Afghanistan, the industry continues to grow at an alarming rate, particularly in the south, where reconstruction efforts lag amidst poor security. Afghanistan's opium crop grew 59 percent from 2005 to 2006, according to UN reports, and officials expect a crop equal to if not greater than the 2006 crop in 2007. Overall, the industry accounts for nearly one-third of the country's economy and remains one of the chief threats to Afghanistan's security and development, as it becomes increasingly linked to corrupt Afghan officials and the Taliban.
  • Topic: International Relations, War
  • Political Geography: Afghanistan, Asia, Taliban
  • Author: Rachel Steele
  • Publication Date: 08-2007
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: United States Institute of Peace
  • Abstract: Since the election of new leaders and the establishment of a new constitution, the government of Afghanistan has been trying to prove its legitimacy and ability to foster stability, security, and the rule of law. The Taliban resurgence is playing a major role in public perception of the government's competence and the role of the international forces. Understanding current trends in public opinion can aid in tailoring the international intervention to ensure that prior progress is not lost and that elements corroding the strength of the state are diminished.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution, International Relations, War
  • Political Geography: Afghanistan, Asia, Taliban