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  • Author: John K. Naland
  • Publication Date: 08-2011
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: United States Institute of Peace
  • Abstract: While the U.S. government has long employed special envoys for occasional diplomatic missions, the Obama administration's 24 special envoys represent an unprecedented expansion of this mechanism after the Bush administration, which generally did not use them.
  • Topic: Foreign Policy, Diplomacy, International Affairs
  • Political Geography: United States
  • Author: Alison Laporte-Oshiro
  • Publication Date: 11-2011
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: United States Institute of Peace
  • Abstract: Consolidating the legitimate use of force in the hands of the state is a vital first step in post-conflict peacebuilding. Transitional governments must move quickly to neutralize rival armed groups and provide a basic level of security for citizens. Two processes are vital to securing a monopoly of force: disarmament, demobilization, and reintegration and security sector reform. Disarmament, demobilization, and reintegration (DDR) involve disbanding armed groups that challenge the government's monopoly of force. Security sector reform (SSR) means reforming and rebuilding the national security forces so that they are professional and accountable. U.S. experience in Afghanistan, Iraq, Liberia, Haiti, Bosnia, and Kosovo yielded three crosscutting lessons: go in heavy, tackle DDR and SSR in tandem, and consolidate U.S. capacity to implement both tasks in a coordinated, scalable way.
  • Topic: Security, Political Violence, Armed Struggle, Insurgency
  • Political Geography: Afghanistan, United States, Iraq, Bosnia, Kosovo, Haiti, Liberia
  • Author: Emile Hokayem
  • Publication Date: 11-2011
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: United States Institute of Peace
  • Abstract: The unrest in Syria offers the Gulf States an opportunity to weaken or even dislodge an Assad regime aligned with Iran, but their ability to project power or shape events in Syria is limited. Dislike of the Assad regime doesn't necessarily align Gulf interests and long-term vision for Syria. Moreover, cooperation on diplomacy and strategy is lacking. Sectarianism, most evidenced in media commentary and clerical statements, is already a major feature of Gulf discourse on Syria. Parts of the Syrian opposition have approached and have been courted by Gulf governments. Still, a degree of unease and mistrust continues to define their relations.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution, Political Violence, Regime Change
  • Political Geography: Iran, Middle East, Arab Countries, Syria
  • Author: Ehud Eiran
  • Publication Date: 11-2011
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: United States Institute of Peace
  • Abstract: Israel has been generally quiet regarding the recent turmoil in Syria, a reflection of the issue\'s relative low priority, as well as Israel\'s limited influence on internal Syrian matters. Israel\'s preferred outcome would be a stable Syrian regime that disassociates itself from the “axis of resistance,” poses no bilateral threats, and controls the border area—though Israel sees no clear path for achieving these aims. The view in Israel is that the basic structure of deterrence still holds vis-à-vis Syria and the regime—even in its desperate circumstances—is unlikely to provoke Israel in dramatic ways.
  • Topic: Security, Regime Change
  • Political Geography: Middle East, Israel, Arab Countries, Syria
  • 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: Edward W. Gnehm Jr
  • Publication Date: 11-2011
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: United States Institute of Peace
  • Abstract: The Government of Jordan is deeply concerned about the turmoil in Syria, fearing the spillover effect and knowing Syria's historic capacity to undermine Jordanian internal stability. Initial official Jordanian reaction has been cautious, to avoid antagonizing Syria and provoking retaliation. There is great anxiety over what may follow the collapse of the Assad regime. Jordan is under increased pressure from both internal elements and external powers to toughen its public posture toward Damascus. Ultimately, Amman will react carefully to events in Syria, taking actions that best ensure the security of the state and the survival of the monarchy.
  • Topic: Security, Regime Change, Bilateral Relations
  • Political Geography: Middle East, Arabia, Syria
  • 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: Sylvana Q. Sinha
  • Publication Date: 12-2011
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: United States Institute of Peace
  • Abstract: At least 80% of all disputes in Afghanistan are resolved through traditional dispute resolution (TDR) mechanisms, principally community councils called shuras or jirgas. TDR is therefore impossible to ignore as the primary justice institution in the country. Still, most women's groups in Afghanistan tend to oppose international donor or Afghan government support for TDR because they generally exclude women from participation and are known to issue decisions that violate women's rights. In the spring of 2011, the U.S. Institute of Peace in Kabul hosted meetings to examine the broader question of how women can gain greater access to justice. The outcome of the conversations was a more nuanced view of TDR and women in Afghanistan and a recognition that creative engagement rather than condemnation is a more productive approach to resolving deficiencies in women's rights in TDR venues.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution, Gender Issues, Human Rights, Foreign Aid, Law
  • Political Geography: Afghanistan, United States, Asia
  • Author: Stephanie Schwartz
  • Publication Date: 01-2010
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: United States Institute of Peace
  • Abstract: The Ethiopian invasion of Somalia in 2006, supported by the U.S, had the unintentional consequence of fueling splinter insurgent groups including Al-Shabab and Hizbul Islam. Currently Somalia faces a humanitarian crisis with 3.6 million people displaced. Countering the insurgency and alleviating the humanitarian crisis in Somalia demands a creative rethinking of international policy. While the 2008 Dijbouti Accord created a more inclusive Transitional Federal Government (TFG), the international community must weigh whether continued support for the TFG will bring real progress in governance or if it will strengthen popular support for the insurgency. If the international community sees support for the TFG as beneficial, they could consider policies including: Flooding Somalia with development aid and investing in civil society; Expanding the African Union (AU) peacekeeping mission to include representation from other Muslim countries; Finding creative solutions for inter-Somali governance and reconciliation. If the international community calculates that support for the TFG is not beneficial because it will only fuel the insurgency, they should consider a policy of "constructive disengagement," withdrawing support from the TFG and the AU peacekeeping mission, while simultaneously investing in local and regional development projects.
  • Topic: Political Violence, Terrorism, Fragile/Failed State
  • Political Geography: Africa, United States, China, Ethiopia, Somalia
  • Author: Rusty Barber, William B. Taylor
  • Publication Date: 01-2010
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: United States Institute of Peace
  • Abstract: Successful attacks on key government buildings underscore worries about whether Iraqis can manage their own security. They mask, however, something new in Iraqi society: an emerging vox populi that found potent expression in provincial elections last January, despite the odds. As national elections approach in March, political leaders are realizing that they ignore this growing voice at their peril. Aware that American attention is shifting towards other problems at home and abroad, Iraqis are nervously contemplating how much U.S. support they can expect going forward in their fragile experiment in democratic governance. The U.S. role in helping Iraqis prepare for national elections has been crucial and largely welcome—it should continue through the transition to a new government. Successful complete withdrawal by 2012 depends on an Iraqi government that is responsive to its people’s basic needs and capable of evolving peacefully via fair elections. Longer term, there are several critical areas on which a distracted and resource stretched America should focus. These include intensifying efforts to help Arabs and Kurds resolve disputes and forestall the need for an extended U.S. military presence in northern Iraq. Helping Iraq protect its borders – a vulnerability highlighted by Iran’s recent incursion—and nudging the Gulf Arab states to more actively engage Iraq as an emerging partner in regional security and economic structures will also be key to stability inside and beyond Iraq’s borders. If water is the “new oil” in terms of its resource value and potential to create conflict, that future is now playing out in Iraq. Shortages and poor quality are already causing serious health and economic problems, displacement and raising tensions with Iraq’s neighbors. The U.S. can help here on both the diplomatic and technical sides of the issue.
  • Topic: Democratization, Development
  • Political Geography: United States, Iraq, Middle East, Arabia
  • Author: Robert Maguire
  • Publication Date: 01-2010
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: United States Institute of Peace
  • Abstract: Elevation of Haiti's planning minister to the post of prime minister offers the prospect for continuity in development policies and programs that were identified at the international donors conference held in April 2009. Greater attention to rural and community development and to police and judicial reform is essential in assisting Haiti to meet poverty alleviation and economic growth goals and to consolidate gains in security. The new prime minister will be challenged by Haiti's array of deeply-rooted problems and by the ticking clock of President Rene Preval's final year in office. The new government will have to move quickly to institute reforms before political maneuvering related to the presidential election takes over. Immediate, robust international engagement in Haiti's current electoral process is critically required following a decision by the provisional election commission to ban several political parties.
  • Topic: Development, Politics, Foreign Direct Investment, Governance
  • Political Geography: Caribbean, Haiti
  • Author: Robert M. Perito
  • Publication Date: 01-2010
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: United States Institute of Peace
  • Abstract: This report offers a set of general and country-specific findings and recommendations to assist the Obama administration in its efforts to tackle escalating security challenges while sustaining diplomatic, institutional and economic support for democracy and human rights in the Greater Middle East.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution, Conflict Prevention, Security, Defense Policy, International Security
  • Political Geography: Middle East
  • 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: Scott Worden
  • Publication Date: 02-2010
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: United States Institute of Peace
  • Abstract: The presidential and provincial council elections held in Afghanistan in August 2009 were marred by irregularities and fraud, leading voters and candidates to question the fairness and utility of the democratic process there. The Afghan government announced in late January that it will delay Parliamentary elections until September 2010—several months beyond the deadline set by Afghanistan's constitution. The extra time is needed to make adequate logistical preparations, but little has been done so far to reform electoral institutions or policies to prevent a repeat of the problems of the 2009 elections. Without signi_cant changes in the personnel and policies of the Independent Electoral Commission (IEC)—the constitutional body responsible for overseeing all electoral processes— the 2010 election is likely to fall below international standards and risks undermining government (and international) legitimacy at a critical period for the counterinsurgency strategy. In addition, signi_ cant long-term reforms, including a wholesale revision of the voter registry, must be initiated now to ensure that the district council and other future Afghan elections are credible and acceptable.
  • Topic: Democratization, Sovereignty, Governance
  • Political Geography: Afghanistan, Asia
  • Author: Virginia M. Bouvier
  • Publication Date: 01-2010
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: United States Institute of Peace
  • Abstract: Since the advent of Plan Colombia in 2000, U.S. policymakers have sought to help Colombian governments win their multiple wars against insurgents, drugs and terrorism. Conventional wisdom had suggested that pursuing these paths concurrently would lead to peace and security. Colombia today is farther from a peace settlement than it has been in years. With national elections scheduled for the first half of 2010 and presidential candidates yet to be defined, peace does not appear on the government's public policy agenda and it has yet to materialize as a campaign issue. Faith in a military victory appears deeply entrenched at a popular level. Illegal armed groups are retrenching and adapting to years of sustained military offensives and the increased capacity of Colombia's armed forces. While security indicators had largely improved, violence in major cities last year jumped sharply, and internal displacement has reached crisis proportions. Colombia's conflict is increasingly affecting the Andean neighborhood, sending hundreds of thousands of Colombians across the borders. Patterns of violence and intimidation are emerging as illegal armed groups increasingly settle into these border regions. Sporadic incursions and incidents at the border have ratcheted up rhetoric and sparked diplomatic standoffs and movement of troops. A recent bilateral military accord between Colombia and the United States has also exacerbated tensions in the hemisphere. Policymakers increasingly question whether staying the course in Colombia is in the U.S. best interests. Some are calling for an overhaul of U.S. policy. Peace and regional security are integral to the multitude of U.S. interests in Colombia, and they should no longer be subsumed to other strategic interests. It is time to seek peace as a priority. This approach should emphasize respect for human rights and the rule of law; support for truth, justice and reparations for the victims of armed conflict; and the facilitation of processes conducive to peace as a key policy objective.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution, Government, Peace Studies
  • Political Geography: United States, Colombia, Latin America
  • Author: Leonard Rubenstein, Anjalee Kohli
  • Publication Date: 01-2010
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: United States Institute of Peace
  • Abstract: The concept of “peace through health” or “health as a bridge for peace” has been in existence for decades, but remains ambiguous. The idea is best understood as cross-border or cross-group initiatives toward increasing understanding, cooperation, and trust, addressing health concerns of populations and mobilizing health professionals as advocates for peace. Such initiatives can potentially contribute to building a foundation for state-building and economic development. But few rigorous evaluations of peace through health initiatives have been conducted, and the limitations of the idea must be recognized. Peacemaking is an inherently political process, and health-related initiatives are unlikely to contribute directly to peace settlements. Palestinian and Israeli health professionals have a long history of cross-border cooperation in health, including collaboration in disease surveillance, training and advocacy for health. Cooperation is increasingly difficult because of ongoing travel restrictions on Palestinians in the West Bank, because the initiatives are increasingly seen by Palestinians as political in nature—even as a tacit endorsement of the Israeli occupation—and because many Palestin¬ian health professionals prefer to invest their energy in building an effective health system in the West Bank independent of Israel. Efforts to foster cooperation through health initiatives—especially in situations where differentials are so great as in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict—must be directed toward meeting real health needs of the population, be founded on mutuality, and focus on building effective systems.
  • Political Geography: Israel
  • Author: Jon Temin
  • Publication Date: 01-2010
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: United States Institute of Peace
  • Abstract: With Southern Sudan's referendum on whether to remain part of Sudan or secede approaching, it is vital that the international community encourage and support negotiations on postreferendum arrangements, which include issues ranging from wealth sharing to citizenship rights to security arrangements. Good coordination among the international community will be essential. A single mediator with a clear and strong mandate should lead negotiations on postreferendum arrangements, supported by a contact group or group of friends that can insert targeted pressures and incentives into the process. The mediator needs to be strong enough to prevent “forum shopping” and contain or co-opt spoilers. States and non-state actors that wish to play a central role in negotiations on post-referendum arrangements should demonstrate a long term commitment to Sudan and to overseeing implementation of any agreement. Negotiations on post-referendum arrangements and the ongoing negotiations on Darfur should be kept separate.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution, Civil War, Territorial Disputes
  • Political Geography: Africa, Sudan
  • Author: Robert M. Perito
  • Publication Date: 01-2010
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: United States Institute of Peace
  • Abstract: On January 12, 2010, Haiti suffered a 7.0 magnitude earthquake that destroyed much of the capital city of Port-au-Prince and caused the death of perhaps as many as 200,000 Haitians. The quake—the greatest natural disaster in the country's history—occurred at a point when Haiti appeared to be on the path to stability and progress. U.S. military forces will provide security during the emergency response phase, but aid to United Nations peacekeepers and the Haitian National Police is required to ensure that criminal gangs will not take over once the Americans withdraw. Reconstruction must target unemployment and poverty. Removing rubble and rebuilding essential structures will provide jobs, but it will be important to improve conditions and provide employment in rural areas so people will not return to the overcrowded and slum-ridden cities. The massive inflow of financial aid must not exacerbate Haiti's reliance on foreign nongovernmental organizations to provide essential services. Foreign aid should help Haiti's government expand its ability to manage resources and programs by providing training and budget support. In providing for Haiti's recovery, the international community must look ahead to the long term consequences of its action and work to place Haiti back on the path to sustainable development.
  • Topic: Disaster Relief, Humanitarian Aid, Foreign Aid, Food
  • Political Geography: United States
  • Author: Raymond Gilpin, Lex Rieffel
  • Publication Date: 03-2010
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: United States Institute of Peace
  • Abstract: After decades of domestic conflict, military rule and authoritarian governance, Burma's economy could provide a viable entry point for effective international assistance to promote peace. Doing so would require a detailed understanding of the country's complex and evolving political economy. The lingering income and distributional effects of the 2008 Cyclone Nargis, anticipated changes associated with the new constitution and the 2010 elections and the Obama administration's decision to devote more attention to Burma suggest that the time is ripe for the creative application of economic mechanisms to promote and sustain peace. Looming challenges could derail Burma's prospects for economic and political stability. These challenges include irrational macroeconomic policies, failing to ensure all citizens enjoy benefits accrued from natural resources, endemic corruption, a flourishing illicit economy, a dysfunctional financial system and critical infrastructure bottlenecks. Failure to address these problems would frustrate peacebuilding efforts. A conflict sensitive economic strategy for Burma would focus on effective capacity-building, sustained policy reform, progressive steps to reduce corruption, fiscal empowerment of subnational authorities and prudent natural resource management. Success in these areas requires unwavering political will for sensibly sequenced policy improvements by domestic actors and finely targeted support from Burma's international partners.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution, International Relations, Diplomacy, Economics, Political Economy, Governance
  • Political Geography: Myanmar
  • Author: Dorina Bekoe
  • Publication Date: 03-2010
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: United States Institute of Peace
  • Abstract: Studies indicate that violence in Africa's elections affects between 19 and 25 percent of elections. In many countries where electoral violence is a risk, it tends to recur and may consequently lead to an unfavorable view of democratization. The regularity with which electoral violence occurs suggests that underlying grievances or structural characteristics may be tied to the elections and fuel the violence. Electoral violence, especially recurrent, seems indicative of more widespread systemic grievances and tensions. Tensions over land rights, employment and ethnic marginalization are three dominant characteristics of recurring electoral violence. These areas intersect and are frequently manipulated by politicians. Some recent actions taken by the government and civil society may offer insights into reversing the trends of recurring violence. These actions warrant further analysis in order to improve strategies to reduce violence.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution, Political Violence, Democratization
  • Political Geography: Africa
  • Author: Leonard Rubenstein
  • Publication Date: 03-2010
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: United States Institute of Peace
  • Abstract: An initiative by the Ministry of Public Health in Afghanistan to expand health services throughout the country, including rural communities, and supported by donors including USAID, has vastly expanded access to primary health care services, significantly reduced child mortality, and increased the capacity of the Afghan government to provide an essential service to its people. The program is based on principles of equity, national ownership, community engagement, and women's equality, and it warrants continued development. Many challenges remain, not least expanding services in insecure areas, and a more stable environment could better enable the Ministry of Public Health to achieve its goals. The U.S. military has supported health services development for the Afghan army and also offers significant emergency care services to civilians in insecure regions, training for health workers, construction of health facilities and other health-related programs. The military's civilian health initiatives, largely disconnected from the Ministry of Public Health, are short term, ad hoc, and unsustainable, and to date have lacked a consistent rationale or strategy, and have not been subject to evaluation. U.S. counterinsurgency strategy seeks to mesh development and security objectives through activities that enhance the legitimacy of the Afghan government in the eyes of its people. In the field of health, there are considerable tensions between counterinsurgency and development strategies, which must be addressed to increase the capacity of the government and meet health needs of the people.
  • Topic: Security, Development, Health, Counterinsurgency
  • Political Geography: Afghanistan, United States
  • Author: Theo Dolan
  • Publication Date: 04-2010
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: United States Institute of Peace
  • Abstract: The monitoring of Iraqi media reveals that inflammatory coverage does not • necessarily consist of a direct call to violence, but instead takes the form of indirect or coded terminology that still has dangerous potential to foment conflict. Current regulatory and self-regulatory efforts designed to prevent media incitement to violence have, thus far, been insufficient. Lessons learned from post-conflict Bosnia, Kosovo and Sri Lanka can assist Iraqis in creating their own legal and self-regulatory mechanisms to limit inflammatory media coverage. There are a wide range of measures to mitigate inflammatory media coverage, including targeted training for media and government officials, broad support for a professional code of conduct, a full review of existing legislation relating to incitement, and the creation of a lexicon of inflammatory terms with guidelines for the proper use of these terms.
  • Topic: Conflict Prevention, Political Violence, Mass Media
  • Political Geography: Iraq, Bosnia, Sri Lanka, Kosovo
  • Author: Sheldon Himelfarb
  • Publication Date: 03-2010
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: United States Institute of Peace
  • Abstract: Since the fall of the Taliban in 2001, the Afghan media sector has experienced dramatic growth in all areas: television, radio, print, internet, mobile phones. As such, the sector holds tremendous potential for making significant contributions to peacebuilding in the country. However, the media sector also confronts numerous challenges that impede its ability to realize this potential – which can only be addressed through the combined efforts and attention of international and domestic stakeholders alike. Among the most pressing challenges is resolving the tension between information operations and counterinsurgency, on the one hand, and developing a viable, credible media sector on the other. All too often efforts to counter extremist messages through expanded military and government access to the airwaves (via purchased air time and proliferating “radio in a box” broadcasts from military outposts) have had a negative impact on both media market economics and media credibility. Sustainability is also a significant issue. A glut of media outlets has arisen that are privately licensed yet sustained by international donor funds and strategic communications money. This has had a deleterious effect on the perception of media, and its effectiveness as a guardian of public interests. The shortcomings of state-owned RTA as a public broadcaster further contribute to this, leading many experts to call for greater investment in long-term training and mentoring as well as regulatory reform to limit government manipulation of the airwaves. Other significant areas for improvement: greater emphasis on quality and diversity of programming (including a need for more Pashto language programs), enhanced efforts to provide security for media practitioners, more professional communications training for Afghan government officials, and more extensive research and understanding of Afghan media consumers themselves.
  • Topic: Conflict Prevention, Political Violence, Mass Media, Counterinsurgency
  • Political Geography: Afghanistan
  • Author: Palwasha Hassan
  • Publication Date: 05-2010
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: United States Institute of Peace
  • Abstract: In late May 2010, the Afghan government will convene a Peace Jirga in Kabul to determine a national reintegration and reconciliation strategy. Afghan women have played a variety of social and political roles during the last three decades of conflict, including as peacebuilders, but now risk being excluded from current peacebuilding processes. In alliance with international agreements—most notably United Nations Security Council Resolution 1325—the Afghan government must make sure that women are actively engaged in the upcoming jirga and are included in other reintegration and reconciliation policies. The inclusion of women is central to sustainable peace and security in Afghanistan.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution, Gender Issues, Islam
  • Political Geography: Afghanistan, South Asia, United Nations
  • Author: Sean Kane
  • Publication Date: 05-2010
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: United States Institute of Peace
  • Abstract: Iraq's March 2010 elections delivered a surprising virtual tie in the ethnically mixed and strategically important province of Kirkuk, making it an opportune time for fresh thinking on how to address persistent disputes over its status.
  • Topic: Ethnic Conflict, Governance
  • Political Geography: Iraq, Middle East
  • Author: Robert Maguire
  • Publication Date: 04-2010
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: United States Institute of Peace
  • Abstract: Haiti's January 12 earthquake left up to 300,000 people dead, an equal number injured, and more than a million displaced; overall damage and loss are valued at $7.9 billion, or about 120 percent of Haiti's 2009 gross domestic product.
  • Topic: Disaster Relief, International Cooperation, Foreign Aid, Reconstruction
  • Political Geography: Caribbean, Haiti
  • Author: Leonard Rubenstein, Anjalee Kohli, Kathleen Kuehnast
  • Publication Date: 04-2010
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: United States Institute of Peace
  • Abstract: Multisectoral approaches are essential to address sexual and gender-based violence (SGBV) in armed conflict. In countries where conflict-related SGBV is taking place, the health sector can contribute by providing essential medical interventions and support for survivors, documentation for legal cases, programs that assist in reducing social stigma, and data for effective programming.
  • Topic: Political Violence, Gender Issues, Health, Human Welfare, Armed Struggle
  • Author: Michelle Swearingen
  • Publication Date: 05-2010
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: United States Institute of Peace
  • Abstract: Political, socioeconomic or cultural inequalities among groups could potentially motivate political violence in societies. Research has shown that political inequalities between groups are most likely to motivate leaders, while socioeconomic inequalities motivate followers.
  • Topic: Conflict Prevention, Political Violence, Humanitarian Aid, Social Stratification
  • Author: Robert Maguire, Casie Copeland
  • Publication Date: 05-2010
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: United States Institute of Peace
  • Abstract: At the March 31, 2010 International Donors' Conference on Haiti some $10 billion was pledged in support of the government of Haiti's “Action Plan for National Recovery and Development of Haiti,” with $5.3 billion earmarked for the next two years.
  • Topic: Development, Disaster Relief, Humanitarian Aid, International Cooperation, Foreign Aid, Reconstruction
  • Political Geography: United States, Caribbean, Haiti
  • Author: Liz Panarelli, Madeline Kristoff
  • Publication Date: 04-2010
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: United States Institute of Peace
  • Abstract: Concerns about the role of nongovernmental organizations (NGOs) in Haiti's development have been present for decades. However, these issues have gained increasing prominence following the January 12, 2010 earthquake that destroyed much of Port-au-Prince.
  • Topic: Disaster Relief, Humanitarian Aid, Non-Governmental Organization, Foreign Aid, Governance, Reconstruction
  • Political Geography: Caribbean, Haiti
  • Author: Patricia Vasquez
  • Publication Date: 04-2010
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: United States Institute of Peace
  • Abstract: Private oil companies invested $800 million in Peru in 2009 alone, and another $1 billion is planned for investments in natural gas developments between 2010-20131, as Peru is rapidly on its way to becoming Latin America's first exporter of liquefied natural gas (LNG).
  • Topic: Emerging Markets, Energy Policy, Social Stratification, Natural Resources
  • Political Geography: South America, Latin America, Peru
  • Author: Vivienne O'Connor
  • Publication Date: 04-2010
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: United States Institute of Peace
  • Abstract: The January 12th earthquake in Haiti shook the justice system. Prior to the earthquake, Haiti had been making steady progress towards improving access to justice.
  • Topic: Disaster Relief, Governance, Law
  • Political Geography: Caribbean, Haiti
  • Author: Stephanie Schwartz
  • Publication Date: 05-2010
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: United States Institute of Peace
  • Abstract: Recent incidences of ethno-religious violence in northern Nigeria have alarmed the international community to the point where Nigeria is now perceived as a potential breeding ground for transnational terrorism and violent religious extremism.
  • Topic: Ethnic Conflict, Islam, Terrorism, Governance, Sectarian violence
  • Political Geography: Africa, Nigeria
  • Author: Jonas Claes
  • Publication Date: 04-2010
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: United States Institute of Peace
  • Abstract: Several destabilizing dynamics persist throughout eastern Central Asia, such as weak governance, poor social and economic conditions, ethnic tensions and religious militancy. While these differ in kind and scope in each country, some conflict drivers are transnational in scope, such as energy insecurity and environmental degradation.
  • Topic: Conflict Prevention, Foreign Policy, Political Violence, International Cooperation
  • Political Geography: United States, Central Asia
  • Author: Joel Whitaker, Anand Varghese
  • Publication Date: 04-2010
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: United States Institute of Peace
  • Abstract: Iraq's post-conflict struggles for sustainable economic growth and regional stability are undermined in both the short and long term by poor water management in the Tigris-Euphrates basin. Poor regional water management has negative effects on Iraq's regional political relationships, its economy and its ecology.
  • Topic: Environment, Regional Cooperation, Science and Technology, Natural Resources
  • Political Geography: Iraq
  • Author: William B. Taylor, J. Alexander Thier
  • Publication Date: 05-2010
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: United States Institute of Peace
  • Abstract: The next seven months leading up to the December policy review will be crucial for Afghanistan's future; at that time the Obama administration—and the citizens of Afghanistan, the United States and ISAF nations—will make a judgment about progress towards stability there.
  • Topic: Foreign Policy, Development, Governance
  • Political Geography: Afghanistan, United States
  • Author: Janene Sawers
  • Publication Date: 04-2010
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: United States Institute of Peace
  • Abstract: Deterrence is an outdated approach to the threat of nuclear weapons and does not meet the security needs of the post-Cold War era. Nuclear weapon-free states can establish a new regional security framework through the strengthening of existing and creation of new Nuclear Weapon-Free Zones (NWFZs). These zones operate under the assumption that more nuclear weapons make the world inherently less safe and demonstrate that countries do not need nuclear weapons to deter attack.
  • Topic: Arms Control and Proliferation, Nuclear Weapons, Treaties and Agreements, Weapons of Mass Destruction, International Security
  • Author: Anna Theofilopoulou
  • Publication Date: 04-2010
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: United States Institute of Peace
  • Abstract: The ongoing effort to use negotiations without preconditions to resolve the conflict between Morocco and the Polisario Front over Western Sahara has not produced results. The April 6, 2010 report of the United Nations secretary-general to the U.N. Security Council admits that there has been no movement on the core substantive issues.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution, Political Violence, Diplomacy, United Nations
  • Political Geography: Africa, Morocco
  • Author: Shahmahmood Miakhel, Whit Mason
  • Publication Date: 06-2010
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: United States Institute of Peace
  • Abstract: Afghanistan is an exceptionally fissiparous country, riven by innumerable conflicts over scarce resources and longstanding enmities between neighboring groups. Traditionally, such disputes have been managed by ad hoc groups of elders, known as jirgas or shuras. In the past 30 years, the stature and security of the jirga system and of the elders themselves have been challenged and undermined by all the parties contending for power, including the state itself. In the context of weak state institutions, a reinvigorated system of jirgas could make a valuable contribution to resolving the disputes that currently feed the insurgency and make Afghanistan vulnerable to exploitation by groups that destabilize the country and the region, and threaten the West. To explore what might be done to create an enabling environment for jirga-like bodies, USIP is piloting Dispute Resolution Commissions in insurgency-affected provinces, and, on the basis of this experience, will recommend principles and actions for a larger-scale program of support.
  • Political Geography: Afghanistan
  • Author: Daniel Serwer
  • Publication Date: 06-2010
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: United States Institute of Peace
  • Abstract: The Balkans face more trouble in Kosovo as well as Bosnia and Herzegovina unless the United States and European Union take dramatic steps to get both back on track towards EU membership. In Bosnia, the international community needs to reconstitute itself as well as support an effort to reform the country's constitution. In Kosovo, Pristina and Belgrade need to break through the barriers to direct communication and begin discussions on a wide range of issues. This brief proposes specific diplomatic measures to meet these needs.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution, International Relations, Diplomacy, Ethnic Conflict
  • Political Geography: United States, Europe, Bosnia, Herzegovina, Kosovo, Serbia, Balkans
  • Author: Leonard S. Rubenstein
  • Publication Date: 06-2010
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: United States Institute of Peace
  • Abstract: Globalization of infectious disease transmission has led to international and regional initiatives to improve surveillance and response. The World Health Organization's revised International Health Regulations provide a more robust legal framework for outbreak investigations. New regional networks are strengthening collaborative approaches to prevention of pandemics even in parts of the world where political tensions usually run high. To fulfill the promise of these new mechanisms, the United States should integrate capacity development for disease surveillance into its global health strategy, including providing greater investment in laboratories, training and technical assistance for low-income countries. Effective international cooperation has not extended to creating a system for equitable distribution of vaccines, resulting in vast disparities in availability of vaccines between richer and poorer countries. As a result, political tensions between wealthy and low-income countries have increased. Unless inequity is addressed, global health security will not advance.
  • Topic: Globalization, World Health Organization
  • Political Geography: United States
  • Author: Robert Perito, Madeline Kristoff
  • Publication Date: 05-2010
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: United States Institute of Peace
  • Abstract: Corruption in the security sector damages society's trust in the government. Donors must coordinate on anti-corruption programs and make sure not to engage in corruption themselves. Corruption is highly political and context specific. Fighting both high and low-levels of corruption should be a priority in security sector reform.
  • Topic: Security, Government, Political Power Sharing
  • Author: Robert M. Perito
  • Publication Date: 06-2010
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: United States Institute of Peace
  • Abstract: Five months after Haiti's January 12th earthquake, the situation on the ground remains critical. With the arrival of hurricane season, the failure to provide adequate shelter and instill hope for a better future threatens stability. Donor pledges of more than $5 billion for assistance have not translated into visible progress, fueling discontent and raising growing concern among Haitians about their government's electiveness. Haiti's government has tried to exert leadership in recovery operations despite the destruction of government buildings, the death of nearly 25 percent of the civil service personnel and the massive dislocations caused by the earthquake. The Haitian government has also begun preparations for presidential and parliamentary elections in November 2010. The combination of faltering recovery at a time of national elections could provoke unrest.
  • Topic: Disaster Relief, Humanitarian Aid, Natural Disasters
  • Political Geography: Caribbean, Haiti
  • Author: Tara Nesvaderani
  • Publication Date: 06-2010
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: United States Institute of Peace
  • Abstract: Iran has the most politically active youth among the 57 nations of the Islamic world. As the most restive segment of their society, Iranian youth also represent one of the greatest longterm threats to the current form of theocratic rule. Young activists have heavily influenced the Islamic Republic's political agenda over the past 13 years. After the 2009 presidential election, youth and women were the two biggest blocs behind the region's first sustained “people power” movement for democratic change, creating a new political model in the Middle East. The Islamic Republic has forcibly regained control over the most rebellious sector of society through mass detentions of young activists, expulsions from universities and widening the powers of its own young paramilitary forces. Nevertheless, the demands from young people have not changed over the past year, and their anger is boiling just beneath the surface. The regime also remains vulnerable because it has failed to address basic socioeconomic problems among youth. The impact of Iran's youth on the political, economic and social agenda of the country over the next 25 years is important for U.S. policymakers to consider when facing complex decisions in balancing Iran's nuclear program and its internal political turmoil.
  • Topic: Economics, Politics
  • Political Geography: Iran
  • Author: Mona Yacoubian
  • Publication Date: 05-2010
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: United States Institute of Peace
  • Abstract: Lebanon's outreach to Syria is motivated by significant shifts in the regional political landscape, particularly Syria's renewed regional and global influence. Lebanese Prime Minister Saad Hariri appears to have made a strategic decision that rapprochement with Syria is in Lebanon's best interest, offering the greatest chance for stability and resolution of a number of outstanding bilateral issues including greater guarantees for Lebanese sovereignty. Syria's renewed influence in Lebanon comes in a variety of forms, but its alliance with Hezbollah is the most potent trajectory of its power and influence. It is too early to determine whether this shift in relations marks a return of Syrian predominance in Lebanon, or signals a new page in the bilateral relationship. Much will depend on how Syria and Lebanon as well as external players—especially the U.S. and France—contend with the inherent challenges and opportunities that accompany evolving Syrian-Lebanese ties. The establishment of Lebanese-Syrian diplomatic ties presents the United States with an important opportunity to help foster normal relations between the neighboring countries, particularly the long-sought goal of protecting Lebanese sovereignty. Washington should move forward with dispatching an ambassador to Damascus as part of a broader engagement with Syria. Establishment of high-level diplomatic channels in Syria will allow the United States to leverage its influence more directly and effectively to ensure that Syria moves forward on border demarcation with Lebanon and other measures to help bolster Lebanese sovereignty.
  • Topic: Diplomacy
  • Political Geography: Lebanon, Syria
  • Author: Sean Kane
  • Publication Date: 06-2010
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: United States Institute of Peace
  • Abstract: The institution of Iraq's prime minister has evolved since the previous national government was formed in 2006. The success of incumbent Prime Minister Nuri Al-Maliki in building an independent power base around the office and the diminishing U.S. presence in Iraq have transformed the perception and stature of Iraq's chief executive. This evolution of the position helps to explain why negotiations over the government's formation have struggled to move beyond the top post to discuss other assignments and the new government's agenda. The talks are not just about agreeing on a prime minister in the context of inconclusive, close election results, and competing regional influences; these talks are trying to define the role of the premiership and possible checks on its power. Understanding the debate on possible checks and balances is important because of its potential ramifications for Iraq's democratic experiment, and also because agreement on this issue might pave the way for the nomination of a prime minister.
  • Topic: Government
  • Political Geography: United States, Iraq
  • Author: Raymond Gilpin, Lex Rieffel
  • Publication Date: 07-2010
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: United States Institute of Peace
  • Abstract: After decades of domestic conflict, military rule and authoritarian governance, Burma's economy could provide a viable entry point for effective international assistance to promote peace. Doing so would require a detailed understanding of the country's complex and evolving political economy.
  • Topic: Development, Political Economy, Foreign Direct Investment
  • Political Geography: Asia
  • Author: Daniel Serwer
  • Publication Date: 07-2010
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: United States Institute of Peace
  • Abstract: The political situation in Baghdad is still blocked almost four months after the national elections signaled change while denying any one of the four main coalitions a clear mandate to govern. The complications are real, but so too is a political culture that is increasingly appealing to democratic norms and factors to sort out the difficulties.
  • Topic: Democratization, Development, Politics
  • Political Geography: Iraq
  • Author: Moeed Yusuf
  • Publication Date: 08-2010
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: United States Institute of Peace
  • Abstract: Despite receiving over $15 billion in U.S. aid since 9/11, perceptions of America in Pakistan remain acutely negative. If Pakistanis continue to be opposed to U.S. policies, the Pakistani government will not be able to deliver on its promises, and U.S. initiatives in Pakistan will not produce desired outcomes. American and Pakistani governments have forged a rather opaque relationship which has not helped to cultivate popular support for policies across Pakistan. Instead, it has fostered an anti- U.S. sentiment in Pakistan that increasingly puts pressure on the government in Islamabad. U.S. policy must be fundamentally changed to turn around the anti-American outlook among Pakistanis. In order to do so, the official relationship needs to be more transparent; frequency of visits by U.S. officials ought to be reconsidered; 'image correcting aid' should be provided in addition to the long-term assistance; Pakistani citizens should be engaged through constant dialogue and debate on U.S.-Pakistan relations; and American and Pakistani officials should remain sensitive about the internal impact of their public statements and actions.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution, Political Violence, Imperialism, Mass Media, Insurgency
  • Political Geography: Pakistan, America, South Asia