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  • Author: Mona Yacoubian
  • Publication Date: 11-2009
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: United States Institute of Peace
  • Abstract: Lebanon's recently announced national unity government has eased fears that the country would once again be mired in a dangerous political stalemate. Yet, despite the recent breakthrough, Lebanon's unstable equilibrium -- marked by both internal and regional tensions -- could still devolve into serious violence. Deep seated sectarian animosities persist, raising the prospects for political instability and civil strife if unaddressed. Regionally, mounting tensions with Israel raise the worrisome possibility of isolated border incidents spiraling into more serious conflict. Taken together these two underlying challenges to stability -- internal civil unrest and regional conflict with Israel -- could undermine Lebanon's fragile peace. This paper will examine internal challenges to Lebanon's stability.
  • Topic: Democratization, Governance
  • Political Geography: Middle East, Israel, Arabia, Lebanon
  • 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: Robert Maguire
  • Publication Date: 11-2009
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: United States Institute of Peace
  • Abstract: On October 13, 2009, the United Nations Security Council unanimously approved a one-year extension of the mandate for the United Nations Stabilization Mission in Haiti (MINUSTAH). The sixth mission since 1995, MINUSTAH was first authorized in 2004. The mission, under Brazilian command, comprises 6,940 soldiers and 2,211 police. It also has unprecedented star power since the May 2009 appointment of former U.S. President Bill Clinton as U.N. special envoy to Haiti.
  • Topic: Security, Political Violence, Democratization, United Nations
  • Political Geography: Brazil, Caribbean, Haiti
  • 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: Dorina Bekoe, Michelle Swearingen
  • Publication Date: 12-2009
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: United States Institute of Peace
  • Abstract: Diaspora communities are a double-edged sword. They have promoted peace as often as they have spurred conflict. There are many opportunities to harness the Congolese diaspora to support peace and reconstruction in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC). ?War and civil unrest have swelled the ranks of the DRC diaspora. These individuals can play a role in strategizing for sustainable solutions - particularly in the mining sector and the fight against corruption. Trans-Atlantic participants in the USIP diaspora dialogue called for tighter regulation, effective transparency, integration of the informal economy, greater investment flows and support for Congolese solutions to Congolese problems. Proposed solutions will be neither effective nor sustainable unless the war is ended and governance improves. This would involve effective regional support for peacekeeping, international efforts to deter spoilers and domestic initiatives to make governance more effective. The DRC diaspora are committed to be a source of advocacy, technical assistance, investment and accountability.
  • Topic: Migration, Diaspora, Immigration
  • Political Geography: Africa
  • Author: Joel Whitaker, Anand Varghese
  • Publication Date: 12-2009
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: United States Institute of Peace
  • Abstract: In an event titled "Online Discourse in the Arab World: Dispelling the Myths," the U.S. Institute of Peace's Center of Innovation for Science, Technology, and Peacebuilding, in collaboration with Harvard University's Berkman Center for Internet Society, presented findings from an unprecedented, comprehensive mapping of the Arabic-language blogosphere.
  • Topic: Science and Technology
  • Political Geography: United States, Middle East, Arabia
  • Author: Merriam Mashatt, Bob Polk
  • Publication Date: 06-2008
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: United States Institute of Peace
  • Abstract: The “3 D's,” defense, diplomacy and development, have been pillars of U.S. government reconstruction and stabilization programs. Recently, however, the “4th D” – the domestic interagency community – has come into the picture. This USIPeace Briefing describes the distinct value the “4th D” adds to reconstruction and stabilization initiatives and how it can be integrated into the larger U.S. government community.
  • Topic: Foreign Policy, Development
  • Political Geography: United States
  • Author: Daniel Serwer, Sam Parker
  • Publication Date: 04-2008
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: United States Institute of Peace
  • Abstract: Iraq remains a critical problem for the United States. Security has improved to roughly 2005 levels, and tentative political progress has been made, but there is no visible end to the U.S. commitment required to prevent Iraq from spinning out of control and threatening a widening war in the region. The Bush Administration and the Congress face difficult choices: How can the relative success during the period of the surge be prolonged and solidified? Should the drawdown continue? When will the Iraqi security forces be ready to take over? What can be done to accelerate political progress?
  • Political Geography: United States, Iraq
  • Author: Robert Grace
  • Publication Date: 04-2008
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: United States Institute of Peace
  • Abstract: Over the past several months, Syrian authorities have engaged in a harsh campaign of repression against leading dissidents and human rights activists. The crackdown, overshadowed by developments elsewhere in the region, has received scant media coverage in the U.S. and Europe. To shed light on recent developments in the Syrian political scene, USIP recently convened a public discussion on human rights in Syria, featuring the Institute's Radwan Ziadeh, Mona Yacoubian, and Steven Heydemann, and Joe Stork of Human Rights Watch. This USIPeace Briefing summarizes their presentations and the subsequent discussion.
  • Topic: Human Rights, Human Welfare
  • Political Geography: Middle East, Syria
  • Author: Dorina Bekoe
  • Publication Date: 04-2008
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: United States Institute of Peace
  • Abstract: The botched results from the December 27, 2007 presidential elections in Kenya sparked a wave of violence across the country that left more than 1,000 dead and 600,000 displaced. Incumbent president Mwai Kibaki, representing the ruling Party of National Unity (PNU), was declared the winner of the presidential polls over Raila Odinga, of the opposition Orange Democratic Movement (ODM). Supporters of the ODM, which had won 99 parliamentary seats against PNU's 43 (out of 210 elected seats), charged that the election had been rigged. The chairman of the Electoral Commission of Kenya has since stated that the PNU and the ODM-K (an allied party) forced him to call the election, even with irregularities in the tallying.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution, Political Violence, Politics
  • Political Geography: Kenya, Africa
  • Author: Raymond Gilpin, Emily Hsu
  • Publication Date: 05-2008
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: United States Institute of Peace
  • Abstract: Improving economic management after almost two decades of violent conflict and civil unrest has been a top priority of Liberian President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf's reform agenda since her January 2006 inauguration. In April 2008, her administration could point to appreciable improvements in fiscal performance and economic progress, signs that the desired enhancements in economic management may have started to materialize. Many observers speculate whether these developments could be attributed to the country's multi-stakeholder Governance and Economic Management Assistance Program (GEMAP). If so, what lessons could be learned for other post-conflict countries? At an April 9, 2008 USIP event on the subject, the Liberian Finance Minister, the Honorable Antoinette Sayeh, reflected on GEMAP's impact, highlighted some challenges and discussed its applicability as a model for other countries. While recognizing the program's contributions, she emphasized that it is only one component of a much broader framework of reforms initiated since 2006. Sayeh also underscored the vital leadership role that President Sirleaf has played in the design and implementation of Liberia's public expenditure reform program.
  • Topic: Development, Government
  • Political Geography: Africa, Liberia
  • Author: Kelly Campbell
  • Publication Date: 05-2008
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: United States Institute of Peace
  • Abstract: The results of Iran's March 14, 2008 parliamentary elections-a 70 percent victory for conservatives within Iran-came as little surprise. The ruling elite disqualified approximately 1,700 reformist candidates before the elections, minimizing the risk of a conservative defeat. However, the results revealed a growing divide between conservatives allied with President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad and a "third way" movement led by pragmatic conservatives who, though loyal to Supreme Leader Ayatollah Sayed Ali Khamenei, are critical of Ahmadinejad's economic policies and confrontational rhetoric with the West. The surprising electoral success of these pragmatic conservatives may pose a significant challenge to Ahmadinejad in Iran's 2009 presidential elections.
  • Topic: Politics
  • Political Geography: Iran, Middle East
  • Author: Robert M. Perito
  • Publication Date: 05-2008
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: United States Institute of Peace
  • Abstract: In December 2006, the Iraq Study Group reported that the Iraqi Interior Ministry (MOI) was confronted by corruption, infiltrated by militia and unable to control the Iraqi police. In July 2007, the Los Angeles Times reported that Iraq's MOI had become a "federation of oligarchs" where various floors of the building were controlled by rival militia groups and organized criminal gangs. The report described the MOI as an eleven-story powder keg of factions where power struggles were settled by assassinations in the parking lot. In its September 2007 report, the congressionally mandated Independent Commission on the Security Forces of Iraq described Iraq's MOI as a ministry in name only, dysfunctional, sectarian and suffering from ineffective leadership. Even Iraq's Interior Minister, Jawad al-Boulani, has called for the comprehensive reform of his ministry.
  • Topic: Democratization
  • Political Geography: United States, Iraq, Middle East
  • 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: Kelly Campbell
  • Publication Date: 06-2008
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: United States Institute of Peace
  • Abstract: The conflict in the Niger Delta has posed a fundamental domestic challenge to Nigerian security for more than a decade. Despite pledges to address continued instability in the Delta, the administration of Nigerian President Umaru Yar'Adua has not yet initiated a process to resolve the political, economic and security problems in the region. Oil production continues to diminish as a result of militant attacks, and is currently 20 to 25 percent below capacity. Meanwhile, militia members in the Niger Delta continue to engage in criminal activities such as kidnapping and oil bunkering1 to maximize profits for themselves and their political patrons.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution, Conflict Prevention, Oil
  • Political Geography: Africa, Nigeria
  • Author: Edward P. Joseph, R. Bruce Hitchner
  • Publication Date: 06-2008
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: United States Institute of Peace
  • Abstract: More than twelve years after the Dayton Agreement ended the war in Bosnia-Herzegovina, the stagnant, divided country is about to enter a potentially transformative process. On June 16, Bosnia will sign a Stabilization and Association Agreement (SAA) with the European Union, cementing the country's relationship and identifying it as a prospective EU member. The SAA not only launches a process of sweeping institutional reform, but also makes Bosnia eligible for new categories of financial assistance and imposes new responsibilities on Bosnia's leaders. Advocates believe that the "sink or swim" approach of the European Commission (EC, the EU entity that traditionally leads SAA implementation) will finally wean Bosnia from dependence on international authority toward genuine cross-ethnic cooperation over a shared goal.
  • Topic: Development
  • Political Geography: Europe, Balkans
  • Author: Virginia M. Bouvier
  • Publication Date: 06-2008
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: United States Institute of Peace
  • Abstract: This USIPeace Briefing discusses the condition of the Colombian Revolutionary Armed Forces (FARC), their hostages and the potential direction of this situation. The briefing stresses insights that key figures in the issue raised in recent visits to Washington, DC.
  • Topic: Terrorism
  • Political Geography: United States, Colombia, South America, Latin America, Central America
  • Author: Hesham Sallam
  • Publication Date: 06-2008
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: United States Institute of Peace
  • Abstract: What is the future of democracy in Egypt? What are the prospects for cooperation between the country's Islamist and non-Islamist political opposition groups? How can such cooperation be strengthened? These questions were at the forefront of discussions at the Second Annual Wasat Generation Dialogue, held in Cairo Egypt May 27-29, 2008 and hosted by USIP, the Al-Ahram Center for Political and Strategic Studies, and Georgetown University's Center for Democracy and Civil Society. An outgrowth of USIP's Arab Political Oppositions Project (APOP), this not-for-attribution dialogue brought together a select group of Egyptian political leaders, American academics and U.S. democracy-promoters. The conference provided a unique venue to explore the prospects for enhancing political cooperation across the ideological/religious divide in the Egyptian political arena. It also highlighted the potential to build bridges of cooperation among a new generation of political activists.
  • Topic: Government, Islam, Politics
  • Political Geography: Egypt
  • 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: Sheila Mwiandi
  • Publication Date: 08-2008
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: United States Institute of Peace
  • Abstract: Kenya's post-election violence has displaced more than 600,000 persons within the country since December 2007. Although violence-induced displacement is not a new phenomenon in Kenya, the magnitude, speed and intensity of this displacement were unprecedented. Clashes in the 1990s, also around general elections, displaced hundreds of thousands of Kenyans, many of whom remain displaced today. The new coalition government has made the resettlement of Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) a top priority, launching "Operation Return Home" in May.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution, Political Violence, Human Welfare, Humanitarian Aid
  • Political Geography: Kenya, Africa
  • Author: Jason Gluck
  • Publication Date: 03-2008
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: United States Institute of Peace
  • Abstract: On February 13, 2008 the Iraqi parliament simultaneously passed a law that sets forth the relationship between the central and provincial governments, an amnesty law and the 2008 national budget. The passage of these laws was the result of months of negotiation and last-minute substantive and procedural compromises that could portend a shift away from merely ethnic and sectarian-based alliances to inter-ethnic and sectarian issue-based politics. At the same time, Iraqi lawmakers may have discovered a strategy of simultaneous consideration of multiple matters that could increase the likelihood of consensus and resolution—a sharp contrast to what has until now been an issue-by-issue approach that has often resulted in impasses and political gridlock.
  • Topic: Development, Government, Treaties and Agreements
  • Political Geography: Iraq, Middle East
  • Author: Robert Perito
  • Publication Date: 03-2008
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: United States Institute of Peace
  • Abstract: In January 2007, President Bush announced that the U.S. would double the number of Provincial Reconstruction Teams (PRTs) in Iraq as part of his plan for a "New Way Forward." PRTs are small, civilian-military units that assist provincial and local governments to govern more effectively and deliver essential services. These new PRTs would be embedded with Brigade (Army) and Regimental (Marine) Combat Teams (B/RCTs) participating in the "surge" of U.S. forces into Baghdad, Anbar and Erbil provinces. The new ePRTs would begin as four person interagency teams, but would expand to include civilian experts in a broad range of specialties. These new PRTs were staffed with Defense Department civilians and members of the National Guard and Army Reserve until funds became available to the State Department to hire civilian contractors. The process of deploying civilian experts is now underway, but the B/RCTs to which they are being assigned will return to the United States by August 2008.
  • Topic: Development, Government, International Cooperation
  • Political Geography: United States, Iraq, Middle East, Baghdad
  • Author: Scott Worden
  • Publication Date: 02-2008
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: United States Institute of Peace
  • Abstract: On February 18, 2008 the Ugandan government and the Lord's Resistance Army (LRA) reached agreement on an accountability and reconciliation accord that would provide for prosecution in Uganda of senior LRA leaders most responsible for atrocities committed over the course of the country's 20-year long civil conflict. The agreement also provides that lower level perpetrators will be held accountable by traditional justice mechanisms indigenous to Northern Uganda, where much of the violence occurred.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution, Development, Ethnic Conflict
  • Political Geography: Uganda, Africa
  • Author: Susan Hayward
  • Publication Date: 02-2008
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: United States Institute of Peace
  • Abstract: In partnership with Concordis International and the Preparatory Committee for the Darfur-Darfur Dialogue and Consultation (DDDC), USIP held a consultation with approximately30 members of the North American Darfur diaspora community from February 12-14, 2008.Representative of Darfur's constituencies, this group of Darfurians traveled to Washington, D.C. from throughout the U.S. and Canada in order to address a broad range of issues related to the conflict in their homeland. Through small-group brainstorming and plenary ession debates, the group developed a set of consensus recommendations aimed at creating the conditions necessary for a sustainable safe and secure environment to prevail in the troubled region.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution, Civil Society, Development
  • Political Geography: Africa, United States, Canada
  • Author: Mona Yacoubian
  • Publication Date: 02-2008
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: United States Institute of Peace
  • Abstract: As the third anniversary of the assassination of former Lebanese Prime Minister Rafik Hariri approaches, Lebanon is witnessing its worst crisis since the 15-year civil war. Hariri's February 14th assassination—widely suspected to have been orchestrated by Syria—enraged the Lebanese who took to the streets one month later, demanding the withdrawal of Syrian troops. Dubbed the Cedar Revolution, this mass protest movement succeeded in ending nearly 30 years of Syrian military occupation. It was to have ushered in a new era of democracy. Instead, Lebanon has suffered through bombings, assassinations, war between Hezbollah and Israel, and bouts of sectarian violence.
  • Topic: Security, Political Violence, Terrorism
  • Political Geography: Middle East, Syria
  • 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: J Alexander Thier
  • Publication Date: 02-2008
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: United States Institute of Peace
  • Abstract: Pakistan, a nuclear-armed, predominantly Muslim nation of 165 million, has experienced a dramatic rise in political turmoil and violence in the last year. Following the assassination of former Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto on December 27, 2007, analysts have raised serious concerns about Pakistan's stability and the possibility of a collapse of the federation.
  • Topic: Conflict Prevention, Democratization, Development
  • Political Geography: Pakistan, Asia
  • Author: Daniel Serwer, Rend Al-Rahim Francke
  • Publication Date: 01-2008
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: United States Institute of Peace
  • Abstract: In meetings conducted in Beirut and Baghdad in mid-January 2008, a high-ranking and broad cross-section of the Iraqi political spectrum expressed views on the current political situation, main priorities for the next year, prospects for moving forward on key issues, and the American military presence in Iraq. The Iraqis, numbering about 40, included parliamentary leaders, members of the presidency and their staffs, top government officials and leaders in both the Anbar and Baghdad "Awakenings" (tribal groups prepared to fight Al Qaeda and guard their own neighborhoods.
  • Topic: Security, Democratization, Treaties and Agreements
  • Political Geography: Iraq, Middle East
  • Author: Kelly Campbell
  • Publication Date: 01-2008
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: United States Institute of Peace
  • Abstract: As the planned deployment of the joint UN and African Union (AU) hybrid peacekeeping force to Darfur begins, these institutions are placing more emphasis on finding a lasting political solution to the conflict in Darfur. After the failure of the Darfur Peace Agreement (DPA), the international community realized the importance of involving all the key rebel movements in peace negotiations. Planned peace talks in Sirte, Libya have been delayed in an effort to convince key rebel leaders to participate.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution, Security, International Organization
  • Political Geography: Africa
  • Author: Robert Perito, Jasenka Jocic
  • Publication Date: 01-2008
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: United States Institute of Peace
  • Abstract: Haiti's constitution was adopted on March 29, 1987 when over 90 percent of the voters approved it in a popular referendum. The result was not surprising. Among the most democratic in the world, Haiti's constitution was proposed in the aftermath of the brutal Duvalier dictatorship and seemed to promise an end to arbitrary and violent rule. Unfortunately, that was not the case as the country endured two more decades of turmoil. In the period of instability following adoption of the constitution, its provisions were more often ignored or violated than observed.
  • Topic: Government, Peace Studies, Politics
  • Political Geography: United States, Caribbean, Haiti
  • Author: Robert M. Perito
  • Publication Date: 11-2008
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: United States Institute of Peace
  • Abstract: In September 2008, four hurricanes and tropical storms—Fay, Gustav, Hannah and Ike—slammed into Haiti with devastating force. Nearly 800 people were killed, 300 remain missing and more than 500 were injured. More than 150,000 people were displaced. Cities and towns were inundated with mud. Roads, bridges, crops and factories were destroyed. Damage to infrastructure was so great that helicopters and boats were required to reach parts of the island. Millions were left at risk of starvation. International aid officials warned that shortages could spark the kind of food riots that erupted in April of this year.
  • Topic: Disaster Relief, Humanitarian Aid
  • Political Geography: Caribbean, Haiti
  • 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: Elizabeth Detwiler
  • Publication Date: 10-2008
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: United States Institute of Peace
  • Abstract: The looting of Iraq's museums and archaeological sites is an overlooked consequence of the 2003 invasion. The loss of such precious history would be tragic for any nation or culture. As Iraqis struggle to redefine a sense of nationhood after five years of war, they will need to draw on that common heritage to reconstruct their communities. In the words of Donny George Youkhanna, former director general of the Iraq Museum in Baghdad, “The oil will finish one day, but the antiquities will always be there.” The most immediate priorities are to secure Iraq's existing heritage sites, recover stolen artifacts, and develop an infrastructure for their conservation. The question should also be asked: what can be done to prevent such looting in future conflicts?
  • Topic: Crime, International Cooperation, International Organization, Arts
  • Political Geography: Iraq, Middle East, Baghdad
  • Author: Sheldon Himelfarb, Megan Chabalowski
  • Publication Date: 10-2008
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: United States Institute of Peace
  • Abstract: There is growing recognition among policymakers and conflict management experts that the media should be a building block of any comprehensive peacebuilding strategy. Yet there are scant guidelines in this regard. Projects are still planned and implemented in a relatively ad-hoc manner, with minimal reference to lessons learned from previous initiatives.
  • Topic: Conflict Prevention, Civil Society, Peace Studies
  • 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: Raymond Gilpin
  • Publication Date: 08-2008
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: United States Institute of Peace
  • Abstract: Although Zimbabwe's deep-seated economic malaise has robbed citizens of their savings, rendered incomes practically worthless and undermined domestic productivity, experts believe that a resolution of the political impasse could trigger much-needed policy reform and economic revitalization. This USIPeace Briefing reviews policy options and recommendations proffered at a USIP roundtable discussion on August 12, 2008. The panelists were: Keith Campbell, Managing Director at the Executive Research Associates; Bernard Harborne, Lead Conflict Specialist at the World Bank; Frank Young, Vice President of Abt Associates; Callisto Madavo, visiting professor at the African Studies Program at Georgetown University. USIP's Raymond Gilpin moderated the event.
  • Topic: Corruption, Economics, Government
  • Political Geography: Africa, Zimbabwe
  • Author: Robert M. Perito
  • Publication Date: 11-2008
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: United States Institute of Peace
  • Abstract: In September 2008, four hurricanes and tropical storms—Fay, Gustav, Hannah and Ike—slammed into Haiti with devastating force. Nearly 800 people were killed, 300 remain missing and more than 500 were injured. More than 150,000 people were displaced. Cities and towns were inundated with mud. Roads, bridges, crops and factories were destroyed. Damage to infrastructure was so great that helicopters and boats were required to reach parts of the island. Millions were left at risk of starvation. International aid officials warned that shortages could spark the kind of food riots that erupted in April of this year.
  • Topic: Political Violence, Disaster Relief, Humanitarian Aid, Poverty, Third World
  • Political Geography: Caribbean, Island
  • 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
  • Author: Kelly Campbell, Sarah Bessell
  • Publication Date: 12-2008
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: United States Institute of Peace
  • Abstract: The fragility of the Chadian government, as well as the fragmentation among Chadian civil society, political parties, and rebel movements, poses significant challenges that Chadian civil society, regional governments, African institutions and the international community must address with a coordinated strategy.
  • Topic: International Relations, Political Violence, Civil Society, Post Colonialism, Poverty
  • Political Geography: Africa
  • 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: Robert Maguire
  • Publication Date: 12-2008
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: United States Institute of Peace
  • Abstract: In July 2006, Haitian poet and historian Jean-Claude Martineau spoke at USIP and said that Haiti is the only country in the world with a last name—"Haiti, poorest country in the western hemisphere" —as described in the media. Sadly, in the two years since, conditions have worsened. Four severe storms that struck Haiti in September 2008 only exacerbated the already critical problem of the country's poverty.
  • Topic: Development, Humanitarian Aid, Poverty, Third World
  • Political Geography: Caribbean, Haiti
  • Author: Daniel Serwer
  • Publication Date: 12-2007
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: United States Institute of Peace
  • Abstract: Why does the United States support Kosovo's independence, even putting at risk its relations not only with Serbia but also with Russia? And how does Washington plan to contain the consequences? It is often assumed that Washington's position is based on a sense of moral obligation, deriving not only from the mistreatment of Albanians under the Milosevic regime but also from American promises since. While this fact or unquestionably weighs on the side of the Kosovars, it is not I think decisive. Understanding Washington's support for Kosovo's independence requires an analysis of the consequences of further delay as well as the consequences of moving ahead, even in the absence of a UN Security Council resolution.
  • Topic: Government, Sovereignty
  • Political Geography: Russia, United States, America, Balkans
  • Author: Dorina Bekoe
  • Publication Date: 12-2007
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: United States Institute of Peace
  • Abstract: The March 2007 Ouagadougou Political Accord (OPA), signed by Laurent Gbagbo, president of Côte d'Ivoire, and Guillaume Soro, leader of the Forces Nouvelles (FN) rebel movement, holds great promise for ending the current political stalemate and reuniting the country. The political crisis began in September 2002 with an attack by military officers protesting the government's decision to demobilize them; according to some, it was also, an attempted coup d'état. The uprising generated other rebel groups, which took control over the northern part of the country and ignited a civil war. Even after the brunt of the fighting ceased, the country remained divided, with northern Côte d'Ivoire devoid of public services and the state's administration. The OPA is the sixth peace agreement directed at ending the political crisis; the previous five were never fully implemented due to, among other factors, disagreements about the selection of the mediator, the absence of political will among the signatories, and the tense relationship between the government of Côte d'Ivoire and the United Nations. Blaise Compaoré, president of Burkina Faso, mediated the negotiations leading to the signing of the OPA. Burkina Faso remains the facilitator of the agreement's implementation.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution, Development, Peace Studies
  • Political Geography: Africa, United Nations
  • Author: Beth Ellen Cole
  • Publication Date: 11-2007
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: United States Institute of Peace
  • Abstract: Afghanistan has now laid the foundation for a market-based economy. A new economic system, based on the state as a regulator, not a producer, of goods, with a clear separation between the public and private sectors, stands in place of the centralized economy of the past. An independent central bank, a liberalized foreign exchange system, and laws permitting foreigners to wholly own property characterize the new economic landscape. A doubling of the gross national product and per capita income, a 13 percent growth rate in 2007, and modest inflation paint a vibrant picture.
  • Topic: Security, Development, Economics
  • Political Geography: Afghanistan, Asia
  • Author: Sarah Bessell
  • Publication Date: 11-2007
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: United States Institute of Peace
  • Abstract: Can peace and stability be measured? If so, what are some of the most helpful indicators for determining at-risk countries and regions? What is the significance of resulting rankings and changes from year to year? On September 17, 2007, USIP hosted a public event to explore these and related questions. The panel featured three indices that attempt to quantify aspects of countries' peacefulness, conflict, and instability: the Failed States Index, the Peace and Conflict Instability Ledger, and the Global Peace Index. The panel examined the meaning, methodologies, and utility for policymakers and researchers of these and other indices. This USIPeace Briefing summarizes the discussion at this event.
  • Topic: Security, Demographics, Economics, Peace Studies
  • Political Geography: Sudan, Zimbabwe, Somalia
  • Author: Dorina Bekoe
  • Publication Date: 10-2007
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: United States Institute of Peace
  • Abstract: Eastern Sudan, comprising the three states of Kassala, Red Sea, and Gedarif, is, according to many accounts, among the most marginalized regions in Sudan. There are few international humanitarian agencies in the region, and information on social and economic conditions is scarce. The extent of eastern Sudan's marginalization led to the creation of the Beja Congress, an armed and political movement, in 1958 and the development of a low-intensity conflict in 1997. In 2005, the Beja Congress joined forces with the Rashaida Free Lions, a rebel group, and other small groups to form the Eastern Front.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution, Peace Studies
  • Political Geography: Africa, Sudan
  • Author: J Alexander Thier, Leigh Toomey
  • Publication Date: 10-2007
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: United States Institute of Peace
  • Abstract: A legitimate, functioning and coherent justice system is urgently needed to establish peace and stability in post-Taliban Afghanistan. After three decades of war, continued insecurity, endemic corruption, and lack of resources hobble the formal justice system. Informal, community-based dispute resolution mechanisms—which are more readily accessible and understood than formal courts by most Afghans, particularly outside urban areas—are widely used to resolve both civil and criminal matters. These mechanisms are critical to maintaining stability within communities, and at present handle over 80 percent of disputes in Afghanistan. At the same time, informal or traditional practices may fall short of due process and human rights standards.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution, Security, Government
  • Political Geography: Afghanistan, Asia