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  • Author: Irene Costantini
  • Publication Date: 03-2017
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Middle East Research Institute (MERI)
  • Abstract: The Shia Block is realistically the key determinant for national reconciliation to occur in Iraq. However, its internal divisions make it a problematic and non-unitary interlocutor for national, regional, and international initiatives. So far, the Block has outlined two separate and independent plans: al-Hakim’s “Historical Settlement” and al-Sadr’s roadmap
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution, International Security
  • Political Geography: Iraq
  • Author: Athanasios Manis
  • Publication Date: 01-2017
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Middle East Research Institute (MERI)
  • Abstract: The Iraqi and Turkish leadership have restored direct contact, thus providing an opportunity for dialogue. However, the extent to which this can lead to a sustainable normalisation process and furthermore to a deepening of their relationship is highly questionable. This policy brief argues that the main problem lies with the fact that a win-win scenario of overlapping or complementary interests does not seem to be driving the leaderships’ actions. Instead, it is ad hoc developments external to their bilateral relationship that have a positive effect for the time being, such as the rapprochement between Russia and Turkey, and subsequently a concerted attempt between Russia, Turkey and Iran to stabilise the region.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution, International Relations
  • Political Geography: Turkey, Middle East
  • Publication Date: 05-2017
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Al Jazeera
  • Abstract: Abstract The commander of Operation Dignity, Khalifa Haftar, shocked supporters even more than his opponents when he agreed to meet the Chairman of the Presidential Council, Fayez al-Sarraj, in Abu Dhabi on 2 May 2017, having previously refused to recognise him. This about-face may be attributable to the acquiescence of Haftar’s regional allies to direct international pressure. Reactions to the rapprochement between al-Sarraj and Haftar varied across the eastern and western fronts. Khalifa Haftar’s status in the east precludes serious opposition to his decisions, while in the western region a substantial segment of the population blessed the meeting in hopes that a détente would stop the deterioration of the security and economic situation. In contrast, western political and military factions were incensed, and some responded violently. Haftar’s acceptance of consensual agreement and reconciliation clearly grows out the waning possibility of assuming control of the country through decisive military action. From his standpoint, it therefore makes sense to attempt to impose his conditions through negotiations, which means the Skhirat agreement could collapse or undergo radical revisions.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution, International Relations, International Security
  • Political Geography: Libya
  • Publication Date: 03-2017
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Al Jazeera
  • Abstract: This paper reviews the importance of western Mosul to all parties in the conflict: the Iraqi forces and their allies, on the one hand, and the Islamic State’s forces, on the other, and the obstacles to any of these parties resolving the conflict. It also touches on the extent of their forces and the clear dominance of the offensive forces, and it discusses the military strategies for the battle and potential outcomes in addition to the available options for the Islamic State (IS). It anticipates an end to the fight in favour of the Iraqi forces within a few weeks if the battle and its results progress at a similar pace to that of its first week. This will depend on any unaccounted for variables during the battle that would change the equation on the ground. It concludes by discussing the available options for IS after the battle ends, with the expectation that IS will fight until the end; while its commanders will inevitability lose the battle, this will not eliminate threats to security and stability in Iraq in the foreseeable future.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution, Civil War, International Security
  • Political Geography: Iraq, Middle East
  • Publication Date: 03-2017
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Al Jazeera
  • Abstract: Since the beginning of the Astana process, Moscow seems to be in a race against time to establish the foundations of a solution in Syria before arriving in Geneva: first, by reforming the opposition’s delegation to the negotiations, an effort Moscow has been working on ever since the military intervention in Syria began, and second, by redrawing the solution’s main parameters, which Moscow exerted great effort towards during marathon negotiations conducted with the former US Secretary of State, John Kerry. Through these negotiations, Moscow has been able to change the rules at Geneva by prioritising an agreement to change the constitution, followed by the formation of a non-sectarian representative government, and then calling for presidential elections with Assad’s participation, so ‘the Syrian people can decide his fate’.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution, Conflict Prevention, Civil War, International Security
  • Political Geography: Syria
  • Author: Helene Maria Kyed
  • Publication Date: 03-2017
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Danish Institute for International Studies
  • Abstract: In Myanmar, ordinary citizens prefer to have crimes and disputes resolved within their village or neighborhood. There is a clear preference for avoiding conflict escalation, rather than punishing perpetrators. The official courts are seen as places to avoid whenever possible. They are mistrusted, associated with high costs, and many feel intimidated by them due to fear of authority and formality. Reforming the official judiciary is important in Myanmar, but even if the courts functioned according to international standards, there would still be a demand for local forms of dispute resolution focused on reconciliation and negotiated settlements. This is due to culturally and religiously informed perceptions of problems and injustices, related to shame, fate and Buddhist beliefs in past life deeds. This policy brief by Helene Maria Kyed argues that any support to justice sector reform in Myanmar should include already existing local dispute resolution mechanisms and take local perceptions of justice serious, rather than alone focus on the official judiciary and international rule of law principles. It is important to base programming on inclusive dialogues about justice at the local level, and invest in building trust and gaining context-specific knowledge.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution, Ethnic Conflict, International Affairs
  • Political Geography: Myanmar
  • Author: Bobby Anderson
  • Publication Date: 03-2016
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: East-West Center
  • Abstract: West Papua is the most violent area of Indonesia. Indonesian security forces battle the country's last active separatist insurgency there. The majority of Indonesia's political prisoners are Papuans, and support for independence is widespread. But military repression and indigenous resistance are only one part of a complex topography of insecurity in Papua: vigilantism, clan conflict, and other forms of horizontal violence produce more casualties than the vertical conflict that is often the exclusive focus of international accounts of contemporary Papua. Similarly, Papua's coerced incorporation into Indonesia in 1969 is not unique; it mirrors a pattern of long-term annexation found in other remote and highland areas of South and Southeast Asia. What distinguishes Papua is the near-total absence of the state in indigenous areas. This is the consequence of a morass of policy dysfunction over time that compounds the insecurity that ordinary Papuans face. The author illuminates the diverse and local sources of insecurity that indicate too little state as opposed to too much, challenges common perceptions of insecurity in Papua, and offers a prescription of policy initiatives. These include the reform of a violent and unaccountable security sector as a part of a broader reconciliation process and the urgent need for a comprehensive indigenous-centered development policy.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution, Security, Political Violence, Development, Politics
  • Political Geography: Indonesia
  • Author: Dinshaw Mistry
  • Publication Date: 01-2016
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: East-West Center
  • Abstract: In the early and mid-2000s, US policymakers anticipated India becoming one of America's top global partners. Have New Delhi's policies on key strategic issues actually aligned strongly with US objectives, as would be typical of close partners? An analysis of twelve prominent issues in US-India relations indicates that New Delhi's policies mostly converged moderately, rather than to a high extent, with US objectives. Specifically, the alignment between New Delhi's policies and US objectives was high or moderate-to-high on three issues—UN peacekeeping, nonproliferation export controls, and arms sales. It was moderate or low-to-moderate on six issues—China, Iran, Afghanistan, Indian Ocean security, Pakistan, and bilateral defense cooperation. And it was low or negligible on three issues—nuclear reactor contracts for US firms, nuclear arms control, and the war in Iraq. To be sure, despite the low or negligible convergence, New Delhi did not take an anti-US position on these issues. Four factors explain why New Delhi's policies aligned unevenly with US objectives across the issues: India's strategic interests (that diverged from US interests on some issues); domestic political and economic barriers (that prevented greater convergence between India's policies and US objectives); incentives and disincentives (that induced New Delhi to better align with US objectives); and certain case-specific factors. This analysis suggests that, rather than expecting India to become a close ally, US policymakers should consider it a friendly strategic partner whose policies would align, on the average, moderately with US strategic interests.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution, Arms Control and Proliferation, Nuclear Weapons, Political Economy, Peacekeeping
  • Political Geography: India, Asia
  • Author: Dlawer Ala’Aldeen
  • Publication Date: 12-2016
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Middle East Research Institute (MERI)
  • Abstract: The Middle East is still in flux and will remain so for some time, it will possibly be another decade before the ultimate power balance is reached. Policy makers of Iraq and the KRI who wish to pursue paths of their own design, must look carefully at the trends in power dynamics and the policies of the global and regional powers before designing their strategies.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution, International Affairs
  • Political Geography: Middle East
  • Author: Zachary Gallant
  • Publication Date: 12-2016
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Middle East Research Institute (MERI)
  • Abstract: The shift of United States (US) foreign policy from a heavy international focus with traditional alliances over the past century to the anti-globalist administration promised by President-elect Donald Trump will necessarily upset longstanding regional relations in the Middle East and North Africa. This Policy Paper discusses some of the Trump administration’s most likely foreign policy advisers and their positions on Kurdish self-governance, as well as those of some previous policymakers whose legacies he will be unable to escape.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution, International Relations
  • Political Geography: America, Middle East
  • Author: Maisie Cook
  • Publication Date: 12-2016
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Middle East Research Institute (MERI)
  • Abstract: With the liberation of Mosul fast becoming a reality, attention is turning to post-IS dynamics. Without sufficient deradicalisation policies, including within the education system, the narrative of the Islamic State will lie dormant or transform, creating the potential for another extremist group to emerge.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution, Education, Radicalization, ISIS
  • Political Geography: Iraq
  • Author: Hawraman Ali
  • Publication Date: 12-2016
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Middle East Research Institute (MERI)
  • Abstract: Iran and its opposition Kurdish groups have been involved in intermittent armed conflict for decades. Considering the new political realities of the region and the domination of US politics by the Republicans after the recent election, Iran should engage in dialogue with its Kurdish opposition parties.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution, International Relations, International Security
  • Political Geography: Iran, Kurdistan
  • Author: Athanasios Manis
  • Publication Date: 12-2016
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Middle East Research Institute (MERI)
  • Abstract: Turkey is experiencing a crisis of orientation in its internal and external affairs as a result of a transition between a dying and an emerging vision. The end of the current transitional period will not necessarily mark the end of the country’s crisis, but most probably its entrenchment or deepening.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution, International Relations, International Security
  • Political Geography: Turkey
  • Author: Irene Costantini
  • Publication Date: 11-2016
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Middle East Research Institute (MERI)
  • Abstract: Nearly thirteen years since the beginning of one of the largest programmes for post-conflict reconstruction, Iraq finds itself again in need of international financial assistance, but the conditions are hardly the same. This time the role of the international community should be matched by the Iraqi political leadership taking responsibility for the country and all of its population.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution, Conflict Prevention, ISIS
  • Political Geography: Iraq, Middle East
  • Author: Dylan O’Driscoll
  • Publication Date: 11-2016
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Middle East Research Institute (MERI)
  • Abstract: The fight against the Islamic State (IS) has caused a ‘rallying around the flag’ effect amongst Iraqi Kurds. Once IS is defeated key political and economic issues long neglected in the Kurdish Region of Iraq (KRI) will come to the fore. Thus, it is imperative they are addressed now, as failure to make inroads will have dire consequences for the KRI.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution, Geopolitics, ISIS
  • Political Geography: Middle East
  • Author: Dave van Zoonen
  • Publication Date: 11-2016
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Middle East Research Institute (MERI)
  • Abstract: Donald Trump, the next President of the United States, will soon be confronted with the difficulty of translating campaign rhetoric regarding his foreign policy in the Middle East into policy and positive outcomes. He is thus likely to be forced to make significant concessions.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution, Foreign Policy, Geopolitics
  • Political Geography: America, Middle East
  • Author: Tomáš Kaválek
  • Publication Date: 11-2016
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Middle East Research Institute (MERI)
  • Abstract: Hashd al-Shaabi launched an offensive on Tal Afar on 29 October; the looming recapture of Tal Afar prompted a strong reaction from Turkey, which maintains ties to the Turkmen population there. Tal Afar is thus yet another flashpoint of competing interests between Ankara, Erbil, Baghdad, and Tehran and can possibly further destabilise the situation in Nineveh.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution, Conflict Prevention, International Affairs
  • Political Geography: Middle East
  • Author: Tomáš Kaválek
  • Publication Date: 11-2016
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Middle East Research Institute (MERI)
  • Abstract: Nearly two years since the north side of Shingal was liberated from the Islamic State, most of the Yazidi population is still displaced. Yazidis are trapped between millstones of the competition of exogenous actors, such as the KDP, the PKK-linked forces, and Baghdad, over the control of the strategically important disputed territory of Shingal.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution, International Security, International Affairs
  • Political Geography: Middle East
  • Author: Irene Costantini
  • Publication Date: 10-2016
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Middle East Research Institute (MERI)
  • Abstract: The Islamic State (IS) has not only surprised everyone with its cruelty but also by proving to be one of the world’s richest terrorist organisations. Now that its economic gains are draining due to military setbacks and financial strains, IS-held territories are increasingly struggling through economic hurdles – the challenge ahead is to link military interventions against IS with concrete economic plans.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution, International Affairs
  • Political Geography: Middle East
  • Publication Date: 04-2016
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Al Jazeera
  • Abstract: This policy brief examines developments regarding resolution of the Syrian issue, particularly in light of three key events: Russia’s announcement of a withdrawal, Geneva III talks and the opposition’s latest announcement that they wanted the talks to cease given increasing aggression on civilian areas. For the opposition belonging to the High Negotiations Committee (HNC), Assad cannot have a role in Syria’s political future, particularly given that his regime and its allies is responsible for 95 per cent of the casualties in the country, far exceeding any other actors in Syria, including the Islamic State organisation.(1) This policy brief looks at the outcomes of the third round of Geneva III, what Russia has gained from its intervention and so-called withdrawal, and argues that any future proposals for Syria which maintain Assad’s position will result in continuation of fighting.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution, Civil War
  • Political Geography: Syria
  • Publication Date: 02-2015
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Soufan Group
  • Abstract: The Islamic State has been moving aggressively to exploit the chaos of Libya since last summer, with profound risks for the Mediterranean region and beyond Libya is a perfect breeding ground for an expanded Islamic State, with large amounts of heavy weaponry, systemic lawlessness, a divided population, and sustained armed conflict The group has formed three active and capable groups in Libya-in Tripoli, Fezzan, and Barqa-all of which have conducted deadly attacks in recent months The phenomenon of Islamic State affiliates-beginning in the summer of 2014, before which the group was entirely focused on Iraq and Syria-is actually in the tradition of its arch-rival al-Qaeda the presence and power of the Islamic State in Libya will likely increase as conditions in Syria and Iraq deteriorate for the group, and conditions in Libya continue to worsen.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution, Islam, Terrorism, Armed Struggle, Counterinsurgency
  • Political Geography: Iraq, Libya, Syria
  • Author: Mallory Sutika Sipus
  • Publication Date: 06-2015
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: United States Institute of Peace
  • Abstract: One of the contributing factors to Afghanistan’s civil conflict has been the fluidity within military alliances at the sub-national level. This brief examines the circumstances of military alliances between insurgent commanders—what factors play into an alliance and how they are maintained, with assessments resulting from research from the Centre for Conflict and Peace Studies and supported by USIP.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution, Security, Political Violence, Insurgency
  • Political Geography: Afghanistan, Central Asia
  • Author: William A. Byrd
  • Publication Date: 05-2015
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: United States Institute of Peace
  • Abstract: For several years, Afghanistan’s economy and public finances have worsened, culminating in a full-blown fiscal crisis in 2014. Political uncertainties, the weakening Afghan economy, corruption in tax collection, stagnant government revenues, and increasing expenditures have contributed to the current fiscal impasse. In the absence of bold actions by the Afghan government along with proactive international support to turn around the fiscal situation, the fiscal crisis and its insidious effects will continue.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution, Corruption, Economics, Financial Crisis
  • Political Geography: Afghanistan, Central Asia
  • Author: Susan Stigant, Elizabeth Murray
  • Publication Date: 10-2015
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: United States Institute of Peace
  • Abstract: National dialogue is an increasingly popular tool for conflict resolution and political transformation. It can broaden debate regarding a country’s trajectory beyond the usual elite decision makers; however, it can also be misused and manipulated by leaders to consolidate their power. This brief includes principles to strengthen national dialogue processes and considerations for international actors seeking to support these processes.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution, Diplomacy, Political Economy, Governance
  • Political Geography: Global Focus
  • Author: William A. Byrd
  • Publication Date: 10-2015
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: United States Institute of Peace
  • Abstract: Some say reviving the Afghan economy in a time of intensifying violent conflict and declining external financial inflows will be impossible. Expectations need to be kept modest, and measures must go beyond conventional economic approaches in order to be effective. This brief puts forward some outside-the-box ideas, which, combined with greater government effectiveness and, hopefully, reductions in violent conflict, may help turn the economy around.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution, Political Violence, Development, Economics
  • Political Geography: Afghanistan, Central Asia
  • Author: Moeed Yusuf
  • Publication Date: 12-2015
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: United States Institute of Peace
  • Abstract: There are few viable options for resolving Afghanistan’s conflict other than an inclusive peace process between the Afghan government and the Taliban. Momentum toward this goal must be maintained following the “Heart of Asia” Ministerial Conference on December 9, 2015, where Afghan, Pakistani, and U.S. officials renewed their commitment to resuming dialogue. This brief discusses three key concerns that need to be addressed to effectively move the peace process forward and achieve a near-term cease-fire.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution, Diplomacy, Treaties and Agreements
  • Political Geography: South Asia, Central Asia
  • Author: Aya Al-Shachli, Ramina Ghassemi, Areej Rashid
  • Publication Date: 09-2015
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Centre for International Governance Innovation
  • Abstract: While Canadian Jewish community organizations are actively engaged in lobbying the Canadian government on its foreign policy with Israel and Palestine, it is not at all clear that the perspectives of the Jewish-Israeli diaspora that have emigrated from this conflict zone have been considered. The absence of diaspora voices from the region seems a missed opportunity for the development of a more comprehensive foreign policy position.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution, Foreign Policy, Political Violence, Ethnic Conflict, Diaspora
  • Political Geography: Canada, Israel, Palestine
  • Publication Date: 10-2015
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Foreign Policy Research Institute
  • Abstract: We live in an age of identity politics. We define ourselves by one or more objective measures: measures of race, ethnicity, gender, politics, religion, sexual orientation, to name just a few. Those measures then define who we are to others. They determine our place in society, the communities with which we identify, our attitudes towards others and other communities. The politics of identity are fraught, and they interact in ways that both liberate and confine. On the one hand we prize diversity. On the whole, this is a good thing, since it reflects a larger transformation in American life. Like it or not, the fact is that we are becoming, have become, a “multi-cultural society.” No matter what terms we use to define diversity—racial, ethnic, religious, sexual, gender, whatever—we are more diverse now than we have ever been, and we are destined to grow more so. Multi-culturalism is not an option; it is the future. The only question is how, and how well, we are going to deal with it.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution, Islam, Religion, Sectarianism
  • Political Geography: Middle East
  • Author: Michele Flournoy, Richard Fontaine
  • Publication Date: 08-2015
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Center for a New American Security
  • Abstract: In the 11 months since President Barack Obama committed the United States to “degrade and ultimately destroy” the so-called Islamic State of Iraq and al Sham (ISIS), the group has expanded its international reach, metastasized to form offshoots across multiple regions, and increased its perceived momentum. Although U.S. government officials cite a reduction in the overall size of the group’s sanctuary in Iraq and Syria and the killing of thousands of ISIS fighters, the fall of Ramadi and much of Anbar province to the Islamic State served as a wakeup call that current efforts to counter ISIS are not adequate to the task.2 Meanwhile, the threat posed by the terrorist group to Americans at home and abroad appears to be growing as ISIS-inspired individuals conduct attacks targeting Westerners around the globe, including here in the United States.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution, Security, Civil War, Islam, Terrorism
  • Political Geography: Middle East, Arab Countries
  • Author: Tyler Jost
  • Publication Date: 01-2015
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Center for a New American Security
  • Abstract: In "Defend, Defect, or Desert?: The Future of the Afghan Security Forces,” Tyler Jost, a former U.S. Army Company Commander who served two tours in Afghanistan, lays out how the United States can most effectively support the Afghan National Security Forces. Mr. Jost argues that in the coming months, Afghanistan will depend on increasingly independent Afghan security forces to fight a tough insurgency—one that is perhaps even as strong as it was four years ago during the height of U.S. and coalition operations.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution, Security, War, Insurgency
  • Political Geography: Afghanistan
  • Author: Stanislav Secrieru
  • Publication Date: 11-2015
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Polish Institute of International Affairs
  • Abstract: For the first time since the outbreak of the war in Donbass, the situation on the frontline is nearly a proper cease-fire. This is the outcome of the interplay of three factors: the political-military balance in Donbass, sanctions and Russia’s military intervention in Syria. Nevertheless, it is premature to assume that military options in Donbass are no longer in the cards. Russia is likely to use force if needed to repel a Ukrainian attempt to retake parts of the area, to obstruct the Minsk process if it goes in a disadvantageous direction for Moscow, or to seize more territory if there is further political and social turmoil in Ukraine. To minimize the risks of an eruption of violence in Donbass, the EU and U.S. should prolong the sanctions, fine-tune the diplomatic pressure on both sides to implement and uphold the Minsk Protocols, and pay more attention to the political and economic transformations in the rest of Ukraine.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution, Defense Policy, Politics, Military Strategy, Sanctions
  • Political Geography: Russia, Ukraine
  • Publication Date: 10-2015
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Polish Institute of International Affairs
  • Abstract: Following the 2015 national election in Turkey the AKP, for the first time since coming to power in 2002, failed to win enough votes to form a majority government. Since the election the AKP has given the impression that it is attempting to form a coalition government, but in reality the party has been employing a number of tactics in order to increase its share of the vote in preparation for a snap election. These tactics have mainly revolved around increasing the nationalist vote and damaging the main Kurdish party. However, these manoeuvres have increased polarisation in Turkey and have resulted in an escalation of the conflict with the Kurds. Worryingly, it has become evident that the AKP aims to win power in the next election at all costs.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution, Politics, Governance, Elections
  • Political Geography: Turkey
  • Publication Date: 12-2015
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Al Jazeera
  • Abstract: Nidaa Tounes, a party born post-Tunisian revolution, is currently experiencing internal rifts, which in turn is having an impact on the country’s secular-Islamist ruling government’s ability to move forward. This rift became especially obvious after the party’s founder and leader, Beji Caid Essebsi, won the presidency and consequently resigned as party leader according to Tunisia’s constitutional law. This position paper examines key actors and roots of the party’s rift, how this rift has impacted state institutions and future scenarios for the governing coalition.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution, Democratization, Terrorism, Popular Revolt
  • Political Geography: Tunisia
  • Publication Date: 08-2015
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Al Jazeera
  • Abstract: The Syrian armed opposition’s gains, especially in northern Syria, have stirred Russian and US fears about the possibility of a major regime collapse. This has prompted Moscow to return to the political solution approach to avert further expansion of the Islamic State (IS or Daesh) and to stop the regime’s power from completely dissolving. For the US, this has prompted President Obama to intensify bids to Iran for cooperation to resolve the Syrian crisis. This is in part to prove to his Republican opponents that the nuclear deal will contribute to modifying Iran’s behaviour and will motivate the country to cooperate in resolving the region’s crises rather than exacerbating them. Parallel to the military escalation in Zabadani, Iran re-launched its political initiative, which the Syrian opposition rejected, but which the regime quickly accepted because it guarantees its survival. Turkey has directly entered the fray in an effort to protect its interests in northern Syria, managing to broker a US agreement to establish an IS-free zone (which Turkey also intends to be Kurd-free).
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution, International Affairs
  • Political Geography: Syria
  • Author: James Andrew Lewis
  • Publication Date: 01-2014
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Center for Strategic and International Studies
  • Abstract: The Gulf has become a flashpoint for cyber conflict. Cyberspace has become an arena for covert struggle, with the United States, Israel and other nations on one side, and Iran and Russia on the other. Iran has far outpaced the GCC states in developing its cyber capabilities, both for monitoring internal dissent and deploying hackers to disrupt or attack foreign targets. Several such attacks over the past two years were likely either directed or permitted by Iranian state authorities. Even if Iran holds back from offensive actions as nuclear talks progress, the growth in Iranian capabilities remains a potential security threat for other Gulf states. The GCC countries have begun to develop their defensive capabilities, but they will need to expand their defenses and collaborate more effectively to deter future threats.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution, Security, Defense Policy, Development, Science and Technology
  • Political Geography: Russia, United States, Iran, Middle East, Israel, Arabia
  • Author: Raheem ul Haque
  • Publication Date: 02-2014
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: United States Institute of Peace
  • Abstract: Pakistani leaders face serious domestic extremism challenges; more than 47,000 thousand lives have been lost in terrorism-related violence in Pakistan over the past decade. Effective counter-radicalization processes must take into account Pakistan's large young adult population (ages 15-29), which collectively accounts for at least 30 percent of the overall population. Youth radicalization in Pakistan can be understood as the product of an exclusively Islamic identity—meaning a majority of youth identify primarily through their religion over nationality— combined with a broader reactive movement comprised of militant, political and missionary organizations.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution, Political Violence, Demographics, Islam, Youth Culture
  • Political Geography: Pakistan, South Asia
  • Author: Michael Semple
  • Publication Date: 01-2014
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: United States Institute of Peace
  • Abstract: The Afghan Taliban Movement has publicly rejected the legitimacy of the April 2014 elections. The Taliban's military leadership has issued instructions to officials and commanders to disrupt the elections but has left field commanders with wide discretion on how to go about doing so. Many in the Taliban follow the electoral contest closely and comment on developments in terms very similar to how they are described by the political and educated class in Kabul. However, the anti-election sentiment in the Taliban leaves no scope for any faction to cooperate with the process. The Taliban will likely be able to intensify violence approaching the election, but not sufficiently to derail the overall process.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution, Democratization, Development, Islam, Armed Struggle, Counterinsurgency, Governance
  • Political Geography: Afghanistan, Asia
  • Author: Olloriak Sawade
  • Publication Date: 02-2014
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Oxfam Publishing
  • Abstract: All people have a fundamental right to life and security. Oxfam works to ensure this right is respected, not only by responding to humanitarian emergencies, but by addressing the violent conflict which, as its Humanitarian Strategy 2020 recognises, is one of the key drivers of poverty. That is why conflict transformation has become one of the 'crosscutting issues' running through Oxfam's programmes and tackling some of the key driving factors that fuel direct, cultural and structural violence.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution, Political Violence, Civil Society, Humanitarian Aid, Power Politics
  • Author: Hannah Cooper
  • Publication Date: 01-2014
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Oxfam Publishing
  • Abstract: As 2014 starts, there are reasons to hope that peace may be in sight in eastern Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC). National initiatives and committed regional and international political engagement in 2013 led to important advances and new framework agreements to resolve the conflict and insecurity. However, the people Oxfam talked to across eastern DRC reported that their situation remains precarious, particularly in remote areas where there is little state presence. Ongoing national, regional and international engagement is needed, as well as efforts to ensure that high level agreements and initiatives are systematically linked to community experiences. Without these, it is possible that this rare opportunity will be wasted.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution, International Relations, Security, Peacekeeping
  • Political Geography: Africa
  • Author: Noah Coburn, Anna Larson
  • Publication Date: 03-2014
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: United States Institute of Peace
  • Abstract: Afghanistan's Provincial Councils (PCs) represent one of the best hopes for the future of local democracy in Afghanistan. Yet since their shaky formation in 2005, they continue to be overlooked by international actors preferring to interact with parliamentarians, ministers and appointed governors. The significance assigned by Afghans to winning PC seats has steadily increased over the last decade. Indeed, for many, the April 5 PC elections will do more than the presidential poll to determine whether democratic practices continue to take root in local politics. PC elections offer a chance to build local, personal ties and accountability mechanisms connecting to increasingly centralized government resources, and, in particular, an opportunity for a new generation of young, motivated Afghans to begin their political careers. As the locally-visible manifestation of the Afghan political system, PCs are the immediate face of democracy—or a lack thereof—for many Afghans. In 2009, with most news stories covering the widespread fraud in the presidential contest, the uproar over the fraud and delay throughout the PC polling process rarely received coverage on newspaper front pages. Yet those problems contributed significantly to people's sense of alienation and disillusionment with their country's political actors and electoral institutions. In spite of these experiences, Afghans are once again preparing to go to the polls. Voters, candidates, parties and local organizations are putting greater emphasis than ever on the process of provincial council polling—expressing concern about the prospects for fraud, mobilizing around their candidates and campaigning in earnest. If due attention to the process is not paid by the Independent Election Commission (IEC) and by international agencies, popular participation in future elections could drop. Prospects for Afghan democratization will depend much on how these and future provincial-level elections are conducted.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution, Democratization, Demographics, Development, Islam, Politics, Youth Culture
  • Political Geography: Afghanistan
  • Author: Scott S. Smith
  • Publication Date: 03-2014
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: United States Institute of Peace
  • Abstract: Afghanistan's democratic development has taken place within the tight embrace of international support and the conception of "free and fair" elections that comes with it, but Afghan and inter-national views on what to expect from elections have diverged in the past, leading to a deepening of distrust between the Karzai-led Afghan government and the international community. The run-up to the 2014 presidential elections has been shaped by this distrust. Nonetheless, with the breakdown of the reconciliation effort with the Taliban and uncertainty about the result of the transition process due to President Hamid Karzai's unexpected refusal to sign the Bilateral Security Agreement (BSA), the April 5 election is the only remaining opportunity for a political resolution of the continuing crisis in Afghanistan. A more complete understanding of the 2009 elections—how they were and were not a disaster—can help to narrow the gap between Afghan and international expectations; and an understanding of some of the changes that have occurred in Afghan society since 2009 can offer reason for optimism that the election will at the least create space for political elites to address the root causes of the crisis.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution, Security, Corruption, Democratization, Political Economy, Insurgency
  • Political Geography: Afghanistan
  • Author: Deedee Derksen
  • Publication Date: 03-2014
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: United States Institute of Peace
  • Abstract: A piecemeal approach to disarmament, demobilization and reintegration (DDR) in Afghanistan, with four DDR programs since 2001 each targeting specific groups, has yielded limited results, mostly due to an extremely adverse political environment. Comprehensive DDR is unlikely to work without a settlement that includes all armed groups. The success of such a deal would in turn hinge on the successful reintegration of commanders and fighters. Sequencing DDR in the conventional way may not work; reintegration might better precede disarmament.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution, Security, Arms Control and Proliferation, Insurgency
  • Political Geography: Afghanistan
  • Author: Steven A. Cook
  • Publication Date: 04-2014
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Council on Foreign Relations
  • Abstract: Egypt is experiencing a deep economic crisis. The country's foreign currency r e serves are less than half of what they were before the January 2011 uprising, threatening Egypt's ability to pay for food and fuel. Egypt's budget deficit is 14 percent of gross domestic product (GDP) and its overall debt, which is the result of accumulated deficits, is more than the country's economic output. In this difficult economic climate, roughly 4 5 percent of Egyptians live on less than two dollars per day. Inflation, which reached as high as 12.97 percent after the July 2013 military coup, is currently at 11.4 percent. Tourism revenue—traditionally a primary source of foreign currency along with Suez Canal tolls and remittances from Egyptians working abroad—is less than half of what it was in the last full year before the uprising. Foreign direct investment has dried up outside the energy sector. Unemployment remains high at 13.4 percent. Among the unemployed, 71 percent are between fifteen and twenty-nine years old. This economic weakness makes it politically difficult to address the problems that contribute to a potential solvency crisis because the necessary reforms will impose hardship on a population that is already experiencing economic pain.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution, Economics, Regime Change, Financial Crisis
  • Political Geography: Arabia, North Africa, Egypt
  • Author: Daniel Hampton
  • Publication Date: 04-2014
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Africa Center for Strategic Studies
  • Abstract: Over 60,000 African troops from 39 different nations serve in peace operations worldwide. Maintaining African peacekeeping capability requires an ongoing training process to sustain the skill proficiency of troop contingents for rapid deployment and crisis response. Continued reliance on international trainers undercuts the institutionalization of African peacekeeping capability. An African-led training model would not only be more sustainable but would draw on the relevant, practical experience that African peacekeepers have gained over the years.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution, Regional Cooperation, Peacekeeping
  • Political Geography: Africa
  • Author: Morten Bøås
  • Publication Date: 01-2014
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Norwegian Peacebuilding Resource Centre
  • Abstract: Political instability and administrative weakness have been permanent features of the Central African Republic (CAR) ever since independence. This is, therefore, the history of a collapse foretold. Michel Djotodia may have had good intentions when he put together the Séléka alliance; the problem was that the only thing that kept it together was the desire to get rid of François Bozizé. When Bozizé was gone, the coalition's internal coherence also disappeared. Thus, for lack of other options, the alliance members continued to make their livelihoods based on plunder. As the situation worsened, the communities plundered established their own militias, and the stage was set for a simmering sectarian conflict between Christians and Muslims. It is in this mess of communal violence that the international forces are supposed to re-establish law and order. The main challenge, however, is how to avoid adding fuel to the sectarian fire. The international forces must tread carefully, and any attempt at disarming militias must be conducted with this in mind. What has happened and is happening is tragic, but it is neither genocide nor a full-blown sectarian conflict. This can still be avoided if the international forces behave impartially with regard to the two main religious communities in the country.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution, International Cooperation, Religion, Sectarian violence, Peacekeeping
  • Political Geography: Africa
  • Publication Date: 09-2014
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: International Crisis Group
  • Abstract: As Aleppo goes, so goes Syria's rebellion. The city is crucial to the mainstream opposition's military viability as well as its morale, thus to halting the advance of the Islamic State (IS). After an alliance of armed rebel factions seized its eastern half in July 2012, Aleppo for a time symbolised the opposition's optimism and momentum; in the following months, it exposed the rebels' limits, as their progress slowed, and they struggled to win over the local population. Today, locked in a two-front war against the regime and IS, their position is more precarious than at any time since the fighting began. Urgent action is required to prevent the mainstream opposition's defeat: either for Iran and Russia to press the regime for de-escalation, to showcase their willingness to confront IS instead of exploiting its presence to further strengthen Damascus; or, more realistically, for the U.S., Europe and regional allies to qualitatively and quantitatively improve support to local, non-jihadi rebel factions in Aleppo. Any eventual possibility of a negotiated resolution of the war depends on one course or the other being followed.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution, Civil War, Islam, Terrorism, Counterinsurgency
  • Political Geography: Arabia, Syria
  • Author: Katri Pynnöniemi
  • Publication Date: 09-2014
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Finnish Institute of International Affairs
  • Abstract: Three articles written by Russian foreign policy analyst Sergei Karaganov and published at the turning points of the Ukraine conflict shed light on how the reasoning on Russia's strategic interests in Ukraine has evolved amid the conflict. The meaning of the conflict, as explained in the first essay, is that Russia is drawing a line of defence against Western interference in its sphere of interest. In the second essay, the assertion that with the Crimean operation Russia has forced the West to put an end to the Cold War, is reconfigured into a choice that Russia needs to make between the Western or non-Western path. Finally, in an essay written after the downing of flight MH17, it is argued that without de-escalation the situation in Donbass will become a threat to Russian national security. The evolution of the argumentation shows that some sort of 'reality check' has occurred in the vicinity of the general line. However, while the dangers inherent in the conflict are recognized, Karaganov fails to acknowledge Russia's active involvement in the conflict.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution, Security, Cold War
  • Political Geography: Russia, Ukraine
  • Publication Date: 06-2014
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Soufan Group
  • Abstract: The number of foreign fighters is high, 12,000 and counting, and the spread of countries they come from covers much of the globe. Two recent events involving foreign fighters show the radicalizing influence of the war. With the support to bolster Syria's more secular rebel forces at times inconsistent and tepid, the lack of an alternative has accelerated a natural gravitation towards extremist elements. It will be hard to know which returnees pose a threat, and harder still to deal with them. Given that the number of foreign fighters already exceeds those that went to Afghanistan, government resources will be severely strained to monitor all returnees and will have to rely on the help of local communities.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution, Foreign Policy, Islam, Terrorism, Counterinsurgency
  • Political Geography: Afghanistan, United Kingdom, Middle East, Syria
  • Publication Date: 10-2014
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Soufan Group
  • Abstract: No region has seen more of its people travel to fight in Syria than North Africa; more than 3,000 Tunisians have traveled there as of last April, and more than 1,500 Moroccans This is a repeat of a decade ago when large numbers of North Africans traveled to Iraq to fight there as well, in proportions far above those of neighboring countries A significant number of recent North African fighters have conducted suicide bombings in both Iraq and Syria, highlighting that the deadly ideological message of the so-called Islamic State (IS) and other extremist groups is finding purchase in North Africa The reasons for this export of extremists include incomplete political reforms that have failed to redress serious societal issues, persistent high youth unemployment, and a failure to cope with the apparent high levels of disaffection, despair, and anger that drive people to choose violent extremism.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution, Islam, Terrorism, Counterinsurgency
  • Political Geography: Iraq, Middle East, Arabia, North Africa, Syria
  • Publication Date: 10-2014
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Soufan Group
  • Abstract: Attacking the finances of the so-called Islamic State (IS) with limited collateral damage will be orders of magnitude more difficult than attacking its military factions The group has thoroughly embedded itself into local and regional economies in Syria and Iraq, and damaging its finances while not devastating civilian populations will be as difficult as it is necessary IS oil revenues might be the easiest to disrupt but such action comes with significant collateral economic damage, while taxes, tolls, extortion, and food sales generate more income while remaining highly resistant to external forces In the areas under its control, IS has been providing social services as well as delivering levels of fuel, electricity, and food to populations utterly without recourse, meaning the group needs to be replaced and not simply removed.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution, Islam, Terrorism, Insurgency, Counterinsurgency
  • Political Geography: Middle East, Arabia
  • Publication Date: 10-2014
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Soufan Group
  • Abstract: The Turkish parliament's vote to authorize the deployment of military forces in Syria and Iraq provided a legal and official framework for such action It may appear to be a positive step in degrading and destroying the putative Islamic State (IS), however, the parliament in its vote used the broader term "terrorist organizations," thus the landscape for Turkey, Syria-Iraq, and regional states and interests remains exceptionally complex Though there is nearly universal and implacable opposition to IS among all actors in Syria and Iraq, Turkey's future role-depending on steps taken-could aggravate tensions not only with Arab Gulf states and Kurdish elements in Syria and Iraq, but Iran, Russia, and the Iraqi government Turkey's desire to create a buffer zone on the Syrian side of its common border remains one of the most sensitive issues Amid reports of increased IS pressure on Kobani, Kurdish PKK has insinuated Turkey will be to blame-not IS-for creating conditions for the refugee crisis, and threatens to resume opposition activity in Turkey. The Turkish parliament's vote Thursday to authorize use of its army and military facilities in the fight against the so-called Islamic State (IS) may appear at first look to be a positive step for the broader coalition. The measures-to be determined-are in addition to any financial, diplomatic, humanitarian, and support activities for the anti-IS coalition. However, parliament's vote did not entail Turkey's officially joining the coalition. After the recent deal-details yet to be revealed-to bring home over 40 hostages IS had taken from Turkey's consulate in Mosul, Iraq, in June 2014, pressure increased for Turkey to take military steps in the anti-IS fight. A factor increasing the possibility of military action is Turkish special operations forces' guarding the tomb of Suleyman Shah, a Turkish enclave in Syria reported to be increasingly surrounded by IS. Though there is almost universal animus toward IS in the region, there is also nearly uniform resistance to Turkey's perceived unilateral military involvement in Syria and Iraq, outside the framework of the anti-IS coalition. Turkey's next moves may cause more conflict than benefit in the anti-IS fight. Indeed, the political landscape for Turkey's moves at home and abroad remains extraordinarily complex.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution, Foreign Policy, Islam, Terrorism
  • Political Geography: Iraq, Turkey, Middle East, Syria
  • Author: Paul Dickler
  • Publication Date: 06-2014
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Foreign Policy Research Institute
  • Abstract: This article will take a snapshot of Korea today and look back to the past to see the origins. It will offer many comparisons between North and South Korea. Why have North Korea (The Democratic Peoples' Republic of Korea--DPRK) and South Korea (Republic of Korea—ROK) become what they are in the present, and what are the most likely scenarios for their future? Is reunification likely, or even desired by Koreans today? Are the troop commitments from the United States going to last another 60 years, or will events change that dynamic?
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution, Foreign Policy
  • Political Geography: Israel
  • Author: David Mansfield, William A. Byrd
  • Publication Date: 09-2014
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: United States Institute of Peace
  • Abstract: With large increases in Afghan opium cultivation and production in 2013 and 2014, there is a risk that resulting frustration may give rise to a search for extreme but unproductive solutions. There are no easy solutions to the illegal narcotics problem. The proposal that Afghanistan could shift to licensed production of opium for pain medications will not work. Due to severe problems with governance, rule of law and security, opium licensing in Afghanistan would be subject to extremely high leakages. Afghanistan's comparative advantage in supplying the illicit market means that it would likely expand cultivation to meet demand in both markets. Afghanistan is a high-cost producer of opium, and prices for licensed opium are much lower than on the illegal market, so profits might well be marginal or even negative. Existing producers of licensed opiates— Australia, Turkey, India, France and others—would strongly oppose any move to let Afghanistan become a competitor on the licensed market. Even if a more liberalized market for opiates is envisioned, technological advances and modern techniques in other countries mean that Afghanistan could not be a competitive producer.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution, International Trade and Finance, Markets, Narcotics Trafficking
  • Political Geography: Afghanistan, Turkey, India, France, Australia
  • Publication Date: 10-2014
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: International Crisis Group
  • Abstract: More than seven weeks after the most devastating war yet waged in Gaza, its underlying causes remain unresolved. Hamas did not achieve an end to Gaza's closure; Israel did not attain the demilitarisation of the Strip or Hamas. The Palestine Liberation Organisation (PLO) remains unrepresentative and its credibility continues to fade. Fatah's popularity has sunk while Hamas's has increased to levels unseen since its 2006 electoral victory. Small steps toward reconciliation between Hamas and the PLO have been taken, but they are very distant from the end goal of a unified, representative Palestinian leadership. But in reconciliation lies the only hope of achieving a sustainable ceasefire and, more broadly, of bringing Palestinians in Gaza and the West Bank under one authority.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution, Political Violence, Arms Control and Proliferation, War, Peacekeeping
  • Political Geography: Middle East, Palestine
  • Author: Isabel Martins
  • Publication Date: 10-2014
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Oxfam Publishing
  • Abstract: South Sudan is facing the world's worst food crisis, driven by the conflict that erupted in December 2013. Unless there is an end to the fighting, this food crisis will continue. Without far stronger international pressure, the conflict is unlikely to be resolved. International diplomacy – as well as aid and the protection of civilians on the ground – is urgently needed.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution, Security, Political Violence, Humanitarian Aid, Food
  • Political Geography: Africa, Sudan
  • Publication Date: 11-2014
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Soufan Group
  • Abstract: The following IntelBrief is excerpted from The Soufan Group's recent long-form report on The Islamic State, which takes an in-depth look at the extremist group's operations across Iraq and Syria. From late 2011 up to today, The Islamic State has shown itself both tactically and strategically adept. After years of surviving as a persistently violent criminal/terrorist gang able to mount multiple synchronized attacks in urban areas in Iraq but little more, it achieved unparalleled gains when the collapse of government in northern and eastern Syria allowed it to expand across the border. At the same time, the sectarian approach of then-Prime Minister Nuri al Maliki had made the Sunni minority in Iraq ready to support any group that appeared to have the potential to reverse its increasing marginalization. It's accurate to say the group would still exist-but in nothing like its current form-had only one of those two catastrophes-Syria and Maliki-occurred; that both played out as they did made what has happened seem an almost inevitable accident of history.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution, Islam, Terrorism, Armed Struggle, Counterinsurgency
  • Political Geography: Iraq, Middle East
  • Author: Christopher Musselman
  • Publication Date: 12-2014
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Atlantic Council
  • Abstract: The Ukraine crisis demonstrates that European security can no longer be taken for granted and that NATO and the broader transatlantic community are struggling to address emerging security challenges. Whether Russia is classified revanchist, expanding its sphere of influence, or seeking to create regional hegemony, Putin's actions in both Crimea and eastern Ukraine are a stark reminder that the era of geopolitical competition in Europe is far from over. The transatlantic community must be ready to deal with similar challenges in the decades ahead.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution, Regional Cooperation
  • Political Geography: Russia, Europe, Ukraine
  • Author: Anders Åslund
  • Publication Date: 11-2014
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Peterson Institute for International Economics
  • Abstract: Ukraine has experienced a year of unprecedented political, economic, and military turmoil. The combination of Russian military aggression in the east and a legacy of destructive policies leading to pervasive corruption has plunged the country into an existential crisis. The West, meanwhile, has been largely paralyzed with uncertainty over how to assist Ukraine without reviving Cold War hostilities. Yet all is not lost for Ukraine. A tenuous ceasefire, along with the successful elections of President Petro Poroshenko in May and a new parliament in October offer an opportunity for economic reform. If the current ceasefire in the east holds, Ukraine has a great opportunity to break out of its vicious circle of economic underperformance. Yet, the window of opportunity is likely to be brief. The new government will have to act fast and hard on many fronts to succeed.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution, Security, Economics, Politics
  • Political Geography: Russia, Europe, Ukraine
  • Publication Date: 12-2014
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Danish Institute for International Studies
  • Abstract: Support to Military and Security Capacity Building is expanding as a way to strengthen the resilience of states and enhance their ability to manage conflict and insecurity constructively. It offers new openings for Nordic and Baltic engagements and partnerships.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution, Security, NATO, United Nations, Fragile/Failed State, Peacekeeping
  • Publication Date: 11-2014
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Danish Institute for International Studies
  • Abstract: It is necessary to rethink the assumptions and theory of change of Disarmament, Demobilization and Reintegration (DDR) programs in current situations of armed violence.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution, Security, Political Violence, Arms Control and Proliferation, Development, War, Armed Struggle
  • Publication Date: 09-2014
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Danish Institute for International Studies
  • Abstract: The greatest challenge to the stability of the Arctic actually comes from outside the region itself, but there are still strong reasons to be optimistic about security in the Arctic region.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution, Security, Climate Change, Natural Resources
  • Political Geography: Europe, Ukraine, Arctic
  • Author: Tiziana Trotta
  • Publication Date: 01-2014
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: IEMed/EuroMeSCo
  • Abstract: The United Nations Peace Conference on Syria is due to take place on 22nd January in Geneva. The Syrian Government and opposition will meet for the first time since the outbreak of the conflict in March 2011. Nevertheless, there are very few prospects of finding a satisfactory solution to end the conflict.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution, Civil War, Islam, Peace Studies
  • Political Geography: Middle East, Arab Countries
  • Author: Maissaa Almustafa, Evan Cinq-Mars, Matthew Redding
  • Publication Date: 08-2013
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Centre for International Governance Innovation
  • Abstract: Since its endorsement in 2005, the Responsibility to Protect (R2P) has become central to how the global community responds to genocide and mass atrocities. The norm presently faces the “risk of relevance” as a result of the interventions in Libya and Côte d'Ivoire and the deadlock over the situation in Syria. The recommendations in this brief will strengthen preventive capacities, maximize the protection afforded to civilians and ensure the norm's future relevance.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution, Genocide, Human Rights, Armed Struggle, Regime Change, Insurgency
  • Political Geography: Africa, Arabia
  • Author: Şadi Ergüvenç
  • Publication Date: 04-2013
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Global Political Trends Center
  • Abstract: The Mediterranean is where the atmosphere of mutual distrust, fear and polarization prevail. Arab Israeli dispute and Turkish Greek differences over the Aegean and Cyprus impede efforts for developing mutual confidence and co operation. Recently, economic and financial crises and the “Arab Risings” have brought along more reasons for concern. Islamophobia and racism versus Islamic jihadism increase the risk of confrontation. Turkey together with Spain appeals for an “Alliance of Civilizations” and exploits its double identity, European and Muslim, through a proactive and multilateral poli cy for finding peaceful solutions to chronic regional solutions. Greece and Greek Cypriot governments should refrain from unilateral attempts to declare maritime borders.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution, Foreign Policy, Islam, Territorial Disputes
  • Political Geography: Europe, Middle East, Arabia
  • Author: Khalid Aziz
  • Publication Date: 09-2013
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Danish Institute for International Studies
  • Abstract: Most of the conditions for a successful transition into a stable Afghanistan would require appropriate bureaucratic and institutional mechanisms to ensure that the momentum for change is harnessed and that timely follow-ups take place. The major parties with stakes in the security of Afghanistan will need a roadmap and a framework for achieving the policy outcomes identified in this policy brief.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution, Security, Islam, War
  • Political Geography: Afghanistan
  • Author: Andrea Ó Súilleabháin, Marie O'Reilly
  • Publication Date: 09-2013
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: International Peace Institute
  • Abstract: Traditional approaches to international conflict mediation—in which statesmen hammer out agreements between governments, or between governments and well-defined rebel movements—are falling short in the face of 21st century violence. Interstate conflict has decreased dramatically, and today one off civil wars with clearly defined parties are relatively rare: 90 percent of civil wars occur in countries already affected by conflict. Despite international efforts to mediate and implement peace agreements, between a quarter and a half of all civil wars recur within five years.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution, Political Violence, Gender Issues, Peace Studies, War, Peacekeeping
  • Publication Date: 09-2013
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: International Crisis Group
  • Abstract: Confrontation, low-intensity but volatile, between Azerbaijan and Armenia has entered a period of heightened sensitivity. Peace talks on Nagorno-Karabakh bogged down in 2011, accelerating an arms race and intensifying strident rhetoric. Terms like “Blitzkrieg'', “pre-emptive strike'' and ''total war” have gained currency with both sides' planners. An immediate concern is military miscalculation, with implications that could far exceed those of a localised post-Soviet frozen conflict, as the South Caucasus, a region where big powers meet and compete, is now also a major energy corridor. Clashes increasingly occur along the Azerbaijani-Armenian frontier far from Nagorno-Karabakh, the conflict's original focus. Tensions have also spread to areas along the border with the Azerbaijani exclave of Nakhichevan where Azerbaijani and Turkish exercised in July. A subsequent firefight produced casualties, and Armenia staged its own war games near the Azerbaijan border in September. Vigorous international engagement is needed to lessen chances of violent escalation during coming weeks and months.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution, Political Violence, International Cooperation, War
  • Political Geography: Caucasus, Armenia, Azerbaijan
  • Author: Jean-Christophe Host
  • Publication Date: 06-2013
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: EGMONT - The Royal Institute for International Relations
  • Abstract: This Africa Policy Brief will look at the Kenyan elections of March 4th 2013 and examine what lessons can be learned from them. The argument that will be developed throughout this paper is that, although the violence was contained, the elections were not a success, because the drivers of conflict in Kenya remain untouched. The underlying reason being that the informal power of the political class still outweighs all the formal institutions and plans put in place. The ruling elite has acknowledged the drivers of conflict in Kenya for years but has shown very little interest in resolving them, because that could influence the drivers of their power.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution, Political Violence, Democratization, Governance
  • Political Geography: Kenya, Africa
  • Author: Hans Hoebeke
  • Publication Date: 06-2013
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: EGMONT - The Royal Institute for International Relations
  • Abstract: Mali, from model of democracy to a deep political, institutional crisis and war in the course of a few months. This policy brief offers an analysis of the Malian conflict looking into the national political dimension as well as the entire region where already present dynamics were reinforced by the Libyan war of 2011. It also looks into the regional and international response mechanisms.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution, Political Violence, Democratization, Islam, Insurgency
  • Political Geography: Africa, Libya, North Africa
  • Author: Koen Vlassenroot
  • Publication Date: 06-2013
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: EGMONT - The Royal Institute for International Relations
  • Abstract: There is an increased recognition that land issues are a key driver and sustaining factor of conflict in eastern DRC. Scholars and practitioners have identified a number of critical land-related factors contributing to violence and conflict, including a huge diversity of land governance forms; the existence of overlapping legal frameworks and the weakness of the statutory land law; competition between indigenous and migrant communities; limited access to arable land in demographically dense areas; the weak performance of the administration and justice system in the reconciliation and arbitration of land disputes; growing stress on local resources caused by massive displacement; the expansion of artisanal and small-scale mining; and increased competition between elites for the control over land and the consequent land concentration.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution, Human Rights, Peace Studies, Post Colonialism, War, Natural Resources
  • Political Geography: Africa, Democratic Republic of the Congo
  • Author: Birgitte Lind Petersen
  • Publication Date: 08-2013
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Danish Institute for International Studies
  • Abstract: With massive unemployment, insecure livelihoods and unpredictable political transitions in many fragile states, there is an urgent need to train and educate young people – tomorrow's citizens. Governments and donors now realise this, yet, according to recent documentation, donors commit only 10% of what is needed to educate and train youth in fragile situations, and provide even less. UNESCO, among others, points to the serious underfunding as the most problematic aspect of aid to education in fragile states, especially at secondary school level.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution, Political Violence, Demographics, Education, War, Labor Issues
  • Publication Date: 08-2013
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: International Crisis Group
  • Abstract: In a region that recently has produced virtually nothing but bad news, Hassan Rouhani's 4 August swearing in as Iran's president offers a rare and welcome glimmer of hope. There are still far more questions than answers: about the extent of his authority; his views on his country's nuclear program, with which he long has been associated; and the West's ability to display requisite flexibility and patience. But, although both sides can be expected to show caution, now is the time to put more ambitious proposals on the table, complement the multilateral talks with a bilateral U.S.-Iranian channel and expand the dialogue to encompass regional security issues.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution, Foreign Policy, Arms Control and Proliferation, Democratization, Diplomacy, Islam, Nuclear Weapons, Sanctions
  • Political Geography: United States, Iran, Middle East
  • Author: Jeff D. Colgan
  • Publication Date: 10-2013
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs, Harvard University
  • Abstract: Although the threat of “resource wars” over possession of oil reserves is often exaggerated, the sum total of the political effects generated by the oil industry makes oil a leading cause of war. Between one-quarter and one-half of interstate wars since 1973 have been connected to one or more oil-related causal mechanisms. No other commodity has had such an impact on international security.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution, Foreign Policy, International Trade and Finance, Oil, War
  • Political Geography: United States, Middle East, Arabia
  • Author: Erwan Fouéré
  • Publication Date: 09-2013
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Centre for European Policy Studies
  • Abstract: Macedonia is a country in deep trouble. Under a veneer of normality lies a climate of deep mistrust between all the political parties and between the main ethnic communities. Several incidents of inter-ethnic violence took place in the capital city earlier this year and are on the increase. Political dialogue, insofar as it exists between the parties, remains confrontational.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution, Corruption, Ethnic Conflict, Politics, Governance
  • Political Geography: Europe
  • Author: Florence Gaub
  • Publication Date: 10-2013
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: European Union Institute for Security Studies
  • Abstract: The civil war in Syria is not the first of its kind to be extraordinarily complex, violent and difficult to settle. Lasting ten times longer than international wars (on average 7 years), civil wars are the longest, and tragically, the bloodiest of all forms of human conflict. Although 2% of countries in the world are undergoing some form of civil war at any given time, the phenomenon is less studied than international wars – in part because it is so much more complex to understand, prevent and bring to an end, as the Syrian example shows.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution, Political Violence, Arms Control and Proliferation, Human Welfare, Peace Studies, War, Political Theory, Armed Struggle, Counterinsurgency
  • Political Geography: Syria
  • Author: Thierry Tardy
  • Publication Date: 09-2013
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: European Union Institute for Security Studies
  • Abstract: A decade ago, on 24 September 2003, the UN and the EU signed a Joint Declaration on UN-EU Cooperation in Crisis Management. At the time, the two institutions had limited experience of one another, and apart from some cooperation between the European Commission and UN agencies dealing with development and humanitarian affairs, very little had brought them together in the field of crisis management.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution, Conflict Prevention, International Cooperation, United Nations, Peacekeeping
  • Political Geography: Europe, United Nations
  • Author: Ondřej Ditrych
  • Publication Date: 04-2013
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Institute of International Relations Prague
  • Abstract: The Putin regime seems to have chosen to publicly expose Ryan Fogle not simply as a “tit-for-tat” for the embarrassing release of footage by the FBI of the meetings of “illegals” detained in the U.S. (2010) with Russian diplomats, but to gesture toward domestic audiences and to humiliate the U.S. in order to weaken its position in mutual negotiations, knowing that Washington may not be in the position to retaliate.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution, Foreign Policy, Diplomacy, Intelligence, Bilateral Relations
  • Political Geography: Russia, United States
  • Publication Date: 12-2013
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: International Crisis Group
  • Abstract: Durant les neuf derniers mois, ce qui restait de l'Etat centrafricain s'est effondré avec de graves conséquences humanitaires (400 000 personnes sont déplacées et presque la moitié de la population a besoin d'aide humanitaire). Le gouvernement de transition et la force de sécurité régionale ont été incapables de freiner la chute dans l'anarchie aussi bien en zone rurale qu'en zone urbaine et notamment à Bangui. Après plusieurs mois de passivité et à la suite de tueries, la communauté internationale a pris conscience des conséquences de la faillite de la RCA. Malheureusement, la détérioration de la situation est bien plus rapide que la mobilisation internationale et Bangui est au bord de l'explosion. Dans l'immédiat, le Conseil de sécurité devrait fournir un mandat sous chapitre 7 à la Mission internationale de soutien à la Centrafrique sous conduite africaine (Misca) épaulée par les forces françaises pour rétablir l'ordre dans Bangui dans un premier temps puis se déployer dans d'autres villes. Par la suite, la réconciliation religieuse devrait être privilégiée et des mesures de stabilisation devraient être appliquées.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution, Security, Political Violence, Development, Humanitarian Aid, International Cooperation, Peace Studies, Fragile/Failed State
  • Political Geography: Africa
  • Author: Birgitte Lind Petersen
  • Publication Date: 11-2013
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Danish Institute for International Studies
  • Abstract: The need to support central state institutions in fragile situations by prioritising capacity development has recently been elevated to a shared global concern as a result of the New Deal developed through the forum of the International Dialogue for Peacebuilding and Statebuilding. Peacebuilding and statebuilding are perceived as the most important aims of aid, and capacity development is central to achieving these. The emphasis on a country-led process indicates the need to develop capacities to lead such processes. Also, the commitment to joint development of a plan, support to political dialogue and leadership, transparency, risk sharing, strengthening of country systems along with the strengthening of capacities, all depend on or encompass strong elements of capacity development. This policy brief elaborates some major issues to be considered by donors supporting capacity development of central state institutions in fragile situations.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution, Security, Democratization, Development, Fragile/Failed State
  • Author: Thomas Pierret
  • Publication Date: 11-2013
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: United States Institute of Peace
  • Abstract: The Syrian conflict's internal dynamics have reshuffled regional alignments alongside unprecedentedly clear-cut sectarian dividing lines; this has often occurred against the preferences of regional state actors−including Saudi Arabia and Iran. Foreign states have generally adopted expedient policies that followed sectarian patterns for lack of alternatives. Iran bears significant responsibility for exacerbating the conflict's sectarian character at the regional level. There is no such “diplomatic shortcut” to regional appeasement; it is the domestic Syrian deadlock that must be broken in order to alleviate sectarian tensions across the Middle East, not the opposite.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution, International Relations, Foreign Policy
  • Political Geography: Middle East, Arabia, Syria
  • Author: Frederic M. Wehrey
  • Publication Date: 11-2013
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: United States Institute of Peace
  • Abstract: Like the Iraq war and, to a lesser extent, Lebanon's 2006 war, Syria's internecine conflict has enabled the Gulf's ruling families, media commentators, clerics, parliamentarians, and activists to invoke and amplify Sunni-Shia identities, often for goals that are rooted in local power politics. By-products of the mounting sectarian tension include the fraying of reform cooperation among sects and regions, and pressure on the Gulf's formal political institutions. Traditional and social media have served to amplify the most polarizing voices as well as provide reform activists new means for cross-sectarian communication that circumvent governmental efforts to control or block such activities.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution, Islam, Sectarian violence
  • Political Geography: Middle East, Arabia, Syria
  • Author: Fanar Haddad
  • Publication Date: 11-2013
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: United States Institute of Peace
  • Abstract: In Iraq, as elsewhere in the Middle East, the social, political, and technological changes of the 21st century are giving birth to a new sectarian landscape. The three most consequential drivers behind the change in sectarian relations have been the political change in Iraq of 2003; the near simultaneous spread of new media and social networking in the Arab world; and – perhaps as a consequence of the first two – the ongoing search for alternatives to familiar but moribund forms of authoritarianism, as demonstrated most dramatically by the “Arab Spring.” 2003 highlighted the uncomfortable fact that there were multiple, indeed contradictory, visions of what it meant to be an Iraqi and by extension what it meant to be a part of the Arab world. New media, social networking, user-generated websites, and private satellite channels helped to make Iraq's accelerated sectarianization contagious. The mainstreaming of sectarian polemics has increased the relevance of religious, doctrinal, and dogmatic differences in views regarding the sectarian “other,” a particularly dangerous development.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution, Islam, Sectarian violence
  • Political Geography: Iraq, Middle East, Arabia
  • Author: Joseph Bahout
  • Publication Date: 11-2013
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: United States Institute of Peace
  • Abstract: When the Arab revolutions reached Syria, the Sunni-Shia cleavage in Lebanon was already well in the making. Syria's turmoil only added fuel to an existing fire in Lebanon. Syria's crisis is intensifying Sunni-Shia tensions in Lebanon on two levels, symbolic and identity-based on the one hand, and geopolitical or interest based, on the other hand. The shift toward identity-based or symbolic forms of sectarianism can probably be explained by the existential character the struggle in the Levant is taking, whereby both “communities,” however imagined or over-constructed, are coming to perceive themselves as defending not only their share of resources or power, but their very survival. Lebanon's minority communities – including Christian and Druze – are increasingly anxious about the changing regional environment. Lebanon and Syria must face the difficult equation of sectarian diversity and national unity.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution, Islam, Insurgency, Sectarian violence
  • Political Geography: Middle East, Arabia, Lebanon, Syria
  • Author: Melani Cammett
  • Publication Date: 11-2013
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: United States Institute of Peace
  • Abstract: The Syrian crisis has had a negative impact on Lebanon's political scene, including the dynamics among political factions within and across the country's major sectarian communities. The political fragmentation of the Sunni community has implications for the growing trend toward political violence triggered by the Syrian conflict. The rise of challengers and the decline of centralized authority within the Sunni community further increase the probability of violence perpetrated by in-group factions. Despite the pressures from the Syrian conflict, mounting sectarian tensions will not inexorably spark another all-out civil war. If Lebanon does not move past the current political deadlock and stagnation, the spillover from the Syrian crisis stands to undermine the country's stability in the longer term.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution, Islam, Insurgency, Sectarian violence
  • Political Geography: Middle East, Arabia, Lebanon, Syria
  • Author: Caroline Green
  • Publication Date: 11-2013
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Oxfam Publishing
  • Abstract: In every humanitarian crisis, humanitarian agencies, donors , and governments should seek to prevent and respond to violence against women and girls (VAWG ) and gender-based violence (GBV) in emergencies, by: Reducing the risk s of GBV/ VAW G for beneficiaries of humanitarian programmes; Supporting long-term efforts to tackle the causes of GBV/VAWG in recovery and transition strategies; Supporting survivors' access to safe, confidential services ; and Placing all of the above in the context of efforts to tackle the broader gendered impacts of crises , in order to meet the needs of women, men, girls and boys , and to find opportunities to promote women's rights and gender equality in the long term . As well as encouraging other actors to undertake these actions, Oxfam is committed to promoting gender equality and preventing GBV/VAWG, through the implementation of its Minimum Standards for G ender in Emergencies. In addition, and particularly in conflict and transition contexts , donors, governments, UN agencies, civil society, armed forces , and peacekeepers, should advance women's rights, and undertake special measures to ensure their protection from GBV/VAWG.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution, Political Violence, Civil Society, Gender Issues, Government, Health, War
  • Publication Date: 11-2013
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Oxfam Publishing
  • Abstract: Humanitarian crises can affect women, men, girls and boys in radically different ways; changing social and cultural structures, and redefining women's and men's statuses – in both positive and negative ways. If humanitarian interventions are not planned with gender dynamics in mind, the needs of those most under threat may not be adequately met, and an opportunity to support positive change will be lost. That is why gender equality is central to humanitarian action.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution, Political Violence, Crime, Gender Issues, Humanitarian Aid
  • Author: Scott Stedjan
  • Publication Date: 09-2013
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Oxfam Publishing
  • Abstract: By signing the Arms Trade Treaty on September 25, Secretary John Kerry took an important step toward a safer and more secure world. The Arms Trade Treaty (ATT) is the first-ever multilateral treaty on the global trade in conventional arms. It is a common sense agreement that establishes standards for the $40 billion legal international weapons trade and seeks to reduce the illicit arms trade.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution, Arms Control and Proliferation, Poverty, Treaties and Agreements
  • Political Geography: United States
  • Author: Bianca Selway
  • Publication Date: 01-2013
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: International Peace Institute
  • Abstract: With UN peacekeeping operating in more complex environments and taking on new tasks, peacekeepers need appropriate equipment to carry out their mandates. A central aspect to equipping peacekeepers is ensuring that member states are appropriately reimbursed for their contributions under a equipment reimbursement system, called the Contingent-Owned Equipment System(COE). Every three years the United Nations conducts a meeting to negotiate the terms and conditions of the financial reimbursements paid to member states for the equipment they provide to UN peacekeeping operations. Preparations and briefings to member states are already underway in New York for the next COE Working Group meeting, to be held January 20-31, 2014. With 98,311 military and police deployed with their related equipment in seventeen missions around the world, the financial implications of these tri-annual discussions can be significant. In MONUSCO alone, the mission's annual budget for reimbursements to troop-contributing and police-contributing countries for major equipment and self-sustainment in the fiscal years 2008/09, 2009/10, and 2010/11 were $144million, $160million, and$180million, respectively.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution, Conflict Prevention, Security, Development, Armed Struggle, Fragile/Failed State
  • Political Geography: United Nations
  • Author: Henrik Larsen
  • Publication Date: 12-2013
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs, Harvard University
  • Abstract: Afghanistan forced NATO to undergo a long adaptive process to be able to operate in an unprecedented and harsh strategic theater. It differed fundamentally from NATO's previous peacekeeping missions in the Balkans because the traditional division of labor between civilian and military efforts could not be maintained in practice. The UN state building agenda (Afghanistan Compact) tied NATO specifically to the security pillar throughout the country, which proved to be a gross underestimation of the actual resources required for such an effort. NATO contributors initially preferred a "light footprint" approach with a limited number of boots on the ground to avoid repeating the Soviet Union's negative experience. It proved inefficient, however, and warlords and power brokers did not demobilize and arbitrate disputes through Western-style elections and centralized institutions.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution, NATO, Development, Peacekeeping
  • Political Geography: Afghanistan, Korea
  • Author: Trevor Findlay
  • Publication Date: 11-2013
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs, Harvard University
  • Abstract: Disarmament during armed conflict: unprecedented Speed, efficiency and effectiveness of international institutions: breathtaking. The diplomatic choreography involved: impressive Complexity and interwoven nature of the arrangements; astounding.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution, Arms Control and Proliferation, Weapons of Mass Destruction
  • Political Geography: Middle East, Arabia, Syria
  • Author: Touko Piiparinen
  • Publication Date: 11-2013
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Finnish Institute of International Affairs
  • Abstract: Last March the UN Security Council authorised the so-called Intervention Brigade to undertake 'targeted offensive operations' against illegal armed groups operating in the Eastern part of the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC). The Brigade, which undertook its first operations in August, differs from traditional UN peacekeeping in terms of its robust mandate and mobility. The UN has simultaneously adopted a new technology, unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs), in the DRC, which represents the first-ever use of UAVs as a part of UN peacekeeping. UAVs will be deployed in the DRC at the end of November, and start operating in early December The Intervention Brigade and UAVs have been hailed as a turning point in UN peacekeeping. However, they should not be perceived as completely new or standalone instruments of UN conflict management. They could instead be best understood as a continuum and extension of the long held state building doctrine applied by the UN. These new instruments enable the UN to perform one of its key functions of state building and protection of civilians, namely controlling and policing the whole territory of a state where an intervention has been undertaken more effectively than before. The lessons learned from the UN peace operation in the DRC indicate that the UN state building doctrine remains self-contradictory on account of the tendency of UN state building missions to spill over into wars and the mismatch between the ambitious goals set for state building and the chronic lack of resources. The Intervention Brigade and UAVs can potentially help the UN to resolve that mismatch by enhancing the UN's state building and protection capacities. However, they cannot resolve the other major disadvantage of state building, namely collateral damage inflicted in state building wars, and may even aggravate that problem.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution, Development, Humanitarian Aid, Science and Technology, Fragile/Failed State, Peacekeeping
  • Political Geography: Africa
  • Author: Felipe Gómez Isa
  • Publication Date: 11-2013
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Norwegian Peacebuilding Resource Centre
  • Abstract: One of the key indicators to determine the degree of success of any given peace process is the stable participation in national politics of former members of armed groups in rebellion against the state. In the case of Colombia, the traditionally exclusive nature of its political system explains why both the enlargement of spaces for democratic participation and the political participation itself of the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia – People's Army (FARC-EP) have become key issues to be discussed at the talks in Havana. It would be highly desirable for the obstacles and reticence evinced by specific political sectors to be overcome so that the current peace process can result in both the political participation of the demobilised members of the FARC-EP and greater democracy in Colombia.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution, Democratization, Armed Struggle, Counterinsurgency, Governance
  • Political Geography: Colombia, Latin America
  • Author: Isaline Bergamaschi
  • Publication Date: 09-2013
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Norwegian Peacebuilding Resource Centre
  • Abstract: This policy brief deals with the United Nations Multidimensional Integrated Stabilisation Mission in Mali (MINUSMA). It explains its first achievements and the two main challenges it has faced so far: issues of leadership, including co-ordination between actors and capacities, on the one hand, and issues related to security conditions and the absence of peace, on the other. Finally, the policy brief proposes some recommendations to the actors involved – MINUSMA itself (i.e. its civilian and military personnel) and the UN member states supporting it.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution, Security, Peace Studies, Peacekeeping
  • Political Geography: Africa
  • Author: Madawi al-Rasheed
  • Publication Date: 08-2013
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Norwegian Peacebuilding Resource Centre
  • Abstract: The Saudi regime has a vested interest in the Saudi public remaining fragmented and unable to bridge the Sunni-Shia sectarian divide. Both Shia and Sunnis in Saudi Arabia have been invigorated by the ongoing Arab uprisings, and in their own regions have staged minor protests demanding similar rights. However, the regime's entrenched sectarian propaganda has succeeded in isolating the Shia and delaying a confrontation with Sunni Islamists. In the short term this may be a successful strategy, but in the long term it may fail to contain the frustration of Saudis who want serious political reform.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution, Democratization, Islam, Sectarianism
  • Political Geography: Middle East, Saudi Arabia
  • Author: Cathrine Thorleifsson
  • Publication Date: 06-2013
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Norwegian Peacebuilding Resource Centre
  • Abstract: This policy brief examines the paradox of Mizrahim (Arab Jews) supporting right-wing Israeli policies through a case study of the border town of Kiryat Shemona. Based on ethnographic research, it illuminates the enduring power of ethno-nationalism and demonstrates how it affects Mizrahi lives. Mizrahim became trapped by Israeli nation-building on the geographic and socioeconomic margins of the state positioned between the dominant Ashkenazi elite and the Palestinian population. Factors such as Mizrahim's partial inclusion in the nation; tensions between Jews and Arabs, and between the secular and the religious; the decline of the welfare state; and a shared perception of threats and dangers informed everyday nationalism in the town. Mizrahim contested Ashkenazi Israeliness through ethnic and transnational identifications and practices. Simultaneously, their support for the nation-in-arms and identification as "strong"and "civilised" reinforced the dominant logic of ethno-nationalism. Mizrahi support for right-wing militarism is likely to persist as long as national unity is used as a colonial practice by the centre. The inclusion of Mizrahim as equals together with other marginalised citizens would necessarily entail an Israeli Spring.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution, Nationalism, Politics, Religion
  • Political Geography: Middle East, Israel
  • Author: Diana Felix da Costa
  • Publication Date: 06-2013
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Norwegian Peacebuilding Resource Centre
  • Abstract: Despite the Murle group being politically and economically marginalised, local and national political and popular discourses portray this group as the main aggressor in South Sudan's Jonglei State. This widely asserted narrative ignores the fact that responsibility for the cycle of violence in Jonglei rests with all those perpetrating violence and certainly not solely with one group. While sharing an overarching ethnic identity, when it comes to issues of peacebuilding, the Murle can be neither seen nor treated as a consolidated group. Rather, there are cattlekeeping Murle living in the lowlands of Pibor county and agrarian Murle living in the Boma Plateau; there are also age-sets, clans and many other differentiating factors. Accusing all Murle of responsibility for violence only serves to magnify the sense of marginalisation and isolation felt by the Murle as a whole. This policy brief seeks to address some of the differences between the cattlekeeping lowlands Murle and the cultivating highlands Murle from the Boma Plateau. By doing so, it highlights the importance of understanding cultural specificities and the local political economy and, when it comes to peacebuilding, of differentiating who is responsible for a specific conflict and who has influence over those responsible.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution, Political Violence, Economics, Ethnic Conflict, Peacekeeping
  • Political Geography: Africa, Sudan
  • Author: Derek Lutterbeck
  • Publication Date: 05-2013
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Norwegian Peacebuilding Resource Centre
  • Abstract: Tunisia under Ben Ali was a police state par excellence and reforming the country's internal security apparatus has thus been one of the major challenges since the long-standing autocrat's fall. This policy brief examines the various efforts to reform Tunisia's internal security system in the post-Ben Ali period and the challenges this process faces. It argues that reforms in this area have been limited so far, focusing mainly on purges rather than on broader structural or institutional reform of the country's police force. Moreover, not only have human rights violations committed by the police – despite important improvements – continued on a significant scale, but there are also concerns that the police will once again be instrumentalised for political purposes, this time by the Ennahda-led government. Indications to this effect have included in particular the seeming complacency of the police vis-à-vis the growth in religiously inspired violence. The recent killing of opposition leader Chokri Belaid in the first political assassination in Tunisia since Ben Ali's fall has further underscored the need to reform the country's internal security system.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution, Security, Democratization, Human Rights, Regime Change, Governance, Authoritarianism
  • Political Geography: Arabia, North Africa
  • Author: Paul D. Williams
  • Publication Date: 07-2013
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Africa Center for Strategic Studies
  • Abstract: Violent conflict and the power of armed nonstate actors remain defining priorities in 21 st century Africa. Organized violence has killed millions and displaced many more, leaving them to run the gauntlet of violence, disease, and malnutrition. Such violence has also traumatized a generation of children and young adults, broken bonds of trust and authority structures among and across local communities, shattered education and healthcare systems, disrupted transportation routes and infrastructure, and done untold damage to the continent's ecology from its land and waterways to its flora and fauna. In financial terms, the direct and indirect cost of conflicts in Africa since 2000 has been estimated to be nearly $900 billion. The twin policy challenges are to promote conflict resolution processes and to identify who can stand up to armed nonstate actors when the host government's security forces prove inadequate.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution, Security, Development, Peace Studies, Treaties and Agreements, Fragile/Failed State, Peacekeeping
  • Political Geography: Africa
  • Author: Maria Radziejowska
  • Publication Date: 11-2013
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Polish Institute of International Affairs
  • Abstract: In light of the current situation in Syria, and calls to hold to account those responsible for the atrocities allegedly committed during the conflict, a group of members of the American Congress suggested that the Security Council should create an ad hoc tribunal for Syria. A Blue Ribbon Panel of international criminal law experts presented a draft Statute for a Syrian Extraordinary Tribunal to Prosecute Atrocity Crimes, while some of the Security Council members suggested referring the situation in Syria to the International Criminal Court. Issues pertaining to establishing justice and restoring the rule of law in Syria will certainly be on the agenda for future peace talks. The question of working out a transitional justice strategy for the country is inevitable. Whether such a strategy should include a judicial accountability mechanism will certainly be considered.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution, Human Rights, Law Enforcement, Law
  • Political Geography: Syria
  • Author: Florence Gaub
  • Publication Date: 12-2013
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: European Union Institute for Security Studies
  • Abstract: In 2011, Arab security forces, long suspected to be inextricably linked to their respective regimes, once again became decisive political agents in their own right: agents of change, agents of repression and, in some cases, both. Their facilitation or suppression of democratic transitions has sparked a long-overdue debate on security sector reform in the Arab world. What are the main features of security sectors in the region? What are the main obstacles to reform? And why is this debate taking place only now?
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution, Security, Democratization, Regime Change
  • Political Geography: Arabia