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  • Publication Date: 03-2018
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: United States Institute of Peace
  • Abstract: The United States remains committed to its role as a global leader on humanitarian issues and will continue seeking to avert crises that spawn the need for humanitarian aid, Deputy Secretary of State John Sullivan said.
  • Topic: International Affairs
  • Political Geography: Global Focus
  • Author: John Paden
  • Publication Date: 01-2015
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: United States Institute of Peace
  • Abstract: Nigeria is by far the largest country in the world—with a population of just over 180 mil-lion—evenly divided between Muslims and Christians. The 2011 presidential election split the country along ethno-religious-regional lines. Thus, concerns for the upcoming 2015 election are widespread. Muslims in Nigeria include Sufi, Izala, women's organizations, student organizations, emir-ate traditions, and ordinary people, as well as Boko Haram extremists. Christians range from Catholic to mainstream Protestant to Evangelical to Pentecostal to African syncretism. The candidates in the upcoming election are the same as in 2011: Muhammadu Buhari for the All Progressive Congress party (APC) and Goodluck Jonathan for the Peoples' Democratic Party (PDP). At the national level, the APC is running on the themes of security and anticorruption, the PDP on the theme of transformation. The APC believes that it can sweep seventeen of the nineteen northern states as well as the southwest. The PDP is confident that it can win the south-south and southeast as well as parts of Middle Belt. Such a scenario could set up ethno-regional tensions in the aftermath of the election. The presidential election is scheduled for February 14, 2015. State-level elections, including for governors, are set for February 28, creating a possible bandwagon effect after the presidential election for whichever party wins. Postelection court challenges follow. The inauguration is scheduled for May 29. Do religious symbols exacerbate or mitigate conflict, especially during an electoral season? What are the interfaith efforts to ameliorate or mitigate ethno-religious conflict? What are the consequences of a polarized election? How might recent patterns of extremist violence—with ethno-religious implications—affect this election? The question is framed in the context of broader patterns of religious identity and conflict that have plagued Nigeria's Fourth Republic. Most important will be a national election such that whoever wins, it will stand as a milestone in the quest for democratic practices rather than as a testament to a failed state.
  • Political Geography: Africa
  • Author: Javed Noorani
  • Publication Date: 01-2015
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: United States Institute of Peace
  • Abstract: Afghanistan is rich in mineral resources, the value of which has been roughly estimated at as much as $1 trillion. The country may, however, be following a “paradox of plenty” path in tendering its mining sector to private investors. The risk is not insignificant. An unfortunate legacy of decades of internal conflict is the entrenchment and perpetuation of powerful political elites both in Kabul and in the provinces, which extends to the mining sector. The mining sector in Afghanistan today is characterized by irregularities and lack of transparency in the tender process, influence peddling, beneficial ownership of mining contracts by politically connected interests, unfulfilled legal and contractual requirements, and sub-stantial loss of government revenue. Despite provisions in the Mineral Law of 2010 and its 2014 revision, responsible government entities have largely failed to effectively regulate and monitor the mining sector. Companies have not been paying their financial dues for years and generally do not meet contractual provisions for either funding local development or responding to complaints and grievances from local communities, yet continue to operate with an absurd level of impunity. What is needed—in sum—is to develop a strategic long-term vision, including knowledge driven development of the mining sector, more mineral processing within Afghanistan, integration with other sectors of the economy, revised and expanded legislation, a recentralized licensing system, transparency in the tender process, due diligence, a mechanism for revenue and tax collection, NEPA review, and an involved and educated civil society.
  • Political Geography: Afghanistan
  • Author: Sean Kane
  • Publication Date: 01-2015
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: United States Institute of Peace
  • Abstract: Insisting that the Taliban accept the Afghan constitution is understandable insofar as the risks that peace talks could pose to Afghanistan's post-2001 achievements. Nonetheless, a periodic assessment of this condition is healthy, especially given the human toll of the ongoing insurgency and acknowledged shortcomings in the charter. To help Afghans make an informed choice on this dilemma, lessons can be drawn from other countries currently in talks to end decades-long insurgencies. Understanding the Taliban's possible constitutional demands as well as the Afghan constitution's amendment rules is also necessary. A comparison of the Afghan constitution and the Taliban's 2005 Order of the Islamic Emirate provides clues on what changes the movement might seek. The Taliban also have an over-arching “ownership problem” with the constitution because of their exile from Afghan political life at the time it was drafted. Key divergences between the Taliban order and the constitution relate to the sources of legitimacy for government and laws and marked differences on women's and minority rights. The two documents also contain more overlap than might be assumed. The Afghan constitution requires public input on proposed amendments through the convening of a popular assembly, or loya jirga. The constitution further designates fundamental aspects of the political system and Afghans' rights as unamendable. These rules could be strategically applied to constrain Taliban efforts to use negotiations to completely remake the current constitutional order. Debate over peace talks with the Taliban has tended to be framed in terms of potential risks. Negotiations could also present an opportunity to challenge the Taliban to justify some of its more unpopular constitutional positions to other Afghans and, in the best case, to help the Afghan government seize the political high ground.
  • Political Geography: Afghanistan
  • Author: Sadaf Lakhani, Nadia Naviwala, Maria J. Stephan
  • Publication Date: 02-2015
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: United States Institute of Peace
  • Abstract: Civic campaigns and movements are key drivers of social and political development but receive inadequate attention and support from development actors. External support for diffuse, decentralized, and often leaderless movements that engage in nonviolent direct action, however, is neither straightforward nor uncontroversial. It differs from support for traditional NGOs. Traditional NGOs are especially effective as brokers to provide information, raise awareness of rights, and push to widen democratic space within which civic campaigns and movements can emerge. Supporting movements requires shifts in the way donors understand and engage civil society, creative new approaches to supporting nontraditional actors, and a willingness to take calculated financial and political risk. A movement mindset would stress agile funding mechanisms, nonmonetary support, and development of convening spaces in which to bring movements, NGOs, and governments into contact with each other. Regional hubs for civil society currently being developed by USAID, Sida, and other donors could help advance these goals .
  • Author: Maria J. Stephan, Kelly McKon, Noel Dickover
  • Publication Date: 01-2015
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: United States Institute of Peace
  • Abstract: The past two years have been marked by new U.S. commitments to stand by civil society using new and existing technologies that can support the strategy and tactics of nonviolent movements around the world. The demand and development of secure digital technologies is largely driven by companies in the developed world. Activists continually struggle to obtain the more tailored technologies required to support their context-specific capabilities and needs. Digital security trainers need more support to meet the growing demand for continued training to deliver up-to-date information about security developments that could threaten activists' ability to work safely on-and offline. Digital security trainers would benefit from more training on the conflict context, culture, and civil mobilization to help ensure that their services are appropriate for the specific needs of a given movement. External actors often overemphasize the use and potential advantages of new technologies over basic technologies. Online and offline activism and organizing can and should be seen as mutually reinforcing components of movement building. Assistance from external actors should be guided by in-depth assessments of which technologies people are currently using, how they are using them, and what they are capable of using. Elicitive training techniques in workshops are a powerful way for trainers to support movement building. These techniques help people feel valued for the skills and knowledge they have to offer and are good at uncovering the less obvious skills that movement members may have. Moreover, the fluidity of this education style helps ensure that people get the information they need from the training. The adoption of any technology by a movement must be monitored and evaluated to help ensure that the technology is effectively advancing the movement's tactics and strategy. Movements must have a plan for data collection and analysis. Both digital and nondigital technologies can be useful in supporting these efforts.
  • Publication Date: 03-2015
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: United States Institute of Peace
  • Abstract: <p>New U.N. operations in the Sahel present unprecedented challenges for U.N. peacekeeping. They involve the United Nations directly in the struggle against transnational Islamist terrorism, weapons proliferation, and illicit trafficking by international organized crime. The United Nations must operate in countries with harsh terrain, vast expanses, poor communications, and porous borders. In response, the Security Council adopted more robust mandates based on the peace enforcement provisions of the U.N. Charter. In Mali, the United Nations joined the African Union, the European Union, and France, whose forces conduct combat operations, while the United Nations used helicopter gunships and armed police units to protect civilians. In the Central African Republic, U.N. Police are authorized to control violence and arrest offenders. For the United States, there is new interest in U.N. peacekeeping and its importance to U.S. national security interests</p>
  • Publication Date: 03-2015
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: United States Institute of Peace
  • Abstract: <p>Political parties in Afghanistan are often dismissed by international and Afghan observers as unruly and highly personalized organizations that contribute little to the democratic process. Yet they continue to play a part in shaping the political landscape, albeit in what might be considered unorthodox ways. This report assesses their history, role, and activities over the last decade and how their future might unfold under and contribute to the countrys new unity government./p
  • Publication Date: 03-2015
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: United States Institute of Peace
  • Abstract: <p>As Afghanistan's nascent democracy works to establish the rule of law across the country, it finds itself contending with the ways that Islamic law converges and diverges from the tribal norms that shape the settling of disputes outside Kabul. Based on surveys conducted in Afghanistan, this report examines the points of tension and agreement between Islamic and customary laws, looking into both of their pasts to suggest a way forward for the Afghan state, particularly in granting greater rights and protections to women.</p>
  • Publication Date: 03-2015
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: United States Institute of Peace
  • Abstract: <p>President Obamas decision to withdraw all U.S. combat troops from Afghanistan by the end of 2016 leaves that country once again wide open for an intensified regional race for strategic influence in the country. The majority of expertsboth Afghan and internationalagree that lasting peace and stability in Afghanistan require internationally backed regional arrangements. A recent forum involving high-profile Afghan politicians, former diplomats, and civil society leaders underscores this consensus and the long-term vision of an Afghan-led and Afghanistan-specific enduring neutrality. This report focuses on the historical aspects of neutrality as a first step toward neutrality-based diplomatic solutions for both the immediate Afghan conflict and the countrys long-term positioning./p