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  • Author: Andrew Walker
  • Publication Date: 05-2012
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: United States Institute of Peace
  • Abstract: Boko Haram is an Islamic sect that believes politics in northern Nigeria has been seized by a group of corrupt, false Muslims. It wants to wage a war against them, and the Federal Republic of Nigeria generally, to create a “pure” Islamic state ruled by sharia law. Since August 2011 Boko Haram has planted bombs almost weekly in public or in churches in Nigeria's northeast. The group has also broadened its targets to include setting fire to schools. In March 2012, some twelve public schools in Maiduguri were burned down during the night, and as many as 10,000 pupils were forced out of education. Boko Haram is not in the same global jihadist bracket as Algeria's al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb, or Somalia's al Shabab. Despite its successful attack on the UN compound in Abuja in August 2011, Boko Haram is not bent on attacking Western interests. There have been no further attacks on international interests since that time. Following the failed rescue of hostages Chris McManus and Franco Lamolinara in north¬eastern Nigeria in March 2012, President Goodluck Jonathan played up the connections between the group and international terrorism. However, links between Boko Haram and the kidnappers are questionable. It is difficult to see how there can be meaningful dialogue between the government and the group. The group's cell-like structure is open for factions and splits, and there would be no guarantee that someone speaking for the group is speaking for all of the members. Tactics employed by government security agencies against Boko Haram have been consis-tently brutal and counterproductive. Their reliance on extrajudicial execution as a tactic in “dealing” with any problem in Nigeria not only created Boko Haram as it is known today, but also sustains it and gives it fuel to expand. The group will continue to attack softer targets in the northeast rather than international targets inside or outside Nigeria. It is also likely to become increasingly involved in the Jos crisis, where it will attack Christian indigenes of the north and try to push them out. Such a move would further threaten to destabilize the country's stability and unity.Now that the group has expanded beyond a small number of mosques, radical reforms in policing strategy are necessary if there is to be any progress in countering the group. Wide¬spread radical reform of the police is also long overdue throughout Nigeria. As a first step, jailing a number of police officers responsible for ordering human rights abuses might go some way to removing a key objection of the group.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution, Security, Islam, Religion, United Nations, Armed Struggle, Counterinsurgency
  • Political Geography: Africa, Algeria, Nigeria, Somalia
  • Author: Paul Salem, Amanda Kadlec
  • Publication Date: 06-2012
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Carnegie Endowment for International Peace
  • Abstract: More than a year after the outbreak of the uprising against Muammar Qaddafi's rule, Libya is in the midst of a challenging transition. Qaddafi is dead, his forty-two-year-old regime overthrown, and the country liberated. And now Libyans are laying the groundwork for elections that will start their country on the path to a new constitution.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution, Political Violence, Democratization, Armed Struggle
  • Political Geography: Africa, Libya, Arabia
  • Author: Marina Ottaway, Mai El-Sadany
  • Publication Date: 05-2012
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Carnegie Endowment for International Peace
  • Abstract: Less than a year after the old “greater” Sudan split into the northern Republic of Sudan and the new Republic of South Sudan—or North and South Sudan, for clarity—the two countries were again in a state of war. Years of international efforts to bring an end to decades of conflict by helping to negotiate the Comprehensive Peace Agreement of 2005 and later efforts to ensure a smooth separation of North and South appear to have come to naught.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution, Civil War, Genocide, Islam, Treaties and Agreements, Territorial Disputes
  • Political Geography: Africa, South Sudan
  • Author: Rossella Marangio
  • Publication Date: 05-2012
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Istituto Affari Internazionali
  • Abstract: The long-lasting Somali conflict is profoundly linked to the country's historical development and its socio-cultural specificities. The political milieu and the struggle for power in Somalia reflect the cleavage between tradition and modernity. This rift has led to a legitimacy vacuum, which has made it difficult for the warring parties to find enough common ground for a compromise. Furthermore, external influences, at both regional and international levels, have contributed to the fragmentation of the political arena, due notably to the emphasis on the use of force as the principal tool for acquiring or maintaining power. In this unfolding crisis, regional pressures and rivalries, international interventions, economic and strategic interests as well as piracy, corruption and Islamic extremism all play an interlocking role. In view of this, a new approach to the crisis is badly needed. The EU, in particular, should promote a new strategy based on three components: enhancement of social cohesion through local cooperation programmes, state-building and development.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution, Political Violence, Islam, Fragile/Failed State
  • Political Geography: Africa, Europe, Somalia
  • Publication Date: 07-2012
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: International Crisis Group
  • Abstract: Although it should provide development opportunities, renewed oil interest in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) represents a real threat to stability in a still vulnerable post-conflict country. Exploration has begun, but oil prospecting is nurturing old resentments among local communities and contributing to border tensions with neighbouring countries. If oil reserves are confirmed in the east, this would exacerbate deep-rooted conflict dynamics in the Kivus. An upsurge in fighting since the start of 2012, including the emergence of a new rebellion in North Kivu and the resumption of armed groups' territorial expansion, has further complicated stability in the east, which is the new focus for oil exploration. New oil reserves could also create new centres of power and question Katanga's (DRC's traditional economic hub) political influence. Preventive action is needed to turn a real threat to stability into a genuine development opportunity.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution, Political Violence, Development, Ethnic Conflict, Oil
  • Political Geography: Africa, Democratic Republic of the Congo
  • Author: Susan Hayward
  • Publication Date: 08-2012
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: United States Institute of Peace
  • Abstract: The field of religious peacebuilding has begun to move closer to the mainstream of conflict resolution practice and theory. The 2011 unrest in the Middle East and North Africa—the Arab Spring—reflects ongoing challenges and opportunities for the field. American and European nongovernmental organizations, agencies in the U.S. government, academia, and international organizations—sectors that once held religious issues at a distance or understood religion mainly as a driver of violence—increasingly engage religious communities and institutions as partners in creating peace. Meanwhile, religious organizations that have been involved in creating peace for decades, if not longer, increasingly have institutionalized and professionalized their work, suggesting ways that religious and secular organizations could coordinate their efforts more closely. The U.S. Institute of Peace's own programs on religion reflect the development of the wider field, having moved from research and analysis to on-the-ground programming to foster interfaith dialogue in the Balkans, Nigeria, Israel-Palestine, and Sudan. In addition, it has trained religious actors in conflict management in Sri Lanka, Iraq, and Colombia and developed peace curricula based on Islamic principles for religious and secular schools in Pakistan, Indonesia, the Philippines, and elsewhere. As the U.S. field of religious peacebuilding continues to develop, challenges include integrating further with secular peacebuilding efforts, engaging women and youth and addressing their priorities, working more effectively with non-Abrahamic religious traditions, and improving evaluation, both to show how religious peacebuilding can reduce and resolve conflict and to strengthen the field's ability to do so.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution, Islam, Peace Studies, Religion, Treaties and Agreements
  • Political Geography: Africa, United States, Europe, Arabia
  • Author: Aaron Sayne
  • Publication Date: 07-2012
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: United States Institute of Peace
  • Abstract: Many of Nigeria's worst conflicts pit the recognized original inhabitants, or indigenes, of a particular place against supposedly later settlers. These conflicts may be growing deadlier and more numerous with time. State and local governments have free rein to pick who is an indigene. Abuse of the label can foster deep socioeconomic inequalities, given that indigenes enjoy preferential access to land, schools, development spending, and public jobs. These inequalities feed into violence, although righting inequality may not be sufficient to end violence in every case. The indigene-settler distinction is also explosive because it reinforces and is reinforced by other identity-based divides in Nigeria. These differences in ethnicity, language, religion, and culture can be longstanding and deeply felt, but how they factor into violence is again not well understood. Poor law enforcement responses also help entrench violence between indigenes and settlers. Official complicity and indifference make prosecutions rare. Destructive conduct by the Nigerian security forces itself often becomes a structural cause of violence. Serious thought about how to prevent or resolve indigene-settler violence has barely started in Nigeria. Addressing inequality between indigenes and settlers calls for serious, microlevel analysis of local economic dysfunctions and opportunities, along with real official commitment to make and enforce better policies. More holistic understandings of justice are also needed. The worst hot spots will need a wide menu of well-planned interventions. Options include securitization, criminal prosecution, mediation and dialogue, truth commissions, victim compensation programs, public health and trauma assistance, public institutional reforms, education, and communications work. In some cases, building sustainable peace could take a generation or more.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution, Political Violence, Crime, Ethnic Conflict, Peace Studies
  • Political Geography: Africa, Nigeria
  • Publication Date: 08-2012
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: International Crisis Group
  • Abstract: Guinea-Bissau took another dangerous turn on 12 April 2012, when the army arrested Prime Minister Carlos Gomes Júnior, who was about to be elected president. A military junta accused him of conspiring with Angola to curtail the military's power and quickly installed transitional authorities, before officially stepping aside on 22 May. International condemnation was swift, but differences developed between the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) and the Community of Portuguese Speaking Countries (CPLP). The former, pushed by Nigeria, Senegal, Côte d'Ivoire and Burkina Faso, supports a year's transition, the latter, especially Portugal and Angola, immediate resumption of the presidential vote. Coup and transition may have opened a way for vital reforms, which must go beyond changes in the army and combating the drugs trade. But for that to happen, ECOWAS and CPLP must reach a consensus on working with international partners to mobilise resources for security, judicial and electoral reforms and refusing to validate Gomes Júnior's illegal exclusion from political life.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution, Security, Post Colonialism, Power Politics, Regime Change
  • Political Geography: Africa, Senegal, Nigeria, Portugal, Angola
  • Author: Jort Hemmer
  • Publication Date: 09-2012
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Norwegian Peacebuilding Resource Centre
  • Abstract: Monday July 9th 2012 marked South Sudan's first anniversary as an independent state. But one year down the road, what is there to celebrate for this newborn polity? Faced with political stability and enduring external and domestic threats to its security, the nascent state of South Sudan has evolved into a patronage and crisis management tool for the ruling elite, putting the benefits of governance well beyond the reach of the majority of the population. There is little doubt that continuing conflict with Sudan, extreme underdevelopment and dependence on oil revenues will ensure that South Sudan remains a state in emergency for years to come. In many ways the characteristics and uses of this emergency dominate domestic political calculus. Essential institutional reforms have been postponed, as has any real democratic opening. Until a measure of calm in South Sudan's relations with Sudan is achieved, donors will have to look for areas of engagement where their objectives do not interfere with the short-term interests of a government that subsists on a war footing. In this regard South Sudan's decision to suspend oil production and the subsequent need to generate alternative revenues may offer new opportunities.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution, Security, Development, Oil
  • Political Geography: Africa, South Sudan
  • Author: Roland Marchal
  • Publication Date: 07-2012
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Norwegian Peacebuilding Resource Centre
  • Abstract: Somalia has long been a byword for statelessness and extreme insecurity. However, eight years of transitional rule are set to end in 2012, and expectations are rising that continued military-led stabilisation, changing regional security dynamics and efforts to rebuild the Somalia state might soon enable the country to declare an end to two decades of civil war.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution, Security, Development, Islam, Fragile/Failed State, Governance
  • Political Geography: Africa, Somalia