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  • 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
  • Author: Jonathan Steele
  • Publication Date: 01-2013
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Norwegian Peacebuilding Resource Centre
  • Abstract: With two years left before the International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) in Afghanistan completes its mission, Afghans are in a state of confusion and uncertainty about their individual prospects and their country's fate. Interviews with a wide range of government and opposition politicians, civil society activists and ordinary Afghans reveal disappointment with the results of 11 years of foreign involvement, and anxiety that the coming years will bring economic hardship and greater political violence and insecurity
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution, Security, NATO, Arms Control and Proliferation, Peace Studies, Armed Struggle
  • Political Geography: Afghanistan
  • Author: Riina Isotalo
  • Publication Date: 01-2013
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Norwegian Peacebuilding Resource Centre
  • Abstract: This report investigates the civil defence-civilian protection interface in the Occupied Palestinian Territory (OPT). Findings show that international support to Palestinian civilians' safety is divided along the lines of civilian protection and civil defence. There are also striking differences between the Gaza administration's and the Palestinian Authority's (PA) approach to the interface of civilian protection and civil defence. The former has an explicitly gendered view and integrates internal and external threats to safety. At present, the PA is committed to the Hyogo Framework of Action and its approach reflects the international aid policy approach. However, gendered examples suggest that the cultural value basis of civil defence is not very different in the West Bank and Gaza Strip. Interviews with officials from West Bank municipalities show varying levels of awareness of civil defence law and national strategy, and variations in municipalities' existing civil defence practices in the West Bank. Existing plans and policy documents focus on natural hazards and appear to be gender blind, which, in the light of past experiences in the OPT and elsewhere, may increase violence against women in emergency situations. The report concludes that the encouragement of communitybased emergency preparedness by the PA and the international community reflects the privatisation of important segments of safety and protection to families and households.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution, Security, Defense Policy, Civil Society, Territorial Disputes
  • Political Geography: Middle East, Arabia, Gaza
  • 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: 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: Ross Eventon
  • Publication Date: 08-2012
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Norwegian Peacebuilding Resource Centre
  • Abstract: At its core, the U.S.-led occupation of Afghanistan is an attempt to establish a client regime supported by a military operation to pacify resistance. In May 2012, the Obama administration took a major step towards consolidating its war aims and signed the Enduring Partnership Agreement with President Karzai, which ensures a U.S. military presence for at least a decade after 2014. It is clear from this agreement, the previous memorandums on detention and night raids, and the continuing development of U.S. mega-bases in the country that 2014 is far from a “withdrawal” date.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution, Democratization, Islam, Terrorism
  • Political Geography: Afghanistan, United States
  • Author: Huma Yusuf
  • Publication Date: 08-2012
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Norwegian Peacebuilding Resource Centre
  • Abstract: Pakistan is experiencing a sharp resurgence in sectarian violence. Most frequently, such violence involves clashes between members of the two main sects of Islam – Sunnis and Shias – but violent incidents between the Barelvi and Deobandi sub-sects of Sunni Islam are also on the rise. The heightened frequency and brutality of Sunni-Shia clashes threaten national security – Pakistan's is the second-largest Shia population in the world after Iran – as well as bilateral relations with Iran and the regional power dynamic vis-à-vis Saudi Arabian influence.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution, Islam, Terrorism, Fragile/Failed State, Sectarian violence
  • Political Geography: Pakistan, Iran, Saudi Arabia
  • 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
  • Author: Khalil Shikaki
  • Publication Date: 05-2012
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Norwegian Peacebuilding Resource Centre
  • Abstract: With no agreement on a two-state solution to the Palestinian-Israeli conflict in sight, one-state dynamics are gaining momentum – a development that will be difficult to reverse or even contain. In the medium and long term, no one benefits from such a development. Indeed, all might lose: an ugly one-state dynamic has no happy ending, and such a solution is rejected by Palestinians and Israelis alike. Instead, the emerging one-state reality increases the potential for various kinds of conflicts and contradictory impulses. The international community too finds itself unprepared and perhaps unwilling to confront this emerging reality, but in doing so it imperils the prospects for peace in the region – the exact thing it seeks to promote.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution, Security, Treaties and Agreements, Territorial Disputes
  • Political Geography: Middle East, Israel, Palestine, Arabia
  • Author: Jacob Høigilt, Mona Christophersen, Åge A. Tiltnes
  • Publication Date: 03-2012
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Norwegian Peacebuilding Resource Centre
  • Abstract: This report investigates young Palestinians' views of their economic and political situation and their interest and level of engagement in politics with reference to two momentous political events in 2011: the Arab Spring and the Palestinian bid for statehood at the United Nations (UN) General Assembly. A main question is whether the Occupied Palestinian Territories are experiencing a reinvigoration of youth activism.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution, Civil Society, Demographics, Regime Change, Youth Culture
  • Political Geography: Middle East, Palestine, Arabia, United Nations
  • Author: David Hansen
  • Publication Date: 12-2012
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Norwegian Peacebuilding Resource Centre
  • Abstract: During the last few years Punjab has experienced a deep social crisis in which Islamist organisations have been able to challenge the Pakistani authorities' power – as certain Islamist organisations, including extremist ones, increasingly are filling the role of welfare providers to the people. Punjab is experiencing a shift from the traditional Barelvi (Sufi) Islam towards more orthodox interpretations of the faith – often in quite radical variants. Some of the most important extremist Islamist organisations instrumental in this reorientation have become involved in criminal activity and in settling scores between competing bodies at the local level. Local judiciary, police and politicians often function as enablers for the extremists. This is not only troublesome for Pakistan: rising radical Islamist tendencies can be witnessed in Norway among certain Norwegian-Pakistanis. This policy brief describes some initial findings regarding the potential consequences of Punjab's social crisis, its patterns of extremism and the reorientation of religion in the province. It argues that in addition to being problematic for Pakistan, this development may have an adverse effect on diaspora communities living in the West.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution, Security, Islam, Terrorism, Armed Struggle, Counterinsurgency
  • Political Geography: Pakistan, South Asia, Punjab
  • Author: Per M. Norheim-Martinsen
  • Publication Date: 11-2012
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Norwegian Peacebuilding Resource Centre
  • Abstract: As the presence of Western states in UN peacekeeping operations (PKOs) has gradually decreased, new states have been filling the resultant void, although these operations remain wedded to Western ideas and standards of how such interventions should be carried out. However, as emerging powers like Brazil are now taking the lead on the ground, the question that this report seeks to shed light on is how this is starting to affect the way in which the UN carries out its PKOs. It assesses the Brazilian military lead in MINUSTAH in Haiti against the backdrop of the so-called “pacification” strategy currently employed in the favelas of Rio de Janeiro. It shows that rather than being a “transmission belt” for a traditional Western model of military intervention, Brazil's lead in MINUSTAH has had an added value, building on Brazilian experience with urban conflict, which is an area with which the UN and Western states are unfamiliar. In fact, several states, including the U.S., have started to look to Brazil when developing and adapting concepts for urban and anti-crime operations. This shows that as Brazil has become a more active participant in UN PKOs, it has also gradually begun to set the agenda for how the UN runs such operations.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution, Conflict Prevention, Security, Arms Control and Proliferation, Peace Studies, Peacekeeping
  • Political Geography: Brazil, Latin America
  • Author: Madhav Joshi, J. Michael Quinn
  • Publication Date: 11-2012
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Norwegian Peacebuilding Resource Centre
  • Abstract: Disarmament and demobilisation (DD) programmes are vital components of strategic peacebuilding. DD provisions govern the collection and disposal of arms and ammunition, and oversee the discharge of active-duty combatants from the state's armed forces, rebel groups, or both. Using data from the Peace Accords Matrix database, this report compares the five most recent cases of DD implementation: Nepal (2006), Liberia (2003), Macedonia (2001), Indonesia-Aceh (2005) and South Sudan (2005). A comparative analysis reveals several common patterns in the kinds of provisional and operational choices associated with efficient DD implementation. Having a definite timeline and largely completing the process prior to the first elections creates an incentivised environment for a timely DD process while diminishing the risks of election-related violence. Economic incentives associated with the process of cantonment can increase the duration of DD programmes. External actors with a strong mandate can solve problems faster and have been instrumental in achieving a swift DD progression. Disarmament programmes must be realistically matched to conflict settings. This can include the use of mobile collection units, which have proved to be successful in cases where a primary centralised site is not sufficient.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution, Security, Defense Policy, Arms Control and Proliferation, Peace Studies, Peacekeeping
  • Political Geography: Indonesia, Nepal, Macedonia, Liberia, South Sudan
  • Author: Tom Kramer
  • Publication Date: 11-2012
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Norwegian Peacebuilding Resource Centre
  • Abstract: Burma has been under military rule since 1962. However, in 2011 a new political system was introduced and a new military-backed government inaugurated that has reached out to the democratic opposition and armed ethnic opposition groups seeking more autonomy. Both of these groups reject the new constitution, which seeks to entrench the army's power.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution, Democratization, Human Rights, Human Welfare, Political Economy, Poverty, Sanctions
  • Political Geography: South Asia, Burma
  • Author: Nicolas Pelham
  • Publication Date: 10-2012
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Norwegian Peacebuilding Resource Centre
  • Abstract: The August 5th 2012 attack that killed 16 Egyptian soldiers in the nexus where Gaza, Egypt and Israel meet has spurred Egypt's greatest effort to reassert its authority over the Sinai since recovering the territory from Israel in 1982. Nevertheless, armed Bedouin groups backed by jihadi allies continue to confound their efforts. Only the integration of Sinai's Bedouin into Egypt's security, political and economic fabric will restore the buy-in of the indigenous population that is vital for both the success of the country's military campaign and the stabilisation of this strategic corridor linking Asia to Africa – and of post-revolutionary Egypt itself. The identities of the attackers have yet to be made public. Most were likely Sinai Bedouin, with perhaps some Palestinian support. But the fact that this attack is not an isolated incident and has been succeeded and preceded by many others suggests that North Sinai has become an environment for the killing of Egyptian soldiers and the destruction of Egyptian installations. This report examines the causes of the prevailing anti-government temperament in North Sinai, which is home to approximately 75% of Sinai's half a million people; tracks the development of quasi self-rule since the fall of Mubarak; and offers a few suggestions for the stabilisation of Sinai within a future regional economic and security framework.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution, Islam, Terrorism, Armed Struggle, Counterinsurgency
  • Political Geography: Arabia, North Africa, Egypt, Sinai Peninsula
  • Author: Roland Marchal
  • Publication Date: 10-2012
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Norwegian Peacebuilding Resource Centre
  • Abstract: No clear settlement of the crisis in Mali seems possible in the short term, despite a UN Security Council resolution on October 12th paving the way for a military intervention by ECOWAS countries. The crisis is fed by various dynamics that need to be reconciled for peace to prevail. Firstly, the transition in Bamako is going nowhere, and further divisions in the government and the resurgence of the coup makers undermine the fragile progress witnessed in July. Unable to agree on a solution in Bamako, most political actors have developed a militaristic approach to any solution for the north. Secondly, Islamist and jihadist movements were able to gain control of northern Mali (two-thirds of the country) in a few months and have enforced new rules inspired by their understanding of Islam. Although protests erupted in several cities, the militants deepened their control over the region and its local and transnational economy and may have a constituency among the population. ECOWAS, supported by France, is willing to intervene militarily, but the fragmentation of the Malian army is a key weakness. Moreover, ECOWAS has not spelled out the actual aims of its intervention: mere territorial gains without addressing local and national grievances may mean the return of the status quo ante, which would be unacceptable to most people in northern Mali. As usual, the long-term political dimensions of the ECOWAS intervention are dismissed in favour of an immediate military victory that would be very fragile as a result.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution, Security, Islam, Armed Struggle, Counterinsurgency
  • Political Geography: Africa, France, Northern Mali
  • Author: Roland Marchal
  • Publication Date: 10-2012
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Norwegian Peacebuilding Resource Centre
  • Abstract: Muammar Qaddafi's overthrow was interpreted in the West as the removal of a tyranny and an expression of regional democratisation dynamics. Concerned with their own interests, Western powers have not paid attention to key factors affecting political developments in the wider region.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution, Civil War, Democratization, Regime Change, Fragile/Failed State
  • Political Geography: Arabia, North Africa
  • Author: Alejandro Bendaña
  • Publication Date: 10-2012
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Norwegian Peacebuilding Resource Centre
  • Abstract: Rule of law (RoL) programming is caught in the middle of the peacebuilding/tatebuilding discussion. Twenty-first century post-conflict RoL programming seems to have become more statist in character and highly focused on the criminal justice chain. A key question, however, is how external RoL/statebuilding assistance can address the gap between society and the central state so as to in effect give the RoL a greater peacebuilding function. Southern Somalia provides an example of failed RoL/statebuilding, but in Somaliland the existence of an inclusive political settlement has allowed United Nations RoL assistance to contribute not only to core state capacities, but also to engagement with civil society and arriving at innovative programming modalities, which in practice signifies an expanded interpretation of the concept of the RoL and thus of its social impact. Examples are given of engagement with “informal” customary systems and other sectors so as to contribute to the construction of more socially embedded police and justice practices capable of providing greater legitimacy to the state.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution, Security, Peace Studies, United Nations, Peacekeeping
  • Political Geography: Somalia
  • Author: Daniel Seidemann
  • Publication Date: 08-2012
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Norwegian Peacebuilding Resource Centre
  • Abstract: What are Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's real intentions vis-à-vis Israeli–Palestinian negotiations and the two-state solution? What does he really want? Speculation aside, a great deal can be gleaned about both Netanyahu's core beliefs and his intentions by examining his words and his actions with respect to Jerusalem. Jerusalem is universally recognised as a key permanent status issue, which, for any peace agreement, will require the reconciling of competing Israeli and Palestinian claims as well as recognition and protection of Jewish, Muslim and Christian equities. In the context of the current political stalemate, however, it has become much more than that. Today, Jerusalem is both the volcanic core of the conflict – the place where religion and nationalism meet and combine in a potentially volatile mix – and a microcosm of the conflict and the imbalance of power that characterises developments on the ground.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution, Security, Treaties and Agreements, Territorial Disputes
  • Political Geography: Middle East, Israel, Palestine, Arabia
  • Author: Judy Barsalou
  • Publication Date: 06-2012
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Norwegian Peacebuilding Resource Centre
  • Abstract: The dominance of neo-patriarchal, semi-authoritarian regimes with little interest in justice, accountability or other values associated with democratic governance has meant that, until recently, the Arab region has had limited experience with transitional justice (TJ). Several states have started down the TJ path since the emergence of the “Arab Spring”, but their progress is uneven. In Egypt, much depends on the nature and speed of the transition, whose outcomes remain uncertain. Whether and how Arab transitional states embrace TJ – especially how they manage the fates of their deposed rulers and essential institutional reforms – will indicate whether they intend to break with the past and build public institutions that inspire civic trust.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution, Security, Regime Change
  • Political Geography: Middle East, Arabia, Egypt
  • Author: Jean-Paul Marthoz
  • Publication Date: 05-2012
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Norwegian Peacebuilding Resource Centre
  • Abstract: Online media, global TV and social networks played a significant role in the Arab Spring and will be important factors in determining the direction of these “revolutions”.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution, Science and Technology, Mass Media, Regime Change, Insurgency
  • Political Geography: Middle East, Arabia
  • Author: Yossi Alpher
  • Publication Date: 04-2012
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Norwegian Peacebuilding Resource Centre
  • Abstract: Syria is geo-strategically, historically and politically the most central of Middle East countries, hence the over-riding importance of the conflict there. Yet any discussion of the regional implications of that conflict is necessarily highly speculative. Its points of departure are the instances of regional intervention and "overflow" from the situation already taking place. Turkey, with its open support for the armed Syrian opposition, is the leading candidate to establish "safe zones" or even "humanitarian corridors" that could conceivably lead to war. Ankara's growing rivalry with Iran is increasingly being acted out in Syria and is interacting with tensions between Sunni Muslims and Alawites/Shias not only in Syria, but in Lebanon and Iraq as well.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution, Regime Change, Bilateral Relations, Territorial Disputes
  • Political Geography: Iraq, Turkey, Middle East, Israel, Arabia, Syria
  • Author: Øystein Rolandsen, Jacob Høigilt, Åshild Falch
  • Publication Date: 01-2011
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Norwegian Peacebuilding Resource Centre
  • Abstract: As a former coloniser and the Sudan's Nile-valley neighbour to the north, Egypt will inevitably be affected by the Sudan's political transition. As Egypt's regional influence appears to wane, the Sudan's increasing economic strength and the likely secession of Southern Sudan exemplify Egypt's overall difficulties in regard to the regional politics of the Horn of Africa and Nile Basin. Egyptian policy-makers and diplomats struggle with fundamental contradictions in Egypt's current regional status, competing priorities, and the need to stay on good terms with all political parties in the Sudan. To be able to balance domestic needs, relations with its immediate neighbours, and its role as a regional power Egypt must reshape its foreign policy; Egypt's national interests in the Sudan preclude neutrality in the processes ahead. It can however play a key role in a joint regional and international effort to secure the peaceful secession for Southern Sudan.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution, Foreign Policy, Civil War, Democratization, Diplomacy, Ethnic Conflict, Islam
  • Political Geography: Uganda, Africa, Sudan, Egypt
  • Author: Trond Bakkevig
  • Publication Date: 02-2011
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Norwegian Peacebuilding Resource Centre
  • Abstract: Many political conflicts have a religious dimension, as religion is at the heart of the identities of those involved. Thus, religious dialogue may be a key to the peaceful resolution of these conflicts. Nowhere is this more true than the Holy Land. But how can such a dialogue be initiated and sustained, what problems does it face, and what is the character and role of a facilitator in the process? Here, Rev. Dr. and Canon Trond Bakkevig addresses these questions by drawing on his long experience of working in the area of religious dialogue between religious leaders of Israel and Palestine.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution, Diplomacy, Religion, Treaties and Agreements
  • Political Geography: Middle East, Israel, Palestine
  • Author: Svein Erik Stave
  • Publication Date: 05-2011
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Norwegian Peacebuilding Resource Centre
  • Abstract: How can the effectiveness of peacebuilding operations in countries marked by conflict be better measured? This policy brief examines the steps needed to improve the measurement of peacebuilding work, highlights the technical and political problems this work faces, and makes recommendations for action by organisations in the field.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution, Conflict Prevention, Non-Governmental Organization, Peace Studies, War, Peacekeeping
  • Political Geography: Afghanistan
  • Author: Henry Siegman
  • Publication Date: 01-2010
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Norwegian Peacebuilding Resource Centre
  • Abstract: The continued expansion of Israeli settlements in the West Bank seems to have finally locked in the permanence of Israel's colonial project. Israel has crossed the threshold from the Middle East's only democracy to the only “apartheid regime” in the Western world. But outside intervention may offer the last hope for a reversal of the settlement enterprise and the achievement of a two-state solution to the Israel-Palestine conflict. Since the US is no longer the likely agent of that intervention, it is up to the Europeans and to the Palestinians themselves to fashion the path to self-determination in the occupied territories. Essential to the success of these efforts is setting aright the chronic imbalance of power between Israel and the Palestinians. If left to their own devices – including, as some have proposed, to reconcile their conflicting historical “narratives” – the further usurpation of Palestinian lands, and the disappearance of the two-state option, is all but ensured.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution, Peace Studies
  • Political Geography: United States, Middle East, Arabia
  • Author: Øystein Rolandsen
  • Publication Date: 02-2010
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Norwegian Peacebuilding Resource Centre
  • Abstract: Despite the signing of the Comprehensive Peace Agreement 9 January 2005, which formally ended the 22-year civil war in Southern Sudan, the frequency and severity of local conflicts increased during 2009. These conflicts are threatening the stability of the South, and ultimately the peace process itself. Widespread insecurity will also make it difficult to hold the planned national elections in April and the 2011 referendum on secession. Land and natural resources are increasingly contested in Southern Sudan and these issues trigger and fuel local violence. The return of internally displaced persons and refugees is also a source of controversy. In addition, partially incompatible interpretations of the Sudan People's Liberation Movement/Army policy of “land belongs to the people” combined with institutional fragmentation further complicate the situation.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution, Political Violence, Ethnic Conflict, Peace Studies
  • Political Geography: Africa, Sudan, South Sudan
  • Author: Helge Lurås
  • Publication Date: 01-2010
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Norwegian Peacebuilding Resource Centre
  • Abstract: A well-functioning government is a prerequisite for any successful counter-insurgency strategy and good governance is unlikely to be established in Afghanistan any time soon. As a consequence, the plans for the build-up of the Afghan National Security Forces (ANSF) must be adjusted. This build-up is not only an exit strategy; it is a cover for a “graceful exit”, serving a perceptual function in western publics. But in counter-insurgency theory a disconnect between governance and security is anathema. The end-state projection of 400,000 soldiers and police is unsustainable and ill-adapted to Afghanistan's socio-economic and political foundations. Furthermore, the continued growth of centralized and corrupt security forces could very well lead to increased resistance. The ANSF – like any armed force – is in dire need of a credible and motivating cause, simply to avoid disintegration.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution, NATO, Arms Control and Proliferation, War
  • Political Geography: Afghanistan
  • Author: Øystein Rolandsen, Jacob Høigilt
  • Publication Date: 07-2010
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Norwegian Peacebuilding Resource Centre
  • Abstract: The conflict in Sudan's western province of Darfur has revived even as the peace talks in Qatar between Sudan's government and the rebel Justice and Equality Movement (JEM) seem to have collapsed. Egypt has hitherto refrained from involvement in negotiations to end the conflict, a strategy that has contributed to further diminishing Cairo's already weakened status as a major player in regional politics and diplomacy.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution, Diplomacy, Ethnic Conflict, War
  • Political Geography: Africa, Sudan, Arabia, Egypt
  • Author: Arne Strand
  • Publication Date: 06-2010
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Norwegian Peacebuilding Resource Centre
  • Abstract: Military and civilian actors are engaged in a debate over where to draw the lines in the provision of humanitarian and development assistance. This is illustrated in Afghanistan by the different national models applied to Provincial Reconstruction Teams (PRTs). Norway has opted for a model that clearly separates the civilian and military components within the PRT.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution, Development, Humanitarian Aid, War
  • Political Geography: Afghanistan, Europe
  • Author: Stina Torjesen
  • Publication Date: 06-2010
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Norwegian Peacebuilding Resource Centre
  • Abstract: This policy brief presents an overview of Sino-Afghan relations and assesses China's role in the wider south Asian region. It discusses how China's foreign policy principles both provide opportunities and exert constraints on China's presence in Afghanistan and beyond; it explores China's policy options in Afghanistan and evaluates Afghanistan's own preferences vis-à-vis China; it highlights China's close relations with Pakistan and how these are part of an evolving strategic landscape; and considers the indirect contribution of the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation to alleviating Afghanistan's security predicament.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution, Security, Foreign Policy
  • Political Geography: Afghanistan, China
  • Author: Ingrid Samset
  • Publication Date: 06-2010
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Norwegian Peacebuilding Resource Centre
  • Abstract: On 28 May 2010, the United Nations Security Council made a critical decision on the future of the UN peacekeeping mission in the Democratic Republic of Congo (Monuc) – the largest and most costly such operation in the world. The Council decided to reduce the number of peacekeepers by 2,000, and to transform Monuc into a stabilisation force, renamed Monusco.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution, Security, Civil War, Peacekeeping
  • Political Geography: Africa, United Nations
  • Author: Einar Wigen
  • Publication Date: 05-2010
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Norwegian Peacebuilding Resource Centre
  • Abstract: The Turkish-Armenian protocols signed in October 2009 seemed to represent a historic advance that could help resolve the two countries' dispute over the events of 1915 and change the regional dynamics for the better. But six months on, the implementation of the protocols has stalled, the much vaunted normalisation of Turkish-Armenian state-to-state relations appears all but dead, and the will to revive the process is at a low point.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution, Genocide, Bilateral Relations
  • Political Geography: United States, Europe, Turkey, Asia
  • Author: Ståle Ulriksen
  • Publication Date: 04-2010
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Norwegian Peacebuilding Resource Centre
  • Abstract: Norway may be a marginal actor in Afghanistan as a whole, but its troop contingent and development aid programmes mean that it does play an important role in the north-west of the country as part of a joint overall effort with its allies and friends. This role is now facing a twofold test.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution, Development, Humanitarian Aid, War
  • Political Geography: Afghanistan, Europe, Asia
  • Author: Kaja Borchgrevink, Kristian Berg Harpviken
  • Publication Date: 03-2010
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Norwegian Peacebuilding Resource Centre
  • Abstract: Afghanistan's thirty years of war have seen the gradual and heavy politicisation of religion. A number of new and distinct types of political movements – which can be characterised broadly as “fundamentalists”, “Islamists” and “neo-fundamentalists” – has emerged to challenge traditional expressions of Islam. This has transformed the religious landscape in Afghanistan, which is as a result more variegated than ever before. The different attitudes of these new currents to questions of religious authority, political process, and the Afghan statebuilding project need to be carefully distinguished. More generally, the appearance of such movements highlights the way that the role of religion, though often overlooked, is central to the attempt since the regime-change of late 2001 to build a viable Afghan state. The impact of the new actors (including the Taliban itself) is reflected in the way that President Hamid Karzai – struggling to balance the modernised secularists supporting the statebuilding project and the religious fundamentalists opposing it – has allowed several ex-jihadi Islamist factions into the government. The result of this accommodation has been both to sustain the former jihadi leaders' influence and contribute to the marginalisation of more moderate Islamic forces. At the same time, many religious leaders believe they could contribute positively to the statebuilding agenda by generating support among Afghan people. This complex situation makes an understanding of Afghanistan's diverse religious landscape and the various positions vis-à-vis the state all the more essential in the context of efforts to develop strategies for peace and reconciliation.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution, Political Violence, Islam, War, Armed Struggle
  • Political Geography: Afghanistan, Asia
  • Author: Laila Bokhari
  • Publication Date: 11-2010
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Norwegian Peacebuilding Resource Centre
  • Abstract: The six Federally Administered Tribal Areas (FATA) along Pakistan's western border have long been seen as a hub for militants, some with sympathies to the Taliban and al-Qaeda. The region has increasingly come to the world's attention as a recruitment and training base for groups responsible for attacks on Pakistani soil and as a launch pad for attacks on US troops and their allies in Afghanistan. Even though the various groups comprising the Pakistani Taliban have been around for a number of years, it was only in December 2007 that they formally established themselves as a united force.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution, Islam, Terrorism, Armed Struggle, Insurgency
  • Political Geography: Pakistan, Afghanistan, United States, Taliban
  • Author: Martha Brill Olcott
  • Publication Date: 11-2009
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Norwegian Peacebuilding Resource Centre
  • Abstract: The absence of a functional government in Afghanistan has been creating economic and security challenges for the Central Asian states since their founding in 1991. Long frustrated by the international community's failure to end the Afghan civil war through negotiation, the 2001 September 11 attack created the expectation among these countries that the US would intervene successfully in Afghanistan, leading to an economic recovery that would advance the development of all the states in the region.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution, Security, Economics
  • Political Geography: Afghanistan, Central Asia