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  • Author: Casey Garret Johnson, William A. Byrd, Sanaullah Tasal
  • Publication Date: 02-2014
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: United States Institute of Peace
  • Abstract: The still unsigned Bilateral Security Agreement (BSA) between Afghanistan and the United States provides the legal basis for continuing U.S. military presence in Afghanistan. In addition to its substantive importance, the BSA is also a confidence-building mechanism. The delay in putting it in place is compounding uncertainty and further diminishing economic confidence during Afghanistan's already challenging and uncertain transition. Afghans' responses include, among others, hedging behavior (legal and illegal), personal decisions on whether to come back to or stay in Afghanistan, delays in investments, incipient job losses, declining demand for goods and services and real estate prices, and farmers planting more opium poppy.
  • Topic: Defense Policy, Democratization, Development, Treaties and Agreements, Insurgency, Bilateral Relations
  • Political Geography: Afghanistan, United States, Asia
  • Author: Raymond Gilpin, John Forrer, Timothy L. Fort
  • Publication Date: 09-2012
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: United States Institute of Peace
  • Abstract: The business sector can promote prosperity and stability in conflict-prone and conflict affected regions through good corporate citizenship, but operating in these high-risk, high-reward environments is fraught with great difficulty. Many firms develop risk mitigation strategies designed to minimize exposure and cost without accounting for costs to the country, its population, and the environment. Poor risk management strategies combine with endemic corruption and myriad market failures and distortions resulting from weak economic governance to reinforce aspects of the political economy that could trigger and sustain violent conflict. Effectively addressing these failings could reduce business costs, increase efficiency, and improve governance and livelihoods in fragile regions. U.S. government policy documents, such as the Quadrennial Defense Review, Quadrennial Diplomacy and Defense Review, and National Security Strategy, allude to a potential role for firms in furthering stability and promoting peace but do not clearly analyze the complexities such endeavors entail or identify workable solutions. Strategies to capitalize on the immense potential of the business sector to foster peace must account for the size of firms, whether they are state or privately owned, which industries they are involved in, and their interconnectedness within supply chains. Key components of effective strategies include crafting incentives to reward investing firms that espouse good corporate citizenship, strengthening international initiatives that promote transparency and contain corruption, developing initiatives to more fully incorporate the local economy into global value chains, and introducing mechanisms to forge global consensus on appropriate conflict-sensitive business practices.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution, Political Violence, Development, Poverty, War, Fragile/Failed State
  • Political Geography: United States
  • Author: Rusty Barber, William B. Taylor
  • Publication Date: 01-2010
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: United States Institute of Peace
  • Abstract: Successful attacks on key government buildings underscore worries about whether Iraqis can manage their own security. They mask, however, something new in Iraqi society: an emerging vox populi that found potent expression in provincial elections last January, despite the odds. As national elections approach in March, political leaders are realizing that they ignore this growing voice at their peril. Aware that American attention is shifting towards other problems at home and abroad, Iraqis are nervously contemplating how much U.S. support they can expect going forward in their fragile experiment in democratic governance. The U.S. role in helping Iraqis prepare for national elections has been crucial and largely welcome—it should continue through the transition to a new government. Successful complete withdrawal by 2012 depends on an Iraqi government that is responsive to its people’s basic needs and capable of evolving peacefully via fair elections. Longer term, there are several critical areas on which a distracted and resource stretched America should focus. These include intensifying efforts to help Arabs and Kurds resolve disputes and forestall the need for an extended U.S. military presence in northern Iraq. Helping Iraq protect its borders – a vulnerability highlighted by Iran’s recent incursion—and nudging the Gulf Arab states to more actively engage Iraq as an emerging partner in regional security and economic structures will also be key to stability inside and beyond Iraq’s borders. If water is the “new oil” in terms of its resource value and potential to create conflict, that future is now playing out in Iraq. Shortages and poor quality are already causing serious health and economic problems, displacement and raising tensions with Iraq’s neighbors. The U.S. can help here on both the diplomatic and technical sides of the issue.
  • Topic: Democratization, Development
  • Political Geography: United States, Iraq, Middle East, Arabia
  • Author: Leonard Rubenstein
  • Publication Date: 03-2010
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: United States Institute of Peace
  • Abstract: An initiative by the Ministry of Public Health in Afghanistan to expand health services throughout the country, including rural communities, and supported by donors including USAID, has vastly expanded access to primary health care services, significantly reduced child mortality, and increased the capacity of the Afghan government to provide an essential service to its people. The program is based on principles of equity, national ownership, community engagement, and women's equality, and it warrants continued development. Many challenges remain, not least expanding services in insecure areas, and a more stable environment could better enable the Ministry of Public Health to achieve its goals. The U.S. military has supported health services development for the Afghan army and also offers significant emergency care services to civilians in insecure regions, training for health workers, construction of health facilities and other health-related programs. The military's civilian health initiatives, largely disconnected from the Ministry of Public Health, are short term, ad hoc, and unsustainable, and to date have lacked a consistent rationale or strategy, and have not been subject to evaluation. U.S. counterinsurgency strategy seeks to mesh development and security objectives through activities that enhance the legitimacy of the Afghan government in the eyes of its people. In the field of health, there are considerable tensions between counterinsurgency and development strategies, which must be addressed to increase the capacity of the government and meet health needs of the people.
  • Topic: Security, Development, Health, Counterinsurgency
  • Political Geography: Afghanistan, United States
  • Author: Robert Maguire, Casie Copeland
  • Publication Date: 05-2010
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: United States Institute of Peace
  • Abstract: At the March 31, 2010 International Donors' Conference on Haiti some $10 billion was pledged in support of the government of Haiti's “Action Plan for National Recovery and Development of Haiti,” with $5.3 billion earmarked for the next two years.
  • Topic: Development, Disaster Relief, Humanitarian Aid, International Cooperation, Foreign Aid, Reconstruction
  • Political Geography: United States, Caribbean, Haiti
  • Author: William B. Taylor, J. Alexander Thier
  • Publication Date: 05-2010
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: United States Institute of Peace
  • Abstract: The next seven months leading up to the December policy review will be crucial for Afghanistan's future; at that time the Obama administration—and the citizens of Afghanistan, the United States and ISAF nations—will make a judgment about progress towards stability there.
  • Topic: Foreign Policy, Development, Governance
  • Political Geography: Afghanistan, United States
  • Author: Seth G. Jones, C. Christine Fair
  • Publication Date: 02-2009
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: United States Institute of Peace
  • Abstract: More than seven years after U.S. forces entered Afghanistan, important gains made in bringing stability and democracy to Afghanistan are imperiled. While there have been some positive developments in such areas as economic growth, the Taliban and other insurgent groups have gained some ground in the country and in neighboring Pakistan, the drug trade remains a significant problem, and corruption has worsened in the Afghan government. According to United Nations data, insurgent incidents have increased every year since the 2001 overthrow of the Taliban regime. The situation in parts of Afghanistan's south and east is particularly concerning because of the twin menace of insurgent and criminal activity. Despite these challenges, the insurgency remains deeply fractured among a range of groups, and most have little support among the Afghan population. This presents an opportunity for Afghans and the international community to turn the situation around.
  • Topic: Security, Political Violence, Development, Economics, War
  • Political Geography: Afghanistan, United States, Central Asia
  • Author: Leonard S. Rubenstein
  • Publication Date: 09-2009
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: United States Institute of Peace
  • Abstract: The stabilization and reconstruction of states emerging from conflict has gained increasing attention in U.S. foreign policy as means to promote well-governed states, avoid future conflict and alleviate the enduring human suffering from war. Over the last two decades, stabilization and reconstruction initiatives supported by the United States and other donors have sometimes included investments in re-establishing – or in some cases, establishing for the first time – a system of health services for the population. Despite the knowledge generated and the encouraging outcomes of many of these programs, however, and the increasing attention to and financial commitments to global health in U.S. foreign assistance, the place and priority of health reconstruction as part of post-conflict U.S. stabilization initiatives remain undefined.
  • Topic: Foreign Policy, Development, Humanitarian Aid, Foreign Aid
  • Political Geography: United States
  • Author: Merriam Mashatt, Major General Daniel Long, James Crum
  • Publication Date: 01-2008
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: United States Institute of Peace
  • Abstract: Infrastructure development is the foundation of a sustainable economy and a means to achieving broader nation-building goals. Providing basic services is critical to security, governance, economic development, and social well-being. U.S. military forces have improved planning and coordination mechanisms and have created doctrine, planning processes, and training exercises that are shared by all branches of the military. This type and level of coordination mechanism is necessary for civilian and military coordination, as well, and progress is starting to be made in this important area. The complexity of the Federal Acquisition Regulations (FAR) often results in missed opportunities to act quickly in restoring essential services. Contracting officers are often reluctant to take chances in expediting infrastructure contracts due to concerns about violating the FAR. Simplified contracting, use of smaller projects, and reach - back support are three ways to ensure fleeting opportunities are not lost. In conflict-sensitive environments, the condition of infrastructure is often a barometer of whether a society will slip further into violence or make a peaceful transition out of the conflict cycle. The rapid restoration of essential services, such as water, sanitation, and electricity, assists in the perception of a return to normalcy and contributes to the peace process. According to James I. Wasserstrom, head of the Office for Oversight of Publicly- Owned Enterprises (utilities) in the United Nations Mission in Kosovo, infrastructure adds “arms and legs” to strategies aimed at winning “hearts and minds.” Infrastructure is fundamental to moving popular support away from prewar or during-conflict loyalties and to moving spoilers in favor of postwar political objectives. This U.S. Institute of Peace Special Report presents a model that links the infrastructure cycle with conflict analysis. This model is helpful to focus the attention of the infrastructure program planners and implementers on the conflict cycle. In many instances, infrastructure experts approach problems from an engineering perspective. While this view is important, it must be married with an appreciation of the conflict dynamic. Indeed, traditional engineering concerns, such as efficiency, are secondary in a conflict-sensitive approach.
  • Topic: Defense Policy, Development, Government
  • Political Geography: United States, Kosovo
  • Author: Merriam Mashatt, Bob Polk
  • Publication Date: 06-2008
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: United States Institute of Peace
  • Abstract: The “3 D's,” defense, diplomacy and development, have been pillars of U.S. government reconstruction and stabilization programs. Recently, however, the “4th D” – the domestic interagency community – has come into the picture. This USIPeace Briefing describes the distinct value the “4th D” adds to reconstruction and stabilization initiatives and how it can be integrated into the larger U.S. government community.
  • Topic: Foreign Policy, Development
  • Political Geography: United States