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  • Publication Date: 03-2015
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Norwegian Centre for Conflict Resolution
  • Abstract: <p>The Intellectualist movement is one of the major Islamic reform movements in contemporary Ethiopia. Informal and decentralised in character, it has attracted young students, professionals and urban intellectuals. The movement was inspired to a great extent by the ideas of the Muslim Brotherhood, which were critically contextualised and applied to the Ethiopian context. This has entailed avoiding the more political aspects of Brotherhood thinking while emphasising the positive role of Islamic virtues in the formation of individual and societal piety. The Intellectualists have further been formative for Ethiopian Muslims thinking about secularism, democracy and constitutional rule, and have played a significant role in mediating between various religious actors in Ethiopia, as well as negotiating the position of Islam in relation to the political authorities. Of particular importance is the way in which the movement has served as a moderating force in a rapidly changing and fluid political and religious landscape. This demonstrates the inherent complexity of the trend commonly labelled as Islamism, and points to the need for nuanced and localised approaches when trying to understand this trend./p
  • Author: Eduardo Viola, Larissa Basso
  • Publication Date: 04-2014
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Norwegian Centre for Conflict Resolution
  • Abstract: In the period 2003-13 Brazil experienced important economic and political developments: it became a much more relevant international player; its economy entered the world's top ten; and society became more politically active and expressed its complaints more aggressively. Amazonian policy and the politics of the period developed in this context, and three issues played a central role. Firstly, a cutback in deforestation led to a decrease in Brazil's carbon emissions by around one-third, which is a unique situation in the world. Secondly, despite the region's hydropower potential, projects developed slowly due to new environmental requirements and societal opposition. Thirdly, the production of biofuels was greatly encouraged by the introduction of flexible-fuel vehicles technology, but lost momentum after the discovery of offshore oil reserves; and there was a heated debate about the relationship between the expansion of sugar-cane plantations and deforestation after the decline in deforestation demonstrated that such plantations were not its main cause. Analysis indicates that there were three trends in Amazonian environmental policy and politics during the decade: continuity of former policies (2003-05), an upward trend towards sustainability (2005-10) and a downward trend (2010-13). The results of the 2014 elections are key to predicting future developments.
  • Topic: Economics, Environment, Human Rights, Politics, Governance
  • Political Geography: Brazil, South America
  • Author: Nick Holdstock
  • Publication Date: 04-2014
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Norwegian Centre for Conflict Resolution
  • Abstract: On March 1st 2014 a knife-wielding group of ten people attacked passengers and passers-by in the railway station in Kunming, capital of China's south-western Yunnan province. Twenty-eight were killed and 113 injured. By the following day the government was describing the incident as a "separatist" attack perpetrated by "terrorists from Xinjiang". The attack in Kunming is the latest in a series of violent incidents in China that the government attributes to radical Islamist organisations that aim to promote what it calls the "Three Evils" of "terrorism, separatism and religious extremism". These acts have predominantly occurred in China's far western Xinjiang region, most recently in January and February 2014. Incidents in other parts of China have been attributed to the same forces.
  • Topic: Political Violence, Communism, Economics, Human Rights, Islam
  • Political Geography: China, Asia
  • Author: Ana Villellas
  • Publication Date: 04-2014
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Norwegian Centre for Conflict Resolution
  • Abstract: The Kurds in Syria, Turkey and Iraq face complex challenges. Among the current Kurdish realities, the emergence of Kurdish self-governing areas in northern Syria controlled by what is considered to be the Syrian branch of the Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK) generates considerable uncertainty. The complex civil war in Syria and antagonism between the Kurdish Democratic Union Party and a fragmented Kurdish political spectrum generate many questions as to the future of these Kurdish areas in Syria. In the case of Turkey, old and new internal and regional factors have threatened the dialogue under way between Turkey and the PKK. These include the lack of clear state policies to resolve the conflict, Turkey's current internal crisis, the complications of cross-border dynamics, and the mutual impact of the Kurdish questions in Syria and Turkey. In Iraq, tensions continue between the Kurdistan Regional Government and the country's central administration. The consolidation of Kurdish autonomy – with new elements such as the energy agreement between Erbil and Ankara – continues to generate uncertainty in a context where many issues remain unresolved.
  • Topic: Civil War, Economics, Ethnic Conflict
  • Political Geography: Iraq, Turkey, Middle East, Syria
  • Author: Rita Santos, Teresa Almeida Cravo
  • Publication Date: 03-2014
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Norwegian Centre for Conflict Resolution
  • Abstract: Brazil's engagement in United Nations (UN)-mandated peacekeeping operations dates from 1956. Since then the country has participated in 46 of 65 UN peacekeeping operations, deploying 11,669 personnel in total. Yet until 2004-05, with the UN's peacekeeping mission in Haiti, Brazilian contributions to such operations were mainly symbolic, military based and concentrated in Portuguese-speaking countries. Recent changes in the size, type and geographical distribution of Brazil's participation in peace operations echo the reorientation of the country's foreign policy in its search for a more globalised political influence, especially under Lula da Silva's presidency. In particular, peacekeeping under UN aegis has enabled Brazil to showcase its perceived added value in terms of its expertise on stabilisation, track record on development and conflict mediation, and advocacy for the Global South. Aspiring to become a world power, Brazil has assumed a role in peace and security that is more consistent with enhanced international responsibility. Yet, as this report highlights, this transformation has been characterised by dilemmas that are a product of the country's simultaneous legitimation and contestation of the international power structures in which it operates.
  • Topic: International Cooperation, International Security, Peacekeeping
  • Political Geography: Brazil, South America, United Nations
  • Author: Chris Alden
  • Publication Date: 03-2014
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Norwegian Centre for Conflict Resolution
  • Abstract: China is on course to becoming more deeply involved in Africa's security landscape. While the motivation behind Chinese involvement remains primarily economic, the growing exposure of its interests to the vagaries of African politics, as well as pressures to demonstrate greater global activism, are bringing about a reconsideration of Beijing's approach to the continent. China faces threats on three fronts to its standing in Africa: reputational risks derived from its assocation with certain governments; risks to its business interests posed by mecurial leaders and weak regulatory regimes; and risks faced by its citizens operating in unstable African environments. Addressing these concerns poses challenges for Beijing, whose desire to play a larger role in security often clashes with the complexities of doing so while preserving Chinese foreign policy principles and economic interests on the continent.
  • Topic: Economics, Human Rights, International Trade and Finance, Bilateral Relations
  • Political Geography: Africa, China, Asia
  • Author: Adriana Erthal Abdenur, Danilo Marcondes de Souza Neto
  • Publication Date: 03-2014
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Norwegian Centre for Conflict Resolution
  • Abstract: There is growing interest in the role of rising powers in African politics and development, as South-South cooperation with Africa expands. Although recent research on this trend has examined Brazil's increasing economic and political relevance in Africa, relatively little has been written on the country's involvement in peace and security on the continent. This report helps to address this gap by focusing on Brazil's role in African security, especially over the past decade – a period that brought about a surge in Brazil-Africa ties and, simultaneously, the development of the African Peace and Security Architecture. We find that Brazil's involvement encompasses a wide range of state and non-state actors, and that it has been motivated not only by economic interests, but also by a greater prioritisation of Africa and the South Atlantic by Brazil's foreign and defence policies. Topics covered in the report include Brazil's role in peacekeeping and peacebuilding, arms exports, military cooperation, concerns with the spread of piracy in the Gulf of Guinea, positions on major crises, and institution-building efforts. These initiatives reflect not only Brazil's quest to become a global player, but also its efforts to redefine its strategic focus to encompass the South Atlantic.
  • Topic: Foreign Policy, International Security, Bilateral Relations, Foreign Aid, Peacekeeping
  • Political Geography: Africa, Brazil, South America
  • Author: Elling N. Tjønneland
  • Publication Date: 03-2014
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Norwegian Centre for Conflict Resolution
  • Abstract: Much has been written about the role of the rising or emerging powers and their accelerating economic engagement in Africa. Much less is known about how they contribute to or impact on the African peace and security agenda. This report takes a comparative look at the roles of China, India, Brazil and South African in relation to the African Union and its African Peace and Security Architecture. Each of these four countries has a distinct commercial and corporate approach to Africa, despite a shared political commitment to South-South cooperation. However, as they extend their economic engagement they are becoming more sensitive to insecurity and volatility. The Asian and Latin American countries, which traditionally have strongly emphasised non-intervention, are gradually becoming more involved in the African security agenda. They are increasingly concerned about their image and reputation and the security of their citizens and business interests, and are becoming more prepared to act multilaterally and to work with others in facilitating security and stability. As an African power, South Africa plays a more direct role and has emerged as a major architect of the continent's evolving peace and security architecture. This report summarises elements from a broader research project on rising powers and the African peace and security agenda undertaken by CMI in cooperation with NOREF.
  • Topic: Economics, Human Rights, International Cooperation, Regional Cooperation, International Security
  • Political Geography: Africa, India, Asia, South Africa, Brazil, Latin America
  • Author: Zia Ur Rehman
  • Publication Date: 06-2014
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Norwegian Centre for Conflict Resolution
  • Abstract: The Sistan and Baluchistan Province of Iran has long been associated with instability and armed conflict. The two million largely Sunni Muslim Baluch living in the province have suffered sustained racist persecution and discrimination in predominantly Shia and Persian-speaking Iran. Analysts claim that lack of development and cultural and religious repression in Sistan and Baluchistan have encouraged popular support for the insurgency among the Baluch community. Iran claims that the main bases of the two main Baluch insurgents groups, Jundullah and Jaish-ul Adl, are in Pakistan's Baluchistan Province, which shares a 1,165-kilometre border with Iran. Iranian forces are increasingly carrying out cross-border attacks against these groups, straining relations between Iran and Pakistan and possibly fuelling sectarian violence in both countries. Pakistan is battling its own Baluch separatist insurgency. It is feared that the mistreatment of the Baluch community on both sides of the border could lead to an alliance between religiously motivated anti-Iranian Sunni militant groups and the various secular Pakistani Baluch separatist groups.Iranian Baluch militants groups are not only causing an increasing internal security crisis in Iran, but are also threatening to become the key to the survival of the Taliban on the Iran-Pakistan-Afghanistan border.
  • Topic: Security, Insurgency, Bilateral Relations, Sectarian violence
  • Political Geography: Pakistan, Afghanistan, Iran
  • Author: Jonathan Steele
  • Publication Date: 01-2013
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Norwegian Centre for Conflict Resolution
  • 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