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  • Author: Mallory Sutika Sipus
  • Publication Date: 06-2015
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: United States Institute of Peace
  • Abstract: One of the contributing factors to Afghanistan’s civil conflict has been the fluidity within military alliances at the sub-national level. This brief examines the circumstances of military alliances between insurgent commanders—what factors play into an alliance and how they are maintained, with assessments resulting from research from the Centre for Conflict and Peace Studies and supported by USIP.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution, Security, Political Violence, Insurgency
  • Political Geography: Afghanistan, Central Asia
  • Author: Belquis Ahmadi
  • Publication Date: 08-2015
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: United States Institute of Peace
  • Abstract: Four decades of political instability, violent conflict, and socioeconomic crisis has had a devastating impact on Afghanistan and its citizens. As this Peace Brief explains, understanding the process of radicalization and the drivers of violent extremism is vital to designing effective counterstrategies.
  • Topic: Political Violence, Terrorism, Youth Culture
  • Political Geography: Afghanistan
  • Author: William A. Byrd
  • Publication Date: 10-2015
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: United States Institute of Peace
  • Abstract: Some say reviving the Afghan economy in a time of intensifying violent conflict and declining external financial inflows will be impossible. Expectations need to be kept modest, and measures must go beyond conventional economic approaches in order to be effective. This brief puts forward some outside-the-box ideas, which, combined with greater government effectiveness and, hopefully, reductions in violent conflict, may help turn the economy around.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution, Political Violence, Development, Economics
  • Political Geography: Afghanistan, Central Asia
  • Author: Selina Adam Khan
  • Publication Date: 09-2015
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: United States Institute of Peace
  • Abstract: The December 2014 terrorist attack in Peshawar that killed 132 schoolchildren forced Pakistan to acknowledge the extent of its ongoing problem with radical Islamist militancy. Islamabad, however, has yet to implement a comprehensive deradicalization strategy. In January 2015, it took a formal step in this direction with its twenty-point National Action Plan in response to the Peshawar attack—a step, but only a first step. If deradicalization is to meet with any success in Pakistan, the national narrative itself needs to change.
  • Topic: Conflict Prevention, Political Violence, Islam, Terrorism
  • Political Geography: Pakistan, South Asia
  • Author: Raheem ul Haque
  • Publication Date: 02-2014
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: United States Institute of Peace
  • Abstract: Pakistani leaders face serious domestic extremism challenges; more than 47,000 thousand lives have been lost in terrorism-related violence in Pakistan over the past decade. Effective counter-radicalization processes must take into account Pakistan's large young adult population (ages 15-29), which collectively accounts for at least 30 percent of the overall population. Youth radicalization in Pakistan can be understood as the product of an exclusively Islamic identity—meaning a majority of youth identify primarily through their religion over nationality— combined with a broader reactive movement comprised of militant, political and missionary organizations.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution, Political Violence, Demographics, Islam, Youth Culture
  • Political Geography: Pakistan, South Asia
  • Author: Nadia Naviwala
  • Publication Date: 04-2014
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: United States Institute of Peace
  • Abstract: PakVotes, a pilot project supported by the U.S. Institute of Peace (USIP), used social media platforms and a network of reporters located in areas outside of major cities in Pakistan to track violence during the 2013 elections. The project offers lessons that could guide future efforts to use social media to record and publicize conflicts and the use of violence during elections and other major events. The hashtag #PakVotes trended for several days around elections, serving as a popular alternative news source to the mainstream media, which was not as diverse in its geographic coverage, sources or story types.
  • Topic: Political Violence, Democratization, Non-Governmental Organization, Science and Technology, Mass Media
  • Political Geography: Pakistan, United States, South Asia
  • Author: Arif Rafiq
  • Publication Date: 11-2014
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: United States Institute of Peace
  • Abstract: Sectarian violence between Sunni Deobandi and Shia Muslims in Pakistan has escalated in recent years. Most of this violence is perpetrated by local networks, but the sectarian phenomenon also has important ties to regional security dynamics and transnational terrorist networks. Despite sporadic state crackdowns, Pakistan's leading Sunni Deobandi sectarian militant groups have been able to maintain a persistent presence thanks in part to reluctance among mainstream Pakistani military and political leaders to directly confront groups that are sometimes seen as serving utilitarian political interests. Despite this negligence, Sunni Deobandi militants have also established linkages with terrorist groups that target the Pakistani state, such as al-Qaeda and the Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP). Rising conflict in the greater Middle East over the past five years has strengthened the sectarian political narrative in Pakistan and emboldened sectarian militant networks on both sides of the conflict.
  • Topic: Political Violence, Islam, Religion, Terrorism, Sectarianism, Sectarian violence
  • Political Geography: Pakistan
  • Author: Antonio Giustozzi, Casey Garret Johnson
  • Publication Date: 11-2013
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: United States Institute of Peace
  • Abstract: The Taliban have more resources and are better organized to disrupt Afghanistan's 2014 national elections than was the case in any of the country's last four elections. Still, there are disagreements between insurgent leaders about carrying out a campaign of violence and intimidation. One group, led by Akhtar Mansur and tied to the Quetta Shura, favored, at least for some time, a more conciliatory approach and in the spring met informally with Afghan government officials to discuss allowing the polls to go forward. Another Group, led by Taliban military commander Zakir and the Peshawar Shura, favors disrupting the election. These upper-level divisions may have little consequence on the ground since rank-and-file fighters are either vowing to carry out attacks regardless or, as has happened in the past, may strike local deals with political entities to look the other way and allow voting to take place.
  • Topic: Security, Political Violence, Democratization, Islam, War, Insurgency
  • Political Geography: Afghanistan, Central Asia, Taliban
  • Author: Jonas Claes
  • Publication Date: 06-2012
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: United States Institute of Peace
  • Abstract: Political missions can be described as multilateral teams of primarily civilian experts that rely largely on political persuasion to find a nonviolent way out of crises. Preventive deployments are defensive military missions primarily aimed at deterring state or non-state actors from initiating undesired actions. Both political missions and preventive deployments are traditionally seen as conflict management tools used by international or regional organizations.
  • Topic: Conflict Prevention, Political Violence, Crime, Genocide, Human Rights
  • Author: Raymond Gilpin, Steven Koltai
  • Publication Date: 09-2012
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: United States Institute of Peace
  • Abstract: Described as the productive combination of innovation, initiative, risk and capital, entrepreneurship could provide a crucial underpinning for stability in conflict-affected regions via job creation and improved human security. State building initiatives regularly tout entrepreneurship as an integral part of broader economic development, political or security strategies but seldom explain the thinking behind purported causal linkages. The Six + Six model offers a targeted and comprehensive strategy to promote entrepreneurship in conflict-affected states. It provides a dynamic alternative to aid-based strategies. Given the growing success of impact investing, it is imperative for bilateral and multilateral development agencies to help facilitate such investment by co-investing and seeding further impact investing. Entrepreneurs in fragile regions urgently need support in the form of enabling environments and innovative approaches that reward their creativity and risk-taking. To bolster entrepreneurs' chances for success, policymakers should consider: redirecting foreign assistance; re-focusing private sector development interventions; re-conceptualizing state building; and re-valuing individuals.
  • Topic: Conflict Prevention, Political Violence, Economics, Markets, Poverty, Fragile/Failed State, Foreign Direct Investment
  • Author: Joshua T. White, Shuja Ali Malik
  • Publication Date: 10-2012
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: United States Institute of Peace
  • Abstract: Pakistan's Federally Administered Tribal Areas (FATA) remain mired in an archaic century-old system of indirect governance that provides space in which militant movements have thrived. President Asif Ali Zardari recently announced the FATA Local Governance Regulation 2012, establishing a system of local councils in the troubled tribal region. Although the regulation is disappointingly vague, and retains the sweeping prerogatives of the central government, it appears to have been driven in part by the army's interest in building civilian governance capacity in conflict-torn areas. The governments of Pakistan and the United States, along with local and international stakeholders, should advocate for continuity of implementation, insist on party-based local council elections, encourage experimentation within the bounds of the regulation, link the new councils to existing development structures, press the government to articulate a longer-term political vision for the FATA, and be realistic about the necessity of the army's active involvement in shaping governance policy in the tribal areas.
  • Topic: Political Violence, Corruption, Government, Islam, Counterinsurgency
  • Political Geography: Pakistan, United States, South Asia
  • Author: Robin Wright, Garrett Nada
  • Publication Date: 12-2012
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: United States Institute of Peace
  • Abstract: The Middle East faces even bigger challenges in 2013 than it did during the first two years of the so-called Arab Spring. So far—a pivotal caveat—the Arab uprisings have deepened the political divide, worsened economic woes and produced greater insecurity. Solutions are not imminent either. More than 120 million people in Egypt, Tunisia, Libya and Yemen have experienced successful uprisings that ousted four leaders who together ruled a total of 129 years. But more than half of the Arab world's 350 million people have yet to witness any real change at all. Defining a new order has proven far harder than ousting old autocrats. Phase one was creating conditions for democracy. Phase two is a kind of democratic chaos as dozens of parties in Egypt, Libya and Tunisia do political battle (and in some cases physical battle) over constitutions. Ancien regimes have not totally given up, as in Yemen. The cost of change has exceeded even the highest estimates, as in Syria. So most Arabs are probably disappointed with the “Arab Spring” for one of many reasons. Nevertheless the uprisings were never going to happen in one season. This is instead only the beginning of a decades-long process—as most in the West should know from their own experiences.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution, Political Violence, Democratization, Post Colonialism, Regime Change
  • Political Geography: Middle East, Libya, Yemen, Arabia, Egypt, Tunisia
  • Author: Hannah Byam, Christopher Neu
  • Publication Date: 03-2011
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: United States Institute of Peace
  • Abstract: With a rise in terrorist activity spreading fear through highly publicized attacks, Pakistan's media landscape has increasingly been used as a battleground between those seeking to promote violent conflict and others seeking to manage or deter it. Pakistan's media community has not yet developed an adequate or widely accepted strategy for responding to this context of persistent extremism and conflict. The rapid rise of extremist radio stations in the Federally Administered Tribal Areas (FATA) and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KPK) provinces has paralleled an increase in terrorist attacks, facilitated by affordable access to FM radio, loose government regulation of broadcast media and militant control of pockets in KPK and FATA. Negative media attitudes toward the Pakistan-U.S. relationship often reflect national political differences and market incentives for sensationalist coverage. These attitudes can be transformed through changes in the diplomatic relationship between the countries based on open communication rather than institutional media reform.
  • Topic: Foreign Policy, Political Violence, Terrorism, Mass Media
  • Political Geography: Pakistan, United States, Asia
  • Author: Stephanie Flamenbaum, Megan Neville, Constantino Xavier
  • Publication Date: 03-2011
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: United States Institute of Peace
  • Abstract: Growing economic and political instability, rising support for extremism and increasing tensions in Pakistan's relationship with the United States currently threaten the country's prospects for a stable future.
  • Topic: Political Violence, Economics
  • Political Geography: Pakistan, United States, South Asia
  • Author: Lawrence Woocher, Jonas Claes, Abiodun Williams
  • Publication Date: 07-2011
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: United States Institute of Peace
  • Abstract: USIP's annual “Preventing Violent Conflict” conference is designed to spotlight the importance of the subject, address specific challenges facing prevention efforts and identify priority areas for USIP's future work on conflict prevention. This brief summarizes the highlights of that conference.
  • Topic: Conflict Prevention, Political Violence, Crime, War
  • Author: Robert Maguire, Courtney McCreesh
  • Publication Date: 06-2011
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: United States Institute of Peace
  • Abstract: President Michel Martelly takes office at a time when Haitians are frustrated with the pace and scale of earthquake recovery and insecure about the future. Haitians are uncertain what to expect from their new leader who has promised much and who now must address a broad range of immediate needs. Progress toward improved personal, social, economic, environmental, political and energy security for Haiti's citizens has been mixed. The Haitian National Police comprise an important building block for improving Haiti's personal safety and security environment. A greater effort is needed to deal with Haiti's chronic problems with jobs, education, healthcare and housing.
  • Topic: Security, Political Violence, Crime, Economics
  • Political Geography: Caribbean, Haiti
  • Author: Dorina Bekoe
  • Publication Date: 08-2011
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: United States Institute of Peace
  • Abstract: Nigeria's 2011 general election received high praise for being well-managed. But post-election violence claimed 800 lives over three days in northern Nigeria and displaced 65,000 people, making the elections the most violent in Nigeria's history.
  • Topic: Political Violence, Democratization
  • Political Geography: Africa
  • Author: Alison Laporte-Oshiro
  • Publication Date: 11-2011
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: United States Institute of Peace
  • Abstract: Consolidating the legitimate use of force in the hands of the state is a vital first step in post-conflict peacebuilding. Transitional governments must move quickly to neutralize rival armed groups and provide a basic level of security for citizens. Two processes are vital to securing a monopoly of force: disarmament, demobilization, and reintegration and security sector reform. Disarmament, demobilization, and reintegration (DDR) involve disbanding armed groups that challenge the government's monopoly of force. Security sector reform (SSR) means reforming and rebuilding the national security forces so that they are professional and accountable. U.S. experience in Afghanistan, Iraq, Liberia, Haiti, Bosnia, and Kosovo yielded three crosscutting lessons: go in heavy, tackle DDR and SSR in tandem, and consolidate U.S. capacity to implement both tasks in a coordinated, scalable way.
  • Topic: Security, Political Violence, Armed Struggle, Insurgency
  • Political Geography: Afghanistan, United States, Iraq, Bosnia, Kosovo, Haiti, Liberia
  • Author: Emile Hokayem
  • Publication Date: 11-2011
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: United States Institute of Peace
  • Abstract: The unrest in Syria offers the Gulf States an opportunity to weaken or even dislodge an Assad regime aligned with Iran, but their ability to project power or shape events in Syria is limited. Dislike of the Assad regime doesn't necessarily align Gulf interests and long-term vision for Syria. Moreover, cooperation on diplomacy and strategy is lacking. Sectarianism, most evidenced in media commentary and clerical statements, is already a major feature of Gulf discourse on Syria. Parts of the Syrian opposition have approached and have been courted by Gulf governments. Still, a degree of unease and mistrust continues to define their relations.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution, Political Violence, Regime Change
  • Political Geography: Iran, Middle East, Arab Countries, Syria
  • Author: Stephanie Schwartz
  • Publication Date: 01-2010
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: United States Institute of Peace
  • Abstract: The Ethiopian invasion of Somalia in 2006, supported by the U.S, had the unintentional consequence of fueling splinter insurgent groups including Al-Shabab and Hizbul Islam. Currently Somalia faces a humanitarian crisis with 3.6 million people displaced. Countering the insurgency and alleviating the humanitarian crisis in Somalia demands a creative rethinking of international policy. While the 2008 Dijbouti Accord created a more inclusive Transitional Federal Government (TFG), the international community must weigh whether continued support for the TFG will bring real progress in governance or if it will strengthen popular support for the insurgency. If the international community sees support for the TFG as beneficial, they could consider policies including: Flooding Somalia with development aid and investing in civil society; Expanding the African Union (AU) peacekeeping mission to include representation from other Muslim countries; Finding creative solutions for inter-Somali governance and reconciliation. If the international community calculates that support for the TFG is not beneficial because it will only fuel the insurgency, they should consider a policy of "constructive disengagement," withdrawing support from the TFG and the AU peacekeeping mission, while simultaneously investing in local and regional development projects.
  • Topic: Political Violence, Terrorism, Fragile/Failed State
  • Political Geography: Africa, United States, China, Ethiopia, Somalia
  • Author: Robert M. Perito
  • Publication Date: 02-2010
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: United States Institute of Peace
  • Abstract: Legislative oversight of the security sector is crucial to ensure that security policies and expenditures are undertaken with full transparency, accountability and concern for other national priorities and popular attitudes. This is important in conflict states, particularly during peace or stability operations. Establishing legislative oversight is difficult in conflict countries because of the absence of historical tradition, the complexity of security agencies, the technical nature of the issues, secrecy laws and the lack of expertise among parliamentarians and their staffs. The U.S. Congress provides a model for effective legislative oversight of the security sector for other countries to emulate. Congress has developed the legal authorities and the traditions required to form an effective partnership with the Defense and Justice departments, the U.S. military forces and civilian security services. Due to the importance of legislative oversight of the security sector to the democratic process, the U.S. Congress provides advice and training to foreign parliaments and parliamentarians in security sector reform. Congress has important partnership arrangements with parliaments in Afghanistan, Pakistan, Georgia, Kosovo and other conflict countries.
  • Topic: Security, Political Violence, International Cooperation, Regional Cooperation, War
  • Political Geography: Pakistan, Afghanistan, Kosovo, Georgia
  • Author: Dorina Bekoe
  • Publication Date: 03-2010
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: United States Institute of Peace
  • Abstract: Studies indicate that violence in Africa's elections affects between 19 and 25 percent of elections. In many countries where electoral violence is a risk, it tends to recur and may consequently lead to an unfavorable view of democratization. The regularity with which electoral violence occurs suggests that underlying grievances or structural characteristics may be tied to the elections and fuel the violence. Electoral violence, especially recurrent, seems indicative of more widespread systemic grievances and tensions. Tensions over land rights, employment and ethnic marginalization are three dominant characteristics of recurring electoral violence. These areas intersect and are frequently manipulated by politicians. Some recent actions taken by the government and civil society may offer insights into reversing the trends of recurring violence. These actions warrant further analysis in order to improve strategies to reduce violence.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution, Political Violence, Democratization
  • Political Geography: Africa
  • Author: Theo Dolan
  • Publication Date: 04-2010
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: United States Institute of Peace
  • Abstract: The monitoring of Iraqi media reveals that inflammatory coverage does not • necessarily consist of a direct call to violence, but instead takes the form of indirect or coded terminology that still has dangerous potential to foment conflict. Current regulatory and self-regulatory efforts designed to prevent media incitement to violence have, thus far, been insufficient. Lessons learned from post-conflict Bosnia, Kosovo and Sri Lanka can assist Iraqis in creating their own legal and self-regulatory mechanisms to limit inflammatory media coverage. There are a wide range of measures to mitigate inflammatory media coverage, including targeted training for media and government officials, broad support for a professional code of conduct, a full review of existing legislation relating to incitement, and the creation of a lexicon of inflammatory terms with guidelines for the proper use of these terms.
  • Topic: Conflict Prevention, Political Violence, Mass Media
  • Political Geography: Iraq, Bosnia, Sri Lanka, Kosovo
  • Author: Sheldon Himelfarb
  • Publication Date: 03-2010
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: United States Institute of Peace
  • Abstract: Since the fall of the Taliban in 2001, the Afghan media sector has experienced dramatic growth in all areas: television, radio, print, internet, mobile phones. As such, the sector holds tremendous potential for making significant contributions to peacebuilding in the country. However, the media sector also confronts numerous challenges that impede its ability to realize this potential – which can only be addressed through the combined efforts and attention of international and domestic stakeholders alike. Among the most pressing challenges is resolving the tension between information operations and counterinsurgency, on the one hand, and developing a viable, credible media sector on the other. All too often efforts to counter extremist messages through expanded military and government access to the airwaves (via purchased air time and proliferating “radio in a box” broadcasts from military outposts) have had a negative impact on both media market economics and media credibility. Sustainability is also a significant issue. A glut of media outlets has arisen that are privately licensed yet sustained by international donor funds and strategic communications money. This has had a deleterious effect on the perception of media, and its effectiveness as a guardian of public interests. The shortcomings of state-owned RTA as a public broadcaster further contribute to this, leading many experts to call for greater investment in long-term training and mentoring as well as regulatory reform to limit government manipulation of the airwaves. Other significant areas for improvement: greater emphasis on quality and diversity of programming (including a need for more Pashto language programs), enhanced efforts to provide security for media practitioners, more professional communications training for Afghan government officials, and more extensive research and understanding of Afghan media consumers themselves.
  • Topic: Conflict Prevention, Political Violence, Mass Media, Counterinsurgency
  • Political Geography: Afghanistan
  • Author: Leonard Rubenstein, Anjalee Kohli, Kathleen Kuehnast
  • Publication Date: 04-2010
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: United States Institute of Peace
  • Abstract: Multisectoral approaches are essential to address sexual and gender-based violence (SGBV) in armed conflict. In countries where conflict-related SGBV is taking place, the health sector can contribute by providing essential medical interventions and support for survivors, documentation for legal cases, programs that assist in reducing social stigma, and data for effective programming.
  • Topic: Political Violence, Gender Issues, Health, Human Welfare, Armed Struggle
  • Author: Michelle Swearingen
  • Publication Date: 05-2010
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: United States Institute of Peace
  • Abstract: Political, socioeconomic or cultural inequalities among groups could potentially motivate political violence in societies. Research has shown that political inequalities between groups are most likely to motivate leaders, while socioeconomic inequalities motivate followers.
  • Topic: Conflict Prevention, Political Violence, Humanitarian Aid, Social Stratification
  • Author: Jonas Claes
  • Publication Date: 04-2010
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: United States Institute of Peace
  • Abstract: Several destabilizing dynamics persist throughout eastern Central Asia, such as weak governance, poor social and economic conditions, ethnic tensions and religious militancy. While these differ in kind and scope in each country, some conflict drivers are transnational in scope, such as energy insecurity and environmental degradation.
  • Topic: Conflict Prevention, Foreign Policy, Political Violence, International Cooperation
  • Political Geography: United States, Central Asia
  • Author: Anna Theofilopoulou
  • Publication Date: 04-2010
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: United States Institute of Peace
  • Abstract: The ongoing effort to use negotiations without preconditions to resolve the conflict between Morocco and the Polisario Front over Western Sahara has not produced results. The April 6, 2010 report of the United Nations secretary-general to the U.N. Security Council admits that there has been no movement on the core substantive issues.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution, Political Violence, Diplomacy, United Nations
  • Political Geography: Africa, Morocco
  • Author: Moeed Yusuf
  • Publication Date: 08-2010
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: United States Institute of Peace
  • Abstract: Despite receiving over $15 billion in U.S. aid since 9/11, perceptions of America in Pakistan remain acutely negative. If Pakistanis continue to be opposed to U.S. policies, the Pakistani government will not be able to deliver on its promises, and U.S. initiatives in Pakistan will not produce desired outcomes. American and Pakistani governments have forged a rather opaque relationship which has not helped to cultivate popular support for policies across Pakistan. Instead, it has fostered an anti- U.S. sentiment in Pakistan that increasingly puts pressure on the government in Islamabad. U.S. policy must be fundamentally changed to turn around the anti-American outlook among Pakistanis. In order to do so, the official relationship needs to be more transparent; frequency of visits by U.S. officials ought to be reconsidered; 'image correcting aid' should be provided in addition to the long-term assistance; Pakistani citizens should be engaged through constant dialogue and debate on U.S.-Pakistan relations; and American and Pakistani officials should remain sensitive about the internal impact of their public statements and actions.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution, Political Violence, Imperialism, Mass Media, Insurgency
  • Political Geography: Pakistan, America, South Asia
  • Author: Leonard S. Rubenstein
  • Publication Date: 11-2010
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: United States Institute of Peace
  • Abstract: Defying expectations, successful polio vaccination campaigns have taken place in well over two dozen armed conflicts, and continue today. Polio vaccination campaigns amid war have often succeeded in gaining the cooperation of anti-government forces such as Sendero Luminoso in Peru, multiple rebel groups in the Democratic Republic of Congo, and the Taliban in Afghanistan. Diplomatic means have also been employed to overcome severe political obstacles to such campaigns, even when the campaigns have become a flashpoint in places of political turmoil. Such campaigns face many challenges because vaccinators need to reach all villages without threats to their own lives or the programs' implementation. They require security for safe passage for immunizations and sometimes temporary cease-fires. The many successes of vaccination campaigns can be attributed to the programs' exclusive focus on the immunization needs of children; the use of interlocutors who are credible because they demonstrate neutrality; transparent discussions with opposition groups about the reasons for the campaigns; a role for opposition groups in facilitating the campaigns; limits on the number of days vaccinations take place; and the absence of any strategic or political goals for the effort beyond polio eradication.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution, Political Violence, Armed Struggle, Health Care Policy
  • Political Geography: Afghanistan, Taliban, Peru
  • Author: Louis-Alexandre Berg
  • Publication Date: 10-2010
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: United States Institute of Peace
  • Abstract: Crime and violence are on the rise in Port-au-Prince due to prisoner escapes during the earth quake. Youth gangs and other armed groups are regaining strength in the most vulnerable neighborhoods and spreading to other areas of the city. In the tent camps around Port-au- Prince, displaced people—especially women—remain vulnerable to crime. These factors have contributed to an increasing sense of insecurity. As political tensions rise in the run-up to elections, armed groups, criminal enterprises and vulnerable youth could once again be mobilized by political forces to fuel violence or disrupt the political process. Gangs and their involvement in criminal and political violence are deeply rooted in Haitian politics, and fueled by widespread poverty, inadequate police presence, government weak ness, and social and economic inequities. Prior to the earthquake, criminal violence had begun to decline due to a combination of political reconciliation, law enforcement operations and investment in marginalized neighborhoods. These fragile gains have been reversed since the earthquake and public confidence in the police has been shaken. Directing resources toward mitigating violence while addressing the underlying sources of crime and violence should remain a priority in post-earthquake reconstruction.
  • Topic: Political Violence, Crime, Natural Disasters, Law Enforcement
  • Author: Leonard Rubenstein, Anjalee Kohli
  • Publication Date: 09-2010
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: United States Institute of Peace
  • Abstract: There is increasing recognition that the violence, displacement, disruption of communities and social networks, and deprivation stemming from war deeply impact the mental health of individuals and the social cohesion of communities. In response, donors and providers are creating programs for psychosocial or clinical services that seek to be culturally appropriate, attentive to the need to build local capacity, and sustainable. The quality and comprehensiveness of mental health programs offered in crises, however, generally remains mixed. Too often the programs do not sufficiently differentiate among widely varying individual needs or focus predominantly on either community-based interventions or the clinical needs of more severely affected people but not both. Services for people with more severe disabilities often replicate institutional models, and accompanying human rights violations, that existed in the pre-war period. The challenge of providing sound programs, moreover, is complicated by a relatively thin evidence base. In the face of these challenges, the “Guidelines on Mental Health and Psychosocial Support in Emergency Settings” adopted in 2007 by the Interagency Standing Committee (IASC) offer a promising approach. They stress understanding local context, programming that attends to psychosocial support needs of the entire community, meeting clinical needs of people with more severe conditions, and respecting human rights. Following the IASC and building the evidence base by assuring adequate evaluation of funded programs can help meet the tremendous mental health needs of suffering populations.
  • Topic: Political Violence, Health, Humanitarian Aid, War
  • Author: Kelly Campbell, Linda Bishai, Jacki Wilson
  • Publication Date: 03-2009
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: United States Institute of Peace
  • Abstract: Sudan's upcoming elections in 2009 raise hopes and concerns for the country's future. According to the Comprehensive Peace Agreement (CPA), signed in 2005 between the ruling National Congress Party (NCP) and the Sudan People's Liberation Movement (SPLM), Sudan is scheduled to hold national and state level elections in 2009. (Elections are to take place for president of the Government of National Unity, president of the Government of Southern Sudan, members of the National Assembly and the South Sudan Legislative Assembly, and governors and state legislatures in all of Sudan's 25 states) However, delays in each phase of electoral preparation—including the passage of the electoral law, the appointment of the nine National Election Commission members responsible for overseeing elections, and the census—have raised doubts about whether the elections will be held within the timeframe outlined in the CPA.
  • Topic: Political Violence, Civil Society, Democratization, Government, Peace Studies, War
  • Political Geography: Africa, Sudan, South Sudan
  • Author: Alistair Harris
  • Publication Date: 03-2009
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: United States Institute of Peace
  • Abstract: Last week's international donor conference to address the question of humanitarian assistance to Gaza underscores the myriad challenges confronting the process. Namely, how should the international community respond to the complex issues surrounding assistance in post-conflict recovery and reconstruction, particularly when several key donors reject any contact with Hamas, the governing authority on the ground? By any estimation, the Gaza reconstruction process will face several perplexing issues: How can billions of US dollars be effectively, transparently and accountably dispersed in a coordinated way, when several key donors and the Government of Israel reject any moves that will bolster the fortunes of Hamas, who m they classify as a terrorist organisation? What impact will an emerging Palestinian National Unity Government have on the mechanisms for overcoming many donors' reluctance to deal directly with Hamas? What opportunities and challenges does the reconstruction of Gaza pose for a rapprochement between Hamas and Fatah? Who will lead the reconstruction process and how will meaningful activity take place in the face of severe restrictions on access and movement? With Hamas in power in Gaza and Israel ref using to consider opening their common borders until kidnapped Israeli Defence Forces Corporal Gilad Shalit is released by Hamas, how is meaningful recovery and reconstruction even possible? In the absence of a credible political process, what use is reconstruction anyway if it merely returns the population of Gaza to their pre-conflict socio-economic imperilment? Lebanon faced a similar situation following the 2006 war between Hezbollah and Israel.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution, Foreign Policy, Political Violence, Humanitarian Aid, Peace Studies, War
  • Political Geography: Middle East, Israel, Palestine, Arabia, Gaza, Lebanon
  • Author: J Alexander Thier, John Dempsey
  • Publication Date: 03-2009
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: United States Institute of Peace
  • Abstract: The current political crisis over elections in Afghanistan stems, in part, from a fundamental gap in Afghanistan's legal and political system: lack of agreement on what entity(s) has the power to resolve constitutional disputes, and how that power is accessed. Without a clear path to settling constitutional disagreements, the system becomes deadlocked as disputes arise, exacerbating tensions between Afghanistan's fragile institutions and factionalized political elite.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution, Foreign Policy, Political Violence, War
  • Political Geography: Afghanistan, United States, Central Asia
  • Author: A. Heather Coyne, Barbara Zasloff, Adina Shapiro
  • Publication Date: 09-2009
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: United States Institute of Peace
  • Abstract: President Barack Obama declared in his June 4thaddress at Cairo University that “all of us must recognize that education and innovation will be the currency of the 21st century.” His emphasis throughout the speech on the importance of educational initiatives reflects the central role that education can play in preparing communities for change. This is particularly relevant in regard to the peace process between Israelis and Palestinians. Education can be an important component of fostering positive change in social values, attitudes and skills that are necessary to overcome the pain of conflict and to cope with the frustrations involved in a peace process. Alternatively, education can reinforce conflict-producing myths and stereotypes, serving as a battleground where social groups are demonized, and different communities compete over history and the society's narratives.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution, Political Violence, Peace Studies
  • Political Geography: Middle East, South Africa, Arabia, Germany, North Ireland
  • Author: Jon Temin
  • Publication Date: 09-2009
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: United States Institute of Peace
  • Abstract: Over the past few months, much of the international attention devoted to Sudan has focused on “CPA implementation.” Within that focus on the Comprehensive Peace Agreement (CPA), most attention is paid to the status of Abyei, if and when nationwide elections will happen, border demarcation and, above all else, the 2011 referendum on the status of southern Sudan. But there are other aspects of the north-south dynamic deserving of discussion and strategic thinking that don't receive their due. This Peace Brief describes six of those issues and questions that, while they get some attention, could use a little more as decisive events in Sudan's political history approach.
  • Topic: Political Violence, Democratization
  • Political Geography: Africa, Sudan
  • Author: David R. Smock
  • Publication Date: 09-2009
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: United States Institute of Peace
  • Abstract: The demands of the population in the Niger Delta to enjoy greater benefit from the oil produced in their region continue to go unanswered. The people in the Delta complain that oil-spill pollution has made their water undrinkable, gas flaring has made the air unfit for breathing, while revenue from the oil has paid for mansions to be built in the capital, Abuja. Although well armed militias have suspended their attacks for a few weeks, they threaten to resume operations soon. A Technical Committee appointed by Nigerian President Umaru Yar'Aduato make recommendations for action relating to the Delta made its report nine months ago, but the government has taken no action on the report. The government has offered an amnesty to the militants for a period that expires in early October, but so far few militants have responded. Oil production continues to be seriously reduced by the militants' attacks and by the stealing of oil (termed “bunkering”) by militants and others.
  • Topic: Political Violence, Oil
  • Political Geography: Africa, Nigeria
  • Author: Robert Maguire
  • Publication Date: 11-2009
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: United States Institute of Peace
  • Abstract: On October 13, 2009, the United Nations Security Council unanimously approved a one-year extension of the mandate for the United Nations Stabilization Mission in Haiti (MINUSTAH). The sixth mission since 1995, MINUSTAH was first authorized in 2004. The mission, under Brazilian command, comprises 6,940 soldiers and 2,211 police. It also has unprecedented star power since the May 2009 appointment of former U.S. President Bill Clinton as U.N. special envoy to Haiti.
  • Topic: Security, Political Violence, Democratization, United Nations
  • Political Geography: Brazil, Caribbean, Haiti
  • Author: Dorina Bekoe
  • Publication Date: 04-2008
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: United States Institute of Peace
  • Abstract: The botched results from the December 27, 2007 presidential elections in Kenya sparked a wave of violence across the country that left more than 1,000 dead and 600,000 displaced. Incumbent president Mwai Kibaki, representing the ruling Party of National Unity (PNU), was declared the winner of the presidential polls over Raila Odinga, of the opposition Orange Democratic Movement (ODM). Supporters of the ODM, which had won 99 parliamentary seats against PNU's 43 (out of 210 elected seats), charged that the election had been rigged. The chairman of the Electoral Commission of Kenya has since stated that the PNU and the ODM-K (an allied party) forced him to call the election, even with irregularities in the tallying.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution, Political Violence, Politics
  • Political Geography: Kenya, Africa
  • Author: Sheila Mwiandi
  • Publication Date: 08-2008
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: United States Institute of Peace
  • Abstract: Kenya's post-election violence has displaced more than 600,000 persons within the country since December 2007. Although violence-induced displacement is not a new phenomenon in Kenya, the magnitude, speed and intensity of this displacement were unprecedented. Clashes in the 1990s, also around general elections, displaced hundreds of thousands of Kenyans, many of whom remain displaced today. The new coalition government has made the resettlement of Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) a top priority, launching "Operation Return Home" in May.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution, Political Violence, Human Welfare, Humanitarian Aid
  • Political Geography: Kenya, Africa
  • Author: Mona Yacoubian
  • Publication Date: 02-2008
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: United States Institute of Peace
  • Abstract: As the third anniversary of the assassination of former Lebanese Prime Minister Rafik Hariri approaches, Lebanon is witnessing its worst crisis since the 15-year civil war. Hariri's February 14th assassination—widely suspected to have been orchestrated by Syria—enraged the Lebanese who took to the streets one month later, demanding the withdrawal of Syrian troops. Dubbed the Cedar Revolution, this mass protest movement succeeded in ending nearly 30 years of Syrian military occupation. It was to have ushered in a new era of democracy. Instead, Lebanon has suffered through bombings, assassinations, war between Hezbollah and Israel, and bouts of sectarian violence.
  • Topic: Security, Political Violence, Terrorism
  • Political Geography: Middle East, Syria
  • Author: Robert M. Perito
  • Publication Date: 11-2008
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: United States Institute of Peace
  • Abstract: In September 2008, four hurricanes and tropical storms—Fay, Gustav, Hannah and Ike—slammed into Haiti with devastating force. Nearly 800 people were killed, 300 remain missing and more than 500 were injured. More than 150,000 people were displaced. Cities and towns were inundated with mud. Roads, bridges, crops and factories were destroyed. Damage to infrastructure was so great that helicopters and boats were required to reach parts of the island. Millions were left at risk of starvation. International aid officials warned that shortages could spark the kind of food riots that erupted in April of this year.
  • Topic: Political Violence, Disaster Relief, Humanitarian Aid, Poverty, Third World
  • Political Geography: Caribbean, Island
  • Author: Kelly Campbell, Sarah Bessell
  • Publication Date: 12-2008
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: United States Institute of Peace
  • Abstract: The fragility of the Chadian government, as well as the fragmentation among Chadian civil society, political parties, and rebel movements, poses significant challenges that Chadian civil society, regional governments, African institutions and the international community must address with a coordinated strategy.
  • Topic: International Relations, Political Violence, Civil Society, Post Colonialism, Poverty
  • Political Geography: Africa
  • Author: Catherine Morris, Go Funai
  • Publication Date: 12-2008
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: United States Institute of Peace
  • Abstract: This USIPeace Briefing discusses a recent event that focused on human security implications of resurgent violence which left hundreds dead, thousands displaced and millions destitute in North Kivu province in the Democratic Republic of the Congo. The conclusions and recommendations from this event highlight the importance of going beyond traditional short-term humanitarian interventions to adopt more comprehensive and sustainable solutions that effectively balance security and development.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution, Security, Political Violence, Ethnic Conflict, Genocide, Humanitarian Aid, War
  • Political Geography: Africa, Democratic Republic of the Congo