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  • Author: Lawrence Woocher, Jonas Claes, Abiodun Williams
  • Publication Date: 08-2010
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: United States Institute of Peace
  • Abstract: Conflict prevention is widely endorsed in principle—including in the 2010 U.S. National Security Strategy—but too rarely put into serious practice. It is thus important to narrow the gap between rhetoric and action in preventing violent conflicts. The interest of elites in exploiting ethnic differences for political gains, the absence of well-established mechanisms for prevention in certain regions, and the destabilizing role of external meddling continue to impede the development of effective prevention strategies. Yet, much progress has been made in the field of conflict prevention, both at the normative and the operational levels. As a crucial actor in conflict prevention, the United States should work with others to forge a consistent approach to countries at risk, urge countries to deal with arbitrary borders through negotiation rather than violence, and support greater cooperation between regional organizations.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution, Conflict Prevention, Education, Political Theory
  • Political Geography: United States
  • Author: Mary Hope Schwoebel, Altaf Ullah Khan
  • Publication Date: 08-2010
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: United States Institute of Peace
  • Abstract: The flooding and associated devastation that have battered Pakistan since late July 2010 present yet another series of challenges to its government, already contending with violence from extremist groups. The international community would do well to assist the Pakistani government in responding effectively to these challenges. Natural disasters are social as well as environmental events. The poor and marginalized members of society suffer the most. Marginalization is one of the root causes of violence and militancy in Pakistan. As the government of Pakistan responds to the suffering of its people and the damage to the environment and infrastructure, it should seek to provide relief and recovery assistance in ways that contribute to ameliorating marginalization. Disaster managers should ensure that urgent humanitarian demands do not miss the opportunity to achieve relief and recovery in ways that contribute to good governance, sustainable development and stable peace.
  • Topic: Humanitarian Aid, Natural Disasters
  • Political Geography: Pakistan, South Asia
  • Author: Lisa Schirch
  • Publication Date: 09-2010
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: United States Institute of Peace
  • Abstract: The intense challenge of coordinating government civilians with military actors in the International Security Assistance Forces' Provincial Reconstruction Teams in Afghanistan has inhibited development of military relationships with civil society. The counterinsurgency strategy of “shape, clear, hold, build” invites civil society organizations (CSOs) to play key roles in the final “build” stage at the operational level. Yet many CSOs resist “coordination” in a mission and strategy different from their own. CSOs seek greater policy dialogue and “communication” with high-level ISAF decision makers, particularly during planning stages. An ongoing, high-level forum for civil society-military policy dialogue could help address tensions, provide a mechanism for CSOs to share their conflict assessments, and explore areas for possible collaboration such as in security sector reform.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution, Civil Society, War
  • Political Geography: Afghanistan, Indonesia
  • Author: Richard Caplan
  • Publication Date: 09-2010
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: United States Institute of Peace
  • Abstract: On July 22, 2010, the International Court of Justice (ICJ) issued its advisory opinion on Kosovo's declaration of independence of February 17, 2008, observing that the declaration was not in violation of international law. The Court's opinion may facilitate further recognitions of Kosovo but thus far there has been no significant increase in the number of countries extending recognition. Although the Court's opinion was drafted with the specific and unique circumstances of the Kosovo case in mind, it has been followed with interest by separatist parties engaged in contested territorial struggles elsewhere around the world. Separatists are likely also to be watching with interest the next steps that may be taken with regard to Kosovo in the wake of the ICJ's advisory opinion, especially any boundary adjustments that may be proposed and agreed upon between the Serbian and Kosovar governments.
  • Topic: International Law, Sovereignty
  • Political Geography: Kosovo, Balkans
  • Author: Virginia M. Bouvier
  • Publication Date: 09-2010
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: United States Institute of Peace
  • Abstract: The new Colombian administration that took office in early August faces a unique set of peacemaking challenges and opportunities related to the country's internal armed conflict. Following a spate of tensions with neighboring countries regarding the presence of illegal armed groups along Colombia's border areas, newly-inaugurated President Juan Manuel Santos moved quickly to create new mechanisms with his neighbors to ensure that contentious regional issues are addressed before they reach the boiling point. In a surprising video released just before the president-elect was inaugurated, the top leader of the Colombian Revolutionary Armed Forces-People's Army (FARC-EP), called on Santos to enter a dialogue without preconditions, thereby opening a new window of opportunities to pursue peace. President Santos responded that “the door to dialogue is not locked,” insisting however that the guerrillas must lay down their weapons and meet a series of other pre-conditions before talks could occur. Former mediators differ over whether such preconditions will pose an obstacle to talks. In the final days of August, Brazil and Ecuador rejected a FARC-EP request for meeting with the Union of South American Nations (UNASUR) to discuss a political solution to Colombia's conflict. UNASUR leaders said they would not engage in mediating the conflict in the absence of an express invitation from the Colombian government. The Colombian government has rejected UNASUR mediation and underscored its preference to negotiate directly with the FARC-EP once the latter meets the government's preconditions. Concrete good faith efforts—both public and private—will be required from the government and the guerrillas to build confidence, address the legacy of distrust created by decades of violence and set the stage for future talks.
  • Topic: Democratization, Government, Peace Studies, Politics
  • Political Geography: Brazil, Colombia, Latin America
  • Author: William B. Taylor
  • Publication Date: 09-2010
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: United States Institute of Peace
  • Abstract: President Barack Obama's policy of a conditions-based redeployment in Afghanistan starting in July 2011 leaves him a lot of flexibility. The administration will likely decide to maintain the troop numbers in Afghanistan near the surge level next year, pending another review.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution, Terrorism, War
  • Political Geography: Afghanistan, United States
  • Author: Matt Waldman
  • Publication Date: 09-2010
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: United States Institute of Peace
  • Abstract: There are reasons for skepticism about government-insurgent talks, especially as both sides are known for abusive, unjust and discriminatory policies. However, given the constraints of counterinsurgency, obstacles to an anticipated security transition, and the threat of worsening conflict, the potential for negotiations should be explored. Field research indicates that the coalition's military surge is intensifying the conflict, and compounding enmity and mistrust between the parties. It is therefore reducing the prospects of negotiations, which require confidence-building measures that should be incremental, structured and reciprocal. Strategies should be developed to deal with powerful spoilers, on all sides, that may try to disrupt the process. The form of pre-talks, and the effectiveness of mediators and “track two” interlocutors, will be critical. Pakistan provides assistance to, and has significant influence over, the Taliban. Talks require Pakistan's support, but giving its officials excessive influence over the process could trigger opposition within Afghanistan and countermeasures from regional states. The perceived threat from India is driving Pakistan's geostrategic policies, thus concerted efforts are required to improve Pakistan-India relations. Negotiations could lead to a power-sharing agreement, but implementation would be highly challenging, especially due to multifarious factional and other power struggles. An agreement could also involve constitutional or legislative changes that curtail fundamental civil and political rights, especially those of women and girls. Genuine reconciliation efforts are required to build better relations between hostile groups. For legitimacy and viability, any settlement must be both inclusive and just: it should therefore seek to reflect the aspirations of all elements of Afghanistan's diverse society. It should also seek to address underlying causes of the conflict, especially the abuse of power.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution, Diplomacy, Treaties and Agreements, Insurgency
  • Political Geography: Pakistan, Afghanistan, United States, India
  • Author: Semira Nikou
  • Publication Date: 09-2010
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: United States Institute of Peace
  • Abstract: Iran has subsidized petroleum products, basic foodstuffs, medical goods and utilities since 1980, first to manage hardships during the eight-year war with Iraq, and then to prevent political and economic challenges after the war. Since the 1990s, three presidents have tried to cut back subsidies that are now estimated to cost Iran between $70 billion and $100 billion annually. President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad won parliamentary approval for a controversial plan to phase out subsides by 2015. Under the plan, universal price controls are to be replaced with small cash payments to families and direct support of industries. Some economists are concerned that lifting price controls will trigger dramatic rises in inflation and unemployment. The cutbacks come at a time the government already faces serious economic troubles and tougher international sanctions. For the public, the change is likely to produce the most economic disruption since the revolution. Economic reforms have triggered unrest in the past. If reform succeeds, however, the program could help reduce waste, shrink state outlays and enhance efficiency and productivity.
  • Topic: Economics, Labor Issues, Monetary Policy
  • Political Geography: Iraq, Iran, Middle East
  • Author: Tara Nesvaderani
  • Publication Date: 09-2010
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: United States Institute of Peace
  • Abstract: Iran has the most politically active youth among the 57 nations of the Islamic world. As the most restive segment of their society, Iranian youth also represent one of the greatest longterm threats to the current form of theocratic rule. Young activists have heavily influenced the Islamic Republic's political agenda over the past 13 years. After the 2009 presidential election, youth and women were the two biggest blocs behind the region's first sustained “people power” movement for democratic change, creating a new political model in the Middle East. The Islamic Republic has forcibly regained control over the most rebellious sector of society through mass detentions of young activists, expulsions from universities and widening the powers of its own young paramilitary forces. Nevertheless, the demands from young people have not changed over the past year, and their anger is boiling just beneath the surface. The regime also remains vulnerable because it has failed to address basic socioeconomic problems among youth. The impact of Iran's youth on the political, economic and social agenda of the country over the next 25 years is important for U.S. policymakers to consider when facing complex decisions in balancing Iran's nuclear program and its internal political turmoil.
  • Topic: Islam, Politics, Youth Culture
  • Political Geography: Iran, Middle East
  • Author: Noah Coburn, Shahmahmood Miakhel
  • Publication Date: 09-2010
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: United States Institute of Peace
  • Abstract: The need to engage local Afghan leaders and support community decision making has recently been promoted as a key element of both development and counterinsurgency strategies in Afghanistan. The resulting proliferation of community councils—commonly called shuras or jirgas— sponsored by different actors within the Afghan government and international community has decreased the effectiveness of local governance and rule of law in many places. Traditional Afghan dispute resolution and governance bodies are most effective when they are formed by local residents and genuinely reflect the interests of the community. Their legitimacy decreases if international or government sponsors create shuras or jirgas to promote their own interests. This paradox creates a dilemma for programs designed to foster good governance: how to promote community self-rule that reflects traditional values and mechanisms and that develop locally, while adhering to rigid counterinsurgency and development timelines and strategies. These so-called 'traditional' political structures have an important place in local governance in Afghanistan, but the international community should not assume that such bodies fairly represent their respective communities. Rather, sound understanding of local dynamics and in-depth consultation with local government actors and community leaders are necessary to help ensure that such bodies are represented and thus, legitimate within the community. A more coherent, sustainable vision of long-term local governance and coordinated strategies between the Afghan government and international forces is necessary to bring both stability and development to Afghanistan. In particular, this Peace Brief supports the attempts to create a coherent long-term goal of local governance based on legitimate local actors, most likely selected through elections.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution, Development, War, Counterinsurgency
  • Political Geography: Afghanistan
  • Author: Jon Temin
  • Publication Date: 11-2010
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: United States Institute of Peace
  • Abstract: African leaders have recently expressed concern that the possible division of Sudan may lead to a domino effect of other secessions on the continent—but closer analysis questions how likely this may be.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution, Territorial Disputes, Sectarianism
  • Political Geography: Africa, Sudan
  • Author: Daniel Serwer
  • Publication Date: 11-2010
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: United States Institute of Peace
  • Abstract: Kosovo should not be allowed to stagnate as a "frozen conflict." There are well-established principles that can provide a basis for moving forward. Talks between Belgrade and Pristina on a framework for managing their relationship on practical issues are both possible and necessary, even if they do not happen right away. The time available should be used for careful preparations, especially by Pristina. As Belgrade and Moscow present serious challenges, a joint EU/U.S. effort has the best prospects for success to prevent a "frozen conflict."
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution, Diplomacy, Treaties and Agreements, War
  • Political Geography: Kosovo, Moscow, Balkans
  • Author: Michael Bratton
  • Publication Date: 11-2010
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: United States Institute of Peace
  • Abstract: Zimbabwe's coalition government is increasingly dysfunctional, mainly due to a defeated incumbent ruler's unwillingness to surrender real executive authority to a popular opposition. The latest dispute over the president's unilateral exercise of appointment powers threatens to escalate into a constitutional crisis that seems likely to be resolved only through fresh elections. International actors can help to bring Zimbabwe's transition to a peaceful and democratic conclusion by guaranteeing power sharing, supervising elections, and maintaining targeted sanctions.
  • Topic: Democratization, Politics, Fragile/Failed State, Governance
  • Political Geography: Africa, Zimbabwe
  • Author: Stephanie Schwartz
  • Publication Date: 11-2010
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: United States Institute of Peace
  • Abstract: The June 21st Supreme Court decision in Holder v. Humanitarian Law Project affirmed the constitutionality of the material support statue which makes it illegal for U.S. citizens and organizations to provide material support, including expert advice or assistance, service or personnel, to designated terrorist organizations regardless of whether the support is intended to promote nonviolence and peace. The material support law and the process of listing terrorist groups provides the U.S. government with an enhanced legal structure to arrest alleged terrorists and prevent terrorist acts. However, it is unclear that the process is effective in practice or that enhancing the government's legal power to prevent acts of terrorism outweighs the unintentional consequences of prohibiting nongovernmental organizations (NGOs) from working on the front lines of conflict zones to promote conflict resolution. Looking to the future, NGOs can work with the State Department and Congress to find ways to allow peacebuilding and humanitarian organizations to continue their operations legally, while also not threatening national security.
  • Topic: Conflict Prevention, Humanitarian Aid, Terrorism, Foreign Aid, Law Enforcement, Peacekeeping
  • Political Geography: United States
  • 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: Erin A. Weir
  • Publication Date: 11-2010
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: United States Institute of Peace
  • Abstract: Chad hosts over 249,000 refugees from the Darfur conflict and 168,000 internally displaced persons who were relocated after instability caused by Chadian rebel groups. The U.N. Mission in the Central African Republic and Chad has been reduced to 1,900 as of October 15, 2010. It will withdraw completely by December 31, 2010. There are concerns about the capacity of the Chadian security forces to adequately protect the population.The government of Chad and the international community must work to ensure the security of the population and humanitarian workers.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution, Security, Humanitarian Aid
  • Political Geography: Africa, United Nations
  • Author: Dorina Bekoe
  • Publication Date: 11-2010
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: United States Institute of Peace
  • Abstract: On May 20, 2010, USIP and the International Peace Institute brought together some of Chad's national, regional and international stakeholders to discuss Chad's democratization, the regional security dynamics and the management of the oil sector.Electoral reform, as called for in Chad's 2007 "August 13 Political Agreement," has been poorly implemented, endangering the credibility of the upcoming February legislative elections. Improvements in regional security prompted the Chadian government to request the departure of the United Nations Mission in the Central African Republic and Chad (MINURCAT), which was charged with securing and providing humanitarian relief along the Chad-Central African Republic border. However, many question if Chadian forces can fill the security gap. Oil exports have significantly increased Chad's budget, with most of these gains being invested in the military. The improved regional security provides an opportunity to invest in sectors such as education, health care, and development, which have been neglected.
  • Topic: Security, Democratization, Oil
  • Political Geography: Africa
  • Author: Scott Worden
  • Publication Date: 10-2010
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: United States Institute of Peace
  • Abstract: On September 18, Afghanistan held its second parliamentary elections since the fall of the Taliban. Like last year's vote, these elections were marked by high levels of violence, low turnout and widespread reports of fraud.Despite the challenges, however, Afghans across the country defied Taliban threats and overcame problems with the electoral administration to signal their support for the democratic process. Participation appeared higher among the youth demographic, which is a promising sign for the future of democratic processes in Afghanistan. It is still too early to tell whether the quality of the elections was better than the flawed 2009 process, but the Independent Election Commission (IEC) has improved its procedures and transparency both before and after the elections, and has so far helped to restore the credibility of the institution as a neutral administrator of the electoral process. Meanwhile, the Electoral Complaints Commission (ECC) is again under-resourced, has had little time to establish and train the Provincial Electoral Complaints Commissions (PECCs) that will be adjudicating the 4,200 election day complaints, and has yet to make public its decisions regarding the campaign or polling complaints.The ultimate success of the 2010 elections depends less on the level of fraud that was committed on election day-which was bound to be high-and more on the way in which the fraud is handled by the IEC and ECC. If they are transparent and honest about the problems, and take responsible corrective action, then the elections can be considered a partial success despite its flaws.
  • Topic: Corruption, Democratization, War
  • Political Geography: Afghanistan, Central Asia
  • Author: Dorina A. Bekoe, Andrea Bartoli
  • Publication Date: 10-2010
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: United States Institute of Peace
  • Abstract: The announcement that 429,000 fraudulent or possibly foreign names were on the voters registry halted the preparations for already delayed 2009 presidential election and revived the divisive discussion of citizenship and identity in Côte d'Ivoire (Ivoirité) The stalled electoral process highlighted unresolved issues such as the failed demobilization and disarmament processes and the marginalization of civil society from the implementation of the 2007 Ouagadougou Peace Agreement. In April 2010, the U.S. Institute of Peace, the Community of Sant'Egidio and George Mason University's Institute for Conflict Analysis and Resolution brought key leaders of Ivorian civil society and the religious community to Washington, D.C. to develop an approach for resolving the present political impasse and to actively participate in the peace process. The April meeting resulted in the Washington Appeal, which urges Ivoirians to tolerate ethnic and political diversity, reduce the tensions around elections, identify longstanding grievances, and expand the role of civil society in the peace process.
  • Topic: Civil Society, Corruption, Democratization, Ethnic Conflict, Peace Studies, Treaties and Agreements
  • Political Geography: Africa
  • Author: Leonard S. Rubenstein
  • Publication Date: 10-2010
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: United States Institute of Peace
  • Abstract: In Afghanistan and Pakistan, humanitarian space has shrunk as the Taliban and other insurgent groups have stepped up attacks on civilians, especially international aid workers, contractors and local leaders. Health programs continue to operate, but the ability of nongovernmental organizations (NGOs) to recruit and retain staff and to travel outside Kabul has suffered. The United Nations, International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC), and other groups have sought to persuade the Taliban and other armed groups not to impede or interfere with humanitarian aid activities. These efforts have had some success where the aid is administered by Afghans, but they have not limited attacks on international staff, who along with all foreigners, remain at high risk of attack. Many NGOs act as implementing partners in the government's strategy to implement a comprehensive primary care system in Afghanistan under the direction of the Ministry of Public Health. They have managed to maintain those services with local staff despite their association with the government of Afghanistan, so long as they operate with impartiality and community engagement. The vulnerability of their staff to attack appears to be a product of generalized insecurity or the presence of foreign aid workers, rather than a result of collaboration with the Ministry.NGOs report that military activities in Afghanistan and Pakistan, and military involvement in the medical sector, have contributed to the shrinkage of humanitarian space. The military's provision of health services through Provincial Reconstruction Teams and other mechanisms, though well-intended, sometimes sows confusion about the allegiances of U.S. and other Western aid workers and creates tensions with humanitarian principles the agencies rely on to operate in conflict environments. The conduct of the Afghanistan National Army and Police and the Pakistan military in entering facilities to gain access to arrest insurgents or gather information also leads to greater insecurity for NGO personnel.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution, Humanitarian Aid, Islam, Non-Governmental Organization, Armed Struggle, Insurgency
  • Political Geography: Pakistan, Afghanistan
  • 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: Anand Varghese
  • Publication Date: 12-2010
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: United States Institute of Peace
  • Abstract: Analysis of more than 11,000 Russian-language blogs reveals an active political blogosphere comprising internationally linking bloggers; Russian media-focused bloggers; nationalists; members of the democratic opposition; bloggers focused on business, economics, and finance; and social and environmental activists. Russian bloggers tend to be less politically polarized than their counterparts in the American blogosphere, and they prefer to blog about political issues from a nonpartisan position. Future research should focus on the offline outcomes of online political blogging, the effect of blogging platforms on polarization, the responses of the Russian government, and mapping the effects of newer social networking platforms.
  • Topic: Globalization, Science and Technology, Mass Media
  • Political Geography: Russia, America
  • Author: Jacleen Mowery, Demis Yanco, Ryan McClanahan
  • Publication Date: 12-2010
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: United States Institute of Peace
  • Abstract: Post-conflict governance requires simultaneous and complementary action on three levels. national governance, local governance, and civil society. Norbert Mao, a parliamentary leader from Uganda, offered this progression for managing the trade-off between short-term stabilization and long-term capacity building: "In the emergency phase, you should do it for us. In the reconstruction phase, you should do it with us. And in the development phase, you should do it through us." Efforts to develop the capacity of local governments to deliver services may be more responsive to external assistance than programs aimed at overcoming systemic dysfunctions in the central government, in part because municipal officials are more accountable to their communities. Civil society should be a prominent player in transitioning to “local ownership,” which may erroneously be conceived in terms of ownership by national and perhaps local governments. Building the capacity of civil society entails connectivity with international partners and ideas, not just financing. There are trade-offs involved among the three stakeholders. Among the most salient, when a legacy of abuse of power by the national government and repression of opposition groups must be confronted, an active civil society is essential. An invigorated civil society can fundamentally challenge illicit structures of power that profited from conflict.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution, Civil Society, Government, Peace Studies, War, Governance, Peacekeeping
  • Political Geography: Uganda
  • Author: Robert Maguire
  • Publication Date: 12-2010
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: United States Institute of Peace
  • Abstract: Efforts to build a better Haiti following the catastrophic earthquake of January 2010 are complicated by the challenges of addressing urgent needs, including elections and the cholera outbreak, that run parallel to the rebuilding process and that present an enormous challenge to Haiti\'s under-resourced and weakened government. Enactment of the Haitian government\'s internationally-endorsed and ambitious action recovery plan is hindered by the apparent lack of an over-riding operational framework that will help to ensure not only implementation, but also coherence. Donors and other international actors would be wise to embrace Haiti as a country that has highly propitious fundamentals for successful economic growth, and to build on them. Without important shifts in political, economic and social paradigms, the prospect for Haiti\'s future as a better country that can sustain and expand progress and can improve prospects for all its citizens is clouded.
  • Topic: Humanitarian Aid, Migration, Poverty, Natural Disasters
  • Political Geography: Caribbean, Haiti
  • Author: Delphine Djiraibe
  • Publication Date: 12-2010
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: United States Institute of Peace
  • Abstract: Political crises and armed opposition movements have plagued Chad for several years. After several failed peace initiatives, the August 13 Agreement was reached in 2007. The agreement is the most viable framework for bringing peace to Chad. It calls on the Chadian government to reform critical electoral institutions, undertake a credible electoral census and demilitarize politics in order to ensure fair and transparent elections. To date, the agreement has been poorly implemented. It jeopardizes the credibility of the upcoming legislative elections, currently scheduled for February 2011. Only comprehensive reform that addresses the development and governance challenges facing Chad will definitively end its political crisis.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution, Peace Studies, Treaties and Agreements, War, Peacekeeping
  • Political Geography: Africa
  • Author: Michael Dziedzic, Scott Carlson
  • Publication Date: 01-2009
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: United States Institute of Peace
  • Abstract: For more than a decade, experienced international practitioners and peace scholars have recognized that multilateral interventions in societies ravaged by internal conflict cannot succeed unless they come prepared to deal with the inevitable void in public security and inability of the legal system to function effectively. In 1998, two core components of any solution to this crucial deficiency were highlighted in Policing the New World Disorder. First, “...the capacity of the international community to mobilize CIVPOL [civilian police] personnel should be strengthened, both within contributing states and at the United Nations.” Second, “The task of rebuilding or reforming the public security apparatus requires that the judicial process, associated legal code s, and penal system be addressed during the earliest stages...” The Report of the Panel on United Nations Peace Operations (2000, commonly referred to as the Brahimi Report) urged “...Member States to establish enhanced national 'pools' of police officers and related experts, earmarked for deployment to United Nations peace operations, to help meet the high demand f or civilian police and related criminal justice/rule of law expertise in peace operations dealing with inter-state conflict.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution, International Relations, Foreign Policy, Globalization
  • Author: Elizabeth Detwiler
  • Publication Date: 01-2009
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: United States Institute of Peace
  • Abstract: USIP recently hosted Dr. Ali Al-Dabbagh, official spokesman for the Iraqi government, He unveiled a far-reaching regional initiative to increase economic and strategic cooperation in the Middle East. The initiative represents a new level of consciousness and independence in Iraqi foreign policy.
  • Topic: Foreign Policy, Regional Cooperation
  • Political Geography: Iraq, Middle East
  • Author: Robert Perito
  • Publication Date: 01-2009
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: United States Institute of Peace
  • Abstract: While the U.S. and world economies are slowing markedly, Security Sector Reform (SSR) is a growth industry for the private sector. U.S. government employees may set SSR policy and design projects, but implementation is extensively outsourced to private contractors. With the forthcoming surge of U.S. military forces into Afghanistan, the U.S. Army has announced contracts worth $1.1 billion for the construction of military bases and training centers for Afghan military and police. Private firms supply everything from construction materials to trainers and administrative staff. Private contractors operating in Pakistan and Afghanistan are required to provide their own security. Up to 15 percent of the cost of construction will go to private security firms, which guard convoys, facilities and personnel.
  • Topic: Security, Economics, Government, International Trade and Finance, Markets
  • Political Geography: Pakistan, Afghanistan, United States
  • 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: 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: Conflict Resolution, Democratization, Development, Peace Studies, Treaties and Agreements, War
  • Political Geography: Sudan
  • Author: Liz Panarelli
  • Publication Date: 04-2009
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: United States Institute of Peace
  • Abstract: International actors in Security Sector Reform (SSR) are increasingly taking on roles as “advisors” to Ministries of Interior, Defense, and Justice. Rather than directly implement changes necessary for SSR, these advisors must persuasively articulate suggestions to their local counterparts. Advisors' success depends on their ability to convey recommendations in a manner that makes change acceptable to their advisees. Ministerial and governmental advising is not the exclusive purview of any one entity. Rather, advising is undertaken by a diverse range of individuals from U.S. and foreign governments, militaries, NGOs, private contractors, and U.N. agencies. These actors have correspondingly diverse objectives and approaches to SSR; without coordination or consensus on SSR programming, advisors may find themselves working at cross - purposes. Furthermore, the multiplicity of advisors and institutions makes sharing best practices and improving over time and across conflicts extremely difficult.
  • Topic: Security, Defense Policy, Government
  • Political Geography: United States
  • Author: Edward P. Joseph
  • Publication Date: 05-2009
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: United States Institute of Peace
  • Abstract: The policy choice in Bosnia revolves around one question: how much time does the country have? If one believes that the country is reasonably stable, that another election will produce more cooperative leaders, and that Bosnia's "EU future" is assured, then the way forward is clear: cede international leadership in Bosnia from the U.S. to the European Union.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution, NATO, Democratization
  • Political Geography: Europe, Bosnia, Herzegovina, Balkans
  • Author: Kurt Bassuener, James Lyon
  • Publication Date: 05-2009
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: United States Institute of Peace
  • Abstract: This is the first of three papers USIP will publish this month on Bosnia, each with a different analytical perspective on what is happening in Bosnia and what needs to be done there to prevent a return to violence. We do this in the hope that these papers will generate a fuller debate on options that might be pursued by the U.S. government (USG), Europe and Bosnians.
  • Topic: Conflict Prevention, Democratization, Peace Studies, War
  • Political Geography: United States, Europe, Bosnia, Herzegovina, Balkans
  • Author: Daniel Serwer, Sam Parker
  • Publication Date: 05-2009
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: United States Institute of Peace
  • Abstract: In meetings conducted in Baghdad in May 2009, senior Iraqi leaders indicated how they interpret January's provincial election results, expressed concerns about the recent downturn in security, lamented the tremendous financial pressure the government is feeling due to the decline in oil prices, and projected their hopes for national elections slated for 30 January 2010. The Iraq is, numbering about 20, represented the highest level of nearly all of the main Iraqi political factions, including leaders in the Council of Representatives (COR), members of the presidency, and top officials in the government.
  • Topic: Democratization
  • Political Geography: Iraq, Middle East, Baghdad, Arabia
  • Author: Robert Perito
  • Publication Date: 05-2009
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: United States Institute of Peace
  • Abstract: In 2009, Haiti has been the subject of an unprecedented diplomatic initiative led by the United Nations. In rapid succession, Haiti received visits from the UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon, the UN Security Council, former President Bill Clinton and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and numerous senior delegations from Caribbean and South American countries. In April, Haiti was the subject of an international donors' conference hosted by the Inter-American Development Bank that reaffirmed previous commitments and pledged $324 million in new economic assistance. The visits and the donors' conference were preceded by a UN sponsored report by Oxford economist and bestselling author Paul Collier on specific steps that could help Haiti achieve economic security.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution, Diplomacy, Economics, Foreign Aid, Financial Crisis
  • Political Geography: South America, Caribbean, Haiti
  • Author: David Binder, Dr. Steven Meyer, Obrad Kesic
  • Publication Date: 06-2009
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: United States Institute of Peace
  • Abstract: This is the final of three papers (read the first and second papers) USIP will publish on Bosnia-Herzegovina, each with a different analytical perspective on what is happening in Bosnia and what needs to be done there to prevent a return to violence. We hope that these papers will generate a debate on options that might be pursued by the U.S. government (USG), Europe and Bosnians. These papers will be discussed at a public forum at the United States Institute of Peace on June 25, 2009.
  • Topic: Conflict Prevention, Foreign Policy, Peace Studies
  • Political Geography: United States, Europe, Bosnia, Herzegovina, Balkans
  • Author: Yehuda Greenfield-Gilat
  • Publication Date: 07-2009
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: United States Institute of Peace
  • Abstract: The widely discussed Syrian-Israeli peace park concept is rooted in the assumption that Syrian and Israeli "good will" for cooperation is sufficient to mobilize a long-lasting, firm peace treaty between the two countries. The current discussions on a layout for a peace park provide a description of the mechanisms that will control and maintain the park, but fail to provide the insights for how to keep these mechanisms functioning in one, five or ten years into the future. This paper argues that given the lack of stabilizing factors in an Israeli-Syrian partnership, even if negotiations succeed and an agreement is signed, the probability of failure during implementation is high.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution, Peace Studies
  • Political Geography: Middle East, Israel, Arabia, Syria
  • Author: Mary Hope Schwoebel
  • Publication Date: 07-2009
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: United States Institute of Peace
  • Abstract: Over the past decade, the United States Institute of Peace (USIP) has trained members of police and military forces around the world to prepare them to participate in international peacekeeping operations or to contribute to post-conflict stabilization and rule of law interventions in their own or in other war-torn countries. Most of the training takes place outside the United States, from remote, rugged bases to centrally located schools and academies, from Senegal to Nepal, from Italy to the Philippines.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution, Conflict Prevention, International Relations, Security, Peace Studies
  • Political Geography: United States, Philippines, Nepal, Italy, Senegal
  • Author: Robert Perito, Madeline Kristoff
  • Publication Date: 08-2009
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: United States Institute of Peace
  • Abstract: Iraq's Ministry of the Interior (MOI) is responsible for the supervision, training and administrative support for Iraq's non-military security forces. These include: the Iraqi Police Service, the Iraq National Police, the Iraqi Border Enforcement Service and the Facilities Protection Service. In total, MOI is responsible for nearly 600,000 men under arms or a force that is three times the size of the new Iraqi Army, Navy and Air Force combined.
  • Topic: Security, Corruption, Crime, Ethnic Conflict, War
  • Political Geography: Iraq, Arabia
  • Author: Theo Dolan
  • Publication Date: 08-2009
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: United States Institute of Peace
  • Abstract: USIP's Center of Innovation for Media, Conflict and Peacebuilding organized an expert working group on April 26-27 in Erbil, Iraq to discuss how to create a multimedia program that will provide Iraqi teenagers (ages 14-18) the tools to help them grow into independent, empowered citizens within a complex society.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution, Peace Studies
  • Political Geography: Iraq, Arabia
  • Author: Jim O'Brien
  • Publication Date: 08-2009
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: United States Institute of Peace
  • Abstract: USIP has circulated several papers analyzing the situation in Bosnia and Herzegovina. Collectively, they offer diverse but insightful portraits of developments in Bosnia. This short note takes a different approach. I focus on what can be done, not on causes or description. Because there is attention or money for only a few things to be done in Bosnia, we should pick our initiatives carefully.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution, Peace Studies, War
  • Political Geography: Europe, Bosnia, Herzegovina, Balkans
  • Author: Hans Joerg Albrecht, Louis Aucoin, Vivienne O'Connor
  • Publication Date: 08-2009
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: United States Institute of Peace
  • Abstract: USIP has been working with lawmakers and other reform constituencies in Haiti as they strive to reform Haiti's criminal laws that date back to the early 19th century. In March 2009, USIP commissioned two reports that were written by Louis Aucoin, a professor at the Fletcher School at Tufts University, and Hans Joerg Albrecht, the director of the Max Planck Institute of Foreign and International Criminal Law. At the request of Haitian lawmakers, USIP has also provided copies of the Model Codes for Post-Conflict Criminal Justice, a law reform tool developed by USIP's Rule of Law Program to assist in the drafting of new laws. From June 9 to June 11, 2009, USIP co-hosted a “Technical Workshop on the Modernization of the Criminal Code and Criminal Procedure Code” in Port-au-Prince, Haiti with the Haitian government and a number of international donors. The workshop brought together representatives from the Presidential Commission on Law Reform, the legal community and civil society, along with international organizations and donors, to discuss the problems with Haiti's criminal laws and how to improve them.
  • Topic: Civil Society, Crime, Poverty, Law
  • Political Geography: Caribbean, Haiti
  • Author: Raymond Gilpin, Catherine Morris, Go Funai
  • Publication Date: 08-2009
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: United States Institute of Peace
  • Abstract: Building peace in the Democratic Republic of the Congo's (DRC) troubled regions requires sustained intervention by a wide range of stakeholders to address aspects of the regional political economy that perpetrate cross-border abuse of the country's abundant resources. Violent competition for control of mineral resources, particularly in northeastern DRC, has involved regular forces as well as militia from the subregion and contributed to a flourishing war economy, many years after the Lusaka Ceasefire Agreement in 1999.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution, Peace Studies
  • Political Geography: Asia, Democratic Republic of the Congo
  • 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: Michael Dziedzic, Megan Chabalowski
  • Publication Date: 09-2009
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: United States Institute of Peace
  • Abstract: On June 25, 2009, USIP hosted a public forum, “Bosnia and Herzegovina: Parsing the Options,” where various courses of action for U.S. policy toward Bosnia and its unfinished state-building were debated. At issue are Bosnia's current conditions and what to do about them: Is the country on a trajectory toward instability and violence, or is it making hesitant progress? What is needed to overcome ethnic tensions between Bosnia's political leaders and how can the international community induce them into productive negotiations over reforms? What should the U.S.'s role be in Bosnia's integration process into the EU?
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution, Regional Cooperation, Treaties and Agreements, War
  • Political Geography: Europe, Balkans
  • 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