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  • Author: Mona Yacoubian
  • Publication Date: 11-2009
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: United States Institute of Peace
  • Abstract: Lebanon's recently announced national unity government has eased fears that the country would once again be mired in a dangerous political stalemate. Yet, despite the recent breakthrough, Lebanon's unstable equilibrium -- marked by both internal and regional tensions -- could still devolve into serious violence. Deep seated sectarian animosities persist, raising the prospects for political instability and civil strife if unaddressed. Regionally, mounting tensions with Israel raise the worrisome possibility of isolated border incidents spiraling into more serious conflict. Taken together these two underlying challenges to stability -- internal civil unrest and regional conflict with Israel -- could undermine Lebanon's fragile peace. This paper will examine internal challenges to Lebanon's stability.
  • Topic: Democratization, Governance
  • Political Geography: Middle East, Israel, Arabia, Lebanon
  • Author: Renata Stuebner
  • Publication Date: 11-2009
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: United States Institute of Peace
  • Abstract: This report is intended to examine the status of religious reconciliation and coexistence in Bosnia and Herzegovina (BiH). Bosnia and Herzegovina's centuries-old tradition of religious coexistence is rapidly disappearing. Memories of a time when people shared the same schools, office space and living conditions are slowly giving way to a fear of “the others.” Some positive interactions still take place due to family ties from mixed marriages, economic interdependence and old, enduring friendships. However, some efforts of top religious leaders, similar to those of the nationalistic politicians, seem to be driving society in the opposite direction.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution, Ethnic Conflict, War
  • Political Geography: Bosnia, Herzegovina, Balkans
  • 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: J Alexander Thier, William B. Taylor
  • Publication Date: 12-2009
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: United States Institute of Peace
  • Abstract: By all accounts, the civilian role in creating a stable Afghanistan, capable of protecting its citizens and providing essential services, is at least as important as the military operation.
  • Topic: Security, Civil Society, War
  • Political Geography: Afghanistan
  • Author: Dorina Bekoe, Michelle Swearingen
  • Publication Date: 12-2009
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: United States Institute of Peace
  • Abstract: Diaspora communities are a double-edged sword. They have promoted peace as often as they have spurred conflict. There are many opportunities to harness the Congolese diaspora to support peace and reconstruction in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC). ?War and civil unrest have swelled the ranks of the DRC diaspora. These individuals can play a role in strategizing for sustainable solutions - particularly in the mining sector and the fight against corruption. Trans-Atlantic participants in the USIP diaspora dialogue called for tighter regulation, effective transparency, integration of the informal economy, greater investment flows and support for Congolese solutions to Congolese problems. Proposed solutions will be neither effective nor sustainable unless the war is ended and governance improves. This would involve effective regional support for peacekeeping, international efforts to deter spoilers and domestic initiatives to make governance more effective. The DRC diaspora are committed to be a source of advocacy, technical assistance, investment and accountability.
  • Topic: Migration, Diaspora, Immigration
  • Political Geography: Africa
  • Author: Joel Whitaker, Anand Varghese
  • Publication Date: 12-2009
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: United States Institute of Peace
  • Abstract: In an event titled "Online Discourse in the Arab World: Dispelling the Myths," the U.S. Institute of Peace's Center of Innovation for Science, Technology, and Peacebuilding, in collaboration with Harvard University's Berkman Center for Internet Society, presented findings from an unprecedented, comprehensive mapping of the Arabic-language blogosphere.
  • Topic: Science and Technology
  • Political Geography: United States, Middle East, Arabia
  • Author: Merriam Mashatt, Bob Polk
  • Publication Date: 06-2008
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: United States Institute of Peace
  • Abstract: The “3 D's,” defense, diplomacy and development, have been pillars of U.S. government reconstruction and stabilization programs. Recently, however, the “4th D” – the domestic interagency community – has come into the picture. This USIPeace Briefing describes the distinct value the “4th D” adds to reconstruction and stabilization initiatives and how it can be integrated into the larger U.S. government community.
  • Topic: Foreign Policy, Development
  • Political Geography: United States
  • Author: Daniel Serwer, Sam Parker
  • Publication Date: 04-2008
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: United States Institute of Peace
  • Abstract: Iraq remains a critical problem for the United States. Security has improved to roughly 2005 levels, and tentative political progress has been made, but there is no visible end to the U.S. commitment required to prevent Iraq from spinning out of control and threatening a widening war in the region. The Bush Administration and the Congress face difficult choices: How can the relative success during the period of the surge be prolonged and solidified? Should the drawdown continue? When will the Iraqi security forces be ready to take over? What can be done to accelerate political progress?
  • Political Geography: United States, Iraq
  • Author: Robert Grace
  • Publication Date: 04-2008
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: United States Institute of Peace
  • Abstract: Over the past several months, Syrian authorities have engaged in a harsh campaign of repression against leading dissidents and human rights activists. The crackdown, overshadowed by developments elsewhere in the region, has received scant media coverage in the U.S. and Europe. To shed light on recent developments in the Syrian political scene, USIP recently convened a public discussion on human rights in Syria, featuring the Institute's Radwan Ziadeh, Mona Yacoubian, and Steven Heydemann, and Joe Stork of Human Rights Watch. This USIPeace Briefing summarizes their presentations and the subsequent discussion.
  • Topic: Human Rights, Human Welfare
  • Political Geography: Middle East, Syria
  • 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: Raymond Gilpin, Emily Hsu
  • Publication Date: 05-2008
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: United States Institute of Peace
  • Abstract: Improving economic management after almost two decades of violent conflict and civil unrest has been a top priority of Liberian President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf's reform agenda since her January 2006 inauguration. In April 2008, her administration could point to appreciable improvements in fiscal performance and economic progress, signs that the desired enhancements in economic management may have started to materialize. Many observers speculate whether these developments could be attributed to the country's multi-stakeholder Governance and Economic Management Assistance Program (GEMAP). If so, what lessons could be learned for other post-conflict countries? At an April 9, 2008 USIP event on the subject, the Liberian Finance Minister, the Honorable Antoinette Sayeh, reflected on GEMAP's impact, highlighted some challenges and discussed its applicability as a model for other countries. While recognizing the program's contributions, she emphasized that it is only one component of a much broader framework of reforms initiated since 2006. Sayeh also underscored the vital leadership role that President Sirleaf has played in the design and implementation of Liberia's public expenditure reform program.
  • Topic: Development, Government
  • Political Geography: Africa, Liberia
  • Author: Kelly Campbell
  • Publication Date: 05-2008
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: United States Institute of Peace
  • Abstract: The results of Iran's March 14, 2008 parliamentary elections-a 70 percent victory for conservatives within Iran-came as little surprise. The ruling elite disqualified approximately 1,700 reformist candidates before the elections, minimizing the risk of a conservative defeat. However, the results revealed a growing divide between conservatives allied with President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad and a "third way" movement led by pragmatic conservatives who, though loyal to Supreme Leader Ayatollah Sayed Ali Khamenei, are critical of Ahmadinejad's economic policies and confrontational rhetoric with the West. The surprising electoral success of these pragmatic conservatives may pose a significant challenge to Ahmadinejad in Iran's 2009 presidential elections.
  • Topic: Politics
  • Political Geography: Iran, Middle East
  • Author: Robert M. Perito
  • Publication Date: 05-2008
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: United States Institute of Peace
  • Abstract: In December 2006, the Iraq Study Group reported that the Iraqi Interior Ministry (MOI) was confronted by corruption, infiltrated by militia and unable to control the Iraqi police. In July 2007, the Los Angeles Times reported that Iraq's MOI had become a "federation of oligarchs" where various floors of the building were controlled by rival militia groups and organized criminal gangs. The report described the MOI as an eleven-story powder keg of factions where power struggles were settled by assassinations in the parking lot. In its September 2007 report, the congressionally mandated Independent Commission on the Security Forces of Iraq described Iraq's MOI as a ministry in name only, dysfunctional, sectarian and suffering from ineffective leadership. Even Iraq's Interior Minister, Jawad al-Boulani, has called for the comprehensive reform of his ministry.
  • Topic: Democratization
  • Political Geography: United States, Iraq, Middle East
  • Author: Alistair Harris
  • Publication Date: 05-2008
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: United States Institute of Peace
  • Abstract: On the surface, peace has broken out in Lebanon, bringing to an end the 18-month political impasse between the governing March 14th coalition and opposition March 8th parties. Following a week of sectarian violence in Beirut, Tripoli and the Chouf mountains—the worst since the end of Lebanon's 15-year civil war in 1990—the opposing sides agreed to undertake talks in Qatar to resolve their longstanding political stalemate. The Qatari-sponsored Doha Accord that broke the logjam paved the way for the May 25 election of former Army Commander Michel Suleiman as a consensus president, to be closely followed by the formation of a national unity government and the adoption of a revised election law. The re-invigoration of Lebanon's political institutions, the opening of parliament and ending of the presidential vacuum are welcome signs of a return to what passes for normalcy among Lebanon's confessional elites; they are not however a return to the status quo ante. For many months Arab League Chairman Amr Moussa, like French Foreign Minister Bernard Kouchner, had tried to cajole the Lebanese belligerents into a compromise deal based on the much-vaunted concept of "no victor, no vanquished". These efforts failed. The fact that Doha succeeded where others did not is a clear indicator that there were indeed winners and losers. Therein lies the potential for future conflict.
  • Topic: War
  • Political Geography: Middle East, Lebanon, Syria
  • Author: Kelly Campbell
  • Publication Date: 06-2008
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: United States Institute of Peace
  • Abstract: The conflict in the Niger Delta has posed a fundamental domestic challenge to Nigerian security for more than a decade. Despite pledges to address continued instability in the Delta, the administration of Nigerian President Umaru Yar'Adua has not yet initiated a process to resolve the political, economic and security problems in the region. Oil production continues to diminish as a result of militant attacks, and is currently 20 to 25 percent below capacity. Meanwhile, militia members in the Niger Delta continue to engage in criminal activities such as kidnapping and oil bunkering1 to maximize profits for themselves and their political patrons.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution, Conflict Prevention, Oil
  • Political Geography: Africa, Nigeria
  • Author: Edward P. Joseph, R. Bruce Hitchner
  • Publication Date: 06-2008
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: United States Institute of Peace
  • Abstract: More than twelve years after the Dayton Agreement ended the war in Bosnia-Herzegovina, the stagnant, divided country is about to enter a potentially transformative process. On June 16, Bosnia will sign a Stabilization and Association Agreement (SAA) with the European Union, cementing the country's relationship and identifying it as a prospective EU member. The SAA not only launches a process of sweeping institutional reform, but also makes Bosnia eligible for new categories of financial assistance and imposes new responsibilities on Bosnia's leaders. Advocates believe that the "sink or swim" approach of the European Commission (EC, the EU entity that traditionally leads SAA implementation) will finally wean Bosnia from dependence on international authority toward genuine cross-ethnic cooperation over a shared goal.
  • Topic: Development
  • Political Geography: Europe, Balkans
  • Author: Virginia M. Bouvier
  • Publication Date: 06-2008
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: United States Institute of Peace
  • Abstract: This USIPeace Briefing discusses the condition of the Colombian Revolutionary Armed Forces (FARC), their hostages and the potential direction of this situation. The briefing stresses insights that key figures in the issue raised in recent visits to Washington, DC.
  • Topic: Terrorism
  • Political Geography: United States, Colombia, South America, Latin America, Central America
  • Author: Hesham Sallam
  • Publication Date: 06-2008
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: United States Institute of Peace
  • Abstract: What is the future of democracy in Egypt? What are the prospects for cooperation between the country's Islamist and non-Islamist political opposition groups? How can such cooperation be strengthened? These questions were at the forefront of discussions at the Second Annual Wasat Generation Dialogue, held in Cairo Egypt May 27-29, 2008 and hosted by USIP, the Al-Ahram Center for Political and Strategic Studies, and Georgetown University's Center for Democracy and Civil Society. An outgrowth of USIP's Arab Political Oppositions Project (APOP), this not-for-attribution dialogue brought together a select group of Egyptian political leaders, American academics and U.S. democracy-promoters. The conference provided a unique venue to explore the prospects for enhancing political cooperation across the ideological/religious divide in the Egyptian political arena. It also highlighted the potential to build bridges of cooperation among a new generation of political activists.
  • Topic: Government, Islam, Politics
  • Political Geography: Egypt
  • Author: J Alexander Thier, Azita Ranjbar
  • Publication Date: 07-2008
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: United States Institute of Peace
  • Abstract: This USIPeace Briefing discusses the enormous problem of civilian casualties in Afghanistan; the “troops-in-contact” dilemma regarding air power; challenges in intelligence gathering; losses in the information war with Taliban forces; and policy recommendations to mitigate this trend.
  • Topic: War
  • Political Geography: Afghanistan, United States, Asia
  • Author: Elizabeth Detwiler
  • Publication Date: 07-2008
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: United States Institute of Peace
  • Abstract: This USIPeace Briefing, summarizing remarks from a former commander for detainee operations in Iraq, discusses recent successes in improving the conditions of insurgent detainees in the country.
  • Topic: Government, War
  • Political Geography: United States, Iraq, Middle East
  • 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: Jason Gluck
  • Publication Date: 03-2008
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: United States Institute of Peace
  • Abstract: On February 13, 2008 the Iraqi parliament simultaneously passed a law that sets forth the relationship between the central and provincial governments, an amnesty law and the 2008 national budget. The passage of these laws was the result of months of negotiation and last-minute substantive and procedural compromises that could portend a shift away from merely ethnic and sectarian-based alliances to inter-ethnic and sectarian issue-based politics. At the same time, Iraqi lawmakers may have discovered a strategy of simultaneous consideration of multiple matters that could increase the likelihood of consensus and resolution—a sharp contrast to what has until now been an issue-by-issue approach that has often resulted in impasses and political gridlock.
  • Topic: Development, Government, Treaties and Agreements
  • Political Geography: Iraq, Middle East
  • Author: Robert Perito
  • Publication Date: 03-2008
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: United States Institute of Peace
  • Abstract: In January 2007, President Bush announced that the U.S. would double the number of Provincial Reconstruction Teams (PRTs) in Iraq as part of his plan for a "New Way Forward." PRTs are small, civilian-military units that assist provincial and local governments to govern more effectively and deliver essential services. These new PRTs would be embedded with Brigade (Army) and Regimental (Marine) Combat Teams (B/RCTs) participating in the "surge" of U.S. forces into Baghdad, Anbar and Erbil provinces. The new ePRTs would begin as four person interagency teams, but would expand to include civilian experts in a broad range of specialties. These new PRTs were staffed with Defense Department civilians and members of the National Guard and Army Reserve until funds became available to the State Department to hire civilian contractors. The process of deploying civilian experts is now underway, but the B/RCTs to which they are being assigned will return to the United States by August 2008.
  • Topic: Development, Government, International Cooperation
  • Political Geography: United States, Iraq, Middle East, Baghdad
  • Author: Scott Worden
  • Publication Date: 02-2008
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: United States Institute of Peace
  • Abstract: On February 18, 2008 the Ugandan government and the Lord's Resistance Army (LRA) reached agreement on an accountability and reconciliation accord that would provide for prosecution in Uganda of senior LRA leaders most responsible for atrocities committed over the course of the country's 20-year long civil conflict. The agreement also provides that lower level perpetrators will be held accountable by traditional justice mechanisms indigenous to Northern Uganda, where much of the violence occurred.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution, Development, Ethnic Conflict
  • Political Geography: Uganda, Africa
  • Author: Susan Hayward
  • Publication Date: 02-2008
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: United States Institute of Peace
  • Abstract: In partnership with Concordis International and the Preparatory Committee for the Darfur-Darfur Dialogue and Consultation (DDDC), USIP held a consultation with approximately30 members of the North American Darfur diaspora community from February 12-14, 2008.Representative of Darfur's constituencies, this group of Darfurians traveled to Washington, D.C. from throughout the U.S. and Canada in order to address a broad range of issues related to the conflict in their homeland. Through small-group brainstorming and plenary ession debates, the group developed a set of consensus recommendations aimed at creating the conditions necessary for a sustainable safe and secure environment to prevail in the troubled region.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution, Civil Society, Development
  • Political Geography: Africa, United States, Canada
  • 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: David Smock
  • Publication Date: 02-2008
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: United States Institute of Peace
  • Abstract: Juba, Southern Sudan – Northern Uganda is one of the world's humanitarian disaster areas. Twenty thousand have been killed and up to two million have been displaced in Internally Displaced Person (IDP) camps over the last 20 years. This havoc has been created by the notorious Lord's Resistance Army (LRA), whose agenda and purposes have remained murky. Joseph Kony, the rebel commander, asserts that the LRA political program is based on the Ten Commandments, despite the fact that the LRA routinely violates most of them.
  • Topic: Ethnic Conflict, Human Welfare, War
  • Political Geography: Africa, North Uganda, South Sudan
  • Author: J Alexander Thier
  • Publication Date: 02-2008
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: United States Institute of Peace
  • Abstract: Pakistan, a nuclear-armed, predominantly Muslim nation of 165 million, has experienced a dramatic rise in political turmoil and violence in the last year. Following the assassination of former Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto on December 27, 2007, analysts have raised serious concerns about Pakistan's stability and the possibility of a collapse of the federation.
  • Topic: Conflict Prevention, Democratization, Development
  • Political Geography: Pakistan, Asia
  • Author: Daniel Serwer, Rend Al-Rahim Francke
  • Publication Date: 01-2008
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: United States Institute of Peace
  • Abstract: In meetings conducted in Beirut and Baghdad in mid-January 2008, a high-ranking and broad cross-section of the Iraqi political spectrum expressed views on the current political situation, main priorities for the next year, prospects for moving forward on key issues, and the American military presence in Iraq. The Iraqis, numbering about 40, included parliamentary leaders, members of the presidency and their staffs, top government officials and leaders in both the Anbar and Baghdad "Awakenings" (tribal groups prepared to fight Al Qaeda and guard their own neighborhoods.
  • Topic: Security, Democratization, Treaties and Agreements
  • Political Geography: Iraq, Middle East
  • Author: Kelly Campbell
  • Publication Date: 01-2008
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: United States Institute of Peace
  • Abstract: As the planned deployment of the joint UN and African Union (AU) hybrid peacekeeping force to Darfur begins, these institutions are placing more emphasis on finding a lasting political solution to the conflict in Darfur. After the failure of the Darfur Peace Agreement (DPA), the international community realized the importance of involving all the key rebel movements in peace negotiations. Planned peace talks in Sirte, Libya have been delayed in an effort to convince key rebel leaders to participate.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution, Security, International Organization
  • Political Geography: Africa
  • Author: Robert Perito, Jasenka Jocic
  • Publication Date: 01-2008
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: United States Institute of Peace
  • Abstract: Haiti's constitution was adopted on March 29, 1987 when over 90 percent of the voters approved it in a popular referendum. The result was not surprising. Among the most democratic in the world, Haiti's constitution was proposed in the aftermath of the brutal Duvalier dictatorship and seemed to promise an end to arbitrary and violent rule. Unfortunately, that was not the case as the country endured two more decades of turmoil. In the period of instability following adoption of the constitution, its provisions were more often ignored or violated than observed.
  • Topic: Government, Peace Studies, Politics
  • Political Geography: United States, Caribbean, Haiti
  • 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: Disaster Relief, Humanitarian Aid
  • Political Geography: Caribbean, Haiti
  • Author: Elizabeth Detwiler
  • Publication Date: 11-2008
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: United States Institute of Peace
  • Abstract: On October 3, 2008, six prominent Iraqis resident in the U.S. offered advice on Iraq policy to the incoming U.S. administration at an event convened by USIP. The panelists were: Qubad Talabani, U.S. representative of the Kurdistan Regional Government; Nesreen Barwari, former Iraqi minister of municipalities and public works (2003-2006);Raid Juhi al-Saedi, Middle East fellow, Cornell University School of Law, Clark Center for International and Comparative Legal Study, and former USIP Jennings Randolph Fellow; Feisal Istrabadi, visiting professor, Indiana University School of Law and former deputy permanent representative of the Iraqi Mission to the United Nations(2004-2007);Ghassan Atiyyah, visiting fellow, Washington Institute for Near East Policy;Karim Almusawi, U.S. representative of the Islamic Supreme Council of Iraq. This USIPeace Briefing summarizes the event's main themes of discussion. Despite a few sharp disagreements, the speakers agreed that the next U.S. administration should support Iraq in its transition by 1) maintaining security while respecting Iraqi sovereignty; 2) strengthening institutions; 3) ensuring free and fair elections; and 4) encouraging positive regional engagement.
  • Topic: War
  • Political Geography: United States, Iraq, Middle East
  • Author: Elizabeth Detwiler
  • Publication Date: 10-2008
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: United States Institute of Peace
  • Abstract: The looting of Iraq's museums and archaeological sites is an overlooked consequence of the 2003 invasion. The loss of such precious history would be tragic for any nation or culture. As Iraqis struggle to redefine a sense of nationhood after five years of war, they will need to draw on that common heritage to reconstruct their communities. In the words of Donny George Youkhanna, former director general of the Iraq Museum in Baghdad, “The oil will finish one day, but the antiquities will always be there.” The most immediate priorities are to secure Iraq's existing heritage sites, recover stolen artifacts, and develop an infrastructure for their conservation. The question should also be asked: what can be done to prevent such looting in future conflicts?
  • Topic: Crime, International Cooperation, International Organization, Arts
  • Political Geography: Iraq, Middle East, Baghdad
  • Author: Sheldon Himelfarb, Megan Chabalowski
  • Publication Date: 10-2008
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: United States Institute of Peace
  • Abstract: There is growing recognition among policymakers and conflict management experts that the media should be a building block of any comprehensive peacebuilding strategy. Yet there are scant guidelines in this regard. Projects are still planned and implemented in a relatively ad-hoc manner, with minimal reference to lessons learned from previous initiatives.
  • Topic: Conflict Prevention, Civil Society, Peace Studies
  • Author: Julie Montgomery
  • Publication Date: 09-2008
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: United States Institute of Peace
  • Abstract: The dramatic improvement in security in Iraq has changed the U.S. policy debate. The Iraqi Security Forces (ISF) are taking a bigger role, the Maliki government's capacity is improving and the U.S. is gradually stepping aside.
  • Topic: Diplomacy, War
  • Political Geography: United States, Iraq, Middle East
  • Author: Raymond Gilpin
  • Publication Date: 08-2008
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: United States Institute of Peace
  • Abstract: Although Zimbabwe's deep-seated economic malaise has robbed citizens of their savings, rendered incomes practically worthless and undermined domestic productivity, experts believe that a resolution of the political impasse could trigger much-needed policy reform and economic revitalization. This USIPeace Briefing reviews policy options and recommendations proffered at a USIP roundtable discussion on August 12, 2008. The panelists were: Keith Campbell, Managing Director at the Executive Research Associates; Bernard Harborne, Lead Conflict Specialist at the World Bank; Frank Young, Vice President of Abt Associates; Callisto Madavo, visiting professor at the African Studies Program at Georgetown University. USIP's Raymond Gilpin moderated the event.
  • Topic: Corruption, Economics, Government
  • Political Geography: Africa, Zimbabwe
  • 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: Sam Parker, Rusty Barber
  • Publication Date: 12-2008
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: United States Institute of Peace
  • Abstract: Since their 2005 inception in Iraq, PRTs have struggled to fully define their mission, overcome structural problems, learn to work alongside their military counterparts and assist Iraqis down the path to self-governance and stability so that U.S. forces can withdraw. While the concept was born in the Afghan conflict, PRTs in Iraq bear little resemblance to their Afghan cousins, which are led and largely staffed by military officers. PRTs in Iraq are largely civilian-led and are required to address a host of issues including local governance, economic and women's development, health, agriculture, rule of law and education. In this respect, they resemble mini development task forces, harnessing civilian expertise sourced from the U.S. and augmented by military civil affairs officers.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution, Security, Economics, Health, Terrorism, War, Governance
  • Political Geography: Afghanistan, United States, Iraq, Middle East
  • 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
  • Publication Date: 12-2008
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: United States Institute of Peace
  • Abstract: The following U.S. interests underlie any U.S. consideration of policy toward Iraq and should guide the Obama administration: Restore U.S. credibility, prestige and capacity to act worldwide. Improve regional stability. Limit and redirect Iranian influence. Maintain an independent Iraq as a single state. Prevent Iraq from becoming a haven or platform for international terrorists. These interests cannot be fully achieved without continued U.S. engagement, even as the level of American forces needed to maintain security declines. Iraq is important to the U.S. Ignoring or hastily abandoning Iraq could risk a collapse with catastrophic humanitarian and political consequences that the new Administration would not be able to ignore.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution, Humanitarian Aid, War
  • Political Geography: United States, Iraq, Middle East, Arabia
  • 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
  • Author: Scott Worden, Rachel Ray Steele
  • Publication Date: 12-2008
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: United States Institute of Peace
  • Abstract: Documentation centers dedicated to researching, recording, archiving and protecting information related to mass crimes and human rights abuse conflict have been organized in countries as diverse as Cambodia, the Democratic Republic of Congo, Guatemala and Iraq. Their work is an integral part of a transition from an authoritarian regime or war to sustainable peace. Victims want to tell what happened to them, be acknowledged, and know how and why atrocities occurred. Moreover, an accurate accounting of past crimes applies pressure to remove perpetrators from power and raises awareness toward preventing future abuse.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution, Human Rights, War, International Affairs
  • Political Geography: Afghanistan, Iraq, Central Asia, Asia, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Cambodia, Guatemala, Southeast Asia
  • Author: Robert Maguire
  • Publication Date: 12-2008
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: United States Institute of Peace
  • Abstract: In July 2006, Haitian poet and historian Jean-Claude Martineau spoke at USIP and said that Haiti is the only country in the world with a last name—"Haiti, poorest country in the western hemisphere" —as described in the media. Sadly, in the two years since, conditions have worsened. Four severe storms that struck Haiti in September 2008 only exacerbated the already critical problem of the country's poverty.
  • Topic: Development, Humanitarian Aid, Poverty, Third World
  • Political Geography: Caribbean, Haiti
  • Author: Daniel Serwer
  • Publication Date: 12-2007
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: United States Institute of Peace
  • Abstract: Why does the United States support Kosovo's independence, even putting at risk its relations not only with Serbia but also with Russia? And how does Washington plan to contain the consequences? It is often assumed that Washington's position is based on a sense of moral obligation, deriving not only from the mistreatment of Albanians under the Milosevic regime but also from American promises since. While this fact or unquestionably weighs on the side of the Kosovars, it is not I think decisive. Understanding Washington's support for Kosovo's independence requires an analysis of the consequences of further delay as well as the consequences of moving ahead, even in the absence of a UN Security Council resolution.
  • Topic: Government, Sovereignty
  • Political Geography: Russia, United States, America, Balkans
  • Author: Dorina Bekoe
  • Publication Date: 12-2007
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: United States Institute of Peace
  • Abstract: The March 2007 Ouagadougou Political Accord (OPA), signed by Laurent Gbagbo, president of Côte d'Ivoire, and Guillaume Soro, leader of the Forces Nouvelles (FN) rebel movement, holds great promise for ending the current political stalemate and reuniting the country. The political crisis began in September 2002 with an attack by military officers protesting the government's decision to demobilize them; according to some, it was also, an attempted coup d'état. The uprising generated other rebel groups, which took control over the northern part of the country and ignited a civil war. Even after the brunt of the fighting ceased, the country remained divided, with northern Côte d'Ivoire devoid of public services and the state's administration. The OPA is the sixth peace agreement directed at ending the political crisis; the previous five were never fully implemented due to, among other factors, disagreements about the selection of the mediator, the absence of political will among the signatories, and the tense relationship between the government of Côte d'Ivoire and the United Nations. Blaise Compaoré, president of Burkina Faso, mediated the negotiations leading to the signing of the OPA. Burkina Faso remains the facilitator of the agreement's implementation.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution, Development, Peace Studies
  • Political Geography: Africa, United Nations
  • Author: Beth Ellen Cole
  • Publication Date: 11-2007
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: United States Institute of Peace
  • Abstract: Afghanistan has now laid the foundation for a market-based economy. A new economic system, based on the state as a regulator, not a producer, of goods, with a clear separation between the public and private sectors, stands in place of the centralized economy of the past. An independent central bank, a liberalized foreign exchange system, and laws permitting foreigners to wholly own property characterize the new economic landscape. A doubling of the gross national product and per capita income, a 13 percent growth rate in 2007, and modest inflation paint a vibrant picture.
  • Topic: Security, Development, Economics
  • Political Geography: Afghanistan, Asia
  • Author: Sarah Bessell
  • Publication Date: 11-2007
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: United States Institute of Peace
  • Abstract: Can peace and stability be measured? If so, what are some of the most helpful indicators for determining at-risk countries and regions? What is the significance of resulting rankings and changes from year to year? On September 17, 2007, USIP hosted a public event to explore these and related questions. The panel featured three indices that attempt to quantify aspects of countries' peacefulness, conflict, and instability: the Failed States Index, the Peace and Conflict Instability Ledger, and the Global Peace Index. The panel examined the meaning, methodologies, and utility for policymakers and researchers of these and other indices. This USIPeace Briefing summarizes the discussion at this event.
  • Topic: Security, Demographics, Economics, Peace Studies
  • Political Geography: Sudan, Zimbabwe, Somalia
  • Author: Dorina Bekoe
  • Publication Date: 10-2007
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: United States Institute of Peace
  • Abstract: Eastern Sudan, comprising the three states of Kassala, Red Sea, and Gedarif, is, according to many accounts, among the most marginalized regions in Sudan. There are few international humanitarian agencies in the region, and information on social and economic conditions is scarce. The extent of eastern Sudan's marginalization led to the creation of the Beja Congress, an armed and political movement, in 1958 and the development of a low-intensity conflict in 1997. In 2005, the Beja Congress joined forces with the Rashaida Free Lions, a rebel group, and other small groups to form the Eastern Front.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution, Peace Studies
  • Political Geography: Africa, Sudan
  • Author: J Alexander Thier, Leigh Toomey
  • Publication Date: 10-2007
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: United States Institute of Peace
  • Abstract: A legitimate, functioning and coherent justice system is urgently needed to establish peace and stability in post-Taliban Afghanistan. After three decades of war, continued insecurity, endemic corruption, and lack of resources hobble the formal justice system. Informal, community-based dispute resolution mechanisms—which are more readily accessible and understood than formal courts by most Afghans, particularly outside urban areas—are widely used to resolve both civil and criminal matters. These mechanisms are critical to maintaining stability within communities, and at present handle over 80 percent of disputes in Afghanistan. At the same time, informal or traditional practices may fall short of due process and human rights standards.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution, Security, Government
  • Political Geography: Afghanistan, Asia
  • Author: Heather Coyne
  • Publication Date: 01-2007
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: United States Institute of Peace
  • Abstract: The U.S. Institute of Peace recently hosted Farooq Kathwari, head of the Kashmir Study Group, to discuss the prospects for peace in Kashmir. Kathwari's personal involvement and commitment to the peace process give him a unique ability to see potential for a way around the obstacles in this seemingly intractable conflict. During the session, Chester Crocker, a member of the Kashmir Study Group and a USIP board member, described those obstacles in more depth, providing a framework for analyzing what peacemaking efforts like Kathwari's have been able to achieve and which aspects of the process remain fragile. This USIPeace Briefing highlights the central points made during that discussion and does not represent the views of the Institute, which does not advocate specific policies.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution, International Relations
  • Political Geography: Pakistan, United States, India, Kashmir
  • Author: Bonnie Glaser, Chietigj Bajpaee
  • Publication Date: 01-2007
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: United States Institute of Peace
  • Abstract: To better understand perspectives in the United States and China on internal developments in North Korea, the U.S. Institute of Peace and the Center for Strategic and International Studies, in partnership with the China Institutes of Contemporary International Relations, convened a daylong conference on December 5, 2006. The conference took place on the eve of the resumption of the Six-Party Talks in Beijing, which subsequently ended without tangible progress. The participants discussed North Korea's economy, the role of external actors on North Korea's decision-making, and Chinese and U.S. visions for the future of the Korean Peninsula. The seminar also included a simulation based on a scenario of an explosion at Yongbyon that creates a radioactive plume that moves across the Sea of Japan.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution, International Relations
  • Political Geography: United States, Japan, China, Asia, North Korea
  • Author: Jytte Klausen
  • Publication Date: 02-2007
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: United States Institute of Peace
  • Abstract: British security officials have announced their conclusion that Britain is now al-Qaeda's "number one" target. Over 1,000 individuals have been arrested on terrorism charges since September 11, 2001, and about two hundred individuals currently await trial. Twenty-three have been convicted on terrorism charges. In November 2006, MI5's head, Dame Eliza Manningham-Buller, estimated that there were 30 major plots under way, and that an attack in the UK was "highly likely."
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution, International Relations, Terrorism
  • Political Geography: United Kingdom
  • Author: Robert Perito
  • Publication Date: 02-2007
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: United States Institute of Peace
  • Abstract: In December 2006, Iraq's “Year of the Police” ended with the completion of several milestones. The Multi-National Security Transition Command's (MNSTC-I) program trained and equipped 135,000 members of the Iraq Police Service. Training and equipment was also provided to the 24,400 members of the Iraq National Police (constabulary) and 28,360 members of the Border Police. Nearly 180 American Police Transition Teams and 39 National Police Transition Teams were embedded with Iraqi forces, while a 100-member Ministry Transition Team was assigned to the Ministry of Interior to improve its operations.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution, Security
  • Political Geography: Iraq, Middle East
  • Author: Daniel Serwer
  • Publication Date: 02-2007
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: United States Institute of Peace
  • Abstract: As vice president for peace and stability operations at the U.S. Institute of Peace, Daniel Serwer has for three years supervised a Congressionally-funded peacebuilding effort in Iraq, after a decade spent on Balkans peacebuilding efforts both at the State Department and USIP. This USIPeace Briefing, prepared as testimony before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee in early January 2007, presents his personal views, not those of the Institute, which does not take positions on specific policies.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution, Security
  • Political Geography: United States, Iraq, Middle East, Balkans
  • Author: Pavithra Banavar, Nicholas Howenstein
  • Publication Date: 03-2007
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: United States Institute of Peace
  • Abstract: In early January, in a surprising turn of events, the head of Bangladesh's caretaker government, Iajuddin Ahmed, stepped down under military pressure. As he did so, he declared a state of emergency, suspended civil liberties, and indefinitely postponed Bangladesh's elections, which had been scheduled for January 22, 2007. Fakhruddin Ahmed replaced him as head of the caretaker government. Most of these events have taken place with relatively little attention from the international community.
  • Topic: Security, Civil Society, Democratization
  • Political Geography: Bangladesh, Asia
  • Author: Dorina Bekoe
  • Publication Date: 03-2007
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: United States Institute of Peace
  • Abstract: Nigeria has had a grim history of electoral violence since its return to democratic rule in 1999, and with its next elections eight weeks away, the United States Institute of Peace (USIP), in partnership with the West Africa Network for Peacebuilding - Nigeria (WANEP-Nigeria), held a workshop on the prevention of electoral violence. The workshop entitled, "Nigeria 2007: Building Blocks for a Peaceful Transition," took place in Abuja, Nigeria, from February 13 to February 15, 2007. Thirty-one participants from civil society organizations representing all six of Nigeria's geo-political zones attended the workshop.
  • Topic: Security, Civil Society, Democratization
  • Political Geography: Africa, United States, Nigeria
  • Author: Sarah Dye
  • Publication Date: 03-2007
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: United States Institute of Peace
  • Abstract: During the mid-1990s, North Korea experienced a famine that killed millions of people, mostly in rural areas. Despite the severity of that famine and the ensuing deterioration of public health, the political leadership in North Korea has obstinately blocked the effective delivery of humanitarian aid to its citizens. On November 16, 2006, the United States Institute of Peace (USIP) and Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health (JHSPH) Task Force on Public Health and Conflict held its first symposium, which selected North Korea as a case study. The Task Force is committed to raising the profile of conflict analysis and resolution in the field of public health education through a year-long series of events. The speakers at this first symposium included Scott Snyder of the Asia Foundation; Sophie Richardson of Human Rights Watch; two South Korean physicians, Kim Jin-Yong and Lee Yun-Hwan; Courtland Robinson, a Johns Hopkins faculty member and researcher; and one North Korean refugee who addressed the symposium under a pseudonym. This USIPeace Briefing summarizes the symposium's discussion on public health and conflict in North Korea.
  • Topic: Conflict Prevention, Security, Health, Humanitarian Aid
  • Political Geography: United States, South Korea, North Korea
  • Author: Paul Wee
  • Publication Date: 03-2007
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: United States Institute of Peace
  • Abstract: The interfaith peace movement in the Middle East has foundered recently, a casualty of major geo-political events, among them the war in Iraq, the increase in hostility between Iran and the West, the Israel-Hezbollah war, and the failure of efforts to resolve the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. In addition, fallout continues from the Danish cartoon controversy and the remarks of Pope Benedict XVI in 2006. These and related factors have contributed to undermine interfaith efforts and limit opportunities for meaningful dialogue and common action.
  • Topic: Conflict Prevention, Islam, War
  • Political Geography: Iraq, Middle East, Israel
  • Author: Daniel Serwer, Yll Bajraktari
  • Publication Date: 03-2007
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: United States Institute of Peace
  • Abstract: At the end of the NATO/Yugoslavia war almost eight years ago, the Albanian-majority Serbian province of Kosovo was removed from Serbia's governance and placed temporarily under a United Nations protectorate, administered by the UN Mission in Kosovo (UNMIK). Last summer, UN Special Envoy Martti Ahtisaari was tasked by the Security Council with resolving the question of Kosovo's future status, with support from U.S. and European Union envoys (Frank Wisner and Stefan Lehne respectively). Ahtisaari's effort is now drawing to a close. He has delivered to both Pristina and Belgrade a plan that explicitly allows a great deal of protection for Serbs and their religious monuments in Kosovo but implicitly ends Belgrade's sovereignty. His plan opens the prospect of a sovereign and independent Kosovo under continuing international supervision. It is anticipated that Ahtisaari will take his plan, with some revisions, to the UN Security Council this month. This USIPeace Briefing discusses potential drivers of conflict in Kosovo during the status decision and in the period thereafter. These drivers of conflict arise from the international community, the Kosovo Albanians, Serbia and the Kosovo Serbs. They have the potential not only to make Kosovo dysfunctional but also to destabilize the region.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution, NATO, Ethnic Conflict, United Nations, War
  • Political Geography: Kosovo, Yugoslavia, Serbia, Balkans
  • Author: Zoë Cooprider, James Wasserstrom
  • Publication Date: 03-2007
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: United States Institute of Peace
  • Abstract: Participants at a recent USIP working group meeting on infrastructure development in conflict environments discussed the viability of revitalizing State-Owned Enterprises (SOEs) in Iraq. The meeting, held on February 1, 2007, focused specifically on Deputy Undersecretary of Defense for Business Transformation (BTA) Paul Brinkley's effort to revitalize a selection of the nearly 200 SOEs that once produced consumer and durable goods, but which have been shut down since the beginning of the stabilization and reconstruction (S) effort in 2003. Brinkley is attempting to rescue what is salvageable through this controversial SOE revitalization project. In January 2007, after eight months of research and investigation, Brinkley announced that ten factories had been selected to initiate his SOE revitalization project and would be open within two to three months.
  • Topic: Communism, Economics, Political Economy, Politics
  • Political Geography: Iraq
  • Author: Beth Cole, Christina Parajon
  • Publication Date: 03-2007
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: United States Institute of Peace
  • Abstract: How can the international community increase the likelihood of success in societies emerging from conflict? This question was discussed at a public Institute event, Nation Building in the 21st Century: Prescriptions for Success, on March 9, 2007. The panel of speakers included Representative Sam Farr (D-CA); Ambassador James Dobbins, director of International Security and Defense Policy Center at the RAND National Security Research Division; Ambassador John Herbst, coordinator for the Office of Reconstruction and Stabilization; and Beth Cole, senior program officer at the Institute. Daniel Serwer, Institute vice president for Post-Conflict Peace and Stability Operations, moderated. The discussion drew on a new RAND book, The Beginner's Guide to Nation Building, whose authors include Dobbins and Cole, a “Framework for Success for Societies Emerging from Conflict” developed by USIP, and new operating models nearing approval by the U.S. government for the deployment of civilians to missions abroad. This USIPeace Briefing highlights the main points made during the discussion and does not represent the views of the Institute, which does not advocate specific policies. Drawing on past experience, the panel emphasized that the success of future nation building missions depends on acquiring support from policymakers in Congress and the Administration, applying lessons learned in the past, using common frameworks and doctrine for the future, and increasing civilian capacity, which is sorely lacking.
  • Topic: International Relations, Development, Political Economy
  • Political Geography: United States
  • Author: Dorina Bekoe, Christina Parajon
  • Publication Date: 04-2007
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: United States Institute of Peace
  • Abstract: Security Sector Reform (SSR) is one of the four major objectives pursued by the Liberian government as it rebuilds after the fifteen-year civil war. The innovative approaches and framework employed by the government of Liberia and the international community to reform the Liberian security sector after the civil war were discussed at a meeting of the Liberia Working Group, an initiative of the United States Institute of Peace. The meeting, which took place on February 21, 2007 featured Ambassador Jacques Paul Klein, former United Nations special representative of the secretary general in Liberia (UNSRSG), and Andy Michels and Sean McFate, co-founders of Interlocutor Group. The panelists provided an overview of the policy framework used for security reform in post-conflict Liberia and the challenges facing Liberia in rebuilding its security services. This USIPeace Briefing highlights the central points of the meeting and summarizes recommendations for the way forward. Most of the discussion during the working group meeting centered on the reform of the army, although key points on police reform are also noted.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution, Security, Communism, United Nations
  • Political Geography: Africa, United States, Liberia
  • Author: Mona Yacoubian
  • Publication Date: 04-2007
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: United States Institute of Peace
  • Abstract: This is the fourth in a series of USIPeace Briefings on Syria published by the Institute's Center for Conflict Analysis and Prevention. Written by Mona Yacoubian, director of the Institute's Syria Working Group and special adviser to the Muslim World Initiative, it is based on discussions at a recent seminar held at the Institute. The views expressed do not reflect those of the Institute which does not take policy positions.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution, Regional Cooperation
  • Political Geography: Iraq, Middle East, Syria
  • Author: Hesham Sallam
  • Publication Date: 04-2007
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: United States Institute of Peace
  • Abstract: Iran's recent detention of 15 British sailors and marines, captured in the contested waters of the Shatt al-Arab near the Iranian coast, has exacerbated tensions between the United States and Iran. The incident also underscored the opacity of the Iranian political system; it is unclear on whose directive the Iranian navy acted. With U.S.–Iranian relations already strained due to the Islamic Republic's activities in Iraq and its nuclear ambitions, understanding the Islamic Republic's power structure and decision-making processes has become increasingly important. To answer the question "Who rules Ahmadinejad's Iran?" USIP's Iran Policy Forum convened an off-the-record discussion with leading specialists on Iranian politics. This USIPeace Briefing highlights the main points made during the discussion and does not represent the views of USIP, which does not advocate specific policies.
  • Topic: Government, Islam
  • Political Geography: United States, Iran, Middle East
  • Author: David Smock
  • Publication Date: 04-2007
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: United States Institute of Peace
  • Abstract: On April 4, the U.S. Institute of Peace convened its Sudan Peace Forum to discuss new strategies for dealing with the ongoing crisis in Darfur. This USIPeace Briefing summarizes the discussion, which was conducted on a not-for-attribution basis. It was written by David Smock, the vice president of USIP's Center for Mediation and Conflict Resolution. It does not represent the views of USIP, which does not advocate specific policies.
  • Topic: Ethnic Conflict, Human Rights, International Law
  • Political Geography: Africa, United States
  • Author: Lynn Tesser
  • Publication Date: 04-2007
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: United States Institute of Peace
  • Abstract: On November 21, 2006, Nepal's government and the Communist Party of Nepal (Maoist) signed a comprehensive peace agreement (CPA) to formally end their ten-year conflict, which has resulted in an estimated 13,000 deaths. The agreement has been widely hailed as historic and many observers feel cautiously optimistic, in spite of the hurdles that lie ahead. On January 22, 2007, the U.S. Institute of Peace sponsored a one-day program in Washington, D.C., to address the challenges Nepal now faces. It brought together a broad spectrum of attendees, from representatives of academia and international organizations such as the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and World Bank to the U.S. Departments of State and Justice. Presenters were asked to comment on particular challenges that Nepal faces during the peace process. This USIPeace Briefing provides an overview of the presentations given at the conference, and includes remarks from Ambassador Julia Chang Bloch (former U.S. ambassador to Nepal and president of the U.S.–China Education Trust); Dr. Chitra K. Tiwari (journalist, The Washington Times); Dr. Jaya Raj Acharya (senior fellow, USIP); and Kul Chandra Gautam (assistant secretary-general of the UN and deputy executive director of UNICEF). It was prepared by Lynn Tesser, program officer in USIP's Jennings Randolph Fellowship program.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution, Democratization, Government, International Law
  • Political Geography: United States, Washington, Asia, Nepal
  • Author: Beth Cole, Catherine Morris
  • Publication Date: 04-2007
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: United States Institute of Peace
  • Abstract: Taliban fighters have re-emerged in full force in Afghanistan and insurgency-related violence has increased to record levels, resulting in 2,732 fatalities between September 1, 2006, and February 25, 2007. According to the United Nations, the 35,460-strong International Security Assistance Force (ISAF), along with the 8,000 troops deployed under the United States-led coalition command, has begun its own offensive against the insurgency in the south, targeting opium growing regions and Taliban safe zones. From safe havens in the Pakistan border areas, the Taliban are now pursuing a long-term strategy of exploiting their control of remote villages to gain control of districts and then regions. Thus, a conflict that had been pushed down on the U.S. and international agendas is now reemerging. As the Taliban regroups and continues its insurgency, the international community is faced with the need to re-evaluate and strengthen its own plan of action.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution, Democratization
  • Political Geography: Afghanistan, United States, Asia, Taliban
  • Author: Sarah Dye
  • Publication Date: 05-2007
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: United States Institute of Peace
  • Abstract: Since the Soviet invasion of 1979, Afghanistan's health system has been decimated by over 27 years of near constant conflict. The ensuing civil war between warlords and rebel groups, including the Taliban, led many Afghan doctors and other intellectuals to flee to Pakistan, Iran, and elsewhere. Under Taliban rule in the 1990s, women were forbidden to attend school, and university teaching hospitals had no equipment, no training materials, and few books. While there have been advances over the past five years through the assistance of United Nations organizations and the international NGO community, Afghanistan's health indicators remain among the lowest in the world.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution, Health
  • Political Geography: Afghanistan, Asia
  • Author: Kelly Campbell
  • Publication Date: 05-2007
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: United States Institute of Peace
  • Abstract: Western policy toward Iran relies heavily on economic pressure, and Iran's political trajectory is shaped in large part by its economic prospects and constraints. A toughened regime of UN Security Council sanctions against Iran and uncertainties about the viability of its petroleum sector—compounded by deep structural distortions caused by a history of economic mismanagement—raise real questions about the state of the Iranian economy. The Iran Policy Forum at the United States Institute of Peace convened a meeting to discuss the status of Iran's economy and energy sector; the effect of Iran's uncertain political climate and concerns over its nuclear program on the economy; and actions the government should take to avoid future economic troubles. This USIPeace Briefing summarizes the discussion.
  • Topic: Security, Economics, Political Economy
  • Political Geography: United States, Iran, Middle East
  • Author: Robert Perito, Beth Cole
  • Publication Date: 05-2007
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: United States Institute of Peace
  • Abstract: In the State of the Union address this year, President Bush joined calls for a U.S. civilian reserve corps that could rapidly deploy to restore public order and begin reconstituting the institutions of governance so desperately needed in states emerging from conflict. The Office of the Coordinator for Reconstruction and Stabilization (S/CRS) at the U.S. Department of State was created in part for this purpose, but it has never received adequate resources. The current challenge of locating qualified and willing civilians to join Provincial Reconstruction Teams in Iraq and Afghanistan has given renewed impetus to initiatives aimed at overcoming this chronic shortcoming.
  • Topic: Civil Society, Political Economy, War, Governance
  • Political Geography: Afghanistan, United States
  • Author: Karon Cochran-Budhathoki, Colette Rausch
  • Publication Date: 05-2007
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: United States Institute of Peace
  • Abstract: In February 2007, the U.S. Institute of Peace (USIP) facilitated a series of dialogues in Kathmandu, Nepal between civil society, the Nepal police, and representatives of political parties. The aim was to identify those areas of mutual concern related to security and the rule of law in Nepal. Civil society representatives from development organizations, media, human rights groups, the legal community, and Dalit and Janajati rights groups participated. The representatives from the Nepal police included deputy inspector generals, senior superintendents, superintendents, and deputy superintendents of police. The dialogue sessions were conducted over the course of four days. On day one, civil society representatives met to discuss the challenges and possible solutions to security and the rule of law. The next day, the police discussed the same issues. On day three, the two groups came together to develop a joint list of high-priority issues. On the final day, the police and civil society representatives presented this joint list to political party representatives.
  • Topic: Security, Development, Political Economy
  • Political Geography: Asia, Nepal
  • Author: Dorina Bekoe
  • Publication Date: 05-2007
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: United States Institute of Peace
  • Abstract: The socio-economic and political conditions in Zimbabwe have been declining for years, but on March 11, 2007, they seemed to take a dramatic turn for the worse. Following months of protests, the Zimbabwean security forces embarked on a political crackdown that resulted in the arrest and assault of opposition leaders, including Morgan Tsvangirai, head of the Movement for Democratic Change (MDC), the main opposition party. Against these worsening conditions, the United States Institute of Peace convened a public meeting on April 25, 2007, led by Michael Bratton, Adrienne LeBas, and Martha Mutisi, to discuss the triggers leading to the March 2007 crackdown, the changes within the political parties in Zimbabwe, the challenges facing civil society organizations (CSOs), and the public's response to past political violence. This USIPeace Briefing summarizes the meeting's discussions and highlights recommendations for the way forward.
  • Topic: Security, Political Economy
  • Political Geography: Africa, Zimbabwe
  • Author: Anna Theofilopoulou
  • Publication Date: 05-2007
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: United States Institute of Peace
  • Abstract: The conflict over Western Sahara between the Kingdom of Morocco and the Polisario Front, a rebel movement striving for the independence of Western Sahara from Morocco, has been on the agenda of the UN Security Council since 1991. The settlement plan that came into effect that year envisaged a referendum on self-determination for the people of Western Sahara with the choice of either integration with Morocco or independence. This "win or lose" approach is responsible for the "take no prisoners," zero-sum attitude adopted by both sides ever since. It has caused both parties to miss opportunities for a solution that would have allowed each to get some of what it wanted while allowing the other to save face. It has also paralyzed the UN from taking decisive action that could have resolved the conflict.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution, Security, Political Economy
  • Political Geography: Africa, Morocco
  • Author: Dorina Bekoe, Christina Parajon
  • Publication Date: 05-2007
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: United States Institute of Peace
  • Abstract: Women were crucial in bringing peace to Liberia and are also a critical part of the rebuilding process. President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf has made it a priority to include women in Liberia's reconstruction: women head the ministries of commerce, justice, finance, youth and sports, and gender and development. They also comprise five of the 15 county superintendents. Still, more must be done to increase the capacity of women to take part in Liberia's peacebuilding. On April 23, 2007, the United States Institute of Peace and the Initiative for Inclusive Security co-organized a meeting of the Liberia Working Group to discuss the role that women have played in achieving and maintaining peace in Liberia and the challenges and opportunities of participating in the reconstruction of the country. Panelists included Leymah Roberta Gbowee, executive director of the Women Peace and Security Network Africa and founder of the Women in Peacebuilding Network (WIPNET), Juanita Jarrett, founding member of the Mano River Women's Peace Network (MARWOPNET), and Waafas Ofosu-Amaah, senior gender specialist at the World Bank. This USIPeace Briefing highlights the meeting's central points and recommendations.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution, Gender Issues, Political Economy
  • Political Geography: Africa, United States, Liberia
  • Author: Yll Bajraktari, Greg Maly
  • Publication Date: 05-2007
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: United States Institute of Peace
  • Abstract: Since the overthrow of Slobodan Milosevic in October 2000, Serbia has struggled to find its way. Is the country shifting toward the West or East? What will happen with Kosovo? Does Serbia need Europe? Does Europe need Serbia? These issues were discussed at a May 7, 2007 event at USIP featuring James Lyon, special Balkans advisor for the International Crisis Group; Boris Stefanovic, deputy chief of mission at the Embassy of Serbia; and Martin Sletzinger, director of East European Studies at the Wilson Center for Scholars. Daniel Serwer, vice president for Post-Conflict Peace and Stability Operations at USIP, moderated the discussion. This USIPeace Briefing summarizes the main views expressed by the panelists and participants. It does not represent the views of USIP, which does not take positions on policy issues.
  • Topic: International Relations
  • Political Geography: Europe, Mongolia, Kosovo, Balkans
  • Author: Sarah Dye, Linda Bishai
  • Publication Date: 05-2007
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: United States Institute of Peace
  • Abstract: On April 20, 2007, the United States Institute of Peace (USIP) and the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health (JHSPH) Task Force on Public Health and Conflict wrapped up its 2006-2007 activities with a public event featuring Dr. Christopher Murray of Harvard University School of Public Health. This USIPeace Briefing summarizes Dr. Murray's presentation and the discussion that followed on armed conflict as a public health problem.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution, International Relations, Health, War
  • Political Geography: United States
  • Author: Mona Yacoubian
  • Publication Date: 05-2007
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: United States Institute of Peace
  • Abstract: This is the fifth in a series of USIPeace Briefings on Syria published by the Institute's Center for Conflict Analysis and Prevention. Written by Mona Yacoubian, director of the Institute's Syria Working Group and special adviser to the Muslim World Initiative, it is based on discussions at a recent seminar held at the Institute. The views expressed do not reflect those of USIP, which does not take policy positions
  • Topic: International Relations
  • Political Geography: Iran, Middle East, Arab Countries, Syria
  • Author: Christina Parajon
  • Publication Date: 06-2007
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: United States Institute of Peace
  • Abstract: The much-discussed and often delayed Iraqi hydrocarbon law, approved by the Iraqi cabinet in February, is a bellwether for the future of the Iraqi state. Successful passage and implementation of the law would reflect a strong spirit of compromise and help to calm violence. If, on the other hand, the proposed law fails to pass, it will have negative repercussions for Iraq's social, economic and political stability.
  • Topic: International Relations
  • Political Geography: Iraq, Middle East, Arab Countries
  • Author: Scott Lasensky
  • Publication Date: 06-2007
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: United States Institute of Peace
  • Abstract: The international response to the Hamas takeover of Gaza has largely focused on building support for Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas, including announcements by the United States and the EU that the 15-month aid embargo was ending, with assistance to be channeled through the "emergency" government led by Salam Fayyad. But the Hamas takeover has also led to a variety of calls for greater international intervention in Gaza, well beyond the work of the UN and other aid agencies, the Egyptian mediation team, and the European Union monitoring force at the Rafah border crossing with Egypt.
  • Topic: Conflict Prevention, International Relations
  • Political Geography: Middle East, Arab Countries, Egypt
  • Author: Robert Perito, Greg Maly
  • Publication Date: 06-2007
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: United States Institute of Peace
  • Abstract: At their White House meeting on May 8, 2007, President Bush promised Haitian President René Préval that the United States would do more to help Haiti fight drugs and drug traffickers. Préval agreed that drugs threaten Haiti's government, which lacks the capacity to fight international narcotics trafficking alone. The two presidents were right to emphasize this issue. The nearly unimpeded flow of narcotics through Haiti undermines the rule of law and the legitimacy of Haiti's government. It fosters corruption in the police, courts, and customs; fuels weapons trafficking; finances armed gangs; breeds insecurity; and hampers economic development by discouraging investment and tourism. Haiti is an important transshipment point for cocaine reaching the United States and a major concern for American authorities.
  • Topic: International Relations, Health
  • Political Geography: United States, America, Haiti
  • Author: Christina Parajon
  • Publication Date: 06-2007
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: United States Institute of Peace
  • Abstract: While a considerable amount of analysis has focused on the media's potential to support democracy efforts and build sustainable peace, no similar effort has been given to analyze the role media can play in conflict prevention. Nor has the media's capacity to incite conflict been sufficiently analyzed and the lessons learned.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution, Conflict Prevention, International Relations, War
  • Author: Beth Cole, Catherine Morris
  • Publication Date: 07-2007
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: United States Institute of Peace
  • Abstract: Afghanistan supplies more than 90 percent of the world's opium. Despite concerted efforts to tackle the drug problem in Afghanistan, the industry continues to grow at an alarming rate, particularly in the south, where reconstruction efforts lag amidst poor security. Afghanistan's opium crop grew 59 percent from 2005 to 2006, according to UN reports, and officials expect a crop equal to if not greater than the 2006 crop in 2007. Overall, the industry accounts for nearly one-third of the country's economy and remains one of the chief threats to Afghanistan's security and development, as it becomes increasingly linked to corrupt Afghan officials and the Taliban.
  • Topic: International Relations, War
  • Political Geography: Afghanistan, Asia, Taliban
  • Author: Dorina Bekoe, Christina Parajon
  • Publication Date: 07-2007
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: United States Institute of Peace
  • Abstract: The Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) is among the most mineral-rich countries in Africa. During the war, those natural resources fueled the conflict, and provided illegal sources of wealth for some. Now, as the DRC undertakes the rebuilding of its economy, the management of natural resources serves as a key component in its development strategy. Properly and profitably managing natural resources in the DRC is a complex task that must take into account security issues, regulatory reform, the structure and legality of past contracts, and the political environment for change. To address these issues, the U.S. Institute of Peace organized a meeting of the Congo Peacebuilding Forum on May 17, 2007. Panelists included Rico Carisch, of the United Nations Group of Experts for the DRC, and Peter Rosenblum, of Columbia University School of Law. This briefing summarizes the main points discussed by participants at the meeting.
  • Topic: International Relations, Development
  • Political Geography: Africa, Democratic Republic of the Congo
  • Author: Scott Worden, Christina Caan
  • Publication Date: 07-2007
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: United States Institute of Peace
  • Abstract: Nearly six years after the U.S.-led invasion of Afghanistan, efforts to develop civil society are showing tentative signs of progress. Advances are especially evident in the increasing capacity of Afghan non-governmental organizations (NGOs) in Kabul. But the effectiveness of civil society in influencing development in the provinces remains low, and rising insecurity in many regions threatens the future prospects of the nascent Afghan civil society.
  • Topic: International Relations, Civil Society
  • Political Geography: Afghanistan, United States, Asia
  • Author: Dorina Bekoe, Christina Parajon
  • Publication Date: 07-2007
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: United States Institute of Peace
  • Abstract: Child soldiers and women are among the most vulnerable victims of Congo's war. Attending to their needs for reintegration, counseling, and medical attention are critical components for consolidating peace. The two groups face somewhat different problems. Whereas women often do not have sufficient resources to heal the social and physical wounds they have endured, child soldiers face greater difficulties in reintegrating with their families and communities.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution, International Relations
  • Political Geography: Africa, Democratic Republic of the Congo
  • Author: Linda Bishai, Sara Dye
  • Publication Date: 07-2007
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: United States Institute of Peace
  • Abstract: On March 22, 2007, the U.S. Institute of Peace (USIP) and Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health (JHSPH) Task Force on Public Health and Conflict held its third symposium, "Iraq: Rebuilding a Nation's Health." The Task Force is committed to raising the profile of conflict analysis and resolution in the field of public health education.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution, International Relations, Health
  • Political Geography: Iraq, Middle East
  • Author: Christina Caan
  • Publication Date: 07-2007
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: United States Institute of Peace
  • Abstract: Over the past four years, suicide bombings have become a choice weapon of the insurgency in Iraq. Today, terrorists and insurgents perpetrate suicide attacks regularly, taking a profound physical and psychological toll on the local population and the multinational forces serving in the country. Curbing the incidence of these attacks depends in part on understanding the motivations that trigger them. In his latest book on this challenging topic, Mohammed Hafez offers trenchant insights into the deadly phenomenon of suicide bombing, shedding much needed light on the strategy and ideology behind what often appears to be an inexplicable act of terror.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution, International Relations, Terrorism
  • Political Geography: Iraq, Middle East
  • Author: Emily Wann
  • Publication Date: 08-2007
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: United States Institute of Peace
  • Abstract: Nepal is in a period of transition to peace and democracy, progressing on many fronts but encountering some challenges and threats to sustainable peace along the way. King Gyanendra relinquished absolute control and reinstated the House of Representatives on April 24, 2006, underscoring the movement toward democracy. The Maoists and the government of Nepal signed a peace agreement on November 21, 2006, and then a ceasefire agreement on December 8, 2006, ending the ten-year insurgency. An Interim Constitution was adopted on January 15, 2007, and the Maoists joined the government. Despite these positive steps, the Terai region, located in the southern lowlands of Nepal near the border of India, has experienced a surge in violence from the last six months.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution, International Relations, Terrorism
  • Political Geography: Asia, Nepal
  • Author: Rachel Steele
  • Publication Date: 08-2007
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: United States Institute of Peace
  • Abstract: Since the election of new leaders and the establishment of a new constitution, the government of Afghanistan has been trying to prove its legitimacy and ability to foster stability, security, and the rule of law. The Taliban resurgence is playing a major role in public perception of the government's competence and the role of the international forces. Understanding current trends in public opinion can aid in tailoring the international intervention to ensure that prior progress is not lost and that elements corroding the strength of the state are diminished.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution, International Relations, War
  • Political Geography: Afghanistan, Asia, Taliban
  • Author: Adi Greif
  • Publication Date: 08-2007
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: United States Institute of Peace
  • Abstract: From the controversy raging in London over Muslim women wearing the niqab to the upsurge in violent crime in Paris, Muslims in Europe are at the center of a storm of disagreement. Although many Muslim youth are comfortable as Muslim and European, others feel estranged from society. A tiny minority of these youth are drawn to violence, in part as a solution to their alienation. USIP's Muslim World Initiative helped sponsor a conference hosted by the British organization Wilton Park that discussed a wide variety of problems confronting Muslim youth in Europe. A theme that ran through the conference was how to combat the alienation of Muslim youth and encourage responsible citizenship. The conference brought together a wide range of Muslims, scholars and government representatives from countries around the world.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution, International Relations, Islam
  • Political Geography: Europe
  • Author: Karon Cochran-Budhathoki
  • Publication Date: 08-2007
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: United States Institute of Peace
  • Abstract: This USIPeace Briefing highlights the findings regarding the security situation in Nepal in the run up to constituent assembly elections scheduled for November 22, 2007. Since February 2007 the United States Institute of Peace (USIP) has held individual meetings and group dialogue sessions on strengthening security and the rule of law in Nepal. These events have taken place in Washington, D.C., Kathmandu, Banke, Siraha, Kailali, Jhapa, Chitwan and Rupandehi Districts. During the sessions and meetings, including with members of the security sector, challenges and solutions to strengthening security and the rule of law were identified and discussed. While election security for the upcoming Constituent Assembly Election was not the primary subject of the discussions, various participants offered a number of recommendations and raised several concerns. Additionally, general security issues, many of which are related to election security, were discussed and can be included in a broader long-term security strategy.
  • Topic: International Relations, Government, Politics
  • Political Geography: United States, Washington, Asia, Nepal
  • Author: Scott Worden
  • Publication Date: 08-2007
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: United States Institute of Peace
  • Abstract: Against a backdrop of halting progress by many international courts, the Special Court of Sierra Leone (SCSL) has quietly had significant success in accomplishing its mission to provide justice for the perpetrators most responsible for the horrific crimes committed against the people of Sierra Leone. Three years into the Court's operation, it has achieved guilty verdicts in cases against five defendants—with two verdicts in the past two months—that have set several important precedents in international law. The SCSL has just begun its last and most prominent case with the trial in The Hague of Charles Taylor for his role in fueling the violence in Sierra Leone while he was President of neighboring Liberia. The Taylor trial is expected to end in the fall of 2008, and with that, the Court will begin its wrap-up phase.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution, International Relations, Government
  • Political Geography: Africa, Liberia
  • Author: Sara Dye
  • Publication Date: 08-2007
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: United States Institute of Peace
  • Abstract: In over 30 conflict zones today there are estimated to be upwards of 300,000 children used to support military activities as porters, sentries, sex slaves, spies, and combatants. On June 1, 2007, the United States Institute of Peace (USIP) hosted an event on the use, prevention, and reintegration of child soldiers around the world. The event featured experts working in the field, each of whom approached the issue of child soldiers from a different perspective. These differing perspectives underscored the complexities inherent to the child soldier problem, as attempts to curb the use of child soldiers, to prevent their recruitment, and to successfully reintegrate ex-combatants into their communities continue to challenge practitioners and advocates.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution, Conflict Prevention, International Relations, War
  • Political Geography: United States
  • Author: Daniel Serwer
  • Publication Date: 08-2007
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: United States Institute of Peace
  • Abstract: The United States faces a set of unparalleled challenges in the Middle East at a moment when its capacity to respond is circumscribed and the regional and global situations are deteriorating. It is far more likely that things will get worse before they get better, though there are ways of trying to improve the odds.
  • Topic: War
  • Political Geography: United States, Iraq, Middle East
  • Author: Kelly Campbell
  • Publication Date: 08-2007
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: United States Institute of Peace
  • Abstract: Sudan's elections, scheduled to take place by July 2009, are a major milestone of the Comprehensive Peace Agreement (CPA). Domestic and international institutions are already planning for the elections, although many legal and logistical issues must be resolved before they take place. The U.S. Institute of Peace convened a meeting of the Sudan Peace Forum on July 13, 2007 to discuss the major tasks remaining in the organization of elections. The following USIPeace Briefing summarizes the status of electoral preparations and identifies critical conditions to ensure their timely organization.
  • Topic: Political Economy, Politics
  • Political Geography: Africa, Sudan, Middle East
  • Author: Neil Kritz
  • Publication Date: 09-2007
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: United States Institute of Peace
  • Abstract: U.S. and Iraqi politicians and analysts consistently agree on one central point concerning Iraq: serious political reconciliation amongst Iraqi groups is needed to reduce the violence and create a viable government. Centrifugal forces fueled by armed conflict, competition for power and resources, and the intervention of foreign powers and neighbors has stalemated the political process in Baghdad for months.
  • Topic: Democratization, Political Economy
  • Political Geography: Iraq, Middle East
  • Author: Karon Cochran-Budhathoki
  • Publication Date: 09-2007
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: United States Institute of Peace
  • Abstract: Amid the run-up to the Constituent Assembly elections scheduled for November, Nepal's government has prepared a Truth and Reconciliation Commission Act, as required by the November 2006 Comprehensive Peace Agreement between the government and the Communist Party of Nepal-Maoist (CPN-M). The Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC) is the most prominent of several commitments made during the peace process to promote transitional justice following Nepal's more than ten-year civil war—along with a committee to investigate disappeared persons and a commission to investigate abuses of the armed forces and police during democracy protests in 2006. But transitional justice—or the process of fairly confronting the legacy of past crimes committed during the armed conflict—is only beginning to be discussed in the general public in Nepal. Consequently, there is little understanding outside a small circle in the capital of what options there are to provide truth and accountability for atrocities and rights abuse that occurred during Nepal's conflict or what other countries have done to cope with similar issues.
  • Topic: Democratization, International Law, Political Economy
  • Political Geography: Asia, Nepal
  • Author: Daniel Serwer
  • Publication Date: 09-2007
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: United States Institute of Peace
  • Abstract: War in Iraq has lasted more than four years. It has required far greater resources than anticipated. The longer-term goals are still far from realization. The price the United States and Iraq are paying in blood and treasure continues to mount. The time has come to chart a clearer path forward, taking into account the regional and global contexts. Americans want an approach that protects U.S. vital interests and can therefore be supported across a wide range of the political spectrum. As Washington prepares for a critical debate in Congress this fall on what should be done in Iraq, the United States Institute of Peace convened over the summer a group of experts with many different political affiliations to consider next steps over a three-year time horizon. This USIPeace Briefing, prepared by Daniel Serwer, USIP vice president for peace and stability operations, describes their main conclusions. Areas of serious disagreement are noted. Those participants in the discussions wishing to be identified are listed at the end. This USIPeace Briefing does not represent the views of the United States Institute of Peace, which does not take positions on policy issues.
  • Topic: Democratization, Political Economy
  • Political Geography: United States, Iraq, Middle East
  • Author: Jacqueline Woodfork
  • Publication Date: 09-2007
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: United States Institute of Peace
  • Abstract: The Central African Republic (CAR) is one of the least known countries in Africa and the world. Because of its relative obscurity, it is often overshadowed by its better-known neighbors such as the Democratic Republic of the Congo and Sudan. Recently, however, internal conflicts stemming from its historical past and its present realities, as well as the spillover of political unrest and violence from Sudan and Chad, have given the CAR more prominence on the international map. This USIPeace Briefing highlights some key elements in the CAR's political and social history and provides some insights to the current civil unrest and humanitarian crisis.
  • Topic: Conflict Prevention, Political Economy, War
  • Political Geography: Africa, Sudan, Central African Republic