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  • Author: Ben Fishman, Charles Thépaut
  • Publication Date: 01-2020
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Washington Institute for Near East Policy
  • Abstract: If the latest conference is to succeed, the principal actors stoking the civil war must endorse a genuine ceasefire and a return to Libyan internal dialogue. On January 19, international leaders will convene in Berlin to discuss a way out of the nine-month civil war between the so-called “Libyan National Army” led by Gen. Khalifa Haftar and the internationally recognized Government of National Accord led by Prime Minister Fayez al-Sarraj. The Germans led several months of preparatory efforts at the request of UN envoy Ghassan Salame, but had been reluctant to choose a specific date until they were assured that the event stood a reasonable chance of producing practical steps to improve the situation on the ground and jumpstart the UN’s stalled negotiation efforts between the LNA and GNA. Chancellor Angela Merkel finally took that step after several key developments unfolded earlier this month, including a January 8 ceasefire proposal by Russian president Vladimir Putin and Turkish president Recep Tayyip Erdogan, and Putin’s subsequent failed attempt to have each side sign a more permanent ceasefire agreement in Moscow on January 13 (the GNA signed but Haftar balked, though most of the fighting has paused for the moment). Secretary of State Mike Pompeo has been averse to engage on Libya during his tenure, but he is expected to attend the Berlin conference alongside National Security Advisor Robert O’Brien. Accordingly, the event gives the United States a chance to play a much-needed role on several fronts: namely, pressuring the foreign actors who have perpetuated the war and violated the arms embargo; working with Britain, France, Germany, Italy, and Russia to codify a ceasefire at the UN Security Council; and backing Salame’s efforts to reinvigorate the Libyan national dialogue, which Haftar preempted by attacking Tripoli last April despite European support to Salame. Since 2011, Libya has struggled to establish a legitimate transitional government despite three national elections and the creation of at least four legislative bodies. Challenges to the 2014 election results eventually led to rival governments in the east and west, and the division solidified when Haftar started the first civil war with support from his allies Egypt and the United Arab Emirates. That war halted in 2015, but several years’ worth of domestic and international efforts failed to bring Sarraj and Haftar to an enduring resolution.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution, Civil War, United Nations, Conflict, Negotiation, Conference
  • Political Geography: Russia, Turkey, Middle East, Libya, Germany, North Africa, United Arab Emirates, Berlin, United States of America
  • Author: Anna Borshchevskaya
  • Publication Date: 01-2020
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Washington Institute for Near East Policy
  • Abstract: As in other conflict zones, Moscow cares little about reaching a peace deal so long as it can outmaneuver the West strategically while securing port and energy access—with private contractors playing an increasingly important role. The Kremlin is now openly treating Libya as another focal point of its Middle East activities. After years of U.S. neglect, the country has turned into a proxy war playground, and President Vladimir Putin is vying to become the chief power broker. Earlier this month, he tried (but failed) to get Khalifa Haftar to sign a ceasefire agreement in Moscow with Prime Minister Fayez al-Sarraj, head of the UN-recognized Government of National Accord (GNA). Putin also participated in the January 19 Berlin conference aimed at getting the parties back on the path toward a political solution. And though the prospects for such a deal remain uncertain, Moscow’s involvement in Libya will continue either way.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution, Foreign Policy, Civil War, Geopolitics, Negotiation, Peace
  • Political Geography: Russia, Middle East, Libya, North Africa
  • Author: Frank Aum, Jacob Stokes, Patricia M. Kim, Atman M. Trivedi, Rachel Vandenbrink, Jennifer Staats, Joseph Yun
  • Publication Date: 02-2020
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: United States Institute of Peace
  • Abstract: A joint statement by the United States and North Korea in June 2018 declared that the two countries were committed to building “a lasting and stable peace regime on the Korean Peninsula.” Such a peace regime will ultimately require the engagement and cooperation of not just North Korea and the United States, but also South Korea, China, Russia, and Japan. This report outlines the perspectives and interests of each of these countries as well as the diplomatic, security, and economic components necessary for a comprehensive peace.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution, Security, Diplomacy, Economy, Peace
  • Political Geography: Russia, Japan, China, Asia, South Korea, North Korea, Korean Peninsula, United States of America
  • Author: David Carment
  • Publication Date: 01-2020
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Canadian Global Affairs Institute (CGAI)
  • Abstract: After three years of limited discussion, the leaders of France, Germany, Russia and Ukraine renewed their peace talks to resolve the separatist conflict in Eastern Ukraine (Donbas). Efforts to facilitate a peaceful resolution to the conflict in the Donbas began five years ago with the meeting of the Trilateral Contact Group on Ukraine. This framework, developed by the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE), attempted to facilitate a dialogue between Russia and Ukraine through the mediation of an impartial actor, and it culminated in the Minsk I (September 2014) and then Minsk II (February 2015) agreements. The Minsk II agreements comprised a 13-point peace plan, chief among which is an arrangement specifying support for the restoration of the Ukrainian-Russian border. While the implementation of the military portions of the Minsk II agreements were finalized within three months of signing, the political and security portions remained unresolved. Though President Vladimir Putin has declared his intent to protect the Russian-speaking peoples of the region, he has also stated he has no interest in reclaiming Eastern Ukraine. Not surprisingly, since Russia’s ultimate goal is undeclared, the conflict has proved very difficult to resolve.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution, Security, Territorial Disputes, Negotiation
  • Political Geography: Russia, Europe, Ukraine, Canada, France, Germany, United States of America
  • Author: Victória Monteiro da Silva Santos
  • Publication Date: 01-2020
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: BRICS Policy Center
  • Abstract: By tracing concepts such as truth, justice, reparations, and nonrepeats, as well as models such as the International Commission against Impunity, the Interdisciplinary Group of Independent Experts, and the Truth Commission, the article discusses some of the ways in which a diversity actors sought to address and transform the complex patterns of organized violence that routinely impact various Latin American societies.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution, Transitional Justice, Justice, Reconciliation , Truth, Reparations
  • Political Geography: Colombia, Latin America, Mexico
  • Author: Zaid Ali Basha, Rafat Al-Akhali
  • Publication Date: 06-2020
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Sana'a Center For Strategic Studies
  • Abstract: The sustainability of a peace agreement in Yemen depends on two critical economic issues. First, in a conflict that is largely over access to resources, the issues of distribution, control, and sharing of those resources can make or break peace. Therefore, these issues must be addressed head-on during negotiations. Second, where peace agreements lack provisions that create overall economic stability, warfare can resume during the fragile implementation period. The fears over the resumption of conflict after signing a peace agreement are substantiated by several historical events in Yemen, such as the failure of the GCC Initiative.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution, Economics, Natural Resources, Peacekeeping, Peace, Economic Development
  • Political Geography: Asia, Yemen, West Asia
  • Author: Michael Asiedu
  • Publication Date: 01-2019
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Global Political Trends Center
  • Abstract: On 5 June 2018, Ethiopia’s ruling coalition; Ethiopian People’s Revolutionary Democratic Front (EPRDF) under its new leader, Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed declared that it shall accept the terms of a peace agreement with neighbouring Eritrea. The announcement came as a shock both to the international community and analysts who follow politics in the Horn of Africa. Beneath the declaration were years of silent diplomatic undertakings which have been given relatively lesser attention as the charismatic nature of Ethiopia’s new Prime Minister has taken centre stage. This Brief shall emphasize the role of diplomacy in the build-up to the announcement as well as the unique nature of Prime Minister Ahmed; in doing so, it is intrinsic to capture the historical context of the border conflict, an alternative explanation to diplomacy as well as the rewards of the peace deal and its challenges (implications). The Brief concludes by making a case for diplomacy as it still remains a viable factor in terms of conflict resolution in Africa.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution, Diplomacy, Treaties and Agreements, Peace
  • Political Geography: Africa, Ethiopia, Eritrea
  • Publication Date: 02-2019
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Al Jazeera Center for Studies
  • Abstract: The conflict in Sudan is now between two competing visions: where Bashir believes no political change is needed to address the crisis, the protestors are adamant that it can only be resolved with his departure. The question is which of these two positions will be victorious.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution, International Affairs
  • Political Geography: Sudan
  • Author: Charlotte Fiedler, Karina Mross
  • Publication Date: 01-2019
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: German Development Institute (DIE)
  • Abstract: Societies that have experienced violent conflict face considerable challenges in building sustainable peace. One crucial question they need to address is how to deal with their violent past and atrocities that were committed – for example, whether perpetrators should be held accountable by judicial means, or whether the focus should be laid on truth telling and the compensation of victims. Transitional justice (TJ) offers a range of instruments that aim to help societies come to terms with their history of violent conflict. Systematic, empirical analyses of TJ instruments have been emerging over the last years. This Briefing Paper summarises the policy-relevant insights they provide regarding the main TJ instruments: trials; truth commissions; reparations for victims; and amnesties.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution, Transitional Justice, Political Science, Peace, Justice
  • Political Geography: Colombia, Germany, Global Focus
  • Author: Enea Gjoza, Benjamin H. Friedman
  • Publication Date: 01-2019
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Defense Priorities
  • Abstract: The Yemeni Civil War is in its fourth year, and Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates (UAE), and their allies are not close to a victory over the Houthi rebels.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution, Conflict Prevention, Defense Policy, Military Strategy, Military Affairs, Military Spending, Military Intervention, Peace
  • Political Geography: United States, Middle East, Yemen, Saudi Arabia, North Africa
  • Author: Benjamin H. Friedman, Justin Logan
  • Publication Date: 05-2019
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Defense Priorities
  • Abstract: The United States intervened in Syria’s civil war in two ways: (1) anti-Assad efforts—through aid to rebels to help foster regime change and with airpower, troops and support to a militia—and (2) anti-ISIS efforts—through aid to the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) to destroy the Islamic State’s territorial caliphate. The first mission was an ill-considered failure, the second a success.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution, Civil War, Military Strategy, Peacekeeping, Military Affairs, Military Intervention, Peace
  • Political Geography: Russia, United States, Iran, Syria
  • Author: Benjamin H. Friedman
  • Publication Date: 08-2019
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Defense Priorities
  • Abstract: The war in Afghanistan—now America’s longest at nearly 18 years—quickly achieved its initial aims: (1) to destroy the Al-Qaeda terrorist organization and (2) to punish the Taliban government that gave it haven. However, Washington extended the mission to a long and futile effort of building up the Afghan state to defeat the subsequent Taliban insurgency.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution, War, Military Strategy, Peacekeeping, Military Affairs, Military Intervention
  • Political Geography: Afghanistan, United States, Middle East, Asia
  • Author: Rafat Al-Akhali, Osamah Al-Rawhani, Anthony Biswell
  • Publication Date: 08-2019
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Sana'a Center For Strategic Studies
  • Abstract: This policy brief offers recommendations to maximize the effectiveness of governance in post-conflict Yemen – whatever the composition or structure of the government. It presents three case studies on government models previously introduced in Yemen, Tunisia and Lebanon after periods of instability. These case studies offer useful lessons on the challenges, risks and opportunities of forming transitional governments in post-conflict contexts.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution, Economics, Government, Peacekeeping, Transitional Justice, Conflict, Peace, Transition
  • Political Geography: Asia, Yemen, West Asia
  • Author: Samar Batrawi, Ana Uzelac
  • Publication Date: 09-2018
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Clingendael Netherlands Institute of International Relations
  • Abstract: Syrian society is more socially, politically and geographically fragmented than ever before. None of the social problems that caused the 2011 protests have been resolved. Nevertheless, during recent months the Syrian regime has been trying to foster the image that Syria is entering a post-war phase in which a unified and stable Syria can flourish under President Bashar al-Assad. The fact that more than half of the country’s pre-war population is living in exile and has no part in this new social contract of sorts is conveniently omitted from the image presented of this ‘new’ Syria. These refugees will likely continue to live in precarious conditions, with few prospects for safe and voluntary return.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution, International Security
  • Political Geography: Syria
  • Author: Adriana Erthal Abdenur, Giovanna Kuele, Ariane Francisco
  • Publication Date: 06-2018
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Igarapé Institute
  • Abstract: There is growing recognition at the UN and among member states that peacekeeping must be made more effective, especially in face of major budget cuts and wavering leadership by traditional actors. Against this backdrop, how can member states improve the quality of pre-deployment and mission preparation for UN peacekeeping? This policy brief focuses on one area in which innovation has become more urgent than ever: enhancing the effectiveness of peacekeeping through better training. More specifically, we analyze the emerging configurations, innovations, and challenges of international cooperation for peacekeeping training centers (PTCs), drawing on the case of Latin America.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution, Conflict Prevention, Peace Studies, Regional Cooperation, United Nations, Peacekeeping, Training, Peace
  • Political Geography: Latin America
  • Author: Adriana Erthal Abdenur
  • Publication Date: 04-2018
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Igarapé Institute
  • Abstract: On July 10, 2017, the President of Guinea Bissau, José Mário Vaz, met politician Domingos Simões Pereira, who had served as Prime Minister from 2014 to August 2015. Although Pereira remained head of the country’s major political party, the African Party for the Independence of Guinea and Cabo Verde (PAIGC), he had been dismissed (along with the entire cabinet) by the president in August 2015 during a power struggle between the two men. In a public statement, Vaz had justified the dismissal by referring to a “breach of trust. ” For two years following this event, Vaz and Pereira had refused to speak to each other over differences regarding the implementation of the Conakry Accord, which sought to address some of the root causes of the country’s recurring political instability. Given the personal acrimony involved, as well as political differences, the meeting between Vaz and Pereira came as something of a surprise to observers. Yet behind the scenes, a small group of women facilitators had worked intensely for months to bring the two men in the same room. The meeting resulted from their persistent yet discreet efforts to help lessen tensions around the impasse by promoting dialogue among the key actors. This policy brief addresses the origins and development of the Group of Women Facilitators (Grupo de Mulheres Facilitatoras – GMF), focusing on the period from May to November 2017. Although the brief does not offer a systematic evaluation of the initiative, the general impact of the GMF during these six months on the Conakry Agreement debates and, more broadly, on Guinea-Bissau’s political scene are assessed in light of the objectives the group set out for itself in May. The analysis draws on a combination of desk review of policy documents from the Guinea-Bissau government, major international organizations such as the UN and ECOWAS, and civil society entities in GuineaBissau, as well as semi-structured interviews with group members and other stakeholders carried out in Bissau in November 2017.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution, Gender Issues, Peacekeeping, Women, Negotiation
  • Political Geography: Africa, Guinea-Bissau
  • Author: Helene Maria Kyed
  • Publication Date: 03-2017
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Danish Institute for International Studies
  • Abstract: In Myanmar, ordinary citizens prefer to have crimes and disputes resolved within their village or neighborhood. There is a clear preference for avoiding conflict escalation, rather than punishing perpetrators. The official courts are seen as places to avoid whenever possible. They are mistrusted, associated with high costs, and many feel intimidated by them due to fear of authority and formality. Reforming the official judiciary is important in Myanmar, but even if the courts functioned according to international standards, there would still be a demand for local forms of dispute resolution focused on reconciliation and negotiated settlements. This is due to culturally and religiously informed perceptions of problems and injustices, related to shame, fate and Buddhist beliefs in past life deeds. This policy brief by Helene Maria Kyed argues that any support to justice sector reform in Myanmar should include already existing local dispute resolution mechanisms and take local perceptions of justice serious, rather than alone focus on the official judiciary and international rule of law principles. It is important to base programming on inclusive dialogues about justice at the local level, and invest in building trust and gaining context-specific knowledge.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution, Ethnic Conflict, International Affairs
  • Political Geography: Myanmar
  • Author: Irene Costantini
  • Publication Date: 03-2017
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Middle East Research Institute (MERI)
  • Abstract: The Shia Block is realistically the key determinant for national reconciliation to occur in Iraq. However, its internal divisions make it a problematic and non-unitary interlocutor for national, regional, and international initiatives. So far, the Block has outlined two separate and independent plans: al-Hakim’s “Historical Settlement” and al-Sadr’s roadmap
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution, International Security
  • Political Geography: Iraq
  • Author: Athanasios Manis
  • Publication Date: 01-2017
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Middle East Research Institute (MERI)
  • Abstract: The Iraqi and Turkish leadership have restored direct contact, thus providing an opportunity for dialogue. However, the extent to which this can lead to a sustainable normalisation process and furthermore to a deepening of their relationship is highly questionable. This policy brief argues that the main problem lies with the fact that a win-win scenario of overlapping or complementary interests does not seem to be driving the leaderships’ actions. Instead, it is ad hoc developments external to their bilateral relationship that have a positive effect for the time being, such as the rapprochement between Russia and Turkey, and subsequently a concerted attempt between Russia, Turkey and Iran to stabilise the region.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution, International Relations
  • Political Geography: Turkey, Middle East
  • Publication Date: 05-2017
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Al Jazeera Center for Studies
  • Abstract: Abstract The commander of Operation Dignity, Khalifa Haftar, shocked supporters even more than his opponents when he agreed to meet the Chairman of the Presidential Council, Fayez al-Sarraj, in Abu Dhabi on 2 May 2017, having previously refused to recognise him. This about-face may be attributable to the acquiescence of Haftar’s regional allies to direct international pressure. Reactions to the rapprochement between al-Sarraj and Haftar varied across the eastern and western fronts. Khalifa Haftar’s status in the east precludes serious opposition to his decisions, while in the western region a substantial segment of the population blessed the meeting in hopes that a détente would stop the deterioration of the security and economic situation. In contrast, western political and military factions were incensed, and some responded violently. Haftar’s acceptance of consensual agreement and reconciliation clearly grows out the waning possibility of assuming control of the country through decisive military action. From his standpoint, it therefore makes sense to attempt to impose his conditions through negotiations, which means the Skhirat agreement could collapse or undergo radical revisions.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution, International Relations, International Security
  • Political Geography: Libya
  • Publication Date: 03-2017
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Al Jazeera Center for Studies
  • Abstract: This paper reviews the importance of western Mosul to all parties in the conflict: the Iraqi forces and their allies, on the one hand, and the Islamic State’s forces, on the other, and the obstacles to any of these parties resolving the conflict. It also touches on the extent of their forces and the clear dominance of the offensive forces, and it discusses the military strategies for the battle and potential outcomes in addition to the available options for the Islamic State (IS). It anticipates an end to the fight in favour of the Iraqi forces within a few weeks if the battle and its results progress at a similar pace to that of its first week. This will depend on any unaccounted for variables during the battle that would change the equation on the ground. It concludes by discussing the available options for IS after the battle ends, with the expectation that IS will fight until the end; while its commanders will inevitability lose the battle, this will not eliminate threats to security and stability in Iraq in the foreseeable future.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution, Civil War, International Security
  • Political Geography: Iraq, Middle East
  • Publication Date: 03-2017
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Al Jazeera Center for Studies
  • Abstract: Since the beginning of the Astana process, Moscow seems to be in a race against time to establish the foundations of a solution in Syria before arriving in Geneva: first, by reforming the opposition’s delegation to the negotiations, an effort Moscow has been working on ever since the military intervention in Syria began, and second, by redrawing the solution’s main parameters, which Moscow exerted great effort towards during marathon negotiations conducted with the former US Secretary of State, John Kerry. Through these negotiations, Moscow has been able to change the rules at Geneva by prioritising an agreement to change the constitution, followed by the formation of a non-sectarian representative government, and then calling for presidential elections with Assad’s participation, so ‘the Syrian people can decide his fate’.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution, Conflict Prevention, Civil War, International Security
  • Political Geography: Syria
  • Author: Bobby Anderson
  • Publication Date: 03-2016
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: East-West Center
  • Abstract: West Papua is the most violent area of Indonesia. Indonesian security forces battle the country's last active separatist insurgency there. The majority of Indonesia's political prisoners are Papuans, and support for independence is widespread. But military repression and indigenous resistance are only one part of a complex topography of insecurity in Papua: vigilantism, clan conflict, and other forms of horizontal violence produce more casualties than the vertical conflict that is often the exclusive focus of international accounts of contemporary Papua. Similarly, Papua's coerced incorporation into Indonesia in 1969 is not unique; it mirrors a pattern of long-term annexation found in other remote and highland areas of South and Southeast Asia. What distinguishes Papua is the near-total absence of the state in indigenous areas. This is the consequence of a morass of policy dysfunction over time that compounds the insecurity that ordinary Papuans face. The author illuminates the diverse and local sources of insecurity that indicate too little state as opposed to too much, challenges common perceptions of insecurity in Papua, and offers a prescription of policy initiatives. These include the reform of a violent and unaccountable security sector as a part of a broader reconciliation process and the urgent need for a comprehensive indigenous-centered development policy.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution, Security, Political Violence, Development, Politics
  • Political Geography: Indonesia
  • Author: Dinshaw Mistry
  • Publication Date: 01-2016
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: East-West Center
  • Abstract: In the early and mid-2000s, US policymakers anticipated India becoming one of America's top global partners. Have New Delhi's policies on key strategic issues actually aligned strongly with US objectives, as would be typical of close partners? An analysis of twelve prominent issues in US-India relations indicates that New Delhi's policies mostly converged moderately, rather than to a high extent, with US objectives. Specifically, the alignment between New Delhi's policies and US objectives was high or moderate-to-high on three issues—UN peacekeeping, nonproliferation export controls, and arms sales. It was moderate or low-to-moderate on six issues—China, Iran, Afghanistan, Indian Ocean security, Pakistan, and bilateral defense cooperation. And it was low or negligible on three issues—nuclear reactor contracts for US firms, nuclear arms control, and the war in Iraq. To be sure, despite the low or negligible convergence, New Delhi did not take an anti-US position on these issues. Four factors explain why New Delhi's policies aligned unevenly with US objectives across the issues: India's strategic interests (that diverged from US interests on some issues); domestic political and economic barriers (that prevented greater convergence between India's policies and US objectives); incentives and disincentives (that induced New Delhi to better align with US objectives); and certain case-specific factors. This analysis suggests that, rather than expecting India to become a close ally, US policymakers should consider it a friendly strategic partner whose policies would align, on the average, moderately with US strategic interests.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution, Arms Control and Proliferation, Nuclear Weapons, Political Economy, Peacekeeping
  • Political Geography: India, Asia
  • Author: Dlawer Ala’Aldeen
  • Publication Date: 12-2016
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Middle East Research Institute (MERI)
  • Abstract: The Middle East is still in flux and will remain so for some time, it will possibly be another decade before the ultimate power balance is reached. Policy makers of Iraq and the KRI who wish to pursue paths of their own design, must look carefully at the trends in power dynamics and the policies of the global and regional powers before designing their strategies.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution, International Affairs
  • Political Geography: Middle East
  • Author: Zachary Gallant
  • Publication Date: 12-2016
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Middle East Research Institute (MERI)
  • Abstract: The shift of United States (US) foreign policy from a heavy international focus with traditional alliances over the past century to the anti-globalist administration promised by President-elect Donald Trump will necessarily upset longstanding regional relations in the Middle East and North Africa. This Policy Paper discusses some of the Trump administration’s most likely foreign policy advisers and their positions on Kurdish self-governance, as well as those of some previous policymakers whose legacies he will be unable to escape.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution, International Relations
  • Political Geography: America, Middle East
  • Author: Maisie Cook
  • Publication Date: 12-2016
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Middle East Research Institute (MERI)
  • Abstract: With the liberation of Mosul fast becoming a reality, attention is turning to post-IS dynamics. Without sufficient deradicalisation policies, including within the education system, the narrative of the Islamic State will lie dormant or transform, creating the potential for another extremist group to emerge.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution, Education, Radicalization, ISIS
  • Political Geography: Iraq
  • Author: Hawraman Ali
  • Publication Date: 12-2016
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Middle East Research Institute (MERI)
  • Abstract: Iran and its opposition Kurdish groups have been involved in intermittent armed conflict for decades. Considering the new political realities of the region and the domination of US politics by the Republicans after the recent election, Iran should engage in dialogue with its Kurdish opposition parties.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution, International Relations, International Security
  • Political Geography: Iran, Kurdistan
  • Author: Athanasios Manis
  • Publication Date: 12-2016
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Middle East Research Institute (MERI)
  • Abstract: Turkey is experiencing a crisis of orientation in its internal and external affairs as a result of a transition between a dying and an emerging vision. The end of the current transitional period will not necessarily mark the end of the country’s crisis, but most probably its entrenchment or deepening.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution, International Relations, International Security
  • Political Geography: Turkey
  • Author: Irene Costantini
  • Publication Date: 11-2016
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Middle East Research Institute (MERI)
  • Abstract: Nearly thirteen years since the beginning of one of the largest programmes for post-conflict reconstruction, Iraq finds itself again in need of international financial assistance, but the conditions are hardly the same. This time the role of the international community should be matched by the Iraqi political leadership taking responsibility for the country and all of its population.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution, Conflict Prevention, ISIS
  • Political Geography: Iraq, Middle East
  • Author: Dylan O’Driscoll
  • Publication Date: 11-2016
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Middle East Research Institute (MERI)
  • Abstract: The fight against the Islamic State (IS) has caused a ‘rallying around the flag’ effect amongst Iraqi Kurds. Once IS is defeated key political and economic issues long neglected in the Kurdish Region of Iraq (KRI) will come to the fore. Thus, it is imperative they are addressed now, as failure to make inroads will have dire consequences for the KRI.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution, Geopolitics, ISIS
  • Political Geography: Middle East
  • Author: Dave van Zoonen
  • Publication Date: 11-2016
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Middle East Research Institute (MERI)
  • Abstract: Donald Trump, the next President of the United States, will soon be confronted with the difficulty of translating campaign rhetoric regarding his foreign policy in the Middle East into policy and positive outcomes. He is thus likely to be forced to make significant concessions.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution, Foreign Policy, Geopolitics
  • Political Geography: America, Middle East
  • Author: Tomáš Kaválek
  • Publication Date: 11-2016
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Middle East Research Institute (MERI)
  • Abstract: Hashd al-Shaabi launched an offensive on Tal Afar on 29 October; the looming recapture of Tal Afar prompted a strong reaction from Turkey, which maintains ties to the Turkmen population there. Tal Afar is thus yet another flashpoint of competing interests between Ankara, Erbil, Baghdad, and Tehran and can possibly further destabilise the situation in Nineveh.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution, Conflict Prevention, International Affairs
  • Political Geography: Middle East
  • Author: Tomáš Kaválek
  • Publication Date: 11-2016
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Middle East Research Institute (MERI)
  • Abstract: Nearly two years since the north side of Shingal was liberated from the Islamic State, most of the Yazidi population is still displaced. Yazidis are trapped between millstones of the competition of exogenous actors, such as the KDP, the PKK-linked forces, and Baghdad, over the control of the strategically important disputed territory of Shingal.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution, International Security, International Affairs
  • Political Geography: Middle East
  • Author: Irene Costantini
  • Publication Date: 10-2016
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Middle East Research Institute (MERI)
  • Abstract: The Islamic State (IS) has not only surprised everyone with its cruelty but also by proving to be one of the world’s richest terrorist organisations. Now that its economic gains are draining due to military setbacks and financial strains, IS-held territories are increasingly struggling through economic hurdles – the challenge ahead is to link military interventions against IS with concrete economic plans.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution, International Affairs
  • Political Geography: Middle East
  • Publication Date: 04-2016
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Al Jazeera Center for Studies
  • Abstract: This policy brief examines developments regarding resolution of the Syrian issue, particularly in light of three key events: Russia’s announcement of a withdrawal, Geneva III talks and the opposition’s latest announcement that they wanted the talks to cease given increasing aggression on civilian areas. For the opposition belonging to the High Negotiations Committee (HNC), Assad cannot have a role in Syria’s political future, particularly given that his regime and its allies is responsible for 95 per cent of the casualties in the country, far exceeding any other actors in Syria, including the Islamic State organisation.(1) This policy brief looks at the outcomes of the third round of Geneva III, what Russia has gained from its intervention and so-called withdrawal, and argues that any future proposals for Syria which maintain Assad’s position will result in continuation of fighting.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution, Civil War
  • Political Geography: Syria
  • Author: Julia Palmiano Federer, Rachel Gasser
  • Publication Date: 11-2016
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: BRICS Policy Center
  • Abstract: In this policy brief, Julia Palmiano Federer and Rachel Gasser explore the nexus between international peace mediation and gender. The publication focuses on the state of play of the Women, Peace and Security (WPS) Agenda almost two decades since the passing of United Nations Security Council Resolution 1325 in October 2000. The WPS Agenda has become a powerful and salient normative instrument in the mediation field and most comprehensively represents the nexus between gender and mediation. Since 2000, it has produced large scale efforts to address existing inequalities between women and men as agents for change in peacemaking activities. While these efforts are embraced by mediators per se, addressing these inequalities in practice has achieved mixed results and can be subject of debate between those doing mediation and those supporting mediation from a distance. This policy brief does not advocate for either a normative or pragmatic approach to integrating mediation and gender, but instead aims to illuminate key conceptual debates and practical realities in the ground in different peace processes around the world. It also illustrates the specific opportunities and challenges faced by national governments in implementing the WPS Agenda at the national policy level through National Action Plans. The policy brief concludes with suggested research agendas and questions for debate and discussion.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution, Conflict Prevention, Gender Issues, Peace Studies, United Nations, Peacekeeping, Transitional Justice
  • Political Geography: Latin America
  • Author: Nontobeko Zondi
  • Publication Date: 10-2016
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The African Centre for the Constructive Resolution of Disputes (ACCORD)
  • Abstract: Since 2009, the Government of Liberia (GoL), working with its national and international partners, has continued to provide leadership in responding to a myriad of critical conflict factors. It has done this through various peacebuilding frameworks, such as the Strategic Roadmap for National Healing, Peacebuilding and Reconciliation in Liberia, the Liberia Peacebuilding Program (LPP) and the Agenda for Transformation (AFT). In addition, Liberia has concluded its post-Ebola recovery plans, supported by the United Nations (UN) and other partners, in the midst of the UN Mission in Liberia’s (UNMIL) transition in 2016, as well as within the context of the country’s 2017 national elections. It was against this backdrop that the Peacebuilding Office (PBO) within the Ministry of Internal Affairs, the African Centre for the Constructive Resolution of Disputes (ACCORD) and other partners had to rethink and reprioritise Liberia’s peacebuilding and reconciliation strategies, programmes and interventions, moving forward. As such, a comprehensive conflict-mapping and conflict analysis exercise was pivotal to allow for a systematic and empirical process in which Liberian conflict issues and potential conflict drivers could be identified. This Policy & Practice Brief (PPB) seeks to reflect on the 2016 National Conflict-Mapping Exercise (NCME) process, as well as the methodological approaches used to gather and analyse the data. It further highlights the importance of the NCME as a process and outlines the supportive role of international partners to the PBO, which guaranteed that the process is locally owned and steered by the PBO. Although it has a definitive end in the form of findings, the NCME itself should be seen as an important component for enhancing the coherence and coordination of peacebuilding interventions in Liberia.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution, Conflict Prevention, Peacekeeping, Peace, Reconciliation
  • Political Geography: Africa, Liberia
  • Author: Bernard Okok Obuoga
  • Publication Date: 09-2016
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The African Centre for the Constructive Resolution of Disputes (ACCORD)
  • Abstract: Cyclical conflicts which continue to plague the Great Lakes region of Africa necessitate a reflection on the effectiveness of peacebuilding interventions. While many reasons account for this, without knowledge of triggers of relapse into conflict, and without enhancing grassroots-based approaches to managing the causes of conflict, peace will remain elusive under existing intervention frameworks. The Great Lakes Project (GLP), a collaborative initiative by the African Centre for the Constructive Resolution of Disputes (ACCORD), the Global Partnership for the Prevention of Armed Conflict (GPPAC), and the Nairobi Peace Initiative – Africa (NPI-Africa) – developed a three-year project in 2012, titled “Consolidating Peacebuilding in the Great Lakes of Africa”. The overall purpose of the project was to ensure that local communities were mobilised to engage with, and address, conflict factors through grassroots civil society organisations (CSOs). The project also sought to identify and address the capacity gaps of local CSOs working towards peace and ensure that systems were established to continuously address conflicts in the region. The International Conference on the Great Lakes Region (ICGLR) was identified as a critical partner in building peace in the region, considering its extensive network and access to state and non-state actors. This engagement therefore facilitated partnerships between existing CSO-platforms; strengthened their early warning systems and strengthened their conflict management capabilities towards building resilient infrastructures for sustainable peace. While undertaking its mandate, the GLP identified various challenges and policy gaps, which included the lack of strategic approaches to prevent conflict relapse. This paper illustrates and interrogates the dynamics of these shortcomings, and defines the role of inclusive, multi-stakeholder partnerships to address these.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution, Peacekeeping, Conflict, Peace
  • Political Geography: Africa
  • Author: Brown Odigie
  • Publication Date: 06-2016
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The African Centre for the Constructive Resolution of Disputes (ACCORD)
  • Abstract: The Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) Commission established the Mediation Facilitation Division (MFD) in June 2015 to backstop mediation efforts undertaken by its mediation organs, member states, non-state actors and joint initiatives with other international organisations, such as the African Union Commission (AUC) and the United Nations (UN). In January 2016, the structure was further upgraded to a directorate within the Department of Political Affairs, Peace and Security (PAPS). This Policy & Practice Brief (PPB) examines the rationale for taking the bold step to institutionalise a mediation support structure within the ECOWAS Commission; the legal and normative instruments that underpin its mediation interventions; the mandate, vision and scope of operation of the mediation support structure; and the key activities undertaken by the structure within one year of its existence. The PPB identifies the uniqueness of ECOWAS’s experiences in interventions in the 1990s, and the subsequent importance accorded to preventive diplomacy and mediation as a key factor that informed the decision to establish a mediation support structure – in contrast to using an ad hoc arrangement to backstop its mediation efforts in the past. This new arrangement, the PPB argues, will ensure that mistakes such as the marginalisation of ECOWAS in mediation processes in the region, the disconnect between the ECOWAS Commission and its appointed mediators, facilitators and special envoys, are remedied. It will also ensure a coordinated approach to capacity building and mediation knowledge management within the ECOWAS Commission and its institutions, as well as with its partners, including mainstreaming Tracks II and III mediation into official Track I mediation.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution, Conflict Prevention, Diplomacy, Mediation
  • Political Geography: Africa, West Africa, African Union
  • Author: Patrick Kanyangara
  • Publication Date: 06-2016
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The African Centre for the Constructive Resolution of Disputes (ACCORD)
  • Abstract: This policy paper examines the prospective role of civil society organisations (CSOs) within the mechanisms and structures of the International Conference on the Great Lakes Region (ICGLR), which was created to address conflict challenges faced by states within the Great Lakes region. The ICGLR was established in 2003 to provide an inclusive platform for countries within the region to work effectively with international actors and CSOs for regional conflict prevention, management and resolution. Although the role of CSOs within the ICGLR initiatives is considered imperative to securing sustainable peace, there remain concerns that the involvement of CSOs is constrained. Through desk research and field surveys, this policy paper explores creative approaches for CSOs to make a valuable impact on the ICGLR initiative. The paper recommends improved and proactive synergy between the ICGLR and CSOs for effective peace and security in the region.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution, Conflict Prevention, Civil Society, Conflict
  • Political Geography: Africa
  • Author: Mallory Sutika Sipus
  • Publication Date: 06-2015
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: United States Institute of Peace
  • Abstract: One of the contributing factors to Afghanistan’s civil conflict has been the fluidity within military alliances at the sub-national level. This brief examines the circumstances of military alliances between insurgent commanders—what factors play into an alliance and how they are maintained, with assessments resulting from research from the Centre for Conflict and Peace Studies and supported by USIP.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution, Security, Political Violence, Insurgency
  • Political Geography: Afghanistan, Central Asia
  • Author: William A. Byrd
  • Publication Date: 05-2015
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: United States Institute of Peace
  • Abstract: For several years, Afghanistan’s economy and public finances have worsened, culminating in a full-blown fiscal crisis in 2014. Political uncertainties, the weakening Afghan economy, corruption in tax collection, stagnant government revenues, and increasing expenditures have contributed to the current fiscal impasse. In the absence of bold actions by the Afghan government along with proactive international support to turn around the fiscal situation, the fiscal crisis and its insidious effects will continue.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution, Corruption, Economics, Financial Crisis
  • Political Geography: Afghanistan, Central Asia
  • Author: Susan Stigant, Elizabeth Murray
  • Publication Date: 10-2015
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: United States Institute of Peace
  • Abstract: National dialogue is an increasingly popular tool for conflict resolution and political transformation. It can broaden debate regarding a country’s trajectory beyond the usual elite decision makers; however, it can also be misused and manipulated by leaders to consolidate their power. This brief includes principles to strengthen national dialogue processes and considerations for international actors seeking to support these processes.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution, Diplomacy, Political Economy, Governance
  • Political Geography: Global Focus
  • Author: William A. Byrd
  • Publication Date: 10-2015
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: United States Institute of Peace
  • Abstract: Some say reviving the Afghan economy in a time of intensifying violent conflict and declining external financial inflows will be impossible. Expectations need to be kept modest, and measures must go beyond conventional economic approaches in order to be effective. This brief puts forward some outside-the-box ideas, which, combined with greater government effectiveness and, hopefully, reductions in violent conflict, may help turn the economy around.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution, Political Violence, Development, Economics
  • Political Geography: Afghanistan, Central Asia
  • Author: Moeed Yusuf
  • Publication Date: 12-2015
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: United States Institute of Peace
  • Abstract: There are few viable options for resolving Afghanistan’s conflict other than an inclusive peace process between the Afghan government and the Taliban. Momentum toward this goal must be maintained following the “Heart of Asia” Ministerial Conference on December 9, 2015, where Afghan, Pakistani, and U.S. officials renewed their commitment to resuming dialogue. This brief discusses three key concerns that need to be addressed to effectively move the peace process forward and achieve a near-term cease-fire.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution, Diplomacy, Treaties and Agreements
  • Political Geography: South Asia, Central Asia
  • Author: Aya Al-Shachli, Ramina Ghassemi, Areej Rashid
  • Publication Date: 09-2015
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Centre for International Governance Innovation
  • Abstract: While Canadian Jewish community organizations are actively engaged in lobbying the Canadian government on its foreign policy with Israel and Palestine, it is not at all clear that the perspectives of the Jewish-Israeli diaspora that have emigrated from this conflict zone have been considered. The absence of diaspora voices from the region seems a missed opportunity for the development of a more comprehensive foreign policy position.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution, Foreign Policy, Political Violence, Ethnic Conflict, Diaspora
  • Political Geography: Canada, Israel, Palestine
  • Author: Stanislav Secrieru
  • Publication Date: 11-2015
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Polish Institute of International Affairs
  • Abstract: For the first time since the outbreak of the war in Donbass, the situation on the frontline is nearly a proper cease-fire. This is the outcome of the interplay of three factors: the political-military balance in Donbass, sanctions and Russia’s military intervention in Syria. Nevertheless, it is premature to assume that military options in Donbass are no longer in the cards. Russia is likely to use force if needed to repel a Ukrainian attempt to retake parts of the area, to obstruct the Minsk process if it goes in a disadvantageous direction for Moscow, or to seize more territory if there is further political and social turmoil in Ukraine. To minimize the risks of an eruption of violence in Donbass, the EU and U.S. should prolong the sanctions, fine-tune the diplomatic pressure on both sides to implement and uphold the Minsk Protocols, and pay more attention to the political and economic transformations in the rest of Ukraine.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution, Defense Policy, Politics, Military Strategy, Sanctions
  • Political Geography: Russia, Ukraine
  • Publication Date: 10-2015
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Polish Institute of International Affairs
  • Abstract: Following the 2015 national election in Turkey the AKP, for the first time since coming to power in 2002, failed to win enough votes to form a majority government. Since the election the AKP has given the impression that it is attempting to form a coalition government, but in reality the party has been employing a number of tactics in order to increase its share of the vote in preparation for a snap election. These tactics have mainly revolved around increasing the nationalist vote and damaging the main Kurdish party. However, these manoeuvres have increased polarisation in Turkey and have resulted in an escalation of the conflict with the Kurds. Worryingly, it has become evident that the AKP aims to win power in the next election at all costs.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution, Politics, Governance, Elections
  • Political Geography: Turkey
  • Publication Date: 02-2015
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Soufan Group
  • Abstract: The Islamic State has been moving aggressively to exploit the chaos of Libya since last summer, with profound risks for the Mediterranean region and beyond Libya is a perfect breeding ground for an expanded Islamic State, with large amounts of heavy weaponry, systemic lawlessness, a divided population, and sustained armed conflict The group has formed three active and capable groups in Libya-in Tripoli, Fezzan, and Barqa-all of which have conducted deadly attacks in recent months The phenomenon of Islamic State affiliates-beginning in the summer of 2014, before which the group was entirely focused on Iraq and Syria-is actually in the tradition of its arch-rival al-Qaeda the presence and power of the Islamic State in Libya will likely increase as conditions in Syria and Iraq deteriorate for the group, and conditions in Libya continue to worsen.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution, Islam, Terrorism, Armed Struggle, Counterinsurgency
  • Political Geography: Iraq, Libya, Syria