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  • Publication Date: 06-2012
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Global Centre for the Responsibility to Protect
  • Abstract: The United Nations Security Council (UNSC) holds an open debate on the Protection of Civilians in Armed Conflict (POC) twice yearly. Following the UNSC's reaffirmation of the World Summit agreement on the Responsibility to Protect (R2P) populations from genocide, ethnic cleansing, war crimes and crimes against humanity in Resolutions 1674 (2006) and 1894 (2009) on POC, discussion of R2P has been an important component of these debates. This is reflected in government statements, presentations by the Emergency Relief Coordinator, and in the Secretary-General's 2007 report on POC where he referred to the agreement on R2P as a "cardinal achievement."
  • Topic: Conflict Prevention, Arms Control and Proliferation, Human Rights, Human Welfare, War, Armed Struggle
  • Author: Michael E. O'Hanlon
  • Publication Date: 02-2011
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Brookings Institution
  • Abstract: The year 2010 in Afghanistan had some encouraging signs but on balance it was less positive than had been hoped. In 2011, therefore, it is important to do two things: first, look for further improvements in our strategy; and second, develop a backup plan, should the current approach not yield the kind of progress that is necessary and expected.
  • Topic: NATO, War, Counterinsurgency
  • Political Geography: Afghanistan, United States, Asia
  • Author: Patricia Gossman
  • Publication Date: 01-2011
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: United States Institute of Peace
  • Abstract: The Afghan public, along with the international community, appears increasingly supportive of opening negotiations with the Taliban to end the war. The Karzai administration also supports this, as reflected by the June 2010 Peace Jirga held in Kabul and the 70-member High Peace Council that was formed thereafter. In spite of the talks, no one in Washington or Kabul has clarified what reconciliation means in practice, particularly with respect to accountability for abuses that occurred during the rule of the Taliban as well as those that occurred when rival factions fought with each other before the Taliban came to power. On November 10, 2010 representatives from Afghan and international NGOs, as well as the UN, gathered for a one-day Conference on Peace, Reconciliation, and Justice in Kabul to revitalize public discussion on peace and reconciliation among the government of Afghanistan, the international community, and Afghan civil society. The discussions revealed a troubling disconnect between the High Peace Council and Afghan civil society representatives who strongly criticized the Council\'s inclusion of former militia leaders among its members, the lack of transparency in its activities, and the lack of clarity in its objectives. These criticisms indicate that for a peace process to have broad, popular support, the Afghan government and the international community must make greater efforts to engage local leaders in a dialogue and account for the interests of communities and interest groups that are not represented in the High Peace Council.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution, Human Rights, Islam, War, Insurgency
  • Political Geography: Afghanistan
  • Publication Date: 03-2011
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: International Crisis Group
  • Abstract: Will the next Middle East conflagration involve Israelis and Palestinians? After the serious escalation of the past week in which eight Gazans, including children, were killed in a single day, and the 23 March 2011 bombing in Jerusalem, that took the life of one and wounded dozens, there is real reason to worry. The sharp deterioration on this front is not directly related, nor is it in any way similar to the events that have engulfed the Middle East and North Africa. But the overall context of instability and uncertainty undoubtedly has made a volatile situation even more so. Israelis' anxiety is rising and with it the fear that outside parties might seek to provoke hostilities to divert attention from domestic problems and shift the focus back to Israel. Hamas has been emboldened by regional events and is therefore less likely to back down from a challenge. The combination, as recent days have shown, has proven combustible.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution, War
  • Political Geography: Middle East, Israel, Arabia, Jerusalem, Gaza, Arab Countries, North Africa
  • Author: Elizabeth Ferris
  • Publication Date: 03-2011
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Brookings Institution
  • Abstract: Protection of people from oppressive governments, civil conflict and disasters has moved to the top of the international agenda. The United Nations Security Council authorized all measures necessary to protect civilians in Libya as the airstrikes began. Humanitarian agencies—working in more places and under more difficult conditions than ever before—are grappling with the aftermath of Japan's massive earthquake even as they are also working with displaced people in Haiti and Ivory Coast and responding to hundreds of thousands of people fleeing Libya. And increasingly these agencies are not only trying to assist people through provision of relief items, but also trying to protect them. But with so many global organizations mobilizing to protect civilians when disasters strike and conflicts break out, the concept of protection has begun to lose its distinctive meaning.
  • Topic: Human Welfare, Humanitarian Aid, International Cooperation, United Nations, War, Natural Disasters
  • Political Geography: Japan, Libya
  • Author: Naureen Chowdhury Fink, Paul Romita, Till Papenfuss
  • Publication Date: 03-2011
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: International Peace Institute
  • Abstract: Much has already been written about the 2011 Security Council. This has been with good reason. The current configuration of powerful non-permanent members with aspirations for permanent seats is notable. As a result, there has been widespread speculation regarding the impact so many large members will have on the tone and substance of the Council's work this year. Like last year, when countries like Brazil, Japan, Mexico, Nigeria, and Turkey all served together, the collective strength of the non-permanent or elected membership is impressive.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution, International Cooperation, International Organization, United Nations, War
  • Political Geography: Japan, Turkey, Libya, Brazil, Mexico, Nigeria
  • Author: Whitney Parker, Scott Worden, Shani Ross, Sahar Azar
  • Publication Date: 03-2011
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: United States Institute of Peace
  • Abstract: Post-conflict justice mechanisms such as truth commissions, war crimes tribunals and reparations programs have emerged as a fundamental building block of durable peace settlements in Latin America, Africa and Asia. They are relatively rare, however, in Muslim countries recovering from conflict-despite the fact that social and criminal justice is a fundamental principle of Islamic law.
  • Topic: Conflict Prevention, Crime, Islam, War, Law Enforcement, Law
  • Political Geography: Africa, Asia, Arabia, Latin America
  • Author: Ashley J. Tellis
  • Publication Date: 05-2011
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Carnegie Endowment for International Peace
  • Abstract: Although meaningful cooperation in the region surrounding Afghanistan is of vital importance, it has been elusive because Afghanistan\'s key neighbors have significantly divergent aims. Engineering a successful regional solution would require the United States to fundamentally transform either these actors\' objectives or their dominant strategies. Achieving the latter may prove more feasible, most crucially vis-à-vis Pakistan. The region\'s history of discord is mainly rooted in the troubled relationship between Afghanistan and Pakistan. Although Pakistan\'s involvement in Afghanistan is colored by its rivalry with India, its relations with Afghanistan are a geopolitical challenge independent of India because of its fears of disorder along its western borders, the unwelcome idea of “Pashtunistan,” and a related long-standing border dispute. Pakistan\'s reaction to these problems has only exacerbated them. As Islamabad, by supporting the Taliban insurgency, has sought to exercise preponderant, if not overweening, influence over Kabul\'s strategic choices, it has earned Kabul\'s distrust, deepened the Kabul–New Delhi partnership, and increased the risk to its relations with Washington—not to mention threatening the lives of U.S. and other coalition forces operating in Afghanistan. Despite widespread support in Afghanistan for ending the war through a negotiated settlement if possible, the Afghan Taliban leadership is unlikely to consider reconciliation unless it is faced with the prospect of continued losses of the kind sustained as a result of coalition military operations in 2010. A regional solution is similarly unlikely as long as Afghanistan and its neighbors, including India, perceive Islamabad as bent on holding Kabul in a choking embrace. Solving these problems lies beyond the capability of American diplomacy, and right now even of the promised diplomatic surge. The best hope for progress lies in continuing military action to alter the realities on the ground— thereby inducing the Taliban to consider reconciliation, while simultaneously neutralizing the Pakistani strategy that is currently preventing a regional solution. To increase the probability of military success, however, President Obama will need to forgo the politically calculated drawdown of combat troops this summer and instead accept the advice of his field commanders to maintain the largest possible contingent necessary for the coming campaign in eastern Afghanistan. Hard and unpalatable as it might be for the president, this course alone offers a solution that will protect the recent gains in Afghanistan and advance American interests over the long term.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution, Diplomacy, Peace Studies, Treaties and Agreements, War, Insurgency
  • Political Geography: Afghanistan, United States, America, Washington
  • Author: Daniel Markey
  • Publication Date: 05-2011
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Council on Foreign Relations
  • Abstract: U.S.-Pakistani relations are in crisis. For Washington, Osam a bin Laden's safe haven in Abbottabad raises questions about Pakistan's complicity and/or incompetence. For Islamabad, bin Laden's killing shows its vulnerability to U.S. operations on its own soil .
  • Topic: Foreign Policy, Terrorism, War, Armed Struggle, Insurgency, Bilateral Relations
  • Political Geography: Pakistan, United States, Washington
  • Author: Svein Erik Stave
  • Publication Date: 05-2011
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Norwegian Peacebuilding Resource Centre
  • Abstract: How can the effectiveness of peacebuilding operations in countries marked by conflict be better measured? This policy brief examines the steps needed to improve the measurement of peacebuilding work, highlights the technical and political problems this work faces, and makes recommendations for action by organisations in the field.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution, Conflict Prevention, Non-Governmental Organization, Peace Studies, War, Peacekeeping
  • Political Geography: Afghanistan
  • Publication Date: 05-2011
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Global Centre for the Responsibility to Protect
  • Abstract: Since 1996, conflict in the DRC has claimed, according to the International Rescue Committee, over five million lives, either as a direct result of hostilities or because of disease and malnutrition associated with the fighting. Considered the deadliest conflict since World War II, the targeting of civilians has been a hallmark of the violence. Millions have been killed and forcibly displaced. Women, men and children have been brutally raped, children have been abducted and forcibly conscripted, and towns have been pillaged. Committed with impunity and perpetrated by foreign and domestic armed groups, and by state and non - state actors including the armed forces of the DRC (FARDC), these crimes pose an ongoing threat to populations in the DRC, with those in the east facing the greatest threat.
  • Topic: Political Violence, Genocide, Health, War
  • Political Geography: Africa, Democratic Republic of the Congo
  • Publication Date: 05-2011
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Global Centre for the Responsibility to Protect
  • Abstract: The United Nations Security Council (UNSC) holds an open debate on the Protection of Civilians in Armed Conflict (POC) twice yearly. Following the UNSC's reaffirmation of the World Summit agreement on the Responsibility to Protect (R2P) populations from genocide, ethnic cleansing, war crimes and crimes against humanity in Resolutions 1674 (2006) and 1894 (2009) on POC, discussion of R2P has been an important component of these debates. This is reflected in government statements, presentations by the Emergency Relief Coordinator, and in the Secretary-General's 2007 report on POC where he referred to the agreement on R2P as a "cardinal achievement."
  • Topic: Political Violence, Genocide, Human Rights, Human Welfare, War, Peacekeeping
  • Political Geography: United Nations
  • Author: Marc Finaud
  • Publication Date: 07-2011
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Geneva Centre for Security Policy
  • Abstract: The 2010 Non-proliferation Treaty (NPT) Review Conference reaffirmed “the importance of the Resolution on the Middle East adopted by the 1995 Review and Extension Conference”, which had been “an essential element of […] the basis on which the Treaty was indefinitely extended”. Indeed, Arab countries had joined consensus in exchange for a call on “all States in the Middle East” (including Israel) “to take practical steps […] aimed at making progress towards […] an effectively verifiable Middle East zone free of [WMD] and their delivery systems”, and on “all States party to the [NPT], and in particular the nuclear-weapon States […] with a view to ensuring the early establishment by regional parties of [such a zone]”. Fifteen years later, the 2010 Review Conference could understandably “regre[t] that little progress ha[d] been achieved”.
  • Topic: Conflict Prevention, War, Weapons of Mass Destruction
  • Political Geography: Middle East, Arabia
  • Author: Lawrence Woocher, Jonas Claes, Abiodun Williams
  • Publication Date: 07-2011
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: United States Institute of Peace
  • Abstract: USIP's annual “Preventing Violent Conflict” conference is designed to spotlight the importance of the subject, address specific challenges facing prevention efforts and identify priority areas for USIP's future work on conflict prevention. This brief summarizes the highlights of that conference.
  • Topic: Conflict Prevention, Political Violence, Crime, War
  • Author: Noah Coburn, Shahmahmood Miakhel
  • Publication Date: 06-2011
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: United States Institute of Peace
  • Abstract: Currently numerous disputes at the local level are unresolved in Afghanistan, leading to local instability, a growing distance between the government and people and encouraging communities to turn to the Taliban. In March 2010, USIP began working with local elders, government officials (particularly governors and officials from the Ministry of Tribal Affairs) and religious figures to address a range of disputes in Nangarhar and Kunar provinces in eastern Afghanistan. These networks of elders, working closely with government officials and, in some cases, the international military, have addressed conflicts that include land disputes, criminal cases, and disputes involving the Taliban. Since 2010, USIP's Dispute Resolution Project has participated in and recorded the resolution of over 120 cases. The project suggests several methods for facilitating dispute resolution that rely on flexible networks of locally legitimate political figures which will strengthen the government, promote rule of law and decrease the appeal of the Taliban.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution, Peace Studies, War, Insurgency
  • Political Geography: Afghanistan, Taliban
  • Author: Gary J. Schmitt, Thomas Donnelly
  • Publication Date: 07-2011
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: American Enterprise Institute for Public Policy Research
  • Abstract: National security is neither a "sacred cow" nor just another federal budget line item. Providing for the common defense of the American people and our homeland is the primary responsibility of policymakers in Washington. However, in an effort to protect social entitlements like Medicare, Medicaid, Social Security and the health care reform law from serious deficit and debt reduction efforts, President Obama has proposed not only to raise taxes, but also to cut another $400 billion more from future national security spending. As Obama said on June 29, 2011, "[Outgoing Secretary of Defense] Bob Gates has already done a good job identifying $400 billion in cuts, but we're going to do more."
  • Topic: Defense Policy, Arms Control and Proliferation, Debt, War
  • Political Geography: United States, America, Washington
  • Publication Date: 10-2011
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: International Crisis Group
  • Abstract: Republika Srpska's flirtation in June 2011 with a referendum is a reminder that Bosnia's smaller entity still threatens the stability of the country and the Western Balkans. It is highly unlikely that the RS will secede or that the Bosniaks will attempt to eliminate it, but if its Serb leaders continue driving every conflict with Sarajevo to the brink, as they have done repeatedly to date, they risk disaster. The agility of leaders and the population's patience need only fail once to ignite serious violence. Over the longer term, RS's determination to limit Bosnia and Herzegovina (BiH) to little more than a coordinator between powerful entities may so shrivel the state that it sinks, taking RS with it. RS also suffers from its own internal problems, notably a culture of impunity for political and economic elites and a lingering odour of wartime atrocities. Its leadership, especially its president, Milorad Dodik, needs to compromise with Sarajevo on state building and implement urgent entity-level reforms.
  • Topic: Conflict Prevention, Ethnic Conflict, War
  • Political Geography: Bosnia, Balkans
  • Author: Dominic Tierney, Dominic D.P. Johnson
  • Publication Date: 09-2011
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs, Harvard University
  • Abstract: When Julius Caesar crossed the Rubicon River in 49 B.C., he broke an ancient law forbidding any general to enter Italy with an army-thus making war with Rome inevitable. Ever since, "crossing the Rubicon" has come to symbolize a point of no return, when the time for deliberation is over and action is at hand. When decisionmakers cross the Rubicon, or stop debating which of several options to pursue and start implementing a chosen policy, the psychological effects can shape the political world in powerful ways-including the outbreak of war.
  • Topic: Foreign Policy, Defense Policy, Diplomacy, Politics, War
  • Political Geography: Iraq
  • Author: Deedee Derksen
  • Publication Date: 09-2011
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: United States Institute of Peace
  • Abstract: The Afghan Peace and Reintegration Program (APRP) aims to reintegrate insurgents in return for security, jobs and other incentives, but has seen limited results. Rapid implementation of the program has failed to address adequately a variety of political, employment and security concerns.
  • Topic: Security, Islam, War, Insurgency
  • Political Geography: Afghanistan
  • Author: Scott Worden, Sylvana Q. Sinha
  • Publication Date: 11-2011
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: United States Institute of Peace
  • Abstract: The recent controversy in Afghanistan over the outcome of the 2010 parliamentary elections ultimately resolved the question of who sits in Parliament, but left a more fundamental question unanswered: "Who has the power to interpret the Afghan Constitution?" Ambiguities in the language of the Constitution make it difficult to determine who has the legal authority to interpret it. The Supreme Court maintains that the Constitution gives it the power of judicial review, but the Constitution also calls for the Independent Commission on the Supervision of Implementation of the Constitution (ICSIC), which the Parliament has mandated to decide constitutional issues instead. Without political and legal consensus over who has final authority to decide different types of constitutional claims, Afghanistan cannot achieve a rule of law where government activities are subject to consistent and transparent rules. Afghanistan must establish clear and unambiguous rules for constitutional interpretation to avoid damaging crises about political leadership and the separation of powers as the security transition and Presidential election approach in 2014.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution, Democratization, Islam, War, Insurgency
  • Political Geography: Afghanistan
  • Author: Julie Flint
  • Publication Date: 11-2011
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: United States Institute of Peace
  • Abstract: The response to the renewed war in Sudan's Nuba Mountains has been driven largely by a human rights and humanitarian crisis. The crisis will continue indefinitely without a political agreement that acknowledges the Nuba rebellion is self-sustaining and reflects a wider malaise within the new Republic of Sudan. With Sudan facing financial collapse, economic normalization must be part of negotiations with Khartoum to end the war in the Nuba Mountains and promote democratization throughout Sudan.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution, Democratization, Development, Human Rights, War, Insurgency, Financial Crisis
  • Political Geography: Africa, Sudan
  • Author: Paul Romita
  • Publication Date: 10-2011
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: International Peace Institute
  • Abstract: At a recent conference on conflict prevention attended by over fifty UN member states, a UN official remarked, “we are living in a conflict prevention moment.” In recent years, there has been a surge of interest and activity related to conflict prevention in the UN system, at the regional level and among member states. While the UN has made great strides in refining peacekeeping doctrine and strategy, it has also made significant progress in its political response and preventive activities in recent times. In 2007, the Department of Political Affairs (DPA) established a mediation support unit “to plan and support mediation efforts in the field.” In late 2008, DPA also secured member-state support to create forty-nine additional posts; it now has approximately 270 staff members. While this was less than half of the number of new posts requested by the department, it did help desk officers to more substantially engage on conflict prevention and good-offices work in their portfolio countries. The UN Office in West Africa (UNOWA) has played a critical preventive role in recent crises in Mauritania and Guinea. A UN Regional Office for Central Africa (UNOCA) was also established in March 2011 to “assist member States and sub-regional organizations in consolidating peace and preventing future conflicts.” In recent years, the African Union (AU) has been an influential mediator in high-profile cases, notably in Kenya (2008) and Sudan (2010–2011). Among the UN membership, especially among African member states, statements calling for the need to strengthen conflict-prevention tools are now consistently voiced. The Security Council, which now holds monthly “horizon scanning” sessions to discuss emerging and ongoing crises, appears to be a part of this trend.
  • Topic: Conflict Prevention, Political Violence, Diplomacy, Peace Studies, United Nations, War
  • Political Geography: Kenya, Guinea, Mauritania
  • Author: Michael Peel, Wynne Russell, Alastair Hilton, Lizle Loots, Liz Dartnall
  • Publication Date: 12-2011
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Sexual Violence Research Initiative
  • Abstract: The world is increasingly aware that armed conflict and sexual violence against women and girls often go hand in hand. However, armed conflict also brings danger of sexual violence for men and boys. Male survivors of sexual violence are less likely than women and girls to disclose assaults (Callender and Dartnall 2011), with the result that such violence is "vastly under-represented" in official statistics (WHO 2002: 154). Nevertheless, sexual violence against men and boys—including rape, sexual torture and mutilation, castration, sexual humiliation, forced incest and forced rape, and sexual enslavement—is a pervasive feature of armed conflicts around the globe. It can emerge in any form of conflict—from interstate wars to civil wars to localised conflicts—and in any cultural context (Russell 2008).
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution, Political Violence, Gender Issues, Human Rights, War, Sex Trafficking
  • Author: Patryk Kugiel
  • Publication Date: 12-2011
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Polish Institute of International Affairs
  • Abstract: When international intervention put an end to the Taliban regime in Afghanistan in late 2001 thousands of Afghans went out to the streets to celebrate a new beginning. After 20 years of bloody civil wars in the country, many had hoped that a new era of stability and prosperity was about to begin. The devastating terrorist attacks in the U.S., which brought the international coalition to Afghanistan, was seen as a guarantee that the West would not abandon the country before it was put back in order. Afghanistan could have been a model of post-conflict reconstruction.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution, NATO, War, Law Enforcement, Peacekeeping
  • Political Geography: Afghanistan, United States
  • Author: Patryk Kugiel
  • Publication Date: 10-2011
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Polish Institute of International Affairs
  • Abstract: On 4 October 2011, India and Afghanistan signed the Agreement on Strategic Partnership, the first of its kind to be endorsed by President Hamid Karzai's government with any foreign country. This comprehensive deal envisages strengthening cooperation between both partners in four key areas: politics and security; trade and economy; capacity development and education; and social, cultural, civil society and people-to-people relations. It foresees more coordination in regional and international forums, including Afghan support for a permanent seat for India in the reformed UN Security Council; establishes a regular Security Dialogue to coordinate the fight against international terrorism, organized crime, illegal trafficking in narcotics and money laundering; calls for more trade, investments and the promotion of regional economic cooperation. Moreover, the deal stipulates joint efforts to develop the Afghan economy and civil service, improve women's rights and in other areas. The deal is the natural fruit of India's decade-long, low-profile engagement in Afghanistan. During these years, India was extending strong political support and significant development assistance to the Afghans. It has risen to the position of a major trade and investment partner of Afghanistan and an “all-weather” friend.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution, Security, Development, Peace Studies, War, Bilateral Relations
  • Political Geography: Afghanistan, India, United Nations
  • Publication Date: 10-2011
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Global Centre for the Responsibility to Protect
  • Abstract: Strong support for the Responsibility to Protect (R2P) populations from genocide, war crimes, crimes against humanity and ethnic cleansing was clearly evident at the opening of the 66th United Nations (UN) General Assembly between 21 and 27 September 2011. From the Secretary-General's reference to R2P as a priority for his second term, to the re-affirmation of government support for the norm in opening statements and the holding of a Ministerial meeting on R2P, clear consensus exists about the critical importance of R2P. At a moment when some were anticipating a backlash in the aftermath of the Security Council authorized civilian protection operation in Libya, the opening of the General Assembly reaffirmed that the imperative today is for states to work together to operationalize R2P.
  • Topic: Ethnic Conflict, Genocide, Government, Human Rights, Torture, United Nations, War
  • Political Geography: Libya
  • Author: Annie Tracy Samuel
  • Publication Date: 12-2011
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs, Harvard University
  • Abstract: This policy brief seeks to contribute to and inform the debate concerning a possible attack by the United States and/or Israel on Iranian nuclear and military facilities. The presumed aim of such an attack would be to weaken the Islamic Republic, particularly by hindering its ability to build a nuclear weapon. However, the history of the Iraqi invasion of Iran in September 1980 calls into question the contention that an attack will weaken the regime in Tehran. This policy brief examines Iran's reactions to the Iraqi invasion in order to shed light on Iran's possible reactions to a U.S. or Israeli attack. It will assess how the Iranian people responded to the invasion and its effects on Iranian politics and the position of the new regime. It will also explore the nature of the policies adopted by the Islamic Republic in waging the Iran-Iraq War that carried on for eight years after the Iraqi invasion.
  • Topic: Foreign Policy, Islam, War
  • Political Geography: United States, Iraq, Iran, Middle East
  • Author: Les Bloom, John Savage
  • Publication Date: 08-2011
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Atlantic Council
  • Abstract: The best deterrence to cyber conflict is to aggressively pursue national and international risk mitigation at the same time that we explore a full-spectrum of cyber capabilities. Nations should strive to reduce the emerging cyber arms race by developing a basis for trust. The international community has already taken useful steps in this direction with, for example, the European Convention on Cybercrime and the UN report on cyber security which calls for a set of actions that would make information infrastructures more secure.
  • Topic: Defense Policy, Science and Technology, Terrorism, War, International Security
  • Political Geography: United Nations
  • Publication Date: 01-2010
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Project on Defense Alternatives
  • Abstract: The Obama administration's DoD budget plans lock into place the unprecedented rise in defense spending – 90% – that began in the late-1990s, consolidating a return to Reagan-era budget levels (when corrected for inflation).
  • Topic: Security, Defense Policy, Arms Control and Proliferation, War
  • Political Geography: United States
  • Author: Jeffrey White, Loring White
  • Publication Date: 02-2010
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Washington Institute for Near East Policy
  • Abstract: What if Iran's hardline leadership emerges from the current confrontations at home strengthened and emboldened? If so, the nuclear issue will be back with a vengeance. And three recent war games focused on the Iranian nuclear weapons issue suggest that the prospects for halting the regime's progress toward nuclear weapons are not good.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution, Islam, War
  • Political Geography: Iran, Middle East
  • Author: John Dempsey, Noah Coburn
  • Publication Date: 02-2010
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: United States Institute of Peace
  • Abstract: Stability in Afghanistan will remain elusive unless disputes between individuals and among communities can be resolved through peaceful and equitable means. However, state justice institutions are barely functioning in much of the country and are incapable of meeting many justice and dispute resolution needs of Afghans. Instead, the majority of Afghans turn to traditional justice mechanisms—including tribal councils and village and religious leaders—to address both civil and criminal disputes. In many parts of the country, including areas recently cleared of insurgents, the best way to make signi_cant, visible, short-term (12 to 18 months) gains in peacefully resolving disputes is to work with community-based structures. USIP has drawn important lessons from its work with Afghan partners to implement pilot programs exploring links between the state and traditional justice systems in four provinces across the country (in Nangarhar, Khost, Paktia and Herat). Programs designed to create or strengthen existing links between traditional justice bodies and state institutions can build mutual trust and harness the strengths of each. Donor-funded traditional justice programs need to involve the Afghan government while also accounting for the practical needs of communities to settle disputes in line with their own traditions and procedures, as well as Afghanistan's laws and human rights norms.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution, Terrorism, War
  • Political Geography: Afghanistan, Asia
  • Author: Robert M. Perito
  • Publication Date: 02-2010
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: United States Institute of Peace
  • Abstract: Legislative oversight of the security sector is crucial to ensure that security policies and expenditures are undertaken with full transparency, accountability and concern for other national priorities and popular attitudes. This is important in conflict states, particularly during peace or stability operations. Establishing legislative oversight is difficult in conflict countries because of the absence of historical tradition, the complexity of security agencies, the technical nature of the issues, secrecy laws and the lack of expertise among parliamentarians and their staffs. The U.S. Congress provides a model for effective legislative oversight of the security sector for other countries to emulate. Congress has developed the legal authorities and the traditions required to form an effective partnership with the Defense and Justice departments, the U.S. military forces and civilian security services. Due to the importance of legislative oversight of the security sector to the democratic process, the U.S. Congress provides advice and training to foreign parliaments and parliamentarians in security sector reform. Congress has important partnership arrangements with parliaments in Afghanistan, Pakistan, Georgia, Kosovo and other conflict countries.
  • Topic: Security, Political Violence, International Cooperation, Regional Cooperation, War
  • Political Geography: Pakistan, Afghanistan, Kosovo, Georgia
  • Author: Ashley Jackson
  • Publication Date: 01-2010
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Oxfam Publishing
  • Abstract: Every half hour, an average of one Afghan woman dies from pregnancy-related complications, another dies of tuberculosis and 14 children die, largely from preventable causes. Eight years after the fall of the Taliban, the humanitarian and development needs in Afghanistan remain acute.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution, War, Armed Struggle, Insurgency
  • Political Geography: Afghanistan, Asia, Taliban
  • Author: Helge Lurås
  • Publication Date: 01-2010
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Norwegian Peacebuilding Resource Centre
  • Abstract: A well-functioning government is a prerequisite for any successful counter-insurgency strategy and good governance is unlikely to be established in Afghanistan any time soon. As a consequence, the plans for the build-up of the Afghan National Security Forces (ANSF) must be adjusted. This build-up is not only an exit strategy; it is a cover for a “graceful exit”, serving a perceptual function in western publics. But in counter-insurgency theory a disconnect between governance and security is anathema. The end-state projection of 400,000 soldiers and police is unsustainable and ill-adapted to Afghanistan's socio-economic and political foundations. Furthermore, the continued growth of centralized and corrupt security forces could very well lead to increased resistance. The ANSF – like any armed force – is in dire need of a credible and motivating cause, simply to avoid disintegration.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution, NATO, Arms Control and Proliferation, War
  • Political Geography: Afghanistan
  • Author: Jeffrey White
  • Publication Date: 03-2010
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Washington Institute for Near East Policy
  • Abstract: The March 26 clash between elements of the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) Golani Brigade and Palestinian operatives near the Gaza border was the most serious since the end of Operation Cast Lead in January 2009. The incident has exacerbated tensions -- already on the rise due to increased rocket attacks on southern Israel -- and added to concerns that another Gaza war is looming. Neither Hamas nor Israel has a clear interest in renewing large-scale hostilities, but the dynamics of the border conflict point toward escalation. The two sides did not necessarily want a war in December 2008 either, but it came anyway.
  • Topic: War, Armed Struggle
  • Political Geography: Middle East, Israel
  • Publication Date: 05-2010
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Liechtenstein Institute on Self Determination, Princeton University
  • Abstract: The tone of the conference was set by the leitmotiv of LISD's Afghanistan project work since 2001: “by, for, and with the Afghans and Afghanistan.” Most importantly this focuses on Afghan ownership and Afghan sovereignty, and the capability to determine the nation's destiny. However, the atmosphere and attitudes in and around Afghanistan seem to have noticeably shifted in the last eighteen months, especially with regard to the growing trust deficit between Afghans and the international community. Various actors within Afghanistan and within the region are now realigning their policies, motivated mainly by the perception of an impending draw down of international forces in Afghanistan. The possible heightening of tensions with Afghanistan's western neighbor, Iran, over its nuclear ambitions further complicates the West's calculus of involvement in the region.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution, War, Counterinsurgency
  • Political Geography: Afghanistan, Iran
  • Author: Ståle Ulriksen
  • Publication Date: 07-2010
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Norwegian Peacebuilding Resource Centre
  • Abstract: Norway's five-year experience as the lead nation of the Provincial Reconstruction Team (PRT) Meymaneh in Faryab province, north-west Afghanistan, has been marked by an increased level of violence. This violence is often attributed to the greater strength of the Taliban insurgency. But a close analysis suggests that it has other causes. They include traditional local feuds, struggles between different power structures, and competition over drug trafficking. The nature of politics in this part of Afghanistan – where institutions are weak, parallel power systems coexist, warlords exercise personalised control, ethnicised divisions are growing, and older men dominate – underpins these conflicts. The district of Ghormach in nearby Badghis province, for which Norway took responsibility in January 2009, illustrates the problem: here, a series of military operations in an area of extreme poverty and intense ethnic rivalry seems to have caused more problems than it has solved.
  • Topic: Political Violence, War, Insurgency, Narcotics Trafficking
  • Political Geography: Afghanistan, Europe
  • Author: Øystein Rolandsen, Jacob Høigilt
  • Publication Date: 07-2010
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Norwegian Peacebuilding Resource Centre
  • Abstract: The conflict in Sudan's western province of Darfur has revived even as the peace talks in Qatar between Sudan's government and the rebel Justice and Equality Movement (JEM) seem to have collapsed. Egypt has hitherto refrained from involvement in negotiations to end the conflict, a strategy that has contributed to further diminishing Cairo's already weakened status as a major player in regional politics and diplomacy.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution, Diplomacy, Ethnic Conflict, War
  • Political Geography: Africa, Sudan, Arabia, Egypt
  • Author: Arne Strand
  • Publication Date: 06-2010
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Norwegian Peacebuilding Resource Centre
  • Abstract: Military and civilian actors are engaged in a debate over where to draw the lines in the provision of humanitarian and development assistance. This is illustrated in Afghanistan by the different national models applied to Provincial Reconstruction Teams (PRTs). Norway has opted for a model that clearly separates the civilian and military components within the PRT.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution, Development, Humanitarian Aid, War
  • Political Geography: Afghanistan, Europe
  • Author: Ståle Ulriksen
  • Publication Date: 04-2010
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Norwegian Peacebuilding Resource Centre
  • Abstract: Norway may be a marginal actor in Afghanistan as a whole, but its troop contingent and development aid programmes mean that it does play an important role in the north-west of the country as part of a joint overall effort with its allies and friends. This role is now facing a twofold test.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution, Development, Humanitarian Aid, War
  • Political Geography: Afghanistan, Europe, Asia
  • Author: Kaja Borchgrevink, Kristian Berg Harpviken
  • Publication Date: 03-2010
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Norwegian Peacebuilding Resource Centre
  • Abstract: Afghanistan's thirty years of war have seen the gradual and heavy politicisation of religion. A number of new and distinct types of political movements – which can be characterised broadly as “fundamentalists”, “Islamists” and “neo-fundamentalists” – has emerged to challenge traditional expressions of Islam. This has transformed the religious landscape in Afghanistan, which is as a result more variegated than ever before. The different attitudes of these new currents to questions of religious authority, political process, and the Afghan statebuilding project need to be carefully distinguished. More generally, the appearance of such movements highlights the way that the role of religion, though often overlooked, is central to the attempt since the regime-change of late 2001 to build a viable Afghan state. The impact of the new actors (including the Taliban itself) is reflected in the way that President Hamid Karzai – struggling to balance the modernised secularists supporting the statebuilding project and the religious fundamentalists opposing it – has allowed several ex-jihadi Islamist factions into the government. The result of this accommodation has been both to sustain the former jihadi leaders' influence and contribute to the marginalisation of more moderate Islamic forces. At the same time, many religious leaders believe they could contribute positively to the statebuilding agenda by generating support among Afghan people. This complex situation makes an understanding of Afghanistan's diverse religious landscape and the various positions vis-à-vis the state all the more essential in the context of efforts to develop strategies for peace and reconciliation.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution, Political Violence, Islam, War, Armed Struggle
  • Political Geography: Afghanistan, Asia
  • Author: Ashley Jackson
  • Publication Date: 07-2010
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Oxfam Publishing
  • Abstract: The Kabul Conference marks the ninth international conference on Afghanistan in nearly as many years. The conference aims to present a new set of development programs and shore up international support for civilian efforts. It will also follow up on commitments made on anticorruption and reconciliation during the London Conference in January 2010. Yet much of the hope and optimism that marked the earlier conferences such as the Bonn Conference in 2001, which set out the parameters for the interim government, and the Paris Conference in 2006, which outlined a strategy for reconstruction and development, is now gone.
  • Topic: Security, Development, War, Fragile/Failed State
  • Political Geography: Afghanistan, Asia
  • Publication Date: 06-2010
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Oxfam Publishing
  • Abstract: In 2009, the government of Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), with international backing, launched military offensives against the FDLR (Forces démocratiques de libération du Rwanda) and other militias in eastern DRC, with devastating humanitarian consequences: an estimated 900,000 people displaced and over 1,400 documented civilian deaths attributed to militia and government forces. In 2010 a new offensive, Amani Leo ('peace today'), continues efforts to disarm the militias, with some additional safeguards for civilian safety linked to UN peacekeeping support for the operations. However, while some areas have become safer as a result, ongoing population displacement (over 164,000 January- April 2010) and protection cluster monitoring of human rights violations (up 246% January-February in South Kivu after the launch of Amani Leo) are indications of continuing fallout for civilians. A survey conducted by Oxfam and partners in North and South Kivu in April 2010 enquired into the experiences of people in areas affected by the military operations. It found that, for 60% of respondents this year, things are worse than in 2009.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution, Gender Issues, Genocide, War
  • Political Geography: Asia, Democratic Republic of the Congo
  • Author: Ash Jain
  • Publication Date: 07-2010
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Washington Institute for Near East Policy
  • Abstract: Four years ago this week, Israel launched a military campaign in Lebanon in retaliation for a brazen Hizballah attack on its soldiers. The goal, according to an Israeli official, was "to put Hizballah out of business." But neither war nor subsequent U.S. diplomatic efforts aimed at weakening the group have succeeded, and some in the Obama administration now appear to view direct engagement as an option worth exploring. Reaching out to Hizballah, however, at a time when it is politically and military emboldened, would be an exercise in futility that could prove counterproductive.
  • Topic: International Relations, Diplomacy, Terrorism, War
  • Political Geography: United States, Israel, Lebanon
  • Author: Lisa Schirch
  • Publication Date: 09-2010
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: United States Institute of Peace
  • Abstract: The intense challenge of coordinating government civilians with military actors in the International Security Assistance Forces' Provincial Reconstruction Teams in Afghanistan has inhibited development of military relationships with civil society. The counterinsurgency strategy of “shape, clear, hold, build” invites civil society organizations (CSOs) to play key roles in the final “build” stage at the operational level. Yet many CSOs resist “coordination” in a mission and strategy different from their own. CSOs seek greater policy dialogue and “communication” with high-level ISAF decision makers, particularly during planning stages. An ongoing, high-level forum for civil society-military policy dialogue could help address tensions, provide a mechanism for CSOs to share their conflict assessments, and explore areas for possible collaboration such as in security sector reform.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution, Civil Society, War
  • Political Geography: Afghanistan, Indonesia
  • Author: William B. Taylor
  • Publication Date: 09-2010
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: United States Institute of Peace
  • Abstract: President Barack Obama's policy of a conditions-based redeployment in Afghanistan starting in July 2011 leaves him a lot of flexibility. The administration will likely decide to maintain the troop numbers in Afghanistan near the surge level next year, pending another review.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution, Terrorism, War
  • Political Geography: Afghanistan, United States
  • Author: Noah Coburn, Shahmahmood Miakhel
  • Publication Date: 09-2010
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: United States Institute of Peace
  • Abstract: The need to engage local Afghan leaders and support community decision making has recently been promoted as a key element of both development and counterinsurgency strategies in Afghanistan. The resulting proliferation of community councils—commonly called shuras or jirgas— sponsored by different actors within the Afghan government and international community has decreased the effectiveness of local governance and rule of law in many places. Traditional Afghan dispute resolution and governance bodies are most effective when they are formed by local residents and genuinely reflect the interests of the community. Their legitimacy decreases if international or government sponsors create shuras or jirgas to promote their own interests. This paradox creates a dilemma for programs designed to foster good governance: how to promote community self-rule that reflects traditional values and mechanisms and that develop locally, while adhering to rigid counterinsurgency and development timelines and strategies. These so-called 'traditional' political structures have an important place in local governance in Afghanistan, but the international community should not assume that such bodies fairly represent their respective communities. Rather, sound understanding of local dynamics and in-depth consultation with local government actors and community leaders are necessary to help ensure that such bodies are represented and thus, legitimate within the community. A more coherent, sustainable vision of long-term local governance and coordinated strategies between the Afghan government and international forces is necessary to bring both stability and development to Afghanistan. In particular, this Peace Brief supports the attempts to create a coherent long-term goal of local governance based on legitimate local actors, most likely selected through elections.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution, Development, War, Counterinsurgency
  • Political Geography: Afghanistan
  • Author: Daniel Serwer
  • Publication Date: 11-2010
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: United States Institute of Peace
  • Abstract: Kosovo should not be allowed to stagnate as a "frozen conflict." There are well-established principles that can provide a basis for moving forward. Talks between Belgrade and Pristina on a framework for managing their relationship on practical issues are both possible and necessary, even if they do not happen right away. The time available should be used for careful preparations, especially by Pristina. As Belgrade and Moscow present serious challenges, a joint EU/U.S. effort has the best prospects for success to prevent a "frozen conflict."
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution, Diplomacy, Treaties and Agreements, War
  • Political Geography: Kosovo, Moscow, Balkans
  • Author: Scott Worden
  • Publication Date: 10-2010
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: United States Institute of Peace
  • Abstract: On September 18, Afghanistan held its second parliamentary elections since the fall of the Taliban. Like last year's vote, these elections were marked by high levels of violence, low turnout and widespread reports of fraud.Despite the challenges, however, Afghans across the country defied Taliban threats and overcame problems with the electoral administration to signal their support for the democratic process. Participation appeared higher among the youth demographic, which is a promising sign for the future of democratic processes in Afghanistan. It is still too early to tell whether the quality of the elections was better than the flawed 2009 process, but the Independent Election Commission (IEC) has improved its procedures and transparency both before and after the elections, and has so far helped to restore the credibility of the institution as a neutral administrator of the electoral process. Meanwhile, the Electoral Complaints Commission (ECC) is again under-resourced, has had little time to establish and train the Provincial Electoral Complaints Commissions (PECCs) that will be adjudicating the 4,200 election day complaints, and has yet to make public its decisions regarding the campaign or polling complaints.The ultimate success of the 2010 elections depends less on the level of fraud that was committed on election day-which was bound to be high-and more on the way in which the fraud is handled by the IEC and ECC. If they are transparent and honest about the problems, and take responsible corrective action, then the elections can be considered a partial success despite its flaws.
  • Topic: Corruption, Democratization, War
  • Political Geography: Afghanistan, Central Asia
  • Author: Leonard Rubenstein, Anjalee Kohli
  • Publication Date: 09-2010
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: United States Institute of Peace
  • Abstract: There is increasing recognition that the violence, displacement, disruption of communities and social networks, and deprivation stemming from war deeply impact the mental health of individuals and the social cohesion of communities. In response, donors and providers are creating programs for psychosocial or clinical services that seek to be culturally appropriate, attentive to the need to build local capacity, and sustainable. The quality and comprehensiveness of mental health programs offered in crises, however, generally remains mixed. Too often the programs do not sufficiently differentiate among widely varying individual needs or focus predominantly on either community-based interventions or the clinical needs of more severely affected people but not both. Services for people with more severe disabilities often replicate institutional models, and accompanying human rights violations, that existed in the pre-war period. The challenge of providing sound programs, moreover, is complicated by a relatively thin evidence base. In the face of these challenges, the “Guidelines on Mental Health and Psychosocial Support in Emergency Settings” adopted in 2007 by the Interagency Standing Committee (IASC) offer a promising approach. They stress understanding local context, programming that attends to psychosocial support needs of the entire community, meeting clinical needs of people with more severe conditions, and respecting human rights. Following the IASC and building the evidence base by assuring adequate evaluation of funded programs can help meet the tremendous mental health needs of suffering populations.
  • Topic: Political Violence, Health, Humanitarian Aid, War