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  • Publication Date: 11-2010
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: International Crisis Group
  • Abstract: U.S. military operations in Afghanistan are now entering their tenth year and policymakers in Washington are looking for a way out. A policy review is due in December but the outline is already clear: U.S. forces will try to pummel the Taliban to bring them to the table, responsibility for security will increasingly be transferred to Afghan forces and more money will be provided for economic development. NATO partners agreed at the Lisbon summit to a gradual withdrawal of combat troops with the goal of transitioning to full Afghan control of security by the end of 2014. The aim will be a dignified drawdown of troops as public support wanes while at the same time ensuring that a post-withdrawal Afghanistan, at the very least, does not become the epicentre of transnational terrorism. While success is being measured in numbers of insurgents killed or captured, there is little proof that the operations have disrupted the insurgency's momentum or increased stability. The storyline does not match facts on the ground.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution, War
  • Political Geography: Afghanistan, United States, Washington, Taliban, Lisbon
  • Publication Date: 12-2010
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: International Crisis Group
  • Abstract: Two and a half years after the war with Russia, Georgia's political life is increasingly turning towards preparations for the 2012-2013 elections and debates around divisions of power after a recent overhaul of the constitution. The substantial amendments, which come into force in 2013 at the same time as President Mikheil Saakashvili steps down due to a term limit, will give much greater power to the prime minister. The next two years will go a long way in determining whether the country progresses toward a truly stable, modern democracy, or deteriorates into a fragile, pseudo-pluralistic and stagnating system. The government and political opposition movement need to use that crucial period to create public trust in democratic institutions. The best way to achieve this is by engaging in meaningful dialogue to ensure a fair election cycle, strengthened rule of law, economic stability and the legitimacy of the future government.
  • Topic: Democratization, Politics, War
  • Political Geography: Russia
  • Author: Jacleen Mowery, Demis Yanco, Ryan McClanahan
  • Publication Date: 12-2010
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: United States Institute of Peace
  • Abstract: Post-conflict governance requires simultaneous and complementary action on three levels. national governance, local governance, and civil society. Norbert Mao, a parliamentary leader from Uganda, offered this progression for managing the trade-off between short-term stabilization and long-term capacity building: "In the emergency phase, you should do it for us. In the reconstruction phase, you should do it with us. And in the development phase, you should do it through us." Efforts to develop the capacity of local governments to deliver services may be more responsive to external assistance than programs aimed at overcoming systemic dysfunctions in the central government, in part because municipal officials are more accountable to their communities. Civil society should be a prominent player in transitioning to “local ownership,” which may erroneously be conceived in terms of ownership by national and perhaps local governments. Building the capacity of civil society entails connectivity with international partners and ideas, not just financing. There are trade-offs involved among the three stakeholders. Among the most salient, when a legacy of abuse of power by the national government and repression of opposition groups must be confronted, an active civil society is essential. An invigorated civil society can fundamentally challenge illicit structures of power that profited from conflict.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution, Civil Society, Government, Peace Studies, War, Governance, Peacekeeping
  • Political Geography: Uganda
  • Author: Delphine Djiraibe
  • Publication Date: 12-2010
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: United States Institute of Peace
  • Abstract: Political crises and armed opposition movements have plagued Chad for several years. After several failed peace initiatives, the August 13 Agreement was reached in 2007. The agreement is the most viable framework for bringing peace to Chad. It calls on the Chadian government to reform critical electoral institutions, undertake a credible electoral census and demilitarize politics in order to ensure fair and transparent elections. To date, the agreement has been poorly implemented. It jeopardizes the credibility of the upcoming legislative elections, currently scheduled for February 2011. Only comprehensive reform that addresses the development and governance challenges facing Chad will definitively end its political crisis.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution, Peace Studies, Treaties and Agreements, War, Peacekeeping
  • Political Geography: Africa
  • Author: Nils Goede, Swen Dornig
  • Publication Date: 07-2010
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Institute for Development and Peace
  • Abstract: On 26 October 2010, the UN Security Council (SC) marked the 10th anniversary of Security Council resolution (SCR) 1325. With the adoption of SCR 1325, the SC recognised the disproportionate impact of armed conflicts on women and girls for the first time and further emphasized the decisive role of women in preventing conflicts and consolidating peace. At the time of its adoption, SCR 1325 was recognized as a major breakthrough for greater gender equality in the area of peace and security and the acceptance of women as active agents in conflict management. Three further SCRs – 1820, 1888 and 1889 – now strengthen the women, peace and security (WPS) framework.
  • Topic: Conflict Prevention, Security, Gender Issues, War
  • Political Geography: United Nations
  • Author: Yalım Eralp
  • Publication Date: 12-2010
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Global Research in International Affairs Center, Interdisciplinary Center
  • Abstract: The Lisbon Summit was important for two reasons. Firstly, the acceptance of a new strategic concept, the seventh since NATO was founded. The new concept comes after the Al Kaide attacks, the Afghan and Iraq wars and a greater threat of proliferation of nuclear weapons. In addition, relations with Russia were reset, making them of strategic importance. The second important aspect is the acceptance of a missile defence system whereby all populations, territory and forces will be protected.
  • Topic: Security, NATO, Terrorism, War
  • Political Geography: Russia, Iraq
  • Author: Gilles Dorronsoro
  • Publication Date: 01-2009
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Carnegie Endowment for International Peace
  • Abstract: After seven years of war, the international community has failed to create the conditions for a sustainable Afghan state. The reality is that the international coalition now has limited resources and a narrow political time frame to create lasting Afghan institutions. Yet building such institutions is our only realistic exit strategy. The debate in Washington and European capitals has recently centered on how many more troops will be sent to Afghanistan in 2009 as part of a military surge. Such a tactical adjustment is unlikely to make much of a difference in a country where the basic population-to-troops ratio is estimated at approximately 430 people per foreign soldier.
  • Topic: Civil Society, Terrorism, War
  • Political Geography: Afghanistan, Central Asia
  • Publication Date: 02-2009
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: International Crisis Group
  • Abstract: Six months after the collapse of autonomy negotiations between the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) and the Philippines government, low-intensity conflict continues but moves are under way to resurrect talks. It is not clear whether negotiations will resume and if they do, with what agenda. Certainly no settlement is likely during the remaining tenure of President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo; the two sides are too far apart, the potential spoilers too numerous, and the political will too weak. The best that can be hoped for is progress around the edges.
  • Topic: Political Violence, Islam, War
  • Political Geography: Israel, Asia, Philippines, Mindanao
  • Publication Date: 03-2009
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: International Crisis Group
  • Abstract: Seven years after the U.S.-led intervention in Afghanistan the country is still at war against extremists and has developed few resilient institutions. A policy review by the Obama administration has reopened debate about how to defeat the forces of violent global jihadism – al-Qaeda and its Taliban protectors – in Afghanistan and in neighbouring Pakistan. In most cases, the ideas on offer – from declaring victory and pulling out, to negotiating with the insurgents, to organising regional conferences, to prioritising relationships with favoured individuals and allies over the development of strong democratic institutions – have been tried at least once in the past two decades, with no success: we know now what not to do.
  • Topic: Political Violence, Islam, War
  • Political Geography: Afghanistan, United States, Central Asia
  • Author: Kelly Campbell, Linda Bishai, Jacki Wilson
  • Publication Date: 03-2009
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: United States Institute of Peace
  • Abstract: Sudan's upcoming elections in 2009 raise hopes and concerns for the country's future. According to the Comprehensive Peace Agreement (CPA), signed in 2005 between the ruling National Congress Party (NCP) and the Sudan People's Liberation Movement (SPLM), Sudan is scheduled to hold national and state level elections in 2009. (Elections are to take place for president of the Government of National Unity, president of the Government of Southern Sudan, members of the National Assembly and the South Sudan Legislative Assembly, and governors and state legislatures in all of Sudan's 25 states) However, delays in each phase of electoral preparation—including the passage of the electoral law, the appointment of the nine National Election Commission members responsible for overseeing elections, and the census—have raised doubts about whether the elections will be held within the timeframe outlined in the CPA.
  • Topic: Political Violence, Civil Society, Democratization, Government, Peace Studies, War
  • Political Geography: Africa, Sudan, South Sudan
  • Author: Alistair Harris
  • Publication Date: 03-2009
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: United States Institute of Peace
  • Abstract: Last week's international donor conference to address the question of humanitarian assistance to Gaza underscores the myriad challenges confronting the process. Namely, how should the international community respond to the complex issues surrounding assistance in post-conflict recovery and reconstruction, particularly when several key donors reject any contact with Hamas, the governing authority on the ground? By any estimation, the Gaza reconstruction process will face several perplexing issues: How can billions of US dollars be effectively, transparently and accountably dispersed in a coordinated way, when several key donors and the Government of Israel reject any moves that will bolster the fortunes of Hamas, who m they classify as a terrorist organisation? What impact will an emerging Palestinian National Unity Government have on the mechanisms for overcoming many donors' reluctance to deal directly with Hamas? What opportunities and challenges does the reconstruction of Gaza pose for a rapprochement between Hamas and Fatah? Who will lead the reconstruction process and how will meaningful activity take place in the face of severe restrictions on access and movement? With Hamas in power in Gaza and Israel ref using to consider opening their common borders until kidnapped Israeli Defence Forces Corporal Gilad Shalit is released by Hamas, how is meaningful recovery and reconstruction even possible? In the absence of a credible political process, what use is reconstruction anyway if it merely returns the population of Gaza to their pre-conflict socio-economic imperilment? Lebanon faced a similar situation following the 2006 war between Hezbollah and Israel.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution, Foreign Policy, Political Violence, Humanitarian Aid, Peace Studies, War
  • Political Geography: Middle East, Israel, Palestine, Arabia, Gaza, Lebanon
  • Author: J Alexander Thier, John Dempsey
  • Publication Date: 03-2009
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: United States Institute of Peace
  • Abstract: The current political crisis over elections in Afghanistan stems, in part, from a fundamental gap in Afghanistan's legal and political system: lack of agreement on what entity(s) has the power to resolve constitutional disputes, and how that power is accessed. Without a clear path to settling constitutional disagreements, the system becomes deadlocked as disputes arise, exacerbating tensions between Afghanistan's fragile institutions and factionalized political elite.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution, Foreign Policy, Political Violence, War
  • Political Geography: Afghanistan, United States, Central Asia
  • Author: Thomas Carothers
  • Publication Date: 02-2009
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Carnegie Endowment for International Peace
  • Abstract: The Bush's administration's highly problematic legacy on democracy promotion and general pessimism about the global state of democracy create pressure on the Obama administration to pull the United States substantially back from supporting democracy abroad. Although dissociating U.S. democracy support from the errors of the Bush approach is crucial, a broad realist corrective of U.S. policy is not necessary. The way forward for Obama will be more about changing how the United States goes about supporting democracy abroad than about what emphasis to place on democracy relative to other interests. Cardinal values of Obama's political philosophy and style—non-confrontational, measured, persistent, bipartisan, cooperative, effective, and empowering—provide a natural basis for a new framework to help the United States regain its place as a respected, trusted, and influential ally of democracy around the world.
  • Topic: Security, Foreign Policy, Democratization, Terrorism, War
  • Political Geography: United States
  • Author: Nathan J. Brown
  • Publication Date: 02-2009
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Carnegie Endowment for International Peace
  • Abstract: The international effort to achieve a two-state solution to the Israeli–Palestinian conflict has come to a dead end, at least for the present. Things can—and might well—get worse unless the United States and other outside actors couple a realistic view of the present with a serious effort to push for a more promising future. The first step in a new diplomatic approach must be to establish a cease-fire that builds on the common interest of both Israel and Hamas to avoid fighting in the short term. A new cease-fire should be clear and perhaps even written; mediators (whether Arab or European) must be willing to make an agreement more attractive to both sides to sustain (Hamas can be enticed by some opening of the border with Egypt; Israel will demand serious efforts against the supply of arms to Hamas). The second step must be an armistice that would offer each side what they crave for the present—Israel would get quiet and a limit on arms to Hamas; Palestinians would get open borders, a freeze on settlements, and an opportunity to rebuild their shattered institutions. Such an armistice must go beyond a one-year cease-fire to become something sustainable for at least five to ten years. Finally, the calm provided by the armistice must be used to rebuild Palestinian institutions and force Palestinians and Israelis to confront rather than avoid the choices before them.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution, Islam, Peace Studies, Terrorism, War
  • Political Geography: United States, Europe, Middle East, Israel, Palestine, Arabia, Egypt
  • Publication Date: 04-2009
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: International Crisis Group
  • Abstract: The report of the government-constituted Technical Committee on the Niger Delta, submitted to Nigeria's President Umaru Musa Yar'Adua on 1 December 2008, offers an opportunity to reduce violent conflict significantly and begin longer-term regional development in the oil-rich region. The government needs to respond urgently and positively, in particular by accepting a third-party mediator to facilitate discussions of amnesty and demobilisation of militants, in order to dispel growing misgivings in the Delta, save the region from further violence and organised criminality, and ensure Nigeria's continued reliability as a leading source of energy for the world.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution, Oil, War
  • Political Geography: Africa
  • Author: Tamas Berzi
  • Publication Date: 01-2009
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs
  • Abstract: Many countries such as Italy, Germany, and the Czech Republic showed understanding for Israel and described Israel's actions as self-defense. These countries generally used strong language against Hamas and demanded that it stop the rocket attacks unconditionally. At the time of the start of the Israeli airstrikes, the European presidency was held by France. On December 27, the Presidency of the Council of the European Union condemned both the Israeli air raids and the Palestinian rocket strikes on Israel from Gaza and called for an immediate end to these activities. The statement also condemned the disproportionate use of force. As of January 1, 2009, the Czech Republic took over the role of the Presidency of the European Union. On January 3, the presidency described the Israeli ground operations as an act of self-defense. This drew heavy criticism from many European countries, and the Czechs apologized for the "misunderstanding" and issued a new statement, but one that did not call for an "immediate" ceasefire. In diplomatic language there is a significant difference between "as soon as possible" and "immediate." France has been traditionally the main driving force behind European foreign policy. The separate Sarkozy visit to Israel and his humanitarian ceasefire proposal showed that France was not ready to relinquish its positions to the Czech Republic. The Czech positions during Israel's Gaza operation indicate that the current presidency will work toward a more favorable international environment for Israel. However, Israel should try to make the most of it, since the upcoming Swedish presidency, which starts on July 1, 2009, will most likely be a more difficult time for Israel.
  • Topic: War, Territorial Disputes
  • Political Geography: Europe, Middle East, Israel, Arabia, Gaza, Germany, Italy
  • Author: Shimon Shapira
  • Publication Date: 01-2009
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs
  • Abstract: Immediately upon the end of the fighting in Gaza, the international community will enlist on behalf of an extensive rehabilitation project to enable the Palestinian population to return to their homes and get on with their civil and economic lives. It is of prime importance to prevent Iran from acquiring influence in post-war Gaza through any assistance programs. Following the Second Lebanon War in 2006, Iran and Hizbullah grasped the political and economic significance of the rehabilitation project in the Shiite areas of southern Lebanon damaged during the war. Hizbullah directed the rehabilitation work, while totally ignoring the central Lebanese government, and in this manner regained and even reinforced its influence within the Shiite community. Iran is already positioning itself for influence in post-war Gaza. On January 14, 2009, the Deputy Speaker of the Iranian Parliament, Ali Akbar Mohtashami, arrived in Lebanon heading a 40-man delegation in order to direct Iranian support for Hamas. The main objective for Israel and the international community should be to deny Iran the attainment of this objective and to transform the Palestinian Authority, headed by Mahmoud Abbas, into the principal factor, along with Egypt, entrusted with the rehabilitation work in Gaza.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution, Foreign Policy, War, Power Politics
  • Political Geography: United States, Iran, Middle East, Palestine, Gaza, Lebanon
  • Publication Date: 04-2009
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Oxfam Publishing
  • Abstract: The intensification and spread of the conflict in Afghanistan is increasingly affecting civilians. In 2008 there were over 2,100 civilian casualties, 55% of which were caused by militants. Despite steps to reduce civilian casualties, international military forces (IMF) caused 552 civilian deaths through airstrikes in 2008, which is up by 72% on 2007. IMF have also carried out or supported raids and search operations, a large number of which have involved an excessive use of force, including loss of life, physical assault, dam age to property and theft, as well as aggressive and improper treatment of women. Such conduct not only generates anger and mistrust towards foreign troops, but is steadily eroding popular support for the international presence in the country. Furthermore, many individuals detained by Afghan and US forces are held for long periods without charge or trial, and there are allegations of mistreatment and torture.
  • Topic: Security, Defense Policy, Human Rights, War
  • Political Geography: Afghanistan, United States, Central Asia
  • Publication Date: 06-2009
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: International Crisis Group
  • Abstract: In the wake of a conceptually flawed peace agreement, the Taliban takeover of large parts of Malakand division, subsequent military action in the area, almost three million internally displaced persons (IDPs) have fled to camps, homes, schools and other places of shelter across Northwest Frontier Province (NWFP). The challenge for the Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP)-led government and international actors is to make relief, rehabilitation and reconstruction efforts responsive to needs and empower local communities in Malakand Division. Failure to do so will reverse any gains on the battlefield and boost radical Islamist groups.
  • Topic: Terrorism, War, Insurgency
  • Political Geography: Pakistan, Central Asia, Asia, Taliban
  • Publication Date: 06-2009
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: International Crisis Group
  • Abstract: Ten months after the “August war” between Georgia and Russia, violent incidents and the lack of an effective security regime in and around the conflict zones of South Ossetia and Abkhazia create a dangerous atmosphere in which extensive fighting could again erupt. Russia has not complied with key aspects of the cease-fire agreements that President Medvedev reached in August/September 2008 with French President Sarkozy in his then EU presidency role. Its 15 June Security Council veto of an extension of the sixteen-year-old UN observer mission mandate in Georgia and Abkhazia and its apparent intention to require the removal of the mission of the Organisation for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE) by the end of the month are blows to regional security that will further fuel tensions. Most of the on-the-ground conflict resolution machinery is thus being dismantled. Moscow should review its counterproductive position and work for a reasonable compromise allowing the UN and OSCE monitors to continue their important work.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution, Security, War
  • Political Geography: Russia, Eastern Europe, Moscow, Georgia, South Ossetia, Abkhazia
  • Author: Kelly Campbell, Linda Bishai, Jacki Wilson
  • Publication Date: 03-2009
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: United States Institute of Peace
  • Abstract: Sudan's upcoming elections in 2009 raise hopes and concerns for the country's future. According to the Comprehensive Peace Agreement (CPA), signed in 2005 between the ruling National Congress Party (NCP) and the Sudan People's Liberation Movement (SPLM), Sudan is scheduled to hold national and state level elections in 2009. (Elections are to take place for president of the Government of National Unity, president of the Government of Southern Sudan, members of the National Assembly and the South Sudan Legislative Assembly, and governors and state legislatures in all of Sudan's 25 states.) However, delays in each phase of electoral preparation — including the passage of the electoral law, the appointment of the nine National Election Commission members responsible for overseeing elections, and the census — have raised doubts about whether the elections will be held within the timeframe outlined in the CPA.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution, Democratization, Development, Peace Studies, Treaties and Agreements, War
  • Political Geography: Sudan
  • Author: Kurt Bassuener, James Lyon
  • Publication Date: 05-2009
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: United States Institute of Peace
  • Abstract: This is the first of three papers USIP will publish this month on Bosnia, each with a different analytical perspective on what is happening in Bosnia and what needs to be done there to prevent a return to violence. We do this in the hope that these papers will generate a fuller debate on options that might be pursued by the U.S. government (USG), Europe and Bosnians.
  • Topic: Conflict Prevention, Democratization, Peace Studies, War
  • Political Geography: United States, Europe, Bosnia, Herzegovina, Balkans
  • Author: Daniel Markey
  • Publication Date: 04-2009
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Council on Foreign Relations
  • Abstract: President Barack Obama publicly unveiled his administration's so-called AfPak (Afghanistan-Pakistan) strategy on March 27, 2009. Over the subsequent weeks, the White House has also briefed relevant congressional leaders and committees, the media, NATO allies, and other regional and international partners. The U.S. House of Representatives has moved ahead with its own legislative debate (the PEACE bill), and the administration recently submitted a 2009 supplemental budget request consistent with its new strategy.
  • Topic: Foreign Policy, Diplomacy, Terrorism, War, Counterinsurgency
  • Political Geography: Pakistan, Afghanistan, United States, Asia
  • Author: Sara Hamood
  • Publication Date: 06-2009
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Oxfam Publishing
  • Abstract: In June 2009 the blockade on the Gaza Strip enters its third year. The intense closure policy, coupled with the government of Israel's recent military operation 'Cast Lead', has had a devastating impact on the lives and livelihoods of one and a half million Gazans, pushing them further into poverty and aid dependency. Parties to the conflict and the international community have, to varying degrees, prioritised their own political objectives over people's rights and needs, leaving Gazans sitting on the ruins of their homes. By attempting to isolate Hamas, the government of Israel and key international donor governments and institutions have in fact isolated the people of Gaza, thereby reducing chances of securing a peaceful, just and durable resolution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution, War
  • Political Geography: Middle East, Israel, Palestine, Gaza, Arab Countries
  • Author: Arif Azad, Shaheen Chughtai
  • Publication Date: 06-2009
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Oxfam Publishing
  • Abstract: It is the world's biggest and fastest human displacement in over a decade. The offensive launched by the Pakistan army against armed militants in North West Frontier Province (NWFP) at the end of April 2009 has resulted in a massive exodus requiring an enormous humanitarian response. Although exact numbers are difficult to verify, at least two million women, men, and children fled their homes in the districts of Swat, Dir and Buner, mostly during May. In late May, the UN refugee agency (UNHCR) was registering 126,000 newly displaced people per day.
  • Topic: War, Armed Struggle, Refugee Issues
  • Political Geography: Pakistan
  • Author: Robert Perito, Madeline Kristoff
  • Publication Date: 08-2009
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: United States Institute of Peace
  • Abstract: Iraq's Ministry of the Interior (MOI) is responsible for the supervision, training and administrative support for Iraq's non-military security forces. These include: the Iraqi Police Service, the Iraq National Police, the Iraqi Border Enforcement Service and the Facilities Protection Service. In total, MOI is responsible for nearly 600,000 men under arms or a force that is three times the size of the new Iraqi Army, Navy and Air Force combined.
  • Topic: Security, Corruption, Crime, Ethnic Conflict, War
  • Political Geography: Iraq, Arabia
  • Author: Jim O'Brien
  • Publication Date: 08-2009
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: United States Institute of Peace
  • Abstract: USIP has circulated several papers analyzing the situation in Bosnia and Herzegovina. Collectively, they offer diverse but insightful portraits of developments in Bosnia. This short note takes a different approach. I focus on what can be done, not on causes or description. Because there is attention or money for only a few things to be done in Bosnia, we should pick our initiatives carefully.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution, Peace Studies, War
  • Political Geography: Europe, Bosnia, Herzegovina, Balkans
  • Author: Michael Knights, Ahmed Ali
  • Publication Date: 08-2009
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Washington Institute for Near East Policy
  • Abstract: On August 17, Iraq's Council of Ministers approved a draft legislation that would require the ratification of the U.S.-Iraq Security Agreement, also known as the Status of Forces Agreement (SOFA), in a national referendum coinciding with the national elections on January 16, 2010. Out of the 275 Iraqi parliamentarians, a simple majority is needed to authorize the draft law when the National Assembly reconvenes on September 8, 2009. If a referendum takes place, and the Iraqis reject the security agreement, U.S. forces would be required to leave Iraq by January 16, 2011, instead of December 31, 2011. The referendum could also change the nature of the upcoming national elections, focusing attention on nationalistic posturing at the expense of the U.S.-Iraqi relationship, and distracting Iraqi politicians and voters from the many serious issues facing the country.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution, Security, Political Violence, War, Regime Change
  • Political Geography: Iraq, Middle East, Arab Countries
  • Author: Michael Eisenstadt, Ahmed Ali
  • Publication Date: 07-2009
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Washington Institute for Near East Policy
  • Abstract: During Iraqi prime minister Nouri al-Maliki's visit to Washington next week, the Obama administration will likely seek to reinvigorate that country's flagging reconciliation process as part of ongoing efforts to establish a stable political order in Iraq. Progress, however, continues to be hindered by ongoing violence, deep-seated suspicions, and partisan politics, raising questions about the ultimate prospects for national reconciliation.
  • Topic: Political Violence, Ethnic Conflict, Islam, War
  • Political Geography: United States, Iraq, Middle East, Arabia
  • Publication Date: 10-2009
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: International Crisis Group
  • Abstract: Štrpce, one of Kosovo's largest Serb enclaves and one of the few with good Serb-Albanian relations and economic prospects, risks falling victim to the status dispute between Belgrade and Pristina. But it also has a chance to demonstrate to Serbs that they can protect their interests within Kosovo's constitutional order. Since May 2008, the municipality has been governed by competing authorities, both Serb-led: an official government appointed by the UN in the face of local opposition and a parallel regime elected in defiance of Kosovo law. Neither has the capacity to perform its duties. The impasse has deprived this peaceful enclave of effective government and devastated its economy, notably by preventing regulation of its lucrative property market and blocking privatisation of the Brezovica ski resort. Local elections on 15 November 2009 can end the un- easy status quo, give Štrpce a legitimate government and unlock its economic potential. Belgrade, Pristina and the international community should encourage voting and thereafter equip the municipal government with the expanded powers and resources it needs.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution, Ethnic Conflict, War
  • Political Geography: Serbia, Balkans, Albania
  • Author: Edmund Cairns
  • Publication Date: 10-2009
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Oxfam Publishing
  • Abstract: In 2006 the United Nations voted to start work towards an Arms Trade Treaty (ATT). This was recognition by a majority of nations that the current patchwork of laws, regional agreements, and embargoes is ineffective, and insufficient to limit the catastrophic effects of easily available weaponry.
  • Topic: Political Violence, Arms Control and Proliferation, United Nations, War
  • Author: Vanda Felbab-Brown
  • Publication Date: 09-2009
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Brookings Institution
  • Abstract: Nearly eight years after a U.S.-led invasion toppled the Taliban regime, Afghanistan remains far from stable. As President Barack Obama considers alternatives to increasing the number of U.S. troops in Afghanistan, his administration's new counternarcotics strategy meshes well with counterinsurgency and state-building efforts in the country. It is a welcome break from previous ineffective and counterproductive policies. The effectiveness of the policy with respect to counternarcotics, counterinsurgency and state-building, however, will depend on the operationalization of the strategy. The details are not yet clear, but the strategy potentially faces many pitfalls.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution, Security, War, Counterinsurgency
  • Political Geography: Afghanistan, United States
  • Author: Michael Dziedzic, Megan Chabalowski
  • Publication Date: 09-2009
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: United States Institute of Peace
  • Abstract: On June 25, 2009, USIP hosted a public forum, “Bosnia and Herzegovina: Parsing the Options,” where various courses of action for U.S. policy toward Bosnia and its unfinished state-building were debated. At issue are Bosnia's current conditions and what to do about them: Is the country on a trajectory toward instability and violence, or is it making hesitant progress? What is needed to overcome ethnic tensions between Bosnia's political leaders and how can the international community induce them into productive negotiations over reforms? What should the U.S.'s role be in Bosnia's integration process into the EU?
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution, Regional Cooperation, Treaties and Agreements, War
  • Political Geography: Europe, Balkans
  • Author: Renata Stuebner
  • Publication Date: 11-2009
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: United States Institute of Peace
  • Abstract: This report is intended to examine the status of religious reconciliation and coexistence in Bosnia and Herzegovina (BiH). Bosnia and Herzegovina's centuries-old tradition of religious coexistence is rapidly disappearing. Memories of a time when people shared the same schools, office space and living conditions are slowly giving way to a fear of “the others.” Some positive interactions still take place due to family ties from mixed marriages, economic interdependence and old, enduring friendships. However, some efforts of top religious leaders, similar to those of the nationalistic politicians, seem to be driving society in the opposite direction.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution, Ethnic Conflict, War
  • Political Geography: Bosnia, Herzegovina, Balkans
  • Author: Ashley Jackson
  • Publication Date: 11-2009
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Oxfam Publishing
  • Abstract: The past three decades of war and disorder have had a devastating impact on the Afghan people. Millions have been killed, millions more have been forced to flee their homes and the country's infrastructure and forests have all but been destroyed. The social fabric of the country is fractured and state institutions are fragile and weak.
  • Topic: Human Rights, Human Welfare, Humanitarian Aid, War
  • Political Geography: Afghanistan
  • Publication Date: 11-2009
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: International Crisis Group
  • Abstract: President Hamid Karzai's re-election on 2 November 2009, following widespread fraud in the 20 August presidential and provincial polls, has delivered a critical blow to his government's legitimacy. The deeply flawed polls have eroded public confidence in the electoral process and in the international community's commitment to the country's nascent democratic institutions. Concentration of power in the executive to the exclusion of the legislature and judiciary has also resulted in a fundamental breakdown in governance while strengthening the hand of the insurgency. To restore stability, vigorous constitutional reform under the aegis of a loya jirga must be undertaken; an impartial commission of inquiry into the flawed elections should be formed; the UN Mission in Afghanistan (UNAMA) should be restructured to restore credibility; and prompt steps must be taken to strengthen institutions.
  • Topic: Democratization, War, Governance
  • Political Geography: Afghanistan
  • Author: Denis Kennedy
  • Publication Date: 08-2009
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Finnish Institute of International Affairs
  • Abstract: Finland is currently drafting a comprehensive national crisis management strategy (CNCM). This briefing paper puts this exercise in conversation with the increase in violence directed at aid workers in crisis situations, with special reference to Afghanistan. On a policy level, Finnish decision makers should take into consideration the changing security environment and the mosaic of actors involved in crisis management. It is argued that increased integration and coordination has complicated aid agencies' attempts to maintain neutrality in the field. Neutrality, together with impartiality and independence, functions to create a "humanitarian space" in conflict zones. It is precisely this space that is most at risk when humanitarian actors are coupled with military and state apparatuses. The aim of integration and coordination is to improve the responsiveness, effectiveness, and efficiency of humanitarian relief and crisis response. It involves coordination and cooperation in the planning and use of military and civil defense assets in humanitarian operations. Despite the potential for efficiency gains, integration remains a controversial topic. In particular, it forces tough questions on aid agencies who find their ability to remain neutral, impartial, and independent severely curtailed. There is concern in the humanitarian sector that coherence and integration mean subordinating principles to politics and that this has made aid agencies targets of violence. In Afghanistan and elsewhere, rising violence testifies to an environment in which aid agencies are now perceived as taking sides in conflict. The increase in violence in crisis situations calls attention in drafting the CNCM to the fragility of humanitarian space and the need for open, public debate. Given Finland's experiences with neutrality during the Cold War and in light of contemporary debates over Afghanistan, there is the opportunity to bring deeper understandings to bear in the field of crisis management.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution, Security, Human Rights, Human Welfare, Humanitarian Aid, War
  • Political Geography: Afghanistan, Finland
  • Author: Timo Behr, Matthieu Chillaud, Toby Archer, Charly Salonius-Pasternak, Valtteri Vuorisalo, Barbara Zanchetta
  • Publication Date: 09-2009
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Finnish Institute of International Affairs
  • Abstract: The increase in fighting in the summer of 2009 has led to renewed debate in many of the countries contributing troops to the international mission in Afghanistan. In the UK the heavy loss of life amongst British soldiers has been central to the discussion on Britain's continued contribution. In Germany the debate has more focused on the increasingly offensive actions that the Bundeswehr is undertaking. France's contribution to the Afghanistan mission is less politically controversial than in other European countries because of the president's power over foreign and security policy. For many years Italy's Afghanistan contribution was less politically sensitive compared to the Italian presence in Iraq, but this is changing with the increase in violence in Afghanistan. In Sweden the annual parliamentary approval process and the increased expeditionary focus of the armed forces have lead to a strong consensus on the need to participate in Afghanistan. The debate in Finland is sporadic and reactive as there is not an annual parliamentary debate as is the case in Sweden and Germany. Nevertheless Finland's contribution is centrally linked to the decision made in those countries.
  • Topic: Political Violence, Terrorism, War
  • Political Geography: Britain, Afghanistan, Iraq, United Kingdom, Europe, Finland, Germany, Italy, Sweden
  • Author: J Alexander Thier, William B. Taylor
  • Publication Date: 12-2009
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: United States Institute of Peace
  • Abstract: By all accounts, the civilian role in creating a stable Afghanistan, capable of protecting its citizens and providing essential services, is at least as important as the military operation.
  • Topic: Security, Civil Society, War
  • Political Geography: Afghanistan
  • Author: Anthony Bubalo
  • Publication Date: 12-2009
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Lowy Institute for International Policy
  • Abstract: President Obama's announcement of a troop surge and the planned withdrawal of the Netherlands as lead nation in Oruzgan province in mid-2010, where the bulk of Australia's military contribution operates, raise a number of issues for Australia's role in Afghanistan. In particular: the potential and perhaps unintended impact of any new lead nation on the relative improvements in security that have been achieved in Oruzgan province a possible demand for more Australian troops and greater flexibility in the way they are used in Afghanistan as the result of changes in US strategy; and the effectiveness of Australia's small but growing number of civilian and police personnel in Afghanistan.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution, Arms Control and Proliferation, War
  • Political Geography: Afghanistan, United States, Australia
  • Author: Tom Gregg
  • Publication Date: 10-2009
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Lowy Institute for International Policy
  • Abstract: There is increased recognition of the importance of engaging tribes in Afghanistan, but the government of Afghanistan and the international community are yet to come up with a coherent and coordinated approach. While more effective tribal engagement won't work everywhere, there is an opportunity to engage more fully with Pashtun tribes in Afghanistan's southeast. A meaningful and well resourced tribal policy would help improve stability in this strategically important region and also help avoid any mismanagement that could make things worse.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution, War, Fragile/Failed State
  • Political Geography: Afghanistan
  • Author: Capt. Rakish Suppiah
  • Publication Date: 11-2009
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Maritime Institute of Malaysia
  • Abstract: A contract of insurance must impose an obligation upon the insurer to indemnify the assured in the event of a loss from an insured risk provided that other contractual provisions have been fulfilled. In other words, there must be a legally enforceable agreement in order to properly refer to it as a 'contract'. Accepting that the contract between a member and his club is a contract of insurance, a further issue to consider is whether the contract of insurance amounts to a contract of marine insurance.
  • Topic: International Trade and Finance, War, Maritime Commerce, Law
  • Political Geography: Southeast Asia
  • Author: Sabine Kurtenbach
  • Publication Date: 05-2009
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Institute for Development and Peace
  • Abstract: Conflict and violence have become an important context for development cooperation during the last decade. Donors not only have to cope with the consequences of conflict in their day-to-day work on the ground, but also need to develop strategies in the fields of early warning and prevention, as well as instruments for conflict analysis and conflic-sensitive approaches for cooperation. At the same time, external actors have been important supporters for many peace processes aiming at the termination of armed conflicts and violence. When wars or armed conflicts end (or at least when violence on the ground decreases) the hope for sustainable peacebuilding grows. UN General Secretary Ban Ki Moon pointed out the importance of the immediate post-conflict/post-war period in a report to the Security Council on June 11, 2009: “The immediate post-conflict period offers a window of opportunity to provide basic security, deliver peace dividends, shore up and build confidence in the political process, and strengthen core national capacity to lead peacebuilding efforts.” This gives a first impression of the many challenges internal and external actors face; at the same time experiences on the ground show that liberal peacebuilding conceived as a profound transformation process is a difficult endeavour.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution, Political Violence, Development, War, Armed Struggle
  • Political Geography: United Nations