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  • Author: Frances Z. Brown
  • Publication Date: 07-2014
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: United States Institute of Peace
  • Abstract: The conclusion of the U.S.-led "surge" of 2009 onward and the closure of provincial recon¬struction teams and other local civil-military installations have affected how aid is delivered in Afghanistan's more remote and contested areas. The time is ripe for a recalibration of donor approaches to local governance and development in areas previously targeted by the surge. Specifically, foreign stakeholders should reexamine three central principles of their previous subnational governance strategy. First, donors should revise their conception of assisting service delivery from the previous approach, which often emphasized providing maximal inputs in a fragmented way, to a more restrained vision that stresses predictability and reliability and acknowledges the interlinked nature of politics, justice, and sectoral services in the eyes of the local population. Second, donors should reframe their goal of establishing linkages between the Afghan govern¬ment and population by acknowledging that the main obstacles to improving center-periph¬ery communication and execution are often political and structural rather than technical. Third, donors should revise the way they define, discuss, and measure local governance prog¬ress in contested areas, away from favoring snapshots of inputs and perceptions and toward capturing longer-term changes on the ground in processes, structures, and incentives. The coming political and development aid transition provides an overdue opportunity for Afghan governance priorities to come to the fore. At the same time, the ever growing chasm between Kabul's deliberations on the one hand and local governance as experienced in more remote, insurgency-wracked areas on the other presents renewed risks. In the short term, donors let the air out of the aid bubble carefully. In the long term, resolving Afghanistan's local governance challenges continues to demand sustained commitment and systematic execution.
  • Topic: International Relations, Economics, Foreign Aid
  • Political Geography: Afghanistan, United States
  • Author: Bruce "Ossie" Oswald
  • Publication Date: 07-2014
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: United States Institute of Peace
  • Abstract: Between 1981 and 2007, governments in eighty-eight countries established or supported more than three hundred armed militias to provide security to local communities. Such militias often directly engage in armed conflict and law-and-order activities. A number of state-supported civil defense groups make local communities less secure by refusing to respond to state direction, setting up security apparatuses in competition with state authorities, committing human rights violations, and engaging in criminal behavior. The doctrine of state responsibility and the application of international humanitarian law, international human rights law, and international criminal law obligate the state or states that establish or support civil defense groups to investigate, prosecute, punish, and provide reparations or compensate victims. In many cases, the domestic laws of states are ineffective at holding members of govern¬ments or civil defense groups accountable. Local law enforcement authorities also often fail to investigate or prosecute members of civil defense groups. At present there is no specific international legal instrument to guide the responsible management of relationships between states and civil defense groups. Thus, the international community should develop a legal instrument that specifies the rules and principles that apply to states and civil defense groups and that includes a due diligence framework that focuses on accountability and governance of both states and civil defense groups. Such a framework would enhance the protection and security of communities by setting accountability and governance standards, assisting in security sector reform by establishing benchmarks and evaluation processes, and contributing to the reinforcement of legal rules and principles that apply in armed conflicts. For fragile states or those in a post conflict phase of development, the better management of such forces is likely to build state legitimacy as a provider of security to vulnerable communities.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution, Security, Defense Policy, Reform
  • Political Geography: United States
  • Author: Princeton N. Lyman, Robert M. Beecroft
  • Publication Date: 10-2014
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: United States Institute of Peace
  • Abstract: Special envoys or representatives (SE/SRs) have been used by nearly every administration to address high-stakes conflicts. They are most useful when a conflict situation is of major importance to the United States, has strong regional as well as bilateral aspects, and exceeds the State Department's capacity to address it. To be effective, an SE/SR must be recognizably empowered by the president and the secretary of state, have clear mandates, and enjoy a degree of latitude beyond normal bureaucratic restrictions. While the secretary of state needs to be actively engaged in the conflict resolution process, the envoy should be sufficiently empowered to ensure that the secretary's interventions are strategic. Chemistry matters: in minimizing tensions between the SE/SR and the relevant State Department regional bureau and with ambassadors in the field, in overcoming State- White House rivalries over policy control, and in mobilizing support of allies. There are no “cookie cutter” solutions to overlapping responsibilities and the envoy's need for staff and resources; rather, mutual respect and flexibility are key. Senior State Department officials have the required skills for assignments as SE/SRs. Enhancing the department's resources and reinforcing the ranks of senior department posi¬tions would increase such appointments and the department's capacity to support them.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution, International Relations, Foreign Policy, Diplomacy
  • Political Geography: United States
  • Author: Robert M. Perito
  • Publication Date: 05-2012
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: United States Institute of Peace
  • Abstract: In 2006, a day of deadly riots in Kabul dramatized the need for an Afghan constabulary force capable of controlling outbreaks of urban violence. In response, the U.S. military and Afghan authorities created an elite gendarmerie, the Afghanistan National Civil Order Police (ANCOP). Although ANCOP was conceived of as a riot control force, it was assigned to the Focused District Development Program to replace district-level Afghan Uniformed Police who were away for training. The high demand and constant transfers required by this duty resulted in rates of attrition among ANCOP units of 75 to 80 percent. In 2010, ANCOP's superior training, firepower, and mobility were recognized in its assignment, along with a “surge” of U.S. military forces, to reverse the Taliban's hold on key areas in southern Afghanistan. In heavy fighting in Marja, Helmand province, ANCOP was demonstrably unprepared to serve as a counterinsurgency force, particularly in areas that had not been cleared by coalition and Afghan military forces. Subsequent improvements in training and partnering with U.S. forces improved ANCOP's performance in Kandahar, where ANCOP was used to hold areas that had been cleared by the military. By 2011, ANCOP had firmly established its place as an elite rapid reaction and counterinsurgency force with a positive reputation among coalition troops and Afghan citizens.
  • Topic: Security, NATO, Law Enforcement
  • Political Geography: Afghanistan, United States, Taliban
  • Author: John F. Sandoz
  • Publication Date: 05-2012
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: United States Institute of Peace
  • Abstract: Maritime security sector reform (MSSR) is a component of security sector reform (SSR). SSR is the complex task of transforming the institutions and organizations that deal directly with security threats to the state and its citizens. MSSR applies the same concepts to the maritime domain. It consists of comprehensive actions taken by littoral countries and a range of partners to improve the security, safety, and economic viability of maritime spaces by improving governance, infrastructure, and law enforcement capacity, creating a broader approach to SSR on the global stage. The globally connected economy relies on the oceans and adjoining littorals for fishing, access to natural resources, and the movement of much of the world's commerce. Effective governance of maritime spaces has become essential for both economic growth and regional security. Continued population growth in the coastal regions, or littorals, strains the maritime infrastructure and the capacity to govern, resulting in unmet security challenges from competing countries, transnational criminal organizations, and insurgent and terrorist groups that exploit instability in the maritime domain. MSSR may be undertaken to strengthen existing maritime governance, respond to specific instability or threats, or restore governance following conflict or natural disasters. MSSR involves a whole-of-government process to identify and address specific problems through collaborative approaches that coordinate the contributions of internal and external organizations. The MSSR process begins with a multidisciplinary assessment, ideally performed by representatives from private and public institutions. It must take into account a country's history, culture, and the aspirations of its citizens and government. MSSR is not the imposition of external organizations, plans, or processes. The U.S. government's role in MSSR, while often significant, must be closely coordinated with efforts by the United Nations, donor nations, nongovernmental organizations (NGOs), and the private sector. Achieving this level of coordination may be the most challenging aspect of successful MSSR.
  • Topic: Security, International Trade and Finance, Terrorism, Weapons of Mass Destruction, Maritime Commerce
  • Political Geography: United States, United Nations
  • Author: Susan Hayward
  • Publication Date: 08-2012
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: United States Institute of Peace
  • Abstract: The field of religious peacebuilding has begun to move closer to the mainstream of conflict resolution practice and theory. The 2011 unrest in the Middle East and North Africa—the Arab Spring—reflects ongoing challenges and opportunities for the field. American and European nongovernmental organizations, agencies in the U.S. government, academia, and international organizations—sectors that once held religious issues at a distance or understood religion mainly as a driver of violence—increasingly engage religious communities and institutions as partners in creating peace. Meanwhile, religious organizations that have been involved in creating peace for decades, if not longer, increasingly have institutionalized and professionalized their work, suggesting ways that religious and secular organizations could coordinate their efforts more closely. The U.S. Institute of Peace's own programs on religion reflect the development of the wider field, having moved from research and analysis to on-the-ground programming to foster interfaith dialogue in the Balkans, Nigeria, Israel-Palestine, and Sudan. In addition, it has trained religious actors in conflict management in Sri Lanka, Iraq, and Colombia and developed peace curricula based on Islamic principles for religious and secular schools in Pakistan, Indonesia, the Philippines, and elsewhere. As the U.S. field of religious peacebuilding continues to develop, challenges include integrating further with secular peacebuilding efforts, engaging women and youth and addressing their priorities, working more effectively with non-Abrahamic religious traditions, and improving evaluation, both to show how religious peacebuilding can reduce and resolve conflict and to strengthen the field's ability to do so.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution, Islam, Peace Studies, Religion, Treaties and Agreements
  • Political Geography: Africa, United States, Europe, Arabia
  • Author: Frances Z. Brown
  • Publication Date: 09-2012
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: United States Institute of Peace
  • Abstract: The U.S. military and civilian surge into Afghanistan starting in late 2009 aimed to stabilize the country through interconnected security, governance, and development initiatives. Despite policymakers’ claims that their goals for Afghan governance were “modest,” the surge’s stated objectives amounted to a transformation of the subnational governance landscape. Three years later, the surge has attained localized progress, but it has not achieved the strategic, sustainable “game change” in Afghan subnational governance it sought. The surge has not met these objectives because its success depended upon three initial U.S. assumptions that proved unrealistic. First, surge policy assumed that governance progress would accrue as quickly as security progress, with more governance-focused resources compensating for less time. Second, surge policy assumed that “bottom-up” progress in local governance would be reinforced by “top-down” Afghan government structures and reforms. Third, surge policy assumed that “absence of governance” was a key universal driver for the insurgency, whereas in some areas, presence of government became a fueling factor. Once the surge was in motion, other miscalculations emerged: the confusion of discrete successes with replicable progress, the mistaking of individuals’ improvements with institution building, the confusion of “local” with “simple,” and the overreliance on technological solutions to address problems that were fundamentally political in nature. As the surge draws down, the U.S-Afghan Enduring Strategic Partnership Agreement represents a promising opportunity for longer-term strategic planning. As the international community moves to transition, it should exert its remaining leverage to impact select systemic issues—such as by resolving district council makeup, improving line ministries’ recurring services, and bolstering provincial administrations—rather than tactical-level ones. The international community should also prioritize a few key, attainable efforts, such as providing training that is consistent with current Afghan government functions, while avoiding creating additional structures. Finally, all the usual Afghan local governance recommendations still apply: resolving Afghanistan’s subnational challenges requires long-term commitment and systematic execution.
  • Topic: Foreign Policy, Insurgency, Governance
  • Political Geography: Afghanistan, United States, Asia
  • Author: Raymond Gilpin, John Forrer, Timothy L. Fort
  • Publication Date: 09-2012
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: United States Institute of Peace
  • Abstract: The business sector can promote prosperity and stability in conflict-prone and conflict affected regions through good corporate citizenship, but operating in these high-risk, high-reward environments is fraught with great difficulty. Many firms develop risk mitigation strategies designed to minimize exposure and cost without accounting for costs to the country, its population, and the environment. Poor risk management strategies combine with endemic corruption and myriad market failures and distortions resulting from weak economic governance to reinforce aspects of the political economy that could trigger and sustain violent conflict. Effectively addressing these failings could reduce business costs, increase efficiency, and improve governance and livelihoods in fragile regions. U.S. government policy documents, such as the Quadrennial Defense Review, Quadrennial Diplomacy and Defense Review, and National Security Strategy, allude to a potential role for firms in furthering stability and promoting peace but do not clearly analyze the complexities such endeavors entail or identify workable solutions. Strategies to capitalize on the immense potential of the business sector to foster peace must account for the size of firms, whether they are state or privately owned, which industries they are involved in, and their interconnectedness within supply chains. Key components of effective strategies include crafting incentives to reward investing firms that espouse good corporate citizenship, strengthening international initiatives that promote transparency and contain corruption, developing initiatives to more fully incorporate the local economy into global value chains, and introducing mechanisms to forge global consensus on appropriate conflict-sensitive business practices.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution, Political Violence, Development, Poverty, War, Fragile/Failed State
  • Political Geography: United States
  • Author: Thomas J. Christensen
  • Publication Date: 04-2011
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: United States Institute of Peace
  • Abstract: Sino-U.S. cooperation should be based on the pursuit of mutual interests rather than on a framework of mutual respect for “core interests,” as pledged in the 2009 Joint Statement. There is a perception in Beijing that when China assists the United States with problems on the international stage it is doing the United States a favor, and thus it expects returns in kind. This is inaccurate since almost everything that the United States asks of China is directly in China's own interest. If the Six-Party Talks process fails permanently, many countries, including China and the United States, will suffer costs. The biggest losers will be the North Korean people, but second will be China, not the United States. The Chinese government has been increasingly sensitive to a domestic political environment of heated popular nationalism, expressed in the media and on the blogosphere. China suffers from a stunted version of a free press, in which most criticism of government policy is from a hawkish, nationalist direction. A cooperative U.S.-China relationship should be built around the pursuit of mutual global interests. The two countries have worked together successfully on several projects, including antipiracy operations in the Gulf of Aden, and there is potential for further cooperation on issues such as climate change, nuclear nonproliferation, and counterterrorism, to name a few.
  • Topic: International Cooperation, Treaties and Agreements, Bilateral Relations
  • Political Geography: United States, China, Beijing, North Korea
  • Author: Minna Jarvenpaa
  • Publication Date: 02-2011
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: United States Institute of Peace
  • Abstract: The proposition that a political settlement is needed to end the war in Afghanistan has gained increasing attention in recent months. Channels for preliminary talks with Taliban leaders have been sought and a High Peace Council created. However, despite upbeat military assessments, the insurgency has expanded its reach across the country and continues to enjoy sanctuary in Pakistan. Afghans increasingly resent the presence of foreign troops, and the Taliban draw strength from grievances by ordinary Afghans against their government. External money to supply military bases and pay for development projects often ends up fueling conflict rather than creating stability. For their part, President Karzai and many Afghan political elites lack genuine commitment to reform, calling into question the viability of a state-building international strategy and transition by 2014. Missing is a political strategy to end the conflict that goes beyond dealing with the Taliban; it must define the kind of state that Afghans are willing to live in and that regional neighbors can endorse. Knowing that such a settlement could take years to conclude does not diminish the urgency of initiating the process. Given doubts about Karzai's ability to manage the situation effectively, the international community needs to facilitate a peace process more pro-actively than it has. To be sustainable, the process will need to be inclusive; women's rights, human rights, and media freedoms cannot become casualties of negotiations. Afghanistan's international partners should commit to a peace process and lay the groundwork to appoint a mediator. This includes gauging the interests of parties, identifying actual participants in talks, and structuring an agenda. In the meantime, international military efforts must be realigned to avoid action that contradicts the ultimate aim of a peace settlement.
  • Topic: NATO, Treaties and Agreements, War, Armed Struggle, Counterinsurgency
  • Political Geography: Pakistan, Afghanistan, United States, Taliban