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  • 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: 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: 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: Andrew Blum
  • Publication Date: 06-2011
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: United States Institute of Peace
  • Abstract: The effective evaluation of peacebuilding programs is essential if the field is to learn what constitutes effective and ineffective practice and to hold organizations accountable for using good practice and avoiding bad practice. In the field of peacebuilding evaluation, good progress has been made on the intellectual front. There are now clear guidelines, frameworks, and tool kits to guide practitioners who wish to initiate an evaluation process within the peacebuilding field. Despite this, progress in improving peacebuilding evaluation itself has slowed over the past several years. The cause of this is a set of interlocking problems in the way the peacebuilding field is organized. These in turn create systemic problems that hinder effective evaluation and the utilization of evaluation results. The Peacebuilding Evaluation Project, organized by USIP and the Alliance for Peacebuilding, brought funders and implementers together to work on solutions to the systemic problems in peacebuilding work. This report discusses these solutions, which are grouped into three categories: building consensus, strengthening norms, and disrupting practice and creating alternatives. Several initiatives in each of these categories are already under way.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution, Conflict Prevention, Political Violence, Civil War, Peace Studies, War, Armed Struggle, Insurgency, Peacekeeping
  • Political Geography: United States
  • Author: Robert M. Perito
  • Publication Date: 10-2011
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: United States Institute of Peace
  • Abstract: In 2004, the U.S.-led coalition and Iraqi security forces faced a growing challenge from insurgents and militia groups as the country drifted toward civil war. In street battles with heavily armed insurgent and militia groups, Iraq's fledgling police units mutinied under fire and resigned en masse, pointing out shortfalls in the U.S. police training program. In response, the U.S. government transferred leadership of the U.S. police assistance program from the State Department to the Defense Department, which created heavy police tactical units capable of dealing with armed groups. At the same time, the Iraqi interior ministry independently organized police commando units composed of former Iraqi soldiers that successfully fought alongside U.S. military forces. In 2005, the installation of a new Iraqi government and the escalation of sectarian violence brought a change in the composition of the Iraqi police commando units. The new interior minister, a senior Shiite party official, enabled members of Shiite militia groups to take over the police commando units and engage in the kidnap, torture, and murder of Sunnis. To control police death squads, the U.S. military combined all of Iraq's heavy police and police commando units into a new entity, the Iraq National Police (INP). In October 2006, the U.S. military began a program to retrain police commando units that were engaged in sectarian violence. Over the following year, Iraq's new interior minister, Jawad al-Bolani, undertook a program to reform the INP, appointing a new commanding general, purging the officer corps, and inviting a training team from the Italian Carabinieri to provide advanced instruction for INP units. In 2007, INP units successfully partnered with U.S. combat brigade teams that were deployed to Baghdad as part of President Bush's surge of U.S. military force into Iraq. Over the next two years, the valor of Iraqi constabulary units and their acceptance in both Sunni and Shiite areas brought a new name, the Iraq Federal Police (IFP), and the deployment of an IFP unit to every province in the country. Lessons learned in the development of an indigenous police constabulary in Iraq should be applied to current and future stability operation.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution, Security, Law Enforcement, Sectarian violence
  • Political Geography: United States, Iraq, Middle East, Arabia
  • Author: John K. Naland
  • Publication Date: 10-2011
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: United States Institute of Peace
  • Abstract: Embedded provincial reconstruction teams (ePRTs) were small State Department- led units inserted into U.S. combat brigades in Iraq from 2007 to 2010 to support military counterinsurgency efforts at the local level. During major combat operations in 2007 and into 2008, ePRTs provided important support to military counterinsurgency efforts. As U.S. combat units wound down these efforts and withdrew from towns and cities, ePRTs did useful-but harder to quantify-work in mentoring local officials. Combat brigades and ePRTs generally worked well together. However, some units were unsure of how best to employ civilians. The military and civilians also sometimes had differing views on issues of short-term versus long-term goals. Despite problems, ePRT veterans believe that they had a positive effect in both supporting military counterinsurgency efforts and helping local Iraqi officials prepare for self-reliance. Interviewees identified a variety of operational problems that detracted from ePRT mission accomplishment. The Iraq ePRTs are now history, but as the United States continues to use civil-military teams in Afghanistan, these observed lessons need to be learned and acted upon.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution, Security, War, Counterinsurgency
  • Political Geography: Afghanistan, United States, Iraq, Arabia
  • Author: Graciana del Castillo
  • Publication Date: 08-2011
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: United States Institute of Peace
  • Abstract: The United States' longest war, in Afghanistan, and one of the largest relief efforts in U.S. history, in Haiti, are testing U.S. leadership in the world, as well as its determination to deal with fiscal imbalances, the debt burden, and economic malaise at home. U.S.-led reconstruction in both countries is lagging and becoming increasingly expensive, and it will not succeed without a major change in strategy. U.S. goals in both countries will be elusive unless the misguided policies and misplaced priorities under which reconstruction has been taking place change in fundamental ways. Each country is different and will need to develop its own strategy. Nevertheless, we have identified basic rules, lessons, and best practices that national policymakers and the international community should keep in mind to improve the provision of aid and technical assistance. During the immediate transition from war or chaos, reconstruction is not development as usual: The peace (or political) objective should prevail at all times over the development (or economic) objective. Without peace there cannot be development. Policymaking should be tailored to four major differences from development as usual. Emergency policies should be adopted without delay, aid to groups most affected by crises should be prioritized, corruption should be checked, and national ownership of reconstruction policies must be assured. For both Afghanistan and Haiti, a broad-based debate-including national leaders, U.S. government officials, members of Congress, military leaders, academics, think tanks, and aid practitioners in these countries-is urgently needed and should take place without delay, as it did at the time of the Marshall Plan.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution, Peace Studies, War
  • Political Geography: Afghanistan, United States, Haiti
  • Author: Richard Gowan
  • Publication Date: 12-2011
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: United States Institute of Peace
  • Abstract: Multilateral political missions—teams of primarily civilian experts deployed by international and regional organizations with medium- to long-term mandates—play an overlooked role in preventing conflicts in fragile states. Their roles range from addressing long-term tensions to facilitating agreements to quelling escalating violence. More than six thousand personnel are deployed in political missions worldwide. The United Nations and the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe oversee the majority of these missions. Although many political missions deal with active conflicts or post conflict situations, some have contributed to conflict prevention in countries ranging from Estonia to Guinea. In the right circumstances, multilateral missions can provide expertise and impartial assistance that national diplomats—whether ambassadors or special envoys—cannot. The activities of political missions include short-term preventive diplomacy, the promotion of the rule of law, and the provision of advice on socioeconomic issues. Some are also involved in monitoring human rights and the implementation of political agreements. Others have regional mandates allowing them to address multiple potential conflicts. A political mission's role differs depending on how far a potential conflict has evolved. In cases where latent tensions threaten long-term stability, a mission can focus on social and legal mechanisms to reduce the risk of escalation. Where a conflict is already escalating, a mission can become directly involved in mediating a peaceful resolution. Even where a conflict tips into full-scale war, a political mission may assist in mitigating violence or keeping political channels open. To strengthen political missions, the United States and its partners should work with the UN Secretariat to revise the rules governing the planning, funding, and start-up processes for political missions and overhaul U.N. personnel rules to make recruiting civilian experts easier. They should also encourage regional organizations to invest more in this type of conflict management tool.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution, Conflict Prevention, Diplomacy, Economics, International Cooperation, International Law, United Nations
  • Political Geography: United States
  • Author: John Dempsey, Noah Coburn
  • Publication Date: 08-2010
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: United States Institute of Peace
  • Abstract: Faced with difficulties establishing legitimate, effective rule of law and the predominance of informal or traditional justice mechanisms in Afghanistan, the Afghan government and the international community have increasingly focused on engaging informal justice systems to resolve both civil and criminal disputes. While informal systems vary across the country, they are generally based upon restorative justice and the preservation of communal harmony. They currently resolve the vast majority of legal disputes and other conflicts in the country, particularly in rural areas. Engagement with informal systems and linking such systems to state institutions present some of the more effective opportunities for resolving conflicts and increasing access to justice for all Afghans because they are familiar, locally available, and involve relatively low costs. Such engagement, however, also faces significant logistical, cultural, political, and legal challenges. When engaging informal systems and/or implementing programs to link them to the state, it is important to have sound understanding of local power dynamics and how local dispute resolution systems function. The United States Institute of Peace (USIP) has been working on informal justice in Afghanistan since 2002 and has run pilot projects in six districts that test ways of designing or strengthening links between the state and informal systems to increase access to justice. Some of the best practices identified from the pilot projects include the importance of regular and substantive communication between informal and state justice actors, the promotion of the use of written records of decisions by informal systems, and the monitoring of decisions to ensure applicable Afghan laws and international human rights standards are upheld.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution, Security, Counterinsurgency
  • Political Geography: Afghanistan, United States
  • Author: Nike Carstarphen, Craig Zelizer, Robert Harris, David J. Smith
  • Publication Date: 08-2010
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: United States Institute of Peace
  • Abstract: Graduate-level academic institutions are not adequately preparing students for careers in international peace and conflict management. Curricula need to incorporate more applied skills, cross-sectoral coursework, and field-experience opportunities. Unlike most faculty, students, and alumni, employers see substantial room for improvement in preparing students for the field. Overseas experience is, for employers, the most valuable asset. General project management skills—program planning and design, monitoring and evaluation, computer literacy, report writing skills, budgeting, staff management, research skills, grant writing, and knowledge of the funding and policy world—and cross-cultural competencies and language skills are critical. International peace and conflict management practices increasingly overlap with more traditional work, such as human rights, humanitarian issues, and development programming. Employers want candidates who have a holistic understanding of international conflict work, specialized knowledge and skills, practical know-how, and political savvy, yet often fail to grasp what academic programs are in fact teaching students to prepare them for the field. Academic programs need to strengthen their outreach and interaction with employers and to market the value of their programs. To better prepare themselves for the field, recent graduates and alumni are seeking to increase their applied education, field experience, project management skills, mentoring, and career guidance.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution, Conflict Prevention, Education, Peace Studies, Peacekeeping
  • Political Geography: United States
  • Publication Date: 02-2009
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: United States Institute of Peace
  • Abstract: The top concern for both Riyadh and Damascus remains blowback from Iraq: the ascendance of ethnic and sectarian identity and the spread of Islamist militancy. The need to contain this threat is the dominant force that shapes their relations with Iraq. Both Syria and Saudi Arabia have a vital interest in ensuring that Iraq's emerging political order is inclusive of Sunni Arab Iraqis, who have not yet been fully incorporated into Iraqi institutions. Syria and Saudi Arabia do not look at Iraq in isolation, nor do they assign it top priority among their foreign policy concerns. For them, Iraq is merely one element in a comprehensive view encompassing other regional players (including the U.S. and Iran) and other regional crises, particularly the Arab-Israeli conflict. Lingering resentment and bitterness toward Washington is now mixed with intense curiosity and modest optimism about President Barack Obama. Saudis still bristle when recalling how the Bush Administration sidelined Riyadh on Iraqi matters; as do Syrians, who believe the previous administration was intent on isolating and undermining Damascus. Iraq remains very much isolated in its neighborhood. Recent Progress on regional cooperation notwithstanding, these two neighbors are still focused more on containment than engagement.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution, Foreign Policy, Ethnic Conflict, War
  • Political Geography: United States, Iraq, Middle East, Arabia, Syria
  • Author: Judith Burdin Asuni
  • Publication Date: 08-2009
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: United States Institute of Peace
  • Abstract: The trade in stolen oil, or “blood oil,” poses an immense challenge to the Nigerian state, harming its economy and fueling a long-running insurgency in the Niger Delta. It also undermines security in the Gulf of Guinea and adds to instability on world energy markets. The exact amount of oil stolen per day in the Niger Delta is unknown, but it is somewhere between 30,000 and 300,000 barrels. The loss to the Nigerian economy from illegal oil bunkering between 2003 and 2008 totals approximately US$100 billion. It is time for the international community to become more proactive in helping Nigeria address this complex issue. Efforts to control blood oil must be accompanied by actions against corruption, illegal arms importation, and money laundering. The enabling environment for illegal oil bunkering includes high levels of unemployed youth, armed ethnic militias, ineffective and corrupt law enforcement officials, protective government officials and politicians, corrupt oil company staff, established international markets for stolen oil, and the overall context of endemic corruption. The three types of illegal oil bunkering include small-scale pilfering for the local market, large-scale tapping of pipelines to fill large tankers for export, and excess lifting of crude oil beyond the licensed amount. The complexity of players in the illegal oil bunkering business, including local youth, members of the Nigerian military and political class, and foreign ship owners, makes it difficult to tackle the problem unilaterally. Previous attempts by the Nigerian government and international community to address illegal oil bunkering have had limited success in reducing the flow of blood oil. The problem of blood oil needs to be addressed multilaterally. Within the international community, the United States is uniquely positioned to take a leadership role in helping to dry up blood oil and address other issues in the Niger Delta.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution, Political Violence, Markets, Oil, Armed Struggle
  • Political Geography: Africa, United States, Nigeria, Guinea
  • Author: Alan Schwartz
  • Publication Date: 08-2009
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: United States Institute of Peace
  • Abstract: Absent a change in current trends, further political violence in Sudan will be hard to avoid. Lack of governance capacity in the South and failure to resolve key issues between the North and South are important factors that can lead to political violence surrounding the referendum, slated for 2011, on whether the South secedes or remains part of a united Sudan. The parties need a shared sense of confidence about post-2011 futures. The North should be encouraged to cooperate in the referendum process and accept the outcome. The Government of Southern Sudan (GOSS) should devote more energy and resources to governance and service delivery rather than building military capability. The international community needs an assistance strategy focused on enhancing the GOSS's capacity to deliver services through local governments. The United States and the international community should pressure and assist the parties to promptly pass referendum legislation and address fundamental issues (e.g., oil and boundaries) before the referendum.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution, Political Violence, Genocide, Human Rights, Armed Struggle
  • Political Geography: Africa, United States, Sudan, Arabia
  • Author: David Steele
  • Publication Date: 09-2008
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: United States Institute of Peace
  • Abstract: A Window of opportunity now exists for post-conflict reconstruction in Iraq despite the resurgence of violence in the spring of 2008. The creation of Sunni Awakening Councils, the ongoing presence of sufficient U.S. troops, and the decrease in combat activity by the Mahdi Army provide a real, though tenuous, opportunity to continue building on the gains of the past year. In all societies emerging from conflict, reconciliation efforts are the glue that holds the post-conflict reconstruction process together. Reconciliation must be pursued not only on national but also on local levels and not only in the political but also in the social domain. At all points within a society, people and groups must be encouraged to work together constructively for the common good. Reconciliation in Iraq must be approached with sensitivity to its shame-oriented culture, which emphasizes community, authority, honor, and hospitality. Reconciliation must also be approached with an awareness of the importance of primary identity markers—religion, ethnicity, tribe, and family—and the possibilities for creating bonds based on secondary markers—class, profession, internally displaced persons (IDP) status, and so forth. Moving toward reconciliation in the context of slevere and widespread violence requires that special attention be given to steps one can take to break the pattern of revenge and transform relationships. These steps include mourning, confronting fears, identifying needs, acknowledging responsibility, envisioning restorative and operational justice, and choosing to forgive. When good groundwork has been laid in relationship building, then groups in conflict are better able to engage in constructive dispute resolution. Seven elements form the basis for this process of negotiation or problem solving: identifying interests, alternatives, options, and criteria, and working on relationships, communication, and commitments. Internationals need to develop programming that focuses on process, rather than substance, to train and equip local Iraqis to be more effective mediators and facilitators. This programming should include conflict assessment, psychosocial and spiritual healing, conflict resolution training, facilitated dialogue, and problem solving.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution, Civil Society
  • Political Geography: United States, Iraq, Middle East
  • Author: Donald C. F. Daniel
  • Publication Date: 10-2008
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: United States Institute of Peace
  • Abstract: Much progress has been achieved over the last decade and a half in the development and use of peace operations as a tool to quell conflicts, but there are limits to how much more progress can be expected. The number of troop contributors and troops deployed to peace operations has recently reached unprecedented highs, but the bulk of troops came from a limited number of states. The relationship between the United Nations and non-UN peacekeepers seems for the most part complementary. Nonetheless, the rise in non-UN peace operations has probably led to the United Nations becoming too dependent on too small a base of lesser-developed states. The characteristics of most troop contributors (e.g., type of governance, national quality of life, ground-force size) correlate with their level of contribution, but even politically willing nations with the “right” characteristics can likely deploy only a small percentage of their troops to operations at any one time. While Europe and Africa have achieved the most progress in developing institutional capacities, each continent confronts problems of interinstitutional relations and resource shortages. Russia's hegemonic role in Eurasia and the United States' historical legacy in Latin America have hindered development of comprehensive institutional capacities for peace operations in each region. East Asia may slowly be moving beyond ideational strictures that crippled efforts to develop regional capacities. Institutional progress is not expected in South Asia and the Middle East, and states of each region should not be expected to send military units to intraregional operations. Nearly all South Asian countries, however, will be major players in UN operations. A few exceptions aside, Mideast states will remain bit players on the world scene. Demand for easy or moderately challenging operations will generally be met, but the hazardous missions most apt to occur will be called for by states possessing the wherewithal to take them on and bring others along.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution, Conflict Prevention, International Cooperation, Peace Studies, United Nations
  • Political Geography: Africa, Russia, United States, Europe, South Asia, Eurasia, Middle East, East Asia, Latin America
  • Author: G. Eugene Martin, Astrid S. Tuminez
  • Publication Date: 02-2008
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: United States Institute of Peace
  • Abstract: The Muslim inhabitants of Mindanao and Sulu in the southern Philippines, known as Moros, have resisted assimilation into the Christianized national culture for centuries. Since Spanish colonial times, Moros have been marginalized from Philippine society, politics, and economic development. Moro-dominated areas have suffered from the effects of war, poor governance, and lack of justice. High crime rates, internal clan-on-clan conflicts, and corruption and abuse by local leaders also beset Moro communities. For nearly four decades, Moros have rebelled against the Philippine government and sought self-determination. The rebellion was led first by the Moro National Liberation Front (MNLF) and then by the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF). In 2003, the U.S. State Department, seeking to prevent international terrorist groups from exploiting the conflict in the Philippines, engaged the United States Institute of Peace (USIP) to facilitate a peace agreement between the government of the Republic of the Philippines (GRP) and the MILF. The State Department felt that the Institute's status as a quasi-governmental, “track one-and-a-half” player would allow it to engage the parties more broadly than an official government entity could. To accomplish its mandate, USIP launched the Philippine Facilitation Project (PFP). PFP faced many difficulties at the outset. The Malaysian government had served as host and facilitator of the GRP-MILF peace talks since 2001 and opposed an American presence at the negotiating table. Moros suspected USIP's presence, motives, and relationship with the U.S. government. USIP, lacking a permanent base in Mindanao, also faced challenges in establishing strong channels of communication with the GRP, MILF, and civil society. Multiple changes in the composition of the GRP negotiating team, and divergent perspectives and agendas within the Moro leadership and communities further complicated the peace facilitation effort. At times, senior GRP officials' lukewarm support for an equitable and effective peace agreement hamper the effort s of skilled and committed negotiators. Corruption and criminality among the Moros, exacerbated by centuries-old clan loyalties, created other hurdles. Despite the challenges, USIP managed to build productive relationships with both the GRP and the MILF, helped the parties come up with creative solutions to stub - born issues of ancestral domain, and started dialogue between disparate Moro ethnic groups. PFP's multifaceted approach included directly sharing lessons learned by principals from other conflict areas around the world; training civil society leaders in conflict management; promoting interfaith dialogue and cooperation via the Bishops- Ulama Forum; supporting the training of Mindanao history teachers on teaching a historical narrative that is more inclusive of the Moro experience; and launching dialogue among young Moro leaders. To improve media coverage of the conflict, PFP held two training workshops for media representatives. It also conducted six workshops on conflict management, negotiation, and communication for Philippine military officers. Through its activities, USIP introduced concepts and approaches that were useful to both government and MILF peace panels. It helped inform the Philippine population, and elites in Manila in particular, of issues underlying the conflict in Mindanao, while presenting potentially viable means of resolving them. The Institute's efforts have added marginally to more balanced media coverage. USIP funding supported the publication of policy papers, which were distributed to scholars, analysts, journalists, and policymakers. USIP also sponsored educational materials for use in Philippine schools. Philippine economic progress and U.S. counterterrorism objectives will remain pre - carious until the Mindanao conflict is resolved. The roots of conflict in Mindanao are primarily political, not economic or religious. Preference for military “solutions” will likely miss the delicate nuances of intergroup conflict and could even worsen the situation. To move the peace process forward, U.S. policymakers must give higher priority to the GRP-MILF negotiations and commit to working with both parties long enough to reach an agreement and implement it. The Philippine government, for its part, will need to muster the political will to address Moro grievances more effectively, especially on land claims, control over economic resources, and political self-governance. When an agreement is reached, implementation will require long-term monitoring by a committed international body. Today's complex diplomatic landscape increasingly requires new tools and techniques of conflict management, including quasi- and non- governmental actors, to accomplish U.S. foreign policy goals. Because of its ability to deal with nonstate actors and sensitive issues underlying civil conflict, USIP can be a useful instrument for advancing U.S. interests.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution, Peace Studies
  • Political Geography: United States, America, Philippines, Southeast Asia
  • Author: David Smock
  • Publication Date: 02-2008
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: United States Institute of Peace
  • Abstract: No major religion has been exempt from complicity in violent conflict. Yet we need to beware of an almost universal propensity to oversimplify the role that religion plays in international affairs. Religion is not usually the sole or even primary cause of conflict. With so much emphasis on religion as a source of conflict, the role of religion as a force in peacemaking is usually overlooked. Religious affiliation and conviction often motivates religious communities to advocate particular peace-related government policies. Religious communities also directly oppose repression and promote peace and reconciliation. Religious leaders and institutions can mediate in conflict situations, serve as a communication link between opposing sides, and provide training in peacemaking methodologies. This form of religious peacemaking garners less public attention but is growing in importance. Interfaith dialogue is another form of religious peacemaking. Rather than seeking to resolve a particular conflict, it aims to defuse interfaith tensions that may cause future conflict or derive from previous conflict. Interfaith dialogue is expanding even in places where interreligious tensions are highest. Not infrequently, the most contentious interfaith relationships can provide the context for the most meaningful and productive exchanges. Given religion's importance as both a source of international conflict and a resource for peacemaking, it is regrettable that the U.S. government is so ill equipped to handle religious issues and relate to religious actors. If the U.S. government is to insert itself into international conflicts or build deeper and more productive relationships with countries around the world, it needs to devise a better strategy to effectively and respectfully engage with the religious realm.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution, Peace Studies, Religion
  • Political Geography: United States
  • Author: Rend Al-Rahim Francke
  • Publication Date: 09-2007
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: United States Institute of Peace
  • Abstract: People who live in the red zone have mixed experiences of the security situation. Residents of some “hot” neighborhoods of Baghdad say that the presence of Americans has a deterrent effect on militias, gangs and snipers—and thus gives comfort to citizens- - whereas Iraqi forces, including the police, army units, or pesh merga sent down from Kurdistan, do little to confront trouble-makers. For example, some neighborhoods within the larger Amiriya district have benefited from U.S. intervention, while others, such as Furat and Jihad, are still in conflict because U.S. forces have not intervened and Iraqi police and army do a poor job of stopping violence and intimidation. The higher U.S. profile is also credited for a decline in the number of suicide bombings and a decrease in mass sectarian killings and kidnappings in the city. Another factor contributing to a sense of greater safety in Baghdad is the success of U.S.-Iraqi force in the area south of Baghdad (the so-called Triangle of Death), where Sunni tribes have recently cooperated with U.S. forces. Residents of some neighborhoods said that for the first time in over a year they have been able to shop in their area in relative peace and stay out after dark.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution, Security, Foreign Policy, Government
  • Political Geography: United States, Iraq, America, Middle East, Baghdad
  • Author: Jon B. Alterman
  • Publication Date: 08-2007
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: United States Institute of Peace
  • Abstract: Iraq's Persian Gulf neighbors supported the U.S. invasion of Iraq in order to preserve the status quo—a weak and self-absorbed Iraq—rather than to impose a new one. However, the overthrow of Saddam Hussein and its aftermath have not brought stability to the Gulf States as much as they have shifted the most serious challenges from external threats (of a hostile Baghdad) to internal threats (the threat of conflict spillover from Iraq). Kuwait fears the growth of Iranian influence in Iraq and the possibility that Iraqi Shia unrest will spill across its own borders. Although many Kuwaitis question the wisdom and capacity of the United States in managing Iraq's internal problems, Kuwait has provided significant support to U.S. military action in Iraq and the country's reconstruction efforts. Qatar has supported U.S. military actions in Iraq by hosting the U.S. Central Command but still maintains the perception of nonalignment. For example, Doha hosts prominent former Iraqi Baathists, not to mention Saddam's own family members. The interest of the United Arab Emirates (UAE) in Iraq is secondary to its concern over Iran, with which it has a long-standing dispute over ownership of three islands in the Gulf. The unresolved dispute with Tehran over the islands heightens the UAE's concerns about the rising Iranian influence in Iraq. To bolster its relationship with the United States, the UAE offered training to hundreds of Iraqi troops and police recruits in 2004–2005, hosted the first Preparatory Group Meeting for the International Compact with Iraq in September 2006, and funded reconstruction efforts in Iraq through the United Nations and the World Bank. On post-Saddam regional security issues, member states of the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) seem to be more “market takers” than “market makers,” showing little inclination to shape the nature of a larger and potentially more powerful neighbor. Instead, they are focused on immediate choices for calibrating a proper relationship with Washington in a way that accommodates many other important relationships.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution, War
  • Political Geography: United States, Iraq, Iran, Middle East, Kuwait, Tehran, Baghdad, Qatar, United Arab Emirates, Persia