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  • Author: Moeed Yusuf, Scott Smith
  • Publication Date: 06-2015
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: United States Institute of Peace
  • Abstract: Shortly after entering office at the end of 2014, Afghan President Ashraf Ghani embarked on a bold but controversial policy of sustained conciliation toward Pakistan, with the goal of securing greater cooperation in securing a comprehensive peace with the Afghan Taliban and integrating Afghanistan into the regional economies. Pakistan's tepid response to date, however, has left Ghani politically vulnerable, with his opponents attacking his outreach effort. Time is of the essence. Without meaningful actions soon from Pakistan and robust support from the international community, especially China, the initiative is likely to collapse, with devastating results for Afghanistan, Pakistan, and the broader region
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution, Political Power Sharing, Taliban
  • Political Geography: Pakistan, Asia
  • Author: Rashid Aziz, Munawar Baseer Ahmad
  • Publication Date: 06-2015
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: United States Institute of Peace
  • Abstract: Pakistan’s energy shortages disrupt daily life in the country, and protests and demonstrations against the shortages often turn violent, creating a risk that Pakistan’s energy crisis could threaten peace and stability. Incorporating official and donor perspectives, this report examines the factors in Pakistan’s energy crisis and what can be done to address it.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution, Energy Policy
  • Political Geography: Pakistan, Asia
  • Publication Date: 05-2015
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: United States Institute of Peace
  • Abstract: Four years after the fall of Muammar Gadhafi, Libya has become even more violent. Explosions, assassinations, kidnappings, and fighting between militias are commonplace. The central government is extremely fragile. This report highlights some of the opportunities and obstacles in a transitional setting. Its goal is to spark debate among scholars, policymakers, practitioners, and civil society actors about the role of customary law and the potential of restorative justice in a transitional setting.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution, Political Violence, Civil Society
  • Political Geography: Libya
  • Author: Peyton Cooke, Casey Johnson, Reza Fazli
  • Publication Date: 09-2015
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: United States Institute of Peace
  • Abstract: Youth recruitment into extremist groups in Afghanistan continues to be a major source of group building. In field studies and interviews conducted in three provinces to elicit views on extremist groups, both violent and nonviolent, and factors thought to induce youth to join such groups, violent extremist groups emerged as unpopular and mistrusted, being perceived as un-Islamic and controlled by foreign powers. Nonetheless, the activities and ideologies of such groups have not been effectively countered by the government of Afghanistan, civil society, or the international community. Programs to counter extreme violence should emphasize the Islamic basis of Afghan civil law, accommodate local differences, and be conducted in partnership with moderate voices and youth, with international organizations remaining in the background
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution, Civil Society, Terrorism, International Affairs, Youth Culture
  • Political Geography: Afghanistan
  • Author: Mehwish Rani, Parvez Tariq
  • Publication Date: 08-2015
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: United States Institute of Peace
  • Abstract: Pakistan passed the Anti-Terrorism Act in 1997 in response to the rising threat of terrorism within its borders. The law was designed to help law enforcement combat terrorism. Instead, conceptual difficulties within the law and procedural problems in implementing it have led to an alarmingly high number of acquittals. This report examines the weaknesses in the Anti-Terrorism Act and suggests ways to improve the law and its application to better fight terrorism in Pakistan.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution, Terrorism, Law Enforcement
  • Political Geography: Pakistan
  • Author: Teresa Whitfield
  • Publication Date: 12-2015
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: United States Institute of Peace
  • Abstract: Violence at the hands of the Basque separatist organization ETA was for many years an anomalous feature of Spain’s transition to democracy. This report, which draws on the author’s book Endgame for ETA: Elusive Peace in the Basque Country (Hurst and Oxford University Press, 2014), explains why this was the case, examines both the factors that contributed to ETA’s October 2011 announcement of an end to violence and the obstacles encountered in moving forward from that announcement to disarmament and dissolution, and extracts lessons relevant for other contexts.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution, Political Violence, Armed Struggle, Territorial Disputes, Counter-terrorism
  • Political Geography: Europe, Spain
  • Author: Paul Fishstein , Murtaza Edries Amiryar
  • Publication Date: 10-2015
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: United States Institute of Peace
  • Abstract: The general expectation among Afghans after the fall of the Taliban was that the state, equipped with financial resources and technical assistance from the international community, would once again take the lead in the economic sphere. Instead, Kabul adopted a market economy. The move remains controversial in some quarters. This report, derived from interviews conducted in 2015 and 2010, takes stock of the competing ideologies in Afghanistan today with respect to the economy.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution, Development, Economics, Markets
  • Political Geography: Afghanistan, Central Asia
  • Publication Date: 09-2015
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: United States Institute of Peace
  • Abstract: The al-Qaeda presence in the Pech valley is greater now than when U.S. forces arrived in 2002, and counterterrorism efforts in the region continue. This report looks at U.S. military involvement in the Pech valley and the lessons it offers both the Afghan National Security Forces and the U.S. military. It is derived from interviews with some three hundred Americans and Afghans, including general officers, unit commanders, members of parliament, district and provincial governors, Afghan interpreters and U.S. and Afghan combat veterans.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution, Islam, Terrorism, Counterinsurgency
  • Political Geography: Afghanistan, Central Asia
  • Author: Noah Coburn, Anna Larson
  • Publication Date: 01-2014
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: United States Institute of Peace
  • Abstract: As Afghanistan prepares for presidential elections in 2014, many young people are vocal about how the system appears to limit their meaningful participation in politics. Historically, young people in Afghanistan have challenged the status quo. However, it is possible to detect a declining trend from the early twentieth century to the present in the extent to which these challenges have been able to effect change in the political system. This trend has continued despite the technology and social media available to youth today, as the older generation of political leaders continues to monopolize the available political space and act as gatekeepers to that space.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution, Democratization, Development, Youth Culture, Reform
  • Political Geography: Afghanistan, Central Asia
  • Author: Erica Gaston
  • Publication Date: 02-2014
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: United States Institute of Peace
  • Abstract: On January 25, Yemen's National Dialogue Conference (NDC) closed after more than ten months of deliberation. The flagship process within Yemen's post-Arab Spring transition, the NDC has been lauded as a positive model of inclusive and constructive negotiation. In Tunisia, Libya, Bahrain, and Sudan, similar national dialogue processes have been mooted or are under way. The NDC made significant progress on a daunting range of governance, structural, and social contract issues. It broke through political and social barriers to engage a broader scope of political parties, actors, and civil society–a precedent that will be difficult to roll back. Despite these achievements, the NDC missed its concluding deadline because of a deadlock over the fundamental dilemma: the future status for southern Yemen and the structure of the Yemeni state. A partial solution was brokered, but only by extending the transition process and leaving tough issues to be resolved later. Meanwhile, other challenges, from unemployment to serious humanitarian shortfalls to rampant insecurity, also remain unresolved. The public has grown increasingly skeptical that either the NDC or the transition process will result in a government that responds to their needs. The verdict is out on the ultimate legacy of the NDC. Even at this early stage, however, the hurdles the NDC has faced may provide lessons for other countries considering such processes. At a minimum, exploring how certain process elements may have contributed to achieving the NDC's goals or not might suggest further areas for research, reflection, or continued engagement in the next stages of transition. Other countries considering a national dialogue should streamline the agenda to the extent possible, weighing carefully which political issues do or do not lend themselves to a large-scale public forum, and ensure an appropriate balance between the national dialogue and other transitional processes.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution, Democratization, Islam, Insurgency, Governance, Sectarianism
  • Political Geography: Yemen, Arabia
  • 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: Georgia Holmer
  • Publication Date: 08-2013
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: United States Institute of Peace
  • Abstract: Counter violent extremism (CVE) is a growing and evolving realm of policy and practice that faces several significant challenges in implementation, stemming in part from its origins in the security and defense arena. Long versed in the challenges of conflict prevention, the peacebuilding community and its related methods and practices can help develop a more expansive understanding of violent extremism and its causes and a more localized, inclusive, and sustainable approach to countering it. The peacebuilding community already contributes in many ways to the prevention of extremist violence and the CVE agenda through programs designed to prevent conflict, strengthen rule of law, and promote peace, tolerance, and resilience. Suggested best roles for the peacebuilding community in CVE are to support a nonsecuritized space for and build the capacity of civil society and to help reform the security bodies charged with counterterrorism and CVE. CVE policy and global security efforts, in turn, may help provide the impetus and enabling conditions for effective peacebuilding. Closer collaboration between the two domains, with coordinated and clearer lines of engagement, would advance efforts to prevent extremist violence.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution, Security, Defense Policy, Peace Studies, Terrorism, Insurgency
  • Author: Carla Ferstman
  • Publication Date: 09-2013
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: United States Institute of Peace
  • Abstract: Sexual exploitation and abuse continue to pervade peacekeeping missions, and peace - keepers benefit from near-total impunity. Several seminal United Nations (UN) studies and expert reports provide a useful blueprint of where the gaps lie, what must be done to address them, and how to do so. Zero-tolerance UN policies have focused on preventing new abuse and strengthening codes of conduct. These goals are laudable but undermined when not accompanied by consistent discipline and criminal accountability. Despite eight years of annual resolutions that underscore the need to address the problems, there is no evidence of greater accountability. More work is needed to finish the job. States are responsible for disciplining and punishing their troops, but the UN must do more to ensure that this happens. The UN needs to work actively with states to bridge the gaps in domestic legislation by issuing written advice and publishing model legislation. The UN should publicly name and shame those states that fail to investigate and prosecute credible cases. The UN should refrain from accepting troop contingents from countries that repeatedly fail to live up to their written assurances to investigate and prosecute. The memorandum of understanding governing the relationship between the UN and troop-contributing countries should be further revised to introduce greater conditionality into the acceptance and removal of troop contingents.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution, Crime, Human Rights, Peacekeeping
  • Political Geography: United Nations
  • Author: Patricia A. Gossman
  • Publication Date: 09-2013
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: United States Institute of Peace
  • Abstract: In Afghanistan, the social upheaval resulting from thirty-five years of war has created widely differing narratives of the conflict as various communities and political factions have reconstructed events through the lens of their experiences. Extensive dislocation of large segments of the population and poor communication throughout the war years meant that Afghans often had no way of knowing what was happening in different parts of the country. Although the war had several phases, earlier transitions—such as the collapse of the Najibullah government in 1992—failed to provide an opportunity for investigations into past human rights abuses because the conflict was ongoing. As a consequence, documentation remains thin. Conditions have made it difficult for human rights groups to function; additionally, many records have been either lost or destroyed. Since 2001, a number of initiatives were launched to investigate and document war crimes and human rights abuses. The relative openness of this period provided increased opportunities to document ongoing abuses occurring in the context of the Taliban insurgency and counterinsurgency effort. The most ambitious components of transitional justice, as envisioned by Afghan organizations and their international partners, however, appear to be indefinitely stalled given the failure of electoral vetting and the silencing of an Afghanistan Independent Human Rights Commission report that would have mapped all abuses in the three decades of conflict. No single report or archive can provide a definitive truth about the past. Such an archive, however, can serve, however imperfectly, as vital evidence in the effort to understand the complex array of factors that have played a part in conflict. Better documentation and access to other narratives could provide a counterweight to narrow or politically motivated interpretations of past events that could seed future conflict.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution, Development, Islam, Terrorism, War, Armed Struggle, Insurgency
  • Political Geography: Afghanistan
  • Author: Sadaf Lakhani
  • Publication Date: 10-2013
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: United States Institute of Peace
  • Abstract: While Afghanistan's economy has experienced strong growth in the past decade, declining levels of overseas development assistance beginning in 2014 are expected to substantially reduce the country's economic growth rate, with attendant political implications.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution, Development, Economics, Natural Resources, Foreign Aid
  • Political Geography: Afghanistan
  • Author: Joseph Vess, Gary Barker, Sanam Naraghi-Anderlini, Alexa Hassink
  • Publication Date: 12-2013
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: United States Institute of Peace
  • Abstract: Understanding how the ascribed roles of men and women and masculine and feminine identities contribute to and can help mitigate violence in conflict and postconflict settings is an emerging field of enquiry in conflict management and gender and peacebuilding studies. This enquiry builds upon, complements, and significantly contributes to the work of the women, peace, and security agenda, especially as seen through UN Security Council Resolution 1325. Men are usually perceived to be the primary perpetrators of violence in times of war. Research indicates, however, that men are not inherently violent. This shift in understanding is contributing to a recognition that men are also victims and witnesses of many forms of violence, including sexual and gender-based violence. In expanding our perceptions about men's experiences, further studies indicate that this may help stop the cycle of violence. In this way, men can become critical agents of change to end these multiple forms of violence. Expanding knowledge of men's diverse experiences during war and the underlying causes and mechanisms that lead to violent behavior has important policy implications. Understanding the various paths to violence is particularly important when dealing with postconflict situations. Postconflict policies need to take account of these varied paths to violence and the notions of hyper-masculinity created by violent conflict. Policies also need to recognize that during conflict the roles of men and women often undergo radical change. Restoration to preconflict role models is often impossible. For example, in preconflict situations men derive much of their sense of identity from the fact that they are economic providers. In many postconflict situations, the economy is in shambles and most men will not be able to get jobs. As a result, in many postconflict settings, men and boys often experience a loss of identity leading to extreme emotional stress, substance abuse, and a continuous cycle of violent behavior, including sexual and gender-based violence.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution, Conflict Prevention, Political Violence, Gender Issues, Peace Studies, War
  • Political Geography: United Nations
  • Author: Andrew Walker
  • Publication Date: 05-2012
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: United States Institute of Peace
  • Abstract: Boko Haram is an Islamic sect that believes politics in northern Nigeria has been seized by a group of corrupt, false Muslims. It wants to wage a war against them, and the Federal Republic of Nigeria generally, to create a “pure” Islamic state ruled by sharia law. Since August 2011 Boko Haram has planted bombs almost weekly in public or in churches in Nigeria's northeast. The group has also broadened its targets to include setting fire to schools. In March 2012, some twelve public schools in Maiduguri were burned down during the night, and as many as 10,000 pupils were forced out of education. Boko Haram is not in the same global jihadist bracket as Algeria's al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb, or Somalia's al Shabab. Despite its successful attack on the UN compound in Abuja in August 2011, Boko Haram is not bent on attacking Western interests. There have been no further attacks on international interests since that time. Following the failed rescue of hostages Chris McManus and Franco Lamolinara in north¬eastern Nigeria in March 2012, President Goodluck Jonathan played up the connections between the group and international terrorism. However, links between Boko Haram and the kidnappers are questionable. It is difficult to see how there can be meaningful dialogue between the government and the group. The group's cell-like structure is open for factions and splits, and there would be no guarantee that someone speaking for the group is speaking for all of the members. Tactics employed by government security agencies against Boko Haram have been consis-tently brutal and counterproductive. Their reliance on extrajudicial execution as a tactic in “dealing” with any problem in Nigeria not only created Boko Haram as it is known today, but also sustains it and gives it fuel to expand. The group will continue to attack softer targets in the northeast rather than international targets inside or outside Nigeria. It is also likely to become increasingly involved in the Jos crisis, where it will attack Christian indigenes of the north and try to push them out. Such a move would further threaten to destabilize the country's stability and unity.Now that the group has expanded beyond a small number of mosques, radical reforms in policing strategy are necessary if there is to be any progress in countering the group. Wide¬spread radical reform of the police is also long overdue throughout Nigeria. As a first step, jailing a number of police officers responsible for ordering human rights abuses might go some way to removing a key objection of the group.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution, Security, Islam, Religion, United Nations, Armed Struggle, Counterinsurgency
  • Political Geography: Africa, Algeria, Nigeria, Somalia
  • Author: Scott Worden, Nina Sudhakar
  • Publication Date: 06-2012
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: United States Institute of Peace
  • Abstract: Afghan women made small but significant gains in participation in Afghanistan's September 2010 parliamentary elections. But their status in Afghanistan's electoral system is precarious, and significant effort is needed to preserve gains during the next election cycle in 2013–15. In the 2010 parliamentary elections, seventy-eight more female candidates ran than in the 2005 elections, a 24 percent increase. One additional woman was elected to Parliament over the sixty-eight-person quota stated in the constitution, and in four provinces, a woman received the highest number of votes out of all candidates. Women continued to face significant obstacles to campaigning, however, with female candidates and their campaign workers receiving a disproportionate number of threats or attacks reported during the elections. In less secure areas, cultural restrictions on women's access to public spaces increased, leaving many female candidates unable to effectively communicate with voters. Women made up 40 percent of the electorate in 2010, but women's access to the electoral process as voters often depends on having women hired as election workers by the electoral administration, candidates, and observer groups. Without female counterparts working at the polls, many women will stay home due to cultural concerns over interacting with men in public places. A significant finding from the 2010 candidate statistics is that women face less competition for seats than men do, making it attractive for political parties or coalitions to recruit powerful women to run on their platforms.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution, Democratization, Gender Issues, Politics, Regime Change
  • Political Geography: Afghanistan
  • 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: Nadia Gerspacher
  • Publication Date: 07-2012
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: United States Institute of Peace
  • Abstract: As part of their efforts to support the rebuilding and reform of postconflict and transitional states, the North Atlantic Treaty Organization, the United Nations, and other members of the international community are sending international advisers to work alongside high-level officials in national institutions. Advisers are recruited for their strong professional expertise in fields such as logistics and human resources. However, they have had little preparation in transferring that knowledge to others, especially in a transitional or postconflict environment. If they are to contribute to sustainable reforms, advisers need to be taught how to transfer knowledge in a complex and alien environment, how to operate without formal authority, and how to cultivate local ownership. Launched in 2010, a U.S. Department of Defense program to train advisers for institution-building activities in Afghanistan—Ministry of Defense Advisors, or MoDA—has incorporated lessons learned by former advisers and emphasized four principles originally developed for a USIP training course: supporting local ownership; designing for sustainability; doing no harm; and demonstrating respect, humility, and empathy. As of March 2012, five MoDA cohorts have been deployed and have performed effectively. The MoDA experience, together with insights gained from teaching courses at USIP and other venues, suggests that a good curriculum for training high-level advisers in any sector of government should include four parts: lessons on about how to be an effective adviser, including techniques for building relationships and communicating across cultures; briefings on the situation in the country; substantive information about the sector in which the adviser will work; and preparation through practice.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution, Defense Policy, NATO, Peace Studies, United Nations, Peacekeeping
  • Political Geography: Afghanistan
  • Author: Aaron Sayne
  • Publication Date: 07-2012
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: United States Institute of Peace
  • Abstract: Many of Nigeria's worst conflicts pit the recognized original inhabitants, or indigenes, of a particular place against supposedly later settlers. These conflicts may be growing deadlier and more numerous with time. State and local governments have free rein to pick who is an indigene. Abuse of the label can foster deep socioeconomic inequalities, given that indigenes enjoy preferential access to land, schools, development spending, and public jobs. These inequalities feed into violence, although righting inequality may not be sufficient to end violence in every case. The indigene-settler distinction is also explosive because it reinforces and is reinforced by other identity-based divides in Nigeria. These differences in ethnicity, language, religion, and culture can be longstanding and deeply felt, but how they factor into violence is again not well understood. Poor law enforcement responses also help entrench violence between indigenes and settlers. Official complicity and indifference make prosecutions rare. Destructive conduct by the Nigerian security forces itself often becomes a structural cause of violence. Serious thought about how to prevent or resolve indigene-settler violence has barely started in Nigeria. Addressing inequality between indigenes and settlers calls for serious, microlevel analysis of local economic dysfunctions and opportunities, along with real official commitment to make and enforce better policies. More holistic understandings of justice are also needed. The worst hot spots will need a wide menu of well-planned interventions. Options include securitization, criminal prosecution, mediation and dialogue, truth commissions, victim compensation programs, public health and trauma assistance, public institutional reforms, education, and communications work. In some cases, building sustainable peace could take a generation or more.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution, Political Violence, Crime, Ethnic Conflict, Peace Studies
  • Political Geography: Africa, Nigeria
  • Author: Hesham Sallam, Daniel Brumberg
  • Publication Date: 10-2012
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: United States Institute of Peace
  • Abstract: In Egypt, security sector reform (SSR) hinges on achieving democratic reforms, particularly the reconstitution of an elected parliament and preparation of a new constitution that defines the roles and responsibilities of military and security institutions based on transparency, accountability, and respect for civilian authorities. In this highly political process, arranging the disengagement of Egypt's military from government and the economy will be essential. Democratically elected leaders will need to consult widely while keeping an open door to reformists in the security sector. At the same time, the police and security establishments must be transformed into effective, accountable, and politically neutral law-enforcement bodies that deliver human security and protect human rights. Downsizing the security services to a number consonant with its professional mission is vital. Egypt's new president will play a central—although not exclusive—role in advancing the above aims. He will have to forge a wide societal consensus on the boundaries of SSR. He will also have to reach an accommodation with military leaders to ensure that SSR initiatives receive their support. The responsibility for advancing SSR lies with Egypt's political community. The international community can help by supporting elected officials and providing technical expertise and economic support.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution, Security, Democratization, Islam, Regime Change
  • Political Geography: Arabia, North Africa, Egypt
  • Author: Donald J. Planty
  • Publication Date: 09-2012
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: United States Institute of Peace
  • Abstract: The Arab Awakening opened the door to democratic political change in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA). Security sector reform (SSR) is an integral component of the nascent democratic process in the region. While SSR is a long-term process, it should be a key part of institution building in the new democracies. Democracy requires security institutions that are open, professional, and responsive to public needs. The transitions to democracy are varied in nature and scope. SSR will differ by country and must be tailored to the political realities and specific circumstances of each state. The international community can foster successful SSR processes by calibrating its assistance according to the reform efforts in each country. A general or “one-size-fits-all” approach to SSR will not be successful. A sense of political powerlessness, an unresponsive bureaucracy, a general lack of opportunity, economic stagnation (including high unemployment), and repressive security forces all contributed to the Arab Awakening. As a result of the upheaval, democratic forces in several of the MENA countries are pushing for transparency and accountability in the security services. SSR must be undertaken in a holistic manner, couched within the framework of overall democratic reform and linked to other broad policies such as justice sector reform, evolution of the political process, and economic development. SSR will only be achieved if it is integrated and pursued in unison with these larger processes of democratic change. The international community, especially the United States and the European Union, need to foster democratic developments and, in particular, to support and coordinate SSR.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution, Security, Democratization, Economics, Regime Change
  • Political Geography: Europe, Middle East, Arabia, North Africa
  • Author: William Byrd
  • Publication Date: 09-2012
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: United States Institute of Peace
  • Abstract: Afghanistan's history provides important insights and lessons for the 2011 to 2014 transition and beyond, but differences with the past must be taken into account. As the 1933 to 1973 decades demonstrate, the country can be stable and effectively governed, but that stability was anchored in the two pillars of traditional local governance and a centralized though weak state, both of which were gravely damaged after 1978. Given the country's history of chronic succession problems and associated conflict, the next presidential election, if successful, would be the first peaceful transfer of leadership since 1933 and only the fourth since 1747. Expectations about the pace of progress must be modest and the dangers of overly ambitious reforms leading to violent reactions recognized. Regional countries could derail peace prospects, and planning around such spoilers may be needed. The difficulties of reaching a peaceful solution during a military withdrawal, and the adverse consequences when such efforts fail, were demonstrated during the period from 1986 to 1992. The period after the Soviet withdrawal shows the potential and limitations of Afghan security forces: holding onto Kabul and other cities is probably the most that can be hoped for in the current transition. The option of arming and paying militias is dangerous because it opens the door to instability and predatory behavior. The Afghan economy is in much better shape than it was during and after the Soviet period, and a deep economic contraction in coming years needs to be avoided. Afghanistan will depend heavily on outside financial support for many years, and such support must not be abruptly cut back or stopped. Effective national leadership is critical during transitions. It is important not to overlearn from history, for example, Afghanistan's problematic experience over the past half-century with political parties, which are essential to successful democratic systems.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution, Development, Islam, War, Fragile/Failed State
  • Political Geography: Afghanistan, 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: Kathleen Kuehnast, Hodei Sultan, Manal Omar, Steven E. Steiner
  • Publication Date: 11-2012
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: United States Institute of Peace
  • Abstract: In transitioning countries such as Afghanistan and Iraq, women are increasingly finding their rights limited by state and religious leaders. Cultural and national stereotypes can be quickly overcome by the shared backgrounds, accomplishments, obstacles, and aspirations of women in transitioning countries. Women living in countries in transition value opportunities to network with women from other countries in similar situations. Women leaders from Afghanistan and Iraq have genuine concerns about the challenges facing women in the Arab Spring. Their valuable opinions are based on their own experiences of overcoming those challenges. It is essential that women work together and with men to further women's rights. Women must plan for a transition before it happens and have a strategy of work going into the transition process. Laws empowering and protecting women do not work if they are not enforced. International donors need a long-term view of women's programming, as much of the required work will take time. Donors should consider nonurban areas when working with women, and when possible nonelite partners, as these leaders understand the limitations of local conditions. It is possible for women's groups to find common ground with religious leaders.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution, Democratization, Development, Gender Issues, Islam, Regime Change
  • Political Geography: Afghanistan, Iraq, Middle East, Arabia
  • Author: Caroline Hartzell
  • Publication Date: 04-2011
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: United States Institute of Peace
  • Abstract: Afghanistan's disarmament, demobilization, and reintegration (DDR) program sought to enable the Afghan government to establish a monopoly on the use of force by helping break the linkages between former Afghan Military Forces (AMF) commanders and their troops, helping former combatants make the transition from military to civilian life, and collecting weapons in the possession of the AMF. Although Afghanistan presented an extremely challenging environment in which to implement DDR, a window for carrying out this task arguably existed for a couple of years after the signing of the Bonn Agreement. During this time the security situation throughout much of the country was relatively calm, the population generally supported efforts to establish peace, and the politicization of the security sector that began in the wake of the agreement was not yet entrenched. Unfortunately, the failure to include DDR in the Bonn settlement was the first in a series of missteps that limited the program's contributions to security sector reform. Delays in the design and initiation of a DDR process, combined with the international community's initial decision to leave only a light footprint in Afghanistan, left armed Afghan actors to contend with the type of security dilemma that has proven detrimental to other efforts to stabilize the peace. Competing militias' efforts to provide security as well as some groups' attempts to gain control of the security sector apparatus generated mistrust among the militias and reinforced the power of commanders and warlords. This situation was exacerbated by the coalition's reluctance to check the growing factionalization of the DDR process and a civilian-implemented DDR program that lacked the coercive capacity to contend with spoilers. DDR provisions should be part of a peace settlement. If armed groups prove unwilling to agree to such measures, their commitment to the settlement and to a durable peace must be considered suspect. Once such settlement measures have been agreed to, third-party actors—international or regional peacekeeping forces, third-party armies—should commit to providing security before, during, and after DDR; this sends a message to civilians and combatants that DDR will not endanger their safety.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution, Security, Peace Studies
  • Political Geography: Afghanistan
  • Author: Ulrich Schneckener, Claudia Hofmann
  • Publication Date: 07-2011
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: United States Institute of Peace
  • Abstract: Transnational nongovernmental organizations (NGOs) have developed strategies to improve the diffusion of and general adherence to international norms among nonstate armed actors, with the goal of persuading armed actors to adapt their behavior accordingly. The ICRC offers trainings in international humanitarian law to armed actors that explain their responsibilities for protecting civilians in military operations. Geneva Call provides education on the effects of antipersonnel landmines and supports armed actors in their efforts to clear mined areas, destroy stockpiles, and provide victim assistance. The NGOs' efforts in dealing with nonstate armed actors reveal limitations and problems but also offer new avenues for states and international organizations to engage with armed groups. With greater support from the international community, NGOs' contributions could become more substantive and complement other ongoing efforts to change armed actors' behavior.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution, Defense Policy, Civil Society, Non-Governmental Organization
  • Political Geography: United Nations
  • Author: P. R. Chari, D. Suba Chandran, Shaheen Akhtar
  • Publication Date: 07-2011
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: United States Institute of Peace
  • Abstract: India and Pakistan have initiated a number of confidence-building measures in Kashmir, including the creation of a bus service and the limited expansion of trade across the Line of Control (LoC). The present cross-LoC confidence-building measures address primarily the divided families living on both sides of the LoC and thus are limited in scope and do not serve the entire region and all communities of Kashmir. It is imperative for India and Pakistan to expand cross-LoC confidence-building measures and add new initiatives that would address the imbalances in the existing interactions. Cross-LoC tourism will be an important initiative in further expanding the present confidence building and will allow members of the broader civil society of Kashmir to visit and interact with each other. Cross-LoC tourism will expand the scope of interactions between the two sides, beyond the divided families, and include everyone in Kashmir. Cross-LoC tourism will also create constituencies of peace beyond the select group of divided families and businessmen who already benefit from the cross-LoC bus services and truck traffic. As a first step, India and Pakistan should develop a “package tourism” program that would include select destinations on both sides of the LoC. More important, both India and Pakistan should seriously consider further relaxing travel restrictions for people to travel across the LoC.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution, Peace Studies
  • Political Geography: Pakistan, South Asia, India, Kashmir
  • 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: Jon Temin, Theodore Murphy
  • Publication Date: 06-2011
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: United States Institute of Peace
  • Abstract: Approaches to Sudan's challenges—by both Sudanese and the international community— have been fragmented and regionally focused rather than national in scope. They overlook fundamental governance challenges at the roots of Sudan's decades of instability and the center of the country's economic and political dominance of the periphery, which marginalizes a majority of the population. Such fragmentation diffuses efforts into fighting various eruptions of violence throughout the periphery and confounds efforts to address governance and identity issues. Ongoing processes in the future Republic of Sudan, sometimes referred to as north Sudan, continue this trend. While Darfur negotiations and popular consultations in Blue Nile and Southern Kordofan states should continue, they should eventually be subsumed into a national process aimed at addressing the root causes of Sudan's governance failures. The process should feed into, and then be reified by, development of a new national constitution. Even now the goal of these regional processes should be re-envisaged as steps toward a national process. Sudanese negotiations largely occur between elites. Negotiators often cannot claim genuine representativeness, resulting in lack of broad buy-in and minimal consultation with the wider population. The ongoing Darfur negotiations are a case in point. To avoid prolonging the trend, a more national process should be broad-based and consultative. It should feature an inclusive dialogue, involving representatives from throughout the periphery, about the nature of the Sudanese state and how to manage Sudan's considerable diversity. Southern secession in July 2011 presents an opportunity for Sudanese to take a more comprehensive, holistic approach to their governance problems. Significant adjustments are warranted by the end of the Comprehensive Peace Agreement, such as the development of a new constitution. The opportunity to initiate fundamental governance reform may be ripe because the ruling National Congress Party is under intense political and economic pressure. The Arab Spring revolts, the economic shock of lost oil revenue, and the proof of governance failure that southern secession represents have inspired, among some NCP leaders, a belief in the necessity of preemptive change. Any reform of northern governance should be led by Sudanese. Perceptions that external actors are forcing change can be counterproductive. The international community can support a reform process but should tread carefully. International efforts should focus on promoting an enabling environment in which nascent Sudanese-led efforts can take root and grow. Support to constructive voices and aid to inchoate political initiatives should be available when requested. Supporting a national process poses a challenge for the international community as its capacity, pressure, and incentives are already distributed across the various regional political processes. Pressures and incentives are tied to specific benchmarks defined by those processes, making it difficult to reorient them toward the new criteria dictated by a national process.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution, Political Violence, Civil War, Ethnic Conflict
  • Political Geography: Africa, Sudan
  • Author: Chris Newsom
  • Publication Date: 06-2011
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: United States Institute of Peace
  • Abstract: Neither Nigeria nor foreign donors are investing enough to end violent conflict in the Niger Delta. While Nigerian officials opt to buy short-term cease-fires, such as the 2009 amnesty process, other governments spend too little in money and manpower to grow local civil society, engage core conflict issues, or adequately understand the region's problems. All parties likewise fail to focus on deeper trends when planning their anticonflict strategies. This causes them to undervalue the potential costs of ongoing violence, as well as the importance of a peaceful Niger Delta to Nigeria's economic development and global energy security. A tragedy of the commons results. The situation in the delta remains fragile and will likely return either to intermittent conflict or full-blown insurgency within six to eighteen months if a "business as usual" approach is taken to interventions. The amnesty process opened a door for stabilization but did not reduce the long-term potential for violence or deal with root conflict issues. Governance is both at the heart of the conflict and the best place to seek solutions. To best help catalyze peace in the region, donors should invest heavily in democratization and learn lessons from a decade of setbacks and poor investment choices. International support for governance reform in the delta must start at the grass roots. The key is to lay a foundation to support and argue for better government practices higher up. Civil society is already having some success promoting accountability at the community level. Obstacles are high and progress is slow, making longer commitments from donors a must. Reformers in the Niger Delta also have operated too much in isolation. Local and international actors need a multilateral strategy allowing them to combine levers and use each other's momentum. They must ground this strategy in deeper analysis of the region's problems and a unified theory of change. Donors should also complement their support of governance reform in the delta with funding for innovative local development work. Ideas and best practices should be sought from other countries, with flexibility for keying in to promising government initiatives.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution, Political Violence, Civil Society, Foreign Aid
  • Political Geography: Africa, Nigeria
  • Author: Lawrence Woocher
  • Publication Date: 06-2011
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: United States Institute of Peace
  • Abstract: A wide consensus has emerged in recent years that successful policymaking and programming in conflict situations must start with an accurate understanding of local context, conflict actors, causes, and the dynamic relationships among them. This recognition has led to a plethora of new analytic initiatives, but little evident effort to exploit potential synergies between conflict assessment and national security intelligence analysis. Conflict assessment and intelligence analysis have different origins, aims, and methods but also a number of important elements of commonality. They both aim to enhance understanding of complicated sociopolitical situations to support better decision making and face many common challenges, including accuracy, precision, timeliness, and relevance. Conflict assessment is marked by its action orientation, its flexibility, and its emphasis on collaborative methods to elicit views on the conflict from diverse perspectives. These attributes may lead conflict assessment processes to be especially able to pick up "weak signals" and to promote cooperation and enhance understanding of the "other side's" perspectives. These strengths of conflict assessment may at times come at the cost of analytic rigor, precision, and sensitivity to the possibility that some stakeholders could provide misleading information. Intelligence analysis is designed to produce objective assessments for government national security decision makers through rigorous evaluation of "all source" data (including classified information) in a competitive environment. Intelligence analysts' independence from policymakers and their adherence to explicit standards of analytic tradecraft should help lead to high-quality analytic products. Potential pitfalls of intelligence analysis include being too reliant on data from clandestine and highly technical sources, being subject to political pressure, and being insufficiently collaborative. Three important global trends tend to push conflict assessment and intelligence analysis toward convergence: the changing nature of national security, the increasing salience of "open source" information, and the growing recognition of the limitations of lone analysts. Deliberate efforts to draw on the methods of both conflict assessment and intelligence analysis will yield fuller and more useful analysis, which should in turn improve the formulation of conflict management, peacebuilding, and national security strategies. Using tools of conflict assessment and intelligence analysis in tandem is one specific step toward fully realizing the complementarity of these two analytic approaches.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution, Conflict Prevention, International Relations, Intelligence
  • Political Geography: Germany
  • 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: Kitenge N'Gambwa
  • Publication Date: 09-2011
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: United States Institute of Peace
  • Abstract: Since the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) gained its independence in 1960, the country 's leadership has been lacking three attributes of the utmost importance to the country's welfare: a real vision for the DRC's future, the competence and ability to execute the vision, and the character needed to ensure the realization of the vision with sound judgment, integrity, and equity. To break from the DRC's past patterns of poor governance, a clear and practical vision for the country's future must be articulated and implemented, requiring concerted effort from a new and energized leadership. This type of leadership should come from the Congolese people—both those living in the country and those who are part of its far-flung diaspora. Opportunities and avenues for reform include revamping democratic governance and electoral reform, promoting economic growth by moving beyond aid and creating a favorable environment for investment, reforming the mining sector, improving the health and education systems, and strengthening the DRC's judiciary. A well-organized and invigorated Congolese diaspora can join with Congolese living in the DRC to work toward the reforms. The upcoming elections in November 2011 offer a chance to step up these organizational and advocacy efforts.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution, Political Violence, Development, Economics, Health, Governance
  • Political Geography: Africa
  • 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: Noah Coburn
  • Publication Date: 08-2011
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: United States Institute of Peace
  • Abstract: There are numerous sources of local conflict in Afghanistan today, but the majority cluster around a few issues: disputes over land and water rights; family disputes, particularly inheritance; and disputes over control of local positions of authority. Lack of capacity or resources in the formal justice systems has been blamed for the lack of effective dispute resolution. But the fact that disputes were resolved more regularly in Afghanistan before the war years, when the formal justice system had even fewer resources, indicates that other causes are involved. Lack of political and personal security of dispute-resolution practitioners and the increased power of local commanders, whose authority is not community-based, have undermined the traditional dispute-resolution system. At the same time, corruption and inefficiency have delegitimized the formal justice system in the eyes of many disputants. Afghans and foreign donors alike note that Afghanistan has both state (court-based) and nonstate (based upon a combination of customary and religious law) justice sectors, and it is often assumed that these systems solely compete with each other for dispute-resolution authority. USIP research shows that, contrary to assumptions, successfully resolved disputes rely on a combination of formal and informal actors. Indeed, it is common for disputes to move between formal and informal venues and to be considered by a series of local elders and, more rarely, government officials.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution, Security, War
  • Political Geography: Afghanistan
  • Author: Susanne Tarkowski Tempelhof, Manal Omar
  • Publication Date: 12-2011
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: United States Institute of Peace
  • Abstract: Who the rebels are in Libya has been a common question surrounding the revolution that overthrew Muammar Gadhafi. This report maps out the factions in Libya's east, centering on Benghazi. It identifies the various groups, their narratives, their part in the revolution, and emergent grievances that could translate into instability or future conflicts. Libyans share a strong sense of historical narrative and ownership of the recent revolution, but complexities lie within that ownership. There are tensions between the youth movement and the National Transitional Council; between local Libyans and returning members of the Libyan diaspora; between secular groups and religious ones, particularly the Muslim Brotherhood; within militia groups that did the fighting; and among Libya's tribes and ethnic groups. The widespread sense of ownership of the revolution, which kept morale high during the fighting, has translated to expectations of quick improvements, both overall and in people's day-to-day lives. Managing expectations will be key to ensuring that tensions within Libyan society do not overcome the sense of unity that the revolution fostered. International actors should ensure that local ownership of the political process remains at the fore and is not undermined. In addition, research is needed to understand the situation in Libya more clearly, in order to identify ways that the international community can support, aid, and advise local efforts in forming a stable and secure environment in Libya.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution, Armed Struggle, Regime Change, Self Determination
  • Political Geography: Libya, Arabia, North Africa
  • 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: Nada Mustafa Ali
  • Publication Date: 12-2011
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: United States Institute of Peace
  • Abstract: South Sudan’s independence ends decades of conflict as well as socioeconomic and political marginalization at the hands of successive governments in Khartoum, which affected women in gender-specific ways. Independence thus opens up opportunities for women’s economic and social empowerment, ensuring that the new country’s political and economic structures and institutions reflect commitments to women’s participation and human rights. In turn, empowering women will enable South Sudan to strengthen its economic and political structures and institutions. There is great potential for gender equality and respect for women’s rights in South Sudan. The government has expressed commitments to equality between women and men and to women’s participation. South Sudan is relatively egalitarian and lacking in religious extremism. International actors interested in South Sudan recognize that promoting gender equality and women’s empowerment and addressing gender-based violence (GBV) are key to maintaining peace and security and helping South Sudan’s economy grow. Challenges abound, however. South Sudan is severely lacking in infrastructure and has some of the worst human development indicators worldwide. Social and cultural practices harmful to women compound the effects of conflict and marginalization. There are constant internal and external security threats, a limited understanding of gender equality, and a tendency within communities to view gender as an alien and illegitimate concern, given the acute problems that South Sudan faces. The government of South Sudan, with the support of regional partners and the international community, should ensure that gender equality and women’s rights are fully integrated into and are outcomes of state building. National planning, developing the permanent constitution, and building the country’s new institutions and structures should reflect commitments to gender equality and input from women and women’s groups across South Sudan. The government should cost and meet the full budgetary needs of the Ministry of Gender, Child, and Welfare; ratify and implement the Convention on the Elimination of all Forms of Discrimination against Women and the Protocol to the African Charter on Human and People’s Rights on the Rights of Women in Africa; strengthen efforts to prevent GBV and address the needs of GBV victims and survivors; and invest more in quality and accessible health and education.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution, Gender Issues, Government, Human Rights, Politics
  • Political Geography: Africa, South Sudan
  • Author: Daniel Brumberg
  • Publication Date: 01-2010
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: United States Institute of Peace
  • Abstract: This report offers a set of general and country-specific findings and recommendations to assist the Obama administration in its efforts to tackle escalating security challenges while sustaining diplomatic, institutional and economic support for democracy and human rights in the Greater Middle East.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution, Security, Peace Studies
  • Political Geography: Middle East, Arabia
  • 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
  • Author: Lex Rieffel
  • Publication Date: 07-2010
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: United States Institute of Peace
  • Abstract: The government of Burma is undergoing a critical transition: Before the end of 2010, the military regime that has ruled the country since a palace coup in 1998 will hold an election based on a constitution drafted in a nondemocratic process and approved by a referendum in 2008. The referendum fell far short of global standards of credibility and the election is likely to yield a government that neither the antimilitary movement nor the international community view as legitimate. However, the constitution and election also may offer opportunities for further international involvement that began in the wake of Cyclone Nargis in 2008. Burma's lagging economic performance—socioeconomic indicators placed it among the world's most impoverished in 2000—is due to a simmering internal conflict based on ethnic and religious differences. Successive military regimes after the failure of Burma's parliamentary government in 1962 have managed to further alienate the population and monopolize the benefits of Burma's abundant natural resources. Growth-disabling economic policies and brutal suppression of dissent since 1988 have caused an exodus of political and economic refugees estimated to be in excess of 3 million. However, Burma occupies a strategic space in the Southeast Asian region. It is a major supplier of natural gas to Thailand and could be a major agricultural exporter, as it was before World War II. Also, Burma is arguably the greatest obstacle to the 2015 integration objectives of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN), and its internal conflict contributes to tension between China and India. There is a glimmer of hope that the next government will consider economic policies conducive to sustainable economic growth, thereby improving the environment for political reconciliation. If so, the challenge for the international community will be to find ways to support economic policy changes in this direction that do not trigger a backlash from the country's military rulers. Though difficult, it may be possible to accomplish this through a patient economic strategy that involves more nuanced use of sanctions and effective collaboration with other actors in the region, particularly ASEAN.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution, Economics, Human Rights
  • Political Geography: China, India, Burma, Southeast Asia, Myanmar
  • Author: Daanish Mustafa
  • Publication Date: 11-2010
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: United States Institute of Peace
  • Abstract: Water problems in Pakistan result largely from poor management, but the consequences of management failures are accentuated, both materially and politically, by international and subnational hydropolitics. There is enough water in the Indus basin to provide for the livelihoods of its residents for a long time, provided that the water is managed efficiently and equitably and that additional water is made available not just through storage but, more importantly, through higher efficiency and intersectoral transfers. The Indus Waters Treaty (IWT) seems to moderate the worst impulses of India and Pakistan toward each other, and perhaps therein lies IWT's greatest strength. Pakistani engineers typically interpret the IWT's extensive technical annexures very literally, whereas the Indian engineers tend to emphasize the treaty's criteria for techno-economi¬cally sound project design. No single completed or proposed Indian project on the three western rivers of the Indus basin alone has the potential to significantly limit flows of water to Pakistan. But the long list of proposed Indian projects on the those rivers will in the future give India the cumulative storage capacity to reduce substantively water flows to Pakistan during the low-flow winter months. The IWT, by performing an amputation surgery on the basin, made matters simple and allowed India and Pakistan to pursue their nationalist agendas without much need for more sophisticated and involved cooperation in the water field. This lack of cooperative sharing of water leaves the ecological and social consequences of the treaty to be negotiated and contested at the subnational scale. The interprovincial conflict over water distribution in Pakistan has potential—albeit entirely avoidable—repercussions for stability, at both the subnational and international levels. Instead of constructing very expensive, environmentally damaging, and economically dubious water-storage megaprojects in Pakistan, enhancement of the existing infrastructure's efficiency, coupled with better on-farm water management and more appropriate irrigation and farming techniques, would perhaps more than make up for any additional water that might be gained from megaprojects. Since the drought in southern Pakistan in the latter half of the 1990s, the single-minded focus of the Pakistani water bureaucracy on water development has made the issue of the construction of the Kalabagh Dam project a surrogate for a litany of Sindhi grievances against the Punjabi-dominated political, military, and bureaucratic system in Pakistan. The emphasis on maximizing water withdrawals and on greater regulation of the Indus river system contributed to accentuating the very high flood peaks in 2010. Although the floods are being used by the pro-dams lobby to call for construction of more storage on the Indus, the tragedy ought to inspire a more nuanced and comprehensive reevaluation of the water-management system in the basin. The IWT is a product of its time and could be fruitfully modified and renegotiated to bring it more in line with contemporary international watercourse law, the Helsinki rules, and emerging concerns with water quality, environmental sustainability, climate change, and principles of equitable sharing. But that renegotiation, if it ever happens, is going to be contingent upon significant improvement in bilateral relations between India and Pakistan. India could be more forthcoming with flow data and be more prompt and open in communicating its planned projects on the Indus basin to Pakistan, particularly in the western basin. Pakistan can engage with India within the context of the IWT more positively than defensively, and also educate its media and politicians so as not to sensationalize essentially technical arguments by presenting them as existential threats.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution, Development, Water
  • Political Geography: Pakistan, South Asia, India
  • Publication Date: 11-2010
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: United States Institute of Peace
  • Abstract: Largely unnoticed outside the region, the Sudanese states of Southern Kordofan and Blue Nile have begun the Comprehensive Peace Agreement (CPA)–mandated process of popular consultation, which permits Southern Kordofan and Blue Nile to either adopt the CPA as the final settlement between the two states and the Government of Sudan (GoS) or renegotiate the CPA to remedy any shortcomings and reach a final settlement. The first phase of the popular consultation process involves civic education campaigns to inform the two states' populations of the contents of the CPA and the issues at stake. The second phase is the consultations themselves, which are to be conducted by a commission in each state. The results of the consultations will be reported to the state assemblies and inform the positions taken by the states during negotiations with the central government. A successful popular consultation could begin to transform Sudanese politics by realigning political interests from political parties to the states and could provide a test case for new governance structures between the center and the states. A neglected or mismanaged process could destabilize not just Southern Kordofan and Blue Nile, but all of Sudan. The international community can contribute to a successful process through financial assistance, monitoring and reporting, promoting reconciliation within the population, and engaging directly with Khartoum and Juba to smooth negotiations. It might also anticipate possible procedural challenges and prepare to engage in creative and quiet diplomacy should the need arise.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution, Civil Society, Democratization, Treaties and Agreements
  • Political Geography: Africa, Sudan
  • Author: Sheldon Himelfarb
  • Publication Date: 11-2010
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: United States Institute of Peace
  • Abstract: A decade ago, mobile phone usage in Afghanistan was almost nonexistent; now there are 13 million subscriptions for a total of 29 million citizens, and the annual growth rate of subscription is estimated at 53 percent. A number of factors have fueled this dramatic increase, including the sheer popular demand for communication, an absence of viable landline substitutes, government deregulation, and a competitive market that flourishes despite the conflict. Each of the major telecommunications companies in Afghanistan identifies the same five challenges to future expansion: poverty, high illiteracy rates, corruption, an untrained workforce, and lack of security. Despite these challenges, Afghanistan has proved an exceptional case study in the use of mobile phones for social change in support of peacebuilding, as it has been the focus of numerous pilot application programs conducted by the government, non-governmental organizations (NGOs), and the private sector. Mobile money transfer (MMT) applications have proved to be powerful mechanisms for helping to reduce corruption, foster security sector reform, and promote economic development. Yet neither the international community nor the Afghan government has shown the will or the capacity to move MMT programs forward at a pace commensurate with their demonstrated potential. At least two other high-value mobile applications were cited during the June summit as having improved conditions for stability and reconstruction in early deployments: the provision of market information through mobile phones, especially in the agricultural sector, and the use of mobile phones to strengthen local governance and civil society. Both applications have sufficient promise to warrant large-scale rollouts and merit careful consideration by international donors, whose support is vital during the transition to sustainability. Other applications on the horizon that hold tangible if still aspirational promise for peacebuilding are those that use mobile phones for land dispute resolution, election monitoring, and gender empowerment and education.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution, Peace Studies, Science and Technology, Peacekeeping
  • Political Geography: Afghanistan
  • 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: Lawrence Woocher
  • Publication Date: 09-2009
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: United States Institute of Peace
  • Abstract: New wars will continue to erupt unabated if greater and smarter efforts are not made to prevent them. Current dangers stem from factors such as the rise of unstable regimes, global economic turbulence, climate change, and the shift in global power distribution. Preventing relapse after wars end is insufficient to prevent most new conflicts, because post-conflict recurrences constitute only a minority of all conflict outbreaks. A wide range of governments—including the United States—and many intergovernmental and nongovernmental organizations have made commitments to take serious efforts to prevent violent conflicts. In most respects, these commitments represent a more than adequate normative foundation and a supportive political environment for the development of more robust and effective conflict prevention strategies. Normative and political progress has not been fully matched with development of institutional capacities in governments and international organizations. Expanded conflict prevention capacities will not necessarily require new offices or institutions, but they will require focused attention, resources, and a process to spur action in response to warning signs. The knowledge required to prioritize and target prevention strategies is fairly well developed. More knowledge is needed to help move beyond a description of the conflict prevention toolbox to using these tools as part of empirically grounded prevention strategies. Advancing the conflict prevention agenda will require navigating a series of challenges, including the rapidly changing context in which prevention strategies are applied, a set of difficult political and institutional factors that militate against vigorous preventive action, and the changing role of the United States in the global system. The first step toward meeting the challenges is to make prevention a “must do” priority—on equal par with resolving active conflicts and rebuilding post-conflict states. Other steps include monitoring implementation of existing political commitments to conflict prevention and developing new political strategies to regularize the practice of prevention.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution, Conflict Prevention, Political Violence, War
  • Author: Moeed Yusuf
  • Publication Date: 09-2009
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: United States Institute of Peace
  • Abstract: Since 2005, Pakistan and India have pursued out-of-the-box thinking on Kashmir and have allowed nominal human interaction and economic exchanges across the Line of Control (LoC). One of the most promising recent developments has been the formation of the Federation of Jammu and Kashmir Chamber of Commerce and Industry (Joint Chamber), the first formal joint establishment across the Line of Control, which is poised to play a central role in future efforts at increasing economic collaboration. The Joint Chamber is still in its infancy and faces a number of critical challenges that are indicative of the potential stumbling blocks any effort at enhancing economic collaboration across the Line of Control is likely to face. Currently, a consensus is missing on the future direction of the Joint Chamber. Not only are the central governments in Islamabad and New Delhi skeptical about according this new body a pivotal position in cross–LoC trade, but even the business communities in the Indian and Pakistani parts of the state suffer from internal differences on the scope of the Chamber's activities. Perhaps most worrisome is the Kashmiri business community's reluctance to lobby proactively for expansion of ties beyond trade in goods. Investment, joint ventures, and transit trade through Pakistani Kashmir and Pakistan hold the real potential if economic interdependence is to ameliorate the long-standing political tensions over Kashmir. The Joint Chamber members need to agree on a clear vision for the Chamber, preferably including concerns not only relevant to goods trade but also to trade in services, investment, joint ventures, and transit trade. To cover this broad horizon the Chamber would have to increase its capacity by involving entities such as trade associations and the civil society at large. Before tangible gains can be made, the Joint Chamber needs a number of scoping exercises to determine the true potential for economic collaboration on all fronts. The current dearth of information is a major shortcoming in determining the specific areas that could expand the hitherto nascent cross–LoC interaction. The Joint Chamber is already engaged in advocating for an increase in the nominal goods trade initiated across the LoC in October 2008. Protocols for physical travel and communication between traders, marketing and banking facilities, and an expansion of the scope of engagement are obvious next steps for this process. The key to the Joint Chamber's success is to strike a delicate balance between nudging the governments to open up and remaining pragmatic about the necessarily incremental nature of the gains.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution, Political Violence, Islam, Bilateral Relations
  • Political Geography: Pakistan, South Asia, India
  • 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 Waldner
  • Publication Date: 05-2009
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: United States Institute of Peace
  • Abstract: Post-conflict, post-totalitarian societies like Iraq possess many economic, political, social, and cultural characteristics that are not conducive to democratic governance. A central pillar of democracy promotion is that judicious institutional engineering—crafting new institutions and other elements outlining the democratic rules of the game—can overcome these obstacles and engender stable democracies.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution, Civil Society, Democratization, Government, Regime Change, Fragile/Failed State
  • Political Geography: Iraq, Middle East
  • Author: Frederic C. Hof
  • Publication Date: 03-2009
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: United States Institute of Peace
  • Abstract: Syrian-Israeli “proximity” peace talks orchestrated by Turkey in 2008 revived a long-dormant track of the Arab-Israeli peace process. Although the talks were sus¬pended because of Israeli military operations in the Gaza Strip, Israeli-Syrian peace might well facilitate a Palestinian state at peace with Israel.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution, Peace Studies, Territorial Disputes
  • Political Geography: Middle East, Arabia
  • Author: David Smock, Qamar-ul Huda
  • Publication Date: 01-2009
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: United States Institute of Peace
  • Abstract: Muslims in general and Muslim leaders particularly have often been severely criticized for not more energetically condemning the violent acts of Muslim extremists. Violent extremists are on one edge of the Muslim community. They are counter-balanced by a growing movement of Muslim peacemakers.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution, Islam, Terrorism
  • Political Geography: Middle East, Arabia
  • Author: Raymond Gilpin, Richard Downie
  • Publication Date: 11-2009
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: United States Institute of Peace
  • Abstract: Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) has enormous economic potential thanks to its rich mineral deposits and vast tracts of arable land. Historically, these resources have been exploited by predatory leaders and a host of subregional actors. The time is now ripe for the DRC to put years of war and economic underdevelopment behind it. The business community has an important part to play in promoting sustainable peace in the DRC. Business communities in Bukavu and Lubumbashi have managed to remain profitable in the very trying years following the signing of the 1999 Lusaka peace accord by showing great resilience and versatility, primarily outside formal channels. Congolese businesses face serious obstacles, including poor infrastructure, high taxes, extortion, and market distortions. However, respondents expressed relatively little concern about insecurity and violence, suggesting that these costs have been internalized or that other obstacles impose much greater costs. DRC businesses neither want nor expect handouts. Respondents would prefer assistance in removing barriers to trade, improving infrastructure, and reducing corruption. Respondents are broadly optimistic about the future and their economic prospects, and have a strong sense of being stakeholders in shaping society. This bodes well for the future of the DRC, provided public policy can harness this energy and not impede it.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution, Development, Economics, War
  • Political Geography: Africa, Democratic Republic of the Congo
  • Author: P. R. Chari, Hasan Askari Rizvi
  • Publication Date: 09-2008
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: United States Institute of Peace
  • Abstract: Neither India nor Pakistan has been able to impose its preferred solution on the long-standing Kashmir conflict, and both sides have gradually shown more flexibility in their traditional positions on Kashmir, without officially abandoning them. This development has encouraged the consideration of new, creative approaches to the management of the conflict. The approach holding the most promise is a pragmatic one that would “make borders irrelevant”—softening borders to allow movement of people, goods, and services—instead of redefining or removing them. The governments of India and Pakistan have both repeatedly endorsed the concept, but steps to implement it have been limited. Myriad suggestions for putting this new mantra into practice have been made, from establishing more bus services to increasing trade and tourism across the Line of Control (LOC). While some of these suggestions still await official consideration, others are being examined, and some have already been implemented. Liberalization of the travel regime would be a major step toward enabling the two parts of Kashmir to develop a multifaceted and normal relationship. Such liberalization requires overcoming a mixture of political, bureaucratic, and regulatory challenges. A survey of opinion on both sides of the LOC reveals that the public mood in both countries favors peace, stability, and a softening of the LOC. The international climate is also propitious for confidence-building measures. It remains to be seen, however, if New Delhi and Islamabad can muster the political will necessary to overcome the resistance of key stakeholders within both countries' bureaucracies and militaries.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution
  • Political Geography: Pakistan, India, Asia, Kashmir, New Delhi
  • Author: Mohammad Masoom Stanekzai
  • Publication Date: 09-2008
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: United States Institute of Peace
  • Abstract: Afghanistan is at a crucial stage of transition. The Taliban, with sanctuaries and a support base in the tribal areas, has grown stronger, relying on a wide network of foreign fighters and Pakistani extremists who operate freely across the Afghan- Pakistani border. Present trends raise serious doubts about whether military solutions alone can defeat the insurgency and stem the expansion of terrorism. In short, reconciliation must also be a key element of comprehensive stabilization in Afghanistan. A multitude of factors suggest that the time is ripe for a reconciliatory process. The Taliban and the Hekmatyar Group will be key challenges to any reconciliation process as long as they enjoy sanctuaries and support outside of Afghanistan. An examination of past attempts at reconciliation with the Taliban reveals that the process has lacked consistency. The Afghan government and its international partners have offered conflicting messages, and there has been no consensual policy framework through which to pursue reconciliation in a cohesive manner. The goal of reconciliation in Afghanistan must be to achieve peace and long-term stability under the Afghan Constitution with full respect for the rule of law, social justice, and human rights. To successfully meet this goal, Afghanistan's reconciliation program must be carefully targeted and guided by a clear set of principles. A comprehensive and coordinated political reconciliation process must be started. At the same time, significant progress must be made on the security front and on the international (regional) front. Without security and stability or cooperation from Afghanistan's neighbors, reconciliation will not occur.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution
  • Political Geography: Pakistan, Afghanistan, Asia, Taliban
  • 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: Susan Thistlethwaite, Glen Stassen
  • Publication Date: 10-2008
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: United States Institute of Peace
  • Abstract: Jewish, Muslim, and Christian sacred texts all contain sections that support violence and justify warfare as a means to achieve certain goals. In particular historical circumstances, these texts have served as the basis to legitimate violent campaigns, oftentimes against other faith communities. Many of the passages from sacred texts in all three religious traditions that are misused in contemporary situations to support violence and war are taken out of context, interpreted in historically inaccurate ways, or can be better translated. Finally, all of these passages need to be understood within (and constrained by) the primary spiritual aims of the individual faith. There are also a great many teachings and ethical imperatives within Jewish, Christian, and Muslim scriptures that promote peace and present the means to achieve it. These include mandates to strive for political, social, and economic justice; tolerant intercommunal coexistence; and nonviolent conflict resolution. The three religious delegations that participated in the conference leading to this report presented slightly different and yet overlapping methods for peacemaking articulated by their sacred scriptures. The considerable overlap led the scholars to affirm the existence of a coherent “Abrahamic Just Peacemaking” paradigm, which began to take focus through their rigorous interfaith debate. Further work is needed to articulate fully this Abrahamic Just Peacemaking paradigm. The conference scholars committed themselves to continued development of this model in pursuit of a rigorous and effective faith-based program to promote alternatives to war.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution, Conflict Prevention, Religion
  • 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: Tatiana Carayannis
  • Publication Date: 02-2008
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: United States Institute of Peace
  • Abstract: The surprising showing of Jean-Pierre Bemba in the 2006 presidential elections in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) has its roots in the histories of both the candidate and his party in the conflict in the DRC. However, the space for opposition politics in the DRC is rapidly closing. With weak political institutions in place, the government increasingly relies on strong-handedness at home even as it is looking abroad for financing and infrastructure development. The violence in eastern DRC poses great challenges for the new government but also opportunities for external actors to support peacebuilding efforts by working multilaterally. Should President Joseph Kabila's progressive weakening continue and a leadership vacuum emerge, Bemba would be a strong candidate to fill it.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution, Government
  • Political Geography: Democratic Republic of the Congo
  • Author: Virginia M. Bouvier
  • Publication Date: 09-2007
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: United States Institute of Peace
  • Abstract: This working paper analyzes recent peacemaking efforts between the Colombian government and two of the remaining armed guerrilla groups—the Colombian Revolutionary Armed Forces- Popular Army (FARC-EP) and the National Liberation Army (ELN). It evaluates the demobilization process with the paramilitary umbrella organization known as the United Self- Defense Forces of Colombia (AUC), and current efforts to implement the Justice and Peace law that regulates the paramilitary process. The paper analyzes the roles of third-party actors— primarily the church, civil society more broadly, and the international community—in peace initiatives. In Colombia, these roles include pressuring for peace, setting the stage for peace accords, establishing spaces for dialogue and democratic discussion, creating the mechanisms for conflict resolution necessary for a sustainable peace, facilitating or mediating peace processes themselves, and implementing and monitoring peace agreements.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution, International Relations, Security
  • Political Geography: Colombia, South America
  • 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
  • Author: Lahra Smith
  • Publication Date: 08-2007
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: United States Institute of Peace
  • Abstract: Assistant professor at Georgetown University, where she teaches courses on African politics, civil society and democracy in Africa, and peace and conflict in East Africa. The pardon and release of thirty-eight political detainees, mostly from the leadership of the main opposition party, may give impetus to political negotiations in Ethiopia after more than two years' crisis and stalemate. Contentious and previously unresolved national issues, such as land and economic development; the institutional and constitutional structure of the Ethiopian state; and the best way to ensure equality of ethnic and religious communities, were brought to the fore during the past election cycle. However, after the election, much- needed national dialogue on these matters ended. It must be reinvigorated now that the political opposition's leaders have been freed. Citizen discontent has grown with the caretaker administration in Addis Ababa and Dire Dawa and repressive local administrations. Elections for city and local government must be held. Further delays will undermine any democratic progress. The current Parliament includes members of several opposition political parties, though not the leaders who were imprisoned. Both the ruling party and the main opposition parties should make as many visible and meaningful concessions as possible to their political opponents. Ethiopia's military intervention in Somalia in December 2006, its ongoing military presence in that conflict, and its unchanged, tense border stalemate with Eritrea have contributed to growing violence in the Horn of Africa and stymied domestic democratization.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution, Democratization, War
  • Political Geography: Africa, Ethiopia, Somalia, East Africa
  • Author: Babak Rahimi
  • Publication Date: 06-2007
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: United States Institute of Peace
  • Abstract: Since spring 2003, Sistani has become the preeminent and best financed of the grand ayatollahs remaining in the city of Najaf—and by extension, in Iraq. He remains one of the most powerful figures in Iraq and he brings the Shi'is closer together across the greater Middle East. Since 1997, the Internet has increased the size and the prestige of Sistani's social organization to an astonishing degree on a global basis. Like his father, Sistani is an adherent of a democratic Shi'i tradition that dates back to the Persian Constitutional Revolution of 1906 to 1911 and continued with the Khatami reformist movement (1997–2005). As the general representative of the Hidden Imam, quietist Sistani can remain totally aloof from all political matters, while at times of perceived moral decadence, political corruption, great injustice, or foreign occupation, he can become more active in political affairs by engaging in activities such as consultation, guidance, and even the promotion of sacred norms in public life. Sistani's religious network is increasingly becoming an important source of local governance in southern Iraq, where many Iraqis are hired and at times agree to conduct duties that are usually carried out by the state. Sistani's insistence on recognizing Islam as a fundamental component of the Iraqi constitution is not intended to make Iraq an Islamist state based on juridical sharia strictures, but rather to limit the total secularization of the constitution, which would deprive a Muslim country of an “authentic” national identity based on its Islamic heritage. Sistani could contribute to reducing sectarian tensions by working with other Sunni and Shi'i religious leaders (including tribal leaders) to organize a National Reconciliation Initiative in order to display a united, powerful Sunni-Shi'i front with an emphasis on common Islamic ideals; to express condemnation of anti-Shi'i Wahabi extremism and anti-Sunni Shi'i radicalism; and to form communal solidarity through the ceremonial process of intersectarian group gatherings. Sistani remains a key religious figure who has influence as a peacemaker and mediator among various Shi'i factions and ethnic groups in Basra and Kirkuk that are competing for economic and territorial dominance in the northern and southern regions of the country. As long as the state army is unable to independently fight off the Sunni insurgency and Shi'i militias, it is highly unlikely that Sistani will call for a U.S. withdrawal from Iraq. Sistani is mainly concerned with maintaining stability in the region while rejecting any form of U.S. military adventurism that could seriously endanger the integrity and autonomy of Muslim countries in the greater Middle East. Although Sistani is still a powerful figure within Iraq, his influence has diminished since the bombing of the Shi'i shrine in Samarra in February 2006 and the ensuing increase in Sunni–Shi'i violence. Washington should recognize that until the sectarian warfare subsides, there is no effective way for Sistani to become involved in the Iraqi political process. However, Washington should engage Sistani now, because of the positive role he would have in the democratization of Iraq if the sectarian tensions subside.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution, Democratization, Islam
  • Political Geography: United States, Iraq, Middle East, Kirkuk, Basra
  • Author: Robert Perito
  • Publication Date: 06-2007
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: United States Institute of Peace
  • Abstract: After one year in office, Haiti's democratically elected government enjoys broad international and domestic support. Donors have pledged more than $1.5 billion in economic assistance. The mandate of the United Nations peacekeeping mission has been extended. Haitians seem generally pleased with their new leadership. UN military forces have cracked down on armed groups, arresting more than four hundred gang members, including prominent gang leaders. Security in Port-au-Prince has improved as a consequence. U.S. congressional passage of trade preferences and new Haitian incentives for foreign investors should give a boost to Haiti's textile industry. U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) assistance programs should help create jobs in slums and conflicted communities. The sense of guarded optimism emerging from recent successes has done little, however, to alter the grim living conditions experienced by most citizens. Haiti remains the poorest country in the Western Hemisphere; 80 percent of its people live in poverty. Kidnapping, drug trafficking, and organized crime are beyond the control of Haiti's dysfunctional police force and judicial system. Comprehensive international assistance programs are needed to establish and maintain the rule of law. The success of Haiti's new government is vital to the United States and the international community. Fortunately, the United States and other donors appear to have learned from past mistakes and are committed to assisting Haitians to improve governance and promote development over the long term.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution, Democratization
  • Political Geography: United States, Caribbean, Haiti
  • Author: Shahid Javed Burki
  • Publication Date: 03-2007
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: United States Institute of Peace
  • Abstract: The ongoing territorial dispute between India and Pakistan over the status of the contested areas of Jammu and Kashmir (henceforth Kashmir) is well known and well documented. This study acknowledges that any resolution of this dispute may be many years in the making. Thus, rather than proposing solutions to the territorial conflict, the study explores the utility of forging enhanced economic opportunities for the people of the region and argues that doing so may prepare the ground for the eventual resolution of the dispute. Many of the proposals advanced here will require all the parties to the dispute—India, Pakistan, and the people of the divided state of Kashmir—to agree on a suite of programs that would bring about positive economic change from which there cannot be any turning back. I believe that such positive change would create vested interests and beneficiaries that would resist any retrenchment from continued progress.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution, International Relations
  • Political Geography: Pakistan, India, Kashmir
  • Author: Timothy Carney
  • Publication Date: 12-2007
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: United States Institute of Peace
  • Abstract: The military surge that was launched in February 2007 has improved the security situation in Baghdad and adjacent regions. It has curbed sectarian violence in the capital and reduced the freedom of action and the support base of insurgents and terrorists in the central governorates. The rationale for the surge was to provide an opportunity for political agreements to be negotiated among Iraqis, but political progress has been stalled and has not matched the security improvements. A political settlement is essential for sustaining the security gains and for longer- term stability. Despite the declaration of a national reconciliation plan by Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri Al-Maliki in June 2006, by the fall of 2007 only limited progress had been made toward reconciling the differences between the political groups and forging a national agenda. The dominance of sectarian political groups has fueled polarization, and the inability of the government and Parliament to adopt crucial legislation is a measure of continuing distrust between the groups. Serious political dialogue between the sect- based parties has proved difficult and the results are limited. At the same time intra-sectarian rivalries are increasing, particularly in the southern governorates, where the Sadris and the Islamic Supreme Council in Iraq vie for political and economic control of the region. Iraqi institutions have lost ground in the past year. Iraqi ministers from Sunni, Shia, and secular groups have withdrawn from the cabinet, adversely affecting the performance of the government. The sectarian blocs that entered Parliament in December 2005 have lost their cohesiveness. The Shia United Iraqi Alliance has unraveled, and the Sunni Tawafuq coalition is strained. The emergence of tribal forces in Anbar governorate presents opportunities and challenges to the Sunnis and the Shia alike. As the sectarian blocs weaken and the Anbar tribes seek a political role, new alliances are beginning to emerge, and some may succeed in crossing sectarian and regional divides. The debate in Washington has been restricted to the level and duration of U.S. troop presence in Iraq. In the coming months, the debate should turn to means of supporting the political process and strengthening governance in Iraq as a path to stability. Bottom-up approaches to reconciliation and accommodation do not obviate the need for a broader political settlement. The United States should support a sustained international mediation effort led by the UN Security Council resulting in an Iraqi compact endorsed by Iraq's neighbors and the international comm unity. Iraqi efforts to develop cross-sectarian political alliances and national platforms need to be encouraged. The incorporation of the Anbar tribes into national politics is important to sustaining security gains. A competent national government in Baghdad is essential to the long-term stability of Iraq. A weak government will be unable to ensure the internal and external security of the country or manage revenues. More effort and resources are needed to strengthen the competence and effectiveness of the Iraqi government.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution, Democratization, Ethnic Conflict
  • Political Geography: United States, Iraq, Middle East
  • Author: Timothy Carney
  • Publication Date: 11-2007
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: United States Institute of Peace
  • Abstract: Regional mediators and international facilitators helped the two main opposing forces in Sudan's fifty-year civil war, the National Congress Party (NCP) of the North and the Sudan Peoples Liberation Movement and Army (SPLM/A) of the South, to reach a detailed Comprehensive Peace Agreement (CPA) after two-and-a-half years of negotiation, from 2002 to 2005. The United States served as the catalyst for the peace process and then became part of a group of facilitators including the United Kingdom, Norway, and Italy. At different points during negotiations, each of these countries exerted influence on the Sudanese parties. Kenya took the lead in mediating the negotiations under General Lazaro Sumbeiywo. Sudan Vice President Ali Osman Taha, representing the North, and Dr. John Garang, representing the South, spent fifteen months negotiating the final agreement in Naivasha, Kenya. Implementation of the CPA requires continuing good security with minimal fighting, agreement on the boundaries of North and South that affect the distribution of Sudan's oil wealth, completion of midterm elections, and a referendum in the South. Slow implementation of key provisions of the CPA is causing Sudanese to question the political will and even the good faith of the northern government. Failure to provide an immediate peace dividend, lack of competence in managing southern expectations, and corruption have led to public criticism of the southern authorities. Hope is waning that the CPA will pave the way to a modern, united Sudan with a government responsive to all its peoples. The SPLM/A leadership is focusing on developing the South rather than creating a national political movement. The crisis in Darfur has diverted the international community's attention. Implementing the CPA will require sustained international pressure and imagination to help resolve numerous political, economic, and social problems.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution, International Relations, Regional Cooperation
  • Political Geography: Kenya, Africa, United States, United Kingdom, Sudan, Norway, Italy
  • Author: Priscilla Clapp
  • Publication Date: 11-2007
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: United States Institute of Peace
  • Abstract: In August and September 2007, nearly twenty years after the 1988 popular uprising in Burma, public anger at the government's economic policies once again spilled into the country's city streets in the form of mass protests. When tens of thousands of Buddhist monks joined the protests, the military regime reacted with brute force, beating, killing, and jailing thousands of people. Although the Saffron Revolution was put down, the regime still faces serious opposition and unrest. Burma's forty-five years of military rule have seen periodic popular uprisings and lingering ethnic insurgencies, which invariably provoke harsh military responses and thereby serve to perpetuate and strengthen military rule. The recent attack on the monks, however, was ill considered and left Burma's devoutly religious population deeply resentful toward the ruling generals. Despite the widespread resentment against the generals, a successful transition to democracy will have to include the military. Positive change is likely to start with the regime's current (though imperfect) plan for return to military-dominated parliamentary government, and achieving real democracy may take many years. When Than Shwe, the current top general, is replaced, prospects for working with more moderate military leaders may improve. In the end, however, only comprehensive political and economic reform will release the military's grip on the country. Creating the conditions for stable, effective democracy in Burma will require decades of political and economic restructuring and reform, including comprehensive macroeconomic reform, developing a democratic constitution and political culture, reestablishing rule of law, rebuilding government structures at national and state levels, and building adequate health and educational institutions. The international community must give its sustained attention to Burma, continuing to press the regime for dialogue with the forces of democracy, beginning with popular democracy leader Aung San Suu Kyi, and insisting on an inclusive constitutional process. International players should also urge the regime immediately to establish a national commission of experts to begin studying and making recommendation economic restructuring to address the underlying concerns that brought about the Saffron Revolution. Though China is concerned about the Burmese regime's incompetence, it has only limited sway with the generals, who are fiercely anticommunist and nationalistic. Nonetheless, Beijing will cautiously support and contribute to an international effort to bring transition, realizing that Burma will be seen as a test of China's responsibility as a world power. The United States should restrain its tendency to reach simply for more unilateral sanctions whenever it focuses on Burma. Because a transition negotiated with opposition parties is still likely to produce an elected government with heavy military influence, the United States must prepare to engage with an imperfect Burmese democracy and participate fully in reconstruction and reform efforts, which will require easing some existing sanction.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution, International Relations, Democratization
  • Political Geography: United States, China, Beijing, Burma, Southeast Asia
  • Author: Emily Hsu, Yll Bajraktari
  • Publication Date: 10-2007
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: United States Institute of Peace
  • Abstract: In war-torn societies, the development of independent, pluralistic, and sustainable media is critical to fostering long-term peace and stability. Post-conflict civilian populations are particularly vulnerable to manipulation by mass media as tensions run high and the possibility of violent relapse remains strong. Many civilians harbor deep skepticism and mistrust of the media, being accustomed to platforms that are controlled either by the state or by political groups looking to further their political agendas. An effective media strategy can mitigate postwar tensions by elevating moderate voices and dampening extremist ones. It can create peaceful channels through which differences can be resolved without resort to violence. The creation of a robust media culture will also allow citizens to begin holding their government accountable for its actions and ensuring its commitment to democracy. Efforts to develop local media institutions should be undertaken separately from attempts to develop strategic communications. In an increasing number of non-permissive envi¬ronments (i.e., environments where security is not fully established), the distinction between these two endeavors is blurred because of a mistaken assumption among some players that both activities share the same purpose and goal. A poorly developed media strategy can be detrimental in a war-ravaged country still rife with violence. A hastily conceived plan may reinforce divisions between warring parties or create a weak media sector that is vulnerable to exploitation by warlords, political patrons, and spoilers. Media development efforts also fail when the public does not trust them to establish a credible source of information. Ideally, given the media's capacity to shape war-torn countries, interveners should apply a coherent strategy in the pursuit of media development. Unfortunately, no such strategy yet exists and thus interveners have little guidance as to what tools and methods work best in the development of media institutions. In fact, media development is still conducted on an ad hoc basis from conflict to conflict. This report seeks to fill this strategic gap. More particularly, it recommends that interveners take the following series of steps as they generate a strategy for media development in post-conflict zones.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution, Democratization, Development, Education, War
  • Author: Robert M. Perito
  • Publication Date: 08-2007
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: United States Institute of Peace
  • Abstract: The first obligation of an international intervention force in a peace or stability operation is to provide security for the civilian population. Inevitably the arrival of foreign military forces is followed by a breakdown of public order. Historically U.S. military forces have been unable or unwilling to perform police functions to control large-scale civil unrest. This was true in Iraq, where looters destroyed government buildings, cultural centers, and commercial areas. The United States lacks civilian constabulary (gendarmes) or other national police forces specially trained for crowd and riot control. Instead the U.S. relies on civil police provided by commercial contractors that do not perform this function. Fortunately the U.S. government is taking steps to address this deficiency. Current State Department plans call for creation of a Civilian Reserve Corps that would have a police component. There is no agreement on the ultimate size and character of this police capacity. However, the history of U.S. interventions from Panama to Iraq argues for a robust capability. A review of U.S. interventions in post-conflict environments demonstrates that the United States has repeatedly needed highly capable police forces but has lacked the capacity to respond effectively. The case studies in this report provide lessons applicable to future operations. The State Department's current efforts are a useful first step that will give an opportunity to create the basic infrastructure for expansion of U.S. capabilities in peace and stability operations.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution, Conflict Prevention, Security, International Cooperation
  • Political Geography: United States, Iraq
  • Author: Renee Garfinkel
  • Publication Date: 04-2007
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: United States Institute of Peace
  • Abstract: Just as people become religious extremists, some of them abandon extremism and embrace peace. For some this change is a spiritual transformation, similar to religious conversion. Under certain circumstances stress, crisis, and trauma appear to play an important role in the process of change. Geographic relocation may be important for some. Migration involves novelty, insecurity, and instability, conditions that enhance vulnerability and, perhaps, openness to change. The transformation experienced by religious extremists involves a reorientation in outlook and direction but does not necessarily imply an alteration in basic personality structure. A key factor in the transition is personal relationships. Change often hinges on a relationship with a mentor or friend who supports and affirms peaceful behavior.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution, Development, Peace Studies, Religion
  • Author: Alan Schwartz
  • Publication Date: 10-2006
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: United States Institute of Peace
  • Abstract: Three workshops explored hundreds of forces and factors relevant to insurgency outcomes and focused on key drivers to develop five alternative scenarios. These scenarios reflected the participants' perception that positive outcomes would be hard to achieve, and negative outcomes could be foreseen much more easily. The workshops' principal finding is that U.S. goals for Iraq and the region should be reexamined and scaled back. The administration's expressed goal of “an Iraq that is peaceful, united, stable, democratic, and secure, where Iraqis have the institutions and resources they need to govern themselves justly and provide security for their country” is possible only in the very long term. Avoidance of disaster and maintenance of some modicum of political stability in Iraq are more realistic goals—but even these will be hard to achieve without new strategies and actions. The scenarios include recommended adjustments to U.S. goals and strategies to achieve reduced expectations. Unfortunately, the United States is now in a position to influence but not to control outcomes; it will have to engage and enlist the cooperation of Iraq's neighbors to attain success. This report broadly outlines the strategies that appear best suited to the current situation and the unfolding futures the participants envisioned.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution, Development, Peace Studies
  • Political Geography: United States, Iraq, Middle East
  • Author: Abubakar Siddique, Barnett R. Rubin
  • Publication Date: 10-2006
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: United States Institute of Peace
  • Abstract: The Taliban and al Qaeda insurgencies today are equally active in Afghanistan and Pakistan. The nationalist insurgency in Pakistani Baluchistan, which Pakistani leaders assert receives support from Indian agents in Afghanistan, also aggravates relations between the two countries. The challenges of violent insurgency require both countries to address their relationship, particularly as it affects the border areas. Formation of such a policy is essential to the vital interests of the United States, NATO, and the international community, which has committed itself to the effort in Afghanistan through UN Security Council resolutions and other measures Afghanistan and Pakistan have had largely antagonistic relations under all governments but the Taliban since Pakistan was created as part of the partition of India in 1947. Some elements of friction were also inherited from conflicts between Afghanistan and India when it was under British imperial rule. Afghanistan's governments, including that of the Taliban, have never recognized the Durand Line between the two countries as an international border and have made claims on the Pashtun and Baluch regions of Pakistan. Today 's cross-border insurgencies, with their sanctuaries and support networks in Pakistan, are nurtured by the same sources as previous conflicts, as well as global Islamist movements. Arrangements to secure the frontier of the British Empire in the nineteenth century by isolating Afghanistan as a buffer state do not work for a twenty-first-century borderland integrated into networks of global conflict. The United States and other external powers that seek to support the new order in Afghanistan and stabilize both Pakistan and Afghanistan should encourage a multidimensional process of dialogue and peacebuilding focused on the problems of the border region. Pressure may also be needed to convince some actors to engage seriously in such a process, but pressure alone will not succeed. A process should work toward reforms in the Federally Administered Tribal Areas (FATA) of Pakistan, leading to their integration into Pakistani national politics and administration; the recognition by Afghanistan of the international border; assured access by Afghanistan to Pakistani ports and transit facilities; the maintenance by both countries of open borders for trade, investment, and cultural relations; agreement by both countries and by India to keep the India-Pakistan dispute out of Afghanistan 's bilateral relations with both; and agreements on both sides to cease supporting or harboring violent opposition movements against the other. The United States, NATO, and the UN must agree to send a common message to Islamabad: that the persistence of Taliban havens in Pakistan is a threat to international peace and security that Pakistan must address immediately. They also must agree to urge Afghanistan and India to do all in their power to encourage Pakistan to make difficult decisions by addressing sources of Pakistani insecurity, including issues relating to the border region and Kashmir. They should actively promote this process and act as guarantors and funders of any agreements that result from it.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution, Government, United Nations
  • Political Geography: Pakistan, Afghanistan, United States, United Kingdom, India, Taliban, Kashmir
  • Author: Pierre Hazan
  • Publication Date: 07-2006
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: United States Institute of Peace
  • Abstract: Facing the Atlantic and Mediterranean, just nine miles from the Spanish coast, Morocco is essential for stability in Europe, Africa, the Middle East, and American interests in these regions. The United States and the European Union fully recognize its strategic importance. Its proximity, large diaspora, and extensive trade with Europe place it at the top of the EU's Mediterranean strategy agenda. The United States has designated Morocco a major non-NATO ally; it also was one of the first Arab countries to sign a free-trade agreement with the United States. The Kingdom of Morocco is facing four challenges: weak economic growth; a social crisis resulting from social inequalities, with 20 percent of the population in absolute poverty and 57 percent illiterate; lack of trust in the governing institutions because of the high level of corruption; and an unstable regional and international environment. These factors strengthen the appeal of various Islamist movements, from moderate to more radical groups such as the authors of the deadly bombings in Casablanca in 2003 and Madrid in 2004. Moreover, the conflict over the Western Sahara places Morocco's and Algeria's armies, the two most powerful in North Africa, toe to toe. Unlike Tunisia and Algeria, since the end of the Cold War Morocco has taken steps toward political liberalization, and its pace has accelerated since Mohammed VI came to the throne in 1999. As part of the process of liberalization, the king established a truth and reconciliation commission (TRC) in January 2004. This is one of very few cases in which a TRC was created without a regime change. Thousands of victims tortured during the reign of King Mohammed's father, King Hassan II, have been given the opportunity to voice their sufferings publicly and have been promised financial compensation. Such outcomes are unprecedented in a region known for its culture of impunity. Morocco is the first Arab Islamic society to establish a TRC. Its experience shows that political factors play a primary role in the functioning of such a body, while religious and cultural factors are of secondary importance. Although the Moroccan TRC is not an exportable model, it could inspire other majority Muslim societies, such as Afghanistan and Lebanon, which are envisaging or might set up TRCs to confront crimes of past regimes. Some security experts hoped the TRC would be effective in the “soft war” against terrorism by winning the hearts and minds of the population. The actual experience in Morocco shows the limits of this approach. The tension is too strong between the perceived requirements of the antiterrorist struggle and a process to establish accountability for past crimes and advance democratization. In the final analysis, the “war against terrorism” has limited the TRC's impact in Morocco. The report of the Moroccan TRC, published in early 2006, recommended diminution of executive powers, strengthening of parliament, and real independence for the judicial branch. The king and the political parties must decide in the coming years if they will permit the transformation of the “executive monarchy” of Morocco into a parliamentary monarchy. This decision will affect the stability of the kingdom, North Africa, and, to a lesser extent, Europe and the Middle East.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution, International Relations, Development
  • Political Geography: Afghanistan, Africa, United States, America, Europe, Middle East, Arabia, Algeria, Spain, North Africa, Lebanon, Morocco, Tunisia
  • Author: Anna Theofilopoulou
  • Publication Date: 07-2006
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: United States Institute of Peace
  • Abstract: This study examines the efforts of the United Nations (UN) to resolve the dispute over Western Sahara from August 1988, when Secretary-general Pérez de Cuellar submitted the settlement proposals to the two parties—the Kingdom of Morocco and the Polisario—until June 2004, when James A. Baker III, the secretary-general's personal envoy on Western Sahara, resigned. The settlement proposals were to lead to the holding of a referendum on self-determination for the people of Western Sahara, offering a choice between integration with Morocco or independence. A crucial element in the implementation of the plan was the identification of voters for the referendum, which both sides considered the key to producing an outcome in their favor. The Polisario had a restricted view, expecting the 1974 Spanish census of the territory to be the framework for the identification, while Morocco took an expansive view by trying to include tens of thousands of applicants of Saharan origin now living in Morocco. Both parties found reasons to interrupt the identification process. Throughout the process, the UN tried to break the impasses created by the parties through technical solutions that addressed the problem at hand without addressing the underlying political problem, which was the determination by both sides to win the referendum. After six years of trying to move forward the identification process, Secretary-General Kofi Annan asked James Baker to become his personal envoy in order to steer the parties toward a political solution and away from the “winner-take-all” approach of the referendum. However, because both parties insisted that they wanted to proceed with the plan, Baker helped them negotiate the Houston Agreements, which allowed for the completion of the identification process. In September 2000, seeing that the referendum was not likely to work in its favor, Morocco offered to discuss a political solution aiming at autonomy under Moroccan sovereignty. The Polisario, which until the conclusion of the identification had been interested in meeting directly with Morocco, now believed that it could win the referendum and therefore said it would talk only about the settlement plan. After two more years of trying to get the parties to agree to a political solution, Baker informed the Security Council that a consensual approach would not work and requested that the Council ask the parties to choose one of four options, none of which would require the parties' consent, to resolve the conflict. The Security Council was unable to agree on any of the four options and asked Baker to prepare another political proposal that would include self-determination for the people of Western Sahara. Baker's final attempt was the Peace Plan for Self- Determination of the People of Western Sahara, which provided for a period of autonomy followed by a referendum on self-determination. Morocco rejected the plan and refused to accept a referendum in which the independence of Western Sahara would even appear as an option. The Security Council, while having expressed support for Baker's efforts in its resolutions, proved unwilling to ask the parties to make the difficult decisions required to solve the conflict. When Morocco rejected the peace plan, the Council, despite having unanimously supported it, did nothing. The study concludes that Western Sahara will remain on the UN agenda for many years to come and offers a number of lessons learned from this failed mediation effort.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution, Politics, United Nations
  • Political Geography: Africa, Morocco