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  • 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
  • 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: 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: Zekria Barakzai
  • Publication Date: 10-2013
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: United States Institute of Peace
  • Abstract: The constitution of Afghanistan, though formally enshrining the internationally recognized standards of a “free, universal, secret, and direct vote” for elected institutions, is a flawed document with respect to many aspects of the electoral process. Deficiencies in the electoral legislation have been addressed. For the first time, the legislation governing the polls has been adopted by parliament rather than issued by decree. In addition, the commissioners for both the Independent Election Commission of Afghanistan (IEC) and the Electoral Complaints Commission (ECC) are appointed through a consultative process involving the legislature and judiciary, and not simply by presidential appointment as was the case previously.
  • Topic: Corruption, Democratization, Development, Counterinsurgency
  • Political Geography: Afghanistan, Central Asia
  • Author: Leonard S. Rubenstein, Rohini Jonnalagadda Haar
  • Publication Date: 01-2012
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: United States Institute of Peace
  • Abstract: The populations of states experiencing severe instability or unable to meet the basic functions of governance—referred to as fragile states—as well as those embroiled in conflict make up one-sixth of the world's population and suffer from far poorer health than their counterparts in other states at comparable stages of development. During many armed conflicts, health facilities and health workers come under attack, and infrastructure is often destroyed, inducing health workers to leave and undermining management capacity, thus further depleting health system competence to meet basic needs. Evidence is emerging that effective and equitable health services may be a central contributor to state legitimacy. All too often, health interventions in fragile and conflict-affected states are limited to humanitarian relief, which does not advance either health systems development or state legitimacy. Two decades of experience in development of health systems in fragile and conflict-affected states have shown a need to address weaknesses in policy, leadership, management capacty, human resources for health, supplies, service delivery, and data collection and evaluation through World Health Organization's (WHO) building blocks for health services. The military's record of engagement in civilian health systems development is poor, and its efforts to use health interventions to promote stability have not proven fruitful. Its most appropriate role in civilian health in fragile and conflict-affected states is to provide or support health services in highly insecure areas. Donors have not made health systems development in such states a priority in global health programs. Investments are often seen as politically or financially risky, and as having lower potential payoffs. Given the poor health indicators in these states, however, health devel¬opment in fragile and conflict-affected states should be a higher priority. Donors need to confront directly whether the goal of health development is stabilization or population health. Research is warranted on the relationships between health and armed conflict and between health development and state building.
  • Topic: Development, Health, Terrorism, Counterinsurgency, Fragile/Failed State
  • 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: Andrew Robertson
  • Publication Date: 12-2012
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: United States Institute of Peace
  • Abstract: For many of the one and half billion people living in fragile states, violent conflict is the principal impediment to development, disrupting food production and destroying agricultural investments. Extension systems have improved agricultural productivity, profitability, and sustainability by providing technical and commercial information that changes farmer practice and could help farming communities struggling to deal with the consequences of war. Extension systems are, however, under substantial pressure, and most national budgets for extension are in long-term decline. Given such pressures, managers of extension systems will likely insist they are hard pressed to develop the competencies needed to support sustainable growth in agriculture, let alone accept additional responsibilities for peacebuilding. Decentralized, participatory market-driven extension systems have been successful in augmenting farmer capabilities with additional competencies, such as financial and market knowledge. Offering access to expertise (rather than expertise itself), agents in decentralized systems can respond quickly and effectively to varied farmer needs. Agents could use these same approaches to connect farmers to the experts and resources they need to manage conflict in their communities. Information technology can provide the capacity to match agricultural and conflict management expertise to farmer need. It can improve the reach and productivity of extension agents as it reduces the risk of inappropriate use of system resources. Training and technical support are necessary to improve transparency and accountability.
  • Topic: Agriculture, Development, Economics, Markets, Post Colonialism, Fragile/Failed State
  • 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: 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: Jok Madut Jok
  • Publication Date: 09-2011
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: United States Institute of Peace
  • Abstract: The government of South Sudan and its development partners appear to be heavily focused on state building and less so on nation building: the question of how to turn the young state into a nation in which all South Sudanese can see themselves represented. Whatever projects a new country conceives, it has to view nation and state as inseparable components of the same project, not focusing too much on one without investing in the other. Most South Sudanese interviewed for this project assert that the most obvious impediment to national cohesion is exclusion from the national platform, especially exclusion along ethnic lines. Corruption, nepotism, and exclusion from access to government jobs were also raised as issues that the government will need to address directly for citizens to have pride in their nation. There is a widespread sense of worry about the viability of South Sudan as a nation due to insecurity, especially insecurity rooted in the current ethnic conflicts occurring in seven out of the ten states. Both political leaders and ordinary citizens recognize the importance of national unity and the equitable display and celebration of cultural diversity as a national asset; representation of all ethnic nationalities and creation of a broad-based government is central to South Sudan's transition to nationhood. The immediate challenge involves creating programs that promote citizenship in the nation over ethnic citizenship. The opaque climate of the transitional constitutional review process has not earned the government much trust from all sectors of society, and this has made for a bad start toward national consensus. As a multiethnic society, South Sudan also is confronted with the question of a language policy. To speed up the process of nation building, the government will need to transform current discussions on language into practical decisions regarding the development of a national language. Identifying five national languages that represent the three greater regions of the country would be one way to approach it. Ultimately, a viable South Sudan has to stand on four strong pillars: political unity, a disciplined military, quick and equitable service delivery, and a vibrant civil society.
  • Topic: Corruption, Development, Governance, Self Determination
  • Political Geography: Africa, South Sudan
  • Author: Marc Sommers, Stephanie Schwartz
  • Publication Date: 11-2011
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: United States Institute of Peace
  • Abstract: Most South Sudanese youth are undereducated and underemployed, and their priorities and perspectives are largely unknown. To address this critical knowledge gap, the authors conducted field research between April and May 2011 with youth, adults, and government and nongovernment officials in Juba and two South Sudanese states. The increasing inability of male youth to meet rising dowry (bride price) demands was the main research finding. Unable to meet these demands, many male youth enlist in militias, join cattle raids, or seek wives from different ethnic groups or countries. Skyrocketing dowry demands have negatively and alarmingly affected female youth. They are routinely viewed as property that can generate family wealth. Potent new postwar identities involving youth returning from Khartoum, refugee asylum countries, and those who never left South Sudan, are stimulating hostility and conflict. Excess demand on government jobs, widespread reports of nepotism in government hiring practices, cultural restrictions against many kinds of work, and a general lack of entrepreneurial vision are fueling an exceptionally challenging youth employment situation. Gang activities continue to thrive in some urban centers in South Sudan. They are reportedly dominated by youth with connections to government officials and by orphans. While most undereducated youth highlighted dowry and marriage as their primary concerns, members of the elite youth minority emphasized vocational training and scholarships for higher education. While South Sudanese youth view their government as the primary source of education, jobs, and hope, the government of South Sudan does not appear poised to provide substantial support to vital youth priorities related to dowry, employment, education, and training. The government of South Sudan and its international partners need to proactively address nonelite youth priorities. They must find ways to cap dowry demands, protect female youth, and support orphan youth, in addition to expanding quality education, job training, and English language training.
  • Topic: Demographics, Development, Gender Issues, Political Economy, Sociology, Youth Culture
  • Political Geography: Africa, South Sudan
  • Author: Mark Sedra
  • Publication Date: 11-2011
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: United States Institute of Peace
  • Abstract: The events of the Arab Spring are a unique and unprecedented opportunity for democratic political change for the Middle East and North Africa, but the political transitions in that region remain fragile. The United States and other external actors can help the new democratic regimes by supporting their efforts at security sector reform (SSR).
  • Topic: Democratization, Development, Regime Change
  • Political Geography: Middle East, Arabia, North Africa
  • Author: Jok Madut Jok
  • Publication Date: 09-2011
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: United States Institute of Peace
  • Abstract: The government of South Sudan and its development partners appear to be heavily focused on state building and less so on nation building: the question of how to turn the young state into a nation in which all South Sudanese can see themselves represented.
  • Topic: Civil Society, Development, Ethnic Conflict, Fragile/Failed State, Governance
  • Political Geography: Africa
  • 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
  • Author: Seth G. Jones, C. Christine Fair
  • Publication Date: 02-2009
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: United States Institute of Peace
  • Abstract: More than seven years after U.S. forces entered Afghanistan, important gains made in bringing stability and democracy to Afghanistan are imperiled. While there have been some positive developments in such areas as economic growth, the Taliban and other insurgent groups have gained some ground in the country and in neighboring Pakistan, the drug trade remains a significant problem, and corruption has worsened in the Afghan government. According to United Nations data, insurgent incidents have increased every year since the 2001 overthrow of the Taliban regime. The situation in parts of Afghanistan's south and east is particularly concerning because of the twin menace of insurgent and criminal activity. Despite these challenges, the insurgency remains deeply fractured among a range of groups, and most have little support among the Afghan population. This presents an opportunity for Afghans and the international community to turn the situation around.
  • Topic: Security, Political Violence, Development, Economics, War
  • Political Geography: Afghanistan, United States, Central Asia
  • 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: Raymond Gilpin, Martha Honey
  • Publication Date: 10-2009
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: United States Institute of Peace
  • Abstract: Although often underestimated, the tourism industry can help promote peace and stability in developing countries by providing jobs, generating income, diversifying the economy, protecting the environment, and promoting cross-cultural awareness. Tourism is the fourth-largest industry in the global economy.
  • Topic: Climate Change, Development, Globalization, Third World
  • Political Geography: India, Nigeria
  • Author: Robert Maguire
  • Publication Date: 10-2009
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: United States Institute of Peace
  • Abstract: In April 2009, multilateral and bilateral donors pledged $353 million to support the government of Haiti's plan to alleviate poverty, mitigate the effects of natural disasters, and achieve sustained economic growth.
  • Topic: Development, Health, Poverty, Third World, Foreign Aid
  • Political Geography: Caribbean
  • Author: Leonard S. Rubenstein
  • Publication Date: 09-2009
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: United States Institute of Peace
  • Abstract: The stabilization and reconstruction of states emerging from conflict has gained increasing attention in U.S. foreign policy as means to promote well-governed states, avoid future conflict and alleviate the enduring human suffering from war. Over the last two decades, stabilization and reconstruction initiatives supported by the United States and other donors have sometimes included investments in re-establishing – or in some cases, establishing for the first time – a system of health services for the population. Despite the knowledge generated and the encouraging outcomes of many of these programs, however, and the increasing attention to and financial commitments to global health in U.S. foreign assistance, the place and priority of health reconstruction as part of post-conflict U.S. stabilization initiatives remain undefined.
  • Topic: Foreign Policy, Development, Humanitarian Aid, Foreign Aid
  • Political Geography: United States
  • Author: Linda S. Bishai
  • Publication Date: 02-2008
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: United States Institute of Peace
  • Abstract: Education is an important resource for any country, but it is especially valuable in spreading the values that transform a wartime society into one with a culture of peace. Some of the structural inequities besetting the educational system in Sudan today stem from the colonial period and policies set during the early days of independence. Efforts to unify the country through an Arabic national curriculum caused resentment and alienation in the non-Arab communities and exacerbated civil conflicts. Sudanese universities have historically been the incubators of political change in Sudan, and student unions in particular have retained a tradition of vibrant—and sometimes violent—political activity. The education revolution implemented by the current regime in the 1990s overextended Sudanese universities, resulting in an extreme teacher deficit and the degradation of university resources and degrees. Various additional policies had the effect of intimidating university students and teachers, changing the atmosphere on campuses and leading to a nonreflective focus on exam results and to little intellectual exchange. In the interim period between the signing of the Comprehensive Peace Agreement (CPA) and the general election, a new openness allowed universities to begin to revive their historical intellectual traditions. This openness will be vital for securing peace with the South and for eventually reconciling Darfur and the East. A productive model has been illustrated by efforts to engage Sudanese universities with their local communities as sites for the development and sharing of public information, culture, and the acceptance of difference. The international community should advocate creative collaboration, research, and teaching exchanges both to and from Sudan, encourage international conferences involving Sudanese students and faculty, and pay active attention to restoring Sudanese libraries and research facilities. Sudanese education officials, university faculty, and civil-society organizations should work together to counter four key educational problems: the lack of exposure to critical thinking and research skills; the lack of vibrant extracurricular life; the alienation of universities from their local communities; and the recurring pattern of violent student activism.
  • Topic: Development, Education, Ethnic Conflict
  • Political Geography: Africa, Sudan
  • Author: Yll Bajraktari, Christina Parajon
  • Publication Date: 01-2008
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: United States Institute of Peace
  • Abstract: The development of media in post-Taliban Afghanistan has been relatively successful (compared with both the Taliban regime and other countries subject to international intervention) in establishing free and responsible expression despite the lack of electricity, harsh terrain, absence of viable media outlets during the Taliban regime, and a conservative religious society that subordinates women. However, Afghanistan's media development remains incomplete. Since it still faces many challenges, the international community must continue to assist and support it.
  • Topic: Democratization, Development, Education
  • Political Geography: Afghanistan, Asia, Taliban
  • Author: Merriam Mashatt, Major General Daniel Long, James Crum
  • Publication Date: 01-2008
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: United States Institute of Peace
  • Abstract: Infrastructure development is the foundation of a sustainable economy and a means to achieving broader nation-building goals. Providing basic services is critical to security, governance, economic development, and social well-being. U.S. military forces have improved planning and coordination mechanisms and have created doctrine, planning processes, and training exercises that are shared by all branches of the military. This type and level of coordination mechanism is necessary for civilian and military coordination, as well, and progress is starting to be made in this important area. The complexity of the Federal Acquisition Regulations (FAR) often results in missed opportunities to act quickly in restoring essential services. Contracting officers are often reluctant to take chances in expediting infrastructure contracts due to concerns about violating the FAR. Simplified contracting, use of smaller projects, and reach - back support are three ways to ensure fleeting opportunities are not lost. In conflict-sensitive environments, the condition of infrastructure is often a barometer of whether a society will slip further into violence or make a peaceful transition out of the conflict cycle. The rapid restoration of essential services, such as water, sanitation, and electricity, assists in the perception of a return to normalcy and contributes to the peace process. According to James I. Wasserstrom, head of the Office for Oversight of Publicly- Owned Enterprises (utilities) in the United Nations Mission in Kosovo, infrastructure adds “arms and legs” to strategies aimed at winning “hearts and minds.” Infrastructure is fundamental to moving popular support away from prewar or during-conflict loyalties and to moving spoilers in favor of postwar political objectives. This U.S. Institute of Peace Special Report presents a model that links the infrastructure cycle with conflict analysis. This model is helpful to focus the attention of the infrastructure program planners and implementers on the conflict cycle. In many instances, infrastructure experts approach problems from an engineering perspective. While this view is important, it must be married with an appreciation of the conflict dynamic. Indeed, traditional engineering concerns, such as efficiency, are secondary in a conflict-sensitive approach.
  • Topic: Defense Policy, Development, Government
  • Political Geography: United States, Kosovo
  • Author: Ethan Beuno de Mesquita
  • Publication Date: 05-2007
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: United States Institute of Peace
  • Abstract: This report examines the correlates of individual-level support for terrorism in fourteen Muslim countries. I identify a variety of factors that are correlated with support for terrorism. These factors can be divided into a several categories: attitudes toward Islam, attitudes toward the United States, attitudes toward politics and economics in the home countries, and demographic factors.
  • Topic: Development, Peace Studies, Religion, Terrorism
  • Political Geography: United States
  • Author: Merriam Mashatt, Johanna Mendelson-Forman
  • Publication Date: 03-2007
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: United States Institute of Peace
  • Abstract: It seems logical that improving the lives of those who have suffered from conflict would include a program to generate economic well-being in the immediate period after hostilities subside. Yet livelihood creation, the root of potential economic success and security, has often become a secondary objective in the transformation from war to peace. An obvious reason for this relegation to a lower priority is that security, humanitarian needs, and restoring the rule of law often overtake the economic development priorities of any peace-building mission. Even in Iraq, the largest stabilization and reconstruction effort undertaken by the U.S. government, restoring livelihoods and getting people back to work remains an unresolved challenge and an unmet agenda. Of the nearly $20 billion of U.S.-appropriated funds to reconstruct Iraq, only $805 million was directed toward jump-starting the private sector. Although employment generation is not a new subject in “postwar” literature, lessons about implementation vary from one country to the next. Current knowledge about “golden hour” job creation, which is creating jobs within one year of the cessation of hostilities, is culled more from specific pilot studies than from a coherent overview of what tools exist and how they can be applied. This report advances current research by providing such an overview for U.S. government policymakers. It seeks to help the U.S. government work through the lessons learned about the processes needed to generate employment. Moreover, it explores the U.S. government strategy toward golden hour job creation, the existing civilian and military tools, and how these tools can be better incorporated into larger transformation efforts. The report also notes the limitations of U.S. civilian capacity in a nonpermissive environment.
  • Topic: Security, Development, Economics, Peace Studies
  • Political Geography: United States
  • 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: 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: Robert M. Perito
  • Publication Date: 03-2007
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: United States Institute of Peace
  • Abstract: Provincial Reconstruction Teams (PRTs) are small civilian-military units that assist provincial and local governments in Iraq to govern effectively and deliver essential services. In January 2007 President Bush announced that the United States would double the number of PRTs as part of his plan for a “New Way Forward.” Ten new PRTs will be embedded with Brigade Combat Teams (BCTs) in Baghdad, Anbar, and Babil. The new PRTs will differ significantly from the ten original PRTs set up in Iraq in November 2005. Led by the State Department, most of the original PRTs are located on U.S. military bases and rely on the military for security and logistical support. Both types of PRTs in Iraq differ in staffing and organization from PRTs in Afghanistan. Start-up of the PRT program in Iraq has been troubled by interagency differences over funding, staffing, and administrative support and by the overriding challenge of providing security. Embedding the new PRTs with BCTs should help overcome many of these problems. Despite the problems, PRTs provide a U.S. civilian presence in areas that would not be served otherwise. Participants in PRTs believe they are having a positive effect.
  • Topic: Civil Society, Development, Government
  • Political Geography: Afghanistan, United States, Iraq, Middle East
  • Author: Robert Pringle
  • Publication Date: 10-2006
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: United States Institute of Peace
  • Abstract: Since the 1991 uprising, which saw the ouster of the country's long-standing military dictator and ushered in a democratically elected government, Mali has achieved a record of democratization that is among the best in Africa. This process has been driven by multiple factors. External observers often point to broader Africa-wide change and a remarkable constellation of “founding fathers” who demonstrated vision and self-sacrifice following the change of government. But if you ask Malians why their country has successfully democratized, most of them will respond by stressing Mali's heritage of tolerance and decentralized government, dating back more than a millennium to the Ghana Empire and its two successor states. For Malians, democratization combined with decentralization is a homecoming rather than a venture into uncharted waters. But they recognize that the country's democratization process continues to be a difficult one, inevitably laced with controversy. Although satisfaction levels remain generally high, there is a near-universal desire for more rapid progress toward improved quality of life. This unease suggests the possibility that despite their legendary patience, Malians may eventually lose hope and faith in democracy unless economic growth accelerates.
  • Topic: Democratization, Development, Government
  • Political Geography: Africa, Ghana
  • 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: Jason Crosby, Don Hays
  • Publication Date: 10-2006
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: United States Institute of Peace
  • Abstract: The citizens of Bosnia are united in wanting EU accession and its benefits. However, the constitution as it stands will greatly inhibit Bosnia's ability to move toward accession. Under the current constitution, ethnically based political parties still can thwart the state and prevent Bosnia from entering the EU. The constitution vests power in two entities, the Federation and the Republika Srpska, granting most governmental functions to them and only the most limited powers to the central government. Despite numerous state-building reforms, it is questionable whether the state can implement the broad range of measures the EU requires for accession. With the high representative's departure scheduled for June 2007, the state's capacity to implement the accession requirements becomes critical. A recent report by the Venice Commission outlines the reforms necessary to prepare the state for the accession process. Only Bosnia's politicians can undertake the fundamental changes required for accession. In response to this challenge the leaders of the major political parties undertook a consensus-driven process facilitated by representatives of the Institute, the Public International Law and Policy Group, and the Dayton Project. The goal was to produce a package of constitutional amendments by October 2005 to strengthen the state. Over twelve months, representatives developed amendments clarifying group rights, individual and minority rights, and mechanisms for protecting the “vital national interests” of Bosnia's constituent peoples. They also included reforms to strengthen the government and the powers of the prime minister, reduce the president's duties, and streamline parliamentary procedures. The parties presented their agreement to parliament, and on April 26, 2006, the package failed by two votes to achieve the necessary two-thirds majority. To answer the question of where Bosnia-Herzogovina (BiH) goes from here, the parties decided to wait until after elections in October 2006 to resubmit the package to parliament, in hopes that its political alignment will change enough to ensure passage.
  • Topic: Development, Politics
  • Political Geography: Bosnia, Eastern Europe
  • Author: Stephen Farry
  • Publication Date: 09-2006
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: United States Institute of Peace
  • Abstract: The British and Irish governments have declared that talks in 2006 will be “make or break” for reestablishing the political institutions that have been suspended since 2002. There is a serious prospect that the Assembly, the agreement's key institution, could be dissolved. Political polarization has created a new context for mediators, in which the relatively extreme Democratic Unionist Party (DUP) and Sinn Féin have overtaken their more moderate unionist and nationalist rivals in the Ulster Unionist Party (UUP) and the Social Democratic and Labour Party (SDLP), respectively. Having historically based their efforts on trying to build an agreement primarily around the moderates, the governments are in uncharted waters in trying to reach a renewed accommodation. Furthermore, the package of incentives and disincentives available to the governments may not be sufficient to persuade the DUP and Sinn Féin to reach accommodation. The key issues in forthcoming negotiations will be the Independent Monitoring Commission's verification of the end to all Irish Republican Army (IRA) activity, agreement on the modalities for the devolution of policing and criminal justice powers, and some changes to the details of the political institutions under the fundamental principles of the agreement. Northern Ireland's Good Friday Agreement has been held up internationally as a model for successful peacekeeping. It has had many successes, most notably the end of republican and loyalist terrorist violence, although some residual paramilitary activity and involvement in organized crime remains a problem. However, the agreement has a number of flaws, many linked to its consociational character. Furthermore, major mistakes have been made during the attempts to achieve its full implementation. The prolonged suspensions of the political institutions are its most visible failure. However, the persistence of deep communal divisions and increased political polarization have been unintended consequences. Peace has come at the price of reconciliation. No fresh accommodation is likely to prove sustainable unless the wider flaws within the agreement are addressed and the lessons from past mistakes with implementation are learned. The British and Irish governments, with the close support and advice of the Bush administration, must avoid the temptation to seek another “quick fix.” If negotiations fail this fall, a return to mass terrorism is unlikely, and the region will remain superficially “normal” in many respects, but Northern Ireland risks emerging as a dysfunctional political entity.
  • Topic: Development, Government, Treaties and Agreements
  • Political Geography: United Kingdom, Europe, North Ireland
  • Author: Camille Pampell Conaway
  • Publication Date: 08-2006
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: United States Institute of Peace
  • Abstract: It is widely recognized that women and young people are primary victims of conflict. During war, women are displaced, subjected to sexual violence and HIV/AIDS by fighting forces, and assume the caretaking role for children and the elderly. They are vulnerable to exploitation, abuse, sexual slavery, disease, and forced recruitment into armed groups. Yet as the survivors of violent conflict, women also bear the burden of reconstruction. They return to destroyed communities and begin the process of rebuilding infrastructure; restoring and developing traditions, laws, and customs; and repairing relationships. Despite rapid progress within the U.S. government to recognize the importance of women's inclusion in stabilization and reconstruction operations, no overarching strategy, mandate, or program exists to ensure implementation. Initiatives, funding, and projects remain ad hoc; research and best practices have not been consolidated; and much depends upon the individual knowledge, commitment, and insight of relevant staff at headquarters and in the field. The challenge of the Working Group on the Role of Women in Stabilization and Reconstruction Operations and the purpose of this report is to present a comprehensive list of recommendations to the U.S. government, as well as highlight several critical action areas with the potential to significantly impact the protection and participation of women in postwar situations. An ongoing, at-the-ready capability must be institutionalized within the U.S. government to enhance and protect the role of women in stabilization and reconstruction operations. The steps taken prior to an intervention will make all the difference in the success of the mission. The U.S. government should undertake the following necessary actions to make this capability an integral part of the policy process.
  • Topic: Development, Gender Issues
  • Political Geography: Middle East
  • Author: Jill Shankleman
  • Publication Date: 08-2006
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: United States Institute of Peace
  • Abstract: This report analyzes the particular challenges of stabilization and reconstruction missions in countries rich in hydrocarbons and minerals and provides lessons learned from the recent experience of such countries as Iraq, Sudan, Angola, Liberia, and Afghanistan. It offers recommendations for the U.S. government and others involved in natural resource–rich countries emerging from conflict and also to the extractive industry companies and banking sectors––that play a critical role in these states. War-torn countries rich in hydrocarbons and minerals face particular problems in the stabilization and reconstruction of their states despite the apparent promise that natural resource wealth holds. Unless deliberate efforts are made to avoid the “resource curses”—corruption, economic instability, conflict over the distribution of resource wealth and control of resource–rich areas—these curses will undermine peace building. Elite groups who receive royalties and taxes paid by extractive industry companies have shown themselves consistently resistant to democratization. Control over natural resources is fundamental to sovereignty. Ultimately, it is the governments and people of resource–rich countries who must put in place the systems that enable resource wealth to support stability and development However, through early and consistent action, the international community can play an important role in helping resource–rich states emerging from conflict manage the wealth that accrues from these resources, and can make proper wealth management a condition for donor assistance. It is essential that international missions and indigenous transitional governments immediately secure effective control of natural resource wealth (physical and monetary) and establish the laws, institutions, and capacity to manage that wealth transparently, accountably, and in ways that support reconstruction. Achieving these goals requires prior planning by relevant U.S. agencies, a willingness to confront vested interests, a consistent approach from the international community and donors, the involvement of civil society, and the deployment of human resources, such as forensic accountants able to “follow the money,” as part of the mission staff. To be successful, the extractive industries and their bankers, the international financial institutions, and non-governmental organizations (NGOs) must be brought into this process
  • Topic: Development, Economics, Environment
  • Political Geography: Afghanistan, United States, Iraq, Sudan, Middle East, Liberia, Angola
  • Author: Sumit Ganguly
  • Publication Date: 08-2006
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: United States Institute of Peace
  • Abstract: Bangladesh has generally been heralded as a stable, democratic Muslim state that has made great strides in economic and human development. Following the restoration of democracy in 1990, it carried out three largely free and fair general elections in 1991, 1996, and 2001. Since 1999, attacks by Islamist militants have been increasing. They have targeted opposition politicians, scholars, journalists, members of the judiciary, religious minorities, and members of the Islamic Ahmadiyya sect. Recent years have seen a deepening crisis in governance with continued politicization of civil society, deterioration of judicial independence, and diminishing rule of law and respect for human rights. Until very recently, the ruling coalition of Prime Minister Khaleda Zia (backed by two Islamist parties) denied the existence of Islamist militancy in Bangladesh, dismissing these charges as “hostile propaganda,” designed to besmirch the country's reputation. Following a countryside terrorist attack in August 2005 and recent suicide bombings, the government has begun cracking down on selected individuals. Indian observers and policymakers are concerned about the activities of Bangladeshi Islamists. They accuse Dhaka of exacerbating the ongoing insurgencies in India's Northeast by turning a blind eye to growing illegal immigration. They also contend that Bangladesh is cooperating with Pakistan to target India. In light of these developments, questions persist about the government's dedication to respond decisively to Islamist terrorism, conduct free and fair elections in 2007, and address the deterioration in the rule of law and respect for human rights. Because of Bangladesh's regional importance and the implications of internal security developments, the United States has limited policy options to promote its regional goals and ensure democratic elections.
  • Topic: Development, Economics, Human Welfare, Religion
  • Political Geography: Bangladesh, United States
  • 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: Jonathan Morrow
  • Publication Date: 07-2006
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: United States Institute of Peace
  • Abstract: The cycle of violence in Iraq is, in part, constitutional: it derives from competing visions of the Iraqi state that have not been reconciled. An amendment to Iraq's constitution to delay the creation of new federal regions, together with a package of legislation and intergovernmental agreements on oil, division of governmental power between Baghdad and the regions, and the judiciary, may be enough to slow or even arrest this decline in the security situation, and may be achievable. A “government of national unity,” though desirable, will not by itself be able to generate the necessary constitutional consensus. Iraq's new legislature, the Council of Representatives, is now considering the process of constitutional amendment described in Article 142 of the constitution. Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki has announced the constitutional review as part of his government's platform. This amendment process, assuming it proceeds, will come in the wake of widespread opposition to the constitution from Sunni Arab Iraqis in the October 2005 referendum. It is expected that a Constitution Review Committee (CRC) will soon be appointed, in line with Article 142. To the extent that it was opposed by Sunni Arabs, the constitution lacks the essential criterion of any constitution: the consent of all major national communities. The 2005 Iraqi constitution may nonetheless, as a legal text, be a sufficient and necessary framework for the radically regionalized Iraqi polity which the constitution drafters envisaged. The constitutional challenge in Iraq is first about peacemaking, not state building. As the Iraqi parliament faces the challenge of appointing, mandating and staffing a CRC, the first, and essential, set of questions is therefore political: How can the amendment process be used as a vehicle to remedy the political failure of last year's constitution drafting process? How can consensus be built, and in particular how can Iraq's Sunni Arabs be encouraged to give their assent to the new federal Iraq? How can Iraq's Kurdish and Shia leaders be encouraged to make worthwhile constitutional concessions to Sunni Arab positions so as to elicit that consent? The second set of questions is legal: What are the minimum constitutional amendments needed, if any, to ensure that Iraq is a viable, if not a strong, state? To the extent that the Sunni Arab position has been one that purports to defend the Iraqi state, legal or technical improvements to the text that support Baghdad's ability to govern may draw support from Sunni Arabs, thereby generating clear political benefits. There are additional legal questions that, though not strictly related to the Sunni Arab problem, are pressing: in particular, What are the minimum constitutional amendments needed, if any, to ensure that the human rights of all Iraqis receive adequate protection? It is not only the Sunni Arabs who feel disenfranchised by the constitution; nationalists, some women's groups, and groups representing Iraq's minorities express similar views. It will be very difficult to pass constitutional amendments of any sort, especially those that seek to shift power from Iraq's regions to the central government. Regional interests have the upper hand, constitutionally and politically. There is no reason to expect that the constitution's Kurdish and Shia authors will see the need for constitutional amendments to the text that they themselves deliberately, if hastily, constructed. The referendum procedure for amendment is onerous, with a three-governorate veto power. High expectations of the amendment procedure will lead to disappointment and may amplify, rather than reduce, violence. For this reason, legal instruments other than constitutional amendments must be considered as ways to remedy the political and legal deficiencies of the constitution. A CRC should be established, with strong Sunni Arab membership. Given the pressing and complex nature of the necessary constitutional deal, the CRC should be mandated to make recommendations, where appropriate, not only for constitutional amendments, but also for (1) legislation, (2) intergovernmental agreements and, where appropriate (3) interparty agreements and (4) international agreements, all of which might encourage Sunni Arab political commitment to the Iraqi constitution and ensure viability for the Iraqi state. A three-part formula, concerning the creation of new regions, oil, and the delineation of powers between the central government and the regions, offers a way forward for the CRC to heal the wounds caused by the deficiencies in the 2005 drafting process. That formula would not require the Kurdistan party or the hitherto most influential Shia party, the Supreme Council for the Islamic Revolution in Iraq (SCIRI), to make major modifications to their constitutional positions.
  • Topic: International Relations, Development, Government
  • Political Geography: Iraq, Middle East, Arabia, Kurdistan