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  • Author: Jibrin Ibrahim, Saleh Bala
  • Publication Date: 12-2018
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: United States Institute of Peace
  • Abstract: Nigeria’s military has largely degraded the capacity of Boko Haram since the peak of the insurgency in 2015. The government and security forces must now focus on winning the peace. This Special Report outlines the insurgency and its aftermath, the challenges facing the Nigerian government, the imperative of national police reform, and ways forward to stable and effective civilian-led governance.
  • Topic: Security, Insurgency, Governance, Reform, Rule of Law, Justice, Boko Haram
  • Political Geography: Africa, Nigeria, Chad, Cameroon, Niger
  • Author: Mallory Sutika Sipus
  • Publication Date: 06-2015
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: United States Institute of Peace
  • Abstract: One of the contributing factors to Afghanistan’s civil conflict has been the fluidity within military alliances at the sub-national level. This brief examines the circumstances of military alliances between insurgent commanders—what factors play into an alliance and how they are maintained, with assessments resulting from research from the Centre for Conflict and Peace Studies and supported by USIP.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution, Security, Political Violence, Insurgency
  • Political Geography: Afghanistan, Central Asia
  • Author: Casey Garret Johnson, William A. Byrd, Sanaullah Tasal
  • Publication Date: 02-2014
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: United States Institute of Peace
  • Abstract: The still unsigned Bilateral Security Agreement (BSA) between Afghanistan and the United States provides the legal basis for continuing U.S. military presence in Afghanistan. In addition to its substantive importance, the BSA is also a confidence-building mechanism. The delay in putting it in place is compounding uncertainty and further diminishing economic confidence during Afghanistan's already challenging and uncertain transition. Afghans' responses include, among others, hedging behavior (legal and illegal), personal decisions on whether to come back to or stay in Afghanistan, delays in investments, incipient job losses, declining demand for goods and services and real estate prices, and farmers planting more opium poppy.
  • Topic: Defense Policy, Democratization, Development, Treaties and Agreements, Insurgency, Bilateral Relations
  • Political Geography: Afghanistan, United States, 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: Scott S. Smith
  • Publication Date: 03-2014
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: United States Institute of Peace
  • Abstract: Afghanistan's democratic development has taken place within the tight embrace of international support and the conception of "free and fair" elections that comes with it, but Afghan and inter-national views on what to expect from elections have diverged in the past, leading to a deepening of distrust between the Karzai-led Afghan government and the international community. The run-up to the 2014 presidential elections has been shaped by this distrust. Nonetheless, with the breakdown of the reconciliation effort with the Taliban and uncertainty about the result of the transition process due to President Hamid Karzai's unexpected refusal to sign the Bilateral Security Agreement (BSA), the April 5 election is the only remaining opportunity for a political resolution of the continuing crisis in Afghanistan. A more complete understanding of the 2009 elections—how they were and were not a disaster—can help to narrow the gap between Afghan and international expectations; and an understanding of some of the changes that have occurred in Afghan society since 2009 can offer reason for optimism that the election will at the least create space for political elites to address the root causes of the crisis.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution, Security, Corruption, Democratization, Political Economy, Insurgency
  • Political Geography: Afghanistan
  • Author: Deedee Derksen
  • Publication Date: 03-2014
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: United States Institute of Peace
  • Abstract: A piecemeal approach to disarmament, demobilization and reintegration (DDR) in Afghanistan, with four DDR programs since 2001 each targeting specific groups, has yielded limited results, mostly due to an extremely adverse political environment. Comprehensive DDR is unlikely to work without a settlement that includes all armed groups. The success of such a deal would in turn hinge on the successful reintegration of commanders and fighters. Sequencing DDR in the conventional way may not work; reintegration might better precede disarmament.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution, Security, Arms Control and Proliferation, Insurgency
  • Political Geography: Afghanistan
  • 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: 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: Antonio Giustozzi, Casey Garret Johnson
  • Publication Date: 11-2013
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: United States Institute of Peace
  • Abstract: The Taliban have more resources and are better organized to disrupt Afghanistan's 2014 national elections than was the case in any of the country's last four elections. Still, there are disagreements between insurgent leaders about carrying out a campaign of violence and intimidation. One group, led by Akhtar Mansur and tied to the Quetta Shura, favored, at least for some time, a more conciliatory approach and in the spring met informally with Afghan government officials to discuss allowing the polls to go forward. Another Group, led by Taliban military commander Zakir and the Peshawar Shura, favors disrupting the election. These upper-level divisions may have little consequence on the ground since rank-and-file fighters are either vowing to carry out attacks regardless or, as has happened in the past, may strike local deals with political entities to look the other way and allow voting to take place.
  • Topic: Security, Political Violence, Democratization, Islam, War, Insurgency
  • Political Geography: Afghanistan, Central Asia, Taliban
  • Author: Joseph Bahout
  • Publication Date: 11-2013
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: United States Institute of Peace
  • Abstract: When the Arab revolutions reached Syria, the Sunni-Shia cleavage in Lebanon was already well in the making. Syria's turmoil only added fuel to an existing fire in Lebanon. Syria's crisis is intensifying Sunni-Shia tensions in Lebanon on two levels, symbolic and identity-based on the one hand, and geopolitical or interest based, on the other hand. The shift toward identity-based or symbolic forms of sectarianism can probably be explained by the existential character the struggle in the Levant is taking, whereby both “communities,” however imagined or over-constructed, are coming to perceive themselves as defending not only their share of resources or power, but their very survival. Lebanon's minority communities – including Christian and Druze – are increasingly anxious about the changing regional environment. Lebanon and Syria must face the difficult equation of sectarian diversity and national unity.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution, Islam, Insurgency, Sectarian violence
  • Political Geography: Middle East, Arabia, Lebanon, Syria
  • Author: Melani Cammett
  • Publication Date: 11-2013
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: United States Institute of Peace
  • Abstract: The Syrian crisis has had a negative impact on Lebanon's political scene, including the dynamics among political factions within and across the country's major sectarian communities. The political fragmentation of the Sunni community has implications for the growing trend toward political violence triggered by the Syrian conflict. The rise of challengers and the decline of centralized authority within the Sunni community further increase the probability of violence perpetrated by in-group factions. Despite the pressures from the Syrian conflict, mounting sectarian tensions will not inexorably spark another all-out civil war. If Lebanon does not move past the current political deadlock and stagnation, the spillover from the Syrian crisis stands to undermine the country's stability in the longer term.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution, Islam, Insurgency, Sectarian violence
  • Political Geography: Middle East, Arabia, Lebanon, Syria
  • Author: Frances Z. Brown
  • Publication Date: 09-2012
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: United States Institute of Peace
  • Abstract: The U.S. military and civilian surge into Afghanistan starting in late 2009 aimed to stabilize the country through interconnected security, governance, and development initiatives. Despite policymakers’ claims that their goals for Afghan governance were “modest,” the surge’s stated objectives amounted to a transformation of the subnational governance landscape. Three years later, the surge has attained localized progress, but it has not achieved the strategic, sustainable “game change” in Afghan subnational governance it sought. The surge has not met these objectives because its success depended upon three initial U.S. assumptions that proved unrealistic. First, surge policy assumed that governance progress would accrue as quickly as security progress, with more governance-focused resources compensating for less time. Second, surge policy assumed that “bottom-up” progress in local governance would be reinforced by “top-down” Afghan government structures and reforms. Third, surge policy assumed that “absence of governance” was a key universal driver for the insurgency, whereas in some areas, presence of government became a fueling factor. Once the surge was in motion, other miscalculations emerged: the confusion of discrete successes with replicable progress, the mistaking of individuals’ improvements with institution building, the confusion of “local” with “simple,” and the overreliance on technological solutions to address problems that were fundamentally political in nature. As the surge draws down, the U.S-Afghan Enduring Strategic Partnership Agreement represents a promising opportunity for longer-term strategic planning. As the international community moves to transition, it should exert its remaining leverage to impact select systemic issues—such as by resolving district council makeup, improving line ministries’ recurring services, and bolstering provincial administrations—rather than tactical-level ones. The international community should also prioritize a few key, attainable efforts, such as providing training that is consistent with current Afghan government functions, while avoiding creating additional structures. Finally, all the usual Afghan local governance recommendations still apply: resolving Afghanistan’s subnational challenges requires long-term commitment and systematic execution.
  • Topic: Foreign Policy, Insurgency, Governance
  • Political Geography: Afghanistan, United States, Asia
  • Author: Jennifer M. Keister
  • Publication Date: 12-2012
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: United States Institute of Peace
  • Abstract: A recent framework agreement between the Philippine government and the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) leaves much yet to do in building peace in Mindanao, but does offer an opportunity for careful progress. Many of the problems that have plagued previous agreements in Mindanao's 40-year conflict still exist. The international community has an opportunity to support progress and avoid a repeat of previous agreements' disappointments. Careful foreign aid policies that empower locals and do not foster competition can be critical in building peace in Mindanao.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution, Islam, Peace Studies, Treaties and Agreements, Armed Struggle, Insurgency
  • Political Geography: Israel, Philippines
  • Author: Patricia Gossman
  • Publication Date: 01-2011
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: United States Institute of Peace
  • Abstract: The Afghan public, along with the international community, appears increasingly supportive of opening negotiations with the Taliban to end the war. The Karzai administration also supports this, as reflected by the June 2010 Peace Jirga held in Kabul and the 70-member High Peace Council that was formed thereafter. In spite of the talks, no one in Washington or Kabul has clarified what reconciliation means in practice, particularly with respect to accountability for abuses that occurred during the rule of the Taliban as well as those that occurred when rival factions fought with each other before the Taliban came to power. On November 10, 2010 representatives from Afghan and international NGOs, as well as the UN, gathered for a one-day Conference on Peace, Reconciliation, and Justice in Kabul to revitalize public discussion on peace and reconciliation among the government of Afghanistan, the international community, and Afghan civil society. The discussions revealed a troubling disconnect between the High Peace Council and Afghan civil society representatives who strongly criticized the Council\'s inclusion of former militia leaders among its members, the lack of transparency in its activities, and the lack of clarity in its objectives. These criticisms indicate that for a peace process to have broad, popular support, the Afghan government and the international community must make greater efforts to engage local leaders in a dialogue and account for the interests of communities and interest groups that are not represented in the High Peace Council.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution, Human Rights, Islam, War, Insurgency
  • Political Geography: Afghanistan
  • Author: Raymond Gilpin, Amal A. Kandeel, Paul Sullivan
  • Publication Date: 03-2011
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: United States Institute of Peace
  • Abstract: Limited opportunities for economic progress and political expression helped force Egypt's youthful population on the streets and precipitated the demise of long-time leader Hosni Mubarak. Prospects for stability are linked to the government's ability to address youth employment—a core demand of the protesters. The January/February 2011 protests could be the tip of the iceberg. Robust and sustained action is needed to improve human security, starting with employment and income generation opportunities. An effective economic transition in Egypt need not be a zero-sum game. Done correctly, employment-based economic restructuring that focuses on the most vulnerable (and volatile) segments of the population could lay the foundation for a stronger, stable and more peaceful Egypt. The next steps in Egypt's revolution will tackle the difficult task of expanding economic opportunity and providing space for more representative, accountable and participatory governance. Fundamentally, this would require the Egyptian government and military to progressively cede control of the levers of economic power. Employment creation that focuses on the youth is not a silver bullet and will not guarantee success on its own. It will, however, broaden the constituency for reform by making Egypt's youth bulge more involved in shaping the destiny of the country's 82 million citizens.
  • Topic: Demographics, Insurgency
  • Political Geography: Middle East, Arabia, Egypt
  • Author: Lisa Schirch
  • Publication Date: 07-2011
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: United States Institute of Peace
  • Abstract: A successful, legitimate and sustainable approach to peace in Afghanistan requires the inclusion of Afghan civil society and their interests. For the most part, Afghan peace negotiations exclude representatives of civil society and center on a narrow agenda featuring concerns of armed groups. Attempts at a quick fix settlement could compromise the foundations of durable peace, resulting in more costs to the international community, and more death and destruction on the ground. Half of all peace agreements fail. One of the reasons why they fail is that too few people support them. Building a national consensus requires participation by and support from civil society. Afghanistan requires a peace process that is both wide and deep, with structured mechanisms for participatory deliberation and decision-making involving diverse stakeholders from the top, middle and community levels of society. Based on examination of successful peace processes, there are four broad models of public participation in peace processes relevant for Afghanistan. These include direct participation in local peace processes, a national civil society assembly, representation at the central negotiation table and a public referendum to vote on a final agreement. The international community, the Afghan government and Afghan civil society can each take steps to ensure a comprehensive, successful and sustainable peace process.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution, Civil Society, Peace Studies, Treaties and Agreements, Insurgency
  • Political Geography: Afghanistan
  • Author: Noah Coburn, Shahmahmood Miakhel
  • Publication Date: 06-2011
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: United States Institute of Peace
  • Abstract: Currently numerous disputes at the local level are unresolved in Afghanistan, leading to local instability, a growing distance between the government and people and encouraging communities to turn to the Taliban. In March 2010, USIP began working with local elders, government officials (particularly governors and officials from the Ministry of Tribal Affairs) and religious figures to address a range of disputes in Nangarhar and Kunar provinces in eastern Afghanistan. These networks of elders, working closely with government officials and, in some cases, the international military, have addressed conflicts that include land disputes, criminal cases, and disputes involving the Taliban. Since 2010, USIP's Dispute Resolution Project has participated in and recorded the resolution of over 120 cases. The project suggests several methods for facilitating dispute resolution that rely on flexible networks of locally legitimate political figures which will strengthen the government, promote rule of law and decrease the appeal of the Taliban.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution, Peace Studies, War, Insurgency
  • Political Geography: Afghanistan, Taliban
  • Author: Claudia Hofmann
  • Publication Date: 05-2011
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: United States Institute of Peace
  • Abstract: In many peace negotiations International Contact Groups have been a helpful tool in preventing a peace process from stalling or failing. Members, commonly states and international organizations, exert leverage on the parties to the conflict, sustain the parties' commitment to a peaceful resolution of the conflict and restore mutual trust. While international nongovernmental organizations have been overlooked in this context, they may expedite problem-solving by contributing through their networks within civil society, their experience from similar peace processes in different countries, and their perceived independence from the parties to conflict. With the assistance of international nongovernmental organizations a peace process may lead to a higher degree of efficiency and legitimacy in delivering sustainable results. The recent negotiations between the government of the Philippines and the Moro Islamic Liberation Front use this potential and incorporate four nongovernmental organizations to an unprecedented degree as part of an International Contact Group. This Peace Brief illustrates their innovative methods and capacities during this ongoing negotiation process. The next round of negotiations is scheduled for April 27 and 28, 2011.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution, Civil Society, Non-Governmental Organization, Insurgency
  • Political Geography: Israel, Philippines
  • 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: Mona Yacoubian
  • Publication Date: 10-2011
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: United States Institute of Peace
  • Abstract: Lebanese society is starkly divided on Syria, but all sides fear the country's potential descent into a sectarian civil war and seek to insulate Lebanon from its fallout. Lebanon's key political actors hold vastly different views on their definitions of interests, threat perceptions and desirable outcomes in Syria. Lebanon has already witnessed some negative Syrian spillover. Going forward, key concerns will center on both directed threats and uncontrolled fallout from worsening instability inside Syria. Lebanon's ability to influence the conflict dynamics inside Syria is limited.
  • Topic: Islam, Armed Struggle, Regime Change, Insurgency
  • Political Geography: Middle East, Arabia, Syria
  • Author: Deedee Derksen
  • Publication Date: 09-2011
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: United States Institute of Peace
  • Abstract: The Afghan Peace and Reintegration Program (APRP) aims to reintegrate insurgents in return for security, jobs and other incentives, but has seen limited results. Rapid implementation of the program has failed to address adequately a variety of political, employment and security concerns.
  • Topic: Security, Islam, War, Insurgency
  • Political Geography: Afghanistan
  • Author: Hodei Sultan
  • Publication Date: 09-2011
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: United States Institute of Peace
  • Abstract: The Istanbul Conference slated for November 2, 2011 aims to bring to the discussion table issues relating to the transition in Afghanistan, including Afghan security, recruitment, training and equipment of Afghan security forces, as well as the reconciliation process. The conference will also focus on regional economic cooperation.
  • Topic: Security, Economics, Peace Studies, Regional Cooperation, Treaties and Agreements, Insurgency
  • Political Geography: Afghanistan
  • Author: Alison Laporte-Oshiro
  • Publication Date: 11-2011
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: United States Institute of Peace
  • Abstract: Consolidating the legitimate use of force in the hands of the state is a vital first step in post-conflict peacebuilding. Transitional governments must move quickly to neutralize rival armed groups and provide a basic level of security for citizens. Two processes are vital to securing a monopoly of force: disarmament, demobilization, and reintegration and security sector reform. Disarmament, demobilization, and reintegration (DDR) involve disbanding armed groups that challenge the government's monopoly of force. Security sector reform (SSR) means reforming and rebuilding the national security forces so that they are professional and accountable. U.S. experience in Afghanistan, Iraq, Liberia, Haiti, Bosnia, and Kosovo yielded three crosscutting lessons: go in heavy, tackle DDR and SSR in tandem, and consolidate U.S. capacity to implement both tasks in a coordinated, scalable way.
  • Topic: Security, Political Violence, Armed Struggle, Insurgency
  • Political Geography: Afghanistan, United States, Iraq, Bosnia, Kosovo, Haiti, Liberia
  • Author: Scott Worden, Sylvana Q. Sinha
  • Publication Date: 11-2011
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: United States Institute of Peace
  • Abstract: The recent controversy in Afghanistan over the outcome of the 2010 parliamentary elections ultimately resolved the question of who sits in Parliament, but left a more fundamental question unanswered: "Who has the power to interpret the Afghan Constitution?" Ambiguities in the language of the Constitution make it difficult to determine who has the legal authority to interpret it. The Supreme Court maintains that the Constitution gives it the power of judicial review, but the Constitution also calls for the Independent Commission on the Supervision of Implementation of the Constitution (ICSIC), which the Parliament has mandated to decide constitutional issues instead. Without political and legal consensus over who has final authority to decide different types of constitutional claims, Afghanistan cannot achieve a rule of law where government activities are subject to consistent and transparent rules. Afghanistan must establish clear and unambiguous rules for constitutional interpretation to avoid damaging crises about political leadership and the separation of powers as the security transition and Presidential election approach in 2014.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution, Democratization, Islam, War, Insurgency
  • Political Geography: Afghanistan
  • Author: Julie Flint
  • Publication Date: 11-2011
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: United States Institute of Peace
  • Abstract: The response to the renewed war in Sudan's Nuba Mountains has been driven largely by a human rights and humanitarian crisis. The crisis will continue indefinitely without a political agreement that acknowledges the Nuba rebellion is self-sustaining and reflects a wider malaise within the new Republic of Sudan. With Sudan facing financial collapse, economic normalization must be part of negotiations with Khartoum to end the war in the Nuba Mountains and promote democratization throughout Sudan.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution, Democratization, Development, Human Rights, War, Insurgency, Financial Crisis
  • Political Geography: Africa, Sudan
  • Author: Moeed Yusuf
  • Publication Date: 08-2010
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: United States Institute of Peace
  • Abstract: Despite receiving over $15 billion in U.S. aid since 9/11, perceptions of America in Pakistan remain acutely negative. If Pakistanis continue to be opposed to U.S. policies, the Pakistani government will not be able to deliver on its promises, and U.S. initiatives in Pakistan will not produce desired outcomes. American and Pakistani governments have forged a rather opaque relationship which has not helped to cultivate popular support for policies across Pakistan. Instead, it has fostered an anti- U.S. sentiment in Pakistan that increasingly puts pressure on the government in Islamabad. U.S. policy must be fundamentally changed to turn around the anti-American outlook among Pakistanis. In order to do so, the official relationship needs to be more transparent; frequency of visits by U.S. officials ought to be reconsidered; 'image correcting aid' should be provided in addition to the long-term assistance; Pakistani citizens should be engaged through constant dialogue and debate on U.S.-Pakistan relations; and American and Pakistani officials should remain sensitive about the internal impact of their public statements and actions.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution, Political Violence, Imperialism, Mass Media, Insurgency
  • Political Geography: Pakistan, America, South Asia
  • Author: Matt Waldman
  • Publication Date: 09-2010
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: United States Institute of Peace
  • Abstract: There are reasons for skepticism about government-insurgent talks, especially as both sides are known for abusive, unjust and discriminatory policies. However, given the constraints of counterinsurgency, obstacles to an anticipated security transition, and the threat of worsening conflict, the potential for negotiations should be explored. Field research indicates that the coalition's military surge is intensifying the conflict, and compounding enmity and mistrust between the parties. It is therefore reducing the prospects of negotiations, which require confidence-building measures that should be incremental, structured and reciprocal. Strategies should be developed to deal with powerful spoilers, on all sides, that may try to disrupt the process. The form of pre-talks, and the effectiveness of mediators and “track two” interlocutors, will be critical. Pakistan provides assistance to, and has significant influence over, the Taliban. Talks require Pakistan's support, but giving its officials excessive influence over the process could trigger opposition within Afghanistan and countermeasures from regional states. The perceived threat from India is driving Pakistan's geostrategic policies, thus concerted efforts are required to improve Pakistan-India relations. Negotiations could lead to a power-sharing agreement, but implementation would be highly challenging, especially due to multifarious factional and other power struggles. An agreement could also involve constitutional or legislative changes that curtail fundamental civil and political rights, especially those of women and girls. Genuine reconciliation efforts are required to build better relations between hostile groups. For legitimacy and viability, any settlement must be both inclusive and just: it should therefore seek to reflect the aspirations of all elements of Afghanistan's diverse society. It should also seek to address underlying causes of the conflict, especially the abuse of power.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution, Diplomacy, Treaties and Agreements, Insurgency
  • Political Geography: Pakistan, Afghanistan, United States, India
  • Author: Leonard S. Rubenstein
  • Publication Date: 10-2010
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: United States Institute of Peace
  • Abstract: In Afghanistan and Pakistan, humanitarian space has shrunk as the Taliban and other insurgent groups have stepped up attacks on civilians, especially international aid workers, contractors and local leaders. Health programs continue to operate, but the ability of nongovernmental organizations (NGOs) to recruit and retain staff and to travel outside Kabul has suffered. The United Nations, International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC), and other groups have sought to persuade the Taliban and other armed groups not to impede or interfere with humanitarian aid activities. These efforts have had some success where the aid is administered by Afghans, but they have not limited attacks on international staff, who along with all foreigners, remain at high risk of attack. Many NGOs act as implementing partners in the government's strategy to implement a comprehensive primary care system in Afghanistan under the direction of the Ministry of Public Health. They have managed to maintain those services with local staff despite their association with the government of Afghanistan, so long as they operate with impartiality and community engagement. The vulnerability of their staff to attack appears to be a product of generalized insecurity or the presence of foreign aid workers, rather than a result of collaboration with the Ministry.NGOs report that military activities in Afghanistan and Pakistan, and military involvement in the medical sector, have contributed to the shrinkage of humanitarian space. The military's provision of health services through Provincial Reconstruction Teams and other mechanisms, though well-intended, sometimes sows confusion about the allegiances of U.S. and other Western aid workers and creates tensions with humanitarian principles the agencies rely on to operate in conflict environments. The conduct of the Afghanistan National Army and Police and the Pakistan military in entering facilities to gain access to arrest insurgents or gather information also leads to greater insecurity for NGO personnel.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution, Humanitarian Aid, Islam, Non-Governmental Organization, Armed Struggle, Insurgency
  • Political Geography: Pakistan, Afghanistan