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  • Author: Fred Strasser
  • Publication Date: 02-2018
  • Content Type: Commentary and Analysis
  • Institution: United States Institute of Peace
  • Abstract: As the U.S. seeks to advance its interests in South Asia 17 years into the Afghanistan war, a basic policy question unavoidably presents itself: How much leverage does America really have in the region?
  • Topic: International Relations
  • Political Geography: America, South Asia
  • Publication Date: 02-2018
  • Content Type: Commentary and Analysis
  • Institution: United States Institute of Peace
  • Abstract: Over the past decade, transnational and deadly violent extremist movements—such as ISIS, Boko Haram, the Taliban, and al-Shabab—have risen out of instability and conflicts and repeatedly inflamed and perpetuated hostilities. These movements recruit followers and destabilize regions by harnessing agendas and exploiting grievances such as social marginalization, political exclusion, state repression, and lack of access to justice and resources.
  • Topic: International Relations, International Affairs
  • Political Geography: Global Focus
  • Author: Maral Noori, Daniel Jasper, Jason Tower
  • Publication Date: 08-2015
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: United States Institute of Peace
  • Abstract: In 2011, U.S. president Barack Obama announced plans to "pivot" toward Asia. In 2012, Chinese president Xi Jinping expressed his hope for "a new type of relationship" with the United States. A lack of strategic trust between the two countries, however, prevents critically needed productive cooperation. This Peace Brief addresses the misunderstandings behind this mistrust and a possible way to move beyond them.
  • Topic: International Relations, Communism, Diplomacy, Bilateral Relations
  • Political Geography: United States, China
  • Author: Frances Z. Brown
  • Publication Date: 07-2014
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: United States Institute of Peace
  • Abstract: The conclusion of the U.S.-led "surge" of 2009 onward and the closure of provincial recon¬struction teams and other local civil-military installations have affected how aid is delivered in Afghanistan's more remote and contested areas. The time is ripe for a recalibration of donor approaches to local governance and development in areas previously targeted by the surge. Specifically, foreign stakeholders should reexamine three central principles of their previous subnational governance strategy. First, donors should revise their conception of assisting service delivery from the previous approach, which often emphasized providing maximal inputs in a fragmented way, to a more restrained vision that stresses predictability and reliability and acknowledges the interlinked nature of politics, justice, and sectoral services in the eyes of the local population. Second, donors should reframe their goal of establishing linkages between the Afghan govern¬ment and population by acknowledging that the main obstacles to improving center-periph¬ery communication and execution are often political and structural rather than technical. Third, donors should revise the way they define, discuss, and measure local governance prog¬ress in contested areas, away from favoring snapshots of inputs and perceptions and toward capturing longer-term changes on the ground in processes, structures, and incentives. The coming political and development aid transition provides an overdue opportunity for Afghan governance priorities to come to the fore. At the same time, the ever growing chasm between Kabul's deliberations on the one hand and local governance as experienced in more remote, insurgency-wracked areas on the other presents renewed risks. In the short term, donors let the air out of the aid bubble carefully. In the long term, resolving Afghanistan's local governance challenges continues to demand sustained commitment and systematic execution.
  • Topic: International Relations, Economics, Foreign Aid
  • Political Geography: Afghanistan, United States
  • Author: Richard Albright
  • Publication Date: 07-2014
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: United States Institute of Peace
  • Abstract: The effectiveness of U.S. civilian assistance to Pakistan depends on sustained funding commitments from the United States and sustained commitment to economic and institutional reform from Pakistan. Weak public institutions and poor governance have greatly impeded Pakistan's development. U.S. assistance should focus on strengthening institutions systemically. Direct assistance to the Pakistani government—through financing that supports specific reform programs and policy initiatives and cash-on-delivery mechanisms that offer assistance after agreed performance criteria are met—could incentivize Pakistani public institutions to improve service delivery. Pakistan's devolution of authority to the provinces offers an opportunity for well-targeted and cost-effective initiatives to incentivize improvements in provincial public service delivery in such areas as basic education, health and policing.
  • Topic: International Relations, Economics, Foreign Aid, Reform
  • Political Geography: Pakistan, United States
  • Author: Princeton N. Lyman, Robert M. Beecroft
  • Publication Date: 10-2014
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: United States Institute of Peace
  • Abstract: Special envoys or representatives (SE/SRs) have been used by nearly every administration to address high-stakes conflicts. They are most useful when a conflict situation is of major importance to the United States, has strong regional as well as bilateral aspects, and exceeds the State Department's capacity to address it. To be effective, an SE/SR must be recognizably empowered by the president and the secretary of state, have clear mandates, and enjoy a degree of latitude beyond normal bureaucratic restrictions. While the secretary of state needs to be actively engaged in the conflict resolution process, the envoy should be sufficiently empowered to ensure that the secretary's interventions are strategic. Chemistry matters: in minimizing tensions between the SE/SR and the relevant State Department regional bureau and with ambassadors in the field, in overcoming State- White House rivalries over policy control, and in mobilizing support of allies. There are no “cookie cutter” solutions to overlapping responsibilities and the envoy's need for staff and resources; rather, mutual respect and flexibility are key. Senior State Department officials have the required skills for assignments as SE/SRs. Enhancing the department's resources and reinforcing the ranks of senior department posi¬tions would increase such appointments and the department's capacity to support them.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution, International Relations, Foreign Policy, Diplomacy
  • Political Geography: United States
  • Author: Thomas Pierret
  • Publication Date: 11-2013
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: United States Institute of Peace
  • Abstract: The Syrian conflict's internal dynamics have reshuffled regional alignments alongside unprecedentedly clear-cut sectarian dividing lines; this has often occurred against the preferences of regional state actors−including Saudi Arabia and Iran. Foreign states have generally adopted expedient policies that followed sectarian patterns for lack of alternatives. Iran bears significant responsibility for exacerbating the conflict's sectarian character at the regional level. There is no such “diplomatic shortcut” to regional appeasement; it is the domestic Syrian deadlock that must be broken in order to alleviate sectarian tensions across the Middle East, not the opposite.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution, International Relations, Foreign Policy
  • Political Geography: Middle East, Arabia, Syria
  • Author: Moeed Yusuf, Huma Yusuf, Salman Zaidi
  • Publication Date: 07-2011
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: United States Institute of Peace
  • Abstract: This brief summarizes the perceptions of Pakistani foreign policy elite about Pakistan's strategy and interests in Afghanistan, its view of the impending “end game”, and the implications of its policies towards Afghanistan for the U.S.-Pakistan relationship. These perceptions were captured as part of a project, co-convened by the U.S. Institute of Peace (USIP) and Jinnah Institute (JI) in Pakistan, aimed at better understanding Pakistan's outlook towards the evolving situation in Afghanistan. A full report carrying detailed findings will be launched in August 2011 in Pakistan. Pakistani foreign policy elite perceive their country to be seeking: (i) a degree of stability in Afghanistan; (ii) an inclusive government in Kabul; and (iii) to limit Indian presence in Afghanistan to development activities. They perceive America's Afghanistan strategy to date to be largely inconsistent with Pakistan's interests. Pakistan insists on an immediate, yet patient effort at inclusive reconciliation involving all major Afghan stakeholders, including the main Afghan Taliban factions. Other issues that Pakistan's policy elite view as impediments to a peaceful Afghanistan settlement include: questionable viability of a regional framework; lack of clarity on Taliban's willingness to negotiate; the unstable political and economic situation in Afghanistan; and concerns about Afghan National Security Forces adding to instability in the future. Project participants felt that greater clarity in U.S. and Pakistani policies is critical to avoid failure in Afghanistan, to convince the Taliban of the validity of a power-sharing agreement, and to urge regional actors to play a more constructive role.
  • Topic: International Relations
  • Political Geography: Pakistan, Afghanistan, United States, Taliban
  • Author: Lawrence Woocher
  • Publication Date: 06-2011
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: United States Institute of Peace
  • Abstract: A wide consensus has emerged in recent years that successful policymaking and programming in conflict situations must start with an accurate understanding of local context, conflict actors, causes, and the dynamic relationships among them. This recognition has led to a plethora of new analytic initiatives, but little evident effort to exploit potential synergies between conflict assessment and national security intelligence analysis. Conflict assessment and intelligence analysis have different origins, aims, and methods but also a number of important elements of commonality. They both aim to enhance understanding of complicated sociopolitical situations to support better decision making and face many common challenges, including accuracy, precision, timeliness, and relevance. Conflict assessment is marked by its action orientation, its flexibility, and its emphasis on collaborative methods to elicit views on the conflict from diverse perspectives. These attributes may lead conflict assessment processes to be especially able to pick up "weak signals" and to promote cooperation and enhance understanding of the "other side's" perspectives. These strengths of conflict assessment may at times come at the cost of analytic rigor, precision, and sensitivity to the possibility that some stakeholders could provide misleading information. Intelligence analysis is designed to produce objective assessments for government national security decision makers through rigorous evaluation of "all source" data (including classified information) in a competitive environment. Intelligence analysts' independence from policymakers and their adherence to explicit standards of analytic tradecraft should help lead to high-quality analytic products. Potential pitfalls of intelligence analysis include being too reliant on data from clandestine and highly technical sources, being subject to political pressure, and being insufficiently collaborative. Three important global trends tend to push conflict assessment and intelligence analysis toward convergence: the changing nature of national security, the increasing salience of "open source" information, and the growing recognition of the limitations of lone analysts. Deliberate efforts to draw on the methods of both conflict assessment and intelligence analysis will yield fuller and more useful analysis, which should in turn improve the formulation of conflict management, peacebuilding, and national security strategies. Using tools of conflict assessment and intelligence analysis in tandem is one specific step toward fully realizing the complementarity of these two analytic approaches.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution, Conflict Prevention, International Relations, Intelligence
  • Political Geography: Germany
  • Author: Raymond Gilpin, Lex Rieffel
  • Publication Date: 03-2010
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: United States Institute of Peace
  • Abstract: After decades of domestic conflict, military rule and authoritarian governance, Burma's economy could provide a viable entry point for effective international assistance to promote peace. Doing so would require a detailed understanding of the country's complex and evolving political economy. The lingering income and distributional effects of the 2008 Cyclone Nargis, anticipated changes associated with the new constitution and the 2010 elections and the Obama administration's decision to devote more attention to Burma suggest that the time is ripe for the creative application of economic mechanisms to promote and sustain peace. Looming challenges could derail Burma's prospects for economic and political stability. These challenges include irrational macroeconomic policies, failing to ensure all citizens enjoy benefits accrued from natural resources, endemic corruption, a flourishing illicit economy, a dysfunctional financial system and critical infrastructure bottlenecks. Failure to address these problems would frustrate peacebuilding efforts. A conflict sensitive economic strategy for Burma would focus on effective capacity-building, sustained policy reform, progressive steps to reduce corruption, fiscal empowerment of subnational authorities and prudent natural resource management. Success in these areas requires unwavering political will for sensibly sequenced policy improvements by domestic actors and finely targeted support from Burma's international partners.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution, International Relations, Diplomacy, Economics, Political Economy, Governance
  • Political Geography: Myanmar
  • Author: Daniel Serwer
  • Publication Date: 06-2010
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: United States Institute of Peace
  • Abstract: The Balkans face more trouble in Kosovo as well as Bosnia and Herzegovina unless the United States and European Union take dramatic steps to get both back on track towards EU membership. In Bosnia, the international community needs to reconstitute itself as well as support an effort to reform the country's constitution. In Kosovo, Pristina and Belgrade need to break through the barriers to direct communication and begin discussions on a wide range of issues. This brief proposes specific diplomatic measures to meet these needs.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution, International Relations, Diplomacy, Ethnic Conflict
  • Political Geography: United States, Europe, Bosnia, Herzegovina, Kosovo, Serbia, Balkans
  • Author: Michael Dziedzic, Scott Carlson
  • Publication Date: 01-2009
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: United States Institute of Peace
  • Abstract: For more than a decade, experienced international practitioners and peace scholars have recognized that multilateral interventions in societies ravaged by internal conflict cannot succeed unless they come prepared to deal with the inevitable void in public security and inability of the legal system to function effectively. In 1998, two core components of any solution to this crucial deficiency were highlighted in Policing the New World Disorder. First, “...the capacity of the international community to mobilize CIVPOL [civilian police] personnel should be strengthened, both within contributing states and at the United Nations.” Second, “The task of rebuilding or reforming the public security apparatus requires that the judicial process, associated legal code s, and penal system be addressed during the earliest stages...” The Report of the Panel on United Nations Peace Operations (2000, commonly referred to as the Brahimi Report) urged “...Member States to establish enhanced national 'pools' of police officers and related experts, earmarked for deployment to United Nations peace operations, to help meet the high demand f or civilian police and related criminal justice/rule of law expertise in peace operations dealing with inter-state conflict.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution, International Relations, Foreign Policy, Globalization
  • Author: Mary Hope Schwoebel
  • Publication Date: 07-2009
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: United States Institute of Peace
  • Abstract: Over the past decade, the United States Institute of Peace (USIP) has trained members of police and military forces around the world to prepare them to participate in international peacekeeping operations or to contribute to post-conflict stabilization and rule of law interventions in their own or in other war-torn countries. Most of the training takes place outside the United States, from remote, rugged bases to centrally located schools and academies, from Senegal to Nepal, from Italy to the Philippines.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution, Conflict Prevention, International Relations, Security, Peace Studies
  • Political Geography: United States, Philippines, Nepal, Italy, Senegal
  • Author: C. Christine Fair, Clay Ramsay
  • Publication Date: 02-2008
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: United States Institute of Peace
  • Abstract: Over the past year, Pakistan has endured a series of traumatic events that have brought increasing stress to its people and its political classes, as well as to American policymakers and the international community.
  • Topic: International Relations, Political Violence, Islam
  • Political Geography: Pakistan, United States, Asia
  • Author: Kelly Campbell, Sarah Bessell
  • Publication Date: 12-2008
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: United States Institute of Peace
  • Abstract: The fragility of the Chadian government, as well as the fragmentation among Chadian civil society, political parties, and rebel movements, poses significant challenges that Chadian civil society, regional governments, African institutions and the international community must address with a coordinated strategy.
  • Topic: International Relations, Political Violence, Civil Society, Post Colonialism, Poverty
  • Political Geography: Africa
  • Author: Heather Coyne
  • Publication Date: 01-2007
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: United States Institute of Peace
  • Abstract: The U.S. Institute of Peace recently hosted Farooq Kathwari, head of the Kashmir Study Group, to discuss the prospects for peace in Kashmir. Kathwari's personal involvement and commitment to the peace process give him a unique ability to see potential for a way around the obstacles in this seemingly intractable conflict. During the session, Chester Crocker, a member of the Kashmir Study Group and a USIP board member, described those obstacles in more depth, providing a framework for analyzing what peacemaking efforts like Kathwari's have been able to achieve and which aspects of the process remain fragile. This USIPeace Briefing highlights the central points made during that discussion and does not represent the views of the Institute, which does not advocate specific policies.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution, International Relations
  • Political Geography: Pakistan, United States, India, Kashmir
  • Author: Bonnie Glaser, Chietigj Bajpaee
  • Publication Date: 01-2007
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: United States Institute of Peace
  • Abstract: To better understand perspectives in the United States and China on internal developments in North Korea, the U.S. Institute of Peace and the Center for Strategic and International Studies, in partnership with the China Institutes of Contemporary International Relations, convened a daylong conference on December 5, 2006. The conference took place on the eve of the resumption of the Six-Party Talks in Beijing, which subsequently ended without tangible progress. The participants discussed North Korea's economy, the role of external actors on North Korea's decision-making, and Chinese and U.S. visions for the future of the Korean Peninsula. The seminar also included a simulation based on a scenario of an explosion at Yongbyon that creates a radioactive plume that moves across the Sea of Japan.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution, International Relations
  • Political Geography: United States, Japan, China, Asia, North Korea
  • Author: Jytte Klausen
  • Publication Date: 02-2007
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: United States Institute of Peace
  • Abstract: British security officials have announced their conclusion that Britain is now al-Qaeda's "number one" target. Over 1,000 individuals have been arrested on terrorism charges since September 11, 2001, and about two hundred individuals currently await trial. Twenty-three have been convicted on terrorism charges. In November 2006, MI5's head, Dame Eliza Manningham-Buller, estimated that there were 30 major plots under way, and that an attack in the UK was "highly likely."
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution, International Relations, Terrorism
  • Political Geography: United Kingdom
  • Author: Beth Cole, Christina Parajon
  • Publication Date: 03-2007
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: United States Institute of Peace
  • Abstract: How can the international community increase the likelihood of success in societies emerging from conflict? This question was discussed at a public Institute event, Nation Building in the 21st Century: Prescriptions for Success, on March 9, 2007. The panel of speakers included Representative Sam Farr (D-CA); Ambassador James Dobbins, director of International Security and Defense Policy Center at the RAND National Security Research Division; Ambassador John Herbst, coordinator for the Office of Reconstruction and Stabilization; and Beth Cole, senior program officer at the Institute. Daniel Serwer, Institute vice president for Post-Conflict Peace and Stability Operations, moderated. The discussion drew on a new RAND book, The Beginner's Guide to Nation Building, whose authors include Dobbins and Cole, a “Framework for Success for Societies Emerging from Conflict” developed by USIP, and new operating models nearing approval by the U.S. government for the deployment of civilians to missions abroad. This USIPeace Briefing highlights the main points made during the discussion and does not represent the views of the Institute, which does not advocate specific policies. Drawing on past experience, the panel emphasized that the success of future nation building missions depends on acquiring support from policymakers in Congress and the Administration, applying lessons learned in the past, using common frameworks and doctrine for the future, and increasing civilian capacity, which is sorely lacking.
  • Topic: International Relations, Development, Political Economy
  • Political Geography: United States
  • Author: Yll Bajraktari, Greg Maly
  • Publication Date: 05-2007
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: United States Institute of Peace
  • Abstract: Since the overthrow of Slobodan Milosevic in October 2000, Serbia has struggled to find its way. Is the country shifting toward the West or East? What will happen with Kosovo? Does Serbia need Europe? Does Europe need Serbia? These issues were discussed at a May 7, 2007 event at USIP featuring James Lyon, special Balkans advisor for the International Crisis Group; Boris Stefanovic, deputy chief of mission at the Embassy of Serbia; and Martin Sletzinger, director of East European Studies at the Wilson Center for Scholars. Daniel Serwer, vice president for Post-Conflict Peace and Stability Operations at USIP, moderated the discussion. This USIPeace Briefing summarizes the main views expressed by the panelists and participants. It does not represent the views of USIP, which does not take positions on policy issues.
  • Topic: International Relations
  • Political Geography: Europe, Mongolia, Kosovo, Balkans
  • Author: Sarah Dye, Linda Bishai
  • Publication Date: 05-2007
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: United States Institute of Peace
  • Abstract: On April 20, 2007, the United States Institute of Peace (USIP) and the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health (JHSPH) Task Force on Public Health and Conflict wrapped up its 2006-2007 activities with a public event featuring Dr. Christopher Murray of Harvard University School of Public Health. This USIPeace Briefing summarizes Dr. Murray's presentation and the discussion that followed on armed conflict as a public health problem.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution, International Relations, Health, War
  • Political Geography: United States
  • Author: Mona Yacoubian
  • Publication Date: 05-2007
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: United States Institute of Peace
  • Abstract: This is the fifth in a series of USIPeace Briefings on Syria published by the Institute's Center for Conflict Analysis and Prevention. Written by Mona Yacoubian, director of the Institute's Syria Working Group and special adviser to the Muslim World Initiative, it is based on discussions at a recent seminar held at the Institute. The views expressed do not reflect those of USIP, which does not take policy positions
  • Topic: International Relations
  • Political Geography: Iran, Middle East, Arab Countries, Syria
  • Author: Christina Parajon
  • Publication Date: 06-2007
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: United States Institute of Peace
  • Abstract: The much-discussed and often delayed Iraqi hydrocarbon law, approved by the Iraqi cabinet in February, is a bellwether for the future of the Iraqi state. Successful passage and implementation of the law would reflect a strong spirit of compromise and help to calm violence. If, on the other hand, the proposed law fails to pass, it will have negative repercussions for Iraq's social, economic and political stability.
  • Topic: International Relations
  • Political Geography: Iraq, Middle East, Arab Countries
  • Author: Scott Lasensky
  • Publication Date: 06-2007
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: United States Institute of Peace
  • Abstract: The international response to the Hamas takeover of Gaza has largely focused on building support for Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas, including announcements by the United States and the EU that the 15-month aid embargo was ending, with assistance to be channeled through the "emergency" government led by Salam Fayyad. But the Hamas takeover has also led to a variety of calls for greater international intervention in Gaza, well beyond the work of the UN and other aid agencies, the Egyptian mediation team, and the European Union monitoring force at the Rafah border crossing with Egypt.
  • Topic: Conflict Prevention, International Relations
  • Political Geography: Middle East, Arab Countries, Egypt
  • Author: Robert Perito, Greg Maly
  • Publication Date: 06-2007
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: United States Institute of Peace
  • Abstract: At their White House meeting on May 8, 2007, President Bush promised Haitian President René Préval that the United States would do more to help Haiti fight drugs and drug traffickers. Préval agreed that drugs threaten Haiti's government, which lacks the capacity to fight international narcotics trafficking alone. The two presidents were right to emphasize this issue. The nearly unimpeded flow of narcotics through Haiti undermines the rule of law and the legitimacy of Haiti's government. It fosters corruption in the police, courts, and customs; fuels weapons trafficking; finances armed gangs; breeds insecurity; and hampers economic development by discouraging investment and tourism. Haiti is an important transshipment point for cocaine reaching the United States and a major concern for American authorities.
  • Topic: International Relations, Health
  • Political Geography: United States, America, Haiti
  • Author: Christina Parajon
  • Publication Date: 06-2007
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: United States Institute of Peace
  • Abstract: While a considerable amount of analysis has focused on the media's potential to support democracy efforts and build sustainable peace, no similar effort has been given to analyze the role media can play in conflict prevention. Nor has the media's capacity to incite conflict been sufficiently analyzed and the lessons learned.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution, Conflict Prevention, International Relations, War
  • Author: Beth Cole, Catherine Morris
  • Publication Date: 07-2007
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: United States Institute of Peace
  • Abstract: Afghanistan supplies more than 90 percent of the world's opium. Despite concerted efforts to tackle the drug problem in Afghanistan, the industry continues to grow at an alarming rate, particularly in the south, where reconstruction efforts lag amidst poor security. Afghanistan's opium crop grew 59 percent from 2005 to 2006, according to UN reports, and officials expect a crop equal to if not greater than the 2006 crop in 2007. Overall, the industry accounts for nearly one-third of the country's economy and remains one of the chief threats to Afghanistan's security and development, as it becomes increasingly linked to corrupt Afghan officials and the Taliban.
  • Topic: International Relations, War
  • Political Geography: Afghanistan, Asia, Taliban
  • Author: Dorina Bekoe, Christina Parajon
  • Publication Date: 07-2007
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: United States Institute of Peace
  • Abstract: The Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) is among the most mineral-rich countries in Africa. During the war, those natural resources fueled the conflict, and provided illegal sources of wealth for some. Now, as the DRC undertakes the rebuilding of its economy, the management of natural resources serves as a key component in its development strategy. Properly and profitably managing natural resources in the DRC is a complex task that must take into account security issues, regulatory reform, the structure and legality of past contracts, and the political environment for change. To address these issues, the U.S. Institute of Peace organized a meeting of the Congo Peacebuilding Forum on May 17, 2007. Panelists included Rico Carisch, of the United Nations Group of Experts for the DRC, and Peter Rosenblum, of Columbia University School of Law. This briefing summarizes the main points discussed by participants at the meeting.
  • Topic: International Relations, Development
  • Political Geography: Africa, Democratic Republic of the Congo
  • Author: Scott Worden, Christina Caan
  • Publication Date: 07-2007
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: United States Institute of Peace
  • Abstract: Nearly six years after the U.S.-led invasion of Afghanistan, efforts to develop civil society are showing tentative signs of progress. Advances are especially evident in the increasing capacity of Afghan non-governmental organizations (NGOs) in Kabul. But the effectiveness of civil society in influencing development in the provinces remains low, and rising insecurity in many regions threatens the future prospects of the nascent Afghan civil society.
  • Topic: International Relations, Civil Society
  • Political Geography: Afghanistan, United States, Asia
  • Author: Dorina Bekoe, Christina Parajon
  • Publication Date: 07-2007
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: United States Institute of Peace
  • Abstract: Child soldiers and women are among the most vulnerable victims of Congo's war. Attending to their needs for reintegration, counseling, and medical attention are critical components for consolidating peace. The two groups face somewhat different problems. Whereas women often do not have sufficient resources to heal the social and physical wounds they have endured, child soldiers face greater difficulties in reintegrating with their families and communities.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution, International Relations
  • Political Geography: Africa, Democratic Republic of the Congo
  • Author: Linda Bishai, Sara Dye
  • Publication Date: 07-2007
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: United States Institute of Peace
  • Abstract: On March 22, 2007, the U.S. Institute of Peace (USIP) and Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health (JHSPH) Task Force on Public Health and Conflict held its third symposium, "Iraq: Rebuilding a Nation's Health." The Task Force is committed to raising the profile of conflict analysis and resolution in the field of public health education.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution, International Relations, Health
  • Political Geography: Iraq, Middle East
  • Author: Christina Caan
  • Publication Date: 07-2007
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: United States Institute of Peace
  • Abstract: Over the past four years, suicide bombings have become a choice weapon of the insurgency in Iraq. Today, terrorists and insurgents perpetrate suicide attacks regularly, taking a profound physical and psychological toll on the local population and the multinational forces serving in the country. Curbing the incidence of these attacks depends in part on understanding the motivations that trigger them. In his latest book on this challenging topic, Mohammed Hafez offers trenchant insights into the deadly phenomenon of suicide bombing, shedding much needed light on the strategy and ideology behind what often appears to be an inexplicable act of terror.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution, International Relations, Terrorism
  • Political Geography: Iraq, Middle East
  • Author: Emily Wann
  • Publication Date: 08-2007
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: United States Institute of Peace
  • Abstract: Nepal is in a period of transition to peace and democracy, progressing on many fronts but encountering some challenges and threats to sustainable peace along the way. King Gyanendra relinquished absolute control and reinstated the House of Representatives on April 24, 2006, underscoring the movement toward democracy. The Maoists and the government of Nepal signed a peace agreement on November 21, 2006, and then a ceasefire agreement on December 8, 2006, ending the ten-year insurgency. An Interim Constitution was adopted on January 15, 2007, and the Maoists joined the government. Despite these positive steps, the Terai region, located in the southern lowlands of Nepal near the border of India, has experienced a surge in violence from the last six months.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution, International Relations, Terrorism
  • Political Geography: Asia, Nepal
  • Author: Rachel Steele
  • Publication Date: 08-2007
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: United States Institute of Peace
  • Abstract: Since the election of new leaders and the establishment of a new constitution, the government of Afghanistan has been trying to prove its legitimacy and ability to foster stability, security, and the rule of law. The Taliban resurgence is playing a major role in public perception of the government's competence and the role of the international forces. Understanding current trends in public opinion can aid in tailoring the international intervention to ensure that prior progress is not lost and that elements corroding the strength of the state are diminished.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution, International Relations, War
  • Political Geography: Afghanistan, Asia, Taliban
  • Author: Adi Greif
  • Publication Date: 08-2007
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: United States Institute of Peace
  • Abstract: From the controversy raging in London over Muslim women wearing the niqab to the upsurge in violent crime in Paris, Muslims in Europe are at the center of a storm of disagreement. Although many Muslim youth are comfortable as Muslim and European, others feel estranged from society. A tiny minority of these youth are drawn to violence, in part as a solution to their alienation. USIP's Muslim World Initiative helped sponsor a conference hosted by the British organization Wilton Park that discussed a wide variety of problems confronting Muslim youth in Europe. A theme that ran through the conference was how to combat the alienation of Muslim youth and encourage responsible citizenship. The conference brought together a wide range of Muslims, scholars and government representatives from countries around the world.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution, International Relations, Islam
  • Political Geography: Europe
  • Author: Karon Cochran-Budhathoki
  • Publication Date: 08-2007
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: United States Institute of Peace
  • Abstract: This USIPeace Briefing highlights the findings regarding the security situation in Nepal in the run up to constituent assembly elections scheduled for November 22, 2007. Since February 2007 the United States Institute of Peace (USIP) has held individual meetings and group dialogue sessions on strengthening security and the rule of law in Nepal. These events have taken place in Washington, D.C., Kathmandu, Banke, Siraha, Kailali, Jhapa, Chitwan and Rupandehi Districts. During the sessions and meetings, including with members of the security sector, challenges and solutions to strengthening security and the rule of law were identified and discussed. While election security for the upcoming Constituent Assembly Election was not the primary subject of the discussions, various participants offered a number of recommendations and raised several concerns. Additionally, general security issues, many of which are related to election security, were discussed and can be included in a broader long-term security strategy.
  • Topic: International Relations, Government, Politics
  • Political Geography: United States, Washington, Asia, Nepal
  • Author: Scott Worden
  • Publication Date: 08-2007
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: United States Institute of Peace
  • Abstract: Against a backdrop of halting progress by many international courts, the Special Court of Sierra Leone (SCSL) has quietly had significant success in accomplishing its mission to provide justice for the perpetrators most responsible for the horrific crimes committed against the people of Sierra Leone. Three years into the Court's operation, it has achieved guilty verdicts in cases against five defendants—with two verdicts in the past two months—that have set several important precedents in international law. The SCSL has just begun its last and most prominent case with the trial in The Hague of Charles Taylor for his role in fueling the violence in Sierra Leone while he was President of neighboring Liberia. The Taylor trial is expected to end in the fall of 2008, and with that, the Court will begin its wrap-up phase.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution, International Relations, Government
  • Political Geography: Africa, Liberia
  • Author: Sara Dye
  • Publication Date: 08-2007
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: United States Institute of Peace
  • Abstract: In over 30 conflict zones today there are estimated to be upwards of 300,000 children used to support military activities as porters, sentries, sex slaves, spies, and combatants. On June 1, 2007, the United States Institute of Peace (USIP) hosted an event on the use, prevention, and reintegration of child soldiers around the world. The event featured experts working in the field, each of whom approached the issue of child soldiers from a different perspective. These differing perspectives underscored the complexities inherent to the child soldier problem, as attempts to curb the use of child soldiers, to prevent their recruitment, and to successfully reintegrate ex-combatants into their communities continue to challenge practitioners and advocates.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution, Conflict Prevention, International Relations, War
  • Political Geography: United States
  • Author: David Albright, Paul Brannan
  • Publication Date: 10-2007
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: United States Institute of Peace
  • Abstract: During the February 2007 Six-Party Talks in Beijing, negotiators reached agreement on a series of actions aimed at starting the process of verifiably dismantling the nuclear weapons program of the Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK). A key part of this agreement stipulated that after the DPRK shuts down its nuclear facilities, it would “disable” them. The February agreement did not state which facilities would be disabled or how they would be disabled, except to imply that these issues would be subject to further negotiations.
  • Topic: International Relations, Regional Cooperation
  • Political Geography: Beijing, North Korea, Korea
  • Author: Virginia M. Bouvier
  • Publication Date: 09-2007
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: United States Institute of Peace
  • Abstract: This working paper analyzes recent peacemaking efforts between the Colombian government and two of the remaining armed guerrilla groups—the Colombian Revolutionary Armed Forces- Popular Army (FARC-EP) and the National Liberation Army (ELN). It evaluates the demobilization process with the paramilitary umbrella organization known as the United Self- Defense Forces of Colombia (AUC), and current efforts to implement the Justice and Peace law that regulates the paramilitary process. The paper analyzes the roles of third-party actors— primarily the church, civil society more broadly, and the international community—in peace initiatives. In Colombia, these roles include pressuring for peace, setting the stage for peace accords, establishing spaces for dialogue and democratic discussion, creating the mechanisms for conflict resolution necessary for a sustainable peace, facilitating or mediating peace processes themselves, and implementing and monitoring peace agreements.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution, International Relations, Security
  • Political Geography: Colombia, South America
  • Author: Shahid Javed Burki
  • Publication Date: 03-2007
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: United States Institute of Peace
  • Abstract: The ongoing territorial dispute between India and Pakistan over the status of the contested areas of Jammu and Kashmir (henceforth Kashmir) is well known and well documented. This study acknowledges that any resolution of this dispute may be many years in the making. Thus, rather than proposing solutions to the territorial conflict, the study explores the utility of forging enhanced economic opportunities for the people of the region and argues that doing so may prepare the ground for the eventual resolution of the dispute. Many of the proposals advanced here will require all the parties to the dispute—India, Pakistan, and the people of the divided state of Kashmir—to agree on a suite of programs that would bring about positive economic change from which there cannot be any turning back. I believe that such positive change would create vested interests and beneficiaries that would resist any retrenchment from continued progress.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution, International Relations
  • Political Geography: Pakistan, India, Kashmir
  • Author: Timothy Carney
  • Publication Date: 11-2007
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: United States Institute of Peace
  • Abstract: Regional mediators and international facilitators helped the two main opposing forces in Sudan's fifty-year civil war, the National Congress Party (NCP) of the North and the Sudan Peoples Liberation Movement and Army (SPLM/A) of the South, to reach a detailed Comprehensive Peace Agreement (CPA) after two-and-a-half years of negotiation, from 2002 to 2005. The United States served as the catalyst for the peace process and then became part of a group of facilitators including the United Kingdom, Norway, and Italy. At different points during negotiations, each of these countries exerted influence on the Sudanese parties. Kenya took the lead in mediating the negotiations under General Lazaro Sumbeiywo. Sudan Vice President Ali Osman Taha, representing the North, and Dr. John Garang, representing the South, spent fifteen months negotiating the final agreement in Naivasha, Kenya. Implementation of the CPA requires continuing good security with minimal fighting, agreement on the boundaries of North and South that affect the distribution of Sudan's oil wealth, completion of midterm elections, and a referendum in the South. Slow implementation of key provisions of the CPA is causing Sudanese to question the political will and even the good faith of the northern government. Failure to provide an immediate peace dividend, lack of competence in managing southern expectations, and corruption have led to public criticism of the southern authorities. Hope is waning that the CPA will pave the way to a modern, united Sudan with a government responsive to all its peoples. The SPLM/A leadership is focusing on developing the South rather than creating a national political movement. The crisis in Darfur has diverted the international community's attention. Implementing the CPA will require sustained international pressure and imagination to help resolve numerous political, economic, and social problems.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution, International Relations, Regional Cooperation
  • Political Geography: Kenya, Africa, United States, United Kingdom, Sudan, Norway, Italy
  • Author: Priscilla Clapp
  • Publication Date: 11-2007
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: United States Institute of Peace
  • Abstract: In August and September 2007, nearly twenty years after the 1988 popular uprising in Burma, public anger at the government's economic policies once again spilled into the country's city streets in the form of mass protests. When tens of thousands of Buddhist monks joined the protests, the military regime reacted with brute force, beating, killing, and jailing thousands of people. Although the Saffron Revolution was put down, the regime still faces serious opposition and unrest. Burma's forty-five years of military rule have seen periodic popular uprisings and lingering ethnic insurgencies, which invariably provoke harsh military responses and thereby serve to perpetuate and strengthen military rule. The recent attack on the monks, however, was ill considered and left Burma's devoutly religious population deeply resentful toward the ruling generals. Despite the widespread resentment against the generals, a successful transition to democracy will have to include the military. Positive change is likely to start with the regime's current (though imperfect) plan for return to military-dominated parliamentary government, and achieving real democracy may take many years. When Than Shwe, the current top general, is replaced, prospects for working with more moderate military leaders may improve. In the end, however, only comprehensive political and economic reform will release the military's grip on the country. Creating the conditions for stable, effective democracy in Burma will require decades of political and economic restructuring and reform, including comprehensive macroeconomic reform, developing a democratic constitution and political culture, reestablishing rule of law, rebuilding government structures at national and state levels, and building adequate health and educational institutions. The international community must give its sustained attention to Burma, continuing to press the regime for dialogue with the forces of democracy, beginning with popular democracy leader Aung San Suu Kyi, and insisting on an inclusive constitutional process. International players should also urge the regime immediately to establish a national commission of experts to begin studying and making recommendation economic restructuring to address the underlying concerns that brought about the Saffron Revolution. Though China is concerned about the Burmese regime's incompetence, it has only limited sway with the generals, who are fiercely anticommunist and nationalistic. Nonetheless, Beijing will cautiously support and contribute to an international effort to bring transition, realizing that Burma will be seen as a test of China's responsibility as a world power. The United States should restrain its tendency to reach simply for more unilateral sanctions whenever it focuses on Burma. Because a transition negotiated with opposition parties is still likely to produce an elected government with heavy military influence, the United States must prepare to engage with an imperfect Burmese democracy and participate fully in reconstruction and reform efforts, which will require easing some existing sanction.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution, International Relations, Democratization
  • Political Geography: United States, China, Beijing, Burma, Southeast Asia
  • Author: Pieter Feith
  • Publication Date: 03-2007
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: United States Institute of Peace
  • Abstract: Even though the first contacts between the Indonesian government and the Free Aceh Movement (GAM) had already taken place before the December 2004 tsunami struck, the disaster consolidated the political will to leave old grievances behind and join forces in the reconstruction process and the creation of a sustainable future for the people of Aceh. The determination of both parties, considerable pressure from Aceh's people, and significant support from the international community helped ensure a solution to the thirty-year armed conflict with dignity for all. The Aceh Monitoring Mission was the first European Security and Defence Policy operation in Asia and was conducted with five participating states from the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN). The European Union (EU) and ASEAN are now in a position to build on this experience and use AMM as a model for future cooperation in crisis management between regional actors. Parallels may be drawn to the root causes and possible solutions of other, somewhat similar conflicts in the region. The EU will stand by the people of Aceh in the ongoing peace and reconciliation and post-conflict reconstruction processes and is determined to develop a lasting and comprehensive partnership with Indonesia.
  • Topic: International Relations, Government, Peace Studies
  • Political Geography: Europe, Indonesia, Asia, Southeast Asia
  • Author: Shlomo Brom
  • Publication Date: 02-2007
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: United States Institute of Peace
  • Abstract: Despite the current stalemate between Israel and the Palestinians, the issue of Palestinian statehood is sure to reemerge. Israeli national security thinking on Palestinian statehood and the two-state solution has undergone a revolutionary change in the past two decades from total rejection to broad acceptance. After the 1967 war, Israeli thinking was characterized by the denial of the existence of a Palestinian national identity, and the perception that a Palestinian state would pose an existential threat to Israel. The first intifada, which broke out at the end of 1987, convinced the Israeli security community that the denial of Palestinian national identity was pointless and that only a political solution could resolve the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. Although security measures alone may have contained the conflict, they simultaneously perpetuated it. At the same time, Israel's regional threat perceptions began to change as the conventional balance of power tilted in Israel's favor, and the likelihood of large-scale ground war was gradually replaced by the threats of weapons of mass destruction and ballistic missiles on one hand, and terrorism and guerrilla warfare on the other. These new perceptions led Israel's political leadership to initiate the Oslo process, which enjoyed wide support among the security community. This process led to mutual recognition between the state of Israel and the Palestinian people, and implicitly to Israel's recognition of the Palestinian right to statehood. The collapse of the Oslo process in 2000 and the outbreak of the second intifada had a conflicting impact on Israeli national security thinking. On one hand it had a moderating effect on Israeli thinking about the terms of the resolution of the conflict and led to broad acceptance of Palestinian statehood, while on the other it deepened Israel's mistrust of the Palestinians and shook its belief in the feasibility of negotiating a permanent status agreement with the Palestinians. The most salient facet of present Israeli national security thinking is the growing importance of demography over geography because current population trends threaten Israel's Jewish and democratic character. As the acquisition of territory has become less important, national security is being defined in broader terms to include threats to the character of the state. The wide acceptance of Palestinian statehood has not precluded an intense debate on the nature of this state and its relationship with Israel. Those who assume that it will be a dysfunctional state hostile to Israel favor unilateral separation, while those who believe in the feasibility of a Palestinian state living in peace with Israel continue to argue for a negotiated settlement.
  • Topic: International Relations, Peace Studies
  • Political Geography: Middle East, Israel, Palestine, Oslo
  • Author: Scott Snyder, Joel Wit
  • Publication Date: 02-2007
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: United States Institute of Peace
  • Abstract: The second North Korean nuclear crisis, which climaxed with the test of a nuclear device on October 9, 2006, has influenced the views of Chinese specialists. By revealing the status of North Korean nuclear development, Pyongyang's nuclear test was a poke in the eye of Chinese leaders, who had tried privately and publicly to dissuade North Korean leaders from conducting a test. As a result, China has taken stronger measures to get Pyongyang's attention, including a temporary crackdown on North Korea's illicit financial activities. These changes spotlight an ongoing debate within the Chinese academic community over whether North Korea (DPRK) could become a strategic liability rather than a strategic asset. This debate centers on whether it is necessary to set aside China's loyalty to the current North Korean regime in order to maintain good U.S.-China relations and achieve China's objectives of developing its economy and consolidating its regional and global economic and political influence. Or is maintaining North Korea as a strategic buffer still critical to preserving China's influence on the Korean peninsula? An increasingly vocal minority of Chinese specialists is urging starkly tougher measures in response to North Korea's “brazen” act, including reining in the Kim Jong Il regime or promoting alternative leadership in Pyongyang. Although their sympathy and ideological identification with North Korea has waned, many Chinese policy analysts clearly prefer North Korea's peaceful reform to a U.S.- endorsed path of confrontation or regime change. China's policymakers have sought to forestall North Korean nuclear weapons development, but they continue to blame U.S. inflexibility for contributing to heightened regional tensions over North Korea's nuclear program. Chinese analysts fret that economic and political instability inside North Korea could negatively affect China itself. They have shown more concern about the North Korean regime's stability in recent months than at any time since the food crisis in the late 1990s. Chinese policymakers ask how to encourage North Korea's leaders to embark on economic reform without increasing political instability. Discussions with Chinese experts reveal considerable uncertainty about the future of North Korean reform. The possibilities of military confrontation on the Korean peninsula, involving the United States and either a violent regime change or destabilization through North Korea's failure to maintain political control, are equally threatening to China's fundamental objective of promoting regional stability. These prospects have increased following North Korea's nuclear test and the strong reaction from the international community, as shown by UN Security Council Resolution 1718. China's economic rise has given it new financial tools for promoting stability of weak states on its periphery. Expanded financial capacity to provide aid or new investment in North Korea might help it achieve political and economic stabilization. The Chinese might prefer to use the resumption of benefits temporarily withheld as a way of enhancing their leverage by reminding the North of its dependence on Beijing's largesse. Managing the ongoing six-party talks will pose an increasingly difficult diplomatic challenge for China. Chinese diplomats take credit for mediation and shuttle diplomacy, but their accomplishments thus far have been modest. Talks have been fairly useful in stabilizing the situation, but they have also revealed the limits of China's diplomatic influence on both the United States and North Korea. U.S. intransigence is as much an object of frustration to the Chinese as North Korean stubbornness. Chinese analysts clearly have given thought to potential consequences of regime instability. For example, the Chinese military's contingency plans for preventing the spillover of chaos into China and for seizing loose nukes and fissile material imply that Chinese forces would move into North Korean territory. Without effective coordination, simultaneous interventions in the event of unforeseen crisis inside North Korea could lead to direct military conflict among U.S., Chinese, and South Korean military forces. Rather than accept South Korean intervention backed by the United States as a prelude to reunification, Chinese analysts repeatedly emphasize that “the will of the North Korean people must be considered” in the event of instability. If intervention were necessary, China clearly would prefer insertion of an international peacekeeping force under UN auspices. Such a force would establish a representative government, which would then decide whether to negotiate reunification with South Korea.
  • Topic: International Relations, Economics
  • Political Geography: United States, China, Beijing, Asia, South Korea, North Korea, Korea
  • Author: Victoria Baxter, Judy Barsalou
  • Publication Date: 01-2007
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: United States Institute of Peace
  • Abstract: This report focuses on the often-ignored challenges faced by those seeking, through memorialization, to help repair societies that are emerging from violent conflict. The summary matrix at the end of this report provides recommendations to international actors interested in assisting in that process.
  • Topic: International Relations, Human Welfare, Non-Governmental Organization, Peace Studies
  • Author: Patricia Karam, A. Heather Coyne
  • Publication Date: 07-2006
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: United States Institute of Peace
  • Abstract: The U.S. Institute of Peace was the venue for a roundtable session in mid-July to discuss the prospects for mediation of the current crisis in Lebanon. The discussants included former White House and State Department officials, as well as regional experts with experience in mediating previous conflicts between Israel and Lebanon. This USIPeace Briefing highlights the central points made during that discussion and does not represent the views of the Institute, which does not advocate specific policies.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution, International Relations, Development
  • Political Geography: United States, Middle East, Lebanon
  • Author: Colonel Christine Stark, Michael Dziedzic
  • Publication Date: 06-2006
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: United States Institute of Peace
  • Abstract: International policing has undergone a profound transformation as a result of the introduction and widespread use of stability police units (SPUs). Since their initial deployment by NATO in Bosnia in 1998, demand for this heavy-duty policing capability has expanded to the point that SPUs now constitute almost half of international police personnel. This growth has been most dramatic in United Nations' missions. As of November 2005, the number of Formed Police Units (FPUs) fielded by the UN stood at 27, accounting for 3105 of its total of 7160 police personnel.
  • Topic: International Relations, Security, International Organization, Peace Studies
  • Political Geography: Europe, Bosnia
  • Author: Scott Snyder, Ralph Cossa, Brad Glosserman
  • Publication Date: 05-2006
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: United States Institute of Peace
  • Abstract: It has been nine months since the fourth round of Six-Party Talks concluded with a joint statement of principles. Unfortunately that statement now appears to be the high-water mark of the six-party process rather than a baseline for future negotiations. Even if the prospects for near-term movement on the negotiating front appear slim, the process may still prove useful as a crisis management tool until negotiations are once again possible.
  • Topic: International Relations, Nuclear Weapons, Peace Studies
  • Political Geography: Asia
  • Author: Paul Wee
  • Publication Date: 04-2006
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: United States Institute of Peace
  • Abstract: Nigeria currently faces a three-pronged crisis involving Muslim-Christian relations, the Niger Delta region, and presidential term limits. The United States Institute of Peace (USIP) held a public workshop in March 2006 for the purpose of assessing the situation in Nigeria and considering ways in which the international community might respond.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution, International Relations, Religion
  • Political Geography: Africa, United States, Nigeria
  • Author: Shlomo Brom
  • Publication Date: 03-2006
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: United States Institute of Peace
  • Abstract: The landslide victory of the Palestinian Islamist movement Hamas in the January 25 Palestinian legislative elections has been met with concern and alarm by Israel, the United States, and others in the international community. This concern is rooted in Hamas' history as an organization that sponsors terrorism and that is ideologically committed to the destruction of Israel. For many observers in Israel and throughout the international community, Hamas' victory signaled the end of Israeli-Palestinian peacemaking.
  • Topic: International Relations, Peace Studies, Terrorism
  • Political Geography: United States, Middle East
  • Author: Emily Hsu, Beth DeGrasse
  • Publication Date: 02-2006
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: United States Institute of Peace
  • Abstract: The Afghan government and international community have charted out a joint strategy to tackle the country's most pressing challenge: building state institutions. Approved earlier this month at a conference in London, the Afghanistan Compact maps out the country's way ahead and reaffirms the shared commitment of the international community. USIP held a Current Issues Briefing in early February 2006 to review the Afghanistan Compact. The speakers at the briefing were Barnett Rubin, director of studies at the Center on International Cooperation at New York University, and Alex Thier, senior advisor in USIP's Rule of Law program. Beth DeGrasse, coordinator of USIP's Afghanistan Working Group, moderated the discussion.
  • Topic: International Relations, Government, Treaties and Agreements
  • Political Geography: Afghanistan, New York, Asia
  • Author: Daniel Serwer, Yll Bajraktari
  • Publication Date: 01-2006
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: United States Institute of Peace
  • Abstract: More than a decade after the dissolution of Yugoslavia, people of the region remain deeply divided by contradictory accounts of what happened. Redefinition of historical perspectives along ethno-nationalist lines makes mutual understanding more difficult and hinders reconciliation. Controversies that emerged from the decade of wars continue to hamper the region's prospects.
  • Topic: International Relations, Development, Nationalism
  • Political Geography: Eastern Europe
  • Author: Kelly Campbell, Adams Fusheini
  • Publication Date: 08-2006
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: United States Institute of Peace
  • Abstract: On June 19-20, 2006, the U.S. Institute of Peace (USIP), in partnership with the West African Network for Peacebuilding (WANEP), hosted a workshop entitled "Challenges to Peace and Reconstruction in Côte d'Ivoire" in Accra, Ghana. Fourteen representatives of diverse Ivoirian civil society organizations (CSOs) attended the conference, as well as representatives from the United Nations Mission in Côte d'Ivoire (UNOCI), the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS), and other nongovernmental organizations.
  • Topic: International Relations, Development, Peace Studies
  • Political Geography: Africa, United States
  • Author: Robert L. Rothstein
  • Publication Date: 03-2006
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: United States Institute of Peace
  • Abstract: The failure of the Oslo Accords has been attributed to a variety of factors, including deficiencies in the accords themselves, failures of implementation, and the play of domestic politics. These are all critical factors that describe what happened, but they do not explain why each side behaved as it did—that is, why each side made choices that would only increase the likelihood of the accords' failure. To understand why each side behaved as it did, we must first understand the “conflict syndrome” that affected the negotiating and decision-making process—a syndrome that is, to varying degrees, present in many protracted conflicts. While the conflict syndrome is never the sole cause of failure in any given peace process and does not affect every conflict in the same way, the significant role it often plays in perpetuating conflict is frequently ignored or undervalued.
  • Topic: International Relations, Peace Studies, Politics, Treaties and Agreements
  • Political Geography: Oslo
  • Author: David Smock
  • Publication Date: 01-2006
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: United States Institute of Peace
  • Abstract: The post-September 11 world is seized with the dangers of religious extremism and conflict between religious communities, particularly between two or more of the Abrahamic faiths: Islam, Christianity, and Judaism. The threat of religious extremism is real and well documented. The connection between religion and conflict is in the process of being thoroughly explored, however, to the extent that hyperbole and exaggeration are commonplace. In the popular mind, to discuss religion in the context of international affairs automatically raises the specter of religious-based conflict. The many other dimensions and impacts of religion tend to be downplayed or even neglected entirely.
  • Topic: International Relations, Peace Studies, Religion, War
  • Author: David Albright, Corey Hinderstein
  • Publication Date: 01-2006
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: United States Institute of Peace
  • Abstract: Verified dismantlement of the nuclear weapons program of the Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK) can be accomplished successfully. Although difficulties abound in reaching an agreement with the DPRK to achieve this goal, the methods and steps involved in the dismantlement process are well understood.
  • Topic: International Relations, Security, International Cooperation, Nuclear Weapons
  • Political Geography: Korea
  • Author: Melvyn Leffler
  • Publication Date: 12-2006
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: United States Institute of Peace
  • Abstract: Kennan's thinking and policy prescriptions evolved quickly from the time he wrote the “Long Telegram” in February 1946 until the time he delivered the Walgreen Lectures at the University of Chicago in 1950. His initial emphasis was on the assessment of the Soviet threat. With new documents from the Soviet archives, we can see that the “Long Telegram” and the “Mr. X” article contained both brilliant insights and glaring omissions. After he was appointed by Secretary of State George C. Marshall to head the newly formed Policy Planning Staff, Kennan's thinking evolved from a focus on threat assessment to an emphasis on interests. Believing that the Soviet threat was political and ideological, and not military, Kennan stressed the importance of reconstructing Western Europe and rebuilding western Germany and Japan. The key task was to prevent the Kremlin from gaining a preponderance of power in Eurasia. Kennan always believed that containment was a prelude to rollback and that the Soviet Union could be maneuvered back to its prewar borders. Eventually, the behavior of the Kremlin would mellow and its attitudes toward international relations would change. The United States needed to negotiate from strength, but the object of strength was, in fact, to negotiate—and compromise. It was important for the United States to avoid overweening commitments. American insecurity stemmed from a mistaken emphasis on legalism and moralism. The United States could not transform the world and should not seek to do so. Goals needed to be modest, linked to interests, and pursued systematically. Kennan would have nothing but disdain for a policy based on notions of a “democratic peace.” But the empirical evidence of social scientists cannot be ignored. Should the pursuit of democracy no longer be seen as a value, but conceived of as an interest?
  • Topic: International Relations, Security, Politics
  • Political Geography: Russia, United States, Japan, America, Europe, Eurasia, Asia, Soviet Union, Germany, Chicago
  • Author: Daniel Serwer, Yll Bajraktari
  • Publication Date: 08-2006
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: United States Institute of Peace
  • Abstract: The international community\'s military and financial investments in the Balkans over the past fifteen years have led to substantial improvements in most of the territories of the former Yugoslavia. This progress will be put at risk if talks on Kosovo\'s status lead to de facto ethnoterritorial separation, with Serbs governed on their own territory by Belgrade without reference to Pristina. Partition, or something approaching it, could trigger another wave of violence, mass displacement of civilians, and instability in multiethnic states of the region. The international community has failed so far to reintegrate Serbs into Kosovo. Freedom of movement is insufficient, Serbs returning to their homes in Albanian-majority areas are minimal, Kosovo\'s governing institutions lack Serb representation, and Belgrade has tightened its grip on Serbs living in the north and in enclaves elsewhere. Serbia aims to govern the Serbs of Kosovo directly from Belgrade on clearly defined territory and without reference to Pristina. This is precisely the kind of ethnoterritorial separation that will cause trouble throughout the region. The Kosovo Albanian leadership has failed to improve the living conditions of Serbs living in Albanian-majority areas. Hardliners among Kosovo Albanians would also like to see ethnoterritorial separation, as it would offer them a chance to expel the remaining Kosovo Serbs south of the Ibar River and rid themselves of a “Trojan horse.” If the status talks lead to ethnoterritorial separation in Kosovo, serious instability could affect southern Serbia (Presevo Valley), western Macedonia, and Bosnia.
  • Topic: International Relations, Ethnic Conflict, Nationalism
  • Political Geography: Eastern Europe, Kosovo, Yugoslavia, Serbia, Balkans, Albania
  • 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
  • Author: Mona Iman
  • Publication Date: 10-2005
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: United States Institute of Peace
  • Abstract: While the outcome of Iraq's October 15 national referendum is uncertain, it is clear that many of Iraq's Sunni Arabs will vote against it. Why are Sunni Arabs opposed to a constitution that appears to give them the same opportunities for self-governance that it provides to Kurds and Shia?
  • Topic: International Relations, Government, Religion
  • Political Geography: Iraq, Middle East
  • Author: Ralph A. Cossa, Scott Snyder, Brad Glosserman
  • Publication Date: 11-2005
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: United States Institute of Peace
  • Abstract: The forthcoming resumption of Six-Party Talks to eliminate nuclear weapons from the Korean peninsula is expected to build on the Joint Statement of principles released at the end of the last round on September 19, 2005. While some have criticized the vagueness of the Joint Statement, it represents the first tangible progress in identifying common principles and objectives in two years of sporadic meetings. If North Korea has indeed made a “strategic decision” to abandon its nuclear weapons programs – a thesis still to be tested – it may provide a basis for future progress. For this to occur, however, a more specific negotiating road map and implementing process must be developed. It is important to assess where the current guidelines might lead and to identify the "commitments for commitments" and "actions for actions" that might be envisioned as next steps.
  • Topic: International Relations, Security, Nuclear Weapons
  • Political Geography: Asia, North Korea