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  • Author: Marijke Verpoorten, Nik Stoop
  • Publication Date: 01-2021
  • Content Type: Commentary and Analysis
  • Institution: Political Violence @ A Glance
  • Abstract: On January 1, 2021, the European Conflict Minerals Act came into force. It aims to regulate the trade in four minerals—tin, tantalum, tungsten, and gold, also known as 3TG—that are often sourced from conflict-affected countries where the profits may allow armed groups to finance their activities. The regulation aims to break the link between minerals and conflict by ensuring that European Union (EU)-based companies only import minerals from conflict-free sources. If companies import minerals from conflict regions, the law requires them to report where the minerals were mined, the location of processing and trade, and the taxes and fees that were paid.
  • Topic: Conflict Prevention, Conflict, Minerals
  • Political Geography: Global Focus
  • Author: Navin Bapat
  • Publication Date: 01-2021
  • Content Type: Commentary and Analysis
  • Institution: Political Violence @ A Glance
  • Abstract: The risk of terrorism is often overstated. Americans are more likely to die from everyday risks, such as driving, drowning, or being hit by lightning, than from terrorist attacks. I’ve often criticized the willingness of leaders to politicize terrorism, arguing that this results in ‘othering’ that harms racial and ethnic minorities, and, in some cases, in very large, costly, and brutal wars. I therefore do not say this lightly: In the case of the US, however, white supremacists like those who engaged in the mob attack on the US Capitol, are a clear and present danger to the human security of the American nonwhite population and to national security.
  • Topic: Violent Extremism, Far Right, White Supremacy, Racism
  • Political Geography: United States
  • Author: Nina von Uexkull, Halvard Buhaug
  • Publication Date: 02-2021
  • Content Type: Commentary and Analysis
  • Institution: Political Violence @ A Glance
  • Abstract: While former US President Donald Trump frequently denied man-made climate change, the Biden administration has pledged to make climate change a priority, including for national security. In line with years of thinking within the defense sector, the Biden-Harris team refers to climate change as a “threat multiplier,” pointing to risks of regional instability and resource competition driven by worsening environmental conditions. This perspective also aligns with the initiatives of other countries that have pushed climate security in the UN Security Council and other international bodies.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution, Climate Change, International Security, Conflict, Armed Conflict
  • Political Geography: Global Focus
  • Author: Ida Rudolfsen
  • Publication Date: 12-2020
  • Content Type: Commentary and Analysis
  • Institution: Political Violence @ A Glance
  • Abstract: Today the World Food Program (WFP) receives this year’s Nobel Peace Prize. The award has been called happily uncontroversial, following last year’s prize, which was awarded to Abiy Ahmed, the prime minister of Ethiopia, for making peace with Eritrea. The current conflict in the Tigray region calls into question the durability of that peace. The award is also timely, as estimates show that, accelerated by the COVID-19 pandemic, more than a quarter of a billion people will face acute hunger by the end of the year, increasing from 135 million to 265 million.
  • Topic: Food, Hunger, World Food Program (WFP)
  • Political Geography: Global Focus
  • Author: Rose McDermott
  • Publication Date: 12-2020
  • Content Type: Commentary and Analysis
  • Institution: Political Violence @ A Glance
  • Abstract: Recent commentary has noted that countries run by women have done a markedly better job at containing the COVID-19 pandemic than countries run by men. Previous commentary has also suggested that the public tends to think that female leaders do a better job on issues related to health and education. But the COVID-19 pandemic is not simply a health issue; it also presents major challenges in international relations, which begs the question: how does gender influence international relations? Gender affects international relations in many ways. It is at the root of many types and forms of conflict, from domestic violence to war. War is usually thought of as being something that is supported primarily by men even if the negative effects disproportionately fall on women. However, a great deal of conflict begins in and around battles over status between men, and between men and women. This is true in both domestic and international realms. Conflict, like much else, begins in the home. Children watch their parents disagree and observe how fights take place. Do parents have reasoned arguments that end in negotiated compromises? Or does their father beat their mother into submission? Children learn from watching, and take lessons about how to resolve conflict—and the role of domination and coercion in relationships—into the larger world, and use these models as the basis for how they feel they, and their nations, should behave.
  • Topic: Political Violence, Gender Issues, Women, Leadership, Violence, Peace
  • Political Geography: Global Focus
  • Author: Robert Nagel, Dara Kay Cohen, Ragnhild Nordås
  • Publication Date: 10-2020
  • Content Type: Commentary and Analysis
  • Institution: Political Violence @ A Glance
  • Abstract: Tomorrow is the 20th anniversary of the groundbreaking UN Security Council Resolution 1325 on Women Peace and Security (WPS). Where are we on the road to ending conflict-related sexual violence? There is good news and bad news. When the UN Security Council passed resolution 1325 on Women Peace and Security it was a momentous event. Women’s rights and violence against women had never before been on the agenda of the Security Council. Resolution 1325 emphasized the need for increased participation of women in national, regional, and international institutions, and for women’s inclusion in peace negotiations. Perhaps even more importantly, it acknowledged the agency of women in matters of war and peace, in contrast to the predominant idea of women as merely passive victims. A central component of 1325 was to explicitly call on all parties to armed conflict to take special measures to protect women and girls from violence, particularly sexual and gender-based violence.
  • Topic: Gender Issues, United Nations, Women, Gender Based Violence , Sexual Violence, UN Security Council
  • Political Geography: Global Focus
  • Author: Jeremy Pressman
  • Publication Date: 09-2020
  • Content Type: Commentary and Analysis
  • Institution: Political Violence @ A Glance
  • Abstract: How do the Bahrain-Israel-UAE agreements signed on September 15 demonstrate a shift in the Arab-Israeli peacemaking paradigm? While the basic differences from past agreements such as the Egyptian-Israeli Peace Treaty (1979) are very significant, the new agreements also suggest a major shift for potential pathways to Israeli-Palestinian conflict resolution. Directly trading Arab normalization with Israel for Israeli concessions to the Palestinians is out; alternative pathways include everything from Palestinian surrender to Emirati persuasion to Israeli societal transformation.
  • Topic: Diplomacy, Treaties and Agreements, Peacekeeping, Trade
  • Political Geography: Israel, Bahrain, United Arab Emirates
  • Author: Allard Duursma
  • Publication Date: 09-2020
  • Content Type: Commentary and Analysis
  • Institution: Political Violence @ A Glance
  • Abstract: Every student that takes a class on United Nations (UN) peace operations will be told on day one that, along with impartiality and the non-use of force (except in self-defense and defense of the mandate), the consent of the conflict parties is one of the three fundamental principles of UN peacekeeping. But students will soon realize that the principle of consent is just that—a principle. Which is often compromised. Host-state consent was compromised during the deployment of UN peacekeepers in the Ivory Coast when Laurent Gbagbo was in power. UN peacekeepers in South Sudan also face the challenge of compromised host-state consent. Peacekeepers in the Democratic Republic of Congo have occasionally also been confronted by government actors trying to undermine their work. The withdrawal of host-state consent has even led to the termination of peacekeeping operations in Chad, Burundi, and Eritrea/Ethiopia.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution, United Nations, Peacekeeping
  • Political Geography: Africa, Sudan, South Sudan, Ivory Coast
  • Author: Ida Rudolfsen
  • Publication Date: 07-2020
  • Content Type: Commentary and Analysis
  • Institution: Political Violence @ A Glance
  • Abstract: According to the World Food Program’s (WFP) latest report, the COVID-19 pandemic will lead to an 82 percent increase in global food insecurity, affecting around 270 million people by the end of the year. On June 29, the organization announced it is undertaking its largest humanitarian effort to assist an increasing number of food-insecure low- and middle-income countries. In a statement about the plan, WFP Executive Director David Beasley said that “until the day we have a medical vaccine, food is the best vaccine against chaos. Without it, we could see increased social unrest and protests, a rise in migration, deepening conflict, and widespread under-nutrition among populations that were previously immune from hunger.”
  • Topic: Food, Food Security, Hunger, Pandemic, COVID-19, World Food Program (WFP)
  • Political Geography: Global Focus
  • Author: Evan Perkoski
  • Publication Date: 05-2020
  • Content Type: Commentary and Analysis
  • Institution: Political Violence @ A Glance
  • Abstract: Will the COVID-19 pandemic increase or decrease conflict around the globe? Across myriad blog posts and op-eds, a consensus appears to be emerging: in the short term, the global community may experience a pax epidemia, as Barry Posen refers to it, where “the odds of a war between major powers will go down, not up.” But the opposite may be true for intrastate conflict—e.g. civil wars and insurgencies—where conditions seem ripe for more turbulent subnational politics.
  • Topic: Conflict Prevention, War, Conflict, COVID-19, Armed Conflict
  • Political Geography: Global Focus
  • Author: David A. Lake, Eli Berman
  • Publication Date: 04-2020
  • Content Type: Commentary and Analysis
  • Institution: Political Violence @ A Glance
  • Abstract: Violence is a feature of life in many developing countries. As governments, private philanthropic organizations, and communities work to reduce inequity, alleviate poverty, and improve the well-being of people living in low- and middle-income countries, what role does conflict play in stymying development? And can development reduce conflict? David Lake, distinguished professor of political science at UC San Diego, poses five questions about development and conflict to Eli Berman, research director at the UC Institute on Global Conflict and Cooperation and professor of economics at UC San Diego.
  • Topic: Development, Poverty, Governance, Afghanistan, Conflict, COVID-19
  • Political Geography: Global Focus
  • Author: Benjamin E. Bagozzi, Ore Koren
  • Publication Date: 03-2020
  • Content Type: Commentary and Analysis
  • Institution: Political Violence @ A Glance
  • Abstract: At a time when global cooperation is needed more than ever, new research suggests that pandemics may weaken diplomatic connections between countries and lower the probability that nations will establish new diplomatic ties. Diplomacy is one of the most enduring forms of international political interaction. Administered through embassies, consulates, and their political and bureaucratic support staffs, on-the-ground diplomatic relations are a key tool for international political negotiation, cooperation, trade promotion, dispute settlement, foreign intelligence management, and cultural exchange.
  • Topic: Diplomacy, International Cooperation, Communications, Peacekeeping, Negotiation, COVID-19
  • Political Geography: Global Focus
  • Author: Peter Krause, Tyler B. Parker
  • Publication Date: 03-2020
  • Content Type: Commentary and Analysis
  • Institution: Political Violence @ A Glance
  • Abstract: Five years ago today, Yemen became a new front in the “Middle East Cold War” when a Saudi-led coalition intervened to restore President Abdu Rabbu Mansour Hadi to power. Hadi, who took over the presidency after longtime authoritarian leader Ali Abdullah Saleh was forced out during the Arab Spring, had fled to Saudi Arabia in late March 2015 following a months-long takeover of the Yemeni capital of Sana’a by Ansar Allah, a Shia militia supported by Iran and known widely as the Houthis.
  • Topic: Proxy War, Armed Conflict
  • Political Geography: Iraq, Iran, Middle East, Yemen
  • Author: Lisa Hultman
  • Publication Date: 02-2020
  • Content Type: Commentary and Analysis
  • Institution: Political Violence @ A Glance
  • Abstract: World leaders met recently in Berlin to discuss solutions for ending the civil conflict in Libya. The United Nations (UN)-backed government currently lacks control over large parts of the country, while the opposition is backed by several countries—Russia, Egypt, and Saudi Arabia, among others. Hundreds of people have been killed in the last year alone, and thousands displaced. This was surely not the anticipated outcome of the NATO-led military intervention in 2011—an intervention authorized by the UN and justified in the name of Responsibility to Protect (R2P), a doctrine adopted by the UN General Assembly in 2005, that commits countries and the international community to protect populations from genocide, war crimes, ethnic cleansing, and crimes against humanity. Libya is the only time in history that military intervention has been justified on the grounds of R2P.
  • Topic: NATO, United Nations, Humanitarian Intervention, Responsibility to Protect (R2P)
  • Political Geography: Libya
  • Publication Date: 01-2020
  • Content Type: Commentary and Analysis
  • Institution: Political Violence @ A Glance
  • Abstract: On January 3, 2020, an American drone strike killed Qassem Soleimani, the commander of the Iranian Quds Force, and one of the most influential military and political figures in Iran. It is an extraordinary event—former American army general and director of the CIA David Petraeus called it “more consequential” than the killing of Osama bin Laden—with potentially profound implications for US-Iranian relations, and the entire Middle East. Here, international relations experts from UC San Diego discuss why the Trump administration killed Soleimani; what might come next; and the implications for US domestic politics. This conversation has been edited for length and clarity.
  • Topic: International Law, Military Intervention, Assassination, Armed Conflict
  • Political Geography: United States, Iran