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  • Publication Date: 02-2021
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: United States Institute of Peace
  • Abstract: In December 2019, Congress established the Afghanistan Study Group and tasked it with identifying policy recommendations that “consider the implications of a peace settlement, or the failure to reach a settlement, on U.S. policy, resources, and commitments in Afghanistan.” The Study Group’s report, released on February 3, 2021, concluded that there is a real opportunity to align U.S. policies, actions, and messaging behind achieving a durable peace settlement to end four decades of violent conflict in Afghanistan. This new approach would protect U.S. national interests in Afghanistan and the region by reducing terrorist threats, promoting regional stability, and protecting important gains in human rights and democratic institutions that have been made in Afghanistan. Active regional diplomacy could help generate a consensus among Afghanistan’s neighbors that all would benefit in both economic and security terms from supporting and sustaining peace in Afghanistan rather than fueling conflict through proxies.
  • Topic: Conflict, Negotiation, Peace, Mediation
  • Political Geography: Afghanistan, South Asia
  • Author: Benjamin R. Young
  • Publication Date: 02-2021
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: United States Institute of Peace
  • Abstract: North Korea serves as a mutually beneficial partner for many African governments. Although these ties are often viewed solely through the lens of economic and security interests, this report shows Pyongyang's deep historical connections and ideological linkages with several of the continent’s nations. North Korea–Africa relations are also bolstered by China, which has been complicit in North Korea’s arms and ivory trade, activities providing funds that likely support the Kim regime’s nuclear ambitions and allow it to withstand international sanctions.
  • Topic: History, Governance, Sanctions, Democracy, Solidarity
  • Political Geography: Africa, China, Asia, North Korea
  • Author: Eloïse Bertrand
  • Publication Date: 03-2021
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: United States Institute of Peace
  • Abstract: In October 2014, a massive popular uprising unseated Burkina Faso’s long-time president, Blaise Compaoré, and drove a civilian-led transition that culminated in free and fair elections in November 2015. This report shows the importance of the national culture of dialogue and consensus and the benefit of a vast, resilient network across negotiating groups. Although violence in the country has since increased, lessons from Burkina Faso’s transition can inform the dynamics of popular mobilization, negotiations, and prospects for long-term peace and democracy in other settings.
  • Topic: Democracy, Negotiation, Transition, Nonviolence
  • Political Geography: Africa, Burkina Faso
  • Author: Annie Pforzheimer, Andrew Hyde, Jason Criss Howk
  • Publication Date: 03-2021
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: United States Institute of Peace
  • Abstract: Failure to plan realistically for needed changes in Afghanistan’s security sector following a peace settlement—and failure to start phasing in changes now—will lead to post-settlement instability. This report examines the particular challenges Afghanistan will face, with examples from the climate following peace settlements in other parts of the world offering insight into what may occur and possibilities for response. An Afghan-owned and Afghan-led strategy that incorporates some of this report’s recommendations can help create a lasting foundation for Afghan and regional stability.
  • Topic: Security, Political stability, Rule of Law, Peace, Justice
  • Political Geography: Afghanistan, South Asia
  • Author: Umar Mahmood Khan, Rana Hamza Ijaz, Sevim Saadat
  • Publication Date: 04-2021
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: United States Institute of Peace
  • Abstract: When Pakistan’s Federally Administered Tribal Areas were officially merged into Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Province in May 2018, the five million residents of the former tribal areas acquired the same constitutional rights and protections—including access to a formal judicial system—as Pakistan’s other citizens. This report, based on field research carried out by the authors, explores the status of the formal justice system’s expansion, finding both positive trends and severe administrative and capacity challenges, and offers recommendations to address these issues.
  • Topic: Security, Rule of Law, Justice, Tribes
  • Political Geography: Pakistan, South Asia
  • Author: Alan Boswell
  • Publication Date: 04-2021
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: United States Institute of Peace
  • Abstract: South Sudan’s civil war expanded into Equatoria, the country’s southernmost region, in 2016, forcing hundreds of thousands to flee into neighboring Uganda in what has been called Africa’s largest refugee exodus since the 1994 Rwandan genocide. Equatoria is now the last major hot spot in the civil war. If lasting peace is to come to South Sudan, writes Alan Boswell, it will require a peace effort that more fully reckons with the long-held grievances of Equatorians.
  • Topic: Conflict Prevention, Civil War, Conflict, Crisis Management, Peace
  • Political Geography: Africa, Sudan, South Sudan
  • Author: Patricia M. Kim
  • Publication Date: 04-2021
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: United States Institute of Peace
  • Abstract: As strategic competition between the United States and China intensifies, preventing a destabilizing arms race and lowering the risk of military, especially nuclear, confrontation is critical. The essays in this volume—based on a series of workshops convened by USIP’s Asia Center in late 2020—highlight both the striking differences and the commonalities between U.S. and Chinese assessments of the root causes of instability and the drivers of conflict in the nuclear, conventional missile and missile defense, space, cyberspace, and artificial intelligence realms.
  • Topic: Conflict Prevention, Nuclear Weapons, Science and Technology, Peace, Artificial Intelligence, Strategic Competition, Strategic Stability
  • Political Geography: China, Asia, North America, United States of America
  • Author: Andrew Watkins
  • Publication Date: 03-2020
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: United States Institute of Peace
  • Abstract: The U.S. and Afghan governments have, at various times, intentionally pursued strategies of “divide and defeat” in an attempt to fragment and weaken the Taliban. These approaches have proved ineffective and, as long as peace efforts are being pursued, should be discontinued. Contrary to lingering narratives from earlier eras of the Afghan conflict, the Taliban today are a relatively cohesive insurgent group and are unlikely to fragment in the near term. This has not happened by accident: the Taliban’s leadership has consistently, at times ruthlessly, worked to retain and strengthen its organizational cohesion. To this day, the group is unwilling to cross internal “red lines” that might threaten that cohesion. The literature on insurgency and negotiated peace suggests that only cohesive movements are capable of following through and enforcing peace agreements. Many of the feared scenarios of Taliban fragmentation, including the defection of “hard-liners” or mass recruitment by the Islamic State, do not correspond to current realities on the ground. Fragmentation of the Taliban is not impossible, and the group is certainly far from monolithic, but ideological rifts are not a sufficient explanation of why this has taken place in the past—or might again. By studying what makes the Taliban cohesive and what has caused instances of its fragmentation, all parties invested in an Afghan peace process might be better equipped to negotiate with the Taliban under terms the movement would be willing to accept, even if it has not defined those terms publicly. This report examines the phenomenon of insurgent fragmentation within Afghanistan’s Taliban and implications for the Afghan peace process. This study, which the author undertook as an independent researcher supported by the Asia Center at the U.S. Institute of Peace, is based on a survey of the academic literature on insurgency, civil war, and negotiated peace, as well as on interviews the author conducted in Afghanistan in 2019 and 2020.
  • Topic: Non State Actors, Taliban, Conflict, Negotiation, Peace
  • Political Geography: Afghanistan, Asia, North America, United States of America
  • Author: Gladys Kudzaishe Hlatywayo, Charles Mangongera
  • Publication Date: 01-2020
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: United States Institute of Peace
  • Abstract: Civil society and social movements have long been at the center of pushing back against corruption and authoritarian practices. Zimbabwe was no exception in the run-up to the November 2017 coup d’état that ousted Robert Mugabe after four decades of unaccountable rule. This report, based on in-country interviews and focus group discussions, examines the transition that followed the coup to draw broader lessons for how the international community can support, without harming, grassroots nonviolent action initiatives in countries undergoing profound political shifts.
  • Topic: Politics, Social Movement, Authoritarianism, Elections, Coup
  • Political Geography: Africa, Zimbabwe
  • Author: Zachary Constantino
  • Publication Date: 01-2020
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: United States Institute of Peace
  • Abstract: The most consequential regional competition for influence in Afghanistan is the contest between India and Pakistan. Indian leaders strive to cultivate Afghanistan as a natural partner and reliable bulwark against Islamic militants, including Pakistan-backed groups, while Islamabad seeks to counter what it regards as an Indo-Afghan nexus to encircle and weaken Pakistan. This report examines the interests and strategies of both countries in Afghanistan within the context of peace negotiations and developments in Kashmir.
  • Topic: Terrorism, Conflict, Peace, Strategic Competition, Proxy War
  • Political Geography: Pakistan, Afghanistan, South Asia, India, Kashmir
  • Author: Priscilla Clapp
  • Publication Date: 02-2020
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: United States Institute of Peace
  • Abstract: Developing countries throughout Asia, Africa, and Latin America are grappling with how to deal with China's rising economic influence—particularly the multibillion-dollar development projects financed through China’s Belt and Road Initiative. Myanmar, however, appears to be approaching foreign investment proposals with considerable caution. This report examines the framework the country is developing to promote transparency and accountability and to reserve for itself the authority to weigh the economic, social, and environmental impacts of major projects proposed by international investors, including China.
  • Topic: Development, Infrastructure, Economy, Conflict, Investment, Peace
  • Political Geography: China, Southeast Asia, Myanmar
  • Author: Fiona Mangan, Igor Acko, Manal Taha
  • Publication Date: 02-2020
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: United States Institute of Peace
  • Abstract: Coffee production is a fairly small part of the Central African Republic's economy, but it plays an outsize role in the country's ongoing conflict. Armed militia groups that hold sway over the country's main coffee growing regions and trade routes reap millions of dollars in funding to sustain their operations. This report discusses how understanding the political economy of conflict in the Central African Republic can help national and international stakeholders break the cycle of violence.
  • Topic: Agriculture, Natural Resources, Economy, Conflict, Violence
  • Political Geography: Africa, Central African Republic
  • Publication Date: 12-2020
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: United States Institute of Peace
  • Abstract: China has embarked on a grand journey west. Officials in Beijing are driven by aspirations of leadership across their home continent of Asia, feelings of being hemmed in on their eastern flank by U.S. alliances, and their perception that opportunities await across Eurasia and the Indian Ocean. Along the way, their first stop is South Asia, which this report defines as comprising eight countries—Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, Maldives, Nepal, Pakistan, and Sri Lanka—along with the Indian Ocean (particularly the eastern portions but with implications for its entirety). China’s ties to the region are long-standing and date back well before the founding of the People’s Republic in 1949.
  • Topic: Foreign Policy, Geopolitics, Alliance, Conflict, Peace
  • Political Geography: Pakistan, Afghanistan, Bangladesh, China, South Asia, India, Asia, Sri Lanka, Nepal, Bhutan, Maldives
  • Author: Andreas T. Hirblinger
  • Publication Date: 09-2020
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: United States Institute of Peace
  • Abstract: Inclusion in peace processes is conventionally understood in “offline” terms, such as being physically present at the negotiation table. However, digital technology can support a mediator’s efforts to integrate a broad variety of perspectives, interests, and needs into a peace process. This report explores the current and future practice of digital inclusion, giving a framework for understanding the possibilities and risks, and providing examples of practical ways digital technologies can contribute to mediated peace processes.
  • Topic: Science and Technology, Negotiation, Peace, Participation, Mediation
  • Political Geography: Global Focus
  • Author: Matt Ferchen
  • Publication Date: 09-2020
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: United States Institute of Peace
  • Abstract: The outsized ambitions and scale of the China-Venezuela political and financial relationship in the twenty-first century have meant that its failures and disappointments have been correspondingly large. This report explores how the nations came to be involved, how each side has responded to Venezuela’s extended economic and political crisis, and the implications for the future of the bilateral relationship and for China’s aspirations to be a leader and agent of international development.
  • Topic: Conflict Prevention, International Relations, Development, Bilateral Relations
  • Political Geography: China, Asia, South America, Venezuela
  • Author: Bertil Lintner
  • Publication Date: 10-2020
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: United States Institute of Peace
  • Abstract: After seven decades of civil war and five failed peace efforts, Burma is no closer than before to reaching an agreement that would bring an end to its many conflicts. Analysis of those previous attempts shows that they all foundered on immutable attitudes on both sides. This report suggests that the peace process needs a fresh start, learning from the past and seeking to resolve underlying political disparities while prioritizing community interests and sustainable development.
  • Topic: Development, Conflict, Peace
  • Political Geography: South Asia, Burma, Myanmar
  • Author: Rebecca Ebenezer-Abiola, Jeremy Moore
  • Publication Date: 10-2020
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: United States Institute of Peace
  • Abstract: Until the adoption of U.N. Security Council Resolution (UNSCR) 2250 in 2015, the international community had no comprehensive framework with which to address the specific needs and opportunities of a key demographic group—young people. This report presents the findings of a meta-review assessing fifty-one youth projects supported or implemented by USIP between 2011 and 2018 and offers recommendations for continuing to develop and support peacebuilding activities with effective engagement, cooperation, and flexibility among civil society organizations and funders.
  • Topic: Security, Civil Society, Demographics, United Nations, Youth, Peace
  • Political Geography: Global Focus
  • Publication Date: 10-2020
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: United States Institute of Peace
  • Abstract: Between May 2019 and September 2020, the United States Institute of Peace convened a bipartisan senior study group to consider the factors that have reshaped the Red Sea arena. The study group determined that, in recent years, the geopolitical and geo-economic dynamics of the Horn of Africa have become tied to the Middle East and broader Indian Ocean in a manner unprecedented in the last century. However, U.S. strategy in this evolving environment has struggled to keep pace with these interconnected, complex, and transregional dynamics and to account for the region’s increased relevance to U.S. interests. The final report of the senior study group defines U.S. interests within a hierarchy of priorities to assist policymakers in calibrating diplomatic, development, humanitarian, and security interventions and provides recommendations for defending and advancing these interests
  • Topic: Security, Geopolitics, Peace
  • Political Geography: Africa, Middle East, United States of America, Red Sea
  • Author: David Scott Mathieson
  • Publication Date: 11-2020
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: United States Institute of Peace
  • Abstract: Armed conflict in Myanmar’s Rakhine State between the Arakan Army and the Tatmadaw, the national army, has escalated sharply in the past two years. This development has been largely eclipsed, however, by the continuing international focus on the human rights crisis of the Rohingya Muslim minority. As this report explains, if this new conflict continues to expand in scope and ferocity, the hope of repatriating Rohingya refugees will recede into the future and the rest of the country will suffer from the increasing violence and destabilization.
  • Topic: Armed Forces, Minorities, Refugees, Ethnic Cleansing, Conflict, Peace
  • Political Geography: Asia, Southeast Asia, Myanmar
  • Author: Khyber Farahi, Scott Guggenheim
  • Publication Date: 11-2020
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: United States Institute of Peace
  • Abstract: Even if the warring parties in Afghanistan manage to secure a still-elusive agreement on resolving the current conflict, significant economic challenges remain for the country, which will require continued assistance and support for core government functions. This report, based on an examination of Afghanistan’s recent development performance, provides a framework for how the Afghan government and its donor partners can more effectively deliver equitable development going forward.
  • Topic: Conflict Prevention, Development, Conflict, Peace
  • Political Geography: Afghanistan, South Asia
  • Author: Barnett R. Rubin
  • Publication Date: 11-2020
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: United States Institute of Peace
  • Abstract: The peace negotiations between the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan and the Taliban that began in September in Doha, Qatar, will almost certainly include revisiting the country’s constitution. Both sides claim to abide by Islamic law, but they interpret it in very different ways. This report examines some of the constitutional issues that divide the two sides, placing them within the context of decades of turmoil in Afghanistan and suggesting ideas for how the peace process might begin to resolve them.
  • Topic: Conflict, Negotiation, Peace, Mediation, Sharia
  • Political Geography: Afghanistan, South Asia
  • Author: Gavin Helf
  • Publication Date: 11-2020
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: United States Institute of Peace
  • Abstract: This report offers a road map for understanding the most likely sources of violent conflict in the post-Soviet nations of Central Asia—ethno-nationalism and nativism, Islam and secularism, water resources and climate change, and labor migration and economic conflict. The analysis draws from emerging trends in the region and identifies the ways in which Central Asia’s geography and cultural place in the world interact with those trends. It suggests that the policy goals of the United States, Russia, and China in the region may be more compatible than is often assumed.
  • Topic: Conflict Prevention, Climate Change, Migration, Economy, Conflict, Peace
  • Political Geography: Russia, China, Central Asia, United States of America
  • Author: Corinne Graff
  • Publication Date: 12-2020
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: United States Institute of Peace
  • Abstract: The Global Fragility Act (GFA), passed by Congress and signed into law in 2019, requires the State Department, USAID, and other agencies to put in place for the first time a comprehensive strategy to address state fragility, violent conflict, and extremism, relying on best practices that are key to more effective and integrated U.S. policy. This report focuses on six key themes in the legislation, drawing on the expertise of leading peacebuilding and development experts to help generate practical solutions for advancing the GFA.
  • Topic: Development, Fragile States, Pandemic, USAID, Resilience, COVID-19
  • Political Geography: Global Focus, United States of America
  • Author: Larry Garber
  • Publication Date: 08-2020
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: United States Institute of Peace
  • Abstract: For many years, election-related violence has posed a serious threat to the integrity of electoral processes worldwide. To prevent or minimize such violence, the international community has often relied upon election observation missions, which incorporate an extended on-the-ground presence and proactive mediation by international and domestic actors. This report discusses the challenge observer missions face in confronting election violence, and suggests how preventive efforts can be enhanced through improved, multi-mandate observation practices.
  • Topic: Conflict Prevention, Elections, Violence
  • Political Geography: Global Focus
  • Author: Drew Thompson, Byron Chong
  • Publication Date: 08-2020
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: United States Institute of Peace
  • Abstract: In the more than five decades since the founding of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations, relations among its member states have remained generally peaceful, and major interstate conflict has been all but eliminated. Yet, ASEAN now faces significant challenges, not least from competition between the United States and China that threatens to draw individual ASEAN countries into taking sides. This report discusses ASEAN’s role in maintaining peace and stability in Southeast Asia and how it can adapt to a rapidly evolving geopolitical climate to meet future challenges.
  • Topic: Conflict, Negotiation, ASEAN, Mediation
  • Political Geography: China, Southeast Asia, United States of America
  • Author: Colin Cookman
  • Publication Date: 08-2020
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: United States Institute of Peace
  • Abstract: Afghanistan’s current electoral system structures Afghan political dynamics, shapes election-day outcomes, and influences competition between organized interest groups in Afghanistan. Drawing on a unique set of results data from the September 2019 presidential election and past elections, this report analyzes where and how prospective Afghan voters were able to participate in the 2019 polls, the decision making behind and adjudication of disputes over which votes would be counted as valid, and how the available results compare with political trends evident in prior elections.
  • Topic: Governance, Elections, Democracy, Peace
  • Political Geography: Afghanistan, South Asia
  • Author: Jessica Anania, Angelina Mendes, Robert U. Nagel
  • Publication Date: 09-2020
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: United States Institute of Peace
  • Abstract: Sexual exploitation and abuse by United Nations peacekeeping forces first came to international attention more than a quarter century ago. Despite numerous U.N. policy responses, the problem persists, harming individuals, jeopardizing missions, and undermining the credibility and legitimacy of U.N. peacekeeping operations. This report addresses the question of why more progress has not been made in preventing these violations and draws attention to ways in which prevention efforts can be strengthened and made more effective.
  • Topic: Gender Issues, United Nations, Peacekeeping, Sexual Violence, Abuse
  • Political Geography: Global Focus
  • Author: Van Jackson
  • Publication Date: 09-2020
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: United States Institute of Peace
  • Abstract: To help U.S. policymakers better manage the myriad risks they face on the Korean Peninsula, this report assesses whether and how to pursue national security diplomacy with North Korea. This concept of engagement responds to the National Defense Authorization Act of 2020 regarding the benefits and risks for U.S. national security. Persistent engagement with North Korea’s national security elites, the report argues, is a policy wager with a large potential upside and very little cost and risk.
  • Topic: Diplomacy, Migration, National Security, Negotiation
  • Political Geography: Asia, North Korea, United States of America
  • Author: Tyler Jess Thompson
  • Publication Date: 09-2020
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: United States Institute of Peace
  • Abstract: On March 23, 2020, as COVID-19 was first appearing in many conflict-affected areas, U.N. Secretary-General António Guterres issued a call for warring parties to cease hostilities and instead wage battle against the pandemic. Drawing on an examination of conflicts in Afghanistan, Colombia, Cameroon, Israel and Palestine, Libya, the Philippines, Syria, Ukraine, and elsewhere—this report looks at how COVID-19 has affected conflict parties’ interests, positions, and capacities, and provides recommendation for how the international community leverage the pandemic to promote peace.
  • Topic: United Nations, Conflict, Peace, Pandemic, COVID-19
  • Political Geography: Afghanistan, Ukraine, Israel, Libya, Philippines, Colombia, Palestine, Syria, Cameroon, Global Focus
  • Author: Yonho Kim
  • Publication Date: 09-2020
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: United States Institute of Peace
  • Abstract: More than one in five North Koreans have cell phones, and increasingly rely on them to conduct financial transactions. Many of these transactions involve trading cell phone airtime, or “phone money,” for goods and services, and even for offering bribes. This report examines the potential for airtime trading to evolve into a formal mobile money system, which could enhance market activity and stability while providing opportunities for the country to engage with the international community.
  • Topic: Economics, Environment, Science and Technology, Communications
  • Political Geography: Asia, North Korea
  • Author: Walter Flores, Miranda Rivers
  • Publication Date: 09-2020
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: United States Institute of Peace
  • Abstract: This report analyzes the fight against corruption in Guatemala by social movements over the past five years, homing in on their major successes and challenges in working to advance transparency, accountability, and good governance. The lessons drawn from these efforts can be applicable for other movements around the world operating in similar contexts. The work also has a larger bearing for international actors helping states build peace and democratic governance following prolonged violent conflict.
  • Topic: Corruption, Governance, Social Movement, Conflict, Nonviolence
  • Political Geography: South America, Guatemala
  • Author: La Ring, Khin Sandar Nyunt, Nist Pianchupat, Shaazka Beyerle
  • Publication Date: 09-2020
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: United States Institute of Peace
  • Abstract: The National League for Democracy’s decisive victory in Myanmar’s 2015 elections inspired hopes of a full transition from military rule and an opening of civil space. Neither has materialized, and the groups working to advance social, political, and economic change in Myanmar continue to face significant challenges. Focusing on three cases of organized nonviolent action in Kachin, Mandalay, and Yangon, this report explores the divide that has opened between civil society and the NLD government and the rifts emerging within civil society itself.
  • Topic: Civil Society, Nonviolence , Donors
  • Political Geography: Asia, Southeast Asia, Myanmar
  • Author: Aly Verjee
  • Publication Date: 09-2020
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: United States Institute of Peace
  • Abstract: Almost every modern peace agreement has established some type of institution to oversee implementation of the agreement’s provisions and monitor compliance. This report provides a careful examination of monitoring and oversight mechanisms set up in Sierra Leone, Indonesia, Sudan, and South Sudan between 1999 and 2015, and offers a series of key lessons for the design of future monitoring mechanisms.
  • Topic: Treaties and Agreements, Peace
  • Political Geography: Africa, Sudan, Indonesia, Sierra Leone, South Sudan
  • Author: Zachary Abuza, Luke Lischin
  • Publication Date: 06-2020
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: United States Institute of Peace
  • Abstract: Just over a year ago, the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region of Muslim Mindanao (BARMM) was formally established as part of a peace agreement to end nearly five decades of conflict between the Philippine government and Moro secessionists. This report discusses the many notable achievements of the BARMM government during its first year while cautioning that these accomplishments are not irreversible, and that the BARMM will need international support—including from the United States—to confront future challenges.
  • Topic: Government, Separatism, Peace, Autonomy
  • Political Geography: Philippines, United States of America
  • Author: Borhan Osman
  • Publication Date: 06-2020
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: United States Institute of Peace
  • Abstract: Ever since the Islamic State in Khorasan Province emerged in Afghanistan in 2015, policymakers and security forces have regarded it as an “imported” group that can be defeated militarily. This approach, however, fails to take into account the long-standing and complex historical and sociological factors that make the group’s ideology appealing to young, urban Afghan men and women. Based on interviews with current and former members of ISKP, this report documents the push and pull factors prompting a steady stream of young Afghans to join and support ISKP.
  • Topic: Violent Extremism, Islamic State, Jihad, Middle Class
  • Political Geography: Afghanistan, South Asia
  • Author: Fiona Mangan
  • Publication Date: 05-2020
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: United States Institute of Peace
  • Abstract: This report explores how illicit drug trafficking and drug use in Libya has shaped and been shaped by the country’s ongoing conflict. Drawing on hundreds of interviews and dedicated research, it examines Libya’s pre-2011 illicit economy, delves into the social impact of drugs, and focuses on drug use on the frontlines of Libya’s ongoing conflict, the corrosive impact of drug trafficking and use on the justice and security sector, and how trafficking and organized crime undercut peacebuilding and state consolidation.
  • Topic: Trafficking , Conflict, Peace, Drugs
  • Political Geography: Libya, North Africa
  • Author: Jacob Stokes
  • Publication Date: 05-2020
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: United States Institute of Peace
  • Abstract: China’s foreign policy is expanding in scope and depth and now reaches across the globe. Yet its diplomatic efforts focus on its own complex neighborhood. To advance these interests, China’s leaders practice an interlocking set of foreign affairs activities they refer to as “periphery diplomacy.” This report details the main tools Beijing uses to engage the countries with which it shares borders, assesses the campaign’s effectiveness, and lays out the implications for peace and security in Asia.
  • Topic: Conflict Prevention, Security, Diplomacy, Peace
  • Political Geography: China, Asia
  • Author: Laura Barber
  • Publication Date: 05-2020
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: United States Institute of Peace
  • Abstract: Sudan's decades-long economic relationship with China has almost always been dominated by oil. Yet this relationship has changed significantly in the past decade—first with the loss of oil reserves when South Sudan became an independent nation in 2011, and more recently due to the ouster of longtime ally President Omar al-Bashir. This report, based on interviews with policy officials, diplomats, industry and security experts, and others, examines China’s evolving commercial and political interests in this vital nation in the Horn of Africa.
  • Topic: Conflict Prevention, International Relations, Geopolitics, Conflict, Transition
  • Political Geography: Africa, China, Sudan, Asia
  • Author: Scott Smith
  • Publication Date: 04-2020
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: United States Institute of Peace
  • Abstract: In 2018 and 2019, USIP partnered with the Afghanistan Analysts Network (AAN), a Kabul-based research and policy organization, in an effort to understand how the Taliban provide education, health, and other services to people who live in areas where they are the dominant power. Based on a series of studies conducted by AAN in five districts across the country, the report also examines the Taliban's motivations as a governing entity and their implications for a potential peace settlement.
  • Topic: Conflict Prevention, Taliban, Peace, Services
  • Political Geography: Afghanistan, South Asia
  • Publication Date: 04-2020
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: United States Institute of Peace
  • Abstract: The Red Sea arena—which this report defines as the eastern and western shores of the Red Sea, from the Arabian Peninsula to Egypt and the Horn of Africa, and the strategic waterways that run between, including the Red Sea, the Bab el-Mandeb Strait, and the Suez Canal—has long been a center of political turbulence, regional rivalries, and geopolitical interest. Historic political transitions currently underway in Sudan and Ethiopia, burgeoning economic investments amid fragility and debt in the Horn, continued conflict and humanitarian crisis in Yemen, Middle Eastern rivalries and their impact on regional conflict dynamics, and the growing presence of China have further heightened geopolitical interest in this arena. This report focuses on China’s influence and activities in the region and its relationships with twelve Red Sea arena states: Djibouti, Egypt, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Somalia, South Sudan, Sudan, the United Arab Emirates (UAE), and Yemen.
  • Topic: Foreign Policy, Economics, Environment, Geopolitics, Conflict
  • Political Geography: China, Asia, Red Sea
  • Author: Paul M. Carter Jr.
  • Publication Date: 07-2020
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: United States Institute of Peace
  • Abstract: Under Vladimir Putin, Russia’s global ambitions have steadily increased, including in unstable areas of the Middle East, Africa, and the Western Hemisphere. For the most part, Moscow’s activities in these and other areas run counter to Western interests and undermine efforts to mitigate conflict through broad-based, transparent processes. This report outlines the factors that appear to be motivating the Kremlin’s conflict-zone interventions and places them within the larger context of Russian foreign policy interests.
  • Topic: Conflict Prevention, Foreign Policy, Conflict
  • Political Geography: Africa, Russia, Eurasia, Middle East, Syria
  • Author: A. Farid Tookhy
  • Publication Date: 07-2020
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: United States Institute of Peace
  • Abstract: Afghanistan’s newest Wolesi Jirga—the lower house of the National Assembly—boasts a younger and more educated membership than those elected in either 2005 or 2010. Its representativeness, however, is uneven and problematic. This report offers a comparative profile of the Wolesi Jirgas elected in 2005, 2010, and 2018, highlighting issues salient to the reforms Afghanistan needs to undertake if it is to hold credible national elections that yield truly representative elected institutions.
  • Topic: Governance, Reform, Democracy, Legislation
  • Political Geography: Afghanistan, South Asia
  • Author: Jason Tower, Priscilla Clapp
  • Publication Date: 07-2020
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: United States Institute of Peace
  • Abstract: Seeking to profit from China's lucrative but illegal gambling market, a shady web of actors has begun building resort cities in Myanmar’s Karen State to cater to Chinese gamblers. This report casts light on the actors behind Myanmar’s illegal gambling sector, their linkages to Chinese government entities and to Myanmar's armed groups and military, and how their actions could upend Myanmar’s prospects for peace.
  • Topic: Crime, Economics, Transnational Actors, Gambling, Peace
  • Political Geography: China, Asia, Southeast Asia, Myanmar
  • Author: Chris Bosley
  • Publication Date: 07-2020
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: United States Institute of Peace
  • Abstract: Existing efforts to disengage people from violent extremism are derived from security imperatives rather than from a peacebuilding ethos. This report—one of a series to be published by USIP’s program on violent extremism—presents a framework through which peacebuilders can foster disengagement from violent extremism and reconciliation between those disengaging and affected communities by examining the individual, social, and structural dynamics involved.
  • Topic: Violent Extremism, Peace, Reconciliation
  • Political Geography: North America, United States of America
  • Author: Diego Benitez
  • Publication Date: 07-2020
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: United States Institute of Peace
  • Abstract: USIP implemented its Initiative to Measure Peace and Conflict (IMPACT) program first in the Central African Republic and later in Colombia, where it worked directly with peacebuilding organizations to gauge their collective impact on fostering reconciliation in the wake of the 2016 peace accord between the government and FARC rebels. Drawing on the challenges encountered and lessons learned, this report provides suggestions for how future iterations of the IMPACT approach can help policymakers, donors, and practitioners achieve greater and more cost-effective results from the peacebuilding projects they support.
  • Topic: Civil Society, Development, Education, Peace, Reconciliation
  • Political Geography: Colombia, South America
  • Author: Sameer P. Lalwani, Gillian Gayner
  • Publication Date: 08-2020
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: United States Institute of Peace
  • Abstract: On August 5, 2019, the government of India revoked the constitutional autonomy of its Muslim-majority state of Jammu and Kashmir. This report—based on field interviews, new data collection, and extensive research— focuses on the revitalized insurgency and mass uprising between 2013 and 2019, explains how the Kashmir conflict evolved to a point that contributed to India’s extraordinary political gambit, and lays out both New Delhi’s strategy and the challenges the government faces going forward.
  • Topic: Conflict Prevention, Government, Insurgency, Territorial Disputes, Conflict
  • Political Geography: South Asia, India, Kashmir
  • Author: Happymon Jacob
  • Publication Date: 08-2020
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: United States Institute of Peace
  • Abstract: Kashmir has once again emerged as a major flashpoint between South Asia’s nuclear-armed rivals, India and Pakistan. The Indian government’s August 2019 withdrawal of statehood status for the Muslim-majority Jammu and Kashmir region intensified disaffection among separatists and the Kashmiri public. This report explores the strategies India and Pakistan have adopted toward Kashmir in the year since August 2019, and examines a potential road map for resolving the Kashmir conflict.
  • Topic: Conflict Prevention, Territorial Disputes, Conflict, Peace
  • Political Geography: Pakistan, India, Kashmir
  • Author: Leanne Erdberg Steadman
  • Publication Date: 08-2020
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: United States Institute of Peace
  • Abstract: Even in brutal and desperate conflict settings, it is possible for people to abandon violence and leave violent groups. Peacebuilders know this well—yet terrorism and counterterrorism policies and practices have often neglected practical ways to address participants in violent extremism and failed to provide them opportunities to reject violence. This report examines how peacebuilding tools can help transform the individual attitudes, group relationships, and social ecosystems and structures needed to facilitate the effective disengagement and reconciliation of former members of violent extremist groups.
  • Topic: Violent Extremism, Conflict, Peace, Reconciliation , Disengagement
  • Political Geography: Global Focus
  • Author: Eric Rosand
  • Publication Date: 08-2020
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: United States Institute of Peace
  • Abstract: In the two decades since the 9/11 attacks, terrorist networks have become more global and interconnected even as they remain locally tethered. The transnational and localized nature of the threat underscores the continued importance of international cooperation in all aspects of a response. This report explores the work of the Global Counterterrorism Forum, launched in 2011 to energize such cooperation, and how best to position it for an effective and far-reaching future.
  • Topic: Terrorism, Violent Extremism, Counter-terrorism, Peace
  • Political Geography: Global Focus
  • Author: David Michel
  • Publication Date: 08-2020
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: United States Institute of Peace
  • Abstract: No modern states have ever declared war over water. In fact, nations dependent on shared water sources have collaborated far more frequently than they have clashed. Nevertheless, global surveys have counted over forty hostile, militarized international actions over water—from riots to border skirmishes to larger battles—in the first six decades after World War II. This report reviews the pathways that link water resource pressures to conflict risks and describes how peacebuilding strategies such as water diplomacy can help mitigate these risks.
  • Topic: Economics, Environment, Natural Resources, Water, Peace
  • Political Geography: Global Focus