Peace Briefs

Intended for a broad audience, these four-page briefs provide topical news analysis and policy recommendations related to USIP’s mission and work.

Ending Sexual and Gender-Based Violence in War and Peace

Sexual and gender-based violence (SGBV) can undermine long-term state stability and security even after states have transitioned out of violent conflict. This brief highlights four areas around SGBV that require urgent attention: the conflict cycle, moving beyond armed actors, protectors as perpetrators, and the role of SGBV in threatening political participation. This Brief was prepared by several members of the Missing Peace Young Scholars Network, supported through a longtime partnership between United States Institute of Peace (USIP); Human Rights Center, UC–Berkeley Law; Peace Research Institute Oslo (PRIO); and Women In International Security (WIIS). The Missing Peace Young Scholars propose a series of policy recommendations, keeping in mind the importance of ongoing collaboration as key to prevention and relief efforts.

Summary

  • Sexual and gender-based violence (SGBV) often does not stop when the war ends, and therefore continues to undermine long-term security and stability.
  • Perpetrators of SGBV are not limited to armed actors but also include government security officials, United Nations Peacekeepers, and civilians.
  • SGBV is more likely when individuals are socialized to devalue women and girls, which underscores a need for more gender-transformative programming.
Amanda H. Blair, Nicole Gerring and Sabrina Karim
Mon, 09/26/2016 - 13:23

Colombia’s Peace Accord on the Missing (Spanish)

Las desapariciones forzadas son un legado de medio siglo de conflicto armado interno en Colombia.  Afectan a sectores pobres en el campo y en los centros urbanos, trabajadores, campesinos y campesinas, periodistas, defensores y defensoras de los derechos humanos, políticos de la oposición y lideres y lideresas afro-colombianos e indígenas.  Además, miembros de las fuerzas públicas y de la guerrilla han desaparecido en el contexto del conflicto armado colombiano.  Este informe analiza un acuerdo sobre los desaparecidos acordado en octubre 2015 entre el gobierno colombiano y las FARC-EP.  Si se cumple bien, el acuerdo ofrece la oportunidad de aliviar el sufrimiento y de ofrecer respuestas a los familiares de los desaparecidos y a toda la sociedad colombiana. English version also available.  

Resumen

  • Un nuevo acuerdo sobre los desaparecidos, firmado entre el gobierno colombiano y las Fuerzas Armadas Revolucionarias de Colombia - Ejército del Pueblo (FARC-EP) en octubre de 2015, compromete a las partes a una serie de medidas humanitarias. Estas medidas deben generar confianza y cambios institucionales para aliviar el sufrimiento de las familias de quienes desaparecieron en el contexto del conflicto armado interno en Colombia.
Virginia M. Bouvier and Lisa Haugaard
Fri, 09/23/2016 - 10:19
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The Islamic State In Pakistan

The Islamic State, or Daesh, has moved its influence beyond Iraq and Syria, formally establishing its Khorasan branch in Central Asia in January 2015. This brief explores Daesh in Pakistan, how its ideology can influence both existing and potential militants, and what a comprehensive response from the Pakistani government would involve.

Tariq Parvez

Summary

  • The Islamic State, or Daesh, formally established its Khorasan branch for Pakistan, Afghanistan, and nearby areas in January 2015.
  • There is currently no evidence of Daesh’s central leadership directing terrorist activities in Pakistan, but its ideology has inspired individuals and groups to recruit, raise funds, and carry out attacks to demonstrate their support.
Wed, 09/21/2016 - 11:45
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Building Regional Border Security Cooperation: Lessons from the Maghreb

The Maghreb countries of Morocco, Algeria, and Tunisia face threats to their borders from transnational illicit networks, such as terrorist groups and criminal organizations. To address these threats, USIP convened operational border officials from the three countries through a series of workshops in spring 2016. This brief highlights the key lessons that emerged from this work: addressing border security requires understanding the underlying drivers of insecurity; border security requires states to maintain legitimacy and support from the broader population; and ground the strategy to address insecurity through operational realities.

James Cohen, Joyce Kasee Mills, Leanne McKay

Summary

  • The three Maghreb countries—Morocco, Algeria, and Tunisia—share a threat from terrorist and transnational organized criminal networks, such as Al-Qaeda in the Maghreb, the so-called Islamic State (also known as Daesh, ISIS, and ISIL), and arms, drugs, and human smugglers, that are active throughout the region and beyond and have exploited the vulnerabilities of national borders.
Mon, 09/19/2016 - 16:46

China’s Troop Contributions to U.N. Peacekeeping

China, traditionally reluctant to intervene, has become a major contributor to UN peacekeeping operations. However, given its available assets, the country has the capacity to increase its commitments and play a key role in improving peacekeeping operations. This brief examines China’s rise as a global security provider and what can be done to drive its further engagement in the peacekeeping landscape.

Courtney J. Fung

Summary

  • On average, China contributes more troops to United Nations (UN) peacekeeping missions than any other permanent member of the UN Security Council. The country dispatches high-value, hard-to-source enabler troops and has recently begun to provide combat troops, marking a significant change in its deployment profile.
  • Like other countries, China’s decisions to deploy troops are motivated by its desire to protect national interests, gain operational experience, and secure a positive reputation and high status.
Tue, 07/26/2016 - 11:28
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Colombia’s Peace Accord on the Missing

Forced disappearances are a legacy of Colombia’s half-century of internal armed conflict. They have affected the rural and urban poor, labor and peasant organizers, journalists, human rights defenders, politicians, and Afro-Colombian and indigenous leaders. Likewise, in the context of Colombia’s war, members of the military and guerrillas have also gone missing. This brief examines an agreement on the missing reached in October 2015 between the Colombian government and the Colombian Revolutionary Armed Forces. If well implemented, the agreement offers the chance to alleviate suffering and provide answers to families of the missing and to Colombian society at large. Spanish version also available. 

Summary

  • A new accord on the missing made between the Colombian government and the Colombian Revolutionary Armed Forces (FARC-EP) in October 2015 commits the parties to a series of confidence-building humanitarian measures and institutional changes to alleviate the suffering of the families of those who disappeared in the context of Colombia’s internal armed conflict.
  • Interactions between family members of the missing, civil society, and the state helped shape the accord and have opened opportunities for collaboration in its implementation.
Virginia M. Bouvier and Lisa Haugaard
Mon, 07/25/2016 - 12:35
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Nationalistic Narratives in Pakistani Textbooks

History textbooks capture a state’s official narratives regarding particular events, territory, groups, or phenomena. These narratives reflect and constitute a state’s national identity and can generate the potential for conflict because of their divisiveness. This brief summarizes initial baseline research on Pakistani textbooks, revealing the importance of bureaucratic politics, and highlights several implications for education reform and national and international stability.

Ahsan Butt

Summary

  • History textbooks encapsulate a state’s official narrative for its citizens, and depending on their content, can create and sustain chauvinistic attitudes toward out-groups.
  • Though complex and multifaceted, all official narratives seek to answer three questions: Who are we? Where do we belong? How far back in time do we go?
  • In Pakistan, nationalistic narratives took hold during General Zia-ul-Haq’s decade in power in the 1980s, aided by the Jamaat-e-Islami (JI) party.
Thu, 07/07/2016 - 16:28
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Technocratic Reforms in Afghanistan: Benefits and Limitations

Afghanistan’s “technocratic” reforms have resulted in impressive progress in areas such as public financial management. However, these reforms alone will not solve the country’s pressing security, political, and economic problems. This brief outlines the benefits and limitations of technocratic reforms and emphasizes that government and international attention should not be diverted from concrete, short-term measures to improve government functioning, strengthen security, and stimulate a modest economic revival.

William A. Byrd

Summary

  • In the run-up to major international aid meetings on Afghanistan’s security (July 2016) and development (October 2016), the country’s National Unity Government (NUG) has made considerable progress in pursuit of “technocratic” reforms, mostly involving laws, regulations, plans, strategies, and formal processes.
Tue, 07/05/2016 - 17:36
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Balochistan: Caught in the Fragility Trap

Although reports indicate an improvement in its overall security, Balochistan remains the most fragile province in contemporary Pakistan. This brief examines both the efficacy and motivations behind the state’s recent actions to end persistent conflict in the province.

 

Ali Dayan Hasan

Summary

  • The province of Balochistan is riven by multiple cyclical conflicts and is the most fragile in Pakistan.
  • The complicity of politicians, government officials, and security personnel in criminal activity has created a nexus among criminality, militancy, and terrorism.
Mon, 06/27/2016 - 09:23
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Peacebuilding in Libya: Cross-Border Transactions and The Civil Society Landscape

Cross-border transactions have been shaping the Libyan civil and political landscape for decades. However, desk research and field interviews in Tunisia reveal that interventions for peacebuilding are not fully accounting for these transactions or other regional activities. This brief argues that supporting local and regional actors in working toward a unified vision for Libya requires factoring in cross-border, civil society exchanges and the tensions that affect them.

Summary

  • Cross-border transactions in North Africa support both conflict and peacebuilding. For instance, while these transactions include arms smuggling, they also include civil society exchanges that are helping to shape both the political and civic landscape in Libya.
  • The emergence of complex networks across North Africa has made it impossible to effectively design an intervention without taking them into account. More multilateral and bilateral attention to civic regional transactions would help build a sustainable infrastructure for peace.
Sherine N. El Taraboulsi
Fri, 06/24/2016 - 09:02
Countries: 
September 2016
Sexual and gender-based violence (SGBV) can undermine long-term state stability and security even after states have transitioned out of violent conflict. This brief highlights four areas around SGBV that require urgent attention: the conflict cycle, moving beyond armed actors, protectors as...
September 2016
Las desapariciones forzadas son un legado de medio siglo de conflicto armado interno en Colombia.  Afectan a sectores pobres en el campo y en los centros urbanos, trabajadores, campesinos y campesinas, periodistas, defensores y defensoras de los derechos humanos, políticos de la oposición y lideres...
September 2016
The Islamic State, or Daesh, has moved its influence beyond Iraq and Syria, formally establishing its Khorasan branch in Central Asia in January 2015. This brief explores Daesh in Pakistan, how its ideology can influence both existing and potential militants, and what a comprehensive response from...
September 2016
The Maghreb countries of Morocco, Algeria, and Tunisia face threats to their borders from transnational illicit networks, such as terrorist groups and criminal organizations. To address these threats, USIP convened operational border officials from the three countries through a series of workshops...
July 2016
China, traditionally reluctant to intervene, has become a major contributor to UN peacekeeping operations. However, given its available assets, the country has the capacity to increase its commitments and play a key role in improving peacekeeping operations. This brief examines China’s rise as a...
July 2016
Forced disappearances are a legacy of Colombia’s half-century of internal armed conflict. They have affected the rural and urban poor, labor and peasant organizers, journalists, human rights defenders, politicians, and Afro-Colombian and indigenous leaders. Likewise, in the context of Colombia’s...
July 2016
History textbooks capture a state’s official narratives regarding particular events, territory, groups, or phenomena. These narratives reflect and constitute a state’s national identity and can generate the potential for conflict because of their divisiveness. This brief summarizes initial baseline...
July 2016
Afghanistan’s “technocratic” reforms have resulted in impressive progress in areas such as public financial management. However, these reforms alone will not solve the country’s pressing security, political, and economic problems. This brief outlines the benefits and limitations of technocratic...
June 2016
Although reports indicate an improvement in its overall security, Balochistan remains the most fragile province in contemporary Pakistan. This brief examines both the efficacy and motivations behind the state’s recent actions to end persistent conflict in the province.  
June 2016
Cross-border transactions have been shaping the Libyan civil and political landscape for decades. However, desk research and field interviews in Tunisia reveal that interventions for peacebuilding are not fully accounting for these transactions or other regional activities. This brief argues that...