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.

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.

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: 

Improving Accountability for Conflict-related Sexual Violence in Africa

Local practitioners who work with survivors of sexual and gender-based violence (SGBV) on a daily basis during peacetime also play a vital role in accountability for conflict-period SGBV. With appropriate training and resources, they can even contribute to the documentation and prosecution of SGBV committed as a war crime, crime against humanity, and act of genocide. This Peace Brief illustrates how new research from the Human Rights Center at the University of California, Berkeley, School of Law and direct dialogue with African experts who participated in the 2015 Missing Peace Practitioners’ Workshop conducted in partnership with The Uganda Fund in Kampala, jointly indicate priority ways to improve ground-level response to conflict-period SGBV.

Ketty Anyeko, Kim Thuy Seelinger & Julie Freccero

Summary

  • Local practitioners who focus on responses to sexual and gender-based violence (SGBV) can play a critical role in the documentation and prosecution of war crimes, crimes against humanity, and acts of genocide.
  • Assisting survivors of conflict-related SGBV to report their experiences to healthcare providers and/or police can help them access essential support services. It also provides opportunities to work with groups that build legal cases against perpetrators of SGBV.
Tue, 06/14/2016 - 10:58
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China and the Responsibility to Protect: From Opposition to Advocacy

Initially opposed to the Responsibility to Protect (R2P), China has become a consistent advocate of the principle, endorsing its application in multiple countries while urging a constrained, multilateral approach to the use of force. This brief examines the trajectory and significance of China’s support for R2P. Given the country’s rising role in shaping the rules of global governance, continuing to gain its buy-in will be crucial in achieving the principle’s mandate.

Courtney J. Fung

Summary

  • Despite its initial opposition to the Responsibility to Protect (R2P), China is now considered more than a cautious supporter.
  • During the drafting of R2P, China—traditionally protective of sovereignty and reluctant to intervene1—dispatched harsh critiques of the new concept but gradually increased its engagement in the debate.
  • Over time, its efforts were successful in reaffirming support for a state-centric system by narrowing the emerging principle.
Wed, 06/08/2016 - 09:33
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Supporting Civil Society to Combat Violent Extremism in Pakistan

In the past few years, there has been an increase in funding for civil society organizations for the goal of countering violent extremism (CVE). While donors are investing large sums for CVE efforts, in Pakistan, local organizations often lack the technical capacity to understand the nature of violent extremism as well as how to utilize such large amounts of money. This brief discusses the challenges to implementing CVE programs and provides recommendations for how stakeholders can overcome these challenges.

Jumaina Siddiqui and Sehar Tariq

Summary

  • In the last few years, there has been an increase in funding toward civil society organizations (CSOs) for the purposes of countering violent extremism (CVE).
  • Donors are pushing large sums onto organizations for CVE efforts to meet their own spending targets. However, local organizations in Pakistan lack both the understanding of what drives violent extremism and the capacity to program such large amounts of funding.
Mon, 06/06/2016 - 14:39
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Pakistan After the Lahore Bombing: Shaping the Security Response

Pakistan’s responses to terrorism affect both internal security and the overall balance of power. In light of the attack in Lahore, this brief discusses the implications of the current civil-military relationship and the continuing struggle over who has discretionary power to set and implement relevant policy.

Colin Cookman

Summary

  • Pakistan’s military and civilian leadership have historically resisted calls for an indiscriminate crackdown on groups that use terrorism as a tactic but have acted against groups seen as directly threatening state interests.
  • The Pakistani army has taken new unilateral security measures in Punjab in the wake of a suicide bombing in Lahore in late March, raising tensions with the ruling Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) government.
Fri, 04/08/2016 - 14:58
Countries: 
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...
June 2016
Local practitioners who work with survivors of sexual and gender-based violence (SGBV) on a daily basis during peacetime also play a vital role in accountability for conflict-period SGBV. With appropriate training and resources, they can even contribute to the documentation and prosecution of SGBV...
June 2016
Initially opposed to the Responsibility to Protect (R2P), China has become a consistent advocate of the principle, endorsing its application in multiple countries while urging a constrained, multilateral approach to the use of force. This brief examines the trajectory and significance of China’s...
June 2016
In the past few years, there has been an increase in funding for civil society organizations for the goal of countering violent extremism (CVE). While donors are investing large sums for CVE efforts, in Pakistan, local organizations often lack the technical capacity to understand the nature of...
April 2016
Pakistan’s responses to terrorism affect both internal security and the overall balance of power. In light of the attack in Lahore, this brief discusses the implications of the current civil-military relationship and the continuing struggle over who has discretionary power to set and implement...