Special Reports

Short, timely, policy-relevant reports. These accessible reports offer policymakers, practitioners, and scholars a distillation of expert research, lessons learned, and problem solving across the full gamut of conflict areas and themes that USIP covers.

Adopting a Movement Mindset to Address the Challenge of Fragility

The Fragility Study Group is an independent, non-partisan, effort of the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, the Center for a New American Security and the United States Institute of Peace. The chair report of the study group, U.S. Leadership and the Challenge of State Fragility, was released on September 12. This brief is part of a series authored by scholars from the three institutions that build on the chair report to discuss the implications of fragility on existing U.S. tools, strategic interests and challenges. 

Maria J. Stephan

Fragile states, which run the gamut from states in the throes of violent conflict, to those where institutions have collapsed and the state is deemed to have failed, to “strong authoritarian” states that rule with an iron fist, are marked by severe trust deficits between citizens and governments, and between different groups in society. In these inherently unstable and conflict-prone contexts, it can be difficult to see how ordinary citizens can organize and mobilize nonviolently to achieve more inclusive and participatory political processes and accountable governance.

Tue, 09/27/2016 - 17:00

Fragility and Security Sector Reform

The Fragility Study Group is an independent, non-partisan, effort of the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, the Center for a New American Security and the United States Institute of Peace. The chair report of the study group, U.S. Leadership and the Challenge of State Fragility, was released on September 12. This brief is part of a series authored by scholars from the three institutions that build on the chair report to discuss the implications of fragility on existing U.S. tools, strategic interests and challenges. 

Rachel Kleinfeld

Fragile States and Security Sector Assistance

Tue, 09/27/2016 - 12:31

Fragility and Resilience

The Fragility Study Group is an independent, non-partisan, effort of the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, the Center for a New American Security and the United States Institute of Peace. The chair report of the study group, U.S. Leadership and the Challenge of State Fragility, was released on September 12. This brief is part of a series authored by scholars from the three institutions that build on the chair report to discuss the implications of fragility on existing U.S. tools, strategic interests and challenges. 

Introduction

Lauren Van Metre
Tue, 09/20/2016 - 15:52
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Corruption and State Fragility

The Fragility Study Group is an independent, non-partisan, effort of the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, the Center for a New American Security and the United States Institute of Peace. The chair report of the study group, U.S. Leadership and the Challenge of State Fragility, was released on September 12. This brief is part of a series authored by scholars from the three institutions that build on the chair report to discuss the implications of fragility on existing U.S. tools, strategic interests and challenges. 

Sarah Chayes

Introduction

If you don’t fix the administration of this country—go after the bribe-gobblers and the tyrants—you can send all the soldiers you want, security will never come.”1

Tue, 09/20/2016 - 10:37
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Understanding the Informal Security Sector in Nigeria

Informal security actors such as vigilantes play a variety of roles in African communities. Research has tended to focus on the negative impact of informal security providers, but these groups have an essential role in a community’s safety and security. This report provides an analysis of the informal security actors in the Nigerian states of Plateau, Kaduna, and Kano and in the capital city of Abuja. 

Ernest Ogbozor

Summary

  • Informal security actors such as vigilantes play a variety of roles in African communities. Research has tended to focus on the negative impacts of informal security providers, including the perpetration of human rights violations, rather than on the essential roles these groups play in a community’s safety and security.
Thu, 09/15/2016 - 15:45
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U.S. Leadership and the Challenge of ‘State Fragility’

The new administration, a coming change in leadership at the United Nations, and an emerging global consensus about the fragility challenge make this an opportune moment to recalibrate our approach. The United States cannot and should not try to “fix” every fragile state. Nor can we ignore this challenge; all fragility has the potential to affect U.S. interests to some extent, especially when left to fester. There is simply too much at stake for our interests, our partners, and the global order. A sound and realistic policy framework is urgently needed to help our policymakers determine where, when, and how to invest scarce resources and attention to maximum effect.

William J. Burns, Michèle Flournoy, Nancy Lindborg

The report is the product of a nine-month study of Fragility Study Group led by William J. Burns of the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, Michèle Flournoy of the Center for a New American Security and Nancy Lindborg of the U.S.

Mon, 09/12/2016 - 15:44

Atrocity Prevention through Dialogue

Dialogue with violent extremist groups is a controversial practice, even when used to prevent widespread violence or atrocities. Humanitarian dialogue may serve as a crisis-mitigation instrument, offering short-term relief and civilian protection. When the risk of atrocities is remote, political dialogue can be used for structural or upstream prevention aimed at conflict resolution or addressing community grievances. Though dialogue as a peacebuilding tool has potential in any stage of a conflict, it is ideally undertaken before widespread violence occurs. However, the conditions for successful atrocity prevention through dialogue with violent extremist groups are rarely in place.

Summary

  • Various forms of dialogue have traditionally been a central mechanism in the toolbox for atrocity prevention. The utility of this noncoercive peacebuilding practice merits reconsideration as violent extremist organizations (VEOs) increasingly embrace mass violence as a means to advance their objectives.
Sofía Sebastián and Jonas Claes
Tue, 08/30/2016 - 08:55

Justice and Security Needs in Iraq after ISIL

Many of the three million-plus internally displaced persons (IDPs) living in Iraq wish to return to their homes in areas no longer controlled by the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL). But weak security and informal justice in these areas make safe return a challenge. IDPs, civil society organizations, and official stakeholders met in Baghdad, Karbala, and Kirkuk under USIP’s Justice and Security Dialogue program to voice concerns about and offer suggestions for safe return. This Special Report summarizes these discussions, which could guide policymakers seeking to resolve the IDP crisis and sustain security in Iraq.

Khitam Al-Khaykanee

Summary

  • Liberating areas from the control of the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) will not fully resolve the internally displaced person (IDP) crisis in Iraq. IDPs’ concerns must be addressed in a comprehensive and credible plan that facilitates safe, voluntary return to liberated areas.
Wed, 08/24/2016 - 12:55
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UNSCR 1325 in the Middle East and North Africa: Women and Security

The United Nations Security Council passed Resolution 1325 fifteen years ago. The resolution addresses the disproportionate impact war has on women and reaffirms their important role in conflict management, conflict resolution, and sustainable peace processes. This report pulls from interviews conducted with academics, activists, government officials, and nongovernmental leaders in Egypt, Iraq, Israel, the Palestinian territories, and Tunisia. It examines the benefits and challenges of the resolution in these countries as well as its potential in the Middle East and North Africa region.

Paula M. Rayman, Seth Izen and Emily Parker

Summary

  • The United Nations Security Council passed Resolution 1325 in October 2000. The resolution is not being utilized consistently across the studied nations in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region. This disparity exists not only among the five nations examined by this report but also within each nation.
  • Internally, there are differences among women and men in their support for the resolution and a Women, Peace and Security (WPS) agenda due to factors such as rural/urban divides, religious/secular affiliations, and socioeconomic status.
Wed, 05/04/2016 - 09:43
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What Can Be Done to Revive Afghanistan’s Economy?

Reviving the Afghan economy during a time of intensifying violent conflict, declining external financial aid, and ongoing political uncertainty and dysfunction will be extremely challenging. But the country cannot wait for these entrenched problems to be addressed. While keeping expectations modest, this report proposes some targeted, near-term measures to increase confidence and stimulate the economy. Rather than engaging in politics as usual and following conventional policy prescriptions that will not work in the short run, the Afghan government and international community need to focus limited available resources on efforts that will have the highest visibility and impact on the current situation.

William A. Byrd

Summary

  • Afghanistan’s National Unity Government (NUG) needs to operate more like the unified government of a country facing a national crisis.
  • Tens of billions of dollars in Afghan private capital is being held outside the country, but the money is unlikely to be repatriated and invested effectively in Afghanistan unless confidence in the future increases, the NUG becomes more effective, and prospects for reconciliation and reduced violence improve.
Tue, 02/09/2016 - 09:11
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September 2016
The Fragility Study Group is an independent, non-partisan, effort of the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, the Center for a New American Security and the United States Institute of Peace. The chair report of the study group, U.S. Leadership and the Challenge of State Fragility, was...
September 2016
The Fragility Study Group is an independent, non-partisan, effort of the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, the Center for a New American Security and the United States Institute of Peace. The chair report of the study group, U.S. Leadership and the Challenge of State Fragility, was...
September 2016
The Fragility Study Group is an independent, non-partisan, effort of the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, the Center for a New American Security and the United States Institute of Peace. The chair report of the study group, U.S. Leadership and the Challenge of State Fragility, was...
September 2016
The Fragility Study Group is an independent, non-partisan, effort of the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, the Center for a New American Security and the United States Institute of Peace. The chair report of the study group, U.S. Leadership and the Challenge of State Fragility, was...
September 2016
Informal security actors such as vigilantes play a variety of roles in African communities. Research has tended to focus on the negative impact of informal security providers, but these groups have an essential role in a community’s safety and security. This report provides an analysis of the...
September 2016
The new administration, a coming change in leadership at the United Nations, and an emerging global consensus about the fragility challenge make this an opportune moment to recalibrate our approach. The United States cannot and should not try to “fix” every fragile state. Nor can we ignore this...
August 2016
Dialogue with violent extremist groups is a controversial practice, even when used to prevent widespread violence or atrocities. Humanitarian dialogue may serve as a crisis-mitigation instrument, offering short-term relief and civilian protection. When the risk of atrocities is remote, political...
August 2016
Many of the three million-plus internally displaced persons (IDPs) living in Iraq wish to return to their homes in areas no longer controlled by the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL). But weak security and informal justice in these areas make safe return a challenge. IDPs, civil society...
May 2016
The United Nations Security Council passed Resolution 1325 fifteen years ago. The resolution addresses the disproportionate impact war has on women and reaffirms their important role in conflict management, conflict resolution, and sustainable peace processes. This report pulls from interviews...
February 2016
Reviving the Afghan economy during a time of intensifying violent conflict, declining external financial aid, and ongoing political uncertainty and dysfunction will be extremely challenging. But the country cannot wait for these entrenched problems to be addressed. While keeping expectations modest...