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.

Afghan Women and Violent Extremism

In Afghanistan, the actions and narratives of violent extremist groups threaten to roll back many of the gains and hard-won rights of women over the last fifteen years. Women have long been cast in a binary light—as either disempowered victims or deviant anomalies—but in fact are involved in a wide range of activities, from peacebuilding to recruiting, sympathizing, perpetrating, and preventing violent extremism. Drawing on more than one hundred interviews in the field in Afghanistan, this report delves into the roles women play in the context of violent extremism. A deeper understanding of these roles and the reasons behind them, the report asserts, is critical to effective policy and programming.

Summary

  • Women’s role in violent extremism has too often been simplified to a binary: either victim of the choices of men or deviant anomaly.
  • Women play a diverse range of roles in violent extremism in Afghanistan—as they do around the world—not only as peacebuilders but also as recruiters, sympathizers, perpetrators, and preventers.
  • Roles and motivations vary, but what is clear is that the construct of disempowered victims simply does not hold true for all women involved.
Belquis Ahmadi and Sadaf Lakhani
Wed, 11/30/2016 - 13:39
Countries: 

Applying the Compact Model of Economic Assistance in Fragile States

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. 

Alicia Phillips Mandaville

Policymakers are increasingly attuned to the security implications of state fragility. Whether we worry that the state in question is unable to prevent localized conflict from spilling over borders, inadvertently providing a safe haven for violent actors through lack of territorial control, or increasing the risk of epidemics as a result of inadequate medical response, most of the policy community’s focus on fragile states begins with a security concern.

Mon, 11/14/2016 - 14:39

Fostering a State-Society Compact

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. 

Stephen J. Hadley & Rachel Kleinfeld

Since the end of the Cold War, every President has been forced – sometimes proactively, sometimes reluctantly – to conduct war in a fragile state. Each time, the U.S. has tried a different strategy in an attempt to learn from past mistakes. Yet regardless of the particulars—composition of forces, leadership, and international engagement—in each case the states remained fragile or failed and required ongoing international intervention for years to come. After a quarter century, it appears to many that, in the fragile states where the U.S.

Mon, 11/14/2016 - 14:19

Gender and Fragility: Ensuring a Golden Hour

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. 

Nora Dudwick & Kathleen Kuehnast

Why Women Matter to International Security

Thu, 11/10/2016 - 13:18

Gender and the Role of Women in Colombia's Peace Process

The promises and visions articulated in United Nations Security Council Resolution 1325 and subsequent UN resolutions and position papers that recognize the connection between gender equity and women’s participation in all aspects of peace processes and peacebuilding on the one hand, and international peace and security on the other, have not been fulfilled. Nonetheless, these resolutions have opened the way for advocacy that has had some successes in specific contexts. Colombia offers one such case. 

Through desk research, literature review, and personal interviews, this paper provides an overview of the Colombian internal armed conflict and the peace process currently underway to transform it.1 It begins with an historical overview of the conflict, and then explores some of its gender dimensions. It analyzes the differential impact of the internal armed conflict on the lives of women and men, LBGTI persons, and boys, girls and adolescents, as well as the intersectionality between multiple components of identity, including gender, class, age, ethnicity, and region.

Virginia M. Bouvier
Thu, 11/03/2016 - 15:46
Countries: 

The Rise and Stall of the Islamic State in Afghanistan

This report details the structure, composition, and growth of the Islamic State’s so-called Khorasan province, particularly in the eastern Afghan province of Nangarhar, and outlines considerations for international policymakers. More than sixty interviews carried out by The Liaison Office with residents of Nangarhar and provincial and national Afghan security officials informed this report. 

Summary

  • The Islamic State’s Khorasan province (IS-K) is led by a core of former Tehrik-e-Taliban Pakistan commanders from Orakzai and Khyber Agencies of Pakistan; the majority of mid-level commanders are former Taliban from Nangarhar, with the rank and file a mixture of local Afghans, Pakistanis, and foreign jihadists mostly from Central Asia.
Casey Garret Johnson
Thu, 11/03/2016 - 15:15
Countries: 

Addressing Fragility—A New Learning Agenda

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. 

Andrew Blum

"Despite the decades of scholarship and hard-earned experience, we have yet to come up with an effective and sustainable approach to fragile states.” William Burns, Michèle Flournoy, and Nancy Lindborg deserve credit for acknowledging this reality and stating it clearly.

Tue, 10/18/2016 - 10:57

Countering Militancy and Terrorism in Pakistan: The Civil-Military Nexus

Based on interviews with civil and military officials and politicians, this report details the poor governance and imbalance of power in Pakistan and offers key recommendations for the military, civilian institutions, parliament, and civil society to achieve the goals and objectives outlined in Pakistan’s National Action Plan (NAP). The need for an assessment of the National Internal Security Policy and subsequent NAP became evident as the heightened military action under Operation Zarb-e-Azb entered its second year. Much remains unclear due to the lack of transparency in operations of both civil and military institutions and the absence of active parliamentary oversight.

Summary

  • Pakistan resides in an unsettled and hostile neighborhood and faces an existential challenge from domestic forces of sectarian and ethnic militancy and terrorism.
  • Many of Pakistan’s domestic problems are related to poor governance and the imbalance of power and operational ability between civil institutions and the military.
  • Shortsighted policies of successive civil and military governments and a dynastic political system have hobbled efforts to develop a strong, stable polity and economy.
Shuja Nawaz
Wed, 10/12/2016 - 10:01
Countries: 

Preparing for Complex Conflicts

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. 

Dr. Robert D. Lamb and Melissa R. Gregg

The United States and its partners have not been unambiguously successful in most of the conflicts they have been engaged in since 9/11. In some cases, conflicts that had seemed settled erupted again under different guises. Combatants that had appeared defeated emerged under different names. Partners that had seemed reliable turned out to have different agendas. Successful operations have rarely led to strategic success.

Wed, 10/12/2016 - 09:20

Implementing a Unified Approach to Fragility: Lessons learned from Burma

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. 

Development, diplomacy, and defense advance U.S. interests in a world of rapid and complex transitions. Since 2010, considerable progress has been made to increase the capacity and co-ordination of these “three D’s” through integrated strategic planning and the rebuilding of the U.S. Agency for International Development’s (USAID’s) policy and planning functions. Nevertheless, embassies are often challenged to translate broad strategic goals into specific actions that combine the capabilities of development, diplomacy, and defense, particularly in complex transition environments.

Derek Mitchell, Chris Milligan, Jessica Davey
Fri, 10/07/2016 - 12:10
Countries: 
November 2016
In Afghanistan, the actions and narratives of violent extremist groups threaten to roll back many of the gains and hard-won rights of women over the last fifteen years. Women have long been cast in a binary light—as either disempowered victims or deviant anomalies—but in fact are involved in a wide...
November 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...
November 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...
November 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...
November 2016
The promises and visions articulated in United Nations Security Council Resolution 1325 and subsequent UN resolutions and position papers that recognize the connection between gender equity and women’s participation in all aspects of peace processes and peacebuilding on the one hand, and...
November 2016
This report details the structure, composition, and growth of the Islamic State’s so-called Khorasan province, particularly in the eastern Afghan province of Nangarhar, and outlines considerations for international policymakers. More than sixty interviews carried out by The Liaison Office with...
October 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...
October 2016
Based on interviews with civil and military officials and politicians, this report details the poor governance and imbalance of power in Pakistan and offers key recommendations for the military, civilian institutions, parliament, and civil society to achieve the goals and objectives outlined in...
October 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...
October 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...