The Olive Branch

Welcome to USIP's Olive Branch blog, a place for timely analysis, views from the field and an exchange of ideas about how to build peace and end or prevent conflict. Through its work in Asia, Africa, the Middle East and beyond, the Institute blends its expert analysis with its field work, a dynamic in which each must always inform the other on parallel tracks. We hope that this blog will reflect that spirit of combining thought with action. And we invite you to browse our posts and then send us your own ideas, comments or reflections.

Each blog post and comment posted on the Olive Branch represents the views of the author and not necessarily that of USIP, a non-partisan, congressionally-funded organization that does not advocate for policy positions.

May 27, 2015
It is a mistake to view the desperate boat migration currently unfolding in Southeast Asia’s Andaman Sea and the Bay of Bengal as simply a manifestation of the sad plight of the Rohingya Muslim minority in Myanmar, and thereby to conclude that the solution lies only in Myanmar. In fact, it is a...
May 14, 2015
The attempted coup in the tiny African country of Burundi, after weeks of unrest that has killed more than 20 people, provided immediate examples of quandaries for peacebuilding during a discussion at USIP this week: how U.S. diplomacy can emphasize prevention to counter threats, and how best to...
May 12, 2015
Security naturally takes top priority for Libyan citizens these days amid renewed violent conflict, but nationwide political rifts also are causing local civic institutions to break down, said Libyan activists, journalists and analysts during a May 4 online discussion organized by USIP.
May 7, 2015
President Masoud Barzani of Iraq's Kurdistan region stressed the need for reconciliation and dialogue in Iraq during a visit to Washington this week, saying the fight against the "Islamic State" militant group and the restoration of internal stability depends on a unified effort and "peaceful co-...
May 6, 2015
USIP joins the many other organizations, friends and family honoring the life of Ammar al-Shahbander, the Iraq chief of mission for the Institute for War & Peace Reporting (IWPR), who died May 2 in Baghdad as a result of a car bomb attack. A number of USIP staff worked with Ammar to advance his...
May 5, 2015
America’s new diplomatic and foreign-aid blueprint places top priority on the need to prevent and resolve violent conflict and strengthen governance in an effort to restore a measure of global stability. But to accomplish those objectives, the plan’s authors also stressed that U.S. government...
April 24, 2015
America’s foreign interests, including its security, increasingly are challenged by the world’s “fragile” states—those in which “governments are weak, ineffective or disconnected from their people,” according to Nancy Lindborg, president of the U.S. Institute of Peace. Across the world, it is in...
April 22, 2015
Iraq’s ethnic and sectarian divisions, fueled by regional competition among Iran, Saudi Arabia, Qatar and Turkey, also suggest a way toward a resolution, according to Yonadam Kanna, a member of Iraq’s parliament. It will take internal and international pressure for reconciliation and urgent...
April 22, 2015
A former Iranian lawmaker and a former member of Congress agreed that the question of whether American politics will give President Barack Obama the leeway he needs to reach a nuclear deal with Iran remains one of the central issues as negotiations resume this week. The Middle Eastern nation and...
April 13, 2015
Last year’s unexpected Russian invasion and annexation of Crimea and its hybrid war in eastern Ukraine raise profound questions about the future of European security and the U.S. role in maintaining peace, says USIP Acting Executive Vice President Bill Taylor.