The Olive Branch

This blog offers timely analysis, views from the field and an exchange of ideas about how to build peace and prevent or end conflict. USIP invites you to browse the posts and then offer your own ideas, comments or reflections. Each blog post and comment 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 take policy positions.

By Fred Strasser
October 19, 2016
In 2004, when Iraqi political and religious leaders tried to roll back a longstanding law asserting broad rights for women, thousands of Iraqi women mobilized to defend it and to enshrine their rights in the constitution. They marched, wrote protest letters and lobbied the U.S.-led coalition then...
By USIP Staff
October 17, 2016
Iraqi government troops and allied Kurdish forces opened their assault on the city of Mosul before dawn today, fighting to recapture Iraq’s second-largest city from guerrillas of the Islamic State (ISIS). While a military defeat of the extremist group is expected, that will not bring stability or...
By Virginia M. Bouvier
October 1, 2016
There are landmark moments in the history of a nation that transcend borders and herald a new vision for the future. The signing of the peace accord in Colombia represents such a moment. If the Colombian people ratify the Havana peace agreement in the plebiscite scheduled for October 2, it will be...
By Keith Mines
September 29, 2016
Shimon Peres served twice as Prime Minister of Israel and most recently as President. He was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 1994, along with Yitzhak Rabin and Yasser Arafat, for securing the Oslo peace accords, and he never stopped believing in the agreement’s principals and main contours for a...
By Jonas Claes and Scofield Muliru
September 19, 2016
With elections coming up next year in Liberia and Kenya, the time for early and sustained efforts to prevent clashes is now. Forthcoming USIP research shows that domestic institutions hold the key: election commissions, the police and, above all, political leaders. Any international support to...
By Virginia M. Bouvier
September 9, 2016
Colombian rebel troops are heading to decommissioning centers and minors are set to leave guerrilla ranks on Sept. 10, as the government and the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC-EP) begin implementing their peace accord ahead of an Oct. 2 plebiscite on the deal. 
By Viola Gienger
September 7, 2016
A peace plan for South Sudan that was intended to end three years of fighting in the world’s newest nation has failed largely because it “depends on the cooperation of the very antagonists who brought about the current civil war,” former U.S. Special Envoy to Sudan and South Sudan Princeton Lyman...
By I-wei Jennifer Chang, Kay Spencer and Jennifer Staats
September 2, 2016
Myanmar’s new leader, Daw Aung Sang Suu Kyi, has made the country’s peace process one of her top policy priorities—and China is taking steps to support her efforts. The Chinese government has positioned itself to become a prominent player in the peace talks in Myanmar, and this week’s session...
By William A. Byrd and M. Khalid Payenda
September 1, 2016
Afghanistan’s impressive revenue turnaround in 2015—when total government revenue exceeded expectations with an increase of 22 percent—has been followed by further rapid revenue growth in the first half of 2016. This represents an important achievement in the challenging context of Afghanistan,...
By James Cohen
August 31, 2016
From the Panama Papers to an op-ed by Secretary of State John Kerry to a hearing in the U.S. Senate, signs are growing that the U.S. is beginning to understand the threat that widespread corruption poses to U.S. national security and international stability, and that a solution will require global...