Articles and Publications

USIP Articles, Publications and Tools provide the latest analysis of international developments and policy recommendations on world affairs issues, particularly the prevention and resolution of conflict.

Latest Articles & Analysis

January 2015
By
Erica Gaston
Yemen’s path since the 2011 Arab Spring uprising has long seemed shaky, but this week’s events have created the most serious crisis facing the country in decades. With the government’s resignation, many observers fear the complete fragmentation and breakup of the state. Erica Gaston, a former senior program officer at the U.S. Institute of Peace, explains the ramifications.
January 2015
By
Priscilla Clapp
Cascades of violent conflict in Syria, Iraq, South Sudan, Ukraine and elsewhere convulsed 2014, raising anxiety about how the world will fare this year. In this series, experts from the U.S. Institute of Peace explore some of the biggest tests coming up for 2015 in the struggle to prevent or resolve violent conflict. Topics will include Myanmar/Burma’s planned parliamentary elections, Iran’s nuclear program, Nigeria’s impending national elections, Afghanistan’s new government, Pakistan’s struggle with militancy and more.
January 2015
By
Colin Cookman
During the year of “transition” in Afghanistan in 2014, attention was focused on whether or not the government would survive. The greatest threat was not Taliban violence but a possible breakdown of the elite consensus during the election and a return to civil war. The transition, however, has also forced the Taliban to react to new facts on the ground.
January 2015
By
Sehar Tariq
In the aftermath of the horrific Taliban attack on a school in Peshawar that left more than 140 people dead, most of them children, a national consensus against terrorism may be emerging in Pakistan. Also developing is a new style and approach for civil society activism.
January 2015
By
Palwasha Kakar and Melissa Nozell
Wazhma needed a lawyer. She could no longer stand the beatings her husband was inflicting in a marriage that she had not wanted in the first place.  As a third-year medical student, she knew she had rights and she wanted a divorce.  Hers was one of 11 cases that the Women Defense Lawyers’ Advisory Council took to court in Afghanistan over the course of a year.
January 2015
By
Manal Omar
To win hearts and minds in the Middle East, America needs to let local allies do the talking.
January 2015
By
Viola Gienger
A recent flare of attacks in northern Nigeria by the militant group Boko Haram illustrates the potential for more widespread unrest, especially as the country nears elections next month, and the trend highlights the need for political leaders to take action to prevent further violence, USIP experts say.
January 2015
By
Melissa Nozell
His career was rooted in college friendships with a Ghanaian and a Nigerian. It propelled him through posts in four foreign countries and a peace mediated in a local community in Africa that has held for more than 10 years. David Smock, USIP’s vice president for Governance, Law & Society and director of the Institute’s Religion and Peacebuilding Center, retires at the end of this week after more than 24 years at USIP, an organization that itself is only 30 years old.
January 2015
By
Hanne Bursch
Assigning special envoys and special representatives helps in tackling major foreign policy issues, and the approach will almost certainly continue to be used as conflicts span borders and threats proliferate. That means identifying the correct envoy for any particular conflict is essential, according to a panel of experts who made recommendations for more effectively applying this foreign policy tool during a discussion at USIP.
December 2014
From a campaign for peaceful elections in Afghanistan to a radio program engaging youth in South Sudan, USIP worked with civil society, political leaders and others in 2014 on a range of actions to prevent, mitigate or resolve violent conflict during a particularly chaotic year in global affairs. Top USIP experts discuss highlights of the year and glance ahead at 2015.

Latest Publications and Tools

January 2015
By
Huma Yusuf and Syed Shoaib Hasan
Pakistan’s southern province of Sindh has a reputation for stability, diversity, and tolerance. It is also at a tipping point—increasingly threatened by violent extremism, crime, political corruption, tribal feuds, and nationalist and separatist movements. If the province is not to become yet another base for militants, as areas to the north already are, the government needs to act promptly and decisively. Addressing the security situation in Sindh is also integral to stabilizing Karachi, which should be a top priority, given the economic ramifications of growing turbulence in the country’s financial capital. 
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January 2015
Announcing the 2015 book and report titles from the U.S. Institute of Peace Press.  This catalog is available as a downloadable PDF.
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January 2015
By
Javed Noorani
Rich in natural resources—ferrous and nonferrous metals and strategic minerals in particular—Afghanistan faces a dual threat as international troops withdraw and international aid declines. On the one hand are inadequate government revenues. On the other is the resource curse that affects so many low-income countries. This report, drawn from case studies of five ongoing Afghan mining operations, addresses resource exploitation, its impact on the political economy and internal conflict, and possible ways forward.
January 2015
This report discusses the Justice and Security Dialogue (JSD) processes and activities which took place in the governorates of Abyan and Marib from early 2013 through early 2014. It details the research, planning, and implementation of context-drive dialogues, including outcomes, conclusions, and lessons learned.
January 2015
By
Ali Jalali
Afghanistan’s presidential election was resolved by a U.S.-brokered deal that led, ultimately, to a power-sharing arrangement within the new national unity government. This has set up tensions within the government—even as Afghanistan’s leaders face an uncertain political, economic, and security situation across the country, as international financial and military support draws down. The formation of the new government, however, also presents opportunities for serious reforms of Afghanistan’s government, which could lead to greater peace and security if seized effectively.
January 2015
By
Sean Kane
Drawing on the comparative experiences of governments negotiating with insurgencies in the Philippines, Myanmar, and Colombia, as well as a detailed examination of the Taliban’s possible constitutional demands, this report examines the 2004 Afghan constitution with respect to its potential inclusion in peace talks between government and Taliban leaders. It argues that, if the issue is handled carefully and with strategic intent, the Afghan government may be able to seize the political high ground by challenging the Taliban to justify some of its more unpopular constitutional positions to other Afghans.
January 2015
By
Kelly McKone, Maria J. Stephan, and Noel Dickover
In an era of crackdowns on freedoms of peaceful assembly and association, what role can technology play in strengthening nonviolent civic mobilization? How can activists strategically apply the full range of technologies to build and sustain movements where the options for nonviolently resolving conflicts are diminishing under increased repression? Informed by discussions from a USIP workshop, this report explores avenues for engagement between activists and external actors to use technology in support of movement building. 
January 2015
By
Antonio Giustozzi and Silab Mangal
This report sheds light on the controversial 2014 presidential election in Afghanistan through the murky lens of the Taliban. How did they view it? Was the violence as high as in previous elections? What were their strategies in the lead-up? How did it affect their image, if at all? What strategies are they adopting in its wake? Are they moving closer to Afghan mainstream politics, which for the most part is still made of strongmen, manipulation, and corrupt patronage networks rather than based on liberal and democratic principles? Or is the mainstream moving closer to the Taliban, as far as the use of violence in the elections is concerned?
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January 2015
By
Michael Semple
This report examines the evolution of the Taliban case for armed struggle and the minimal adjustments Taliban rhetoricians made to cope with the impending political change in Afghanistan in 2014. It considers how the Taliban might make a case for peace, should they take the political decision to engage in negotiations.
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December 2014
The United States Institute of Peace works to prevent, mitigate, and resolve violent conflict around the world. USIP does this by engaging directly in conflict zones and by providing analysis, education, and resources to those working for peace. Created by Congress in 1984 as an independent, nonpartisan, federally funded organization, USIP’s more than 300 staff work at the Institute’s D.C. headquarters, and on the ground in the world’s most dangerous regions

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