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

April 2015
By
Manal Omar, Sarhang Hamasaeed
The plan for Iraq's future needs to go deeper than defeating the Islamic State.
April 2015
By
William B. Taylor
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.
April 2015
By
Emily Fornof and Steven Ruder
Last week’s historic Nigerian election result—a first-ever, prospective peaceful transfer of power between civilian political opponents—could strengthen democratization efforts across Africa, according to analysts convened by the U.S. Institute of Peace. And it opens new prospects for the continent’s demographic and economic giant to strengthen governance, clean up corruption, and reverse the spread of the Boko Haram insurgency. The U.S. administration should show support for President-elect Muhammadu Buhari by inviting him to Washington after he takes office, the analysts said.
April 2015
By
USIP Staff
Kenya’s government must adopt a broader strategy to counter extremist violence such as last week’s attack by the militant group al-Shabab at Garissa University, according to two experts at the U.S. Institute of Peace. The attack killed at least 147 people, mostly students.
April 2015
By
USIP Staff
Yesterday’s announced framework for a deal on Iran’s nuclear program will limit Iran’s nuclear activities in exchange for an end to international economic sanctions against the country. Many experts, including USIP’s Daniel Brumberg, have offered analysis of the agreement’s details, including its chances of preventing Iran from reaching a nuclear-weapons capability. Less attention has focused on the meaning of the accord for Iran and its place in the world. USIP expert and author Robin Wright says the accord and its promise to ease Iran’s deep economic crisis will boost Iran’s centrist president, Hassan Rouhani. He has said he sees it as a first step to re-integrating Iran in international relations.
April 2015
By
USIP Staff
Iran has agreed with six major powers—the five permanent members of the U.N. Security Council plus Germany—to limit its nuclear activities for at least a decade in exchange for an end to international economic sanctions. This agreement on principles, announced yesterday, is incomplete. More talks will be needed to decide numerous technical details, including the pace at which sanctions will be lifted. As USIP’s Robin Wright explores the ramifications of the agreement for Iran’s place in the world, USIP Special Advisor on Iran Daniel Brumberg discusses the implications of the announced accord, including the opposition to it from Israel and from many in the U.S. Congress.
April 2015
By
Aubrey Cox
Amid Yemen’s turmoil, a 27-year-old woman living in the capital Sana’a works against the odds – political and personal – to strengthen the ability of the country’s young women to promote a more inclusive society. Through a program called Generation Change, the U.S. Institute of Peace aims to support young leaders like her across the Middle East and Africa who face obstacles, even beyond the obvious security risks, that threaten the effectiveness and longevity of their work. 
March 2015
By
Hassan Abbas, Nadia Gerspacher
Arming vigilantes in places like Iraq and Afghanistan to work alongside struggling police forces isn't a solution -- it's a time bomb.
March 2015
By
Linwood Ham
For two decades, ensuring the U.S. isn’t complicit in gross human rights abuses by foreign police and military forces has rested in significant part on the shoulders of a law devised by Senator Patrick Leahy that bars U.S. foreign aid to individuals or institutions that commit violations. This week, Leahy exhorted more than 130 representatives of government, non-profit groups, international organizations, academia and research institutions gathered at USIP to consider the next step: how U.S. assistance can be used more effectively for both accountability and prevention.
March 2015
By
James Rupert
Afghan President Ashraf Ghani has declared himself “cautiously optimistic” that he can get Pakistan’s help to negotiate a peaceful end to Afghanistan’s 13-year-old Taliban insurgency. Tonight he explained why.

Latest Publications and Tools

April 2015
By
Joylon Leslie
The city of Herat sits in Afghanistan’s most western province, on the border with Iran, and is significant on several counts. A major trading hub and the largest city in the region, it is in some respects an exemplar for the entire country. One the one hand it is a prevailing spirit of enterprise, on the other persistent insecurity and ad hoc urban development. How the new national unity government in Kabul unfolds will have significant implications for how Herat is able to meet the challenges for its social development and economic growth.
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March 2015
The Initiative to Measure Peace and Conflict Outcomes (IMPACT) was launched by the U.S. Institute of Peace in 2014 with the aim of developing simple, but rigorous, data-collection tools to monitor peacebuilding programs and assess progress toward meaningful objectives, such as reducing violent incidents, resolving disputes, or increasing trust in local government institutions. The goal of the initiative is twofold: to learn important lessons that can be used to improve future programming, and to increase the ability of the field to demonstrate concretely the effectiveness of peacebuilding approaches.
March 2015
By
Lauren Van Metre, Viola G. Gienger and Kathleen Kuehnast
Russia’s annexation of Crimea and its military operations in Eastern Ukraine have overturned the post–Cold War norms that had provided stability and development for the former Soviet countries bordering Russia. As neighboring countries assess their own security situation based on Russia’s aggressive practices in Ukraine and the West’s response, they are actively testing the new contours of Russian and Western engagement, regional alliances and relationships, and regional conflict dynamics.
March 2015
By
Robert M. Perito
New U.N. operations in the Sahel present unprecedented challenges for U.N. peacekeeping. They involve the United Nations directly in the struggle against transnational Islamist terrorism, weapons proliferation, and illicit trafficking by international organized crime. The United Nations must operate in countries with harsh terrain, vast expanses, poor communications, and porous borders. In response, the Security Council adopted more robust mandates based on the peace enforcement provisions of the U.N. Charter. In Mali, the United Nations joined the African Union, the European Union, and France, whose forces conduct combat operations, while the United Nations used helicopter gunships and armed police units to protect civilians. In the Central African Republic, U.N. Police are authorized to control violence and arrest offenders. For the United States, there is new interest in U.N. peacekeeping and its importance to U.S. national security interests.
March 2015
Insights highlights major questions on the research and practice of peace and conflict, to more than 10,000 subscribers from around the world.
March 2015
By
Anna Larson
Political parties in Afghanistan are often dismissed by international and Afghan observers as unruly and highly personalized organizations that contribute little to the democratic process. Yet they continue to play a part in shaping the political landscape, albeit in what might be considered unorthodox ways. This report assesses their history, role, and activities over the last decade and how their future might unfold under and contribute to the country’s new unity government.
March 2015
By
Hamid M. Khan
As Afghanistan's nascent democracy works to establish the rule of law across the country, it finds itself contending with the ways that Islamic law converges and diverges from the tribal norms that shape the settling of disputes outside Kabul. Based on surveys conducted in Afghanistan, this report examines the points of tension and agreement between Islamic and customary laws, looking into both of their pasts to suggest a way forward for the Afghan state, particularly in granting greater rights and protections to women.
March 2015
By
Nasir A. Andisha
President Obama’s decision to withdraw all U.S. combat troops from Afghanistan by the end of 2016 leaves that country once again wide open for an intensified regional race for strategic influence in the country. The majority of experts—both Afghan and international—agree that lasting peace and stability in Afghanistan require internationally backed regional arrangements. A recent forum involving high-profile Afghan politicians, former diplomats, and civil society leaders underscores this consensus and the long-term vision of an “Afghan-led and Afghanistan-specific enduring neutrality.” This report focuses on the historical aspects of neutrality as a first step toward neutrality-based diplomatic solutions for both the immediate Afghan conflict and the country’s long-term positioning.
March 2015
By
Fiona Mangan with Erica Gaston
Since the 2011 Arab Spring crisis, Yemen has faced ongoing serious security sector challenges. Part of this reform effort is the country’s prison system, which this report—drawing on visits to thirty-seven facilities in six governorates—documents from a systems perspective. This report provides a more in-depth assessment of detention facilities and their role within larger rule of law challenges. Opportunities for prison reform are emerging, many well within reach.
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February 2015
By
Amy Calfas
The 2014 elections in Afghanistan saw great promise for advancing the status of women, with unprecedented voter turnout among women and powerful rhetoric from presidential candidates. As the new administration sets its agenda, this report offers guidelines for Afghan leaders to fulfill their campaign promises by strengthening women’s political participation, access to justice, and involvement in the security sector. 

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