Monday, August 12, 2019
On October 20, 2018, Afghanistan held parliamentary elections amid very challenging circumstances. Despite significant voter turnout in several provinces, local officials and police were unable to realize a fully credible and peaceful election. The increased engagement of women in the election process presents one of the few bright spots.
The U.S. State Department Bureau of Counterterrorism recently released its annual report on terrorism. The report concludes that despite the success of efforts to dismantle ISIS, “the terrorist landscape grew more complex.” Extremist groups such as ISIS, al-Qaida, and their affiliates are proving resilient and adjusting to heightened counterterrorism pressure with new attempts to destabilize, seize, and govern territory in fragile states.
As President Trump weighs options for a second meeting between himself and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un, public discussion increasingly has taken up this question: Should the United States declare a formal end to the Korean War as a new catalyst for diplomatic efforts to reduce risks of a nuclear confrontation? Two USIP analysts of U.S.-Korea relations say such a declaration would offer advantages if U.S.-South Korean defense cooperation is not compromised.
Ukraine is in a long, busy election season. Six months before presidential elections in March, posters of Yulia Tymoshenko already dominate the streets of Kyiv, indicating that campaigning is well underway. Parliamentary elections will follow next October. International analysts and Ukrainian media have widely reported on the fear of Russian interference—whether through cyber attacks, other forms of meddling or even military movements in the Donbas.
Over the summer, police in Niamey, Niger agreed to participate in a live radio call-in show to discuss security concerns, including complaints about police behavior. The police previously had declined to participate in similar activities but had come to see the value of direct communication with the community. In Niger and throughout Africa’s Sahel region, small steps like this toward communication and accountability, and larger changes in policy, are needed to encourage communities to work with security services.
Darine Abdulkarim is Generation Change fellow and a medical doctor from Sudan who works on the physical and psychological rehabilitation of internally displaced women and their reintegration into society. She is one of 25 young civil society leaders from a dozen nations facing violent conflict whom USIP gathered in 2017 for training and mentorship with the Nobel peace laureate and spiritual leader, the Dalai Lama.
Seventeen years ago today, we experienced the gravest attack on our nation since World War II. Everything we thought we knew about protecting the safety of American citizens and security of our shores changed overnight. Americans came face-to-face with an unfamiliar enemy: violent extremists.
Extremists have attempted to achieve their ideological objectives in different ways. Islamist militants in Algeria and Egypt waged bloody but unsuccessful insurgencies during the 1990s to overthrow those countries' regimes. Osama bin Laden blamed their failure on Western support for secular Middle Eastern states. He created al-Qaida to attack the United States and force it to withdraw from the region.
Under congressional mandate, USIP has convened the bipartisan Task Force for Extremism in Fragile States to design a comprehensive new strategy for addressing the underlying causes of violent extremism in fragile states. But what is a fragile state? And how does state fragility in the Middle East, Horn of Africa and the Sahel threaten American interests? In this excerpt from the Task Force’s forthcoming report, we dive into the conditions of fragility and how they seed the ground for extremism to take root.
The Syrian regime’s impending assault on Idlib, the last rebel-held enclave in Syria, could be among the bloodiest battles in Syria’s civil war with significant humanitarian and geopolitical consequences. The regime’s retaking of Idlib would mark a significant milestone in Bashar al-Assad’s campaign to re-establish his control over the war-torn country.