Violent conflicts are increasingly defined by overlapping webs of alliances, proxies and other types of “support relationships” between state and non-state belligerents. As seen in Syria and Yemen, conflicts crowded by international actors often last longer, create new risks to civilians and have the potential to destabilize entire regions — and the recent crisis in Afghanistan reminds us of the peril and potential of partnerships in a war zone. To better protect civilians in the 21st century, the international community must embrace hard lessons learned and apply them to future security partnerships.
To help policymakers understand the stakes of these partnerships, the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) recently launched its seminal report, “Allies, Partners and Proxies: Managing Support Relationships in Armed Conflict to Reduce the Human Cost of War.”
On September 16, USIP and ICRC held a discussion on the report’s findings, how they can be applied to security partnerships, and the practical steps that U.S. and international policymakers should consider to better protect civilians in today’s increasingly complex crises.
Continue the conversation on Twitter with #AlliesPartnersProxies.
President and CEO, U.S. Institute of Peace
President, International Committee of the Red Cross
Lieutenant General Michael K. Nagata, USA (Ret)