Five years ago, Russia rolled into Crimea, orchestrated a swift and one-sided referendum, and annexed the Ukrainian territory. The West was blindsided by the attack and slow to provide any response. As a result, Russian President Vladimir Putin launched a second invasion of Ukrainian soil—this one in the country’s east. This attack met stronger resistance, and eventually the West swung into gear to push for a cease-fire and to impose sanctions on Russia. Yet the conflict rumbles on and has killed over 10,300 Ukrainians so far.
On April 21, suicide bombers in Sri Lanka reminded the world that the end of the Islamic State’s “caliphate” by no means marked the defeat of violent extremism. Indeed, despite trillions of dollars spent and tens of thousands of lives lost, terrorism is spreading. The urgency of checking the ideology behind terrorism, particularly where the ground for it is most fertile, has never been greater, said members of the Task Force on Extremism in Fragile States this week at the U.S. Institute of Peace.
Amid a series of positive developments in the Afghan peace process over the last year, a framework for negotiations reached between the U.S. and Taliban has renewed hope that the 17 year-old Afghan conflict could come to a close. Led by Special Representative for Afghanistan Reconciliation Zalmay Khalilzad, the U.S. has agreed in principle to a conditional withdraw of U.S. and allied troops in exchange for the Taliban pledging to not allow Afghanistan to be a safe haven for transnational terrorists, like al-Qaida, as well as agreeing to talks that include the Afghan government and a cease-fire. Despite this progress, “We are in the early stages of a protracted process,” Ambassador Khalilzad said at the U.S. Institute of Peace on February 8. “We have a long way to go.”
Secretary of Defense James Mattis yesterday urged combatants in Yemen, including Saudi Arabia and Yemen’s Iran-backed Houthi faction, to negotiate a cease-fire in that war within 30 days while speaking to diplomats, military officers and conflict-resolution specialists at the U.S. Institute of Peace. In a webcast conversation moderated by former national security advisor and USIP Chair Stephen J. Hadley, Mattis also discussed global security challenges facing the United States—from Russia and China, to North Korea—cybersecurity and the need for the developed world to help fragile states improve their governance and address the root causes of extremism.
Members of Congress representing both parties—Senators Chris Coons (D-DE) and Lindsay Graham (R-SC), as well as Representatives Eliot Engel (D-NY) and Michael McCaul (R-TX)—yesterday lauded the release of a new report that makes the case and outlines a framework for preventing violent extremism at its roots.
Despite counterterrorism efforts that have “thwarted dozens of plots and thoroughly disrupted terrorist capabilities,” we “cannot rest” in our efforts to prevent violent extremism, said Director of National Intelligence Daniel Coats Tuesday night at an event at the U.S. Institute of Peace. The event, co-hosted by USIP and the Bipartisan Policy Center on the 17th anniversary of 9/11, recognized 9/11 Commission chairs Gov. Thomas Kean and Rep. Lee Hamilton for their work leading the Commission and for continuing this work through the Task Force on Extremism in Fragile States.
An international conference opens in Kuwait Monday to plan ways to rebuild Iraq and secure it against renewed extremist violence following the three-year war against ISIS. A USIP team just spent nine days in Iraq for talks with government and civil society leaders, part of the Institute’s years-long effort to help the country stabilize. The Kuwait conference will gather government, business and civil society leaders to consider a reconstruction that Iraq has said could cost $100 billion. USIP’s president, Nancy Lindborg, and Middle East program director, Sarhang Hamasaeed, say any realistic rebuilding plan must focus also on the divisions and grievances in Iraq that led to ISIS’ violence and that still exist.
USIP Board Chair, Stephen J. Hadley, testimony on U.S. democracy assistance before the State, Foreign Operations, and Related Programs Subcommittee of the Committee on Appropriations, of the United States Senate on Tuesday, May 9, 2017.
In our testimony, we would like to offer our perspective on the current challenges to the international system, share some insights relevant to this topic from our Middle East Strategy Task Force, and suggest some ways in which Congress might be able to help forge a new bipartisan consensus on American foreign policy.
The national security advisors to President Barack Obama and President-elect Donald Trump stood shoulder-to-shoulder on a stage at the U.S. Institute of Peace yesterday and shook hands to a standing ovation at a two-day conference on foreign and national security policy. In speeches, National Security Advisor Susan Rice and her designated successor, retired U.S. Army Lieutenant General Michael Flynn, struck a tone of cooperation on the transition between administrations.