Extremist movements — such as ISIS, Boko Haram, the Taliban and al-Shabab — fuel, and often stem from, instability and violent conflict and present a complex challenge. The U.S. Institute of Peace works to understand the underlying causes of violent extremism and helps develop localized and viable solutions by providing research, training and expertise to practitioners and policymakers. From examining the critical role of women in combating violent extremism in Afghanistan to exploring the dynamics of radicalization in Kosovo, USIP seeks to reduce this ever-shifting threat.
A failure by the international community to help rebuild Iraq will leave a vacuum that Russia, Iran or some new extremist group will seek to fill, warned the co-chairman of a working group in the Global Coalition to Defeat ISIS. In a recent discussion at the U.S. Institute of Peace, Ekkehard Brose agreed with the top U.S. State Department official on Iraq, Joseph Pennington, that Iraq must ultimately solve its own problems. But at this point, it can’t, Brose said.
As U.S.-backed Iraqi troops retake the last strongholds of the Islamic State in Iraq, the government in Baghdad and its international supporters must be ready to prevent a new round of conflicts in the country from turning violent, analysts said in a June 27 forum at the Heritage Foundation.
The farming region of Mahmoudiya, south of Baghdad, is divided by one of Iraq’s most turbulent fault lines of conflict, between the country’s Sunni and Shia tribes. A decade ago, this region of palm groves and irrigation canals was a violent al Qaeda stronghold known as the “Triangle of Death.” Yet for 2016, news reports and the United Nations’ accounting of nearly 7,000 or more civilian deaths across Iraq noted few attacks in this region, a reflection of its relative stability in recent years.
Afghanistan’s next generation of leaders have an opportunity to break out of the cycles of violence that have caused civil wars, insurgencies, and widespread human rights abuses and domestic violence over the past decades. To do this, government officials and community leaders need to have practical skills to identify sources of conflict and know how to de-escalate tensions and negotiate peaceful solutions.
The RESOLVE Network is a global consortium of researchers and research organizations in agreement that factors contributing to community vulnerability and resilience to violent extremism are contextual.