Montana Students Take on the World

Montana Students Take on the World

Wednesday, April 25, 2018

By: Allison Sturma

The students from Gardiner, Montana’s high school didn’t have much experience in the world beyond “little towns among farmland,” as one of them put it. So, when the mayor of the state capital, Helena, spoke to them as a 1994 refugee from Liberia’s civil war, the link between distant conflict zones and pastoral Montana took on a captivating human form.

Education & Training; Peace Processes

Scott Worden on the Taliban in Afghanistan

Scott Worden on the Taliban in Afghanistan

Wednesday, April 25, 2018

By: Scott Worden

Following the horrendous bombing outside a Kabul voter registration center, Scott Worden shares his sobering analysis and commentary about the continuing war in Afghanistan where he says most agree that a military victory is unlikely. The conflicts grinding stalemate, Fall 2018 elections and presidential elections due a year from now concern Worden especially with today’s Taliban announcement of a new fighting season and rejection of President Ghani’s peace offering.

Violent Extremism; Electoral Violence; Conflict Analysis & Prevention

Collaborative Design in Peacebuilding

Collaborative Design in Peacebuilding

Wednesday, April 25, 2018

By: Andrew Blum; Ruben Grangaard

Despite clear evidence of the effectiveness of individual peacebuilding efforts, the field as a whole often struggles to have a meaningful collective impact on broader conflict dynamics. This report, drawing on a pilot initiative in the Central African Republic—IMPACT-CAR—to develop a shared measurement and reporting system aimed at improving collaboration and shared learning across peacebuilding implementers, reflects on the results, successes, and challenges of the initiative to offer a road map for future initiatives focused on collective impact in the peacebuilding field.

Peace Processes

ISIS Attack on Afghan Voting Center Aims to Sow Ethnic Division

ISIS Attack on Afghan Voting Center Aims to Sow Ethnic Division

Tuesday, April 24, 2018

By: Scott Worden; USIP Staff

In Afghanistan, the Islamic State has claimed responsibility for a suicide bombing at a Kabul voting center that killed at least 60 people, including 22 women and eight children. More than 130 people were wounded, and Afghan police say many of the victims were waiting in line outside the center attempting to receive national identity cards in order to vote. Parliamentary elections are scheduled for October, but could be derailed by continued violence, low voter registration, and a lack of confidence in the electoral process. USIP expert Scott Worden analyzes what potential impact this incident and any future attacks could have on Afghanistan's electoral process.

Electoral Violence; Conflict Analysis & Prevention

The Current Situation in Nigeria

The Current Situation in Nigeria

Monday, April 23, 2018

Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari has made progress on reforming the country’s military and intensifying the fight against the extremist group Boko Haram, which threatens the stability of not only Nigeria, but other countries in the Lake Chad Basin. The group’s insurgency has left the country confronting widespread internal displacement, a humanitarian disaster, and the need for reconstruction in the north.

North Korea and China: The Endgame Behind the Headlines

North Korea and China: The Endgame Behind the Headlines

Friday, April 20, 2018

By: Fred Strasser

In the fast-moving diplomacy over North Korea’s nuclear program, the long-term interests of the country’s powerful neighbor China don’t make headlines. Yet behind China’s tactical moves such as President Xi Jinping’s meeting with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un last month lie strategic questions about what China—vital to any resolution of the North Korea nuclear issue—envisions as a satisfactory end state for the Korean Peninsula.

Conflict Analysis & Prevention; Global Policy

What is Next for U.S.-Turkey Relations?

What is Next for U.S.-Turkey Relations?

Friday, April 20, 2018

By: Eric S. Edelman

Relations between the United States and Turkey have come under increasing strain in the past two years over the U.S. role in Syria and Ankara’s strengthening ties with Russia. American support for Kurdish forces battling ISIS has angered Turkey, which sees the cooperation as bolstering Kurdish nationalist elements inside its borders. USIP Board member Eric Edelman, a former U.S. ambassador to Turkey during the George W. Bush administration, and USIP International Advisory Council member Jake Sullivan, who served as Vice President Joe Biden’s national security adviser, provide some insight on the state of Turkish-American relations.

Conflict Analysis & Prevention

Improving Afghanistan’s Public Finances in 2017–2019: Raising Revenue and Reforming the Budget

Improving Afghanistan’s Public Finances in 2017–2019: Raising Revenue and Reforming the Budget

Wednesday, April 18, 2018

By: William Byrd; Shah Zaman Farahi

The Afghan government has recently embarked on important reforms to the national budget, embodied in the 2018 budget approved by Parliament early this year. This budget sets in motion an envisaged two-year reform process to achieve greater overall transparency, better development programming, and reduced corruption. The third in a series on Afghanistan’s public finances, this report updates revenue performance in 2017 and assesses the new budgetary reforms, how the draft budget fared in Parliament, the outcome, and next steps and prospects for the reforms.

Economics & Environment

Osama Gharizi on U.S. Objectives in Syria

Osama Gharizi on U.S. Objectives in Syria

Wednesday, April 18, 2018

By: Osama Gharizi

From Lebanon, Osama Gharizi shares his analysis about the clarity of U.S. objectives after retaliatory missile strikes targeting the Assad regime’s suspected chemical weapons facilities. Gharizi says these strikes sent a signal to Assad and his allies that there are limits to U.S. and coalition intervention in Syria. In turn, these limits strengthen Russia, Turkey, and Iran’s roles as the diplomatic arbiters to negotiate a peace deal. Separately, Gharizi addresses the risks associated with the suggestion of setting up an Arab force in Syria that could create further obscurity in terms of U.S. intent and objectives versus those of Arab countries forming such a force.

Conflict Analysis & Prevention; Civilian-Military Relations