After Bashir, A New Dawn in Sudan? (Part 1)

After Bashir, A New Dawn in Sudan? (Part 1)

Wednesday, April 17, 2019

By: Susan Stigant; Elizabeth Murray

Longtime Sudanese dictator Omar al-Bashir was ousted last Thursday, 30 years after he took power in the same fashion he was overthrown: by a military coup. The military takeover was spurred by months of popular protests over rising food prices, economic mismanagement and demands...

Democracy & Governance

Myanmar’s 2020 Elections and Conflict Dynamics

Myanmar’s 2020 Elections and Conflict Dynamics

Monday, April 15, 2019

By: Mary Callahan; Myo Zaw Oo

In late 2020, Myanmar will hold a general election for more than a thousand seats in Union, state, and regional legislative bodies. The next year and a half will also see two high-level, conflict-laden processes capture domestic and international attention—the 21st Century Panglong peace conference and possible attempts to repatriate Rohingya refugees. This report evaluates the environment in which the peace process, Rohingya repatriation, and the election intersect and identifies opportunities for mitigating conflict in the run-up to the election.

Electoral Violence; Democracy & Governance; Peace Processes

Q&A: Libya’s Sudden New Risk of War

Q&A: Libya’s Sudden New Risk of War

Friday, April 12, 2019

By: Nathaniel L. Wilson; USIP Staff

Just as the United Nations was preparing to host a national conference in Libya this month to arrange for national elections to unify the country’s fractured governance, the faction that dominates the country’s east, the Libyan National Army, launched a military offensive last week on the capital, Tripoli. With the past week’s fighting, “the likelihood is greater than at any point since 2014 for destructive and bloody conflict” of an uncertain duration and outcome, according to Nate Wilson, who manages USIP programs in Libya. Wilson monitors Libya from neighboring Tunisia while working with Libyan officials, researchers on projects to inform international policymakers, and with local Libyan groups that work to reconcile disputes and build a foundation for national peacemaking. In response to questions, he discussed what’s at stake in the new fighting, and how the international community might respond.

Conflict Analysis & Prevention

To Truly Defeat ISIS, Describe its Returnees as ‘People’

To Truly Defeat ISIS, Describe its Returnees as ‘People’

Friday, April 12, 2019

By: Chris Bosley

More than 100 countries, from Kosovo to Indonesia to Tunisia, face the security challenge of what to do with their citizens who traveled to join the so-called Islamic State. In dealing with perhaps tens of thousands of former ISIS participants—more than 9,000 in Syria’s Al Hol camp alone—simplistic solutions are at best inadequate and naïve, and at worst counterproductive and irresponsible. These include notions of indefinitely detaining or abandoning these populations in makeshift camps, or stripping their citizenship en masse. While many can be returned home to face trial, prosecution will be impossible for others. Thousands...

Violent Extremism

Nancy Lindborg on Iraq Rebuilding After ISIS

Nancy Lindborg on Iraq Rebuilding After ISIS

Thursday, April 11, 2019

By: Nancy Lindborg

Following her trip to Iraq, Nancy Lindborg discusses the country’s efforts to rebuild after ISIS. “They’ve [ISIS] been deprived of their territory … rebuilding is under way. But, there is very much a sense that the ISIS ideology is alive and well and there are a lot of concerns overall about security,” says Lindborg. “There has been important progress, but it’s very precarious and completely reversible.”

Reconciliation; Violent Extremism

The State of Play in U.S.-Taliban Talks and the Afghan Peace Process

The State of Play in U.S.-Taliban Talks and the Afghan Peace Process

Thursday, April 11, 2019

By: Johnny Walsh

The latest round of U.S.-Taliban talks concluded on March 12, with both sides noting progress but conceding that no breakthroughs had been made. After two weeks of discussions in Doha, Qatar, American officials said they were close to reaching a final agreement on a potential U.S. troop withdrawal and a Taliban pledge to no longer allow terrorist attacks from Afghanistan. But how far can these talks go without the Afghan government involved? Is Afghanistan’s post-2001 progress in jeopardy? And what do regional actors think about the talks? USIP’s Johnny Walsh examines the state of play in the Afghan peace process.

Peace Processes

China’s Engagement with Smaller South Asian Countries

China’s Engagement with Smaller South Asian Countries

Wednesday, April 10, 2019

By: Nilanthi Samaranayake

When the government of Sri Lanka struggled to repay loans used to build the Hambantota port, it agreed to lease the port back to China for 99 years. Some commentators have suggested that Sri Lanka, as well as other South Asian nations that have funded major infrastructure projects through China’s Belt and Road Initiative, are victims of “China’s debt-trap diplomacy.” This report finds that the reality is...

Economics & Environment