This book analyzes the nature and impact of four interrelated kinds of violence: violence by the state, violence by militants, violence in the community, and the emergence of new violence-related issues during negotiations.

As recent events demonstrate, violence, especially ethnic violence, is exceptionally hard to extinguish. Cease-fires almost never bring a complete end to the killing, and formal peace agreements are more often than not undone by men unwilling to forsake the gun. As John Darby argues in this original, holistic, and comparative treatment of the subject, “even when political violence is ended by a cease-fire, it reappears in other forms to threaten the evolving peace process.”

Unlike most scholars, Darby focuses on peace processes that have involved actors other than the United Nations. He analyzes the nature and impact of four interrelated kinds of violence: violence by the state, violence by militants, violence in the community, and the emergence of new violence-related issues during negotiations. For each kind of violence, the author draws out the policy implications, suggesting how the “guardians” of the peace process can defeat would-be spoilers and change a culture of violence. The volume concludes by distilling five propositions on the relationship between violence and peace processes.

Insightful, concise, and highly readable, the book will engage the scholar, inspire the policymaker, and inform the student. In-depth profiles of the five featured cases (Northern Ireland, South Africa, Sri Lanka, Israel-Palestine, and the Basque country) provide ample background and enrich understanding.

About the Author

John Darby is scholar in residence at the Kroc Institute for International Peace Studies, University of Notre Dame. He was formerly professor of ethnic studies at the University of Ulster and founding director of INCORE. He was a senior fellow at the United States Institute of Peace in 1998. Darby is the author or editor of nine books, most recently The Management of Peace(coedited with Roger MacGinty).

Latest Publications

After a Year of Turmoil, Bolivia’s Election Offers Chance to Reduce Divides

After a Year of Turmoil, Bolivia’s Election Offers Chance to Reduce Divides

Thursday, October 22, 2020

By: Steve Hege

Bolivians took part on Sunday in one of the country’s most decisive and historic general elections, in which the former governing party Movement Toward Socialism (MAS) and its candidate Luis Arce garnered a resounding victory. The vote culminated nearly 12 months of instability since elections in October 2019 led to allegations of fraud, followed by massive street protests and the departure of former President Evo Morales after nearly 14 years in power. Bolivia has not experienced a peaceful transition of power since 2002, but a window of opportunity has opened for the ethnically diverse Andean nation to emerge from the paralyzing polarization that has plagued it over the past years.

Type: Analysis and Commentary

Democracy & Governance

Protests Test Nigeria’s Democracy and its Leadership in Africa

Protests Test Nigeria’s Democracy and its Leadership in Africa

Thursday, October 22, 2020

By: Oge Onubogu

Nigeria’s protests against police brutality already were the largest in the country’s history before security forces opened fire on a crowd in Lagos on October 20. The protest and bloodshed have only heightened the need for the government in Africa’s most populous country to end the pattern of violence by security forces against civilians. Leaders must finally acknowledge that this brutality has fueled violent extremism. How the Nigerian government will respond to citizens’ insistent demand for accountable governance will influence similar struggles—for democracy, accountability, nonviolence and stability—across much of Africa.

Type: Analysis and Commentary

Violent Extremism; Democracy & Governance; Nonviolent Action

Africa is the next global influencer. That’s an opportunity.

Africa is the next global influencer. That’s an opportunity.

Thursday, October 22, 2020

By: James Rupert

In a COVID-altered landscape of global security threats, economic opportunities and strategic change, Africa is seizing center stage. Africans form the world’s fastest-growing population and national economies. Violent crises, democracy movements, extremist threats, international investments, human displacement and strategic opportunities all are rising. The coronavirus pandemic underscores both Africa’s risks to global stability from fragile states—and the overlooked potential of a continent now outperforming wealthier regions in containing the public health crisis. COVID is the latest reminder that “Africa’s deepening vulnerabilities and its rising capacities will shape global realities whether we prepare for that or not,” according to scholar Joseph Sany.

Type: Analysis and Commentary

Democracy & Governance

Can Syrians Who Left ISIS Be Reintegrated into Their Communities?

Can Syrians Who Left ISIS Be Reintegrated into Their Communities?

Wednesday, October 21, 2020

By: Mona Yacoubian ; Chris Bosley; Leanne Erdberg Steadman

More than a year since the territorial defeat of ISIS, the region is still reeling in the wake of the self-styled caliphate’s destruction. Kurdish authorities operate two dozen detention facilities in northeast Syria holding thousands of former ISIS fighters. On October 5, Kurdish authorities in charge of al-Hol said they would free the 24,000 Syrians in the camp, where conditions have become increasingly unsustainable. USIP’s Mona Yacoubian, Chris Bosley, and Leanne Erdberg Steadman look at what led to the decision to release these Syrians and the challenges ahead for reintegrating them into their communities.

Type: Analysis and Commentary

Reconciliation; Violent Extremism

View All Publications