Articles, publications, books, tools and multimedia features from the U.S. Institute of Peace provide the latest news, analysis, research findings, practitioner guides and reports, all related to the conflict zones and issues that are at the center of the Institute’s work to prevent and reduce violent conflict.
Understanding India’s Manipur Conflict and Its Geopolitical Implications
Since May 3, the northeastern Indian state of Manipur has witnessed repeated inter-ethnic clashes primarily between two local ethnic communities, the Meitei and Kuki. The violence has resulted in over 75 deaths and the burning of at least 1,700 buildings (including homes and religious sites). More than 35,000 people are currently displaced as well, with many now living in one of the 315 relief camps in the state. As the fighting continues, these numbers may also be rising.
Why We Should All Worry About the China-India Border Dispute
The December 2022 clash between Chinese and Indian troops along the two countries’ 2,100-mile-long contested border — known as the Line of Actual Control (LAC) — highlights a worrying “one step forward, two steps back” trend. This brawl was the worst since 2020, when fighting in the Galwan Valley took the lives of 20 Indian and at least four Chinese soldiers. Although these clashes are often followed by dialogue and other steps to reduce tensions, both sides have increasingly militarized their border policies and shown no indication of backing down. And the situation on the border remains tense, as Beijing and New Delhi are hardening their positions on either side of the LAC, with the potential for escalation between the two nuclear-armed powers.
Libya Can Move Past Its Political Deadlock, But It Will Take Work to Maintain A ‘Deal’
Since 2012, multiple failed political transitions have taken their toll on the Libyan people. The continued and increasingly complex internal divisions and external vectors affecting Libya threaten to send it into another spiral of crisis and violence. Local and national leaders working in good faith to stabilize the country have inevitably grown cynical as ruling elites and their international partners fail to deliver local security and good governance.
Sudan: Engage Civilians Now, Not Later
Over the last month, a series of cease-fires in Sudan have yielded minimal results. Fighting between the Sudan Armed Forces (SAF) and the Rapid Support Forces (RSF) has continued and even intensified in some places. While the capital Khartoum and areas surrounding key infrastructure remain the core battlegrounds, the clashes have spread into other parts of the country.
Amid the Fight for Myanmar, Federalism Rises from the Grass Roots
On April 11, Myanmar’s ruthless military dictatorship showed just how much it fears the emergence of local governments that have slipped beyond its control. As about 200 villagers in the Sagaing region celebrated a new administrative center after junta-controlled officials had fled, fighter jets swooped in and dropped munitions on the crowd. When people sought to retrieve the dead and injured, an Mi35 helicopter arrived and circled, strafing the scene. At least 170 people, including women and children, died in the attack.
What Sudan Needs Right Now
The unthinkable is unfolding in Sudan. A humanitarian disaster is deepening, as the state is being torn apart. The spill over could impact East Africa and the broader region — already tens of thousands of Sudanese have fled. As we have seen with other conflicts in the region, it is likely that malign, foreign interests will seek to exploit the situation to advance their own interests. The risk of Somalia-like anarchy on the Red Sea is real if the current fighting continues and foreign support for the warring parties — the Sudanese Armed Forces (SAF) and the Rapid Support Forces (RSF) — continues to grow.
Myanmar’s Military Is Smaller Than Commonly Thought — and Shrinking Fast
International actors seeking to end Myanmar’s civil war make an assumption that on its face appears reasonable: They need to focus on the coup regime for any resolution of the conflict, the thinking goes, because the military is simply too big to fail. But is it? The Sit-Tat, as the armed forces are known, is an opaque institution, shrouded in secrecy, with the question of its actual size a major mystery. As explained below, analysts who lack reliable evidence tend to make estimates of military manpower that are far too high.
Misinformation, Hate Speech and Ethno-Religious Tensions in Myanmar
In Myanmar, interethnic tensions have improved in the post-coup era as more and more resistance leaders join the call to fight the junta. This shared opposition to military rule has left many people hopeful for the prospect of broader national cohesion in a country that has been beset by various civil and ethnic conflicts for decades. But this moment of national cohesion can also obscure the complex histories and intercommunal grievances that remain unresolved — and a recent massacre in Southern Shan State demonstrates that the military’s violence still has the power to sow discord among a fragmented resistance movement.
Will the ‘Washington Declaration’ Deter North Korea?
South Korean President Yoon Suk-yeol is in Washington this week as the United States and South Korea celebrate 70 years of bilateral ties. Yoon’s visit is only the second state visit hosted by the Biden administration and the first South Korean state visit in 12 years. While there have been some recent strains in the relationship over U.S. trade and semiconductor policy and Seoul’s support for Ukraine, the focus of the bilateral summit was on the threat posed by North Korea. Although the summit ostensibly achieved both sides’ desired security deliverables related to deterrence, reassurance and nonproliferation, these outcomes will likely not provide enduring solutions to the North Korea challenge.
Beyond Elections: Libya Needs Unified Institutions and Reconciliation
Last week, the U.N. Security Council met to discuss its Libya mission and its new plan to end the country’s political impasse through elections. While credible polls will be a critical step in forging a path to peace, they are not a panacea for addressing this byzantine conflict’s deeply rooted drivers and the intense, bitter rivalries and factionalism that have surfaced since 2011. Indeed, previous efforts to hold elections have buckled under the weight of the intricate dynamics at play. Over a decade after the fall of Muammar Qaddafi, resolving Libya's complex conflict will require a multifaceted approach that prioritizes building trust among Libyans.