Five Key Issues Facing Pakistan’s New Army Chief

Five Key Issues Facing Pakistan’s New Army Chief

Wednesday, November 30, 2022

By: Asfandyar Mir, Ph.D.;  Tamanna Salikuddin

Pakistan just underwent a major military transition. Last week, Prime Minister Shahbaz Sharif appointed General Asim Munir as the new chief of the country’s powerful army, succeeding Qamar Bajwa who held the position for six years. Munir is a former chief of Pakistan’s powerful intelligence service, the Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI), and before that the head of the country’s military intelligence. In nuclear-armed Pakistan with the world’s fifth largest military and a history of military rule, the army chief tends to be the most powerful leader — at times even perceived as the de facto leader due to significant influence over Pakistan’s domestic and foreign policies.

Type: Analysis and Commentary

Civilian-Military RelationsDemocracy & GovernanceGlobal Policy

Three-Year Bangsamoro Transition Extension Seen as a Critical Opportunity

Three-Year Bangsamoro Transition Extension Seen as a Critical Opportunity

Tuesday, November 29, 2022

By: Aliah Adam;  Mohajirin Ali

Engr. Mohajirin Ali is the director general of the Bangsamoro Planning and Development Authority (BPDA), which coordinates the formulation of the Bangsamoro government’s socioeconomic development policies and plans, and monitors and evaluates those plans. Aliah Adam, who serves as the coordinator for local NGO Singanen O Mindanao and as a consultant for USIP, recently interviewed Ali to discuss the BPDA’s role, the major achievements of the Bangsamoro Transition Authority and the importance of the three-year extension of the transition period of the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region of Muslim Mindanao. The following are edited excerpts from the interview.

Type: Analysis and Commentary

Democracy & Governance

In Myanmar, Sham Elections Aren’t the Path to Stability

In Myanmar, Sham Elections Aren’t the Path to Stability

Thursday, October 27, 2022

By: Priscilla A. Clapp;  Ye Myo Hein

The head of Myanmar’s military junta is talking increasingly about holding national elections next year despite the near certainty that prevailing conditions would make a democratic result impossible. Even if General Min Aung Hlaing was pondering a good-faith effort — which he is not — the country’s political and security situation would likely preclude anything more than a fig leaf outcome. So, the dictator is still mulling whether elections would benefit the regime. Meanwhile, he is laying the groundwork for a sham process to make himself president and cement military rule. Though the nature of these schemes should be obvious to the international community, many view the proposed vote as the most realistic path to stability and democratically elected government. That hope is badly misplaced.

Type: Analysis and Commentary

Democracy & Governance

A Year After Elections, Iraq May Finally Be Set to Form a Government

A Year After Elections, Iraq May Finally Be Set to Form a Government

Thursday, October 20, 2022

By: Sarhang Hamasaeed

Iraq hit two anniversaries this month. Three years ago in October, Iraqis rose up to protest the failure of the Iraqi government and political class in delivering basic services, providing jobs, fighting corruption and more. One of the outcomes of those protests was early elections, which were held on October 10, 2021, but have yet to yield a government. The last year witnessed crippling political gridlock, as the winner of the 2021 national parliamentary elections, Moqtada al-Sadr, eventually withdrew from the political process after failing to form a government.

Type: Analysis and Commentary

Democracy & Governance

Le Dialogue National au Tchad se Termine dans un Contexte d'Incertitudes pour la Transition

Le Dialogue National au Tchad se Termine dans un Contexte d'Incertitudes pour la Transition

Wednesday, October 12, 2022

By: Yamingué Bétinbaye;  Remadji Hoinathy;  Babouh Tih-Kwada Elisabeth

Après que l’ancien président du Tchad, Idriss Déby, a été tué en avril 2021, un groupe d'officiers militaires dirigé par le fils de Déby, Mahamat Idriss Déby, a pris le contrôle du pays et a défini une période de transition de 18 mois pour le retour à un régime civil. Un élément crucial du calendrier de transition était la promesse d'un dialogue national inclusif, chargé de former un consensus national sur la réforme constitutionnelle, les plans d'élection et d'autres questions politiques litigieuses. Après de nombreux retards, le dialogue national tant attendu a finalement commencé dans la capitale N'Djaména fin août – juste deux mois avant la fin prévue de la transition.

Type: Analysis and Commentary

Democracy & GovernancePeace Processes

Chad’s National Dialogue Concludes Amid Uncertainties for the Transition

Chad’s National Dialogue Concludes Amid Uncertainties for the Transition

Wednesday, October 12, 2022

By: Yamingué Bétinbaye;  Remadji Hoinathy;  Babouh Tih-Kwada Elisabeth

When Chad’s longtime President Idriss Déby was killed in April 2021, a group of military officers led by Déby’s son, Mahamat Idriss Déby, took control of the country and outlined an 18-month transition back to civilian rule. A crucial part of the transitional timeline was the promise of an inclusive national dialogue, which would be tasked with forming a national consensus on constitutional reform, election plans and other contentious political issues. After numerous delays, the long-awaited national dialogue finally opened in the capital N'Djamena in late August — just two months before the transition was slated to end.

Type: Analysis and Commentary

Democracy & GovernancePeace Processes

In Nicaragua, Crackdown on Religious Actors Further Imperils Return to Democracy

In Nicaragua, Crackdown on Religious Actors Further Imperils Return to Democracy

Friday, October 7, 2022

By: Maria Antonia Montes ;  Savarni Sanka

In recent months, Nicaragua’s government has escalated its effort to silence dissent by waging a systematic campaign of repression against the Catholic Church. Nicaraguan President Daniel Ortega and Vice President Rosario Murillo’s crackdown on clergy and church-affiliated organizations critical of their authoritarian regime not only threatens Nicaragua’s religious freedom but also erects significant roadblocks to the country’s return to peace and democracy.

Type: Analysis and Commentary

Democracy & GovernanceReligion

42 Months on, How Does Sudan’s Democracy Movement Endure?

42 Months on, How Does Sudan’s Democracy Movement Endure?

Thursday, October 6, 2022

By: Jawhratelkmal Kanu;  Jonathan Pinckney, Ph.D.

Three and a half years after Sudan’s military deposed the authoritarian ruler, Omar Bashir, in response to massive protests, the current military leadership and divisions among political factions are stalling a return to elected civilian government. This year has brought a deepening economic crisis and violent communal clashes — but also a new wave of nonviolent, grassroots campaigns for a return to democracy. As Sudanese democracy advocates and their international allies seek ways to press the military for that transition, all sides should note, and work to sustain, Sudan’s nonviolent civic action.

Type: Analysis and Commentary

Democracy & GovernanceNonviolent Action

What’s Next for Kenya After William Ruto’s Presidential Victory?

What’s Next for Kenya After William Ruto’s Presidential Victory?

Thursday, September 15, 2022

By: Chris Kwaja

William Ruto’s emergence as Kenya’s fifth president represents a paradigm shift in the country’s politics. Ruto’s campaign was comprised of a mass movement of workers, the jobless, peasants and other “hustlers” and sought to distance itself from the dynasties that have long run Kenya’s politics. While Ruto was born in a small rural village in the Rift Valley, his opponent, Raila Odinga, is a former prime minister and the son of the country’s first vice president. Marginalized Kenyans see Ruto as the personification of a transformational agenda that centers their plight, defining a contest between hustlers and dynasties. While Kenya faces a dire economic situation, Ruto’s biggest challenge may be overcoming the country’s legacy of ethnic politics and building national cohesion.

Type: Analysis and Commentary

Democracy & Governance

To Build a Unified Resistance and Democratic Myanmar, Discrimination Must End

To Build a Unified Resistance and Democratic Myanmar, Discrimination Must End

Thursday, September 8, 2022

By: Billy Ford;  Aung Ko Ko

Early on the morning of Myanmar’s February 2021 coup, Mya Aye, a prominent Muslim activist, was one of the first arrested by the new junta regime. Since then, thousands more have been imprisoned or killed by the regime, including dozens of Muslims, like prominent student leader Wai Moe Naing, and other marginalized minorities who have fought against the military junta alongside other ethnic and religious groups. Although the resistance shares a common enemy in the brutal junta, it has yet to fully embrace a vision for a more inclusive country that overcomes Myanmar’s legacy of ethnic and religious discrimination. To broaden its base of support domestically and internationally, resistance leaders should commit to address structural discrimination against minorities in Myanmar.

Type: Analysis and Commentary

Democracy & GovernanceHuman Rights