In the more than five decades since the founding of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations, relations among its member states have remained generally peaceful, and major interstate conflict has been all but eliminated. Yet, ASEAN now faces significant challenges, not least from competition between the United States and China that threatens to draw individual ASEAN countries into taking sides. This report discusses ASEAN’s role in maintaining peace and stability in Southeast Asia and how it can adapt to a rapidly evolving geopolitical climate to meet future challenges.
Now in its 10th year, the Syrian conflict has led to more than 500,000 deaths and displaced an estimated 13 million—over half of Syria’s pre-war population. Over 6.2 million Syrians are internally displaced, and 5.6 million are refugees, predominantly in Lebanon, Jordan, and Turkey.
Forced conversions are usually about people. But two sacred sites were recently transformed in Turkey and India, with potentially dire consequences for those countries and the world.
For many years, election-related violence has posed a serious threat to the integrity of electoral processes worldwide. To prevent or minimize such violence, the international community has often relied upon election observation missions, which incorporate an extended on-the-ground presence and proactive mediation by international and domestic actors. This report discusses the challenge observer missions face in confronting election violence, and suggests how preventive efforts can be enhanced through improved, multi-mandate observation practices.
Iraq and the United States have launched a reset in relations, Foreign Minister Fuad Hussain said in a USIP forum August 20. Following at least a year of strain in bilateral ties, this week’s negotiations in Washington will produce a broader relationship than previously, “not only limited to security matters,” Hussain said during an official visit alongside Prime Minister Mustafa al-Kadhimi just 15 weeks after he and his government took office. Their talks at the White House, State Department and with other officials will be vital in setting the next chapter of U.S-Iraq relations.
One year since Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s government stripped Jammu and Kashmir of its special status and downgraded its statehood to a centrally controlled union territory—an act it argued was intended to improve governance and attract investment to the region—residents’ lives remain upended by continued conflict and a high level of militarization.
As Prime Minister Mustafa Al-Kadhimi makes his first official visit to Washington, USIP’s Sarhang Hamasaeed says the trip is a chance to reset relations between the two countries, but “it’s really important to not define the relationship … just in terms of security,” and also focus on Iraq’s economic challenges and recovery from ISIS.
No modern states have ever declared war over water. In fact, nations dependent on shared water sources have collaborated far more frequently than they have clashed. Nevertheless, global surveys have counted over forty hostile, militarized international actions over water—from riots to border skirmishes to larger battles—in the first six decades after World War II. This report reviews the pathways that link water resource pressures to conflict risks and describes how peacebuilding strategies such as water diplomacy can help mitigate these risks.
The Sri Lanka People's Front (SLPP) gained a parliamentary supermajority earlier this month in what was the first major election held in South Asia since the coronavirus pandemic began. The results solidified the political power of Prime Minister Mahinda Rajapaksa and his brother, President Gotabaya Rajapaksa, who had dissolved the previous parliament shortly after he was elected last year. USIP’s Jumaina Siddiqui, Tamanna Salikuddin and Vikram Singh look at whether the polls were free and fair, what the landslide victory means for Sri Lanka as the country continues its recovery from civil war, and how the election impacts South Asia.
The United States is making a publicly little-noted stride this month to strengthen its response to the violent crises worldwide that have uprooted 80 million people, the most ever recorded. Officials are overhauling America’s method for supporting the “fragile” states whose poor governance breeds most of the world’s violent conflict. Yet the proven new approach—helping these countries meet their people’s needs and thus prevent violence and extremism—will fall short if its implementation fails to include and support women in every step of that effort. Fortunately, an earlier reform to U.S. policy offers practical lessons for doing so.