Failure to plan realistically for needed changes in Afghanistan’s security sector following a peace settlement—and failure to start phasing in changes now—will lead to post-settlement instability. This report examines the particular challenges Afghanistan will face, with examples from the climate following peace settlements in other parts of the world offering insight into what may occur and possibilities for response.
The courageous return to Russia and arrest of Alexei Navalny opened a new phase in the opposition to President Vladimir Putin’s rule. Not only were the ensuing demonstrations the largest and most widespread since 2011-2012, but the opposition also showed itself to be more daring, aggressive and creative. The authorities responded with arrests of organizers and activists throughout the country and recently detained 200 elected local officials and others gathered at a conference in Moscow to discuss municipal self-government. The run-up to parliamentary elections scheduled for September will be the next opportunity for the opposition to show its strength.
Violent extremists make civil conflicts more complex and less manageable. Whether in the Middle East, Africa or South Asia, one of the many problems presented by conflicts involving violent extremists is how to deal with these combatants and associates when they surrender or are captured. There have been many attempts to disengage, deradicalize, rehabilitate and reintegrate violent extremists around the world, but most research focuses on stable settings such as Western Europe and North America. What, then, do we know about how to do this in the middle of conflict?
The aim of this report is to map previous and current initiatives undertaken by local, provincial and national governments, civil society organizations, international NGOs and other actors to address barriers to stabilization and the return of displaced persons from Ninewa governorate, particularly Ninewa Plains and Western Ninewa. The report also identifies shortcomings, failures and gaps that constrain return processes and long-term stabilization.
This report is a meta-analysis of the vast literature on Ninewa IDPs and the barriers to their return. It covers important analytical and contextual gaps with firsthand research to inform and enhance stakeholder policies.
Will people go to war over water? According to the United Nations, “Water is the primary medium through which we will feel the effects of climate change” in the years ahead. As access to this finite, vital resource becomes increasingly imperiled, water-related tensions will rise — both between states and within them. In recent decades, disputes between governments and local stakeholders have resulted in mass action events centered on water governance. Today, in the age of accelerating climate change, nonviolent movements will need to adapt their strategic thinking if they are to improve water governance and prevent violent conflict.
When gunmen stormed a Nigerian government high school last week, kidnapping dozens of students for ransom, this fourth mass kidnapping in three months underscored that Nigeria’s response so far is not reducing the violence and insecurity spreading across the country’s north. That response has been largely ad hoc, a mix of federal military actions, state officials negotiating with the criminal gangs and, allegedly, the payment of ransoms. A more effective response will require better coordination among federal and state authorities, the inclusion of civil society in a broad strategy, and support from the international community.
U.S. Secretary of State Antony J. Blinken and U.S. Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin are in Asia this week for their first official foreign trip. They held meetings in Japan and South Korea. Blinken returned to the United States via Alaska where he and U.S. National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan meet with their Chinese counterparts today, while Austin is in India. On March 12, President Joe Biden and the leaders of Australia, India and Japan participated in a virtual summit of the “Quad,” a strategic dialogue between the four countries aimed at ensuring an open, free and prosperous Indo-Pacific region.
Myanmar has collapsed into horrific violence since the military sought to retake full control of the country on February 1. Western governments have watched in distress as soldiers rounded up civilian leaders including State Counsellor Aung San Suu Kyi and President Win Myint, restricted internet access, rolled back individual freedoms and ultimately employed violence against the people. These domestic effects of the coup have been widely noted. USIP’s Jason Tower examines here the less discussed international security repercussions, the response of regional actors and options for preventing mass atrocities in the coming weeks.
Over the last year Iraq’s economy has been in free fall, leading to a recent decision to devalue its currency, the dinar, by 23 percent. As the country deals with intersecting economic, political and security challenges, a growing chorus is calling for greater control over decision-making at the local level. A critical step in that effort is to ensure that Iraq’s budget is responsive to the needs and priorities of local communities. Absent comprehensive reforms, decentralization efforts on the budget or in other sectors will not address Iraq’s manifold governance woes, but it could be a step in the right direction.