Weekly Bulletin USIP

Iraq says it has taken Hawija, one of ISIS’ last strongholds. That will test a plan for peace.

Iraq said Thursday its forces captured Hawija, one of ISIS’ last strongholds in the country. That will pose local, tribal leaders an immediate test—implementing a peace accord they signed this year to avoid revenge killings following ISIS’ ouster. Hawija’s ethnic and sectarian divisions are deep. A critical first issue is which Iraqi forces—the army, the Shia Popular Mobilization Forces or others—will control the area.

Nigeria’s Imam and Pastor: Faith at the Front

In northern Nigeria, where clashes between Christians and Muslims have claimed thousands of lives, two prominent clerics once fought in that conflict but now have spent more than a decade working for peace across that divide. Imam Muhammad Ashafa and Pastor James Wuye tell their story, and they show how they plan to build a Nigerian community of grassroots activists and government officials who can mediate disputes and build peace in Africa’s demographic giant.

Beyond the Rohingya: Other Ethnic Crises Rise in Burma

Amid the traumatic uprooting of Burma’s Rohingya minority group, violence continues in the country’s other ethnic conflicts. A new USIP report analyzes the revived bloodshed in Shan State, where the army and allied paramilitary groups fight several different ethnic armed forces. The government of Aung San Suu Kiy promised an inclusive peace process, but increased fighting has popular hopes and trust in the peace process.

Today, China and Russia Cooperate in Syria. But Tomorrow? Perhaps Not.

China and Russia have been primary supporters of the Basha al-Assad government—a cooperation driven mainly by mutual goals: preventing regime change and the spread of Islamist extremism. But Chinese strategic priorities lie elsewhere, and Russia’s tactic of prolonging warfare in Syria contradicts Beijing’s long-term interests. A USIP report breaks down the forces driving Sino-Russian cooperation—and its limits.

China’s Exposure to Terrorism Is Growing. How Tight Are the Limits on Its Response?

China’s growing global profile, including its “Belt and Road” plan for investments from Asia to Africa, increases its exposure to domestic and international conflicts and extremist violence. Beijing’s response is constrained by its long-held principles of nonintervention and noninterference. A USIP report foresees China focusing its counterterrorism efforts domestically, and keeping limits on its international counterterror cooperation, including bilaterally with the United States.