Weekly Bulletin USIP

For viable peace talks in South Sudan, who should be included? Here’s a suggestion.

As mediators in South Sudan’s civil war try to revive the peace process that collapsed last year, their success will depend partly on who gets included in new talks. Aly Verjee offers suggestions, noting that the war now includes at least five distinct conflicts among various ethnic and militia groups, and new armed factions that have emerged since the failed peace accord of 2015. A viable peace deal needs to include civil society groups—but South Sudan’s government is restricting their ability to speak. It just barred a civic coalition from even meeting to discuss the peace process.

What if North Korea collapses? Let’s ask China.

The United States, South Korea and China would all face big risks, but lack joint plans, in the event of upheaval or collapse in nuclear-armed North Korea. A track two dialogue to promote cooperation on this problem would be smart, writes Frank Aum, the former senior adviser on North Korea at the Pentagon. The topic provides common ground for U.S.-Chinese dialogue on a sensitive issue area.

Here are ways to be smarter about working with religion in curbing violent extremism.

Governments and organizations are getting better at including religious actors in programs to counter violent extremism. But they also can get smarter, and a USIP report shows how. One example: When a government recruits ‘moderate’ faith leaders to speak against extremism, it risks undermining them—and misses more helpful roles they could play.

How can citizens peacefully fight corruption? Sudanese activists are going to find out.

Sudan ranks nearly last in the world’s most prominent annual index on corruption. Recently, 17 Sudanese civic activists took a USIP course on ways to mobilize a public movement that goes far beyond street protests. One model is the citizens’ campaign in Burkina Faso.

Calling Afghanistan ‘hopeless’ is a misreading of the facts.

The new U.S. plan for Afghanistan is being met with skepticism and outright hostility by some who say the situation there has always been hopeless. But the idea that nothing has worked in Afghanistan—or would work—is a profound misreading of the past 16 years, writes USIP expert and economist William Byrd.