American and European Responses to the Arab Spring: What’s the Big Idea?

The Arab countries straddle the lifelines of world trade. They link Europe to Asia and, with Iran, surround the Persian Gulf home to some 54 percent of global oil reserves. The region’s many international and domestic disputes, as well as restraints on political expression and human rights, have spawned extremism. In turn, the region’s endemic instability or perceived risk of instability has provided cover for some of the world’s most authoritarian and corrupt regimes. Until the turn of this year, the Arab countries had almost uniformly resisted the process of democratization that swept up other regions in recent decades. The series of popular revolts known as the Arab Spring, which began in Tunisia in the last weeks of 2010, has already wrought more change in six months than the region had seen in almost 60 years and there is more to come. Whether or not the Arab peoples’ aspirations for dignity and voice are fulfilled, and how smoothly transitions to democracy proceed, are not just great moral questions they will also determine the region’s stability and its economic prospects for decades to come. At the same time, getting on a path of sound economic growth will greatly enhance the chances that transitions to democracy succeed.

Votes and Violence: Evidence from a Field Experiment in Nigeria

Elections are now common in low-income societies. However, they are frequently flawed. We investigate a Nigerian election marred by violence. We designed and conducted a nationwide field experiment based on anti-violence campaigning. The campaign appealed to collective action through electoral participation, and worked through town meetings, popular theatres and door-to-door distribution of materials. We find that the campaign decreased violence perceptions and increased empowerment to counteract violence. We observe a rise in voter turnout and infer that the intimidation was dissociated from incumbents. These effects are accompanied by a reduction in the intensity of actual violence, as measured by journalists.

Greed and Grievance in Civil War

May 2000 Of the 27 major armed conflicts that occurred in 1999, all but two took place within national boundaries. As an impediment to development, internal rebellion especially hurts the world’s poorest countries. What motivates civil wars? Greed or grievance? Collier and Hoeffler compare two contrasting motivations for rebellion: greed and grievance. Most rebellions are ostensibly in pursuit of a cause, supported by a narrative of grievance. But since grievance assuagement through rebellion is a public good that a government will not supply, economists predict such rebellions would be rare. Empirically, many rebellions appear to be linked to the capture of resources (such as diamonds in Angola and Sierra Leone, drugs in Colombia, and timber in Cambodia). Collier and Hoeffler set up a simple rational choice model of greed-rebellion and contrast its predictions with those of a simple grievance model. Some countries return to conflict repeatedly. Are they conflict-prone or is there a feedback effect whereby conflict generates grievance, which in turn generates further conflict? The authors show why such a feedback effect might be present in both greed-motivated and grievance rebellions. The authors’ results contrast with conventional beliefs about the causes of conflict. A stylized version of conventional beliefs would be that grievance begets conflict, which begets grievance, which begets further conflict. With such a model, the only point at which to intervene is to reduce the level of objective grievance. Collier and Hoeffler’s model suggests that what actually happens is that opportunities for predation (controlling primary commodity exports) cause conflict and the grievances this generates induce dias-poras to finance further conflict. The point of policy intervention here is to reduce the absolute and relative attraction of primary commodity predation and to reduce the ability of diasporas to fund rebel movements. This paper – a product of the Development Research Group – is part of a larger effort in the group to study civil war and criminal violence

Diasporas and conflict societies: conflict entrepreneurs, competing interests or contributors to stability and development?

This paper summarises our state of knowledge regarding diaspora engagement in conflict societies. It presents a map of possible diaspora contributions and their specific potential positive and negative impacts in societies experiencing or recovering from conflict. Following a discussion of diasporas and their motivations for engagement in their places of origin, the paper reviews the specific remittance, philanthropy, human capital and policy influence contributions, both positive and negative, that diasporas may make. Policy implications include the need more systematically to include considerations of diasporas in conflict/post-conflict interventions, and based on a more careful case-by-case analysis, using the provided map as a starting point. Such analyses can inform decisions of when to tolerate, unencumbered, diaspora engagement; when to facilitate or support such engagement; and when to consider strategic partnering with diaspora efforts. By mapping potential positive and negative influences of diasporas, the paper establishes why a more nuanced understanding of diasporas and peace and conflict is so important to policy and practice for a more peaceful world.

World Development Report 2011 : Conflict, Security, and Development

The 2011 World development report looks across disciplines and experiences drawn from around the world to offer some ideas and practical recommendations on how to move beyond conflict and fragility and secure development. The key messages are important for all countries-low, middle, and high income-as well as for regional and global institutions: first, institutional legitimacy is the key to stability. When state institutions do not adequately protect citizens, guard against corruption, or provide access to justice; when markets do not provide job opportunities; or when communities have lost social cohesion-the likelihood of violent conflict increases. Second, investing in citizen security, justice, and jobs is essential to reducing violence. But there are major structural gaps in our collective capabilities to support these areas. Third, confronting this challenge effectively means that institutions need to change. International agencies and partners from other countries must adapt procedures so they can respond with agility and speed, a longer-term perspective, and greater staying power. Fourth, need to adopt a layered approach. Some problems can be addressed at the country level, but others need to be addressed at a regional level, such as developing markets that integrate insecure areas and pooling resources for building capacity Fifth, in adopting these approaches, need to be aware that the global landscape is changing. Regional institutions and middle income countries are playing a larger role. This means should pay more attention to south-south and south-north exchanges, and to the recent transition experiences of middle income countries.

After War then Peace: The US-based Liberian Diaspora as Peace-building Norm Entrepreneurs

The US-based Liberian diaspora’s role in the country’s 14-year civil war and its aftermath is paradoxical. Consistent with existing literature on the role of diasporas in conflict, the group largely played a role contributing to the outbreak of the Civil War and its continuation. However, in a paradigmatic shift, the group is currently contributing towards the peace-building process by serving as norm entrepreneurs. Factors that have contributed to this shift include a strong demand in the homeland for a change in the ‘rules of the game’, a shift in US foreign policy towards promotion of democracy in Africa, and a concerted regional and international effort at promoting peace-building norms. The inclusiveness of the mechanisms for norm transfer, the conduct of the messengers and local perception of norms, affect the degree to which they are well received.

The Plight of the Forgotten Ones: Civil War and Forced Migration

Adding value to existing aggregate cross-national analyses on forced migration, I use subnational-level data to investigate circumstances that affect people’s decisions of whether or not to flee their homes during civilian conflicts. Building on existing literature, I argue that conflict by itself is not the sole factor affecting people’s decisions to flee or stay. Apart from a direct physical impact, civil war can destroy economic infrastructure and expose people to economic hardships, which can contribute to displacement. In addition, flight may be impeded or facilitated by such factors as geographical features, physical infrastructure, and social conditions under which people live. Using count data from the Maoists “people’s war” in Nepal, a subnational analysis of displacement is conducted to provide a more refined test of existing large-n studies on the causes of forced migration. The empirical results are consistent with the major hypotheses developed in the field. With more precise measures of conflict, economic and physical conditions, and presence of social networks, I demonstrate the importance of a rationalist framework in understanding the choice of flight.

All Conflict is Local: Modeling Sub-National Variation in Civil Conflict Risk

Most quantitative assessments of civil conflict draw on annual country-level data to determine a baseline hazard of conflict onset. The first problem with such analyses is that they ignore factors associated with the precipitation of violence, such as elections and natural disasters and other trigger mechanisms. Given that baseline hazards are relatively static, most of the temporal variation in risk is associated with such precipitating factors. The second problem with most quantitative analyses of conflict is that they assume that civil conflicts are distributed uniformly throughout the country. This is rarely the case; most intrastate armed conflicts take place in the periphery of the country, well away from the capital and often along international borders. Analysts fail to disaggregate temporally as well as spatially. While other contributions to this issue focus on the temporal aspect of conflict, this article addresses the second issue: the spatial resolution of analysis. To adequately assess the baseline risk of armed conflict, this article develops a unified prediction model that combines a quantitative assessment of conflict risk at the country level with country-specific sub-national analyses at first-order administrative regions. Geo-referenced data on aspects of social, economic, and political exclusion, as well as endemic poverty and physical geography, are featured as the principal local indicators of latent conflict. Using Asia as a test case, this article demonstrates the unique contribution of applying a localized approach to conflict prediction that explicitly captures sub-national variation in civil conflict risk.

Debating Darfur in the World

This article compares the debates and demonstrations about Darfur that have taken place in the Sudan, the United States, and Qatar and illuminates how political violence is apprehended and cultural identities are constructed. The rallies that occurred among Sudanese inside and outside the Sudan following the 2009 indictment of President Omar Hassan al-Bashir by the International Criminal Court (ICC) are particularly revealing. Examining what has been represented worldwide as the first genocide of the twenty-first century brings to light the ideologies that are expressed in impassioned political positions. Ideology, which implicitly undergirds the mixed emotions with which the ICC warrant was received, has been fundamental to the Darfur story from the start of the crisis in 2003. Describing Darfur in three distinct sociopolitical arenas, one sees various scenarios that are akin to a play with multiple actors and scenes, each of which is contextually mediated and expertly produced. The disconnections, ruptures, and shifts in the flow of this narration point to the disparities in the situational, local, regional, and transnational forces at work.

Diaspora Communities and Civil Conflict Transformation

This working paper deals with the nexus of diaspora communities living in European host countries, specifically in Germany, and the transformation of protracted violent conflicts in a number of home countries, including Sri Lanka, Cyprus, Somalia and Afghanistan. Firstly, the political and social role and importance of diaspora communities vis-à-vis their home and host countries is discussed, given the fact that the majority of immigrants to Germany, as well as to many other European countries, over the last ten years have come from countries with protracted civil wars and have thus had to apply for refugee or asylum status. One guiding question, then, is to what extent these groups can contribute politically and economically to supporting conflict transformation in their countries of origin. Secondly, the role and potentials of diaspora communities originating from countries with protracted violent conflicts for fostering conflict transformation activities are outlined. Thirdly, the current conflict situation in Sri Lanka is analyzed and a detailed overview of the structures and key organizations of the Tamil and Sinhalese diaspora worldwide is given. The structural potentials and levels for constructive intervention for working on conflict in Sri Lanka through the diasporas are then described. Fourthly, the socio-political roles of diaspora communities originating from Cyprus, Palestine, Somalia and Afghanistan for peacebuilding and rehabilitation in their home countries are discussed. The article finishes by drawing two conclusions. Firstly, it recommends the further development of domestic migration policies in Europe in light of current global challenges. Secondly, it points out that changes in foreign and development policies are crucial to make better use of the immense potential of diaspora communities for conflict transformation initiatives and development activities in their home countries.

Africa’s Development Beyond Aid: Getting Out of the Box

This article argues that Africa’s development rests not on aid, but on three key pillars: knowledge, entrepreneurship, and governance. Africa needs to think outside of the box when establishing these pillars. However, to make these three levers work, a change in mindset is a prerequisite. Africa has to start dreaming big dreams that empower it to see long-term. Africa must restructure societies so that networks beyond closed ethnic networks are more prominent. The larger social capital that will result will build a foundation for development. Africa also needs to incorporate new actors in its development agenda, including faith-based organizations, the diaspora, and the business class; and it must encourage immigrant entrepreneurs, especially Asians, to come in as chase rabbits. Better governance will come from the transformation of people from subjects to citizens. For success in international trade, Africa needs to learn the lessons of the Savannah, where the effective pack is the king.

The International Relations of the DAHR 1989-96. The Democratic Alliance of Hungarians in Romania. An Introduction

This paper is part of a broader research project on the international relations of national minorities in Central and Eastern Europe. It attempts to set the ground for a comparative study of the national minorities‹ transfrontier contacts and policies in this region through presentation of case studies. The present study is an introduction to the external relations of the Democratic Alliance of Hungarians in Romania (DAHR, Alliance) with a special focus on: its position in Romania’s political arena, the identification of the relevant actors within the DAHR, and the presentation of the DAHR’s agenda of international relations in general. It should be noted, however, that the detailed examination of the DAHR’s interaction with the identified key external actors is not the proper subject of this paper, although reference to these contacts may be made.