Given the record of the US occupation and the profound limitations of America’s present stature, the Barack Obama administration is right to continue to draw down the American presence in Iraq. But in remembering the egregious mistakes of its predecessor the administration should not claim victory as it exits. It should not, as Vice President Joe Biden did in the midst of the de-Ba’athification crisis, claim all is well in Baghdad. A more honest and realistic approach would recognise the impossible legacy left by the Bush administration. The damage the previous administration did so much to encourage would then be minimised with the help of US allies and multilateral organisations. In short, after seven years of American occupation, it is time to go home.
Transitional justice and security sector reform are critical in post-conflict settings, particularly regarding the reform of judicial systems, intelligence services, police, correctional systems, the military, and addressing systemic massive human rights abuses committed by individuals representing these institutions. Accordingly, the relationship between security sector reform and transitional justice mechanisms, such as vetting, the representation of ethnic minorities in key institutions, the resettlement and reintegration of the former combatants deserve special attention from scholars. This article presents a comparative analysis of the reform of police and security forces in Kosovo, and explores the causes of different outcomes of these two processes.
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
Most wars are now civil wars. Even though international wars attract enormous global attention, they have become infrequent and brief. Civil wars usually attract less attention, but they have become increasingly common and typically go on for years. This report argues that civil war is now an important issue for development. War retards development, but conversely, development retards war. This double causation gives rise to virtuous and vicious circles. Where development succeeds, countries become progressively safer from violent conflict, making subsequent development easier. Where development fails, countries are at high risk of becoming caught in a conflict trap in which war wrecks the economy and increases the risk of further war. The global incidence of civil war is high because the international community has done little to avert it. Inertia is rooted in two beliefs: that we can safely ‘let them fight it out among themselves’ and that ‘nothing can be done’ because civil war is driven by ancestral ethnic and religious hatreds. The purpose of this report is to challenge these beliefs.
The electoral system for the state presidency of Bosnia and Herzegovina guarantees the representation of the three constituent people, Bosniaks, Serbs and Croats, but it violates the political rights of other ethnic minorities and of citizens who do not identify themselves with any ethnic group. Following the 2009 judgment of the European Court of Human Rights, Bosnia was urged to reform its electoral law. This paper discusses alternative practices of ethnically based political representation and their possible application in the Bosnian state presidency elections. Several innovative electoral models that satisfy fair political and legal criteria for desirable electoral dynamics in divided societies can be envisaged in the Bosnian context. Specifically, these are: the introduction of a single countrywide electoral district, the adoption of the single non-transferable vote, and the application of a geometrical mean rule. They guarantee the representation of the three constituent people, while strengthening inter-ethnic voting and giving chances to non-nationalist candidates to be elected.
Most aid spending by governments seeking to rebuild social and political order is based on an opportunity-cost theory of distracting potential recruits. The logic is that gainfully employed young men are less likely to participate in political violence, implying a positive correlation between unemployment and violence in locations with active insurgencies. The authors test that prediction in Afghanistan, Iraq, and the Philippines, using survey data on unemployment and two newly available measures of insurgency: (1) attacks against government and allied forces and (2) violence that kill civilians. Contrary to the opportunity-cost theory, the data emphatically reject a positive correlation between unemployment and attacks against government and allied forces (p < .05 percent). There is no significant relationship between unemployment and the rate of insurgent attacks that kill civilians. The authors identify several potential explanations, introducing the notion of insurgent precision to adjudicate between the possibilities that predation on one hand, and security measures and information costs on the other, account for the negative correlation between unemployment and violence in these three conflicts.
In countries affected by insurgencies, development programs may potentially reduce violence by improving economic outcomes and increasing popular support for the government. In this paper, we test the efficacy of this approach through a large-scale randomized controlled trial of the largest development program in Afghanistan at the height of the Taliban insurgency. We find that the program generally improved economic outcomes, increased support for the government, and reduced insurgent violence. However, in areas close to the Pakistani border, the program did not increase support for the government and actually increased insurgent violence. This heterogeneity in treatment effects appears to be due to differences between districts in the degree of infiltration by external insurgents, who are not reliant on the local population for support. The results suggest that while development programs can quell locally-based insurgencies, such programs may be counterproductive when implemented in areas where insurgents are not embedded in the local population.
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.
The democratic uprisings and consequent turmoil in the Arab world during the last 18 months have had significant impact on the geostrategic situation in the Middle East as well as on the policies of major regional and global powers. As the upheavals continue to unfold, especially in strategically important countries such as Syria and Bahrain, they will continue to have a major impact on intraregional politics as well as great-power interests.
Judging by the popular press, in January 2011 Twitter and Facebook went from being simply engaging social diversions to become engines of political change that upended decades of Arab authoritarianism. It is tempting to be swept away by this narrative, which suggests that social media prompted hundreds of thousands, and then millions, of Tunisians and Egyptians to pour into the streets and peacefully demand change. Brittle authoritarian regimes had little choice but to comply, and in this way, social media irrevocably changed the future of the Middle East. Following the logic to its conclusion, it would suggest that the Middle East is on the brink of a period of democratic consolidation, as the ideals and tools of revolutionaries lead the region forward into a period of anti-sectarianism, liberalism, and hope.
While political accommodation and the passage of time may heal the wounds in Iraqi society, it is just as likely that the lack of real reconciliation will undermine the political process.
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.
Together, the recent entry of reconciliation into the politics of peace building and the ancient presence of reconciliation as a concept in religious traditions create potential for, but also leave undeveloped, an ethic of political reconciliation. This ethic would derive a set of concrete guidelines for recovering political orders from philosophical and theological fundamentals. An outline of such an ethic is what I propose here.
With conditions created by Western colonialism and the dynamics of the Cold War bipolar global rule, the inability of governments to rise beyond corrupt and imbalance political order, and, hence, the resurgence of ethnic, religious, and ideological identity consciousness and identification, Africa has been a bleeding Continent since the end of the colonial era. Contemporary Africa?s conflicts are intrastate, with many protracted. This paper argues that to deal adequately with such conflicts there is a need for an inner-oriented, indigenous-based, organic, and long-term sustainable nonviolent process of conflict transformation and peacebuilding aimed at constructive holistic change. It demonstrates that this is core to the peacebuilding paradigm Lederach develops and so apt for dealing with today?s Africa?s conflicts.
The DDR process that took place in Lebanon after the internal wars (1975-89), based on the Ta’if Accord (1989), was not co-ordinated by any international organisation. This paper assesses the reintegration of a number of combatants of one of the militias, the Lebanese Forces, placing particular emphasis on the context in which it unfolded. A programme of reintegration into the Lebanese Armed Forces (LAF) was proposed to the ex-combatants, but because of the high number on one side and because of the situation within the LAF itself (a pluri-religious organisation under reorganisation) this programme had little effect on the process. Instead the majority of the ex-combatants came to rely on their family and network established within the militia for their social and economic reintegration. This study finds that there has been little rupture between life as combatants and life as civilians. Three contextual factors were particularly important: the small size of the country, the rhythm of the war where periods of combat alternated with periods of calm, and the close contact combatants managed to keep with their family, work, schools and universities. A key lesson for DDR processes more generally stems from the study: DDR initiatives are likely to be most effective when they work alongside and augment indigenous positive social processes contributing to reintegration.
Previous research concerning the relationship between conflict and public health finds that countries emerging from war face greater challenges in ensuring the well-being of their populations in comparison with states that have enjoyed political stability. This study seeks to extend this insight by considering how different civil war conflict strategies influence post-conflict public health. Drawing a distinction between deaths attributable to battle and those fatalities resulting from genocide/politicide, we find that the magnitude of genocide/politicide proves the more effective and consistent predictor of future rates of disability and death in the aftermath of civil war. The implications of this research are twofold. First, it lends support to an emerging literature suggesting that important distinctions exist between the forms of violence occurring during civil war. Second, of particular interest to policymakers, it identifies post-civil war states that have experienced the highest rates of genocide/politicide as the countries most in need of assistance in the aftermath of conflict.
In a sweeping review of forty truth commissions, Priscilla Hayner delivers a definitive exploration of the global experience in official truth-seeking after widespread atrocities. When Unspeakable Truths was first published in 2001, it quickly became a classic, helping to define the field of truth commissions and the broader arena of transitional justice. This second edition is fully updated and expanded, covering twenty new commissions formed in the last ten years, analyzing new trends, and offering detailed charts that assess the impact of truth commissions and provide comparative information not previously available. Placing the increasing number of truth commissions within the broader expansion in transitional justice, Unspeakable Truths surveys key developments and new thinking in reparations, international justice, healing from trauma, and other areas. The book challenges many widely-held assumptions, based on hundreds of interviews and a sweeping review of the literature. This book will help to define how these issues are addressed in the future.
Since 11 September 2001, the religious dimension of conflict has been the focus of increasing attention. In The Clash of Civilizations, Huntington has identified the West in religious–cultural terms, as Christian with a dominant democratic culture emphasizing tolerance, moderation and consensus. The persistence of conflict in Northern Ireland among `White’ Protestant and Catholic Christians undermines this simplistic argument and demands a more subtle understanding of the role of religion and fundamentalism in contemporary conflict. Modernization theory — which is echoed among some theorists of globalization — had predicted the declining importance of religion as the world became industrialized and increasingly interconnected. This is echoed by those who argue that the Northern Ireland conflict is `ethno-national’ and dismiss the role of religion. On the other hand, others have claimed that the conflict is religious and stress the role of Protestant fundamentalism. This article draws on new evidence from Northern Ireland of the complex and subtle ways in which religion impacts on the conflict there, incorporating insights about the pragmatism of fundamentalist Protestants and how religious actors are contributing to conflict transformation. This analysis leads to three broader conclusions about understanding conflicts with religious dimensions. First, the complexity of religion must be understood, and this includes a willingness to recognize the adaptability of fundamentalisms to particular contexts. Second, engaging with fundamentalists and taking their grievances seriously opens up possibilities for conflict transformation. Third, governments and religious actors within civil society can play complementary roles in constructing alternative (religious) ideologies and structures as part of a process of transformation. In a world in which the impact of religion is persistent, engaging with the religious dimension is a vital part of a broader-based strategy for dealing with conflict.
This article examines the double standards associated with a precarious international peacebuilding strategy in Afghanistan based on impunity and half-truths rather than accountability and transitional justice. Many international organizations have turned a blind eye to past and current human rights atrocities through forms of rationalization based on an empowerment of cultural differences, relativization of progress and “policy reductionism.” Consequently, and in the absence of consistently applied rights instruments, societal divisions along gender, ethnic and other lines have intensified Afghanistan’s culture of intolerance to human rights, thereby violating the very principles the international community purports to uphold. Drawing on first-hand experiences, personal interviews and a sober analysis of trends, this article challenges some of the conventional assumptions held about the perception and knowledge of human rights among Afghans. It concludes by identifying possible areas of future study to better understand both the prospects for transitional justice and how ordinary Afghans continue to cope with widespread injustice and inequality.