Chatham House Report: “Syria’s Transactional State”
A new report published by Chatham House suggests that the Syrian regime has become increasingly reliant on external actors pursuing their own interests in the region, turning it into a “transactional state” dominated by self-interested actors aligned with the Assad regime. The report concludes from this that the Assad government cannot be a partner for the international community in terms of providing peace and security for Syria.
‘The Local in Peacebuilding: What We Can Learn from Community-Led Organisations’
The IPI Global Observatory suggests that peacebuilding initiatives need to prioritise local and community-led efforts and organisations, and ensure that the world of the international community compliments and supports them. Available here.
September 2018: Conflicts and Climate Change Threaten Access to Food
In September 2018, the Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) released a new report indicating that 39 countries (including 7 in Asia) are experiencing food shortages due to ongoing conflicts and climate change. This article by the Australian Strategic Policy Institute similarly argues that national security for Australia must extend to protecting food and agriculture. There are also growing concerns that a devastating famine is developing in Yemen as the conflict continues there – see here, and also this analysis from Crisis Group suggesting that the recently failed Geneva Consultations could restart a frozen battle for the Red Sea port of Hodeida, proving fatal for millions already on the brink of starvation. In related news, a recent UNICEF report indicates that a third of the world’s out-of-school youth live in conflict and disaster-affected countries.
Consortium on Gender, Security and Human Rights online syllabus collection
The Consortium on Gender, Security and Human Rights is pleased to provide an online Collection of Syllabi on Gender, Armed Conflict, Security and International Relations. This collection of syllabi has been gathered from faculty and institutions both in the United States and internationally, and covers a wide range of topics related to gender and war. We hope the collection proves to be a valuable resource for faculty engaged in designing or updating similar courses, as well as for students interested in pursuing the study of gender and security. Please visit the collection at http://www.genderandsecurity.org/projects-resources/syllabus-collection
Operation Freedom’s Sentinel, Report to the United States Congress
Lead Inspector General for Overseas Contingency Operations, January 1, 2018 – March 31, 2018.
Operation Freedom’s Sentinel Report to Congress is issued according to five Strategic Oversight Areas: Security; Governance and Civil Society; Humanitarian Development; Stabilization; Support. The central issues raised in the Executive Summary is as follows.
Operation Freedom’s Sentinel Report to Congress is issued according to five Strategic Oversight Areas: Security; Governance and Civil Society; Humanitarian Development; Stabilization; Support. The central issues raised in the Executive Summary are as follows.
- The central effort remains stabilizing Kabul, amidst increased terror attacks.
- Minimal progress in population security – targeting an increased percentage of Afghanis living under government influence.
Pressure on the Taliban
- The arrival of new US Military Training Force to expand the Resolute Support train, advise, and assist mission.
- The hope is that training will allow the National Defense Forces to carry out more simultaneous operations against the Taliban. Improvement is difficult to quantify.
- Afghan Force levels continue to decline.
- Concerns about recruiting, retention, casualty rates and therefore overall effectiveness of the ANDSF.
- Trilateral U.S. pressure on the Taliban:
- Military, Diplomatic (Pakistan eliminating safehavens), social pressures (legitimate elections). No publically available evidence indicates any of these mechanisms have had a significant impact. Suggestions of negotiation and reconciliation have not led to any indication of change in the Taliban position.
- Key Challenges:
- Managing increased violence and civilian casualty in “stable” areas
- Difficulties for the ANDSF holding territory seized from the Taliban
- A Taliban open letter to the American people calls for change to US policy toward Afghanistan to pursue peace talks.
- Taliban rejection of Afghan government as illegitimate.
- Peace talks conditional on US removing troops and negotiating directly with the Taliban.
- US refuses to take lead and supports an Afghan-led process.
- The international community supports reconciliation between the Taliban and the Afghan government
- President Ghani made an unconditional offer for peace talks
- No framework for reconciliatory processes or discussions exist.
Professor Damien Kingsbury and Richard Iron CMG OBE, Australian Institute of International Affairs
The authors explore five principles to help identify the opportunities to invest in successful peace-making.
- The conditions have to be right for a war to end – these conditions can be cultivated, by improving the benefits of peace or increasing the costs of ongoing conflict to a belligerent. Examples cited: Dayton Agreement & Good Friday Agreement (1995)
- Independent and trusted mediation – impartial mediators with sufficient authority to command respect or compel obedience. Example: 2005 Helsinki Aceh Peace Agreement
- Meaningful negotiation between the rightpeople – Meaningful requires consideration of the causes and drivers of the conflict; the right people are those that have control over belligerent forces. Examples: 1999 Lomé Peace Agreement – RUF negotiating party lost control of military; Cf. Adams and McGuiness who retained power over the whole IRA for the Good Friday Agreement.
- Transitions to peace must be mapped and agreed; successful peace is built, not imposed – this requires disarmament, demobilization, reintegration as well as income and self-respect for ex-combatants.
- The international community can play an important, or a complicating, role – by persuading or coercing combatants through systems of reward / punishment, or guarantees such as peace-keepers and monitors.
Armin von Bogdandy et al, ‘State-Building, Nation-Building, and Constitutional Politics in Post-Conflict Situations: Conceptual Clarifications and an Appraisal of Different Approaches’ (2005) 9 Max Planck Yearbook of United Nations Law 579
Dobbins, James, Laurel E. Miller, Stephanie Pezard, Christopher S. Chivvis, Julie E. Taylor, Keith Crane, Calin Trenkov-Wermuth and Tewodaj Mengistu, Overcoming Obstacles to Peace: Local Factors in Nation-Building, RAND Corporation
Huma Haider – GSDRC Applied Knowledge Services, ‘Conflict Sensitivity: Topic Guide’ [asset:GSDRC_CS_topic_guide_Sep-2014.pdf]?
Hurst Hannum, ‘Human Rights in Conflict Resolution: The Role of the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights in UN Peacemaking and Peacebuilding (2006) 28 Human Rights Quarterly 1
Institute for Economics and Peace, Five Key Questions answered on the link between Peace and Religion
Jonas Lindberg & Camilla Orjuela, ‘Corruption in the aftermath of war: An introduction’ (2014) 35 Third World Quarterly 723
Lt Col Remi Hajjar, ‘What Lessons did we Learn (or Re-Learn) About Military Advising after 9/11?’Military Review (November-December 2014)
Michael Butler, ‘Ten Years After: (Re) Assessing Neo-Trusteeship and UN State-building in Timor-Leste’ (2012) 13(1) International Studies Perspectives 85
R J Mathews (ed), Proceedings of the Biological Weapons Convention Regional Workshop, 21-25 February 2005 (2005)
Ronald R. Krebs and Roy Licklider, ‘United They Fall: Why the International Community Should Not Promote Military Integration after Civil War’ International Security 40, no. 3 (Winter 2015/16): 93–138.
Yash Ghai, ‘A Journey Around Constitutions: Reflections on Contemporary Constitutions’ (2005) 122 South African Law Journal 804