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Abstract: In 1999, in response to bloody communal violence that broke out in eastern Indonesia, a handful of Catholic, Protestant, and Muslim women leaders and activists established the interfaith alliance Gerakan Perempuan Peduli, the Concerned Women’s Movement (GPP). Based in Ambon, the provincial capital of Maluku and the site of the most severe violence between Christians and Muslims, the group was one of the earliest interreligious civil society associations that initiated meetings and activities across religious boundaries to quell conflict and pursue peace in the conflict zone.
The idea to establish GPP came first from Catholic nuns, notably Sisters Francesco Moens PBHK, Brigita Renyaan, and Getruda Yamlean. The idea was supported by the Catholic vice governor of Maluku, Paula Renyaan. In subsequent clandestine meetings, the members discussed strategies and tactics to build peaceful campaigns and a nonviolent movement.
As the conflict raged over the next five years, the group engaged in various methods of peacebuilding and nonviolent action, ranging from street marches, mass mobilizations, civic education, anti-violence trainings, and peace sermons, to art performances, storytelling, and interreligious gatherings. They appealed with some success to their husbands and sons not to be involved in fighting. They worked together on information campaigns, trauma counseling, and training workshops for mothers and youth, in the hope reaching those particularly vulnerable to provocation.
Abstract: Later this month, the U.S. State Department’s Religion and Foreign Policy Working Group will submit its recommendations to Secretary Hillary Clinton after a year of work. With subgroups on development, religious freedom and democracy, and conflict mitigation and prevention, the Working Group facilitated engagement with religious leaders, civil society groups, and experts on religion. One impetus for the Working Group was a 2010 report by the Chicago Council on Global Affairs, which called for strengthening U.S. foreign policymaking by strengthening the capacity to engage religion.
The Working Group is long overdue. Religion is a key factor, for good and ill, in the national security “headliners” from Iraq and Iran to Pakistan and Israel-Palestine, but also in other conflicts festering beneath the radar, such as those in Congo, Sudan, and Colombia. U.S. policy on these and other areas has suffered from a lack of literacy about religion and a failure to effectively engage religious actors. The notable exception is religious freedom, after 1998 legislation established a new State Department office and an independent commission on the issue.
Abstract: The war being waged in mineral-rich Mindanao, the southernmost island region of the Philippines, is a perfect storm of contemporary violent conflict. It is about land and resources, religion and clan, sovereignty, governance, and corruption in high and low places. Over a span of four decades, the fighting has resulted in more than 120,000 deaths, hundreds of thousands of internally displaced persons, and more than $2 billion in damages to homes and businesses.
The latest news from Mindanao is big. On October 7, 2012, the Government of the Philippines (GRP) and the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) reached an historic Framework Agreement on the Bangsamoro People of Mindanao. The parties agreed that the status quo is unacceptable and that Bangsamoro, a new autonomous political entity representing the Muslim people in the region, will replace the current Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao.
If implemented successfully, this new political arrangement would entail a major re-mapping of competing Catholic and Muslim sovereignties over certain areas and cities that have long been the subject of contention between Muslim and Christian communities.
Abstract: In 1907, while touring Africa, Britain’s future Prime Minister Winston Churchill, described Uganda as the ‘Pearl of Africa’. Churchill was moved by Uganda’s exquisite landscapes and people. He wrote in My African Journey that, “For magnificence, for variety of form and colour, for profusion of brilliant life — bird, insect, reptile, beast — for vast scale — Uganda is truly the Pearl of Africa.” Advising his countrymen, Churchill added that, “The Kingdom of Uganda is a fairy tale. The scenery is different, the climate is different and most of all, the people are different from anything elsewhere to be seen in the whole range of Africa….what message I bring back….concentrate on Uganda.”
Churchill was right. Uganda then encompassed all the gifts of nature and diversity. The question now as we celebrate 50 years of political independence is: What are we today? For all the celebration and jubilation, would Churchill, if he were alive today, come to the same conclusion? What happened to the diversity, the stunning green vegetation, the beautiful climate? Are we still a fairy tale country or a horror story? For all its endowment in people and culture, scenery and resources, Uganda today is far from that Pearl, leading some observers to describe Uganda today as the “tarnished Pearl of Africa.”. So what went wrong?
Abstract: Two years after President Hamid Karzai’s consultative Peace Jirga and creation of the Afghanistan Peace and Reintegration Programme, the peace process continues to receive criticism for the ambiguity that surrounds the role of women. Civil society organizations and women’s rights advocates argue that a peace settlement without safeguards to promote and entrench women’s voices could threaten women’s constitutional rights.
Persistent discrimination has prohibited women from garnering a greater role in the design and implementation of the peace process. The Programme’s gender policy, introduced in September 2011, seeks to ensure women’s participation in decision-making at the strategic/political level through the High Peace Council (reconciliation) and at the operational level through gender-mainstreaming in local peace processes (reintegration). However, this policy has been largely ineffective.
Abstract: The U.S. is set to withdraw the bulk of its forces from Afghanistan by 2014. This transition period is fraught with risk for Afghan women, many of whom have benefited during 10 years of improved access to education, health care, and political participation.
International aid programs have funded schools, trained health care workers, and supported development projects. There are now more than 3 million girls in school and 50,000 female teachers. Infant and maternal mortality rates have dropped significantly.
Life expectancy has risen, and hundreds of thousands of women participate in local development decision-making councils. The Afghan Constitution includes a gender equality clause and guarantees a 25 percent quota of women — one of the highest in the world — in the lower house of Parliament.
Abstract: esterday, after 9 years and nearly $250 million dollars spent, the Special Court for Sierra Leone in the Hague sentenced former Liberian President Charles Taylor to 50 years in prison after convicting him on 11 counts of war crimes and crimes against humanity. Taylor’s trial has been an important milestone in the struggle to end impunity for tyrants and mass murderers. But the international community’s guilt-ridden obsession with pursuing the Charles Taylors of the world is skewing the allocation of resources in war-torn countries toward celebrity trials and away from poor people with limited access to justice.
Abstract: The Collaborative Learning Approach to NGO Security Management project is funded by the Office of Foreign Disaster Assistance (as part of the US Agency for International Development) for a year-long project on acceptance as an approach to NGO security management. This project aims to promote a better understanding of acceptance as a security management approach, including what acceptance is and in what circumstances it can be effective. It also seeks to incorporate the views and experiences of national staff and how security management practices affect national staff.
Abstract: Enough 101 is a new series intended to provide a contextual background for understanding the complex issues that the Enough Project works on and that large communities of advocates care about.
Enough focuses primarily on several long-standing conflict areas in Central and East Africa: Sudan and South Sudan, eastern Congo, and areas affected by the Lord’s Resistance Army. Each conflict has its own history, combatants, set of acronyms, and opportunities for solutions. Enough 101 will distill that information into understandable posts for activists new to the blog, information-seekers curious about our work and conflict areas, or long-time followers who want a refresher on the issues and actors.
Every Tuesday we’ll post a new 101 blog on Enough Said, covering topics ranging from the histories of the conflicts to the legal terminology relevant to the atrocities and crimes committed. This collection of posts is an introduction—it is specifically geared towards beginners but can be helpful to even the most informed reader.
Abstract: In the run-up to January’s referendum on independence for South Sudan, Insight on Conflict will be producing a weekly round-up of the news regarding South Sudan, the referendum, Darfur, Abeyi, and North-South protests.
Abstract: This ICG blog provides up-to-date analysis and commentary on issues surrounding Sub-Saharan African affairs from the perspective of conflict prevention and conflict resolution. "The point is to offer considered analysis and well-reasoned discussion on major issues concerning violent conflict, offering ideas to avert it before it starts and end it once it begins. In this sense, Crisis Group considers these efforts in the tradition of the “slow blog”." The authors are senior staff members from the ICG Africa program. Posts are written in English, French and Arabic.
Scroll to the bottom of the linked page to read the latest blog entries.
Abstract: Afghanistan Watch is a blog initiated by Carl Robichaud of The Century Foundation. The blog is no longer updated frequently, but it does offer an archive of news, analysis and commentary on governance, security, and policy, going back to 2004.
Abstract: Checkpoint Kabul is written by Dion Nissenbaum, who covers south Asia with a focus on Afghanistan as bureau chief for McClatchy Newspapers. Other McClatchy journalists occasionally contribute.
Abstract: Afghanistan Crossroads is where CNN's reporting converges - bringing you a diversity of voices, stunning images and video, global perspectives and the latest news from on the ground in Afghanistan and around the world.
Abstract: The Afghanistan Blog is run by Tim Foxley, a Researcher with the SIPRI Armed Conflicts and Conflict Management Programme, studying Afghanistan political and military issues. Previously, he worked for the British Ministry of Defence as a political and military regional analyst covering Eastern Europe, the Balkans, the former Soviet Union and, from late 2001, Afghanistan. In 2006 he served for four months as a senior analyst in the ISAF Headquarters in Kabul. His publications on the Taliban include 'The Taliban’s propaganda activities: how well is the Taliban communicating and what is it saying' (2007). The task of SIPRI is to conduct 'scientific research on questions of conflict and cooperation of importance for international peace and security with the aim of contributing to an understanding of the conditions for peaceful solution of international conflicts and for a stable peace'.
Abstract: The AfPak Channel is a unique partnership between Foreign Policy magazine and the New America Foundation that has become a premier clearinghouse of news and analysis from and about Afghanistan, Pakistan, and issues of transnational terrorism.
With dozens of contributing experts who have spent substantial amounts of time reporting in and about the region, the AfPak Channel is at the center of an important conversation about this most pressing foreign-policy challenge facing the United States, its allies, and the rest of the world. As presidents and prime ministers the world over make decisions regarding policies toward South Asia, the AfPak Channel offers insight on everything from security in Waziristan to electoral politics in Kabul to the role of al Qaeda in the global jihadist movement. Our goal is to elevate the level of discourse from punditry alone and present a nuanced examination of topics as varied as the ins and outs of tribal politics, U.S. military operations, human rights and detention issues, NATO, and occasionally the lighter side of a troubled region. The AfPak Channel also puts out the AfPak Daily Brief, an essential collection of of news from and about South Asia, subscribed to by thousands of U.S. and international policymakers and government officials, journalists, academics, and observers from all walks of life.
Abstract: The author of the blog is Leah Farrall, a former senior Counter Terrorism Intelligence Analyst with the Australian Federal Police (AFP). During her time with the AFP, Leah served as the organization’s al Qaeda subject matter expert and worked on a range of international and domestic counter terrorism investigations. She also served as the senior Intelligence Analyst in the AFP’s Jakarta Regional Cooperation Team (JRCT) in Indonesia and at the AFP’s Forward Operating Post in response to the second Bali bombings. Prior to joining the AFP Leah taught at the University of Queensland, where she coordinated the Terrorism and Insurgency in World Politics course. Leah currently specializes on terrorist use of information communications technology for operational and propaganda purposes. She has presented extensively on this topic to a range of government and academic forums. Her research interests are terrorist operational networks, radicalization and de-radicalization trajectories, militant salafist propaganda and recruitment, social network analysis, and computer forensics.
Abstract: Jihadica is a clearinghouse for materials related to militant, transnational Sunni Islamism, commonly known as Jihadism. At the moment, much of this material is diffuse, known only to a few specialists, and inaccessible to the public and policymakers unless they pay a fee. Jihadica provides this material for free and keeps a daily record of its dissemination that can be easily searched and studied. These records are accompanied by the expert commentary of people who have the requisite language training to understand the primary source material and advanced degrees in relevant fields. The Team: The founder of Jihadica, William McCants, is also co-founder of Insight Collaborative, a DC-based company that provides education and expertise on Islamism. He has a PhD from Princeton University and is the editor of the Militant Ideology Atlas and the author of various other publications and translations related to Jihadism. He is on indefinite leave from Jihadica and Insight Collaborative but hopes to return. Thomas Hegghammer is a fellow at Harvard Kennedy School and a senior research fellow at the Norwegian Defence Research Establishment (FFI). Brynjar Lia is the director of terrorism research at the Norwegian Defence Research Establishment (FFI). Hanna Rogan is a research fellow at the Norwegian Defence Research Establishment (FFI) and a PhD candidate at the University of Oslo. Scott Sanford is a graduate student at George Washington University, Washington D.C. Anne Stenersen is a research fellow at the Norwegian Defence Research Establishment (FFI) and a PhD candidate at the University of Oslo. Truls Tønnessen is also a research fellow at the Norwegian Defence Research Establishment and a PhD candidate in History at the University of Oslo.
Abstract: Abu Muqawama is a blog written by Andrew Exum, a Fellow with the Center for a New American Security. He led a platoon of light infantry in Afghanistan in 2002 and a platoon of Army Rangers in Iraq and Afghanistan in 2003 and 2004, respectively. Most recently, Exum served as an advisor on the CENTCOM Assessment Team and as a civilian advisor to Gen. Stanley McChrystal in Afghanistan. The blog is dedicated to following issues related to contemporary insurgencies as well as counterinsurgency tactics and strategy. Aby Muqawama aims to be a resources for students, counterinsurgents, academics, and the general public. The Center for a New American Security (CNAS) develops strong, pragmatic and principled national security and defense policies. Building on the deep expertise and broad experience of its staff and advisors, CNAS engages policymakers, experts and the public with innovative fact-based research, ideas and analysis to shape and elevate the national security debate. As an independent and nonpartisan research institution, CNAS leads efforts to help inform and prepare the national security leaders of today and tomorrow.
Abstract: Registan.net covers Eurasian politics and news, seeking to draw more attention to issues and news rarely covered in much depth, if at all, by Western media. Our focus is primarily on the former Soviet Republics of Central Asia and the Caucasus and Afghanistan, with an eye to domestic politics, relations with with rest of the world, and foreign policy as well as the occasional report on pop culture. Registan.net was launched in 2003 in order to offer analysis and context to current events from the region as well as to offer original reporting.
Abstract: The Ghosts of Alexander blog is maintained and edited by Christian Bleuer. Christian Bleuer is a PhD student at The Australian National University’s Centre for Arab and Islamic Studies (The Middle East and Central Asia), with a MA from Indiana University’s Central Eurasian Studies Department. His academic work focuses on rural and peripheral social, political and conflict dynamics in Central Asia, and he has particular interest in local solidarity groups, identity and loyalty, especially how these factors affect survival strategies during conflict and competition. The blog posts focus on various issues in Central Asia and Afghanistan: politics, history, culture, society, government and conflict.
Abstract: The PCR blog casts a critical eye on the latest trends in conflict-prone regions and post-conflict reconstruction. It aims to keep the development and reconstruction community updated and in touch. The Post-Conflict Reconstruction (PCR) Project develops innovative strategies for a conflict-prone world. The Post-Conflict Reconstruction (PCR) Project develops innovative strategies to speed, enhance, and strengthen international conflict response. Established in 2002, the PCR Project is seen as a leading global source for authoritative analysis, evaluation, and recommendations for fragile states and post-conflict reconstruction. The Project focuses on the full spectrum of conflict-related concerns, from early warning and conflict prevention to rebuilding shattered societies. It incorporates the four essential pillars of reconstruction: security and public safety, justice and reconciliation, governance and participation, and economic and social progress. PCR project staff collaborate closely with U.S. congressional and executive branch decisionmakers—as well as local communities and international partners. Visit the PCR Project blog for regular commentary and analysis.
Abstract: Free Range International is a small consulting firm and an informative blog. The blog is edited by Tim Lynch, a 51 year old retired Marine and Free Range International founder. The blog is maintained for people who are interested in Afghanistan and "does not toe any party line".