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Abstract: Mass atrocities are organized crimes. Those who commit
genocide and crimes against humanity depend on third
parties for the goods and services—money, matériel,
political support, and a host of other resources—that
sustain large-scale violence against civilians. Third parties
have supplied military aircraft used by the Sudan Armed
Forces against civilians, refined gold and other minerals
coming out of eastern Democratic Republic of the Congo,
and ensured a steady flow of arms into Rwanda.
Governments seeking to prevent atrocities cannot afford a
narrow and uncoordinated focus on the perpetrators of
such violence. Rather, an effective strategy must include
identifying and pressuring third-party enablers—
individuals, commercial entities, and countries—in order to
interrupt the supply chains that fuel mass violence against
The first-ever Director of War Crimes, Atrocities, and
Civilian Protection on the National Security Staff recently
convened a meeting that appears to initiate an
interagency structure to coordinate atrocities-prevention
initiatives across the government. The Administration has
an opportunity in the newly initiated structure to activate all
of the U.S. government’s resources to institute an
atrocities-prevention policy that goes beyond responding
to individual crises. This structure should incorporate a
systematic approach to disrupting enablers and should
ensure that all possible tools are developed and used to
counter these complex crimes. The intelligence
community and the Department of the Treasury, along
with the Departments of State and Defense, are key to
successfully tackling third-party enablers of atrocities.
Abstract: This report, Ethiopia: Assessing Risks to Stability, is part of a series examining the risks of instability in 10 African countries over the next decade. The 10 papers are designed to be complementary but can also be read individually as self-standing country studies. An overview paper draws on common themes and explains the methodology underpinning the research. The project was commissioned by the U.S. Africa Command (AFRICOM). The papers in this study are not meant to offer hard and fast predictions about the future. While they sketch out some potential scenarios for the next 10 years, these efforts should be treated as thought experiments that look at how different dynamics might converge to create the conditions for instability. The intention is not to single out countries believed to be at risk of impending disaster and make judgments about how they will collapse. Few, if any, of the countries in this series are at imminent risk of breakdown. All of them have coping mechanisms that militate against conflict, and discussions of potential “worst-case scenarios” have to be viewed with this qualification in mind.
Abstract: On June 2, 2011, Peacebuild, with the financial support of the International Development
Research Centre, convened a day-long discussion on the tumultuous changes taking place in the
Middle East and North Africa.
Objectives for the roundtable were to share up-to-date information on current and longer-term
political issues and dynamics, to assess areas for possible support for democratic transitions in
the region, identify areas of relevant Canadian expertise – diaspora, NGO, academic, business
sector, governmental -- and, based on the discussion, generate a set of policy options and/or
recommendations for people-to-people support, NGOs, academics and the Government of
Participants in Cairo, Ottawa and Montreal were linked into a wide-ranging discussion, which
first focused on hearing activist and expert views from the epicentre of regional change – Egypt.
Among the questions explored with human rights activist Hossam Baghat, strategic analyst
Mustafa El-Labbad, activist author May Telmissany and IDRC regional expert Roula El-Rifai were
the makeup of the reform movements in the region and their objectives, what is the real extent
of political Islam’s influence in the Middle East and what has been the role of the armed forces
in the transitions?
Abstract: Peacebuild, in collaboration with the Department of Foreign Affairs and International Trade Canada (DFAIT) convened the third in a series of six workshops on peacebuilding and conflict prevention policy issues on 31st May 2011 in the CANADEM conference room in Ottawa. The purpose of the workshop series is to exchange current information and analysis among expert civil society practitioners, academics and Government of Canada officials aimed at developing policy and programming options to respond to new developments and emerging trends.
This workshop examined the dynamics of peace and conflict, including drug violence and crime, in Latin America. This policy brief provides a synopsis of the findings and analysis from discussion and the papers presented during the event, highlighting key recommendations to improve prevention and responses to conflict and crime that emerged from the workshop.
Abstract: This paper seeks to do three things. First, it provides an analysis of the
current economic dynamics of the armed conflict in Colombia, with a
special focus on the drug trade and extractive industries. Secondly, it
examines theories of political economies of war and free trade, and
considers the implications of the new economic dynamics of the armed
conflict in Colombia for peacebuilding initiatives. Thirdly, the paper
makes some preliminary recommendations for further Canadian
involvement in Colombia and relates them to Canadian foreign policy
objectives in the region, particularly the advancement of human rights and
greater economic engagement through bilateral trade agreements.
Ultimately, this paper argues that an unbalanced agenda favouring trade
and economic development over human and social development
initiatives will not create the conditions for peacebuilding in Colombia.
Four prominent aspects of the Colombian context inform the
recommendations of this paper:
• The Colombian armed conflict is changing, it is not necessarily
• The drug economy is fuelling a significant portion of the violence
that ravages the country today, although it is not the only element
prolonging the armed conflict. Licit economic activities also play an
important role in direct and indirect participation in the violence;
• Without directed investment in social infrastructure greater trade
liberalizationand lack of market protection may drive more small-scale
farmers towards coca production or participation in armed groups, which
enables and fuels armed violence.
• Human security is currently one of the greatest challenges facing
Colombia, given the continuing armed conflict, the humanitarian crisis of
internal displacement, and ongoing structural violence.
Abstract: Femicide, the killing of women by men because they are
women, is a worldwide phenomenon. Victims of femicide are
often mutilated, raped and tortured before their deaths. These
acts of extreme violence are most likely to occur in
environments where every day forms of violence are accepted,
and impunity is facilitated by the government’s refusal to deal
with the problem. Femicide is considered to be the most
extreme form of misogynistic violence, one which stems from
the violation of human rights of women in the public and
private sphere. In Mexico, particularly on the Mexico-US
border, the killing of women first made international headlines
in 1993, as a growing number of female bodies started to
emerge at the outskirts of Ciudad Juárez. Since then, the
number of femicides continues to rise despite international
pressure and government-led initiatives. In 2007, for example,
the federal government promulgated a law that sought to
prevent all forms of violence against women, La Ley General
de Acceso a las Mujeres a una Vida Libre de Violence. Four
years after the passing of the law, the levels of gender-based violence remain the same, while the number of femicides
continues to increase, rendering the law inoperable. From
1993 to 2005, approximately 370 women were killed in
Ciudad Juárez and Chihuahua City.
Abstract: As the President affirmed in his 2010 National Security Strategy, he bears no greater responsibility than
ensuring the safety and security of the American people. This National Strategy for Counterterrorism
sets out our approach to one of the President’s top national security priorities: disrupting, dismantling,
and eventually defeating al-Qa‘ida and its affiliates and adherents to ensure the security of our citizens
In response to the attacks of September 2001, the United States embarked on a national effort against
al-Qa‘ida, the transnational terrorist organization responsible for planning and conducting the attacks.
As we approach the 10th anniversary of that day, we can look forward with confidence in our accomplishments
and pride in the resiliency of our nation. Yet the paramount terrorist threat we have faced—al-Qa‘ida and its affiliates and adherents—has also
continued to evolve, often in response to the successes of the United States and its partners around the
This National Strategy for Counterterrorism maintains our focus on pressuring al-Qa‘ida’s core
while emphasizing the need to build foreign partnerships and capacity and to strengthen our resilience.
At the same time, our strategy augments our focus on confronting the al-Qa‘ida-linked threats that
continue to emerge from beyond its core safehaven in South Asia.
Abstract: The National Strategy for Counterterrorism, formalizes the approach that President Obama and his Administration have been pursuing and adapting for the past two and half years to prevent terrorist attacks and to deliver devastating blows against al-Qa’ida, including the successful mission to kill Usama bin Laden.
Rather than defining our entire national security policy, this counterterrorism strategy is one part of President Obama’s larger National Security Strategy, which seeks to advance our enduring national security interests, including our security, prosperity, respect for universal values and global cooperation to meet global challenges.
This Strategy builds upon the progress we have made in the decade since 9/11, in partnership with Congress, to build our counterterrorism and homeland security capacity as a nation. It neither represents a wholesale overhaul—nor a wholesale retention—of previous policies and strategies.
Abstract: On March 14, 2011, Peacebuild, with financial support from
Foreign Affairs and International Trade Canada (DFAIT),
convened the first of a series of six workshops on various
peacebuilding and conflict prevention policy issues. This policy
brief synthesizes the findings and recommendations arising from
the first workshop and from two issue papers prepared to inform
the workshop discussion. It highlights policy and programming
options aimed at improving Canadian and global responses to
Abstract: The war if Iraq has received only limited attention in the US media and various research centers over the last year. It remains, however, a critical aspect of US national security, and involves more vital US strategic interest than the conflict in Afghanistan.
This report provides an overview of the political, security, and economic developments in Iraq, as well as developments in the Iraqi energy sector and shifts in international and US aid to Iraq. It summarizes the current capabilities and size of Iraqi security forces (ISF), and their dependence on aid.
It also summarizes the cost of the war to date to the US, the patterns in the withdrawal of US forces, and current plans for the US military withdrawal from Iraq. A separate sections summarizes plans for US State Department-led effort to create a strategic partnership with Iraq under the Strategic Framework Agreement.
Abstract: This report examines the likely impacts of a changing climate on the US government’s
civilian and military humanitarian response systems. We analyze both humanitarian
and security implications of climate change as well as how the US government
responds to overseas climate-related emergencies. We want to understand the
changes that can be made now to better prepare these systems for the long-term
effects of climate change.
At the same time that fiscal pressures are putting
more strain on budgets, the US is likely to face
substantially increasing demands on its humanitarian
response systems as a result of climate change.
These factors will have major implications for global
stability as well as for the capacity of humanitarian
In light of these dynamics, the US government
should adopt an “ounce of prevention” approach
hand in hand with reforms that increase the efficiency
and effectiveness of disaster response mechanisms.
Such a strategy would reduce long-term costs of
humanitarian response, increase the impact of
emergency relief programs, and lay a stronger
foundation for stability in developing countries.
Abstract: Sudanese Armed Forces (SAF) moved into North Sudan's South Kordofan state capital Kadugli at the start of the month, triggering large-scale fighting with Sudan People's Liberation Army (SPLA) units from the region. The UN reported heavy bombardment of villages by the SAF, widespread civilian casualties and at least 73,000 people forced to flee. It also accused the government of blocking aid deliveries and intimidating peacekeepers.
Violence spilled over into South Sudan, with several villages bombed by the North. On 28 June the government and the Sudan People's Liberation Movement (North) signed an agreement on political and security arrangements for South Kordofan and Blue Nile states.
In Afghanistan, a standoff between parliament and President Hamid Karzai threatens to deepen the country's political crisis.
Proposals by Senegal's ruling party to amend the constitution were condemned by opposition politicians as undemocratic and sparked unprecedented violent protests.
Myanmar/Burma saw its worst clashes since 2009, as fighting broke out between government forces and the Kachin ceasefire group. Tens of thousands have been displaced and some 20 reportedly killed.
In Mexico, a number of incidents highlighted the deterioration in security around Monterrey, the country's second city, industrial hub and capital of Nuevo León state.
In Venezuela, speculation about President Hugo Chávez's health intensified, leading to infighting within his ruling PSUV party and highlighting the country's lack of alternative leadership.
Abstract: Canadian foreign direct investment in Colombia has
grown consistently since the 1990s, particularly in
telecommunications, mining, and fossil fuel extraction.
Canadian mining and oil companies are major players in
Despite a concerted public relations campaign by
the Colombian government, Colombia continues to suffer
widespread human rights abuses, including extrajudicial
executions, disappearances, extortion, and threats.
Control over land, labour, and natural resources are
integral to the war and violence in Colombia, and the
past few decades have seen massive displacement and
murder for political and economic ends. Striking correlations
have been observed between where investment –
both domestic and foreign – takes place and rights abuses,
ranging from murder and massacres and related massive
land and property theft to violations of the rights to
freedom of movement and to a healthy environment.
Human rights violations are linked to efforts by
those behind Colombia’s murderous paramilitaries to
create conditions for investment from which they are
positioned to benefit. There are also ongoing relations
between the paramilitary forces and all levels of government
and the armed forces, up to the highest officials,
and there are clear indications that political cover for
such human rights abuses and crimes will continue.
Abstract: A year and a half after the Western Hemisphere’s deadliest
earthquake devastated Haiti, 650,000 victims still wait for
permanent housing in more than 1,000 unstable emergency
camps dotting Port-au-Prince. The first storms of the 2011
hurricane season have flooded 30 camps, forcing tent
dwellers to flee and killing 28 persons nationally. Michel
Martelly, who replaced René Préval as president on 14
May, faces an immediate crisis in the growing frustrations
of the victims in the camps and those with near identical
unmet basic needs who remain in the urban slums. Forced
evictions, some violent, along with the reappearance of
criminal gangs in those camps and slums, add to the volatile
mix. Adopting, communicating and setting in motion
a comprehensive resettlement strategy, with full input from
the victims and local communities, is the first critical reconstruction
challenge he must meet in order to restore
stability. It will also test the capacity for common international
action beyond emergency relief after a year of disturbing
divisions within the UN country team and among
donors over resettlement strategy.
Abstract: Secretary [of State, Hillary] Clinton: "Every year, we come together to release this report, to take stock of our progress, to make suggestions, and to refine our methods. Today, we are releasing a new report that ranks 184 countries, including our own. One of the innovations when I became Secretary was we were going to also analyze and rank ourselves, because I don’t think it’s fair for us to rank others if we don’t look hard at who we are and what we’re doing. This report is the product of a collaborative process that involves ambassadors and embassies and NGOs as well as our team here in Washington. And it really does give us a snapshot about what’s happening. It shows us where political will and political leadership are making a difference."
Abstract: The Pakistan government’s inability to provide for the security and prosperity of its own people has led to questions about its sovereignty, whether in terms of its monopoly of violence, fiscal solvency, or human security. But rather than asking questions of the Pakistani government, Pakistanis are content with blaming Washington for the country’s ills. Washington wants Pakistan to succeed, even though, admittedly, the United States has often compromised long-term goals for short-term access. Pakistan can certainly do better by following India’s example of self-sufficient economic growth. Pakistanis should also question Chinese and Saudi intentions as vigorously as they do those of the United States. Both countries have used Pakistan for their own interests, without attempting to invest in the country’s people. Pakistan can only escape the leash of donors and manipulative outsiders by raising revenue, securing its territory, providing for its citizens, and becoming a responsible international actor.
Abstract: The 10th annual Trafficking in Persons Report outlines the continuing challenges across the globe, including
in the United States. The Report, for the first time, includes a ranking of the United States based on the
same standards to which we hold other countries. The United States takes its first-ever ranking not as a
reprieve but as a responsibility to strengthen global efforts against modern slavery, including those within
America. This human rights abuse is universal, and no one should claim immunity from its reach or from
the responsibility to confront it.
This year’s report highlights several key trends, including the suffering of women and children in involuntary
domestic servitude, the challenges and successes in identifying and protecting victims, and the need to
include anti-trafficking policies in our response to natural disasters, as was evident in the aftermath of this
year’s earthquake in Haiti.
Ending this global scourge is an important policy priority for the United States. This fluid phenomenon
continues to affect cultures, communities, and countries spanning the globe. Through partnerships, we can
confront it head-on and lift its victims from slavery to freedom.
Abstract: Afghan civilians are caught in the middle of an intensifying military campaign against a fractured armed insurgency. Despite the U.S. military’s claims of progress, insurgent attacks are up by 50% over last year, and more than 250,000 people have fled their villages in the past two years. U.S. funded and trained militias are only exacerbating this explosive situation. As the U.S. begins to draw down its forces and transition responsibilities to the Afghan government, the Obama administration must mitigate further displacement and ensure that the Afghan government takes greater responsibility for the protection of displaced people. In addition, the UN must strengthen its capacity to respond to the growing humanitarian needs.
Abstract: The sea lanes of Indo-Pacific Asia are becoming more crowded, contested and
vulnerable to armed strife. The changing deterrence and
warfighting strategies of China, the United States and Japan involve expanded
maritime patrolling and intrusive surveillance, bringing an uncertain mix of
stabilising and destabilising effects.
Nationalism and resource needs, meanwhile, are reinforcing the value of territorial
claims in the East and South China seas, making maritime sovereignty disputes
harder to manage. Chinese forces continue to show troubling signs of assertiveness
at sea, though there is debate about the origins or extent of such moves. All of these factors are making Asia a danger zone for incidents at sea.
While the chance that such incidents will lead to major military clashes should not be
overstated, the drivers – in particular China’s frictions with the United States, Japan
and India – are likely to persist and intensify. As the number and tempo of incidents
increases, so does the likelihood that an episode will escalate to armed confrontation,
diplomatic crisis or possibly even conflict.
This report, part of the Lowy Institute’s MacArthur Foundation Asia Security
Project, explores the major-power maritime security dynamics surrounding China’s
rise. It focuses on the risks and the management of incidents at sea involving Chinese
interactions with the United States, Japan and India. The report concludes with some realistic recommendations to reduce risks of crisis
and escalation under conditions of continued mistrust.
Abstract: The data highlight the failures that almost lost the Afghan War between 2002 and 2008. The US and its allies failed to adequately resource the Afghan campaign between 2002 and early 2009. The US gave the Iraq War priority to the extent that it did not provide the troops or funds necessary to prevent the Taliban from reentering and dominating much of the country. A combination of US and allied underfunding ensured that no credible effort was made to resource the creation of Afghan security forces until 2009, when the Taliban and Haqqani networks posed a major threat.SIGAR, Inspector General, and GAO reporting show that these failures were compounded by erratic programming and funding, and a total lack of effective control over spending and the contracting effort.
The broader failures in the US and ISAF war effort included lack of unity and realism in ISAF, an ineffective UN effort, and political decisions to ignore or understate Taliban and insurgent gains from 2002-2009, to ignore the problems caused by weak and corrupt Afghan governance, to understate the risks posed by sanctuaries in Pakistan, and to emphasize the value of tactical ISAF victories while ignoring the steady growth of Taliban influence and control.
Abstract: A combination of two critical problems threatens to undermine the mission of the United States–led coalition in Afghanistan: the failure of the counterinsurgency strategy and a disconnect between political objectives and military operations. If anything, the current strategy is making a political solution less likely, notably because it is antagonizing Pakistan without containing the rise of the armed opposition. That has put the coalition in a paradoxical situation, in which it is being weakened militarily by a non-negotiated and inevitable withdrawal while at the same time alienating potential negotiating partners.
The Obama administration has made new appointments to head the defense and intelligence agencies, and, in Afghanistan, has installed a new leadership to oversee U.S. military forces and named a new ambassador. The U.S. administration must take advantage of these appointments to establish greater coherence in both policy and operations:
1. The 2014 transition anticipated by the coalition is unrealistic because the Afghan army will not be capable of containing an insurgency that is gathering significant strength. If the transition were carried out, it would provide a considerable boost to the insurgency and, ultimately, the defeat of the Karzai regime.
2. In the border provinces of Pakistan, we are now seeing the creation of a sanctuary liable to harbor jihadist groups, including Lashkar-e-Taiba and al-Qaeda fighters. This is alarming because counterterrorism operations cannot eliminate groups in a sanctuary that is steadily growing larger. Meanwhile, the coalition’s operations are essentially focused on the southern regions where these jihadist groups do not exist.
3. The Western withdrawal therefore inevitably requires a political agreement with the Taliban leadership, which implies abandoning the coalition’s reintegration policy. Confrontation with Pakistan is not an option since American leverage on Islamabad is limited and the Pakistani army has some influence over the insurgents, which would be useful should negotiations take place.
Abstract: The Obama administration prepared this report for Congress regarding the U.S.' military activity in Libya. In response to complaints from members of Congress that Obama needed Congressional authorization to engage militarily in Libya, the report states that, "Given the important U.S. interests served by U.S. military operations in Libya and the limited nature, scope and duration of the anticipated actions, the President had constitutional authority, as Commander in Chief and Chief Executive and pursuant to his foreign affairs powers, to direct such limited military operations abroad. The President is of the view that the current U.S. military operations in Libya are consistent with the War Powers Resolution and do not under that law require further congressional authorization, because U.S. military operations are distinct from the kind of “hostilities” contemplated by the Resolution’s 60 day termination provision."
Abstract: The insurgency in Afghanistan has expanded far beyond its stronghold in the south east. Transcending its traditional Pashtun base, the Taliban is bolstering its influence in the central-eastern provinces by installing shadow governments and tapping into the vulnerabilities of a central government crippled by corruption and deeply dependent on a corrosive war economy. Collusion between insurgents and corrupt government officials in Kabul and the nearby provinces has increased, leading to a profusion of criminal networks in the Afghan heartland. Despite efforts to combat the insurgency in the south, stability in the centre has steadily eroded. Yet, with nearly one fifth of the population residing in Kabul and its surrounding provinces, the Afghan heartland is pivotal to the planned transition from international troops to Afghan forces at the end of 2014. Given the insurgency’s entrenchment so close to the capital, however, it appears doubtful that President Hamid Karzai’s government will be able to contain the threat and stabilise the country by then. Countering the insurgency in these crucial areas requires the implementation of long-overdue reforms, including more robust anti-corruption efforts, stricter oversight over international aid and greater support for capacity building in the judicial and financial sectors.
Abstract: In a June 8, 2011 report of the United States Senate's Committee on Foreign Relations, Chairman John F. Kerry examines the value of development aid in Afghanistan to U.S. security interests in Central Asia.
Kerry's introductory letter states,
"This report takes a close look at how the United States is spending civilian aid dollars in Afghanistan to make sure we are pursuing the most effective strategy in support of our national security objectives. We spend more on aid to Afghanistan than any other country and the environment in which the State Department and U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) operate is difficult and dangerous. With the upcoming transition to an Afghan security lead in 2014 and the increased responsibilities our civilians will absorb from the military, we have a critical planning window right now to make any necessary changes to support a successful transition.
This report is meant to continue a close working relationship between the Senate Foreign Relations Committee and the Obama administration on ensuring that our assistance programs in the region meet their objectives. Given this committee’s jurisdiction to conduct oversight of the State Department and USAID and the levels of funding in Afghanistan, I asked the committee’s majority staff to conduct a thorough review of U.S. civilian assistance. This report is the product of two years of staff research and travel. It is intended to provide constructive and timely guidance for administration officials at every level who are working to guarantee that our taxpayer-financed aid to Afghanistan is spent in the most effective and efficient manner possible."
Abstract: While the world’s attention often gravitates to the latest emergency situation, we are acutely aware that
most of the world’s internally displaced persons (IDPs) live in protracted displacement. Displacement
drags on, sometimes for years or decades, because of continuing conflict, because peace processes are
stalled, or because political settlements fail to provide the necessary security and support for the displaced to find solutions.
The 2nd Expert Seminar on Protracted Internal Displacement was held in Geneva from 19-20 January 2011 on the theme of “IDPs in protracted displacement: Is local integration a solution?” Around 100 participants discussed challenges and possibilities of local integration in diverse protracted displacement situations over the course of the two days.
This publication includes the six case studies commissioned for the seminar as well as an introductory essay which
explores the common themes emerging from the studies on protracted displacement and local integration. By focusing on the possibilities and challenges of local integration in protracted displacement, we hope that these
six case studies lead to better understanding—and to concrete actions—which will bring an end to internal displacement
which has gone on for far too long in these six countries and in many others.