October 21, 2008 Journal of Peace Research // International Peace Research Institute, Oslo
Current understanding of the motivations of young people who engage in paramilitary activity is poor.
The youth bulge literature has made important advances in understanding determinants of political violence
at population level; however, the psychological processes that underpin engagement with political
violence among young people are less clearly understood. Further, the pathologization of terrorist activity
has hampered deeper understanding of the motivations of those who seek to effect change using violence.
This article explores the explanations offered by 14–16-year-olds regarding possible motivations
of young people who engage in paramilitary activities in Ireland. Seventy-four Protestant and Catholic
young people residing in the border regions of Northern Ireland and the Irish Republic completed an
essay-writing task which elicited explanations for paramilitary involvement. Young people’s explanations
were multi-levelled and varied, reflecting the breadth and diversity of their personal circumstances and
experiences. The essays were analysed using a Grounded Theory approach, which generated four categories
of explanations for paramilitary involvement, namely, social identification explanations, family
and socialization explanations, developmental explanations and pathological explanations. Though not
asked to express a personal judgement regarding such activity, a substantial proportion of respondents
did, with females being more likely than males to openly condone or condemn such activity. Discussion
and interpretation of these findings centre on understanding of paramilitary involvement in areas
affected by political violence....
March 26, 2008 Annual Convention of the International Studies Association // Whittier College // Clark University
On May 9, 2007, a power-sharing arrangement for governing Northern Ireland was formalized, ending more than thirty years of violence. This followed by nine years the historic Belfast (Good Friday) Agreement, signed in April 1998, which was the culmination of formal negotiations to end “the troubles.” The process of negotiating an end to the violence was a long process and not an easy one. One of the issues surrounding the negotiations was who would be invited to sit at the table and to take part in the actual discussions. It was important to many women who had not only been directly affected by the violence but who also wanted to have input into the discussions about what the country would look like after the period of violence
officially ended, that they be represented at the talks so that women’s perspectives and issues (i.e., social justice issues, including gender equality) could become part of the conversation. The Northern Ireland Women’s Coalition (NIWC) was created specifically to give women a seat at the table and a voice in the negotiations. Yet, the NIWC was formally disbanded in May 2006, following a number of years in which the party could no longer get representatives elected to office....
Since 1969 the United Kingdom (U.K.) has attempted to resolve conflict in northern ireland through amnesty, reconciliation, and reintegration (AR2). Conflict resolution in Northern Ireland presents valuable lessons
for any student of AR2 because it is a rare example of such processes in the context of a Western liberal democracy. This discussion surveys British AR2 efforts, framing them as a case study to help with understanding how these three concepts functioned in leading to peaceful resolution....
By almost any measure, the Irish peace process has been a resounding success in ending decades of violence that claimed over 3,600 lives in Northern Ireland. Car bombings, political assassinations, and sectarian murders, along with the heartbreaking stream of funerals that followed, are no longer regular occurrences in the Connecticut-sized province of 1.7 million people. Violence perpetuated by the most bigoted hardliners still occurs, but the frequency and severity have also dropped sharply in recent years. However, more than eight years after the forging of the landmark Good Friday peace agreement, which initiated a raft of comprehensive political and security reforms affecting republicans and nationalists as well as unionists and loyalists, the peace deal is again facing turbulent times. The North's politicians are jetting off this week to St. Andrews, Scotland for another "last-ditch" effort to resurrect the vexed power-sharing government that the agreement created....
Between May 2002 and January 2003, four joint study visits to the United Kingdom and Ireland for politicians, officials and civic activists from the Georgian-Abkhaz conflict were organized by the London-based non-governmental organization Conciliation Resources. The rationale behind these visits was two-fold: to provide the participants with an opportunity to see how the United Kingdom is managing issues of ethnic diversity and conflict; and to provide an informal space for analysis and dialogue. Particular focus was placed on Northern Ireland because of the depth of the inter-communal tension that has existed there. It was felt that the participants would find it instructive to look at the ways the communities in Northern Ireland have been handling the conflict including the arrangements devised in the Belfast Agreement. It was felt that the Agreement itself provided an instructive case of how a framework can widen the parameters for finding a solution rather than narrow them. One group also made a visit to Wales to gain a different perspective on the question of devising policy to deal with ethnic diversity. In total 48 Georgians and Abkhaz, including representatives of different national communities, participated in these visits. Each of the four visits explored a different set of issues - economic matters, security matters, cultural issues such as education and language, and political and constitutional arrangements - as they related to the conflict and peace process in Northern Ireland and the nature of governance between the constituent parts of the United Kingdom, as well as cross border relations with the Republic of Ireland....
Five actual or potential conflict situations around the world deteriorated and none improved in August 2010, according to the new issue of the International Crisis Group’s monthly bulletin CrisisWatch.
The situation in Somalia continued to deteriorate as al-Shabaab stepped up its attacks and fighting intensified in Mogadishu.
Kyrgyzstan’s provisional government was further weakened in August. The month began with an attempted coup and culminated with the mayor of the southern city of Osh – the epicenter of June’s pogroms – defying the President’s orders to resign.
In Kashmir, anti-Indian protests that began in June worsened in August with at least 40 demonstrators killed in clashes with the police, bringing the total death toll to over 60.
In Northern Ireland dissident Republicans launched a spate of bomb attacks throughout the month in an attempt to derail the peace process. Meanwhile, in Bahrain over 200 people, including high-level Shiite political leaders, have been reported arrested in a government crackdown ahead of October’s parliamentary elections, fueling almost daily clashes between security forces and Shiite opposition supporters.
CrisisWatch identifies a conflict resolution opportunity for Kosovo in September, as the EU makes intensive diplomatic efforts to produce a UN General Assembly resolution acceptable to both Serbia and Kosovo that could serve as a basis for a comprehensive settlement.
CrisisWatch also identifies a conflict resolution opportunity for Israel, as direct peace talks between Israel and Palestine – the first in almost two years – are due to restart in Washington on 2 September....
Thousands of international troops remain in Afghanistan, but some members of this coalition are more willing than others. FP looks at whose militaries are pulling their weight—and who could do far more.
The United States of America finds that neither the classic instruments of criminal law and procedure, nor the framework of the laws of war (including respect for the Geneva Conventions) has been apt to address the terrorist threat. As a result it has introduced new legal concepts, such as "enemy combatant" and "rendition", which were previously unheard of in international law and stand contrary to the basic legal principles that prevail on our continent. Thus, across the world, the United States has progressively woven a clandestine "spider's web" of disappearances, secret detentions and unlawful inter-state transfers, often encompassing countries notorious for their use of torture. Hundreds of persons have become entrapped in this web, in some cases merely suspected of sympathising with a presumed terrorist organisation....
September 14, 2005 British Broadcasting Corporation
The Northern Ireland Secretary, Peter Hain, has announced that the government no longer recognises the Ulster Volunteer Force (UVF) as being on ceasefire. But what exactly is the UVF?
The Ulster Volunteer Force was formed in 1966 to combat what it saw as a rise in Irish nationalism centred on the 50th anniversary of the 1916 Easter Rising.
It had been formed with the express intention of executing "mercilessly and without hesitation" known IRA men.
Northern Ireland came into existence with the British Government of Ireland Act (1920) which divided Ireland into two areas: the Irish Free State, made up of the 26 southern counties, and Northern Ireland - comprising of the counties of Antrim, Down, Armagh, Londonderry, Tyrone and Fermanagh. Roman Catholics, who made up around one-third of the population of Northern Ireland, were largely opposed to the partition.
Sinn Féin is the oldest political party in Ireland, named from the Irish Gaelic expression for ``We Ourselves''. Since being founded in 1905 it has worked for the right of Irish people as a whole to attain nat#ional self-determination, and has elected representatives in every major Irish town and city.
The Provisional Irish Republican Army (PIRA) was formed in 1969 as the clandestine armed wing of Sinn Fein, a legal political movement dedicated to removing British forces from Northern Ireland and unifying Ireland. The Provos were formed from the Official Sinn Fein and the Official IRA. The Official IRA declared a ceasefire in the summer of 1972, and subsequently the term IRA has been used for the organisation that had developed from the 'Provisional' IRA. Organized into small, tightly knit cells under the leadership of the Army Council, the Provisional IRA was the largest of the three republican armed resistance groups. ...
The Independent Monitoring Commission was set up by the British and Irish Governments on 7th January 2004. Its purpose is to help promote the establishment of stable and inclusive devolved government in a peaceful Northern Ireland. It does this by reporting to the Governments on activity by paramilitary groups, on the normalisation of security measures in the province, and on claims by Assembly parties that other parties, or Ministers in a devolved Executive, are not living up to the standards required of them. The four Commissioners are entirely independent of both Governments....
Action for Children in Conflict (AfCiC) works to break cycles of violence, hatred and despair by providing psychological, emotional and educational support for survivors of conflict to enable these survivors to come to terms with their past experiences, make the most of their present and build a better future.
AfCiC currently operates programmes in the UK, Sierra Leone, Kenya, Uganda and Tanzania. Our work focuses on children and young adults as often they are the most vulnerable during and after conflict and the most able to overcome the conflicts in their communities and to bring about change in the future.
The Human Security Network (HSN) is a group of like-minded countries from all regions of the world that, at the level of Foreign Ministers, maintains dialogue on questions pertaining to human security. The Network includes Austria, Canada, Chile, Greece, Ireland, Jordan, Mali, the Netherlands, Norway, Switzerland, Slovenia, Thailand and South Africa as an observer. The Network has a unique inter-regional and multiple agenda perspective with strong links to civil society and academia. The Network emerged from the landmines campaign and was formally launched at a Ministerial meeting in Norway in 1999....
Insight on Conflict provides information on local peacebuilding organisations in areas of conflict. Local peacebuilders already make a real impact in conflict areas. They work to prevent violent conflicts before they start, to reduce the impact of violence, and to bring divided communities together in the aftermath of violence. However, their work is often ignored – either because people aren’t aware of the existence and importance of local peacebuilders in general, or because they simply haven’t had access to information and contacts for local peacebuilders. We hope that Insight on Conflict can help redress the balance by drawing attention to important work of local peacebuilders. On this site, you’ll be able to find out who the local peacebuilders are, what they do, and how you might get in touch with them. Over half the organisations featured on Insight on Conflict do not have their own website. Insight on Conflict is a project launched by Peace Direct, the UK-based charity that finds, funds and promotes local peacebuilders in conflict areas around the world. Peace Direct wants to change the balance of power and resources between local people and outsiders so that local peacebuilding is central to all strategies for managing conflict....
March 7, 2011 Center on Global Counterterrorism Cooperation
This policy brief offers eight targeted policy recommendations for combating the convergence of terrorism, crime, and politics. Rather than simply warning about the potential for interaction and synergy among terrorist, criminal, and political actors, this policy brief aims to explore possibilities for exploiting their divergences. In particular, it emphasizes the need to grapple with the economic, political, and combat power that some terrorist groups enjoy through their involvement in crime and conflict....
March 23, 2010 Accord International Review of Peace Processes // Conciliation Resources
Do sanctions, incentives and conditionality support or undermine the peace process?
This edition of Accord assesses whether these instruments can persuade conflict
parties to engage in peacemaking. Used effectively, these tools can tip the balance
towards a settlement by increasing the costs of fighting and rewarding peace. But
unless developed as part of a coherent and strategic approach to peacemaking they
can be ineffective and have sometimes exacerbated tensions and fuelled conflict.
Sanctions, incentives and conditionality must be responsive to parties’ own
motivations and support pre-existing conditions for conflict resolution. Four overriding conclusions can be drawn from this
study for how to enhance the effectiveness of external
influence in support of peacemaking. (1) External actors
need to prioritize support for sustainable peace as their
primary goal in a conflict situation and craft their
strategy to help achieve it – recognizing that this may, in
turn, create the enabling conditions for achieving other
foreign policy goals. (2) Sanctions, incentives and
conditionality are most likely to be effective when they
are responsive to the parties’ own motivational
structures and support a pre-existing societal dynamic
for conflict resolution. (3) They need to be designed and
implemented in ways that help to create momentum in
the resolution process, which (4) typically requires a degree of strategic coherence amongst external actors,
necessitating mechanisms for coordination....
March 17, 2010 Collaborative for Development Action // Reflecting on Peace Practice Project
Northern Ireland has in recent years become less violent and contested, more peaceful and stable, though by no means perfectly peaceful and just. How did this happen, and what can be learned from it? Based on interviews with a wide range of actors in Northern Ireland --- political, paramilitary, civil society, and government figures --- this study summarises what people on the spot think brought about change. This study focuses particularly on the four initiatives which were cited twice as often as any other by the interviewees: The Hume-Adams talks; work with prisoners; the Anglo-Irish Agreement; and Fair Employment legislation. These four were initiated respectively by a NI politician, by civil society, by the two governments together, and by the British government. They led to structural and systemic change, as well as changes in attitudes, perceptions, and behaviours....
October 20, 2009 The Institute for Inclusive Security // Hunt Alternatives Fund
As leaders in civil society, particularly during and following violent conflict, women are critical players in peace negotiations. In formal negotiations, they raise often-ignored political and social issues, ensure that the voices of victims and civilians are consistently heard, and build bridges among negotiating parties. They also have a solid record of successfully bringing together representatives of opposing factions in unofficial talks. Yet women remain the largest group of stakeholders regularly excluded from official negotiation processes.
In October 2000, the UN Security Council acknowledged in Resolution 1325 the importance of inclusion, mandating women’s full participation in peace building; few policymakers, however, know how to fulfill this obligation. This guide provides the international community with concrete strategies to successfully bring women into peace negotiations....
August 11, 2009 Foundation for Defense of Democracies
Terrorism is not a new phenomenon, nor is it likely to disappear anytime soon. It is not the exclusive domain of any single religion or ideology, nor do all terrorists come from the same socioeconomic class or share the same mental pathologies.1 In part, the diversity within contemporary terrorism is what makes it so great a challenge. This report describes, in great detail, the state of terrorism in Western countries over the course of 2008.
Before turning to terrorism events in the West during 2008 and key developments within Western countries’ legal systems, we are going to pinpoint a few broad trends—a few currents that run through the various incidents and cases that follow. As this report will show, concerns about the contemporary connection between criminal activities and terrorism are clear in Bulgaria, a country rife with organized crime. An April 2008 parliamentary report charged that profits from the country’s drug trade were channeled to Middle Eastern terrorist groups....