Despite widespread recognition that the only way toward ending the Taliban insurgency in Afghanistan is a negotiated settlement, understanding of the Taliban’s thinking on the subject is remarkably scant. This report attempts to fill this gap by drawing on face-to-face interviews with Taliban foot soldiers, field commanders, and supporters to better understand the movement’s views on why they are fighting, what issues are negotiable, whether they have faith in negotiation as a way to peace, and what a peace process might look like.
Following the surprise win by controversial Shia cleric Moqtada al-Sadr and his Sairoon coalition in Iraq’s May 12 parliamentary elections, a new coalition government has yet to form. USIP’s Sarhang Hamasaeed analyzes what led to al-Sadr’s victory, low voter turnout at the polls, the state of the political process in Iraq, and Iraqis’ expectations for meaningful reform from the next government.
Listen to the interview.
Aly Verjee on recent developments in the peace process and what the U.S. can do to break the violent status quo.
An evening discussion among peacebuilders was held at IPI, May 16, 2018, on women’s meaningful participation in negotiating peace and the implementation of peace agreements.
The meeting, convened by UN Women and IPI, brought together internationally recognized peacebuilders, officials from the United Nations, diplomats, and representatives of civil society. The event was held as part of an Expert Group Meeting (EGM) convened by UN Women in preparation for the Secretary-General’s annual report on women, peace and security, expected in October.
Can a new government meet Iraqis’ needs and avoid the pitfalls of the past?
By: Jeff Krentel; Nathaniel L. Wilson
An evaluation of a three-year USIP program to strengthen capacity in the field to counter violent extremism revealed that effective project design, thoughtful recruitment strategies, and tailored course content are critical. Participants reported applying what they learned to either adjust existing CVE programs or develop new programs altogether. This report explores the lessons from the project for funders and practitioners to develop more effective projects.
With 84 percent of people worldwide identifying with a religion, faith influences local, national, and international decision-making. Across the globe, violent extremism often is couched in religious terms, and religious discrimination is on the rise. At the same time, people of faith and religious organizations frequently are on the frontlines of peace efforts, assisting communities affected by violence. Although religious considerations have been marginal to peace efforts historically, governments and peacebuilding organizations increasingly recognize the importance of religion.
Despite recent attacks, the Taliban has signaled willingness to bend from its hardline past.
By: Johnny Walsh
The outcome could lead to a shift in both U.S. and Iranian influence in Baghdad
BY: Sarhang Hamasaeed
On May 14, the 70th anniversary of the founding of the State of Israel, the U.S. and Israel celebrated the formal move of the U.S. Embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem.
Young Libyans Fuel Local Civil Society Groups and Peace Efforts
BY: Darine El Hage
After the war against ISIS, electoral debate focuses less on sectarianism.
BY: Sarhang Hamasaeed; James Rupert
Innovations Alter Ways That Citizens and States Make War--and Peace
BY: Adam Gallagher
Another high-profile attack targets key democratic institution and demonstrates the group’s resilience
Thursday, May 3, 2018 / BY: Johnny Walsh; USIP Staff
Thursday, May 3, 2018 / By: Susan Stigant; Oge Onubogu
Fresh from her USIP delegation trip to Nigeria, Nancy Lindborg explains Nigeria’s importance to Africa and the United States. Lindborg discusses the critical on-the-ground work happening to prevent violence and underscores the importance of Nigerian governors to countering Boko Haram.
This transcript has been slightly edited for brevity and clarity.
President Buhari’s 2015 election saw the country’s first peaceful transfer of power to an opposition candidate. Elections raised hopes that some of Nigeria’s most pressing problems—including weak governance, corruption, the Boko Haram insurgency, and persistent intercommunal conflicts—could soon be under control. Despite President Buhari’s vision for reform, the country’s security challenges are surging as the factors that fuel violent conflicts remain largely unaddressed.
Despite clear evidence of the effectiveness of individual peacebuilding efforts, the field as a whole often struggles to have a meaningful collective impact on broader conflict dynamics. This report, drawing on a pilot initiative in the Central African Republic—IMPACT-CAR—to develop a shared measurement and reporting system aimed at improving collaboration and shared learning across peacebuilding implementers, reflects on the results, successes, and challenges of the initiative to offer a road map for future initiatives focused on collective impact in the peacebuilding field.
Will security concerns lead to a delay of October elections?
Tuesday, April 24, 2018 / BY: Scott Worden; USIP Staff
In Afghanistan, the Islamic State has claimed responsibility for a suicide bombing at a Kabul voting center that killed at least 60 people, including 22 women and eight children.
More than 130 people were wounded, and Afghan police say many of the victims were waiting in line outside the center attempting to receive national identity cards in order to vote.
BY: William Byrd; Shah Zaman Farahi