Mainly it is the militaries, intelligence agencies, media and political scientists that guide our understanding of global terrorism and militant Islamism. Sustainability focused academic disciplines allow deeper analysis and can provide holistic answers to difficult questions such as what are the causes of escalating violence among (Muslim) men and to what extent can de-radicalization and other interventions really be treated as solutions etc. It is very important to let development studies and anthropology influence our understanding of militancy and terrorism. Gender theory that has not quite informed or formed our strategies and/or perspectives on issues of militancy, terrorism and counterterrorism, can in reality play a much greater role in proposing practical and effective solutions.

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Rio de Janeiro, along with other Latin American cities, are in the top of global rankings of cities facing high rates of chronic urban violence, of which men are the main perpetrators as the vast majority of homicide victims. Dominant, hyper-masculine or masculinist norms that uphold violence represent a shared characteristic of state-sanctioned and criminal groups in Brazil – including drug trafficking gangs,[i] militia (mostly comprised of off-duty police) and police forces. Understanding that these hyper-masculine norms are constructed during the socialization of boys, and continue to be reinforced as men are exposed to groups that use armed violence can offer insightful strategies to reducing urban violence. This article presents findings from two studies carried out Promundo starting in 1999. Promundo is a Brazilian-based NGO, which now works in more than 20 countries, that carries out applied research, program development and advocacy related to gender equality and violence prevention.

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Ethiopia is at a very critical moment. There is the potential for it to go in a highly marketized and monetized political direction. There is also the potential, if the EPRDF leadership responds to the current situation with what I see as the appropriate measures to consolidate, to turn the developmental successes into a politically solid democratization project.

What is interesting about Sudan, particularly with the squeeze from the oil revenue, is that the Sudanese business class is beginning to assert itself, and that has the potential for stabilizing politics in northern Sudan. There are some very immediate dangers of democracy, to do with Sudan’s engagement with the wider politics of the Middle East and the growth of the defense and security establishments.

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In a WPF policy briefing of March 24, 2016, Alex de Waal warns that South Sudan is entering a dangerous new phase. Below is from the introduction to briefing.

Access pdf of the full briefing.

Introduction

This policy briefing provides an analysis of the risks that South Sudan faces given the current convergent economic, […]

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Today, the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia (ICTY) sentenced Radovan Karadzić, the political leader of the Bosnian Serbs through the war (1992 – 1995), when he led them into disgrace by trading legitimate concerns about the character of political life in Bosnia’s post-Yugoslav existence for the pursuit of systematic, group targeted violence against their neighbors.

[…]

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Back in 2002, Meles Zenawi, then prime minister of Ethiopia, drafted a foreign policy and national security white paper for his country. Before finalizing it, he confided to me a “nightmare scenario” — not included in the published version — that could upend the balance of power in the Horn of Africa region.

The scenario went like this: Sudan is partitioned into a volatile south and an embittered north. The south becomes a sinkhole of instability, while the north is drawn into the Arab orbit. Meanwhile, Egypt awakens from its decades-long torpor on African issues and resumes its historical stance of attempting to undermine Ethiopia, with which it has a long-standing dispute over control of the Nile River. It does so by trying to bring Eritrea and Somalia into its sphere of influence, thereby isolating the government in Addis Ababa from its direct neighbors. Finally, Saudi Arabia begins directing its vast financial resources to support Ethiopia’s rivals and sponsor Wahhabi groups that challenge the traditionally dominant Sufis in the region, generating conflict and breeding militancy within the Muslim communities.

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