Understanding ‘War and Peace’ in Afghanistan Today: Will planned military withdrawal usher peace in Afghanistan?

There is an emerging trend among international counter insurgency (COIN) experts to claim that Afghanistan was a ‘mission impossible’ in terms of national building endeavors. Others contend that after a planned US withdrawal in 2014 (which will likely trigger a quick EU/NATO exit) a devastating civil war will be the fate of Afghanistan, leading to another Taliban rise. These negative assumptions have created a dismal future scenario. Many analysts, writers and even policy experts are now more inclined to accept war and conflict as a new normal in Afghanistan. Even hopelessness has crept in. Consequently, policy makers in important capitals of the world are now thinking more in terms of ‘crisis management’ rather than ‘conflict resolution’. This approach is counterproductive and even self-defeating

Read more

Comment on Chad Hazlett’s Darfur Study Contribution

The Darfur study demonstrates both the importance and the feasibility of event-based data collection in the midst of conflict, while pointing to a number of policy implications – from the utility of JMACs to the challenge of protecting civilians while adhering to peace operations doctrine. Analysts, conflict management practitioners and – most important – the victims of violence will benefit greatly from further work of this sort.

Read more

Using Event-Based Data Collection and Analysis to Understand Conflict

The Darfur conflict arguably become more chaotic and less-intense since the initial outbreak of violence in 2003 and its height in 2003 and 2004. Even over the course of Jan 2008- July 2009, we see considerably decreases in the amount of lethal violence. Some one-time alliances had collapsed, raising serious concerns about the credibility of any agreement reached at the negotiating table.

Read more

Part Two: Mediation in the Political Marketplace

In these circumstances, the Darfur Peace Agreement became several overlapping bargains in an integrated political marketplace. It was a bargain between the GoS and the Sudan Liberation Army faction of Minni Minawi (the sole rebel signatory), whereby they jointly sought to impose their authority on those who didn’t sign, by force of arms. It was a series of local bargains with individual rebels. It was a deal between the GoS and the U.S., in which neither trusted the other, and which didn’t last long.

Read more

Part One: Mediation in the Political Marketplace

I argue that our mediation paradigms are still framed by the “old” war ideal type, in that mediators seek to achieve compromise between two adversaries with political objectives, each of which has decided it cannot fully defeat the other. In both “joint enterprise” wars and “political marketplace” conflicts, a third party mediation process is liable to become subsumed within that system of governance itself.

Read more