Mass Starvation: The History and Future of Famine
By Alex de Waal (Polity Press, 2018)
The world almost conquered famine. Until the 1980s, this scourge killed ten million people every decade, but by early 2000s mass starvation had all-but-disappeared. Today, famines are resurgent, driven by war, blockade, hostility to humanitarian principles, and a volatile global economy.
In Mass Starvation, world-renowned expert on humanitarian crisis and response Alex de Waal, provides an authoritative history of modern famines: their causes, dimensions, and why they ended. He analyzes starvation as a crime, and breaks new ground in examining forced starvation as an instrument of genocide and war. Refuting the enduring but erroneous view that attributes famine to overpopulation and natural disaster, he shows how political decision or political failing is an essential element in every famine, while the spread of democracy and human rights, and the ending of wars, were major factors in the near-ending of this devastating phenomenon.
Hard-hitting and deeply informed, Mass Starvation explains why man-made famine and the political decisions that could end it for good must once again become a top priority for the international community.
Indefensible: Seven Myths that Sustain the Global Arms Trade
Edited by Paul Holden (Zed Books, 2016)
The global arms trade is suffused with corruption, imperils the vulnerable and makes us all less safe. Yet arms merchants and their government supporters can turn to a set of time-honed and well-packaged arguments to justify the status quo. Each one of the claims is either deeply questionable or simply untrue. The arms business needs to be undressed. Then, we will find its claims are indefensible; nothing more than myths. The WPF's Project Indefensible debunks the seven core myths that the arms industry uses to deflect criticism and explains what can be done. It includes an interactive website and book,Indefensible: Seven Myths that Sustain the Global Arms Trade. The project was sponsored by WPF, and the book's author is Paul Holden, our colleague at Corruption Watch, along with collaborators Bridget Conley-Zilkic, Alex de Waal, Sarah Detzner, John Paul Dunne, Andrew Feinstein, William Hartung, Lora Lumpe, Nic Marsh, Sam Perlo-Freeman, Hennie Van Vuuren, and Leah Wawro.
Purchase as a Kindle ebook or paperback in the UK through Zed Books, or in the Unites States from University of Chicago Press.
How Mass Atrocities End: Studies from Guatemala, Burundi, Indonesia, the Sudans, Bosnia-Herzegovina and Iraq
Edited by Bridget Conley-Zilkic (Cambridge University Press, February 2016)
Given the brutality of mass atrocities, it is no wonder that one question dominates research and policy: what can we, who are not at risk, do to prevent such violence and hasten endings? But this question skips a more fundamental question for understanding the trajectory of violence: how do mass atrocities actually end?
This volume presents an analysis of the processes, decisions, and factors that help bring about the end of mass atrocities. It includes qualitatively rich case studies from Burundi, Guatemala, Indonesia, Sudan, Bosnia, and Iraq, drawing patterns from wide-ranging data. As such, it offers a much needed correction to the popular “salvation narrative” framing mass atrocity in terms of good and evil. The nuanced, multidisciplinary approach followed here represents not only an essential tool for scholars, but also an important step forward in improving civilian protection.
To order, visit Cambridge University Press.
The Real Politics of the Horn of Africa: Money, War and the Business of Power
By Alex de Waal (Polity Press, 2015)
Alex de Waal's latest book (Polity Press, September 2015) draws on his thirty-year career in Sudan, Ethiopia, Eritrea and Somalia, including experience as a participant in high-level peace talks, to provide a unique and compelling account of how these countries leaders run their governments, conduct their business, fight their wars and, occasionally, make peace.
De Waal shows how leaders operate on a business model, securing funds for their political budgets which they use to rent the provisional allegiances of army officers, militia commanders, tribal chiefs and party officials at the going rate. This political marketplace is eroding the institutions of government and reversing statebuilding and it is fueled in large part by oil exports, aid funds and western military assistance for counter-terrorism and peacekeeping.
The Real Politics of the Horn of Africa is a sharp and disturbing book with profound implications for international relations, development and peacemaking in the Horn of Africa and beyond.
To order, visit Polity Press.
To see the book lecture at the Ginn Library, The Fletcher School, Tufts University, click here.
Advocacy in Conflict: Critical Perspectives on Transnational Activism
Ed. by Alex de Waal with Jennifer Ambrose, Casey Hogle, Trisha Taneja, and Keren Yohannes (Zed Books 2015)
Conflicts in Africa, Asia and Latin America have become a common focus of advocacy by Western celebrities and NGOs. This provocative volume delves into the realities of these efforts, which have often involved compromising on integrity in pursuit of profile and influence.Examining the methods used by Western advocates, how they relate to campaigns in the countries concerned, and their impact, expert authors evaluate the successes and failures of past advocacy campaigns and offer constructive criticism of current efforts. Taking in a range of high-profile case studies, including campaigns for democracy in Burma and Latin America, for the rights of Palestinians in Gaza, and opposing the Lord’s Resistance Army in Uganda, the authors challenge the assumptions set forth by advocacy organizations.
Advocacy in Conflict was developed from the 2013 World Peace Foundation Student Seminar, Western Advocacy in Conflict: Methods, Impacts and Ethics, and is edited by Alex de Waal, with Jennifer Ambrose, Casey Hogle, Trisha Taneja and Keren Yohannes with contributions from many of the seminar participants. The seminar briefing full text available as a PDF download.
Listen to an interview "The Is Hell" conducted with Alex de Waal about the book.
Purchase in the UK through Zed Books or in the USA through the University of Chicago Press.
The World Peace Foundation hosts an Occasional Paper series to address topics related to our thematic research areas.
The Strategies of the Coalition in the Yemen War: Aerial bombardment and food war
by Martha Mundy
distributed by the World Peace Foundation
October 9, 2018
This report provides comprehensive analysis of patterns of targeting civilian, agricultural and fishing sites by the Saudi Arabia-led coalition that is backing Yemeni President the internationally recognized government of Abd-Rabbuh Mansour Hadi.
The Future of Ethiopia: Developmental State or Political Marketplace?
By Alex de Waal
August 20, 2018
Today’s changes in Ethiopia are rapid, confusing and disruptive. They promise openness and democratization, but also contain perils. This paper draws on two prisms through which to make sense of the situation: the 'democratic developmental state' as articulated by Meles Zenawi in a series of discussions with Alex de Waal between 1988 and 2012, and de Waal’s formulation of the ‘political marketplace.’
Arms Trade Corruption and Political Finance
By Xiaodon Liang and Sam Perlo-Freeman
July 9, 2018
This occasional paper examines the link between political finance and corruption in the arms trade. It draws on the World Peace Foundation’s Compendium of Arms Trade Corruption, a collection of 29 cases of corruption in the arms trade and the broader military sector from around the world, each containing a standard set of summary information along with a narrative description. The arms trade has many features that make it highly susceptible to corruption. This paper makes the case that it also has four key features that tie it particularly closely to political competition and political finance.
Corruption in the Russian Defense Sector
by Polina Beliakova and Sam Perlo-Freeman
May 11, 2018
Today, Russia is the world’s fourth largest military spender and second largest arms exporter. Their arms industry is probably the third largest in the world, after the USA and China. The Russian arms industry, despite its current strength, must be viewed within the legacy of the USSR. The current Russian state inherited a significantly wounded, but still powerful system of arms production and export. However, along with an aging industrial infrastructure and global relations with importing countries, Russian leaders were endowed with an arms industry rife with corruption that pre-dated the fall of the USSR and metastasized in the chaotic years that followed. Today, corruption still constitutes a significant problem facing the Russian arms industry. This report discusses publicly available information on corruption in the Russian defense sector, especially the arms industry, identifying key cases of corruption that have become visible in recent years, in particular since 2008, when Russia’s current set of military reforms, and major rearmament drive, began.
Can we prosecute starvation?
by Global Rights Compliance and World Peace Foundation
May 7, 2018
Political choices have driven famine’s re-emergence in this century. Some famines derive from intentional political and military decisions, while others are allowed to develop because the most powerful actors have other priorities, such as security, that overrule an effective response. Can famine be prosecuted? This paper considers what law might apply to cases of famine, and what evidence would be required to pursue a legal case.
Corruption in the Indonesian arms business: tentative steps towards an end to imputity
by Xiaodon Liang and Sam Perlo-Freeman
December 13, 2017
This paper examines the problem of corruption in the military sector in Indonesia in the post-Suharto era, in particular in relation to arms procurement, and discusses the significance of recent tentative signs of greater efforts by the Indonesian civil and military authorities to address the problem. It illustrates three crucial points about democratization and corruption in the arms trade.
How big is the International Arms Trade?
by Sam Perlo-Freeman
(Revised and Updated July 2018)
This paper attempts to produce a global estimate, or rather a range of estimates of the financial size of the international arms trade. It also explains problems with the data, including for some of the largest western arms exporters, from whom one might expect a greater level of transparency: most notably, the USA.
The Emerging Global Order, Multilateralism and Africa", background paper for African Union Annual Mediators' Retreat
Alex de Waal
October 3, 2017
What does the turmoil in the multilateral world order mean for peace and security in Africa? World Peace Foundation’s Alex de Waal argues that Africa, as a weak continent, has much to gain from multilateralism, and especially from its stronger more normative versions.
South Sudan 2017: A Political Marketplace Analysis
by Alex de Waal
February 5, 2017
This memorandum analyzes South Sudan since independence using the framework of the political marketplace, in order to provide a guide to understanding the trajectory of the current crisis and the steps needed to address it. It provides a succinct overview of the theory of the political marketplace and the ancillary concepts of moral populism and the negotiated sovereign entitlement to kill.
Research Briefings from the African Peace Missions project
To inform our report, African Politics, African Peace [link], the WPF supported research on a range of themes and cases, authored by area experts. The topics include: African peace and security norms and mechanisms, issues related to Peace Support Operations (mandates, doctrine, sexual exploitation and abuse, and atrocity prevention), conflict mediation, sanctions, and multiple case studies. Access the 23 research briefings and 20 case studies here [link].
A Political Marketplace Analysis of South Sudan's Peace
By Alex de Waal
March 24, 2016
South Sudan today is a collapsed political marketplace. The country’s political market was structured by competitive militarized clientelism for access to oil rents. Those oil rents have almost disappeared but the structure of competition is unchanged and the price of loyalty has not reduced to a level commensurate with the available political funding. The result is that political loyalty and services are rewarded with license to plunder.
To Intervene or Not To Intervene: An inside view of the AU's decision-making on Article 4(h) and Burundi
By Solomon Dersso
Perhaps the most significant outcome of the 26th summit of the African Union (AU) was the decision scrapping the plan to deploy troops to Burundi for human protection purposes. In December 2015 the AU Peace and Security Council (PSC), the continental body's standing collective decision-making body on peace and security, announced a precedent-setting invocation of the AU's Article 4(h) authorizing the deployment of a military mission to Burundi to quell violence related to disputed elections.
Assessing the Anti-Atrocity Toolbox
by Bridget Conley-Zilkic, Saskia Brechenmacher and Aditya Sarkar
Beginning in the 2000s a new international consensus emerged regarding the need--both ethical and strategic--to prevent and halt genocide and mass atrocities. Armed with the insight that action need not be considered all or nothing, new energy was channeled into populating what became known as the "Anti-Atrocity toolbox," that is, the set of discrete but universally applicable policy measures that could be implemented to effectively counter atrocities.
Sweden's Feminist Foreign Policy: Implications for Humanitarian Response
by Dyan Mazurana and Daniel Maxwell
The purpose of this policy brief is to outline the implications of Sweden's overall feminist foreign policy for the people they strive to assist, Sweden's own humanitarian policy operations, and more broadly the whole humanitarian community, with a focus on gender equality and strengthening the rights and empowerment of women and girls in humanitarian crises.
What Went Wrong?: The Eritrean People's Liberation Front from Armed Opposition to State Governance
A Personal Observation by Paulos Tesfagiorgis
This paper discusses how the Eritrea People's Liberation Front evolved from a liberation front (1971-1991), into a highly successful organization with clear social and political agenda, and, ultimately, into an oppressive state where power is concentrated in the hands of the President and his close network.
Gender, Conflict and Peace
by Dyan Mazurana and Keith Proctor
This paper provides a summary of key literature, frameworks and findings in five topic areas related to Gender, Conflict, and Peace, as well as proposes opportunities for further research. Some of the questions the Occasional Paper addresses include: How does a gender analysis inform our understanding of armed conflict and peace-making? What are the gendered dimensions of war, non-violent resistance, peace processes, and transitional justice?
The WPF regularly hosts closed-door research seminars that bring together leading experts from around the world to share their research and engage in focused discussion with a small group of colleagues. The WPF seminar structure is intentionally different from academic conferences. Whereas most conferences are designed to communicate established research through presentation and some questions and answers, we aim to enable extended conversations amongst experts with the goal of generating new avenues of insight and query. We therefore structure the seminars over two days, invite a small number of expert participants, and allow for shorter formal presentations and longer periods of discussion. Additionally, presentations and proceedings of WPF seminars adhere to the Chatham House rule of non-attribution.
To help bring the core discussions, debates and themes to a wider audience, we encourage all participants to consider allowing us to publish their presentation memos or seminar reflections which can be found on our blog, Reinventing Peace. We also make available summaries of the key insights provoked by the seminar discussions in short briefing notes for most of our seminars, listed below.
Theorizing (Dis)Order: Governing in an Uncertain World
March 2 – 3, 2017
Today’s globalized and securitized world is defined by instability,uncertainty, and turbulence. As the international community grapples with new threats, emanating from the transnational to the very local, scholars and policymakers continue to promote democratic institution building – guided by ideas of accountability, transparency, and institutional stability as solutions. And yet, the liberal state building project cannot explain why, nonetheless, disorder remains pervasive. To understand current trends in international and domestic relations, it is necessary to account for order and disorder.
Staying Safe in Armed Conflict
September 22 – 23, 2016
For international humanitarian actors, the protection of civilians is too often seen as something done to passive recipients, rather than activities undertaken to reinforce the priorities of and engage with these populations as key actors in their own futures. Furthermore, there is very little scholarship that pays serious attention to the priorities and goals of people in crisis situations. Overlooked are the questions of how those at risk identify the most acute threats; how they seek to protect themselves from these risks; and the balance of which strategies and coping mechanisms produce outcomes that are beneficial, detrimental or a combination thereof. This in effect often means that there is little appreciation of affected people’s priorities and goals in situations of crises. Thus, a critical issue is whether humanitarian action, including protection practices in particular, addresses the reality of people’s primary concerns and experiences and, by extension, strengthens rather than undermines effective civilian self-protection initiatives.
Transforming Violent Masculinities
February 17-19, 2016
From Rio de Janeiro to New Delhi, men perpetrate the majority of violent acts around the world. Yet the overwhelming majority of men are not violent, and even among those in high risk contexts, many actively resist violent mobilization. Masculinity represents a critical and under-examined factor for understanding pathways to participation and non-participation in violent activity. How do norms related to masculinities shape men’s involvement in violence? How do we build on drivers of non-violence and inclusion that already exist in individual men and broader communities? And what are the implications for policy and program development?
Corruption, Protest and Militancy
June 25 – 27 , 2015
The seminar, ‘corruption, protest and militancy’ brought together twenty specialists academics and practitioners—all of whom had been concerned with issues of corruption, especially as it relates to conflict, popular protest and the emergence of militant political movements, for two days of discussion on a series of case studies and related cross-‐cutting issues. The seminar was an opportunity for a confidential and in‐depth reflection on these issues, in the wake of Sarah Chayes’s seminal book Thieves of State, published earlier this year, and the ongoing work of the Justice and Security Research Programme into the contending logics of the ‘political marketplace’ and ‘moral populism’ in Africa.
Water and Security in the 21st Century
4-6 March, 2015
Recent analyses of water and security have focused on the question of how water stresses could lead to conflicts between and within states. Water is a finite, scarce resource, essential to human life and well-being. With population growth, expanding economies, groundwater depletion and climate change, and the need to protect water ecologies, water is under stress—and it is feared, conflict may follow. The solution to this threat is envisaged as sub-national, national and international cooperation in the form of treaties and agreements for more equitable and efficient water management. An international group of experts on water and security assembled for a seminar at the World Peace Foundation—and found that what they held in common was a perspective that went beyond the binary of conflict versus cooperation.
Researching Sudan Peace Processes
October 17, 2014
This seminar arose from the World Peace Foundation project of compiling an archive of documents relating to the peace processes in Sudan and South Sudan. The main objective of the seminar was to introduce the archive to scholars working on Sudan and South Sudan and on African peace processes. A second objective was to examine the challenges of researching Sudan, South Sudan, with particular reference to their peace processes, and to extend the analysis to research into African peace processes more generally.
The Militarized Political Marketplace: Challenges to Security Sector Governance
August 19-20, 2014
The seminar aimed to bring together academics and practitioners working on the politics and policy of security sector governance (SSG) and reform (SSR). The use of the “governance” was intended to take the security sector conversation beyond “reform”, which has become a field principally focused on how western donors apply policy tools to countries that they identify as in a post-conflict transition. Instead, we shift our focus to the politics of the security sector.
“The Political Marketplace”: Developing a Framework for Addressing the Real Politics of Coercion and Corruption
June 12 – 13, 2014
Existing models for peace-making, state-building and stabilization, which assume that “fragile states” can move, under international tutelage and sponsorship, towards capable and legitimate states, are wrong. Peace agreements that consist primarily in allocating rents to belligerents only reinforce the logic of a rent-based political marketplace. Indeed, international efforts to achieve stabilization and state-building by channeling effort and resources through governments are more often counterproductive than not.
Patterns of Violence in Somalia
September 27 – 28, 2013
This seminar approached the crisis in Somalia not through the lens of immediate problems and policy prescriptions, but from a starting point concerned with political economy and historic patterns of violence, the societal impacts and accounts of violence, and comparative analysis of changing frameworks of governance and conflict associated with the end of the Cold War and the growth of global governance. By taking history, literature and political theory seriously, and seeing Somalia as an exemplar of wider patterns in the contestation over governmental power and resources, the seminar generated important insights into the country’s current predicament.
How Mass Atrocities End Iraq
May 14 – 15, 2013
This seminar on mass atrocities in Iraq was a significant departure from the recent series of programs and reports marking ten years of direct U.S. military engagement in Iraq. Placing violence within the country’s longer modern history, it explored the level, patterns, origins and endings of episodes of mass violence, especially mass atrocity against civilians.
Advocacy In Conflict
February 28 & March 1, 2013
International (principally American) campaigns that advocate policies and actions in conflicts around the world have gained profile and impact in the last decade, most notably through new models that value mass mobilization of the American public, celebrity involvement, and marketing campaigns. The “advocacy in conflict”seminar addressed a discernible divergence between the goals, methods and impacts of these campaigns, and the requirements for resolving the political conflicts in the countries concerned and empowering the affected people. The recent case that has drawn most controversy is the KONY2012 video by the group Invisible Children, which sparked deep disquiet among Ugandans and specialists in the region. The KONY2012 case crystallized the deepening concern among humanitarians, human rights organizations and conflict resolution specialists over a series of campaigns in Africa and elsewhere.
Over recent decades, the intensity and incidence of war—and indeed the very nature of organized violence—have been changing. On the basis that Mary Kaldor’s New and Old War (first published in 1999) provided a seminal explication of these transformations, this seminar used the opportunity of the third edition of her book (2012) to explore important aspects of contemporary conflicts from a security perspective.
Libya in the African Context
November 16 & 17, 2012
In the flurry of assessments and debates about the 2011 war in Libya that overthrew the country’s longtime ruler, Muammar Gaddafi, there has been little scholarly or policy attention to Libya’s relationship with sub-Saharan Africa during and after the conflict. Convening area experts for a combination of public and closed-door discussions over two days, the World Peace Foundation aimed to reverse this neglect.
Seminar briefing not available:
- How Mass Atrocities End: November 17 & 18, 2011
- New Wars, New Peace: January 12 & 13, 201
- How Mass Atrocities End: March 22 & 23, 2012
- Western & Non-Western Views on Conflict Resolution: April 20 & 21, 2012
- Drug Trafficking and Organized International Crime: Re-framing the Debate: May 7 & 8, 2012
African Peace Research
This project charts an agenda for peace in Africa, focusing on how the African Union can implement its norms and use its instruments to prevent and resolve armed conflicts. It is an independent report of the World Peace Foundation, supported by the African Union. The report is the most extensive review of the African Union’s peace missions ever conducted. It is based on detailed case studies and cross-cutting research, and draws on consultations with leading experts, peacekeepers, and mediators. It covers African peace and security norms and mechanisms, including conflict prevention, conflict mediation, political missions and the spectrum of military peace operations. Click here for full details of this program.
Peace Missions in Africa: Constraints, Challenges and Opportunities
African Politics, African Peace, full report
African Peace Missions Research Briefings:
- The APSA: norms and structures for AU’s peace missions, Mulugeta Gebrehiwot Berhe
- Constitutional changes of government and unconstitutional practices in Africa, Solomon Dersso
- Mandates or ‘blind’ dates? Addressing the challenges of mandate development processes supporting African peace operations, Ann Fitz-Gerald, Paula Macphee, and Oga Romanova
- African solutions to African challenges?: a statistical overview of international mediation in civil wars in Africa, Allard Duursma
- Bottom-up or top-down? The need for a relevant,‘grounded’ and distinguishing peace operations doctrine for the African standby force, Ann Fitz-Gerald
- AMISOM: charting a new course for African Union peace missions, Dawit Yohannes Wondemagegnehu and Daniel Gebreegziabher Kebede
- Reflections on peace in Sudan, Alex de Waal
- Advancing an anti-atrocity agenda for the 21st century, Bridget Conley
- Protection of civilians from sexual and gender-based violence (SGBV): Insights for African Union peace missions, Dyan Mazurana
- Hitting the political heart of decision-making power: targeted sanctions, multilateral peace missions and the key role of UN Panels of Experts in Africa, Benjamin J. Spatz
- International interventions in Libya since 2011: Lessons learned, Jean-Louis Romanet Perroux and Tarek Megerisi
- The African Union and responses to the crisis in Libya, Dawit Toga
- Lessons from AU-UN cooperation in peace operations in the Central African Republic (CAR), Tatiana Carayannis andMignonne Fowlis
- Lessons from AU-UN cooperation in peace operations in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), Tatiana Caryannis and Aaron Pangburn
- The United Nations mission in Liberia, Lansana Gberie
- Transition from war to peace: The Ethiopian DDR experience, Mulugeta Gebrehiwot Berhe
- The post-transition Ethiopian SSR experience, Mulugeta Gebrehiwot Berhe
- The evolution of post conflict security sector reform in Africa, Sarah Detzner
- Decoding the triumph of doctrine: The success of Ghana’s international peace support operations, John Parkyendu Frinjuah
- Behind the cliché of the ‘desert warriors’: Militarized politics and Idriss Déby’s global political capital, Marielle Debos
African Peace Missions Case Studies:
Central African Republic
Democratic Republic of Congo
United Nations Ebola Emergency
Lords Resistance Army
African Security Review, Volume 26, Issue 2, April/May 2017
International Peacekeeping, Volume 4, Issue 4, July 2017
President Donald Trump is a Threat to World Peace
Statement by the World Peace Foundation
In its 106 years of existence, the World Peace Foundation has committed to understanding and
promoting peaceful relations among and within nations, as well as analyzing the causes of war.
Today, based on our expertise and given the statements and actions of the current President of
the United States, we are obliged to take a step without precedent, which is to name U.S.
President Donald Trump as a major threat to global peace.
Read the full statement, which details our concerns.
Our Statement on Ending Famine
Famine is an age-old scourge that almost disappeared in our lifetime. On the basis of our relevant scholarly and professional expertise, we, members of the faculty, staff and students of Tufts University, make the following declaration about the grave public ill that is famine, and our responsibility, as a university, a nation, and members of the international community, to end famine once and for all. We invite you to join us in signing a statement on ending famine, which was drafted by a group of Tufts faculty members from The Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy, the Friedman School of Nutrition Science and Policy and the School of Arts and Sciences, Tufts University.
Learn more and sign the petition at Change.org
The mission of the World Peace Foundation is ‘educating the people of all nations to a full knowledge of the waste and destructiveness of war and of preparation for war, its evil effects on present social conditions and on the well-being of future generations, and to promote international justice and the brotherhood of man, and generally by every practical means to promote peace and good will among all mankind.’
World Peace Foundation Annual Report FY17