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Human Security Gateway: English - 8 new articles

Impact of Conflict on Pastoral Communities' Resilience in the Horn of Africa: Case Studies From Ethiopia, Kenya and Uganda

FAO has commissioned a regional study on the impact of conflict on the resilience of pastoral communities and on their coping strategies, which is being undertaken through case studies of three 'pastoral conflict' sites in Kenya, Uganda and Ethiopia.

The study shall demonstrate how conflict impacts on the opportunistic use of pastures and other strategic pastoral resources, especially when it renders such resources inaccessible to some or all pastoral groups, denying communities the opportunity to use the specific resources thereby increasing pressures on other resources that are accessible, and which are then effectively overused and degraded - thereby engendering even more conflict.

The study also seeks to establish and analyze the ripple effects of primary conflict on other areas, resources and communities that support the population and their livestock once access to primary resources are hampered and/or restricted. It shall demonstrate and map the interrelated nature of conflict in the pastoral areas and its effects in the overall resilience of the said population, and make the case of a holistic approach in addressing the challenges to their livelihoods. SOURCE: Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations // Resource Conflict Institute


One Year of the Arab Spring: Global and Regional Implications

Since an obscure young fruit vendor named Muhammad Bouazizi set himself on fire in the dusty Tunisian town of Sidi Bouzid in December 2010, the flames that ended his life have spread across the entire Middle East, both figuratively and literally. The protests, demonstrations, and upheavals originally inspired by his action have acquired a variety of terms – Arab spring, Arab awakening, Arab uprising – and they have ousted, threatened, or at least frightened almost every ruling regime in the region. The terms used to describe this phenomenon clearly connote a sharp break from the decades of political stagnation and quietism that preceded Bouazizi’s desperate act and imply that some momentous region-wide transformation has been set in motion.

However, as Amos Yadlin reminds us in his introductory overview, only six of 22 League of Arab States members have experienced the full force of the upheaval, and in only two of those (Tunisia and Libya – the latter in the wake of external military intervention) has the regime actually been overthrown. In two others (Egypt and Yemen), the leader has been ousted but major elements of the ancien regime remain in place; in one (Syria) the struggle between regime and opposition continues unabated; and in one (Bahrain), the uprising seems to have been suppressed, at least for the time being. This volume does not delve into the domestic politics and society of those six states. Such issues are ably dealt with by area studies experts. Instead, in keeping with the mandate of the Institute for National Security Studies, we focus here on the regional and international implications of this phenomenon, with special reference to the potential ramifications for Israeli national security.

One year is not a very long time in which to judge the significance of events, especially when they continue to unfold, and historians may rightly criticize efforts of this sort as premature. In validating their criticism, they will almost certainly enjoy repeating the widely cited (though never really authenticated) comment allegedly made by Chinese Premier Zhou En Lai to US President Richard Nixon about the significance of the French Revolution: “Too soon to tell.” Any rush to judgment should certainly be avoided. Unfortunately, there is no consensus among historians on what does constitute sufficient perspective. More to the point, policymakers and the analysts who are supposed to help them in their deliberations do not have the luxury of waiting until some period of time arbitrarily defined as “enough” does elapse. Instead, they need to identify the challenges they face and constantly formulate and reformulate their policies in real time, notwithstanding the unavoidable fact that they will have to do that on the basis of incomplete or even erroneous information and of inevitably imperfect understanding. The purpose of the authors of this volume, all members of the INSS research staff, is to provide brief, concentrated studies of the international and regional dimensions of the Arab spring in the hope of minimizing analytical imperfections in the ongoing public debate over issues that confront Israel with urgent choices. SOURCE: Institute for National Security Studies


Conflict Resolution in Afghanistan: India as Catalyst

Developments on the Af-Pak front are set to culminate at the forthcoming conference in Bonn, a decade since the first edition. Yet, there is little optimism. The two antagonists, the US-led NATO force, International Security Assistance Force (ISAF), and the Taliban, are at a mutually hurting stalemate.

Ironically, even as this indicates the conflict is ripe for settlement, both continue to circle each other in the ring. It appears that both are unwilling to be the first to change military tack, even though both have given sufficient indications of interest in a peace process. In effect, the peace process needs an external catalyst. Can India fulfill such a role? This paper outlines a strategy for India towards assisting in conflict resolution in Afghanistan.

The paper first conducts a strategic appreciation beginning with a brief environment scan. This section comprises arriving at India’s aim through a SWOT analysis (Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities and Threats) and a discussion of strategy options. It then paints possible scenarios post-2014 to objectively test the strategy options for robustness. It finally explicates the strategy option of a politically proactive India. The proposal is for India nudging the international community towards conflict resolution through UN mediation and peacekeeping. The latter can even take the form of a UN-SAARC association in ‘hybrid’ peacekeeping. SOURCE: Institute of Peace and Conflict Studies


What is the (New) Deal with Fragile States?

Poor governance and lack of state capabilities in around 45 countries pose a threat to global security and development. The involvement of the international community is required to help these states break out of their low development– high-conflict traps. Recent years have seen a number of notable initiatives, including a “New Deal on Fragile States” announced in November 2011 by the g7+ and their international partners. This Policy Brief casts some light on this New Deal from the perspective of the UNU-WIDER research project “Fragility and Development”. SOURCE: United Nations University


Egypt's Democratic Transition: Five Important Myths About the Economy and International Assistance

Egypt is in the midst of a transition and will face democratic elections in September. But how will Egypt’s economic challenges affect the outcome of the transition, and what is the best way for the international community to act?

This report (in partnership with the Carnegie Endowment) addresses several persistent myths about the current situation in post-revolution Egypt. It is the product of an exploratory trip to Egypt by the authors in mid-June 2011. Its aim is to help shape the conversation about Egypt’s economy, economic policy, and international assistance by addressing several persistent myths about the current situation. SOURCE: Legatum Institute // Carnegie Endowment for International Peace


Timor-Leste's Elections: Leaving Behind a Violent Past?

Timor-Leste’s 2012 presidential and parliamentary elections will be an important step in consolidating the relative stability the country has enjoyed since recovering from the 2006 crisis, but a number of security risks deserve continued attention. The governing coalition has undertaken few of the long-term reforms seen as necessary after the crisis but increased wealth has given many a growing stake in stability. SOURCE: International Crisis Group


Thinking Through Our Options in Syria: Challenges to Ending the Violence

The situation on the ground in Syria continues to worsen in the weeks following the Russian and Chinese vetoes of a U.N. Security Council resolution designed to support the Arab League plan for ending Syria's bloodshed. Despite efforts by the United States and its partners to organize a collective response to the Assad regime's brutality via the recent Friends of the Syrian People conference in Tunis, some countries and voices within the United States are floating various proposals for military intervention in Syria. SOURCE: Center for American Progress


Now or Never: A Negotiated Transition for Syria

One year into the Syrian uprising, the level of death and destruction is reaching new heights. Yet, outside actors – whether regime allies or opponents – remain wedded to behaviour that risks making an appalling situation worse. Growing international polarisation simultaneously gives the regime political space to maintain an approach – a mix of limited reforms and escalating repression – that in the longer run is doomed to fail; guarantees the opposition’s full militarisation, which could trigger all-out civil war; and heightens odds of a regional proxy war that might well precipitate a dangerous conflagration. Kofi Annan’s appointment as joint UN/Arab League Special Envoy arguably offers a chance to rescue fading prospects for a negotiated transition. It must not be squandered. For that, Russia and others must understand that, short of rapidly reviving a credible political track, only an intensifying military one will remain, with dire consequences for all.

Annan’s best hope lies in enlisting international and notably Russian support for a plan that:

- comprises an early transfer of power that preserves the integrity of key state institutions;
- ensures a gradual yet thorough overhaul of security services; and
- puts in place a process of transitional justice and national reconciliation that reassures Syrian constituencies alarmed by the dual prospect of tumultuous change and violent score-settling.

Such a proposal almost certainly would be criticised by regime and opposition alike. But it would be welcomed by the many Syrians – officials included – who long for an alternative to the only two options currently on offer: either preserving the ruling family at all costs or toppling the regime no matter the consequences. SOURCE: International Crisis Group


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