The CSS Blog Network

Solutions for Kashmir?

Do Not Pass Go

Indian Army soldiers patrolling a street in Srinagar. Photo: Austin Yoder/ flickr

The Kashmir conflict is usually considered an interstate problem between Pakistan and India. In my opinion both governments should recognize that the matter is less about New Delhi and Islamabad – but about Kashmir. High-level talks are important but not enough.  The key to stability lies in dialogue between the two central governments and Kashmiris themselves.

Many problems in Indian-Administered Kashmir are homegrown and can only be tackled at the domestic level, rather than the international one. At present, the situation is bizarre: in the first place, the Valley remains heavily militarized.  The capital, Srinagar, looks as if it were under siege, and its commercial airport doubles as a military airfield.  And curfews, arbitrary arrests, and police brutality all contribute to the atmosphere of mistrust, hatred and unrest. So what can be done?

In a recent article in Strategic Analysis, John Wilson — a senior fellow with the Observer Research Foundation in New Delhi — makes four suggestions for how the Indian central government could improve the overall situation in the Valley: » More

The Case for Rebel Victory

A mappa mundi from the 18th century

A Mappa Mundi from the 18th century Photo: Norman B. Leventhal Center/ flickr

In the Spring 2010 issue of International Security, Monica Duffy Toft offered up a rather ‘untimely meditation.’  Civil wars, she suggests here, are, on average, better left to reach their own conclusions — i.e., the victory of one side over the other — rather than frozen in negotiated settlements of the kind that  became more common in the 1990s, after the end of the Cold War.

According to Toft’s statistical analysis of 118 civil wars over the period 1940 – 2002, “victory [by either side] reduces the likelihood of civil war recurrence by 24 percent, relative to all other types of termination,” and “negotiated settlements increase the likelihood of recurrence by 27 percent.”   Moreover, the statistical relationship between victory and non-recurrence seemed to be driven principally by rebel victories, rather than victories by government forces.  What should we make of this?

Toft takes care to distinguish civil wars from other forms of political violence. Excluded are other types of intra-state conflict, such as small-scale or low-intensity insurgencies, which involved fewer than 1,000 casualties per year; conflicts in which control over the central political apparatus was not at stake; enormously one-sided conflicts which may be better described as massacres or genocides; and conflicts between sets of non-state actors. The analysis also covers only completed civil wars, which Toft defines as those that in 2007 had experienced ‘no violence for at least 5 years.’ » More

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New ISN Partner: FRIDE

FRIDE (the Fundación para las Relaciones Internacionales y el Diálogo Exterior) is a European think tank for global action, which provides innovative thinking and rigorous analysis of key debates in international relations. Its mission is to inform policy and practice in order to ensure that the EU plays a more effective role in supporting multilateralism, democratic values, security and sustainable development.

FRIDE benefits from political independence and the diversity of views and intellectual background of its international team. Based in the vibrant city of Madrid, FRIDE seeks to enhance the southern European perspective within EU debates and the European perspective within Spain.

Its main contribution to international debates stems from its empirical research on:

• The development and promotion of democracy
• The increasing role of emerging powers
• The role of international development cooperation in advancing universal values
• Global governance and multilateralism
• The complexity of threats to peace and security
• Fragile states and energy security

» More

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A Reading List On: Market Intervention

Books in perspective. Photo: Flickr/darren 131

The prerogatives of the state are diminishing in some domains, but growing in others. In what will be a four-part syllabus series, the ISN will look at ‘intervention’ as an evolving norm in international politics, in a variety of contexts. We’ll kick off with the latest and greatest literature on ‘market intervention’ and the emerging role of the state in international political economy.

With the bailouts that accompanied the 2008 financial crises and the current Eurozone crisis, state frontiers may be making a comeback — even in Europe. But what do these developments say about ‘market intervention’ as an evolving international norm?

Read and form your own opinion! » More

This Week at the ISN…

It's week 29 in our 2011 editorial calendar, Photo: Leo Reynolds/flickr

This week the ISN highlights the following topics:

  • We offer up a readers’ syllabus on market interventionism on Tuesday.
  • On Thursday, we highlight a mixed-media special feature about historical counterfactuals in civil wars and insurgencies.

And in case you missed any of last week’s coverage, you can catch up here on: the history of the Jewish presence in Pakistan; the US Institute of Peace’s conference on North Korea; evolving US-Czech relations on missile defense; a discussion of Pakistan as a ‘failed state’; and violence in South Kordofan.

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