Categories
Conflict Peace CSS Blog

CSS Mediation Perspectives: Settling an Armed Conflict with a Sworn Enemy

Image courtesy of Flickr. President Santos signing the peace agreement with the FARC on 26 September 2016. Less than a week later, the deal was rejected in a plebiscite.

Mediation Perspectives is a regular series of blog contributions by the CSS Mediation Support Team and occasional guest authors.

Intrastate conflicts are notoriously difficult to settle. In many regions of the world, from Afghanistan and Myanmar to the Democratic Republic of the Congo, citizens have grown up during war, only to see their children or even grandchildren born into continued conflict. That is not to say that long-standing enemies never manage to reach a negotiated settlement. In Colombia, after more than half a century of fighting, the government reached a peace agreement with the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (Fuerzas Armadas Revolucionarias de Colombia, FARC) in 2016. But implementation is slow, and the state remains at war with the country’s last guerrilla organization, the National Liberation Army (Ejército de Liberación Nacional, ELN).

Categories
Conflict Diplomacy CSS Blog

Mediation Perspectives: Building Consensus on Security Sector Transformation in Zimbabwe

Traditional leaders in Zimbabwe preparing a mediation role play exercise. Image: Valerie Sticher/Center for Security Studies (CSS), ETH Zürich.

This article was originally published in the Bulletin on Swiss Security Policy, a publication of the Center for Security Studies (CSS) at ETH Zurich, on 27 October, 2015.

After years of estrangement, Zimbabwe and the West have slowly started to re-engage with each other. The popular approval of a new constitution in 2013 – which introduced significant civil rights – and the subsequent peaceful elections provided the impetus for the thawing of relations. This included the easing of European Union (EU) restrictive measures imposed in 2002 following Zimbabwe’s controversial land reforms.

But that’s not to say that the country’s myriad challenges have been resolved once and for all. The unresolved succession of 91-year-old President Robert Mugabe, who has ruled Zimbabwe since independence in 1980, continues to paralyze the country’s politics and economy. High levels of unemployment and empty state coffers make economic survival most Zimbabweans’ main concern. Finally, there’s a growing need to undertake a series of far-reaching institutional reforms, particularly when it comes to Zimbabwe’s security sector. But how do you tackle such an undertaking in a country where there is a lack of political will and capacity for such sensitive reforms?