The CSS Blog Network

Mediation Perspectives: Integrating Religion into Conflict Analysis

Image courtesy of cms-archiv/pixabay.

Mediation Perspectives is a periodic blog entry that’s provided by the CSS’ Mediation Support Team and occasional guest authors. Each entry is designed to highlight the utility of mediation approaches in dealing with violent political conflicts. To keep up to date with the Mediation Support Team, you can sign up to their newsletter here.

A new guide published by the United States Institute of Peace (USIP) aims to help peacebuilding practitioners integrate religion into their conflict analysis and program planning. In this blogpost the authors offer a brief introduction to the guide.
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Mediation Perspectives: Military Integration as a Tool for Peacekeeping

Image courtesy of hdptcar/Flickr (CC BY-SA 2.0)

Mediation Perspectives is a periodic blog entry that’s provided by the CSS’ Mediation Support Team and occasional guest authors. Each entry is designed to highlight the utility of mediation approaches in dealing with violent political conflicts. To keep up to date with the Mediation Support Team, you can sign up to their newsletter here.

The challenge of how to deal with armed groups after a conflict ends is one of the many problems facing mediators and negotiators working toward a peace agreement. Such arrangements are critical because mistrust between armed opponents, the challenge of restoring state authority, and the hazards of peace process derailment are not easily overcome. Disarmament, Demobilization, and Reintegration (DDR) programs, which attempt to shepherd former combatants into peacetime civilian roles, are one approach. However, DDR rarely provides channels for former combatants to enter the government’s security forces. Instead, this is the focus of the subject of this blog, military integration initiatives. » More

How Assad Won the Syrian Civil War Before it Began

Image courtesy of watchsmart/Flickr. (CC BY 2.0)

This article was originally published by Political Violence @ a Glance on 5 September 2018.

In recent months, many observers of the still-smoldering civil war in Syria have concluded that Bashar al-Assad’s triumph, once unthinkable, now appears inevitable. How did the Syrian regime accomplish such a come-from-behind victory?

Most analysts emphasize how Assad benefited from extensive international support from Russia and Iran, as well as non-state militias like Hezbollah. They also credit Assad’s deft deployment of a divide-and-rule strategy, in which he sought modus vivendis with some opponents—ISIS and Kurdish rebel groups carving out autonomous spaces far from Damascus—while unleashing the full weight of his military strength on moderate Western-backed rebel factions. Yet the most important factor in Assad’s victory was neither his international support nor his wartime strategies; rather, Assad triumphed because Syria’s armed domestic opposition was hopelessly fragmented from the beginning to the closing stages of the conflict.

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The EU’s Challenge with the End of the Syrian War

Image courtesy of Basma/the Foreign and Commonwealth Office/Flickr. (CC BY-ND 2.0)

This article was originally published by the Polish Institute of International Affairs (PISM) on 4 September 2018.

The war in Syria has entered its final stage, one in which diplomacy will dominate military action. The most likely scenario for the end to this conflict—the Syrian government’s victory—creates a set of political risks to the EU: legitimisation of the undemocratic regime in Syria, engagement in highly politicized reconstruction projects that do not contribute to the improvement in living standards of Syrians, and granting Russia political gains without it also accepting adequate responsibility for the fate of Syrian returnees.

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The Changing Risk Landscape

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This graphic plots the change in the perceived likelihood and impact of various societal, technological, geopolitical and environmental risks between 2012 and 2018. For more on resilience and the evolution of deterrence, see Tim Prior’s chapter for Strategic Trends 2018 here. For more CSS charts, maps and graphics on risk and resilience, click here.

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