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Security Conflict Peace CSS Blog

CSS Mediation Perspectives: How Ceasefires Affect Conflict Ripeness

Image courtesy of Julian Stallabrass / Wikimedia, Mural from the Zapatista Army of National Liberation, a non-state actor in Mexico.

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

How do ceasefires affect the ripeness of conflict for a negotiated solution? Based on evidence from frozen conflicts in places like Cyprus or Western Sahara, many assume that we need to choose between saving lives immediately or in the future, as ceasefires stop the fighting in the short term but may impede the search for a more sustainable political settlement. However, cases such as the Philippines or the Sudan North-South peace process demonstrate that ceasefires do not automatically create such a trade-off: they can serve crucial roles in stopping the fighting and in reviving or sustaining peace processes that lead to lasting solutions.

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Security Peace CSS Blog

CSS Mediation Perspectives: The Role of Ceasefires in Peace Processes

Image: © Jeremy Brickhill, Lines of Control and Withdrawal, from «Mediating Security Arrangements in Peace Processes»

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

Jeremy Brickhill’s publication “Mediating Security Arrangements in Peace Processes” clarifies the role of ceasefires in a peace process. Understanding this role is necessary if ceasefires are to foster the transition from war to peace rather than leading to a stalemate situation. What is unique about Jeremy’s booklet is that, as a former fighter in the Zimbabwean liberation war with Joshua Nkomo’s Zimbabwe People’s Revolutionary Army, he can provide insights and models of ceasefires from the perspective of someone who knows the psychology of fighters. We have now translated his publication into Russian, Arabic, and Spanish, because there are few publications on ceasefires, and even fewer that highlight the role of ceasefires in a peace process as clearly and practically as his.

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Religion Conflict CSS Blog

Mediation Perspectives: The Contested Power of Religious Narratives in Conflict

Image courtesy of Wikicommons. The standoff between armed members of the Branch Davidian group and the FBI in Waco, Texas, descends into violence.

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

To what extent do religious narratives shape conflict behavior? Many scholars agree that narratives are important: People get angry when they perceive injustice, they reach out for stories to help explain why that injustice exists, and then some of those stories propose or rationalize violence as a solution to the injustice. For this reason, peacebuilders should seek to understand religious narratives as possible framings of a given context of conflict.

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Religion Peace CSS Blog

Mediation Perspectives: Trump, the Bible, and the Instrumentalization of Religion

Image courtesy of The White House/Flickr

Mediation Perspectives is a periodic blog entry that’s provided by the CSS’ Mediation Support Team and occasional guest authors.

In the evening of 1 June, one week into nationwide protests in the wake of the murder of George Floyd, US President Donald Trump left the White House and made his way to nearby St. John’s Church. He stopped in front of the church and posed for the media holding a Bible.

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Education Peace Coronavirus CSS Blog

Mediation Perspectives: Moving Training from Room to Zoom

Image courtesy of Team Tumult

Mediation Perspectives is a periodic blog entry that’s provided by the CSS’ Mediation Support Team and occasional guest authors.

In the context of COVID-19-related discussions about moving mediation training online, this blog reflects on key strategic and operational questions one should ask to make this decision. Takeaways include: 1) online training is not better or worse than in-person training, but they each have their own strengths and weaknesses; 2) developing quality online training requires intentional design rather than just the “shoveling” of existing resources onto the web; and 3) any decision to develop online training courses should be part of a long-term strategic decision rather than a short-term improvisation.