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Colombia and the Philippines: Worlds Apart but on the Same Path to Peace

 

Colombian Paratroops
Colombian Paratroops. Photo by Ronald Dueñas/Flickr.

In addition to their love for telenovelas, as well as their cuisine and religion borne out of a shared Spanish heritage, Colombia and the Philippines now have one more thing in common. This [month], both countries took another step toward peace with their respective armed groups, which could lead to the end of internal conflicts that are among the oldest in the world. On October 15, the Philippines entered into a peace accord with the rebel Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF). Two days later, Colombia’s government began peace talks in Oslo with the Marxist Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC). Each of these presents a unique opportunity for civil society to sustain peace by fostering trust and accountability over issues such as land rights, delivery of social services, political participation at the local and national level, and tolerance for other people’s beliefs.

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ISN Weekly Theme: At Peace With Rebels

Rebel leader announces the singning of a peace agreement in the DRC
Rebel leader announces the singning of a peace agreement in the DRC, photo: UN Photo/flickr

This week the ISN examines the role of armed non-state actors in conflict environments and peacebuilding processes. From rebel groups to militias, armed non-state actors are key to the course and sustainable resolution of today’s conflicts.

In this week’s Special Report:

  • An Analysis by Dr Véronique Dudouet from the Berghof Center for Conflict Research examines the importance of inclusive peacemaking that addresses the roots of the conflict and facilitates the reintegration of armed non-state groups by offering incentives for political participation.
  • A Podcast with Max Glaser explores the dilemmas facing humanitarian organizations as they try to balance the benefits against the dangers of engaging armed non-state actors.
  • Security Watch articles on India’s Maoist insurgency, US efforts to enlist local militias in the stabilization of Afghanistan and many more.
  • Publications housed in our Digital Library, including a paper analyzing the role of armed non-state actors in peace processes, and a working paper on the importance of foreign military assistance to fragile states facing internal conflict.
  • Primary Resources, including UN Security Council Resolution 1125 on the crisis in the Central African Republic.
  • Links to relevant websites, including an article by the International Committee of the Red Cross detailing instruments and strategies used by non-state actors to respect international humanitarian law during intra-state conflicts in Africa, and a wiki created by Mercyhurst College Institute for Intelligence Studies that provides intelligence analysis on the impact of armed non-state actors in sub-Saharan Africa between 2007 and 2012.
  • And through our IR Directory access to relevant institutions, including the Institute of Peace and Conflict Studies (IPCS).
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Militant Munchies

Because insurgency is hard work / Photo: Mike Chaput-Branson/flickr

Forget MREs. Terrorists in the Caucasus reportedly keep their tummies full during the winter by downing Snickers bars.

Acccording to a post on RFE/RL’s Transmissions blog, Wahhabbi militants snowed under in the Chechen region get their nutrition from that peanut, caramel and chocolate concoction that has kept American schoolkids bouncing off of rec room walls for decades.

[…]A few tens of militants may hide in Chechen gorges. Now when mountain passes are covered with snow and delivery of food from abroad is impossible, bandits eat snickers bars.

(Are Snickers halal? This person says yes. This site says no. This site says…well I’m not sure.)

But there’s a down side to succumbing to the scent of Snickers. According to the post, folks seen purchasing five bars or more are under “special control” by authorities.

Whether that’s security control or weight control, I’m not sure.

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Mindanao’s Memorandum of Disagreement

Young MILF fighter in front of peace poster, Mindanao, Philippines
In support of peace? Young MILF fighter in front of peace poster, Mindanao, Philippines. photo: Mark Navales/flickr

The 2008 Memorandum of Agreement on Ancestral Domain (MOA-AD) was meant to solve the seemingly intractable and bloody conflict raging, for decades, between the Philippine government and the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF). It was meant to give the disenfranchised and marginalized Muslim minority of the southern Philippines a homeland, self-rule and near-equal status with the Philippine central government after centuries of bloodshed. Instead of bringing the conflict, which reflects a centuries-old stuggle, to an almost clinically clean end, the collapse of the MOA-AD in the summer and fall of 2008 revealed the deep fissures at the heart of the conflict and laid bare the government’s inability and unwillingness to push through a potentially momentous peace deal.

The Memorandum of Agreement had, almost overnight revealed itself as little more than a fractured ‘Memorandum of Disagreement’ devoid of real political backing or popular support.