Columnists

Lest we forget

Peacebuilding describes an array of practices and actors, from state level and track two diplomacy to grassroots inter-communal activism and even interpersonal reconciliation or restorative justice. It is often thought of in terms of the direct intervention of third party actors such as international NGOs or UN peacekeeping missions in the aftermath of conflict, or the war to peace transition. Increasingly, local grassroots peacebuilding is gaining traction in policy and practitioner circles.


Counting the cost of conflict

Casualty recording has redefined efforts to protect civilians in conflict, and provide aid and accountability to victims of violence. But with an absence of political will to respond to conflict, what good are the numbers? 

Left behind: the rural youth in Afghanistan’s election

Despite the success of Afghanistan’s transparent, peaceful election, engagement with rural populations remained low. Failure to address the growing disaffection resulting from the urban-rural gap threatens the country's fragile progress. 

Negotiating with the Taliban

No one should expect progress in Afghanistan anytime soon, enmeshed as it is in a complex web of interaction among state and non-state actors. 

India: jostling for geopolitical control in Afghanistan

Forecasts past the withdrawal of US and British forces in Afghanistan tend to prize fears of violence and instability spilling over into Pakistan, obscuring the country's vital importance to both India and China. 

Truth is the legacy we want

An op-ed from six youth activists in countries where official truth seeking initiatives are underway or being demanded reveals commonalities in the search for dignity, truth and acknowledgment of crimes. 

Back to the future: America's new model for expeditionary warfare

In a world of supposed cutbacks, the US military continues to quietly move into Africa in a distinctly below-the-radar fashion. The Pentagon’s newest tactic: refight the colonial wars in partnership with the French.

Harper’s discordant notes

Unlike the US, Canada has always had a positive reputation in the strife-tone Middle East as an impartial broker and peacemaker. Until now.

Egypt under Sisi

The street in Cairo has become an insecure and volatile place. VICE News has been following avid supporters of General Sisi, revolutionaries who feel their aspirations are far from realisation and members of the Muslim Brotherhood outlawed by the military government.

Yemen’s troubled transition

In Yemen a transition towards a new political dispensation is threatened by Islamist violence, drone strikes, southern secessionism and tribal militancy. But concentrating on the first alone and failing to understand the wider context will not secure it.

Beyond Yasukuni: Japan's march towards militarism

From constitutional revisions to education reform, the Japanese government is intent on undoing the country's pacifist fundamentals. 

Back to basics for Colombia's rebels

As on-going peace talks in Havana address narco-trafficking amidst Colombia's continued economic growth, remnants of the FARC are more likely to turn to what were once the very seeds of the rebel movements: social banditry. 

Britain’s strategic pause: lessons from an insecure and interventionist century

After 100 years of continuous war, can Britain learn the limits of military action to respond to shifting realities of insecurity? Continued investment in force projection and lack of commitment to genuine reflection on today's security challenges suggests it's not yet ready to let go of its militarist mindset.

India and Pakistan: time to call time on proxy wars

India and Pakistan’s zero-sum game is hindering development and the proxy wars in which the two states have indulged need to come to an end. If they do, big dividends would follow.

Françafrique and Africa’s security

Crises in Francophone Africa, as in Mali and the Central African Republic, cannot be solved by military action by the former colonial power. Root causes must be tackled, engaging civil-society actors, with the African Union playing a leading role in partnership with the European Union.

Towards a lasting peace: reforming drug policy in Colombia

A group of experts offer 11 recommendations Colombian and FARC negotiators can use to address and reform drug policy alongside negotiations for a lasting peace. Español

Yemen’s future: like Tunisia or Libya?

The recent conclusion of the National Dialogue Conference in Yemen might seem to point to progress in that fractured state. But the absence of the rule of law and impartial authority is allowing violence to fester and the international community needs to act decisively.

Central African Republic: history of a collapse foretold?

Political instability and administrative weakness have been permanent features of the Central African Republic since independence. What has happened in recent weeks is tragic but is neither genocide nor a full-blown sectarian conflict. This can still be avoided if the international forces behave impartially towards the two main religious communities.

Violence against women in Syria: a hidden truth

Despite saturated media coverage of the conflict, violence against women in Syria has largely gone unreported. Often horrifically abused, they have been doubly victimised by the public silence.

Iran: making the deal work

Only strengthened diplomatic efforts, treating all partners as equal, can defuse the deep mistrust threatening the interim nuclear deal and enable a long-term agreement. 

Nuclear disarmament ambitions in 2014

It's easy not to recognise the real, if slow, progress that has been made on nuclear disarmement. There will be big challenges in 2014 to maintain it.

Iraq’s Sunni civil war

Iraq’s Sunnis have become increasingly alienated from its Shia-dominated government. Al-Qaeda has been able to profit from its inability to offer cross-sectarian leadership.

Time to be bold and make peace in Syria

The regime and main opposition factions in Syria are setting preconditions for victory. Alternative, democratic preconditions need to be set for the Geneva talks to end an unwinnable war.

Rethinking the origins of 9/11

As 2013 came to an end ‘9/11’ continued to cast a violent shadow in Iraq and Afghanistan. Yet the US response betrayed a failure to understand its origin.

South Sudan: explaining the violence

The spiral of violence in South Sudan is not simply an ethnic conflict of Dinka on Nuer. Politics, as well as oil, is at issue and a political settlement is required.

Un espejo doloroso

10 años después de que la Comisión de la Verdad y Reconciliación del Perú publicara su informe final sobre las dos décadas de conflicto armado, ¿cuál es el impacto del trabajo de la comisión en la sociedad? English.

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