Violent extremism

‘Violent extremism’ is rarely defined: neither the United Nations nor the European Union has an official definition. USAID defines it as “advocating, engaging in, preparing, or otherwise supporting ideologically motivated or justified violence to further social, economic or political objectives”. However, this apparently simple and obvious statement conceals a great deal of controversy and uncertainty….» more

The challenge of stability and security in West Africa

Alexandre Marc, Neelam Verjee, and Stephen Mogaka

The surge in violence and conflict in West Africa comes as the sub-region has registered some of the most impressive growth rates seen on the continent in years. This book analyses the trends and dynamics of conflict and fragility in the sub-region, and examines the ability of institutions to manage the internal and external stresses to the region. It argues that the rapid pace ...» more

The role of religion in conflict and peacebuilding

Sara Silvestri and James Mayall

The role of religion in conflict and peacebuilding is complex, yet has often been depicted in binary terms. The report offers an overview of the relationship between religion and conflict and looks at the evidence on religion as both a driver of conflict and as a driver of peace. A more nuanced understanding of religion as a fluid system of variables based on contextual and ...» more

Global Peace Index 2015. Measuring peace, its causes and its economic value.

Institute for Economics and Peace

The Global Peace Index 2015 highlights an increasingly divided world: while some countries are experiencing unprecedented levels of peace, others are facing increased violence and conflict. It shows that global levels of peace remain stable compared with 2014, but are still lower than in 2008. For the first time, the Index includes a section on 'Positive Peace' which they ...» more

Conflict analysis of Muslim Mindanao

The Autonomous Region of Muslim Mindanao (ARMM) in the Philippines was founded in 1989. It consists of five provinces – Maguindanao, Lanao del Sur, Basilan, Sulu and Tawi-Tawi. Conflict between Moro groups seeking an independent state in Mindanao, and the Government of the Philippines (GPH) has been ongoing for four decades. After numerous attempts to resolve the conflicts, a ...» more

Speculating on crisis: the progressive disintegration of the Central African Republic’s political economy

Lotje de Vries & Tim Glawion

What factors shape the Central African Republic's volatile present? This report explores the political and economic foundations that underpin the country’s progressive disintegration. It analyses the interlinking factors that have deepened historic divisions, stimulated armed groups and failed to adequately address the countries' continued instability. It calls for strategic ...» more

Drivers of violent extremism: hypotheses and literature review

Harriet Allan et al.

This review analyses the substantial academic literature on what causes violent extremism. It examines the 17 hypotheses discussed in the 2008 DFID paper ‘Drivers of Violent Extremism’, and summarises the strength of the evidence on each. It notes that an alignment of situational, social-cultural and individual factors at the macro, meso and micro levels is necessary for ...» more

Conflict dynamics and potential for peacebuilding in Iraq

This report is an update of the information available in the October 2014 GSDRC Contemporary conflict analysis of Iraq. Since the beginning of 2014, the extreme jihadist group ISIL, who are also active in Syria, has gained control of territory in the mainly Sunni and contested areas of Iraq, although government forces, the Kurdish Peshmerga, and the Shia dominated Hashd ...» more

Conflict analysis of Kenya

Kenya is a large multi-ethnic country, with over 40 different ethnic groups and many overlapping conflicts. It has high levels of sexual and gender-based violence and of intercommunal violence; low levels of persistent violence; cycles of election-related violence; and increasing numbers of terrorist attacks. The incidence, gravity and intensity of violence have all increased ...» more

Islamist radicalisation and terrorism in Tanzania

The literature generally emphasises that while relations between Christian and Muslim groups are increasingly tense, there is evidence that Tanzania is not ‘a battleground for conflicting civilisations’ (Heilman & Kaiser 2002, p. 692). Many argue that while a number of identity groups (political, religious, ethnic) have served as the basis for political organisation and ...» more

Crime and conflict

Practitioners increasingly recognise that they need a better understanding of the link between crime and conflict. Many informal accounts suggest the political power of organised crime groups in violent and fragile contexts is growing. In the absence of functioning institutions and strong state-society relations, organised crime groups infiltrate local and national political systems to serve…» more

Jobs, unemployment and violence

(This 10-minute presentation accompanying the reading pack was recorded at the GSDRC Seminar on Conflict and Development, London, 23 March 2015.) The notion that unemployment is a strong probable cause or motivating factor behind violence and violent conflict is remarkably pervasive in international development. It is believed that unemployment triggers participation in insurgencies, prompts people…» more

Horizontal inequalities

(This 15-minute presentation accompanying the reading pack was recorded at the GSDRC Seminar on Conflict and Development, London, 23 March 2015.) Civil wars are one of the main sources of state fragility, low incomes and poor human development. Hence, policies to prevent conflict must be a high priority for those concerned with promoting development in…» more

Crisis management models in Africa

The rapid review uncovered very little literature detailing general crisis management models in Africa. It found almost no literature on the experience of using such crisis management models in relation to crises such as public disorder, political unrest, and epidemics. However, some independent evaluations of crisis management models used to respond to food security crises ...» more

Deterrence as a security concept against non-traditional threats: In-depth study

This study focuses on the international dimension of five threats that could affect the Netherland: terrorism; threats in the cyber domain; organised crime; threats in the economic domain; and ambiguous warfare. It also analyses the applicability of deterrence as an instrument in the context of each area. These main areas of threat are discussed in terms of the following ...» more

Radicalisation of diaspora communities

Much of the literature emphasizes that radicalisation cannot be attributed to any one factor, but is rather the outcome of a multiplicity of factors. Individual and community influences (micro level) include: Identity crisis: second and third generation immigrant and diaspora communities may experience ‘cultural marginalisation’ in terms of alienation and lack of ...» more

Lessons from Female Engagement Teams

Evaluations of Female Engagement Teams (FETs) used by the military to engage with women in Afghanistan that are available indicate that: Female soldiers have had a deescalating effect as Afghan males generally accepted females being searched as long as it was done by other females. FETs have had positive engagement with both women and men and were viewed as a kind of ‘third ...» more