Category Archives: Conflict & peace

Syria: grasping the nettle of negotiation

Russia’s military intervention in Syria brings a dramatic new dimension to a protracted, brutal conflict. The war will go on, however, and nothing so far suggests it will end any time soon with victory for one side or another. If peace is to come about other than through exhaustion, then, it can only be by agreement. And that means everybody grasping the nettle of negotiation. Continue reading

Refugees: links in the chain of disaster and response

Refugees’ humanitarian needs have generated toxic politics in the EU, with yesterday’s uncertain summit the most recent evidence of that, and a response that is widely deemed inadequate. But the critics have not been able to offer a better alternative. Continue reading

Bombing ISIS won’t stop it

Britain has had a national minute of silence today to remember the victims – including 30 Britons killed – of the beachside massacre in Sousse, Tunisia, last week. Then it will be back to politics as usual, which means discussing when to bomb in Syria. God help us. Continue reading

Gender, peace, security, slavery and cigarettes

One year on from the Global Summit to End Sexual Violence in Conflict, the senior UN official on the issue, Zainab Bangura, has said in an interview with AFP that Yazidi and other young women abducted by ISIS in Syria and Iraq are being traded “for as little as a pack of cigarettes.” Continue reading

Peacebuilding: the importance of institutions

The Conflict, Security and Development Conference is run by students at King’s College London. This year they asked me along to give the closing keynote and thoughtfully interviewed me beforehand so I could run through some of my main points. The interview falls into three sections: the first is on the central importance of institutions in building peace, the second on the role of NGOs like International Alert, and the third on the sort of challenges to peace and security that lie ahead, the compound risks we face in the coming decade and beyond.

Climate change and security: here’s the analysis, when’s the action?

Last week’s communiqué from the G7 Foreign Ministers’ Meeting in Lübeck included a statement on climate change and security. In welcoming a report, A New Climate for Peace, to which my organisation International Alert contributed, the communiqué moves the issue forward and declares it to be worthy of high level political attention. Unfortunately, what is to be done is not so clear. Continue reading

Extremism, prevention, global inequality, ISIS and migration

Events in the Middle East continue to horrify and escalate in equal measure. Last week Jordan vowed all manner of action against ISIS in Syria for burning a pilot alive, this week Egypt bombed ISIS in Libya for beheading 21 Coptic Christians. At the same time, President Obama convened an international meeting on extremism with the emphasis on prevention and the idea took hold that ISIS would infiltrate people-trafficking boats in the Mediterranean. Arise TV in London were good enough to invite me to hold forth for a few minutes on both Obama and ISIS. We covered a fair amount of ground in 6 minutes:


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