Chapter 10 – Violence, Wars, Peace, Security


Coordinating Lead Authors:[1] Peter Wallensteen, Michel Wieviorka


Lead Authors:[2] Itty Abraham, Karin Aggestam, Alexander Bellamy, Lars-Eric Cederman, Jerôme Ferret, Jean Baptiste Jeangène Vilmer, Wilhelm Heitmeyer, Angela Muvumba Sellström, Laurie Nathan, Hideaki Shinoda, Ekaterina Stepanova


Contributing Authors:[3] Olga Odgers Ortiz


Word count: [29,311]


Abstract: [Abstract 200 words]


1. Introduction


Purpose of this Chapter


This chapter deals with the human experience of physical violence from the individual to the global level. This relates to social progress in two different ways.


First of all it is possible to argue that an overall reduction in violence in itself constitutes social progress. It means “to save succeeding generations from the scourge of war” as expressed in the first sentence of the UN Charter. This could then be done by reducing (or even eliminating) violence and war from human existence. This approach is, of course, colored by two world wars and an unprecedented genocide within half a century, a uniquely violent experience for humankind. On the whole, this position is likely to shared by most peoples and governments, as all UN member states have signed the UN Charter. There are, however, also arguments for the necessity of violence or its positive role in at least some cases. It has been said that in order to achieve social change violence can be a means for social progress. Modern history suggests that without violence, colonial domination, for example, would not have come to an end, or at least not as quickly. Also, the idea that some revolutionary processes have brought social progress has to be discussed. There is a strong intellectual and political tradition that connects violence and emancipation, notably in Marxism and Leninism, but also in writings by authors that were also committed intellectuals, notably Georges Sorel or Franz Fanon. Today, the intellectual life, at least in democratic Western countries, doesn’t leave much space to this idea, and violence appears to most as dangerous, unpredictable and destructive. Intellectually and morally this provides room for change through other means, notably active non-violence, international sanctions and other forms of pressure. But we agree that this is not sufficient reason refusing a debate with those that may consider an emancipatory role for violence in some circumstances. It is important to note, for instance, that such use of violence is often conceived of as a defense against overpowering or repressive violence exerted by colonial, class or other forms of domination. Thus, the socialist movements saw an intense debate over the utility of violence for social change, with strong arguments for peaceful change of society.  There may be today be parallel Islamic discussions on the use of violence to promote Islamic value, a position associated with certain militant Islamic groups, but where this sentiment is not likely to be shared by most Moslems.


A second way to see the relations between violence and social progress is to argue that social progress means adding something to society that prevents the continuous recurrence of (violent) conflict. For instance, if the resort to violence is rooted in discrimination, inequality and injustice (which often is the case, as this chapter demonstrates), then the attainment of human rights and human dignity as well as daily physical safety for all inhabitants for the foreseeable future is social progress. Once the fear of physical attack on individuals, groups or the society is no longer present human capacity is released for building a more reliant, sustainable society. This is a world society that approaches quality peace. Such a positive vision is enshrined in the second sentence of the UN Charter which reaffirms “faith in fundamental human rights, the dignity and worth of the human person, in the equal rights of men and women and of nations large and small”. This has more recently been included in the Sustainable Development Goals for 2030 set up by the UN General Assembly in September 2015, notably Goal 16 that aims to “promote just, peaceful and inclusive societies”.


In this chapter, we depart from the assumption that the reduction of violence is not the same as the rejection of conflict.[4] On the contrary, social conflict is needed for progress. This is the essence of public debate, popular protest and nonviolent campaigns. However, we point to the importance of a line where conflicts no longer become constructive and that this line can be drawn at the threshold of systematic violence. Once a number of people have been killed, a conflict no longer becomes constructive and loses its ability to continuously move a society towards social progress. This means that we must analytically distinguish between conflict and violence. In many historical cases, violence is the contrary of a social movement. For instance, during a century and a half in some industrial countries, the working class movement contributed through their struggle to build a welfare state through progressive relations with the masters of industry. Their conflict was generally the contrary of violence. But it may also happen that violence is part of a social conflict. It would be too simple to argue that there is always and necessarily a contrary relationship, but nevertheless these are two different phenomena. Social progress may always require conflict, but not always violence.


Thus, there is an intimate connection between social progress and the issues of violence, war, peace and security. In this chapter we approach this, by first dealing with the origins and dynamics of violence and war (Section 2), followed by a treatment of matters relating to peace and security (Section 3), after which we take up a set of overarching, general issues that affect both the previous sections (Section 4) followed by some remarks on implications for the future (Section 5). The time frame largely builds on the developments since the Second World War, and more specifically since the end of the Cold War.


Approach of this Chapter


In the classical social and political sciences, the analysis of war and political violence distinguishes between various forms of these phenomena. A treatise may concentrate on one or several levels, notably, individual, local, national, supranational, international and world levels. This is a frequent framework that can be seen as a European legacy of the 17th century, often attributed to the Westphalian treaties following the Thirty Years War. It organized “the world” (in fact, Europe) in nation states which related to each other through diplomacy and war, what today is termed “international relations”. This led to or contributed to the principle of “methodological nationalism” as observed by Ulrich Beck.[5] The main patterns of thinking and examining political violence and war, focused either on relations within the nation-state, or on relations between nations. This has the advantage of making it possible to pursue international comparisons, for instance, between countries. When connected to the idea of state sovereignty, however, it meant that internal affairs were no longer the legitimate concern of other states.[6]


It is useful to distinguish various levels, from the individual to the world. At the same time we know that it is no longer enough, or fully satisfactory, since these levels constantly interact with one another, particularly in the contemporary world. Frequently, a very local expression of violence cannot be understood if one doesn’t take into account very distant elements, either concretely or symbolically: if a Jewish institution is destroyed by an explosion somewhere in Latin America, it is may be an expression of local anti-Semitism, but such hatred could certainly be nurtured by the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and by the Middle-East situation, if not perpetuated by terrorists coming from the Middle-East. The interaction may be a question of meaning, and it is then not concrete, but rather virtual, the fruit of the Internet and modern technologies of communication. This means, to quote once more Ulrich Beck, that we should adopt a “cosmopolitan” perspective to understand important issues like violence –Beck called this way of thinking “methodological cosmopolitanism”: a very local event, then, should be analysed taking into account non local logics, world risks for instance.[7]


But it is not only a question of more or less abstract meaning, the fruit of imagination of some actors, since many expressions of violence and war, today, develop simultaneously in a very concrete manner at different levels, and make impossible a simple use of “methodological nationalism”. For instance, contemporary terrorism is frequently global, a mixture of both very local and geopolitical dimensions. Radical Islamism is frequently rooted in a society, with for instance its post-colonial difficulties in integrating migrants, its inequalities, racism, etc., on the one hand, and on the other hand it may be organised far from this society, in the Middle East, by organisations such as Al Qaeda or IS, the Islamic State. In order to understand the terrorist attacks in Paris (January and November 2015), Brussels (March 2016) and Nice (July 2016), one must take into account the individual trajectories of young people that were born in France or in Belgium, or migrated to these countries, but also the existence of organisations based in Iraq or Syria, where they plan local and international actions. These terrorist acts are both domestic and international; they are both a question of police, and of army and diplomacy. The classical distinction between what is internal and what is external is not sufficient in order to understand this kind of extreme violence.


This is true also when a guerrilla movement is a local actor, attempting to achieve political goals in one country, and at the same time an active participant in international drug traffic, as it has been observed with respect to the FARC in Colombia before the peace treaty between the state and the FARC that was signed in August 2016. Of course, nation-states and their borders exist, and this defines a central level for analysis. But this is not the only level, and one must think globally, i.e. take into account the various forms of articulation and interpenetration of levels that go from the more general and global to the more specific and individual or local.


2. Violence and War


2.1 Conflict trends


There is considerable discussion on the trends in armed conflict. Steven Pinker’s wok The Better Angels of our Nature. Why violence has declined received global attention when it appeared in 2011.[8] Several other books and studies argued the same thing at about the same time.[9] Some of the evidence for these conclusions was based on data produced by the Uppsala Conflict Data Program, but the arguments for why this decline in the political use of violence differed among the authors. Pinker referred largely to a civilization change, building large on the increasing capacity of the state to control violence. Others referred to the effectiveness of international organizations (Goldstein), the democratization of societies (Gleditsch) and the declining attractiveness of violence as a political instrument (Mueller).  The data on the trends that spurred the arguments at the same time observed the decline in the number of armed conflicts and wars over time, and the decreasing destructiveness of the conflicts. In particular the focus was on the periods since the end of the Second World War. However, in an historical perspective the argumentation can be said to reflect the optimism that characterized much of the world in view of increasing globalization, universal economic growth and strong improvements in health care. Five years later, the theses seem premature, as the number of armed conflicts has increased as have their destructiveness. This is what is demonstrated in the following two curves, drawn from the same sources used by the writers, i.e. UCDP.


Fig. 1. Armed Conflicts by Intensity, 1946-2015.


Source: Uppsala Conflict Data Program, reproduced with permission



Fig. 1 demonstrates that the trend, at the time of the debate and writings by notably Pinker, Goldstein and Gleditsch had considerable face validity at the time. The reflected a situation that seemingly could be observed and confirmed around the world. The wars appeared to be ended, either through comprehensive peace agreements (notably in Sudan and Indonesia, the Balkan wars were not restarting) or victories (Sri Lanka’s armed forces decisively defeating the Tamil Tigers, in 2009). The will to fight wars of the populations in leading Western states was also obvious. Barack Obama was elected president partly because of war fatigue in the United States. The killing of Osama bin Laden in 2011, confirmed the pictures: Wars were about to be ended. However, Fig. 1 also demonstrates the difficult of making predictions:  at about the same time a set of new armed conflicts were brewing and in the following years they changed the global outlook: Islamic jihadist groups made remarkable military advances resulting in large territorial gains (IS in Iraq and Syria, Boko Haram in Nigeria, other affiliates in Libya, Mali, Yemen, al-Shabaab in Somalia). The contours of a transnational coordinated movement based of military capacity and terrorist activity suggested a real challenge to the existing world order. In this more unpredictable situation, also the actions of Russia in unilaterally occupying Crimea and military de facto controlling other parts of Ukraine, demonstrated that also on the custodians of world order, the permanent members of the UN Security Council, were capable of acting outside the Charter obligations without effectively being rebuffed. Indeed, a precedent had already been set by the US and UK invasion of Iraq in 2003. The world order was suddenly in crisis, the control by the state of means of violence no longer necessarily something that promoted civilizational values, the international institutions seemed to be sidelined and democracy was retreating.


As Fig. 1 recounts the number of conflicts, also their destructiveness needs to be added to the picture. This is what is presented in Fig. 2, which includes the battle-related deaths in the period since the end of the Cold War. Fig. 2 confirms the picture that the world faces challenges unprecedented since the Cold War. Compared to the big wars of that period, however, these conflicts are still limited, e.g. the Korean War, the Vietnam War, the Iran-Iraq War and the Soviet war in Afghanistan. However, the picture of a constant decline of wars has to be questioned. That picture may still be correct in a longer term, e.g. if one looks to decades. There is a possibility that the declining trend can be restarted. But the challenges for the immediate future, e.g. the next five to ten years is likely to be a traditional one: how to manage the threats of organized violence in such a way that the amount of violence is not increased even more?


Fig. 2. Battle-related deaths in Armed Conflicts, 1989-2015


Source: Uppsala Conflict Data Program, reproduced with permission



The statistics of Fig. 1 and 2 are global. However, we have emphasized the importance of studying the phenomenon of violence at different levels. Thus, the regional picture is not the same. Some regions of the world show patterns that deviate from the global one, in interesting ways. There are reasons to consider two, in particular: South America and East Asia. Both of them demonstrate a remarkable reduction in armed conflicts during the past three or four decades.


Thus, South America has passed through a transition away from military rule to a democratization of most of state leadership. The conflicts have largely been ended through peace processes, notably in Central America and Colombia (as recent as in 2016), or through a few victories (notably the defeat of the Maoist Sendero Luminoso in Peru). There are other problems of violence in this region, something we will return to in the Chapter.


Furthermore, East Asia has not seen a major war since 1980, but has in stead been the region of exemplary economic growth. Although democratization is less common, the character of repression may have changed in some of the countries, notably China where human rights are still continuously violated but without the types of massacres that we saw in Tiananmen Square in Beijing in 1989. South Korea, Japan, the Philippines all seems solidly democratic. At the same time, however, the region includes one of the most closed and unpredictable regimes anywhere, the one in North Korea, and the Communist Party of Vietnam has shown little interest in democratization. The uniting factor is, instead, an interest in economic growth, and stability.[10]


This means that there are certain regions that exhibit the largest degree of violence, particularly the Middle East. Thus, half of the deaths making up the 2015 number in Fig. 2 refer to the internationalized civil war in Syria. Other countries with many war victims are Iraq, Libya and Yemen, all belonging to the Arab world, and countries close by, notably Somalia, Pakistan, Afghanistan, Mali, Nigeria, Turkey and Ukraine. The present dynamics of these conflicts suggest that they are likely to continue throughout this decade and perhaps beyond, in the same form as today or involving even more actors. Even these wars were to end in one way or the other; the rehabilitation of the societies is likely to be a long-drawn-out development. Somalia has been at war for more than 25 years, although it is a very resource scare country. The capacity for continued conflict in petroleum-exporting or richer countries is thus tremendous. The experience from peace negotiations suggests that this is a reasonable way to end conflict, but also that negotiations are likely to be very protracted. For instance, the recent agreement in Colombia has taken four years but there have been many other attempts in the past to find an, agreement, the process on Guatemala took seven years, and negotiations between Israel and Palestinian representatives have continued, off and on, for more than 25 years.  Furthermore, as these involve regional connections, the complications in reaching an agreement (as well as a victory) are many and intertwined with other issues. The restoration of peace in the Middle East requires extraordinary commitments of regional as well as global actors. For the time being, there is no such commitment, apart from achieving victory for the preferred parties or preventing the victory of the enemies.


Box 1:

An armed conflict is a contested incompatibility that concerns government and/or territory where the use of armed force between two parties, of which at least one is the government of a state, results in at least 25 battle-related deaths in one calendar year. An armed conflict with more than 1.000 battle-related deaths in a calendar year is a war.

(Uppsala Conflict Data Program, www.ucdp.uu.se)


2.2 Terrorism and counter-terrorism


A particular form of violence has been central in national and international politics, since the 1960s. One can distinguish two main phases in the history of terrorism during these last fifty years. The first one includes mainly domestic and international political violence. Extreme left, extreme right and regionalist actors could implement domestic terrorism, and international terrorism was mainly associated with the Palestinian cause. Terrorism during this was not religious, and the terrorists usually wee not willing to give their life.


The second phase began in the early eighties, with the Beirut barracks bombing attacks in Beirut (October 1983) against American and French military positions.  This new terrorism appeared year after year to be “global”, which means combining domestic and transnational dimensions, religious, and self-sacrificing. It reached a peak with the 9/11 attacks, with terrorists belonging to a global organization, al-Qaeda, coming from abroad, were willing to give their life for the cause. Terrorism then follows at least two patterns in addition to the al-Qaeda variant. In some cases, the actors began to appear “local”, being for instance migrants living in the country where they act (as in London, July 2005) but without any political project; in other cases, the actors seem to be rather distant from a geopolitical organization. Media and observers have used the expression “lone wolves” – which appears usually in fact inadequate: at the first glance, the terrorist seems not to be connected with any network or organization, but after proper legal investigations, it often appears that they have had considerable contacts and sometimes some concrete support. One shouldn’t consider only Islamic terrorism, however, and we may note that extreme-right terrorists, such as Anders Behring Breivik (who killed seventy-seven persons, mostly young people, in Norway, in July 2011), could also belong to this category of “lone wolves”, but being motivated by anti-immigration sentiments.


A third model is given by those actors that try to build a state and gain political power. This was not the case with al-Qaeda, but it is the case with IS, the Islamic State, and Boko Haram in Nigeria.  As we shall see later with more precisions in this chapter, this process of differentiation of terrorism leads to analytical distinctions that are useful in order to follow the recent evolution of terrorism.


We should note that has always been difficult, and it is may be impossible, to develop a concept of terrorism that is really satisfactory logically and intellectually. When this word is used in the social or political sciences, one usually doesn’t really know whether it belongs to science, or to ordinary political or daily life.


After the attack of 9/11 (September 11, 2001) the UN Security Council decided that international terrorism constitutes a threat to international peace and security in resolution 1373 from September 28, 2001. Thus, to combat terrorism became more than ever before, a central concern for the international community. The definition remains contested, however, and there is no one agreed definition. One overview lists 260 different definitions.[11] Box 2 includes three different definitions that seem to be in frequent use.


Box 2.

Terrorism involves deliberate use or threat of violence against “soft” (non-combatant) targets, or intentionally indiscriminate violence, in the name of political, religious or ideological goals, employed by non-state actors to intimidate, destabilize and exercise pressure on the society and the state. 

Terrorism constitute “Intentional acts of violence by non-state actors that satisfy at least two of the following three inclusion criteria:

1. The violent act was aimed at attaining a political, economic, religious, or social goal;

2. The violent act included evidence of an intention to coerce, intimidate, or convey some other message to a larger audience (or audiences) other than the immediate victims; and

3. The violent act was outside the precepts of International Humanitarian Law.” 

(Global Terrorism Database, GTD, http://www.start.umd.edu/research-projects/global-terrorism-database-gtd

Terrorism is ‘any action … that is intended to cause death or serious bodily harm to civilians or non-combatants, when the purpose of such act … is to intimidate a population, or compel a Government or an international organization to do or to abstain from doing any act’ (High-Level Panel 2004: para. 164)


Two of these definitions are very general, whereas the one from GTD is very operational. The implications of the coding rule is that it is enough if two of the three criteria are met risk including situations, which are not entirely comparable. Still, the data from GTD constitutes basic information for this section and are used for the following figures and tables. A common thread in these definitions is that terrorism involves actions that target civilians and/or non-combatants. Bombings of civilian workplaces, public transportation, restaurants, hotels, schools, markets, sporting events, religious services, etc.  It is normally the duty of governments to provide safety for the general public, and thus an ambition with terrorist actins is to demonstrate that the government is not capable to deliver its part of the social contract.


There are objections to other elements in these definitions. One is that they can be applied under occupation and, thus, possibly, define legally accepted resistance against occupation as terrorism. This objection is often heard from representatives of Palestine or other Arab countries. Another is that it does not cover the actions by governments. It is not difficult to document that a number of governments actually pursue actions targeting civilians for political purposes which also could be terroristic in methods and intentions. This has led to the development of the notion of “one-sided violence” by the Uppsala Conflict Data Program, which makes it clear that states are highly responsible for a considerable share of such actions. Indeed, leaders of non-state actors targeting civilians often excuse this by referring to government actions. This is important, as there often is a dynamics between the terror used by governments and by the armed opposition groups. Regimes based on terror often breed oppositional terror, which in turn may serve to reinforce the use of terror by regimes. This may result in a seemingly never-ending action-reaction cycles, where both sides see the defeat of the other as the only way out.


There is also a complication in the description of ‘terrorism’ as an ‘ism’, that is, as a body of thought on the (legitimate) use of violence against civilians for a higher purpose, as interpreted by the actor (be it a state or a non-state actor). In this case, terrorism would be more than an instrumental choice of methodology. However, this is seldom what the actors themselves would say. The philosophy beyond the actual use of terror is what is central to these perpetrators (‘defending our homeland, our religion,’ etc.). This is what provides justification for their action and, thus, the aim is different from the means themselves. The deeds, which also the actors would agree are terrible, are justified by the ultimate purpose. ‘Terrorism’, in other words, does not refer to a society-building philosophy in line with, for instance, liberalism, socialism, nationalism, Christianity, Islam or Hinduism. Both to perpetrators and observers it is a tactic. For the victims it is a human disaster, however, involving death and destruction for purposes not shared by the victims. This means that the term ‘terrorism’ is a concept used to label actions by the others, but not part of the self-description of the actors. Thus, we can observed that many governments use the term to describe opponents, whether their actions fit with internationally acceptable definitions or not.


From a conflict resolution aspect we may add that the term leads to a strong normative statement: ‘you do not negotiate with terrorists’. Thus, labeling the opponent ‘terrorist’ means also making clear there is an absolute conflict where the only choices are victory or capitulation. The term becomes a call for unity behind one side: “Either you are with us, or you are with the terrorists”, the US President George W. Bush, Jr. announced to a joint session of the US Congress on September 20, 2001.


Thus the post-9/11 “war on terrorism” introduced new confusion and revived old controversies, especially regarding the interface of “terrorism” and “war”, “terrorism” and “insurgency”, non-state terrorism and state terror. While most experts acknowledge the highly context-specific nature of multiple forms and manifestations of terrorism, mainstream terrorism research is at least in agreement on the political nature of terrorism, as a tactic to achieve political goals, and on its asymmetrical and communication functions. The working definition used in this chapter (the first one, presented in Box 2) is close to the so-called  “academic consensus definition” of terrorism[12] that also dominates in terrorism datasets. As mentioned the data presented here stems from the Global Terrorism Database at the University of Maryland (GTD).[13] It should be noted, however, that the development of datasets, terrorism expertise and think tanks in this field are often closer to political action than to political and sociological analysis. We have also observed that the term “terrorism” and “terrorists” largely belongs to the language of ordinary or political life, which easily results in confusion when used with scientific purposes.[14] Nevertheless, this is the type of general information we have available at this time.


From the data that exists we can observe, in the early 21st century, that the main trends in terrorism include:


– its overall increase to historically unprecedented levels for the period for which terrorism statistic is available (since 1970);


– concentration of much of terrorist activity in three or four areas of major armed conflicts in the Middle East and South Asia;


– further transnationalization.


Fig. 3. Terrorist incidents worldwide, 1970–2014



As can be seen in Fig. 3 by the mid-2010s, the number of terrorist incidents reached an historical high. In 2014, the number of terrorist incidents and fatalities and the size of economic damage from terrorism exceeded those of 2000 by 9.4, 9 and 10 times, respectively. [15]


While no state is immune to violent extremism,[16] in the early 21st century much of global terrorist activity was concentrated to two regions – the Middle East and South Asia (Fig. 4). In these two areas, what we could call “transnationalized” armed conflicts were prevalent, with Iraq and Afghanistan as the most heavily affected states. In both these cases, the sharp rise in terrorism followed on the US-led military interventions of 2003 and 2001. It could be an effect of the chronic weakness or failure of governance, during and after the massive Western security presence. In 2014, five countries (three countries that were affected for the entire 2000–2014 period – Iraq, Afghanistan and Pakistan, were joined by Syria and Nigeria) accounted for 78 percent of all terrorism fatalities worldwide and for 57 percent of all terrorist attacks.[17]


In sum, most deadly, massive and destructive violent extremism is practiced neither by peripheral insurgencies in minor conflicts fought against relatively functional states (India, Russia, China, Thailand, the Philippines etc.), nor by extraterritorial fragmented networks with a fully globalized agenda such as al-Qaeda, nor by comparatively very limited manifestations of terrorism in the developed postindustrial world (in 2000–2014, Western states accounted for just 2.6% of all terrorist fatalities and 4.4% of terrorist attacks).[18] Instead, much of global terrorist activity involved only a handful of regionally based radical movements, mostly of the radical Islamist type. These movements combine systematic use of terrorist means with active combat, state-building ambitions and social experiments in three–four most intense and most heavily transnationalized major armed conflicts, i.e. conflicts that have been mentioned in the previous section.


Fig. 4. Terrorist attacks by region (top 7 regions), 2000–2014



However, one of the main specifics of terrorism is that quantitative parameters do not fully reflect the political significance and impact of terrorist attacks. In the age of globalization and continuing rapid development of information and communication technologies, the capacity of violence to affect politics becomes more important that its actual scale and direct harm. For instance, destabilizing effect of terrorism on international politics and security largely depend on the comparative “centrality” of a specific context to global politics. Despite the comparatively limited exposure of the West to direct harm from terrorism, even some few high-profile terrorist attacks in Madrid, London, Paris or Brussels draws global attention through international media and produce asymmetrical global resonances far exceeding the international effect from the more frequent and deadly attacks in, for instance, Baghdad, Kabul, Lahore or Mogadishu.


Today’s type of terrorism is a communication-oriented form of political violence, that is tailored to the information-intense postindustrial society and its vulnerabilities.


The wider debate on other causes and conditions of terrorism has gone beyond the approach centered on select “root causes” as ways to explain away all types and manifestations of terrorism, regardless of the context, to suggest that certain forms of terrorism are outcomes of certain combinations of factors—some of which may be more fundamental than others.[19] One way is to differentiate between structural, or macro-level, drivers (demographic imbalances, globalization, “traumatic” modernization and relative deprivation, transitional societies, social alienation and marginalization of segments of the population), facilitating factors (symbiotic relationship between terrorism and mass media, advances in weapons and information technology, weak state control of territory, interconnections with crime) and the more direct and context-specific motivational causes (discrimination and other grievances among a subgroup, elite dissatisfaction, lack of opportunity for political participation or human rights abuse). Another way is to look for and combine, where appropriate, explanations at different levels of social structure – at the individual psycho-sociological level, the social group, societal (national) and systemic (international) levels.


This implies an important point for those that deal with the importance of finding ways of ending violence: if  terrorism is such a complex phenomenon, then, excessively mono-dimensional and simple approaches will necessarily fail. For instance, war with IS may be considered as necessary in order to end with Islamic terrorism in many countries, but it will not solve the psycho-sociological problems or the domestic sociological crisis that make martyrdom and extreme violence attractive to many young people in these countries. 


The line between international and domestic terrorism has become blurred. In the era of “glocalization”, violent extremism at levels of the world politics from local to global differs more by the degree of transnationalization than by whether or not it is transnationalized. At the time when even locally based groups transnationalize some or most aspects of their activity, of critical importance is the ultimate level of a group’s final goals – local, regional or global.


While global trends in transnationalization of terrorism develop in parallel, they may overlap or merge. One such trend has been regionalization of violent extremism and terrorism – the bottom-up process of upgrade and expansion of a militant-terrorist actor from the more local to the regional level. Violent extremism in the 21st century has been dominated by radical movements that evolved from subnational contexts to become regionally based. Some of the most deadly militant-terrorist actors went through this trajectory. A prime example is the Islamic State of Iraq and Levant (ISIL), which started as a Sunni-based reaction to Shia control in Iraq, later entered into the Syria civil war and then began drawing attraction across the Middle East (e.g. Libya and Sinai in Egypt) as well as to individuals in Western Europe and North America. There is a similarity to the growth of Boko Haram in Nigeria beginning as a local revolt in Northern Nigeria and later reaching out to other parts of Western Africa. Some movements have, however, been around for a longer period and may have other roots and concerns, notably al-Shabaab in Somalia and the Afghan and Pakistan Taliban movements. Many of these radical movements combine terror with actual territorial control. Many aim at changes in the government of their own states, rather than inviting a confrontation with the West in Western Europe and North America (unlike IS and al-Qaeda). For a period these movements did enter into a lose alliance, however. As can be seen in Fig. 5 some of these movements are actually involved in a large share of all terrorist deeds.


In contrast, network fragmentation of transnational radical ideological (-religious) movements involves the emergence of small, self-generating militant-terrorist cells, including single-actor network agents and autonomous “lone wolves”. These actors are often linked to the movement and to each other primarily by shared goals and ideology, but see themselves and act at home or abroad as parts of a global network. The main “glue” for such networks are universalist radical anti-system ideologies (in the early 21st century, at the global level this role has been played by ideology of “global jihad”). Fragmented cells and networks emerge and operate in many countries, and may be found among homegrown, but religiously inspired jihadist followers in the West.


Fig. 5. Terrorist fatalities in conflicts involving The Taliban, ISIL and Boko Haram compared to other groups, (%), 2014



These trends are compounded by the new phenomenon of intra- and cross-regional traffic of militants and terrorists. This is a departure from traditional circulation of more or less professionalized fighters from one conflict to another, as has been observed with respect to armed conflicts in Western Africa, for instance. The concern over ‘foreign fighters’ has been great in Western Europe, observing cases of individuals that are radicalized, move to IS controlled territory and then return, ready to carry out terrorist acts in major centers. The centers of gravity for this circulation of militants seem to correspond to areas of protracted armed conflicts.


While inter-related, these three main trends in transnationalization of terrorism – regionalization, network fragmentation and rise in mass back-and-forth “targeted migrations” of militants/terrorists – are distinct, may be rooted in different contexts, and only partially overlap. However, it is precisely where they overlap that, for instance, the phenomenon of the “Islamic State” has formed.


Historically, terrorism demonstrates non-linear, wave-type dynamics driven by interaction of its asymmetrical and communication functions at a certain stage of social, international and technological development. This interaction, in the age of growing global interdependence and information and communication density, may take unexpected forms, depart from established patterns and generate new types and characteristics of terrorism that are hard to predict or forecast. This means that the task of reducing terrorism cannot be confined to protection against expected terrorist threats. It also requires identifying structural weaknesses of a socio-political system that is under terrorist threat(s) and increasing general political, ideological, social and security resilience of the system itself.


While the exact combination of antiterrorism strategies and measures depends heavily on the specifics of the system in question and the respective socio-political and cultural contexts, three main principles can be formulated, as global guidelines for antiterrorism that advances rather than reverses social progress and improves human security:


– A critical problem in strategies such as the global “war on terrorism” and national counterterrorism is a lack of understanding counterterrorism as a security activity distinct from military or policing operations. The primary goals are not coercion, enforcement or retaliation, but prevention and preemptive disruption of terrorist activity;


– Antiterrorism requires integration of strategies ranging from immediate response to addressing long-term sources of terrorism, from security to political, legal, and public information measures. However, no antiterrorism strategy is effective unless it systematically tries to undermine two key comparative asymmetrical advantages of militant-terrorist actors – their extremist ideologies and organizational systems


– Only a balance between functionality and legality, legitimacy and respect for human rights can ensure that antiterrorism does not produce more terrorism than it seeks to reduce.


At the global governance level, high concentration of terrorism in areas of three-four most intense, transnationalized armed conflicts underscores:


– deeply flawed patterns of internationalization of major conflicts through military interventions in the early 21st century;


– the imperative of reorienting global “antiterrorism” agenda towards conflict resolution and prevention and keeping it focused on the world's main centers of terrorist activity;


– the need to qualitatively upgrade multilateral efforts to advance genuine resolution of the type of regional conflict that accounts for two thirds of terrorist activity in the 21st century (the very intense and heavily transnationalized civil wars in weak states) as the lead long-term strategy to reduce terrorism. 


To this can be added – as stated in the introduction of this chapter  – if violence, particularly in its most extreme form such as terrorism, is more frequently the opposite to social movements, non-armed conflicts, i.e. to constructive change, then, the reduction of terrorism should be sought through re-inventing or re-launching of debates and conflictual relations between actors able to talk and negotiate together. This could be true at all levels, including the transnational one, and this should combine different levels of action – something which is never easy to achieve.


2.3 Targeted eliminations: Efficiency, legality and ethics


 Targeted killing is the intentional, premeditated and deliberate use of lethal force, by States or their agents acting under color of law, or by an organized armed group in armed conflict, against a specific individual who is not in the physical custody of the perpetrator.”[20] Illustrated today by the strikes conducted – mostly by drones, by the US and Israel, for example, – on suspected terrorists, such a practice has triggered a virulent academic and public debate on at least two questions.


First, its efficiency: On the one hand, its opponents pretend it is ineffective because the person killed would be immediately replaced, because terrorist organizations are adapting, flattening their organization, less hierarchical and centralized, therefore less vulnerable to decapitation, and because of the cost of the operation (one targeted killing at the right place and the right time necessitate a permanent deployment of intelligence, aircrafts, men, etc.). It would even be counterproductive, as it would trigger retaliation, create martyrs that strengthen cohesion of the adversary, make collateral damage that also reinforce its popular legitimacy and have a recruiting effect, and complicate peace negotiations.


On the other hand, its proponents respond that targeted persons are not that easily replaced, as leaders, recruiters, experts in explosives, etc., often have rare qualities and they are in limited numbers. Arresting or killing them disrupts the organization for a certain time. Quantitative studies show that the efficiency of the targeted killings therefore depend on their frequency: frequent strikes allow no time for the organization to recruit and train, and are therefore more disrupting. Furthermore, retaliation is not systematic, does not always have the means to be very lethal, and is not always easy to distinguish from an attack that would have occurred anyway.


Second, its legality. In the context of an armed conflict, international humanitarian law (IHL) applies: targeted killing may be legal if the target is a combatant or a civilian participating directly in hostilities, if it is necessary, proportional, and all precautions must be taken to minimize damage to civilians. In the absence of armed conflict, however, international human rights law applies and the state is allowed to kill only if necessary to protect life and if there is no other means, such as capture or neutralization, to prevent the threat. Targeted killing, in the sense of an intentional, premeditated and deliberate killing, is illegal because, unlike in wartime, in peacetime it is never allowed to have the sole purpose to kill.


Therefore, the crux of the matter is to know if the strikes – often drone strikes – are taking place in or outside the framework of an armed conflict. The problem of course, is that the definition of armed conflict is ambiguous, a declaration of war has never been a good indicator of a state of war, and the evolution of conflicts, particularly with the multiplication of transnational non-state armed groups such as ISIS and Boko Haram puts many situations into very grey areas, as has been discussed earlier in this Chapter.


Many states practice targeted killings but only two publicly acknowledged a targeted killings policy, Israel and the United States. They have a similar normative framework, based on a rather extensive interpretation of self-defense, and criteria such as the primacy of capture, and respect for IHL. Their framework redefines imminence: someone who has already attacked, which can be assumed that he intends to attack again, and that has the ability to do so is considered an imminent threat. It is no longer necessary to have an even vague idea of the time, place or nature of the attack: it is assumed that any alleged member of al-Qaida is “continuously” planning an attack. Such an untemporalization is controversial, as it allows using force as a first resort. Similarly, the deterritorialization of the “war on terror” that the US extends to the entire planet to meet the threat of terrorism itself deterritorialized, is legally debatable.


2.4 Violence in Societies  


2.4.1 Definition of violence


Violence is always a demonstration of power (Imbusch 2003). It can manifest as the violation or destruction of the physical and psychological integrity of persons or groups, or in threat to or destruction of a social order. Violence is always also characterized by ambiguity (Heitmeyer and Hagan 2003) when it comes to defining the diversity of its expressions, in the sense of what different cultures define as violence. There is no equivocation, however, in the case of killing of people, whether by an individual murderer, political groups or actors under state authority.


2.4.2 Social Progress


Social progress as used here depends on reducing threatened and actual criminal, political, and state killings of individuals and groups. There is, however, a specific ambivalence of violence, especially in connection with social progress: for example, where the removal of a murderous social order by individual or collective violence leads to dramatic escalation in society and potentially even civil war. Any member of society may become a victim, above all weak groups and minorities.


Identifying favorable conditions for social progress and thus reductions in deadly violence against individuals and groups – in order to enable social and political intervention –depends on the theoretical framing. The approaches are many, and in this context a starting point is the dynamics of integration and disintegration processes in societies with different levels of integration concerning social inequality, education, health, etc.


With respect to social progress, especially for the younger generation, Social Disintegration Theory (SDT) (Heitmeyer and Anhut 2008) emphasizes opportunities for reproduction (access to employment and housing), socialization (individual and group access to public and political life), and communitization in the sense of developing personal and group identity. Where these opportunities are lacking, the probability of disintegration rises, and with it deficits in recognition that can in turn lead to violence. The dynamics of integration and disintegration processes are also permeated by cultural and religious tradition and ethnic composition, and embedded in constellations of power and authority.


2.4.3 Approach


International homicide rates will be investigated and explained against the background of SDT.


First, this means the prevalence of homicide, violence against women and children, collective violence by criminal gangs, and violence by extremist political, ethnic and religious groups. The available datasets, maintained for example by the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC), the World Health Organization (WHO), and the World Bank, suffer various validity problems, especially in relation to the regions particularly affected by crisis and violence. The WHO data enjoy great international recognition and are regarded as relatively valid (Cao and Zhang 2015, 8; LaFree 1999, 133; Lee and Pridmore 2014, 116; Levchak 2016, 8; Messner et al. 2002, 383; Messner et al. 2011, 67; Ouimet 2012, 244), and will therefore serve as the principal basis for the following discussion.


Second, the extent of such violence is known to differ depending on the social constellation, as there are different levels of integration opportunities, living conditions, and dangers to life. Several indices have been developed to enable international comparison of life chances. Economic development (GDP, GNI), human development (Human Development Index, HDI), and inequality (Gini coefficient) are prominent predictors of homicide rates (Ouimet 2012, 239ff.; Pridemore 2011, 742ff). The HDI was developed to counter an overemphasis on economics in human development, thus, adding the categories of education and health. It does not, however, contain information on distribution of development resources within society, i.e. inequality.


That is instead achieved by the Inequality-adjusted Human Development Index (IHDI), which presently supplies the most relevant measurement of social development taking account of inequality (Peterson 2013). This index is here used to compare development levels with homicide rates, when seeking a macro-sociological background for the explanation of deadly violence (Messner 2003, 701f.).


In the question of a connection between HDI and homicide rates, research has produced diverging findings. Most studies, however, confirm that homicides decline as development increases (Altheimer 2008, 110; Cao and Zhang 2009; Lee and Pridmore 2014, 114f.; Messner et al. 2002; Nivette 2011, 118f.). A particular point of interest in this context is to investigate the impact of IHDI on homicide rates, something which to our knowledge has never been examined.


Third, the various manifestations of violence occur in different sociospatial contexts, the places where people live (by choice or compulsion), with their respective integration opportunities and disintegration risks. Of particular concern, in this context, is the phenomenon of global urbanization, as urban areas may be seen by many to generate the greatest opportunities for social integration and chances for a better life.


Whether such expectations can be fulfilled depends to a significant extent on the structural development of the country in which the urban area is located. For this reason, the IHDI is compared to homicide rates of the most dangerous cities, in order to arrive at findings about level of development and living conditions.


Finally, the limits of such analyses must always be noted. These include a frequent lack of the long-term data required to identify social trends in structural development, rates of violence, and urban living conditions (Fearon 2011, 4). This also applies to change over time, for example when state violence increases or decreases after the political order changes, or a civil war breaks out or ends.


2.4.4 Homicide and suicide rates


The homicide rate can be seen as an indicator of the extent of violence in a society (Cao and Zhang 2015, 3; Marshall and Summers 2012, 39; Messner 2003, 701f.; Nivette 2011, 104 and 106; Ouimet 2012, 244; Smit et al. 2012, 5). The international agency responsible for compiling such data, UN Office on Drugs and Crime, UNDOC, describes homicide data as “one of the most comparable and accurate indicators for measuring violence”[21] and, although its focus is on criminal violence, the information can also be used for other purposes, as is attempted here (Figure 1).


An initial exploration of the relationship between IHDI and homicide rate in a sample of 132 countries found a significant correlation of -.676.[22]


Figure 6: Scatterplot of homicide rate and IHDI



(calculations by Kanis, Heitmeyer, and Blome; IKG/University of Bielefeld/Germany)


When inequality is taken into consideration, it is found that the mean homicide rate decreases as level of development (IHDI) increases (see Fig. 6). The value in the least developed group is eleven times that of the most developed.


Table 1: Homicide rate by development group (IHDI) (n=132)


IHDI 2012

Human Development[23]

Number of countries

Mean homicide rate (WHO 2012) and standard deviation

Very high


1,2 (1,1)



2,8 (2,1)



8,5 (10,1)



13,6 (15,8)



9,3 (13,2)


IHDI allows for an investigation into the loss of life that possibly can be attributed to inequality. Table 1 shows the general picture. It can be added that most countries with the greatest losses are found in Sub-Saharan Africa. Of the thirty-three countries concerned, only five are outside that region.[24] The mean homicide rate in these countries is 12.1 (SD 8,3), more than six times the rate for countries with the smallest losses.


In this context, social progress – especially for the younger generation – occurs where there is an absence of temporary or permanent experiences of disintegration (manifested above all in social inequality, poverty, poor educational opportunities, and lack of healthcare). The dangers of social disintegration consist in interpersonal violence offering an attractive option for changing personal and/or group-specific living conditions. Another relevant factor is the way new means of communication enable social comparisons to be made, in the sense of learning how young people are able to live in societies with higher levels of development. The other alternative is to direct violence against the self. These two forms of violence find their strongest expression in homicide respectively suicide.


79 percent of all homicide victims and 95 percent of all perpetrators are male (UNODC 2013, 13). The high proportion of male perpetrators is consistent across all countries. The proportion of female victims is correspondingly smaller at 21 percent, of which the 15–29 age group accounts for 8 percent. Another difference between men and women is the context when homicides take place. While men are mostly killed in public spaces and by unknown perpetrators almost half of all female homicide victims are murdered by intimate partners or family members (UNODC 2013, 14.).


The young are over-represented among homicide victims: 43 percent are aged 15–29, if including victims aged under 15 increases the figure to 51 percent. Thus, in 2012 more than half of the 437,000 homicide victims were children, adolescents or young adults (UNODC 2013, 11, 14). In addition it must be remembered that survivors experience temporary or permanent physical and/or psychological harm that negatively affects their prospects of social integration.


While victim groups can be distinguished by demography, differentiation is not possible for questions of guilt or innocence, involvement in crime or gangs, or status as victim of politically, ethnically, or religiously motivated violence.


As already noted, 43 percent of homicide victims are aged 15–29. In combination with the high homicide rates in Central and South America, this means that about 14 percent of all male homicide victims worldwide are persons aged 15-29 living in that region (UNODC 2013, 13). The reasons given for this are gang-related crime, narcotics trafficking and drug consumption (including alcohol), post-conflict situations, and the availability of arms, anchored in a societal culture of violence (Cao and Zhang 2015, 6, Cole and Gramajo 2009, 766; Del Felice 2008, 83f.; Neapolitan 1994, 5f.; Waldmann 2007, 62ff.). Networking between organized crime, politics, and elites exacerbates the situation, while capital generated by criminal violence flows into charitable causes, undermining state structures (Rodgers and Jones 2009, 7).


There are some discernable trends and comparison as reported by UNDOC. For instance for the past 50 years countries in the Americas (North and South) have consistently had much higher homicide rates than European countries. For all, however, there is a slightly declining rate, but with reversal (e.g. Colombia v. Mexico in the early 2000s. It is also observed that weapons (firearms) are the most common means used for lethal homicide. It accounts for 41 per cent of all homicides.[25] The effect of the availability of firearms in the Americas has been heavily debated, as it is much easier to find such weapons there than in Europe. The report concludes that countries with higher levels of firearm ownership also have higher firearm homicide rates.[26]


More than homicide, however, suicide is one of the most frequent causes of death among adolescents and young adults (WHO 2014, 3). The total number of suicides in 2012 is estimated at 804,000 (ibid., 7), with the amount of attempts put twenty times higher (ibid., 9). Globally, young men are more likely to kill themselves than women of the same age (Table 2). Considering both genders together, the values for the 15–29 age group are relatively evenly distributed across development levels. That is not so for the general suicide rate, which is noticeably higher in countries with high or very high development than in countries with medium or low development. In comparison with the homicide rate, it is of interest that this finding shows the opposite relationship to IHDI level.


Table 2: Suicide rate by development group (IHDI) (n=130)



Suicide rate (WHO 2012) and standard deviation

Age 15-29


Human Development[27]

Number of Countries



Both Sexes

Very high


14,8 (5,1)

4,6 (2,0)

9,8 (3,6)

12,8 (2,8)



16,0 (11,3)

3,5 (3,2)

9,9 (6,7)

15,9 (9,4)



13,5 (11,1)

4,1 (3,2)

8,9 (7,0)

9,7 (7,1)



14,5 (10,5)

6,6 (6,3)

10,5 (7,9)

7,7 (6,2)



14,5 (10,1)

5,3 (5,1)

10,0 (7,1)

10,0 (7,2)


Although the number of suicides is estimated to be almost double that of homicides, it is less suited as an indicator of violence. As a rule, the recording of suicide is more complex. In certain countries suicide is illegal or taboo, leading to its prevalence being underestimated, especially in countries where registration is incomplete (WHO 2014, 7). As complex as the recording are the explanations for suicide, with causes ranging from geographical to biological, psychological and socio-cultural factors. The figures for suicide rate clearly illustrates that high development and relatively low inequality are not the same as the absence of violence (Wilkinson and Pickett 2009).


Much collective deadly violence by governments and/or extremist political, ethnic, and religious groups is included in the homicide rates and cannot be differentiated in the data.  Thus, sections 2.1 and 2.2 dealt with armed conflicts and terrorism separately.


2.4.5 Homicide rates and urbanization


While 43 percent of the global population lived in cities in the 1990s, the proportion rose to 54 percent by 2015 (UN-Habitat 2016, 6). The UN forecasts that by 2050 66 percent of the world’s population will be urban (UN 2015a, 1). This gives urban living environment special importance for the question of social development. Cities form magnets – especially for young people willing to migrate – where social integration (or at least temporary integration into the labor market) secures the individual’s economic reproduction and social recognition.


There does not appear to be any clear connection between urbanization and homicide rates. Most of the studies that have investigated this question find neither a positive nor a negative link (Levchak 2016, 5). There is discussion as to whether the growth process is a more relevant factor than the level of urbanization, in the sense of the rural-urban migration driving the urbanization process generating competition for resources and greater anonymity – and with it increased willingness to pursue criminality (Cole and Gramajo 2009, 754). Such urban environments can thus become both attractive and dangerous when integration mechanisms fail to function. This creates a source of violence, especially by young men, in particular where culturally anchored norms of masculinity exclude failure.


That tension between the attraction of supposedly diverse opportunities in highly differentiated urban areas and frequently empty promises of a better life by legal means creates the breeding ground for aggression, where individual criminal violence and collective deadly violence represent significant options. The role of education, especially where migrants originate from rural areas, and ever-present comparisons with lives and possibilities in other parts of the world conveyed via the new media represent important background conditions.


Relating the major cities with the highest homicide rates (CCSPJP 2015, 3f.) to the findings using the IHDI concept, it is found that fourteen of the fifteen most dangerous cities in the 2014 ranking are geographically located in Central and South America. Using IHDI as a measure, cities in these countries are associated with a low level of development.


2.4.6 Challenges and new threats


In terms of social progress and the associated decrease in violence, the societal challenges faced by political decision-makers and civil society actors are extraordinarily diverse.


These include preventing or minimizing an accumulation of increasing inequality and poverty, which also represent indications of social disintegration. To the extent that the data showing global poverty declining statistically (UN 2015b, 4) are correct (for criticisms see Reddy and Lahoti (2016); Klasen (2013)), average figures for social progress and social integration are not very helpful; the IHDI concept identifies numerous societies where a low level of development is associated with high levels of violence.


This raises the question of which political power constellations impede social progress, especially in favor of the young generation, and at the same time promote the attraction of violence.


This applies especially in relation to demographic developments in societies of the Global South, where often rapidly-growing young populations – for example in Arab societies – find few legal chances for social integration and thus recognition. For many, the conclusion is that the only means left to secure an existence is violence (as a way to earn an income, get power and/or change society), internal migration to major centers (with uncertain prospects), or increasing international flight and migration. In the European and North American perspectives this appears as a move from South to North, but there are also moves to the South (e.g. South Africa in Africa) or in other directions (e.g. from Indochina to South East Asia or Australia, or into China). These migrations generate new conflicts, in some cases also in violent forms.


2.5 Sexual and gender-based violence


Sexual and gender-based violence during conflict (or ‘conflict-related sexual violence’),[28] has become a new focus of social science research across a range of traditions, as well as international action by the United Nations (UN) and regional organizations and human rights and women’s non-governmental organizations (NGOs).  Whilst addressing the problem of impunity through international law[29] and UN Security Council Resolutions 1325 (2000), 1820 (2008), 1888 (2009) and 1960 (2010) has made visible this once ‘invisible’ feature of war, global attention in terms of peace and security, has also led to new insights.  First, conceptual challenges have arisen. It is no longer enough to say that gender inequality or patriarchal norms are the primary explanation for variation in the perpetrators, motives, frequency, scale or type of abuses during conflict. Perpetrator groups do not only select victims because of their gender. And, men are also victims. Second, this violence is not always a ‘weapon of war’.  Sometimes it is not organized or strategic (Eriksson Baaz and Stern 2009, 2013; Cohen 2013; Cohen and Nordås 2014; Henry 2016; Hoover Green 2011; Marks 2013; Muvumba Sellström 2015a, 2015b; Wood 2006, 2009, 2010, 2014).  There are important variations in the commission and therefore causes of these assaults, with a few actors carrying-out the majority of atrocities (Cohen 2013; Cohen and Nordås 2014; Muvumba Sellström 2015a).  New research shows how some actors prevent their fighters from committing conflict-related sexual violence (Hoover Green 2011; Lieby 2009; Muvumba Sellström 2015a, 2015b).


Describing these harms has grown increasingly complex. Sexual violence includes rape, sexual slavery, enforced prostitution, forced pregnancy, enforced sterilization, or any other similar act of comparable gravity, as defined by the 1998 Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court (ICC) (UNGA 1998).  Abuses and assaults of a sexual nature can cover a wide range of phenomena (Wood 2006, 2009, 2010, 2014) in many different combinations, in the midst of war, as well as in militarized post-conflict settings (Muvumba Sellström 2015a).  The relationship between gender-based violence, such as intimate partner abuse, and conflict-related violence is mainly anecdotal. The patterns can differ dramatically between war and peace (Wood 2014). It has therefore become helpful to focus on wartime acts and delineate the conflict-basis for these deeds from peacetime.  For instance (and not without controversy), the UN’s use of the term ‘conflict-related sexual violence’ maintains an explicit basis in terrorism; organized, political armed violence; or war where assaults are “directly or indirectly linked (temporally, geographically or causally) to a conflict” (UN SG 2016:1). 


Gender is not always the main criteria for selection for conflict-related sexual violence. Victims are chosen because of other categories, such as political affiliation, ethnicity, religion or geographic origins.  In Rwanda, between 250,000 and 500,000 ethnic Tutsis and Hutu moderate women were raped (Binaifer 1996; UN Commission on Human Rights 1996).  Certainly, their gender was the ground for targeting, but it was not a sufficient reason for their ill-treatment. Victims had to be ‘constructed’ as representing the rival interests of, or as a threat to the identity of Hutu extremist perpetrators.  The Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) in Iraq and Syria has committed systematic abduction and sexual slavery. Ethnic or religious minority women and girls have been kidnapped to serve as sexual slaves for ISIL fighters (UN 2015).  While these abuses are gendered – the Islamic extremist group used women’s bodies as a form of currency to pay its fighters – ISIL’s agenda was genocidal and it “intended to destroy the Yazidis of Sinjar, composing the majority of the world’s Yazidi population, in whole or in part” (UN Human Rights Council 2016, 1).  Such systematization lends conflict-related sexual violence to formulation as a gendered ‘weapon of war’ (Quinn Thomas and Ralph 1994).


Yet, there is no scientific consensus that gender inequality generates sexual violence in all conditions (Cohen 2013; Gottschall 2004; Wood 2014). Even when they have been exposed to similar gendered practices, with the same social construction of masculinity, marriage and sex, practices of sexual violence vary (Eriksson Baaz and Stern 2009,2013; Muvumba Sellström 2015a, 2015b; Wood 2014). Thus, scholars have turned to explaining different patterns, inevitably problematizing the weapon of war framework (see for example Buss 2009; Eriksson Baaz and Stern 2009, 2013; Kirby 2012).  Wood demonstrated that wartime sexual violence is puzzlingly varied (2006, 2009, 2010, 2014). Research by Lieby (2009) on the Guatemalan and Peruvian civil wars and Hoover Green’s (2011) study of El Salvador has since drawn out additional evidence.


The pre-conflict phase may include a range of acts that include gender-based psychological and physical abuses. However, systematic scholarly investigation of temporal variation in sexual violence remains limited. In general, pre-conflict sexual violence may be obscured. Observers may call it intimate partner abuse, or civilian rape. Violence that takes place behind closed doors may not be accounted for as conflict-related. Theoretically, intimate partner abuse may arise because of increased militarization and recruitment. Perpetrators might target victims along ethnic or political fault lines. 


Violence against men may require special attention and monitoring of prisons, particularly before more open armed hostilities. Sexual violence acts against men and boys are an empirical reality in all phases of conflict (Ferrales et al. 2016; Jakobsen 2014).  Sexual violence against males has occurred in ancient wars, in every region of the world, and in many of the conflicts of the past and present centuries (Sivakumaran 2007).  However, attacks of males are too often equated with torture, which can feature in pre-conflict repression by the state. Though they may be under-reported as ‘tortured’ (Lieby 2012), male victims are anally raped, forcibly sterilized, beaten on their genitals, forced to masturbate before their abusers or other victims and forced to remain naked. Any combination of these acts can also occur (Sivakumaran 2007).


Only a minority of armed political actors commits widespread sexual violence during conflict. Cohen and Nordås collected reports of sexual violence prevalence, covering 129 active conflicts, involving 625 armed actors for the period 1989–2009, in the Sexual Violence in Armed Conflict (SVAC) dataset. They found that 43 percent of individual conflicts had no reports of this violence (Cohen and Nordås 2014). Even in wars that could feature systematic conflict-related sexual violence, some actors may diverge from the weapon-of-war narrative. To exemplify, in 2004, the Party for the Liberation of the Hutu People-Forces for National Liberation (FNL) was rarely associated with wartime rape or similar abuses (Muvumba Sellström 2015a) during or after the civil war in Burundi. The lack of sexual violence is particularly striking if we consider that the coinciding and bordering genocide in Rwanda, between similar ‘ethnic’ groups and root causes of conflict, included widespread sexual violence against Tutsis committed by the Hutu militia group known as Interahamwe. Palipehutu-FNL and Interahamwe each aimed to defeat their respective Tutsi minorities. Both attacked Tutsi civilians. Yet, FNL did not permit or order sexual violence.  


Post-conflict sexual violence is also varied, though research on this particular phase is also limited. As during conflict, few actors commit the majority of acts. Muvumba Sellström’s (2015a) events-based dataset between 1989 and 2011, of 23 armed actors who concluded their conflicts with a negotiated settlement in sub-Saharan Africa, shows that only a minority of actors (eight) was responsible for the majority (sixty-eight percent) of abuses. However, the type of assaults was also complex.  Many of the 137 events involved more than one type of sexual violence. Approximately 30 combinations of violence were identified, ranging from single incidents of rape; gang-rape; mass rape; sexual slavery; torture; harm to children; or combinations of these. About 44 percent of post-settlement sexual violence events had an unknown number of victims. However, there did appear to be a downward trend, with the armed actors in the study reducing their levels of sexual violence within the three years after settlement of their conflict.


New research has further sought to explain the willingness of armed actors to control the behavior of their combatants.  Such research includes cross-national and case study examination of the institutional (or organizational, see (Wood 2014) conditions that contribute to sexual brutality by soldiers (Butler et al, 2007; Cohen 2013; Lieby 2009; Nordås 2012).  Wood’s (2006, 2009) study of the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) of Sri Lanka underscored Butler et al.’s (2007) contribution, which introduced the control of sexual violence as a principal-agent-problem. Wood highlighted the role of strong hierarchal structures and disciplinary practices through the chain of command. Hoover Green’s (2011) examination of the Frente Farabundo Martí para la Liberación Nacional (FMLN) in El Salvador interprets the principal-agent problem (Butler et al. 2007) as the “commander’s dilemma”, whereby leaders have to control their fighters while simultaneously inculcating their fighters with a will to kill for the cause (Hoover Green 2011:3).  One solution is standard operating procedures (more often found amongst state actors), and de-legitimization of problematic values.  This echoes Butler et al.’s (2007) conclusion that breakdowns in institutional bureaucratic oversight among state agents will increase abuses.


A robust code clarifies Palipehutu-FNL’s behavior. It instituted a prohibition on sexual violence and leveled the death penalty, applicable throughout the chain of command. Leaders indoctrinated followers during group prayers and trainings, ritualized good conduct through naming and shaming, and fostered peer pressure (Muvumba Sellström 2015a).  Sexual violence was depicted as amoral and an act of weakness. This is in contrast to its rival rebel group, the National Council for the Defence of Democracy-Forces for the Defence of Democracy (CNDD-FDD), which never instituted clear and constant codes of conduct against sexual violence.  While FNL had a lower rate of sexual violence, CNDD-FDD, even as the ruling, governing party in the post-conflict period, was responsible for intense levels of sexual and gender-based violence (Muvumba Sellström 2015a). 


However, as with gender inequality, the lack of institutional prohibitions may not be a sufficient explanation (see also Henry 2016). Wood proposes that ideology is an understudied and important basis for an armed group’s likelihood to prevent abuse (Gutiérrez and Wood 2014; Wood 2015).  Hoover Green (2011) suggests that actors espousing a Communist vision for society are amenable to discipline. Peace and conflict research indicates that economic endowments (Humphreys and Weinstein 2006; Weinstein 2006) might explain the permissiveness of indiscriminate sexual abuse. Cohen (2013) provides a picture of sexual violence as a tool for building cohesion when a non-state armed group forcibly recruits fighters. Ex-Palipehutu-FNL point to their dependence on civilians as a reason for putting in place the edict against sexual violence in the first place. Muvumba Sellström (2015a) posits that this is what motivates rebel group conduct.  


Other important distinctions require further study. Tentative evidence shows that state actors (government security agents, police, military) are more likely to commit sexual violence during and immediately after conflict (Nordås 2011, 2012; Muvumba Sellström 2015a, 2015b).   These findings are drawn from reports from international human rights groups such as Human Rights Watch (HRW) and Amnesty International (AI), news reports, and US State Department Human Rights reports. It is possible that these sources focus on the state. At least, state abuses may be more observable to the press and to NGOs. 


To conclude, the deeper appreciation for variation offers an opportunity. If some armed actors control their fighters, despite gender inequality, then conflict-related sexual violence is preventable. Finding out why and how, will be an important contribution to our collective social progress.


2.6. Nuclear Weapons and Military Expenditures


2.6.1 Developments in Global Nuclear Weapons Arsenals


The previous sections have dealt with ongoing uses of violence for political purposes. One of the bases for military action is the military capability that the parties command.  Thus, it is important to observe the trends both in nuclear weapons and in the conventional arsenals. Fig. 7 and 8 have pertinent information with respect to nuclear weapons issues.


Fig. 7. Nuclear Weapons Inventories, 1945-2016.[30]



While nuclear weapons reduction has slowly continued-- due primarily to the USA and Russia, which collectively have over 93% of the world’s nuclear weapons-- the leading nuclear weapons-possessing countries continue to invest in expensive, comprehensive nuclear modernization programs. This, despite these two countries recently renewing their commitment to nuclear arms reduction with the successor to START, the 2011 bilateral Treaty on Measures for the Further Reduction and Limitation of Strategic Offensive Arms. The states with smaller such arsenals have begun following suit, and many are expanding their nuclear arsenals, namely, China, India, and Pakistan.[31]


As the head of the SIPRI Nuclear Weapons Project. Shannon Kile, recently pronounced, “Despite the ongoing reduction in the number of weapons, the prospects for genuine progress towards nuclear disarmament remain gloomy.”[32]


Fig. 8 demonstrates the differences in nuclear capacity. North Korea’s capacity is not included but it is likely to be smaller than what is often project to be the Israeli inventory (which is not acknowledged by the Israeli government). However, it may be more strategically significant for the North Korean regime.[33] Increasingly unified international pressure on North Korea has not been able to stop the country’s move towards a more advanced capacity in weapons as well as in delivery system. There are no negotiations going on to deal with this problem. Instead, the developments add to the gloom expressed by SIPRI research Kile.


At the same time, the agreement with Iran on its nuclear program is likely to effectively halt the possibility of this country becoming the 10th nuclear weapons state. The likelihood of any other country initiating a nuclear weapons program today seems remote. In that sense, the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty has slowed down the spread of such weapons around the world. This points to the ability of negotiations to actually achieve results in this field, and thus suggests the urgency of increasing the international efforts in this regard.


Fig. 8. Estimated Nuclear Weapons Inventories, 2016.



2.6.2 Developments in Military Expenditures


Military expenditures are a further indication of the ability and willingness of states to undertake military and violent action for their own defense and, possibly, global security. Fig. 9 shows the trends in global military spending. Table 4 then provides the total expenditure for key countries as well as trends in spending for these countries during the past ten years. Both these graphs are drawn from SIPRI, which is customary seen to be a reliable source for such estimates.


After declining precipitously with the fall of the Soviet Union and the end to the Cold War, world military expenditures began sharply rising in the first decade of the 21st century. With the global economic crisis, military spending in much of the world halted or declined. World military expenditures rose in 2015 for the first time since 2011, partially reflecting the recovery of North American and European countries from the economic crisis. Likewise, this recent rise has been propelled by the continued military spending growth in China, Russia, Saudi Arabia, and other countries in Asia, Central and Eastern Europe, and the Middle East, which have offset the expenditure declines experienced in other parts of the globe.[34]


Fig. 9. Military Expenditures, 1988-2015



Table 4. Military Spending. 15 top spenders, 2006-2015.




According to the Table 4 world military expenditure in 2015 totaled 1 676 billion dollars, the 15 top spenders were responsible for more than 80 per cent of this. It is notable that the five permanent members of the UN Security Council (USA, UK, France, Russia and China) alone spent close to 60 percent of the world expenditures. Thus, the accumulated military power, if these states acted in concert, would be overwhelming. For many countries, these statistics also suggest that military expenditures is done at a considerable price for the national economy, constituting more than 5 percent of GDP, for instance, for Saudi Arabia, United Arab Emirates, Israel and also Russia. For the three first it may be a response to the turmoil facing the region, as can be seen in the fact that Saudi Arabia’s military expenditures have risen by almost 100 percent in the past ten years. Only the United Arab Emirates and China have growth rates exceeding this, in the first case certainly also an effect of the regional turmoil, while for the latter it has increased concerns in the East Asia about China’s long term ambition.


Thus, the military data reinforces the picture that emerges from the analysis of armed conflicts and terrorism. There are some regions that find themselves in particularly challenging circumstance. When facing immediate security challenges from conditions in the neighborhood, there are strong incentives to invest in defence, and, as a corollary, be attempted to intervene in one form or another.


The type of weapons and the military expenditures reported in Fig. 9 and Table 4 largely related to major arms. Many of the wars in, say, Africa, do not use such heavy equipment. It is notable that there are no African counties among the 15 top spenders. The estimate made by SIPRI military expenditures for all of Africa is set at US€ 37 billion, which is about 2 per cent of the world total.[36] It would but the entire continent (of more than 50 countries) at place ten in the Table 8. Still it is a continent that has large share of all armed conflicts, regularly around a third.[37] This means that these wars are fought with smaller weapons, which thus are capable of creating considerable havoc in poor countries and dilute their resources even more.  A recent report of the Small Arms Survey points out that just two countries (China and Russia) hold almost 25 per cent of the total global inventory of such weapons. It also states that newly manufactured weapons outstrip the destruction of surplus firearms.[38] This means that the world’s holding of such weapons increase. It is likely that they are not only used for politically motivated wars, but also find their ways to organized crime and to individuals, making possible school shootings and other events with less overt political motivations. In other words, there is a considerable undocumented trade in small arms. 


2.7 Conclusion


In this section we have scrutinized some of the trends and insights into the most devastating forms of violence: armed conflicts, war, terrorist acts, homicide and suicide. The trends that can be observed do not necessarily all point in the same direction. The long-term trends have been one of declining violence of all forms. However, lately armed conflicts, wars and terrorism have again been on the rise. As studies of homicide show, there is a close connection between armed conflict and homicide. One may thus fear an upsurge also in such violence, even if some of the presently ongoing wars are terminated. This means that the world faces intense challenges to deal with the threats of violence. Thus, we turn to the possibilities of dealing with such challenges.


3. Peace and Security


3.1  International Peace and Security


The challenges we have indicated in the previous sections directly relate to the security of the inhabitants of this planet. The challenges may be more acute to some regions than to others and some individuals than others, but it is all part of the same global threat. The insecurity of some can quickly be the insecurity of all, particularly in this globalized age. The task for the world, thus, is both conceptual and practical. How shall the present situations be analyzed and how can it be approached. The methodologies and conclusions are likely to vary, but the importance of concerted action may be less disputed. As the assignment is global in nature, it should be the domain of international institutions in general and the UN in particular. The purpose of the UN according to Article 1 is exactly to “maintain international peace and security, and to that end take effective collective measures for the prevention and removal of threats to the peace”. Thus, in this section we will study some of the means available for such responses.


Fig. 10 below presents the activity of the UN Security Council as the main organ for deciding on the collective measures for the worlds as a whole.[39] The increased work of the Council can be seen in the number of decisions in general (resolutions) and in particular the resolutions taken under Chapter VII (which are binding for the entire membership).  This includes decision on sending out mediators and peacekeepers, or imposing sanctions, supporting disarmament measures or initiating peacebuilding work. The third line in the Figure shows the number of draft resolutions that have been vetoed by one or more permanent members of the Council.  The Figure demonstrated an impressive activation of the Council since the end of the Cold War.


Fig. 10 UN Security Council Resolutions 1946-2014



When comparing this curve to the one of Fig. 1 it can be observed that the increased activity of the Council in the 1990s actually corresponds to a reduction in armed conflict. However, the increase of armed conflict observed since 2011 does not see an accompanying increasing of Council activity, at least not in terms of making more decisions. A study of the actual texts of the resolutions would, however, most likely demonstrate the increased complexity and the difficult in handling some of the conflicts. Some of the most urgent wars, however, have not seen concerted action by this UN body, notably those over Syria and Ukraine. It may point to an important deficiency in the international set up. However, before looking for remedies, let us pursue some of the means commonly used by the international, regional and national bodies involved in dealing with global issues of violence and war.


3.2  Disarmament Issues


The availability of weapons, munitions and spare parts as well as training of soldiers, refining equipment and finding bases for action are important for the initiation and continuation of wars, armed conflicts and terrorist deeds. The trends were observed in section 2.3. A radical way of dealing with this is to find effective forms of disarmament. Table 5 lists all major international disarmament treaties that have been agreed among states since 1963, i.e. 27 treaties in 53 years. It is not an impressive rate, as it suggests only one treaty every second year. Given the size of nuclear arsenals, the extent of military expenditures, the increase in armed conflicts and the challenge of terrorism, this is not an inspiring record. On the contrary, it demonstrates an inability of the international community to face the challenge of political organized violence in a joint manner. As several of the treaties have been quite effective, it is possible for states to agree in ways that are sufficiently detailed to stand the tests of implementation. We have mentioned the Non-Proliferation Treaty earlier. In the case of the ban on chemical weapons the world was able to act jointly against Syria’s use of such weapons in 2013 and have them abolished within a year. Thus, the world can conclude agreements of high quality and make sure they are implemented, if this is given shared priority. The latest agreement, the Arms Trade Treaty of 2013 is now in place and has began its work to control illicit transfers of arms. It remains to be seen and there are many suggestions for its improvement, for instance, as expressed by the Small Arms Survey: the need for a standardized international reporting system.[40] It is, however, the only treaty that would actually have an impact on all the three types of violence we have scrutinized here: wars, terrorism and homicide.[41]


Table 5. International Arms Control Treaties


International Disarmament Treaties and Agreements

Arms Trade Treaty

June 25, 2013

New Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty

May 10, 2010

Mine Ban Treaty

March 21, 2010

Convention on Cluster Munitions

May 30, 2008

International Code of Conduct against Ballistic Missile Proliferation (ICOC)

November 25, 2002

Strategic Offensive Reductions Treaty (SORT)

May 24, 2002

Open Skies Treaty

January 1, 2002

Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty II (START II)

September 26, 1997

Chemical Weapons Convention (CWC)

April 1, 1997

Comprehensive Test-Ban Treaty (CTBT)

September 17, 1996

African Nuclear-Weapons-Free Zone Treaty

April 11, 1996

Treaty of Pelindaba

October 26, 1994

Missile Technology Control Regime (MTCR)

January 7, 1993

Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty I (START I)

October 1, 1992

Latin America Nuclear Weapons Free Zone Treaty (Treaty of Tlatelolco)

January 1, 1989

Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty

December 27, 1988

South Pacific Nuclear Weapons Free Zone Treaty (Treaty of Rarotonga)

August 6, 1985

Strategic Arms Limitation Talks II (SALT II)

June 18, 1979

Peaceful Nuclear Explosions Treaty (PNET)

April 4, 1976

Biological Weapons Convention (BWC)

March 26, 1975

Threshold Test Ban Treaty (TTBT)

July 1, 1974

Strategic Arms Limitation Talks (SALT I)

May 26, 1972

Anti-Ballistic Missile (ABM) Treaty

May 26, 1972

Seabed Arms Control Treaty

May 18, 1972

Outer Space Treaty

October 10, 1970

Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty (NPT)

March 5, 1970

Limited Test Ban Treaty (LTBT)

October 10, 1963

via Arms Control Association https://www.armscontrol.org/treaties?page=2


As can be seen in Table 5 most of the treaties have concerned weapons of mass destruction (i.e. nuclear, chemical, and biological weapons), delivery systems (missiles in particular) and some very specific conventional weapons (land mines, in particular). Some of the measures are regional, rather than global, and some treaties have replaced or deepened earlier agreements. As could be seen in Fig. 7, the agreements on nuclear weapons have resulted in substantial reductions in the inventories, but by no means led to the type of removal of entire systems as was discussed in the 1980s, and resulted in the complete elimination of intermediate-range nuclear weapons in 1988. As indicated by the increase in global military expenditures, the world seems close to facing a new upsurge in weapons development, not the least as some of the leading nuclear weapon states were engaged in new weapons projects. 


Thus, the achievements of international disarmament remain disconcerting and the international actions to deal with them are not convincing.


3.3 Peace making and Mediation


3.3.1 Introduction


Since the end of World War II, and particularly since the demise of the Cold War, the settlement of conflicts through mediation has become increasingly common. In the 1990s there were more mediation attempts than during the preceding four decades combined,[42] and the proportion of conflicts ending in peace agreements exceeded those ending in military victory.[43] Other prominent trends over the past two decades include the institutionalization of international mediation and the growing involvement of regional organizations in peacemaking.[44]


This section highlights the importance of mediation but warns against exaggerating the role and influence of the mediator; it covers the institutionalization of the field as well as the major deficiencies and challenges; it identifies ways of reducing the risk that peace agreements break down; and it suggests that more attention should be paid to post-conflict constitutions as the definitive peace agreements. The discussion focuses on the resolution of intra-state conflict, which has become much more prevalent than inter-state conflict.  


The relative importance of mediation


The importance of international mediation in deadly conflict is unquestionable. It is frequently the only bridge from hostilities to peace and it can forge among mortal enemies a consensual platform for long-term reconciliation, reconstruction and statebuilding. Where it fails, as in Darfur from 2004 to the present, Syria from 2012 to date and Rwanda prior to the 1994 genocide, the fatalities and destruction can reach catastrophic proportions. By contrast, in 1996 UN mediation ended the civil war in Guatemala, in 2005 the Inter-Governmental Authority on Development mediated an end to the decades-long war in Sudan and in 2008 the African Union mediation in the Kenyan electoral conflict prevented a descent into protracted violence.


Notwithstanding the importance of mediation, however, the mediator’s role and influence should not be overstated. By definition, mediation requires the consent of the conflict parties, who must be willing to transcend their mutual hatred and suspicion and embark on a cooperative process of negotiation and problem-solving. Without this willingness, there may be little that a mediator can do. The mediator’s assets are soft and intangible, encompassing stature, credibility and a distinct set of personal attributes and skills. Even if the mediator is backed by powerful actors that offer attractive inducements and put concerted pressure on the parties, mediation will not make progress unless the adversaries believe that their interests are likely to be served through a negotiated settlement. In short, the burden of peacemaking lies more with the parties (and their allies and patrons) than with the mediator.


Nevertheless, the fallacy of the mediator as a demi-god is widespread. It is evident in policy perspectives that expect the mediator to craft agreements in perfect compliance with liberal norms, regardless of the wishes of the conflict parties; in academic work that places too much weight on the mediator’s characteristics and strategies as determinants of the outcome of negotiations; in the hubris of mediating organizations that imagine they can rapidly bring the parties to their senses through a combination of persuasion, carrots and sticks; and in the pressure that donors put on mediators to broker a peace agreement quickly. Put differently, the fallacy here is to treat negotiations as sub-species of mediation when in fact it is the other way round.


3.3.2 Mediation professionalism and deficiencies


The UN has played a pioneering role in the professionalization and institutionalization of international mediation. It has established a mediation support unit in the Department of Political Affairs; a standby team of mediation advisers, available for rapid deployment to support peace processes throughout the world; an academic advisory council on mediation; and several specialist training programmes. Similarly, the European Union, the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe, the African Union and other regional bodies have set up mediation structures and made efforts to enhance the quality of their peacemaking endeavors. 


The impact of this professionalization and institutionalization is unclear. There is certainly much greater knowledge, expertise and capacity than in previous decades but the field remains wracked by serious deficiencies. Lakhdar Brahimi and Salman Ahmed refer to these deficiencies as the ‘seven deadly sins of mediation’.[45] The ‘original sin of mediation’ is a mediator’s ignorance regarding the conflict dynamics, parties and history. This is compounded by the sin of arrogance, where mediators are untroubled by their ignorance, assuming that the conflict before them is pretty much like the previous ones. The other deadly sins, according to Brahimi and Ahmed, are partiality, impotence, haste, inflexibility and false promises.


Quite often, moreover, mediators intervene in complex conflicts without a comprehensive plan, believing that the need for flexibility in volatile situations is somehow antithetical to sound planning. But in the absence of a strategic plan, mediations lack cohesion and direction, they tend to be reactive rather than proactive and they do not inspire confidence among the conflict parties. Another general malaise lies in the sphere of evaluation, learning and adaptation.  There is an endless stream of ‘lessons learnt’ workshops and manuals on mediation but the findings do not lead to the requisite reform of practice and systems. Consequently, there is insufficient institutionalized learning over time and the same mistakes are repeated from one mediation to the next.  


3.3.3 Mediation challenges


Over the past twenty years regional organizations in some parts of the world have become more assertive in addressing conflicts in their neighborhood. This has often been accompanied by synergistic cooperation between these organizations, the UN and other external players.[46] The downside is that the multiplicity of mediation actors has also led to coordination problems, nasty competition over the leadership of a mediation, and ‘forum shopping’ by the conflict parties.[47] In Africa there have been many divisive clashes between mediating bodies, including the cases of Burkina Faso (2015), the Central African Republic (2003, 2013 and 2015), Côte d’Ivoire (2011), Darfur (2011), Guinea (2009), Guinea-Bissau (2012), Libya (2011), Madagascar (2009), Mali (2012), Sudan (2008) and Zimbabwe (2008).[48] Although the UN Secretary-General has called for ‘coherence, coordination and complementarity’ among external actors involved in peace efforts,[49] the UN has not established reliable mechanisms to achieve this.


Other mediation challenges that have attracted attention over the past few years are the need for greater involvement of women in negotiation and mediation teams; broadening peace processes beyond the negotiating table and engaging women’s groups and other civil society formations; the incorporation of gender provisions in peace agreements; the role of mediators during the implementation of agreements; the pressure on mediators to promote the UN’s ever expanding normative agenda; the UN ban on amnesties for war crimes, which sometimes puts mediators at loggerheads with the conflict parties; the difficulty of mediating with parties that are fragmented; the many conundrums related to negotiations with extremists; and the development of national capacities for mediation and dialogue.


3.3.4 Implementation of peace agreements


Peace agreements are not self-implementing. Many of them break down, resulting in renewed hostilities.[50] One possible reason is that the parties, under pressure from external actors, sign an agreement without any intention of honoring it. Alternatively, they might initially be committed to implementing the agreement but then change their minds because of opposition from within a party or a change in the balance of power between the parties. A third possibility is that implementation disputes escalate because of the abiding enmity and suspicion among the parties. Fourth, there may be inadequate external support for implementation, especially in relation to security arrangements. Fifth, parties that did not participate in the negotiations might seek to wreck the settlement through violence.


A review of practice and the literature has identified a number of mediation approaches and strategies that might reduce the risk of breakdown.[51] Some of these naturally relate to the content of the agreement. A sustainable agreement is likely to be one that, to the greatest extent possible, meets the primary needs, concerns and aspirations of all parties and communities; avoids marginalizing any party or community; addresses the root causes of the conflict; and lays the basis for representative and inclusive governance. The agreement should also include an implementation plan that covers responsibilities, a time schedule and monitoring, verification and dispute resolution mechanisms.


Mediators and donors are mistaken, though, if they believe that the ‘magic’ lies in the text. Rather, the key to success lies in changing the relationship between the parties. Violent intra-state conflict emerges not only from substantive disputes and grievances but also from a chronic deterioration in political and social relationships. The violence itself does massive damage to relationships. The mediator must therefore prioritize the challenge of political reconciliation, assisting the parties to shift their disposition from implacable enmity to non-violent political competition and cooperation. In deadly conflicts this cannot be done quickly and it is imprudent for donors and other international actors to urge mediators to move with undue haste.


A related imperative is that the agreement must be owned by the protagonists and not forced on them by mediators. In intra-state conflicts it is also desirable that the negotiations and resultant peace agreement are anchored in civil society and enjoy public support. This helps to minimize popular fears and suspicion about the talks, contributes to the legitimacy of the process and the agreements, cultivates national ownership and not merely elite ownership, and for all these reasons contributes to the sustainability of the agreement.


The period immediately after the signing of a peace agreement is one of great danger and uncertainty, which is heightened if there is a delay between the disbandment of the mediation team and the formation of the implementation support team and mechanisms. The implementation team should be set up, and implementation planning should begin, prior to the conclusion of negotiations. Conversely, it is unwise for a mediation team to disband as soon as the agreement is signed. The team ought to be retained, with some continuity in its membership, to support dispute resolution during the implementation phase.


3.3.5 The post-conflict constitution as the peace agreement


The outcomes of peace agreements are not limited to the absence or recurrence of hostilities. Rather, they vary along a spectrum that covers renewed fighting, low-level instability, stability without social justice, and a durable peace characterized by justice, equitable development and good governance. These outcomes are not determined solely by the content of the peace agreement. They emerge from a wide range of domestic and external factors and institutions that traverse the political, economic and social realms


A critical institution that has been neglected in studies on the durability and impact of peace agreements is the post-conflict constitution.[52] Many such constitutions incorporate key provisions of the peace agreement and some of them emerge directly from the peace agreement’s stipulations on constitutional reform.[53] Examples include the constitutions of Bosnia and Herzegovina (1995), Bougainville (2004), Cambodia (1993), Kenya (2010), Mozambique (1992), South Africa (1993) and Sudan (2005). These constitutions may amount to legal versions of the peace agreements. In the long term they constitute the definitive peace agreements because, unlike the accords signed by the conflict parties, they enjoy the status of supreme law, they have enduring authority, they are justiciable and enforceable, they are binding on the state and all groups and citizens, and they can be amended if they become outdated. In addition, the content and the process of drafting a post-conflict constitution has sometimes played a conciliatory and unifying role, seeking to overcome historical divisions and forge a national vision and identity. And in a broader sense, peace is maintained through a constitution’s classic functions of regulating political competition, constraining the exercise of power, protecting individuals and groups, and establishing procedures and mechanisms for non-violent management and resolution of conflict.


In reality, of course, a post-conflict constitution might not live up to these ideals and it may well enshrine elite pacts and compromises on land, justice and other matters, derived from the negotiated settlement, that lay the seeds for subsequent tension and instability. The constitution can be a much revered or much abused instrument, a site of political contestation or a vehicle that serves to contain and resolve political disputes. In any event, the crucial point is that the salience of a peace agreement fades with the passing of time, whereas the constitution’s strengths and limitations as a peacemaking institution may have abiding significance.


3.4 Peacebuilding


Peacebuilding is central to social progress as it seeks to address justice and the structural root-causes to conflict (Mani 2002; Aggestam and Björkdahl 2013; Philpott 2012). Peacebuilding is therefore closely connected to positive peace (Galtung 1969), social, economic and political progress by its ambition to build peace beyond the cessation of direct and organised violence (negative peace). This brief section on peacebuilding provides an overview of recent trends in the field of practice as well as in theory. It concludes with a reflective note on the current debates and how the contemporary peacebuilding is standing at the crossroads. This discussion recurs in the concluding chapter with a note on resilient peacebuilding.


The peacebuilding field is relative new and evolved as a response to the growing number of intrastate conflicts in the early 1990s. It was triggered after the end of the Cold War by the initial optimism about new prospects for collective actions within the United Nations (UN). At the same time, it was a response to the increasing number of intrastate conflicts with their devastating consequences of ethnic cleansing and genocide taken place in such places as the Western Balkans and Rwanda. A noticeable mobilisation on the international arena to act was observed, which included humanitarian military interventions and long-term international engagement to build peace (Hoffman and Weiss 2006; Philpott and Powers 2010). Taking the lead, former UN General Secretary Boutros Boutros Ghali launched a new peacebuilding agenda in the document Agenda for Peace (1995) where peacebuilding is “defined as action to identify and support structures which will tend to strengthen and solidify in order to avoid a relapse into conflict.” The document contained an ambitious agenda that underlined the responsibility of the international community not only to manage but also to prevent conflict. Hence, peacebuilding was launched in an attempt to resolve problems associated with fragile, failing and dysfunctional states in order to transform them into strong robust liberal democracies. The prospect of building peace and security was also to be bolstered and embedded by economic development, interdependence and regional cooperation. Consequently, comprehensive peace support operations began to expand dramatically from the early 1990s onwards not only in numbers but also in their multifunctional tasks and mandates (Heldt and Wallensteen 2006). In sum, the practice of peacebuilding largely evolved into state building (Chandler 2010; Call and Wyeth 2008).


3.4.1 Institutionalisation of peacebuilding


Peacebuilding is often described as the institutionalisation of peace, which aims to balance the twin objectives of consolidating peace and averting a relapse into conflict (Mani 2002). There are numerous definitions and concepts associated with peacebuilding, which reflects the broad range of activities associated with the term (Jeong 2005; Call with Wyeth 2008; Cousens and Kumar 2001). Furthermore, the concept of peacebuilding serves as an umbrella notion, which overlaps with many other spheres of peacemaking, peacekeeping, development, reconciliation, institution building and democracy promotion.


Ramsbotham and others (2011) suggests a useful analytical overview of peacebuilding, which is summarised in four dimensions. The first one regards the military/security focusing on establishing order and security in the post-conflict phase. For instance, peacekeeping troops can rapidly be deployed as a way to bolster a ceasefire, peace agreement and to restore the monopoly of violence after the violence has ceased. Thus, the quest to integrate various military branches in to one and to transform rebel groups to political parties is of critical importance for the security and order (Ekengren and Simons 2011; Edmunds 2008; Lyons 2005; Sriram and Herman 2009). This ambition is reflected in the number of programmes that the international community has launched in recent years on Demilitarisation, Demobilisation and Reintegration (DDR) and with Security Sector Reforms (SSR). The second dimension of peacebuilding is political/constitutional, which focuses on supporting the political and democratic transition from war to peace by assisting to restore law and order, for instance by drafting and making constitutional reforms and amendments, holding elections and strengthening civil society. In addition, one central aim is to introduce and build good governance and to establish a strong justice sector, which can monitor the adherence of human rights and democratic norms (Sriram et al 2010; Call 2007; Jarstad and Sisk 2008). The third dimension relates to economic/social peacebuilding practices, such as assisting with development and long-term sustainable macro-economic planning aimed to stabilise the economy of the state. Such efforts may include issues related to distributive justice and inequalities between groups, but may also include land ownership, property rights, employment and welfare programmes (Berdal 2009; Donais 2005; Carey 2012). The last dimension concerns the psycho/social of building peace in conflict-ridden and traumatised post-war societies. Thus, peacebuilding is here strongly associated with justice (Biggar 2003; Murithi 2009; Lederach 1997; Lambourne 2009).


In many ways, the transitional justice has moved to the forefront of the peacebuilding agenda (Bell 2009; Teitel 2000) as several contemporary conflicts have suffered from ethnic cleansing, war crimes and genocide. It is also a core priority of the international community to hold perpetrators accountable for crimes and violence committed during war. Accordingly, it marks an end to the culture of impunity that existed during the Cold War. Moreover, to address past atrocities is viewed as critical for any durable peace settlements (Young 2007). One overarching assumption is therefore that processes of democratisation, peacebuilding and transitional justice are mutually reinforcing (Fukuyama 2004; Ignatieff 2003).


There are numerous empirical cases where principles of retributive justice are ingrained within the peacebuilding paradigm and practice, such as the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia and the United Nations International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (Kerr and Mobekk 2007; Rotberg and Thompson 2000). Also restorative justice principles are promoted within peacebuilding, focusing on social and political processes to rebuild fractured relationships. The Truth and Reconciliation Commission in South Africa is an often-referred example of where peace is seen as achieved through the empowerment of victims and offenders (Clark 2008; Menkel-Meadow 2007; Zehr 2002).


The strong emphasis on justice in peacebuilding, however, has also caused heated debates among practitioners and scholars (Albin 2009; Herman et al 2013). One line of argument is that justice is an essential good to be pursued, which may contribute to the consolidation of a sustainable peace. It claims that the urgency of reaching an end to violent conflict may fail to address underlying causes of conflict and violations of international humanitarian law and therefore cause peace accords to collapse. A contrasting argument considers the pursuit of justice to undermine pragmatic and more realistic peacemaking efforts, causing counterproductive results and triggering new conflicts. Yet, as Hughes and others (2007) point out, while justice does not necessarily generate or equate to peace, it is necessary and appropriate to integrate justice in peace processes in order to produce conditions for a durable peace.


3.4.2 In theory: contesting ideal types of peacebuilding


In the last two decades, the peacebuilding field has quickly been professionalised due to the increasing needs and demands of peace expertise, particularly from western policy makers. To reduce and manage the complexities posed by contemporary conflicts, the international community has continuously strived towards a standardised, professionalised and at times technocratic methodology of peacebuilding (MacGinty 2012; Aggestam 2015). Yet, despite successful outcomes in some peace processes, the peacebuilding field is still struggling with a whole range of problems and challenges, such as those posed by collapsed peace processes (MacGinty 2006) the non-implementation of negotiated peace agreements (Stedman et al 2002) the resurgence of violence in post-conflict societies by so-called peace spoilers (Darby 2001; Newman and Richmond 2006); exclusion of women and other marginalised groups (Paffenholz et al 2016; and widespread peace fatigue in long-drawn out peace processes where conflicts tend to be frozen (Perry 2009; Aggestam and Björkdahl 2012). Hence, a number of assessment studies and evaluation programmes have been conducted on peacebuilding practices that aim to distil lessons learned and identify best practices (see for example, Reychler and Schirch 2013).


The scholarly field on peacebuilding has therefore sought to generate policy relevant contributions, which for example is reflected in the large number of handbooks on peacebuilding produced, including tool-boxes and recommendations of suitable strategies (see, for example, UN 2010; Ho-Wong 2001). Several academic studies have examined the correlation between peacebuilding and sustainable peace from a diversity of theoretical perspectives (Newman et al 2009) and methodological approaches ranging from large N-studies (Wallensteen 2015) to ethnographic studies (Paffenholz 2001; Richmond 2010). Yet, despite its generic drive one shared conclusion from these studies is that there is no universal blueprint of peacebuilding. Hence, greater attention is now paid to local ownership, institutions and capacity peacebuilding.


At the same time, these evaluations and assessments have triggered major debates among scholars who hold distinct ideas of what should be viewed as efficient and sustainable peacebuilding. Newman and others (2009) have identified three ideal types of peacebuilding: transformative, realist and liberal. Transformative peacebuilding focuses on resolving the underlying causes to conflict and strive to promote a durable peace that rests on a positive interpretation of peace and social justice, which includes a desire to engage with local actors, bottom-up approaches and the promotion of human security needs (MacGinty 2011). Accordingly, this is not a universalising vision of peace but one that recognises the importance of diverse contexts. In contrast realist peacebuilding puts less emphasis on resolving conflict and more on managing and containing conflict escalation. An overriding strategic concern is the establishment of international stability and order by establishing strong states. Societal change on the other hand is delinked from international peacebuilding (Barnett et al 2014). Finally, liberal peacebuilding may be the one that most clearly articulates its vision of peace by its democracy promotion, market economy and state-building efforts. Thus, it has guided most peacebuilding interventions in recent years. This is also why the debates mostly have centred on liberal peacebuilding where critics highlight its limitations in practice (Campbell et al 2011).


Contemporary peacebuilding practices have been criticised for its top-down and hegemonic interventions, which tend to create more of virtual rather than real state institutions and hybrid forms of peace as a result of the international-local interplay (Mac Ginty 2010). Also the ambition to rapidly promote democracy and market based economic reforms in post-conflict societies risk causing instability and even exacerbate conflict. In addition, ill-timed and poorly organised political elections may backfire and trigger ethnic tensions, which we have seen in Bosnia-Hercegovina and Iraq. Scholarly work has highlighted the risk and vulnerabilities of conflict escalation particularly in partial democracies and transitional states. This is why Roland Paris (2004), for example, argues that institutionalisation should precede liberalisation.


3.4.3 Peacebuilding at the crossroads


As these debates reflect, peacebuilding in practice has in many instances failed to live up to the high hopes and ambitious normative agenda articulated in the 1990s. Consequently, we are today witnessing an increasing pragmatism in peacebuilding (Barnett 2014; Paris 2014), which is coupled with new major security and political challenges in global politics, such as the Russian aggression against Ukraine and annexation of Crimea; global jihadist terrorist attacks; and the expansion of the Islamic State’s (IS) spheres of influence in the Middle East and elsewhere. These are taken place in parallel with the increasing failures of regional and international institutions to cope and manage these security threats with cohesive, comprehensive and multilateral strategies, which the on-going war in Syria tragically illustrates. The concept of resilience in peacebuilding has therefore taken hold and centres on capacity building and the strengthening of local communities themselves to prevent and manage conflict and violence (Chandler 2015). We will return to discuss resilience in further details in the concluding section of this chapter.


4. Particular Issues


4.1 State capacity


This section discusses the link between state capacity and political violence, focusing on the outbreak of civil war and cases of state failure.[54] Indeed, some of the most influential explanations of internal conflict in recent years have singled out the lack of state capacity as a major cause of war. This perspective on “state weakness,” derives directly from Hobbes’ classical account of political order according to which only the Leviathan, that is the sovereign state, can guarantee peace and political stability. Thus, weak territorial control opens up a window of opportunity to rebellion challenging the state’s monopoly of violence. The modern understanding of sovereignty shows how this institution developed gradually in early modern Europe through a process of institutional centralization and elimination of competing power centers (Tilly 1990). This process saw a gradual shift from pre-modern “indirect rule,” that relied on feudal intermediaries and warlords, to systematic imposition of “direct rule,” which enabled the state to consolidate its control over its territory, by building up an effective state bureaucracy, disarming its internal rivals, and securing enough resources through tax revenues and other types of resource extraction.


Having inspired generations of realist scholars in international relations, the Hobbesian perspective on the state and political order pervades modern theories of civil war. According to Huntington (1968, p. 1), “the most important political distinction among countries concerns not their form of government but their degree of government.” On this view, too little rather than too much state is the main problem. As an account of political violence, then, the Hobbesian approach expects civil war to erupt in areas of weak statehood, because it is precisely there that rebels fighting irregular war are able to overcome numerically superior state forces.


This logic is visible in Fearon and Laitin’s (2003) highly influential account of civil war. Because of the asymmetric conditions facing rural rebels, state capacity is not primarily about raw military power so much as about the state’s control of its population. Fearon and Laitin argue that administratively incompetent states, especially those that extract their resources through the shortcut of oil extraction, are less likely to do their policing effectively, with large-scale violence as a consequence. Similarly, Posen (1993) offers an explanation of ethnic civil war as “emergent anarchy” whereby competing ethnic groups launch offensive attacks on each other after the collapse of multi-ethnic states, such as the former Yugoslavia. Even more drastically, Mueller (2004) reduces civil war to opportunistic predation waged by hooligans and bandits in the absence of efficient statehood. State failure constitutes the most drastic type of state weakness. In such cases of state collapse, whatever remains of the government faces multiple typically ethnic rebellions that produce a state of ungovernability and pervasive political violence (Rothberg 2004). Under such conditions, warfare will tend to become especially chaotic bringing forth widespread criminality and human rights abuse.


While situations characterized by weak statehood have indeed produced considerable violence, especially in sub-Saharan Africa since the end of the Cold War, it would be premature to generalize from such cases to civil war in general (Kalyvas 2001). There can be no doubt about the importance of state capacity as a prerequisite for peace and long-term political stability, but the Hobbesian perspective suffers from a host of problems that makes it too limiting to be relied on as a general guide to peace and progress.


One obvious difficulty concerns the challenge of operationalizing and measuring state capacity. While Fearon and Laitin (2003) relied on GDP per capita and rough terrain as proxies, subsequent studies have stressed the multi-dimensional nature of the concept (e.g. Hendrix 2010). However, most of these alternative indicators also rely on averages over the entire territory of countries. Yet, there is no reason to believe that statehood is evenly distributed over the territory of states, especially in underdeveloped ones (Herbst 2000). Thus, it is essential to develop measures of local state capacity, which is becoming possible thanks to methodological advances involving geographic information systems (Tollefsen and Buhaug 2015). Road networks represent one particularly promising measure of local state capacity (Herbst 2000; Hunziker 2015).


Another problem afflicting explanations turning on state weakness is that they operate with a narrow, materialist notion of state capacity that focuses on the military might, territorial control of the population and the delivery of public goods. Yet, this somewhat “colorblind” rendering of sovereignty, fails to realize that the modern state also engages in identity formation that has the potential of generating loyalty that drastically reduces the likelihood of rebellion (Goodwin 1997). In fact, ethnically distinctive groups that differ from the center in terms of language, religion or other markers, may react with protest and separatism if the state’s fails in its nation-building project (Rokkan 1999). Such reactions are especially likely to trigger separatist nationalism where a shift from indirect to direct rule deprives the local populations of previous autonomy (Hechter 2000) and exposes ethnically distinctive minorities to resource extraction and immigration (Weiner 1978) and “internal colonialism” (Hechter 1975). Even in Western Europe, in one of the paradigmatic cases of state strength, it took a long time to turn “peasants into Frenchmen” (Weber 1978).


Thus, the Hobbesian rendering of state capacity needs to be complemented with an understanding of how the state may serve as an instrument of established ethnic and class-based elites. Leaders of such states are prone to refer to rebels as criminals and terrorists who should be suppressed with repressive policies. Rather than producing peace, strengthening state capacity in such cases may offer repressive governments even more opportunities to marginalize and ultimately crush their domestic opponents. Whereas some scholars think that giving war a chance is the best way to bring order to war-torn countries (Luttwak 1999), it is very doubtful that lasting peace will be achieved without addressing underling injustices and inequalities (Cederman, Gleditsch and Buhaug 2013). Unless combined with inequality reduction and inclusion, the strengthening of state capacity will perpetuate violence in the long run.  


4.2 Social movements, social media and violence. 


The question posed here is about the actuality of dynamics between new “movements”, conflict and violence and the importance of social digital media in these new dynamics. This means we are also discussing the future of social conflict theory and new conflictual intra-states dynamics


By integrating long time analysis on movements such as Occupy Wall Street, Indignados, more recently Nuit Debout in France, we think that the definition of problems related to the economic crisis and cultural concerns in these new dynamics is now not weighted down by classical cultural references of “old” social movements (“nation”, “revolution”, “religion” for example) as it has been interpreted by including violence as a possibility in traditional social movements. New social and cultural issues seem to be expressed in new conflicting forms pacified in their modes of action (Wieviorka, 2005, 2012; Ferret, 2014).


Taken in this light, the open criticism of violence and social control in the core of these “movements” can be considered as a sign of a real specific identity work made by individuals or sujets (Touraine, 1992) who plan to shape a critical opposition to global cultural values ​​such as the verticality of social relations, the communicative power and dominant ideologies through several fields (politics, gender relations, relations between generations, ...).


This identity work is based on the development of hybrid organizations (but it doesn’t mean the end of organizations and the classic loi d’airain d’oligarchie (Schradie, 2016)) and animation against-critical physical and virtual spaces dedicated to regulate and regulate the violence contained in the system of values ​​we fight.


This denied violence may then be defined as the sign of a particular mediation maintained between a movement in construction and apprehended critical action, in the words of Touraine (1973, 1993), at the lowest level, that is to say, as protests manifested not by a priori guidelines framed but positive resistances. This construction of a collective subject released ideological macro-narratives should not be understood in a triumphant and heroic dimension (Touraine, 1992) but as a painful work, anxious, people wary of democratic disciplines and mimetics without trying as long to break with the “system”.


In these new dynamics, Internet, Social Medias and the powerful connectivity can be considered as new confrontational spaces.


In one hand, digital media can be used in the non-confrontational phase, when the opponents are at a distance. In fact, such opponents rarely communicate with each other. Each communicates with its own side, and with the unmobilized people in their network who they would like to bring in as allies. This could be analyzed with the C-Escalation/ D-Escalation model of time-dynamics (Collins, 2012, 2015, 2016, Ferret, 2015, 2016). In the early phase of these movements (Indignados, Nuit Debout for example), we observed that Digital media are good for spreading narratives and images, especially since these corporate official media tend to simplify as much as possible the reality and show only the violence. These movements offer new medializations and they aid the polarization process because these digital media are prime bases for spreading rumors and reputation (the mediatization of violence of the police units in the street with CopWatch). Even photo images can act as rumors, since they can be sent without attending to the surrounding context, and without giving accurate information about the identities of the persons represented. Thus we can expect that digital media mobilize social networks to engage in more conflict and control the violence of the State. 


But, on the other hand, these media have such diverse connections that they cannot generate a single, common focus of attention. They are prone to multiple definitions of reality, and tend to disperse attention to many different directions. So, we can make this into a researchable question: when do digital media generate a stronger collective focus of attention (more people circulating the same messages), and when are they more scattered?


The answer, from situations like mobilization in Madrid and Barcelona during Indignados’ mobilizations in 2011 appears to be that physical action on the ground is what generates more common attention. The social media can mobilize little groups of friends and acquaintances to go out to a place to demonstrate or fight, and the events there create focus of attention. There is some evidence that many people stayed home to watch, so that the media inhibited participation, when there was publicity about the opponents’ repressive violence. So far it appears that digital media operate above all in the mobilizing phase and not in the conflict itself.


There has been a certain amount of enthusiastic propaganda about the digital age and how it is transforming society. In reality, it has been adding onto existing structures of society but not supplanting them, or even changing them very much. A powerful social conflict is when social groups organize to generate one big Durkheimian collective consciousness, full of resounding emotions; and this is best done where there is a big central place where people gather and the conflict with the enemy takes place in the historic central places of a city. The media can help publicize this but it does not eliminate the need to physically gather for the confrontation.


4.3 Inequality


Few topics are more controversial in conflict research than the link between inequality and political violence. Yet, it is important to note that both concepts are multi-dimensional. Here we will narrow down the latter concept to revolutions and civil wars, but it is likely that inequality is related to other types of conflict as well, including interstate war.[55]


Inequality can also be divided into subcategories. While most social-science research focuses on individual-level comparisons, there is a growing realization that inequality also needs to be conceptualized and measured at the level of groups. Whereas the former can be referred to as individual or “vertical” inequality, the latter has been labeled “horizontal” inequality between culturally defined groups (Stewart 2008), or even more generally “categorical” inequality, which also includes gender (Tilly 1999).


Regardless of the level, inequality can emerge along various key dimensions. With respect to conflict, political and economic differences are arguably the most important, but other social and cultural aspects are also relevant. Since individual-level political equality is to a large extent synonymous with democracy, we will discuss those issues in the section on democracy below.


The classical literature covering the link between vertical inequality and conflict focused on peasant revolutions (Paige 1975; Scott 1976). Stressing protest against exploitative social orders and unmet expectations, these studies postulate that widely held frustrations will trigger violence (Gurr 1970). However, others questioned the extent to which grievances and inequality could be seen as causes (e.g. Tilly 1978). This classical literature failed to generate clear results (e.g. Lichbach 1989), partly because it focused almost entirely on socio-economic inequality among individuals rather than between identity groups.


This finally led many influential researchers to question the link between inequality and internal conflict altogether (e.g. Collier and Hoeffler 2004; Fearon and Laitin 2003). However, other researchers have made efforts to measure such distinctions systematically, see Gurr (1993), Petersen (2002) and Cederman, Gleditsch and Buhaug (2013).


In summary, the literature tells us that individual-level inequality can generate conflict, especially in stark cases of socioeconomic exploitation (see e.g. Wood 2003), but there is no strong evidence that there is such a regularity at the global level (though see Boix 2008). The empirical record is much more robust when it comes to the link between both political and economic inequality among ethnic groups and civil war. Contrary to claims that greed trumps grievances, recent studies have shown that political marginalization of ethnic groups increases the risk of conflict (Cederman, Wimmer and Min 2010; Cederman, Gleditsch and Buhaug 2013). The same goes for horizontal inequality along economic lines, as shown by Cederman, Weidmann and Gleditsch (2011). Yet, the jury is still out as regards the distinction between religious and non-religious conflict. While a number of scholars argue that religious conflict is on the rise (Toft 2007), others argue that there is no strong evidence that ethnolinguistic conflicts have become eclipsed by religious strife (Bormann et al. forthcoming). In contrast, there is growing evidence as regards gender inequality and the onset of internal conflict (see e.g. Melander 2005) and sexual violence during such conflicts (e.g. Wood 2009).


In many cases, horizontal inequality has major repercussions on political violence beyond the borders of the state. Most importantly, in cases where ethnic groups straddle state borders, governmental elites in homeland states may take a keen interest in the wellbeing of their ethnic kin in neighboring states. Where such groups are both politically and economically discriminated against, the risk of interventions orchestrated by the homeland increases. The worst-case scenario features a spiral of violence that causes civil war between the ethnic minority and the government in the host state, further spilling over into irredentist warfare between the two states (Weiner 1971). While some experts believe this pattern has become much less frequent in today’s world (Saideman and Ayres 2008), the eruption of violence in the Eastern Ukraine and Nagorno-Karabakh illustrate that irredentism cannot be written off as a thing of the past.


There is also plenty of historical evidence for a link between horizontal inequality along ethnic lines and civilian victimization. Mann (2005) shows that ideological repression of indigenous populations by colonist settlers and ethnic minorities by ethnonationalists has generated waves of ethnic cleansing and genocide during the past two centuries. However, because the leading datasets have so far not been coded with respect to the ethnicity of the victim groups, there is less systematic comparative evidence on the link between political and economic dimensions of ethnic inequality and one-sided violence, but thanks to new data collection efforts, this situation is fortunately about to change.


What do all these findings imply for the prevention and reduction of political violence? If inequality causes violence, it can reasonably be expected that decreasing inequality will lead to pacification. Obviously, this presupposes that inequality can be changed in the first place, which is more likely in case of political as opposed to economic asymmetries. But it is important to see how even political inclusion may be extremely difficult to achieve, especially in a climate of mistrust and resentment following a larger conflict. Exactly how to bring members of marginalized groups into politics is a matter of dispute. Whereas most scholars support various schemes of power sharing at the group level (e.g. Gurr 2000; Lijphart 1977; Mattes and Savun 2009), others are much more skeptical (e.g. Roeder and Rothchild 2005). The fear is that power sharing will cement societal, and especially ethnic divides, making it impossible to transcend them.[56] This, in itself, could lead to rigid and brittle arrangements that lock the country into a conflict spiral that will see violent conflict recur sooner or later. In addition, territorial power sharing, such as federalism and autonomy, may also provide potential secessionists with resources to stage future rebellions, thus creating a state in the state that is ready to secede at any time, as illustrated by the breakup of the former Yugoslavia and the USSR (e.g. Snyder 2000).


Such pessimism is most likely exaggerated, however, at least as a general analysis, because the comparisons fail to take into account that power sharing arrangements are typically invoked in particularly difficult conflict cases, which means that their pacifying tends to be underestimated (Wucherpfennig et al. forthcoming). Furthermore, the power-sharing skeptics assume that the alternatives, such as US-style individualist centralized solutions, are even less likely to trigger violence, which is a dubious assumption in case of ethnically divided post-conflict settings (McGarry and O’Leary 2009).


If equalizing policies are likely to deliver peace, a decrease of inequality would be especially welcome. In fact, there is good news in this respect. Whereas economic inequality among households within the same countries has been increasing in most parts of the world (Bourguignon 2015; Milanovic 2016), the overall global trend in domestic horizontal inequality seems to be the opposite. Especially in Asia, marginalized ethnic groups have been able to partially catch up with their counties’ average income. Yet, the main exception to this trend is Sub-Saharan Africa, where marginalized groups are lagging further behind (Bormann et al. 2016). However, this unfortunate effect may be compensated by reduced political inequality. Particularly in sub-Saharan Africa, ethnic inclusion through power sharing and group rights has been increasing since the end of the Cold War. This pattern appears to be part of a more general “regime of accommodation” that has contributed to the decrease of violence during this period (Gurr 2000).


4.4 Regime type and peace


Following up the general discussion of inequality and conflict above, this section conceptualizes democracy as an issue of political equality at the individual level. Nevertheless, group-level equality remains pertinent as a background factor, since democratic governance presupposes a “demos” (Dahl 1989), that is a unit constituting the voting population, which is often defined in ethnic terms (Mann 2005).[57] Given a reasonably inclusive demos, democracy boils down to contestation open to participation (Dahl 1971), which in turn calls for effective participation, voting equality, enlightened understanding by the citizens, and control of the agenda (Dahl 1989).


What do we know about democracy and conflict? The democratic peace literature is a natural place to start. Building on Kant’s (1795) famous political philosophy, contemporary scholarship tells us that there is virtually no warfare between democratic states.[58] Despite some dissenting voices, most researchers agree that there is a very robust link between the presence of democracy and no or little interstate conflict due to both institutional and normative mechanisms (e.g. Russett 1993; Russett and Oneal 2001; for a review, see Hegre 2014). The former mechanism tells us that democracies are better than authoritarian regimes at aggregating the (presumably) pacific preferences of the wider population that has to carry most of the costs of war. The latter mechanisms stresses that democracy is a system of peaceful conflict resolution that tends to externalize such peaceful norms to relations with other democracies.


The “domestic democratic peace” follows similar lines. Compared to authoritarian rule, democracy can be expected to exhibit less group-level exclusion, while offering peaceful means of contestation and constraints on the use of violence by governments (Hegre 2014). In this sense, democratic governance serves as a tool to overcome commitment problems between wealthy elites and poor masses (Acemoglu and Robinson 2005). Yet, as already indicated, all this presupposes that the demos problem has been resolved. Failure to do so can spawn ethnic separatist war and even repression along ethnic lines, as illustrated by longstanding conflicts in Turkey and Israel. Furthermore, incompletely institutionalized semi-democracies may be more prone to violence than established full democracies because they offer more opportunities to mass participation without institutional safeguards against populist extremism and manipulation of key institutions, including the courts, the media and elections. Accordingly, Hegre et al. (2001) suggest that conflict risk follows an inverted U-curve, which means that it is really the semi-democracies that are the least stable, although the evidence remains somewhat mixed as regards this regularity (see Hegre 2014). In contrast, there is no support for the simple linear proposition that more democracy means less civil war.


With respect to one-sided violence and repression, regime type also appears to play an important role. Davenport (2004) proposes that the domestic democratic peace does exist with respect to state repression. In an influential study, Harff (2003) claims that democracy contributes to preventing genocide. At the same time, however, democracies may be more prone to be targeted by terrorists because the openness of such systems make them more vulnerable to extortion by violent groups (for a review, see Valentino 2014).


In contrast to the optimism expressed by Bill Clinton and George W. Bush’s attempts to spread democracy as a foreign policy goal, the realization that democratization, as opposed to stable democracy, may be disproportionally vulnerable to both interstate and intrastate conflict needs to be taken seriously. Following similar lines as the arguments about semi-democracy and conflict mentioned above, these scholars stress how authoritarian elites may attempt to stay in power through ethnic outbidding by extremists who try to overtrump each other with increasingly extremists views (Horowitz 1985). Likewise, incomplete democracies appear to be more likely to experience diversionary war, implying that elites try to stay in power and deflect from their own weaknesses by launching foreign military adventures (Mansfield and Snyder 2005). Especially where the demos is contested, there is no guarantee that the opening of a previously authoritarian system will not produce a surge in exclusive ethno-nationalism.


While this literature has managed to convince many researchers that there are such adverse effects, serious measurement difficulties continue to haunt research on democratization and war, especially because the former concept is difficult to operationalize based on highly aggregated democracy indices. For this reason, a number of studies have tried to unpack the notion of democratic governance by focusing on aspects of democracy, such as for example elections (e.g. Wilkinson 2004). The evidence that civil wars may be more likely both before and after elections is growing (e.g. Brancati and Snyder 2013; Cederman, Gleditsch and Hug 2013). Other aspects of regime type that call for increased scrutiny are the rule of law, the role of media, and the interaction with ethnic inclusion through territorial and governmental power sharing, or the extension of group rights.


Given these open empirical questions, it does not come as a surprise that there is a lively debate about how to approach democratization in the context of development of peace making (Crocker and Hampson 2007). Although there is general agreement that fully institutionalized democracy is peaceful and stable, the main issue concerns how to get there from a starting point characterized by both a lack of democracy and deep divisions, possibly including past or ongoing civil war. The ill-fated US intervention in Iraq in 2003 has been particularly sobering for the democratization enthusiasts and has arguably vindicated those who warn against the conflict-fueling effect of democratization. Yet Western support for authoritarian regimes in the Middle East along pragmatic geopolitical lines stressing “security first” does not seem to be a recipe for stability and peace either. It makes little sense to recommend a unified pace of democratization that would fit all societies, but the goal of establishing political equality, the rule of law and popular legitimacy clearly cannot be postponed for ever. For sure, it would be futile to try to impose majoritarian democracy on deeply divided, conflict-torn states. As argued above, democracy needs to be combined with some type of governmental and possibly territorial power sharing, even though such systems deviate from basic democratic principles such as one-person-one-vote.


4.5 Geopolitics and power re-configurations


The complexities of the present international order that we have illustrated in this chapter with respect to war, terrorism, violence and (inadequate) global security measures has also prompted a discussion on geopolitics.[59] Today, the concept of word geopolitics is often used as a synonym for “power politics” and presented as an alternative to international institutionalism represented by the idea of the “liberal” international order.[60] Users of ‘geopolitics’ imply that universal approaches are less valid today and that distinct geographically areas exhibit different political circumstances. It suggests that the Western-led type of international order envisaged after the end of the Cold War is now being challenged in regionally different ways. Thus, we need to consider these arguments and the assess their validity.


Many argue that the decline of the power of the United States has a significant impact on international order. Unlike typical ‘power politics’ among a limited number of powers in traditional European international society in the 19th century or the global confrontation between the two ideological camps during the Cold War period, the current world entail geographically distinctive power configurations. The rise of China may threaten US influence in East Asia. The withdrawal of the USA left the Middle East as a power vacuum, then experiencing serious confrontations among regional powers and sectarianism. Europe now finds itself in a “Great Game” style of confrontation between NATO and Russia. The impact of the War on Terror-strategy on the spread of Islamic radicalism is associated with deteriorating security conditions in the Middle East, South Asia and Africa.


Also security measures and peace operations vary in accordance with geopolitical configurations. We have observed regional variations in previous sections of this chapter, but additional examples can illustrate this. The United Nations is primarily active for peace and security in Africa, having operational partnerships with regional and sub-regional organizations, such AU, ECOWAS, and IGAD. In Europe, regional organizations, notably EU, NATO, and OSCE, undertake their own operations without involving outside actors. In the Middle East regional organizations (Arab League, GCC, OIC) and regional powers (Saudi Arabia, Iran, Turkey) compete for greater influence in the region. As there are only modest regional organizations in South, South East and East Asia, direct links to the United States are instead seen to be more important for peace making efforts. Regardless of one’s views of geopolitics in the contemporary world, it seems true that the efforts on conflict and peace vary due to differing circumstances among the world’s regions.


At this point, it may be instructive to recall traditional theorists of geopolitics, Halford J. Mackinder and Nicholas J. Spykman, to evaluate their significance in the context of the 21st century. The founder of “geopolitics”, Mackinder, is known for concepts such as “pivot”, “heartland”, “crescent”, “bridge head” in addition to “land power” and “sea power”. Using this terminology, the United States is a special “sea power” maintaining worldwide alliance with other major “sea powers” such as Britain, Japan, and Australia. The traditional American stronghold in the Western Hemisphere is a large “outer crescent” area. To this is added traditional US “bridge heads” in the “inner crescent”, today referring to NATO allies, Egypt, India and Korea. On the other hand, the challenges against the American “sea power” exist in the “pivot” “heartland” area and some volatile parts of the Eurasian continent that constitute the “world island”. The most famous dictum of Mackinder, referring to two world wars is “Who rules East Europe commands the Heartland; Who rules the Heartland commands the World Island; Who rules the World Island commands the World”. Translating this to contemporary conditions it would suggest that the most significant geopolitical phenomenon at this moment is the possibility of NATO’s eastward expansion and the counter-reactions by Russia over areas such as Ukraine and the Caucasus.[61]


  Spykman asserted that Mackinder was misleading in his excessive emphasis on Eastern Europe by pointing to the importance of the “Rimland” with or against sea powers and land powers. According to Spykman, rephrasing Mackinder, those who dominate the Rimland will dominate the world. The US as a hegemon failed over Rimland like the Korean Peninsula, Vietnam, Afghanistan, Iran and Iraq during and after the Cold War by losing ground in its search for dominance of the world. One important observation is that the other superpower, China, in the Rimland, is in an “amphibious” zone and needs to cooperate or confront with both sea powers and land powers.[62]


  During the interwar period with the surge of founding fathers of theories of geopolitics, the type of international order based upon regional discrepancies was intensively discussed by researchers as well as practitioners. The Axis countries’ ideas about a German Monroe Doctrine for Europe and the Japanese version for Asia reflected elements in the strategic debates before the Second World War. The United States as well as the European imperial powers sought to identify a way to accommodate regionalism in order to establish a world-wide system of international order.[63] The advent of the Second World War and the creation of the post-1945 international order emerged in the wake of the collapse of regionalist views of power politics.


  In the 21st century our quest for social progress would not allow us to simply reproduce the power configurations during the interwar period. But if geopolitical perspectives may entail critical insights into the reality of international politics, we may have to identify the appropriate manner we apply theories of geopolitics in our contemporary world. To consider geographically different circumstances is necessary for smooth and peaceful progress of international society, but does not necessarily require the vocabulary of geopolitics or its deterministic perspective.


4.6 Global Governance and international institutions


Hedley Bull, a leading personality in the so-called English School in the discipline of international relations, defined “international society” as a society of states, which, “conscious of certain common interests and common values, form a society in the sense that they conceive themselves to be bound by a common set of rules in their relations with one another, and share in the working of common institutions.”[64] Following Bull’s conception, we can still distinguish between formal and informal institutions of international society. Bull himself was interested in informal ones, for instance, the balance of power, war and Great Powers, while he fully recognized the importance of treaty-based formal international organizations such as the United Nations as channels for international law and diplomacy.


  In the contemporary world there are a large number of international institutions including those created for the purpose of peace and security.[65] Ranging from UN as a global body where the Security Council has far-reaching authority under Chapter VII to more mediation/arbitration style conflict resolution mechanisms by regional organizations such EU, AU and international courts, notably ICJ. Global governance of formal international institutions has developed considerably since the middle of the twentieth century compared to any other time in human history. The possibility of creating world government was discussed in conjunction with the creation of the League of Nations as well as its successor the United Nations. Instead of relying on one comprehensive international governmental body, international society in our age is constituted by numerous formal international institutions demarcated according to functions, geography, and politics. Perhaps the warning by Bull against the “domestic analogy” was heralded, but it is more correct to say that the state structures were stronger and have remained so. For instance, the state’s welfare functions have made it important to the inhabitants in other ways than the traditional physical protection of the population. International order has to be maintained in a manner, which is very different from any domestic order. Global governance by international institutions is advancing in a highly complex way, without any deliberate attempts to create any form of central world government. In fact, the 2010s has witnessed a backlash against, for instance, regional international organizations having too much influence.[66]


  One may argue that informal institutions are quite important in international “anarchical society.” As Bull pointed out, there are roles of major powers which also includes the possibility of enforcement action.  The recent discussion can be exemplified by concepts such as  “PoC (protection of civilians)” and “R2P (responsibility to protect)”, which all have a position in the UN documentation and have been referred to in Security Council decisions, although they have no formal standing in the UN Charter. The same is true for armed peacekeeping operations, which were first introduced in 1956 and now have evolved into multidimensional mission and with considerable flexibility in cooperation with regional and other international organizations, notably for support of intelligence, logistics, military technologies, professional civilian expertise, etc. Advanced activities to contribute to peace and security include the highly expanded spheres of development aid, humanitarian aid, rule of law reforms, human rights promotion, democratization assistance, etc.


  What is striking is the ability to informally reorganize formal institutions. The concept of “partnership peacekeeping” is a key word in the current trend of international responses to crises of conflicts.[67] The United Nations is no longer a single or even a main implementer of international peace operations. When UN deploys large missions in Africa, for instance, UN seeks to collaborate with regional and sub-regional organizations such as AU and ECOWAS. Thus, in 2016, nine of sixteen UN peacekeeping missions were in Africa. [68] An additional five operations were based in the Middle East and the Balkans. It is a pattern that is likely to continue. A challenge will be to deploy a peacekeeping mission in Syria, once the war is over. One may think that there is a regional division of labor, where organizations such as EU, NATO and OSCE act in Europe and in the Mediterranean area, where there are other arrangements for other regions.  The special position of the United States in global governance is also an issue to be explored for the purpose of developing international institutions. These informal settings and considerations decisively affect the way peace operations are conducted by formal international institutions. The phenomenon of informal combinations of formal international institutions is a reflection of complex reality of our contemporary world.


  For instance, enforcement actions based upon Chapter VII authority is an institutional framework of the original design of the UN Charter. However, the use of Chapter VII has been developed through an informal arrangements and consultations, not specified in the Charter. The now established pattern of granting Chapter VII authority to almost all the UN peacekeeping missions for specific mandates of PoC (protection of civilians) is an example of this. At the end of the Cold War the Security Council actually discussed other possible threats to international peace and security, such as those arising from economic, social, humanitarian, and environmental crises.[69] As we say in section 3 of this Chapter, for instance in Figure 9, the resort to action under Chapter VII is a crucial element in present global governance.


  However, one may argue that the special power of the Security Council is also a serious problem due to its disproportionate representation. The permanent members of the Security Council have considerable power over decisions due to their legal right to use a veto, but also to the permanency of their position. While other states come and go as members, not staying longer than two years, the major powers have been in the Council since its inception, more than 70 years ago. Given that any reform of the composition of the Security Council is difficult to achieve in a foreseeable future, the legitimacy of the Security Council will continue to remain a crucial topic and thus require careful attention by the stakeholders in and outside of UN.


  The special power of the permanent members of the Security Council is highly related to the ideological framework of contemporary international society. Some leading members of the Security Council regard their ideological foundation, which could be characterized as “liberal values” of the West, as the natural framework for informal international institutionalism. Non-Western states are suspicious in this regard and worry that the United States and its allies are trying to impose their own standards on other states which may not share the same values at all or to the same extent. There is a danger that informal international institutionalism could lead to mistrust among various international actors. Fundamental consideration should be given to the importance of constant search for an appropriate balance between formal and informal international institutions of stable, solid and sustainable global governance.


5. Conclusions


To the Reader: This section needs further elaboration and ideas are invited! It should cover issues that have to do with new frameworks for thinking, notably resilience (see below), human security, human rights as well as practical implications.


International peacebuilding is at the crossroads with regards to its agenda and practice as well as theory. As an alternative to the liberal peacebuilding paradigm, the notion of resilience has resurfaced and is increasingly being adopted by both academics and practitioners (see, for example, Chandler 2015; Van Metre 2015; deConing 2016). Resilient peacebuilding acknowledges the complexity and multi-layered nature of building peace in conflict societies, which are seen as being in constant state of flux. Hence, social and political progress should be understood in terms of adaptive cycles.  States and societies therefore need to embrace both complexity as well as various adaptive strategies in preventing and managing violence. Consequently, it signifies a major shift in the way the international community actors intervene to assist in peacebuilding. The overarching ambition is not to impose a specific model or agenda for peace, but rather to facilitate, strengthen and create space for existing national and local capabilities to cope with violent change and sustain peace.




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[1] Affiliations : [University of Uppsala, Sweden and University of Notre Dame, USA; FMSH and EHESS, France


[2] Affiliations : National University of Singapore, Singapore; Lund University, Sweden; Queensland University, Australia; ETH Zentrum, Switzerland; EHESS-CNRS and University of Toulouse 1, France; Collège d’études mondiales and Science Po, France; University of Bielefed, Germany; University of Uppsala, Sweden; University of Pretoria, South Africa; Tokyo University, Japan; IMEMO, Russia.


[3] Affiliation : El Colegio de la Frontera Norte, Mexico


[4] See Michel Wieviorka, Violence :a New Approach, London : Sage, 2009


[5] Beck, Ulrich 2002 Macht und Gegenmacht im globalen Zeitalter. Neue welpolitische Ökonomie, Frankfurt/Main: Suhrkamp


[6] The Westphalian treaty of 1648, however, included provisions attempted at protecting civilians that did not share religion with the ruler, a first admission of human rights extending beyond sovereignty. This is often not mentioned in writings on this particular treaty. See Osiander, Andreas. 2001. “Sovereignty, International Relations and the Westphalian Myth”, International Organization, Vol. 55, No 2, pp. 251-287, doi:10.1162/00208180151140577, specifically p 272-273.


[7] Beck 2002.


[8] Pinker, S. 2011. The Better Angels of Our Nature. Why Violence has Declined. New York: Viking. ISBN 9780670022953.


[9] Joshua S. Goldstein Winning the War on War: The Decline of Armed Conflict Worldwide, New York: Penguin 2011, International Studies Review. The Forum: The Decline of War, Volume 15, Issue 3, September 2013 (with contribution also by Nils Petter Gleditsch), Pages 396–419, but John Mueller was actually first to argue along these lines, in his book Retreat from Doomsday: The Obsolescence of Major War (New York: Basic Books), published already in1989. Also Väyrynen, Raimo (ed) 2006. The Waning of Major War. Theories and Debates, London, New York: Routledge should be mentioned in this context.


[10] See, for instance, Stein Tønnesson (2015). "The East Asian Peace: How Did It Happen? How Deep Is It?", Global Asia, Vol. 10, No. 4 from the East Asia Peace program at Uppsala University.


[11] Schmid A.P. (ed.), The Routledge Handbook of Terrorism Research (London: Routledge, 2011), pp 99-200.


[12] Schmid A.P. (ed.), The Routledge Handbook of Terrorism Research (London: Routledge, 2011), pp. 86–87. For more details, see Stepanova E. Terrorism in Asymmetrical Conflict (Oxford University Press, 2008), pp. 11–14.


[13] Figures 3, 4 and 5 are based on data from Global Terrorism Database, National Consortium for the Study of Terrorism and Responses to Terrorism, University of Maryland: http://www.start.umd.edu/data/gtd (accessed on 31 May 2016).


[14] See Michel Wieviorka, The Making of Terrorism, University of Chicago Press, Chicago, 1993.


[15] In 2014, 16 818 terrorist attacks and 32 658 fatalities were registered, compared to 1 778 attacks and 3 329 fatalities in 2000. Economic damage reached USD 52.9 billion, compared to USD 4.93 billion in 2000. Global Terrorism Database 2016 and the Global Terrorism Index 2015: Measuring and Understanding the Impact of Terrorism (Sydney: Institute for Economics and Peace, 2015), pp. 2, 9, 63 (GTI-2015).


[16] In 2014, terrorism affected 93 out of 162 countries as rated by the Global Terrorism Index, GTI.


[17] GTI-2015, p. 4.


[18] Ibid. p 49.


[19] Bjorgo T. (ed). Root Causes of Terrorism: Myths, Reality and Ways Forward (Abingdon: Routledge, 2005); Crenshaw M., Explaining Terrorism: Causes, Processes and Consequences (New York: Routledge, 2010).


[20] Report of the Special Rapporteur on extrajudicial, summary or arbitrary executions, Addendum, Study on targeted killings, 28 May 2010, p. 3.


[21] UN Office on Drugs and Crime 2013. Global Study on Homicide 2013, United Nations Publication, Sales No. 14.IV.1, p 11.


[22] Spearman on grounds of lack of normal distribution of variables (Pearson with logarithmic homicide rate shows a very similar result).


[23] Based on HDI fixed cut-off values.


[24] Based on IHDI quartiles.


[25] UNODC 2013, p 65


[26] UNODC 2013 p 67-69.


[27] Based on HDI fixed cut-off values.


[28] ‘Gender-based’ violence is not always conflict-related sexual violence, though the terms are often conflated. Gender-based violence is defined by the Committee for the Elimination of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW) in its General Recommendation 19 to the Convention for the Elimination of Women. It is considered a fundamental violation of women’s human rights, because they are women (CEDAW 2016).  It includes physical, emotional, economic, political and psychological harms. It can occur in the form of a direct act, as well as by omission.  The term is used in both peace and conflict settings (see CEDAW 2016: paras 1-4).  However, in this chapter, the concurrent use of the terms ‘gender-based’ and ‘sexual’ is limited or used explicitly. In general, the emphasis of this section is on sexual crimes committed in conflict settings, which may also be directed at males and are direct acts.


[29] The International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR) issued a historic conviction for rape and sexual violence as a serious crime of genocide (Prosecutor vs Akayesu 1998). Article 7 of the Rome Statue of the International Criminal Court (ICC) names widespread or systematic sexual violence as a crime against humanity (UNGA 1998: para 1g).  The International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia (ICTY) further expanded the scope for conviction for sexual violence from rape to include sexual torture, enslavement and various forms of penetration (Prosecutor v. Dragoljub Kunarac, Kovac and Vukovic 2001).  


[30] Federation of American Scientists (FAS) https://fas.org/wp-content/uploads/2014/05/warheadhistory.jpg


[31] SIPRI Newsletter, 13 June 2016 https://www.sipri.org/media/press-release/2016/global-nuclear-weapons-downsizing-modernizing


[32] SIPRI Nuclear Fact Sheet, 2016 https://www.sipri.org/sites/default/files/FS%201606%20WNF_Embargo_Final%20A.pdf


[33] See  Rodger Baker July 26, 2016. Facing North Korea’s Nuclear Reality, https://www.stratfor.com/weekly/facing-north-koreas-nuclear-reality


[34] SIPRI https://www.sipri.org/media/press-release/2016/world-military-spending-resumes-upward-course-says-sipri


[35]SIPRI Military Expenditure Fact Sheet, 2015  http://books.sipri.org/files/FS/SIPRIFS1604.pdf


[36] Table 5, SIPRI


[37] Pettersson and Wallensteen 2015


[38] http://www.smallarmssurvey.org/about-us/highlights/highlight-rn34.html


[39] Wallensteen and Johansson 2015


[40] Small Arms Survey http://www.smallarmssurvey.org/about-us/highlights/highlight-rn34.html


[41] UNODC 2013 gives considerable attention to this treaty, UNODC 2013, p 69


[42] Michael Grieg and Paul Diehl, 2012, International Mediation. Cambridge: Polity.


[43] Joakim Kreutz, 2010, ‘How and when armed conflicts end: Introducing the UCDP Conflict Termination dataset’, Journal of Peace Research 42(2): 246.


[44] For a review of the scholarly literature on international mediation, see Peter Wallensteen and Isak Svensson, 2014, ‘Talking peace: international mediation in armed conflicts’, Journal of Peace Research 51(2): 315-27.


[45] Lakhdar Brahimi and Salman Ahmed, 2008, In Pursuit of Sustainable Peace: The Seven Deadly Sins of Mediation, Center on International Cooperation, New York University.


[46] See, for instance, United Nations, 2015, ‘Cooperation between the United Nations and regional and subregional organizations on mediation. Report of the Secretary-General’, UN Doc. A/70/328.


[47] See, for instance, Chester Crocker, Fen Hampson and Pamela Aall (eds), 1999, Herding Cats: Multiparty Mediation in a Complex World. Washington, DC: United States Institute for Peace.


[48] Laurie Nathan, 2016, ‘Will the lowest be first? Subsidiarity in peace-making in Africa’, in Pamela Aall and Chester Crocker (eds.), Minding the Gap: African Conflict Management in a Time of Change. Waterloo: Centre for International Governance Innovation, pp. 157-70 and Wallensteen, Peter and Anders Bjurner (eds) 2015.  Regional Organizations in Peacemaking. Challengers to the UN? London: Routledge.


[49] United Nations, 2012, United Nations Guidance for Effective Mediation. New York: United Nations, pp. 18-9.


[50] According to one estimate, 43% of wars in the 1990s restarted within five years of an initial negotiated settlement. See Centre for Humanitarian Dialogue, 2007, Charting the Roads to Peace: Facts, Figures and Trends in Conflict Resolution, Geneva, p. 13.


[51] Laurie Nathan, 2014, ‘Briefing note on implementation and sustainability of peace agreements’, prepared for the UN High Level Mediation Course.


[52] For an exception that considers the constitution-making process in the context of peacebuilding, see Kirsti Samuels, ‘Post-conflict peace-building and constitution-making’, Chicago Journal of International Law 6(2): 663-82.


[53] Peace agreement stipulations regarding constitutional reform are recorded in the Peace Accords Matrix of the Kroc Institute for International Peace Studies, University of Notre Dame (https://peaceaccords.nd.edu/).


[54] There is a long-standing literature on configurations of state capability as explanations of interstate conflicts (e.g. Maoz 1983).


[55] We will discuss some of these links in the section on democracy below.


[56] Also, power sharing after conflict may marginalize moderate voices within each group, while giving the radicals a seat at the table (Jarstad 2008).


[57] The crux is that this unit cannot be determined through voting for logical reasons, so in this sense democracy presupposes a high degree of agreement as to the membership criteria within the demos and cannot coexist with high degrees of horizontal inequality.


[58] It should be noted, however, that the extent to which democracies are more peaceful in their relations with non-democratic states is much more controversial (see Hegre 2014).


[59] See, for instance, Walter Russell Mead, “The Return of Geopolitics: The Revenge of the Revisionist Powers,” Foreign Affairs, May/June 2014 Issue; and John Ikenberry, “The Illusion of Geopolitics: The Enduring Power of the Liberal Order,” Foreign Affairs, May/June 2014 Issue.


[60] G. John Ikenberry, After Victory: Institutions, Strategic Restraint, and the Rebuilding of Order after Major Wars (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 2001).


[61] Halford J. Mackinder, Democratic Ideals and Reality: a Study in the Politics of Reconstruction (London: Constable & Co., 1919).


[62] Nicholas John Spykman, edited by Helen R. Nicholl, The Geography of the Peace (New York: Harcourt, Brace & Co., 1944).


[63] Or Rosenboim, “Geopolitics and Empire: Visions of Regional World Order in the 1940s,” Modern Intellectual History, vol. 12, issue 2, 2014.


[64] Hedley Bull, The Anarchical Society: A Study of Order in World Politics (London: Macmillan, 1977), p. 13.


[65] According to Wallensteen and Bjurner there are 31 regional or transregional inter-state organizations dealing with peace and security, Wallensteen and Bjurner 2015. Appendix B. The total number of international organizations is estimated to be about 68.000 according to the Yearbook of International organizations (http://www.uia.org/faq/intorgs1, accessed on August 26, 2016) of which some 5.000 are inter-governmental. Those dealing with security is thus but a fraction of the total.


[66] The British referendum of June 2016 resulted in a rejection of the country’s membership in the European Union, stimulating similar thoughts elsewhere. However, there has not been a debate about leaving the United Nations, not even under the UN critical Bush Jr. administration in the US.


[67] “Partnering for Peace: Moving towards Partnership Peacekeeping: Report of the Secretary-General,” UN Document, S/2015/229, 1 April 2015.


[68] Information provided by the UN Department of Peacekeeping Operations, website> http://www.un.org/en/peacekeeping/operations/current.shtml (accessed on August 26, 2016).


[69] Statement by the President of the Security Council, UN Document, S/23500, 31 January 1992.


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