Category: Non-state Conflict Actors

The Legacy of White Violence in the US

On September 29, 1919, in Phillips County, Arkansas, a deputy died while trying to break up a labor meeting of black farmers. The next day rumors swirled about an impending black insurrection. In response, a white mob of up to 1,000 strong formed and indiscriminately attacked blacks across the county for three days. Federal troops,… Read more »

PRIO Has the Leading Experts on Protests

How does a country’s security apparatus react to a protest movement? And what happens in the aftermath of successful protests? PRIO is conducting three major research projects about protest movements, securing its position as an international leader in this field. In 2019, the world experienced a surge of non-violent protest movements. Such movements have spearheaded… Read more »

Why Did ISIS Attack Sri Lanka?

The terrorist attacks on churches and hotels in Sri Lanka on Easter Sunday have spawned many questions about the return of violence to Sri Lanka after a 10-year hiatus following the defeat of the Tamil Tiger (LTTE) terrorists in May 2009. The first thing to understand is that the terror attacks have no bearing on… Read more »

The Unintended Consequences of Killing Jamal Khashoggi: A Backgrounder on the Yemeni Peace Talks

This week the spotlight is on Sweden and UN Special Envoy Martin Griffiths: On Wednesday representatives of the Yemeni government and Houthi rebels arrived in Stockholm to find solutions to what the UN described as the ‘worst [humanitarian] crisis in the world’. The Saudi Arabia-led nine-member coalition has been at war with the Yemeni Houthis… Read more »

Inter-group Conflict: The Role of Weak State Structures and Exclusion

Why do non-state groups engage in violent conflict with each other? Non-state conflict has been widespread in several countries in Sub-Saharan Africa, including D.R. Congo, Sudan, Somalia and Burundi. This type of fighting includes both formally and informally organised groups who fight each other without engaging the state, such as Al-Shabaab and the Ogaden National… Read more »

Suicide Bombing ≠ Religious Fervor

  Is it just religious fanatics who blow themselves up as suicide bombers? Bernt Hagtvet, Professor of Political Science at the University of Oslo, has been active in the Norwegian media lately, stating that only religion (he focuses mostly on Islam) brings the fervor to commit suicide attacks as part of a political struggle –… Read more »

Governments Don’t Outsource Atrocities to Militias. Here’s What Really Happens

Refugees are fleeing Syria in such astonishing numbers because armed groups continue to target civilians with violence. That’s what we heard in September when the U.N. Human Rights Council discussed the most recent report of the Commission of Inquiry on Syria. The commission’s chair, Paulo Sérgio Pinheiro, made a plea for international action to end… Read more »

The Threat from ISIS is not Military

For more than a decade, alarmists have essentially argued that, because the 9/11 attackers proved to be good with box-cutters, they would soon be able to fabricate nuclear weapons. And now, after the dramatic and horrible Paris terror attacks, a similar process of alarmed exaggeration seems to be happening with ISIS. In a reactive pose… Read more »

How Can States and Non-State Actors Respond to Authoritarian Resurgence?

Two weeks ago, the Monkey Cage ran a piece by Matthew Baum and Phil Potter suggesting that the policy of “democracy-promotion” has gone out of style.[1] I think they’re right that in many circles democracy-promotion is politically passé and that, more broadly, democracy advocates are really having a tough couple of years. In the midst… Read more »