Game of Thrones – the Middle Ages and Today

Every generation has its own concept of the Middle Ages. Game of Thrones is a fantasy drama, but it also reflects the present, viewed through the prism of the Middle Ages. From Middle-earth to Westeros Many young people today picture our distant past in a way that is strongly influenced by The Lord of the… Read more »

Grievances, Accommodation, and the Decline of Ethnic Violence

The finding that violent conflict has declined, especially after the Cold War, has generated a great deal of interest. Much of the initial debate focused on whether the claim itself is correct, but the finding itself seems robust in the sense that that the number and severity of violent conflicts has declined in most data… Read more »

Yemen is on the Brink

Most of the world’s attention has recently been directed towards Syria. In the shadow of Syria, the conflict in Yemen has been left to its own devices, and Yemen is now set to experience an even greater humanitarian catastrophe than Syria. In Syria, we witness the beginning of the end of one of the bloodiest… Read more »

A Climate of Conflicts?

Political violence correlates strongly with climate: Civil conflict risk is seven to ten times higher in dry and tropical climates than in continental climate zones. Yet, there is little evidence that climatic variability and change are important in understanding this pattern. The prospect of climate change causing forced migration and food and economic insecurity, meanwhile,… Read more »

The Consequences of Internal Armed Conflict for Development (part 1)

War is a development issue. War kills, and its consequences extend far beyond deaths in battle. Armed conflict often leads to forced migration, long-term refugee problems, and the destruction of infrastructure. Social, political, and economic institutions can be permanently damaged. The consequences of war, especially civil war, for development are profound. In this two-part post,… Read more »

Are Norwegian Oil Companies making Civil Wars More Likely?

East Africa has become the latest hotspot for oil-and-gas discoveries, but the reserves are located in countries characterized by weak state institutions and social unrest. A number of African countries – several of them with significant Norwegian assistance – are on the threshold of becoming major producers of oil and gas. Does this mean that… Read more »

Peace on Earth? The Future of Internal Armed Conflict

The last 20 years have seen a gradual decline in the number and severity of internal armed conflicts worldwide. This trend is partly due to widespread improvements in factors such as education levels, economic diversification, and demographic characteristics. These factors are projected to continue to improve for the remainder of this century. As a consequence,… Read more »