The Start of Third Generation DDR Policy

Timothy Koch, graduate student of international affairs at The New School

The third generation of Disarmament, Demobilization, and Reintegration (DDR) has increasingly been framed within the rubric of the emergence of a “radical religious” aspect to conflict.  This concept is not foreign to conflict in general, however; as a misnomer it is a defining feature of today’s conflicts.  This notion has created a need for DDR practitioners to address the ideology of conflict in order to maximize success within the world of DDR.

            Groups such as Al-Qaeda, Boko Haram, Al-Shabaab, and the Islamic State hold their perverse interpretation of religious identity as an integral part to their group, and its ability to recruit and sustain violence.  In fact, these groups often cite religion as a prime mover for waging war.  While these groups would have people believe they are practitioners of religions, such as Islam, it is easy to see that any radical religious group with a zealous and misinterpreted ideology can take on this role.  We have seen examples in the past such as the Branch Davidians Waco, Texas who were stockpiling enormous amounts of weapons in preparation for a type of holy war or day of reckoning. 

            This aspect of conflict must be understood in order to DDR these groups.  DDR practitioners must attempt to reframe religious ideology and beliefs to their own advantage in attempts to dissuade ‘formers’ from these groups from committing acts. of violence as a means of political or social dissent.  It would be useful for DDR teams to integrate religious surrogates or experts in their practices in an attempt to produce material, and expand discourse around religious ideology and philosophies.  Formers and religious scholars acting as surrogates could gain more respect and hold much more weight in their conversation and negotiation skills in terms of discussing religion. 

            It is easy to see that DDR practitioners cannot treat these groups like the freedom fighters of generation one or the rebel groups of generation two.  These groups are of a different character, and because their religious ideology is such an important part to their personal and group identity it must be addressed.  These groups have a perverse and twisted idea regarding their religion and the rest of the world, and some moderately orientation surrogates cab assist in reform and ‘deradicalization’ efforts through a reorientation in their own religion.  These formally non-conventional groups are becoming the norm of today and we must take adequate steps to combat them and we must create relevant DDR policies and guidelines to provide a road map to DDR them.  The idea of a religious surrogate within the DDR team must be included in these policies and guidelines.

Disbanding Illegal Armed Groups (DIAG) Program in Afghanistan: Flexibility of Peace Operations through Conflict Sensitive Designs.

By: GEORGINA VÁZQUEZ DE LOS REYES

The assumption that all peace interventions will in fact contribute to achieving peace is certainly obsolete and inaccurate. Peace operations have unintended consequences that might be harmful to the context in which they are taking place. As a result, a fundamental characteristic of peace mandates, should be continuous conflict assessments, as well as monitoring and evaluation of the mission performance.

Such characteristics implies that donors, implementing agencies and country-level partners should understand any peacekeeping operation as essentially flexible. This flexibility, in addition, does translate into the possible reconfiguration originating theories of change, as well as of goals, objectives, benchmarks and indicators. This process, might even result in the transformation of the defining goals of a mission, as some cases of Disarmament, Demobilization and Reintegration (DDR) shows.

DDR proves no different when it comes to the need to be a flexible mandate and intervention, particularly if one of the guiding principles is “Do No Harm”. This means that it has the capacity to rephrase its most essential and defining components, such as disarmament and reintegration, and replace them by context adequate initiatives and programs, or even accept a different implementing architecture. This is the case of DDR in Afghanistan.

When in 2003, a DDR mandate, the Afghan New Beginning Program (ANBP), was established by mandate of the United Nations Security Council in coordination with Afghanistan’s transitional government, the usual objective of disarmament proved to be partially effective.

As the country was still experiencing overall insecurity, and the war economy was effectively providing livelihoods, the measure to disarm seemed limited to attend illegal armed groups emerging all over the country. Giving up the arms for the case of illegal armed also proved difficult as the trust towards the “disarming” authority, the government, was still not consolidated. The measure posted the challenge of extending the mission until reconciliation and trust was achieved, or choosing to transform the fundamental concept of disarming into one of disbanding and weapons management. This resulted in the creation of the Disbanding Illegal Armed Groups (DIAG) program which followed the original DDR program in 2004.

The DIAG focused on weapons management through the creation of data bases that could register and track small arms and light weapons (SALW) and positioned itself as a political guidance process as it tested a context-responsive and conflict sensitive program that was successful in such terms.

In the same manner, DDR in Afghanistan was transformed by the DIAG in its reintegration component in terms of responsibility to execute. As part of the follo-up to ANBP DDR, the ‘Disbanding’ a new architecture for implementation and funding was suggested to decentralize the reintegration component in order to prevent the concentration of resources among one particular group or region,

These to aspects illustrate the importance of thinking about DDR with updated approaches and Theories of Change, flexibility and conflict sensitivity. If transitioning is a big achievement within peace consolidation, thus the importance of transitioning from DDR mandates to other security-governance options and modalities may enhance DDR and the entire reintegration process.  

The Negative Consequence of Hyper-Political Integration in Bosnia & Herzegovina

By: Kaitlyn Lynes

Political reintegration is an integral component of a successful disarmament, demobilization, and reintegration program. Ex-combatants, associated peoples, and communities must participate in decision and policy-making processes at regional, national, and international levels in order to ensure local ownership. The ideal conclusion of a DDR program is when fair and free democratic elections occur, which should follow the occurrence of a political reintegration process. Ex-combatants often have legitimate grievances, which fuels the wars and conflicts they fight in. Providing political opportunities is often a productive way of compromising with illegally armed groups, ensuring remobilization and the continuation of violence will not occur. Therefore, it is crucial for communities to be involved and supportive so that political reintegration does not appear to be only a buyout or reward for “perceived” war criminals. The transfer of ownership of civic responsibilities to communities and new political parties also serves as a transformative and restorative process for all actors involved. Subsequently, political reintegration has become one of the few durable solution in conflicts where the illegally armed group can not be decisively beaten or allowed to create their own state.

Prior to the war in Bosnia and Herzegovina there was no established Bosnian government, as the war caused the disintegration of Yugoslavia. Political reintegration, therefore, faced a particularly unique challenge in Bosnia. Unlike most conflicts, there was no single rebel group looking to be given political opportunities in a previously established governance structure. Instead, the international community had to create a government that provided opportunities to the various groups within Bosnia, including the Muslim Bosniaks, Bosnian Serbs, and Bosnian Croats. This has led to a tripartite Presidency, directly elected, that consists of one Bosniak, one Serb, and one Croat at all times. Representatives can only claim one ethnic identity, and voters can only vote for one ethnic identity. Instead of creating an equal power-sharing government, the system has only served to institutionalize ethnic divisions from the war. Further segregating different ethnicities, politicians at the state level have little power over the entirety of the country. The defined territory of Bosnia and Herzegovina is separated between the Federation of Bosnia and Herzegovina and the Republika Srpska, the self-autonomous district of Brcko, and ten self-governing cantons across the federation, all working at different levels of government. Superseding all of this, the internationally organized governance structure led by the United Nations still oversees much of the Bosnian state. While this highly structured and overlapping system of government was supposed to ensure equal access to political opportunity in the immediate post-war era for all ethnicities in Bosnia, it has instead allowed ethnic tensions and divisions to flourish while avoiding the reform it desperately needs.

 

Women’s essential contribution to peacebuilding

By: Lina Castellanos

Including women in peace negotiation processes is essential to sustainable DDR

efforts. Throughout history, all sorts of arguments have been made to exclude women’s

participation in peacebuilding: lack of negotiation skills, lack of experience, war being a

men’s field and some others that have proven to be mistaken not only because it is

clear war isn’t exclusively dominated by male combatants but also because women

have experienced war in different roles: as victims, perpetrators and peacebuilders. In

2000, the United Nations Security Council Resolution 1325 on Women, Peace and

Security acknowledged the importance of including women in peacebuilding. The

Security Council, urged member states to increase the representation of women at all

decision-making levels for the prevention, management, and resolution of conflict, and

expressed its willingness to incorporate a gender perspective into peacekeeping

operations and involving women in all peacekeeping and peacebuilding measures. For

the first time, women’s perceptions and contributions were recognized in post-conflict

scenarios. Yet, since the approval of Resolution 1325 it hasn’t always been the case

that women are actively included in peacebuilding efforts. In that sense, women are still

stigmatized and marginalized in their communities in a post conflict environment.

Women tend to be the most affected during conflicts but they are also more likely

to unify and advocate for peace. Besides, they have proven to create non-violent

resistant strategies that enrich the creation of a peace environment. In Colombia, for

example, la Ruta Pacífica de las Mujeres –The Women’s Pacifist Route- is a non-violent

feminist movement that has made visible the way war has affected Colombian women.

Since 1996, the movement has claimed for truth and justice and has successfully

transformed the idea of women perceived solely as victims of the conflict into a more

active role of women being socially and politically engaged in peacebuilding. Today

more than 10,000 women in Colombia belong to the Pacifist Route and without doubt

one of their greatest achievements has been sensitizing society on realities that were

commonly ignored. These women mobilize pacifically and originally; they usually want

to ridicule war by using tactics such as dressing in vivid colors -to challenge the vision of

war as a black and white subject-, they make soap bubbles to imitate war bombs and

they have confronted illegal armed groups with pacific chants when they have been

stopped before starting their protests in areas hard hit by the conflict.

A clear understanding and promotion of women’s rights accompanied by

initiatives to vindicate them is key to conflict and post-conflicts situations. Without those

elements it is difficult to create sustainable peace.

Countering Violent Extremism

Sam Trudeau

Countering Violent Extremism

The radicalization of armed groups is one of the more pressing challenges facing third generation DDR. The shift in the character of conflicts since the early to mid-2000s has been marked by the growing presence of armed extremist groups operating in intra-state wars, a reality that has repeatedly challenged peacekeeping and peace building operations mandated by international bodies like the United Nations Security Council. Security Council members have usually sought to exclude radicalized groups from Comprehensive Peace Agreements (CPA) and participation in Council mandated DDR initiatives. Instead, these groups are usually dealt with through military means that aim to disrupt and degrade their capabilities in the hopes of ultimately ending their operations permanently. Yet armed extremist fighters have proven resilient and demonstrated a capacity to regroup after essentially waiting-out the military operations targeting them. The transnational nature of many of these groups and the porous borders in many conflict zones have facilitated these tactics.

 

Groups such as Al Shaabab in Somalia have been able to regroup and carry out operations in neighboring countries such as Kenya, Djibouti and Ethiopia. Mali-based groups such as Ansar al Dine and the Movement for Unity and Jihad in West Africa (MUJAO) have been able to do the same in Algeria, Mauritania, Niger and Senegal. These armed extremists have consequently been able to repeatedly act as spoilers to state and peace building initiatives in both countries after having weathered military pushes to defeat and dislodge them. This game of cat and mouse between local and international military missions targeting armed extremist groups seems to highlight the fact that combatants attached to armed ideological movements are at times driven by political grievances that cannot simply be disappeared through the use of force. In many cases, the cycle of violence seems likely to continue and further perpetuate violent extremism if a political space to express legitimate grievances is not created in a manner that engages the individuals that make up these groups. Countering Violent Extremism (CVE) initiatives have been identified as a tool that might help create an opening, at least in certain cases, to include individuals in these groups into the reintegration processes of DDR initiatives. The challenge seems to be identifying instances where military and counterterrorism operations can be coupled with DDR to defuse violent extremism and under what conditions creating a political space is appropriate.

 

In Somalia for instance, efforts have been made to engage with rank and file members of Al Shaabab who have disbanded from the group. In theory, allowing these individuals to participate in DDR reintegration processes with a CVE component focusing on de-radicalization, while at the same time affording them the opportunity to engage in a political process that2 addresses legitimate grievances, can be understood as promoting political agency to tackle radicalization.

In practice however, such initiatives have to be carefully calibrated to the political and social realities on the ground if they are expected to facilitate true social reintegration. In Mali, individuals and communities associated with radicalized groups were given the opportunity to disassociate themselves from Ansar al Dine and MUJAO and join the CPA under broad coalitions. Yet, this process was hampered by a lack of political will towards the CPA that left DDR processes stalled. These types of delays have proven detrimental DDR and led individuals and communities to return to radicalized armed groups. In this context, CVE might help prevent the slide back towards extremism, but ultimately the speed of implementation and political will of actors are crucial to a achieving long-lasting outcomes.

Sam Trudeau

 

Countering Violent Extremism

 

The radicalization of armed groups is one of the more pressing challenges facing third generation DDR. The shift in the character of conflicts since the early to mid-2000s has been marked by the growing presence of armed extremist groups operating in intra-state wars, a reality that has repeatedly challenged peacekeeping and peace building operations mandated by international bodies like the United Nations Security Council. Security Council members have usually sought to exclude radicalized groups from Comprehensive Peace Agreements (CPA) and participation in Council mandated DDR initiatives. Instead, these groups are usually dealt with through military means that aim to disrupt and degrade their capabilities in the hopes of ultimately ending their operations permanently. Yet armed extremist fighters have proven resilient and demonstrated a capacity to regroup after essentially waiting-out the military operations targeting them. The transnational nature of many of these groups and the porous borders in many conflict zones have facilitated these tactics.

 

Groups such as Al Shaabab in Somalia have been able to regroup and carry out operations in neighboring countries such as Kenya, Djibouti and Ethiopia. Mali-based groups such as Ansar al Dine and the Movement for Unity and Jihad in West Africa (MUJAO) have been able to do the same in Algeria, Mauritania, Niger and Senegal. These armed extremists have consequently been able to repeatedly act as spoilers to state and peace building initiatives in both countries after having weathered military pushes to defeat and dislodge them. This game of cat and mouse between local and international military missions targeting armed extremist groups seems to highlight the fact that combatants attached to armed ideological movements are at times driven by political grievances that cannot simply be disappeared through the use of force. In many cases, the cycle of violence seems likely to continue and further perpetuate violent extremism if a political space to express legitimate grievances is not created in a manner that engages the individuals that make up these groups. Countering Violent Extremism (CVE) initiatives have been identified as a tool that might help create an opening, at least in certain cases, to include individuals in these groups into the reintegration processes of DDR initiatives. The challenge seems to be identifying instances where military and counterterrorism operations can be coupled with DDR to defuse violent extremism and under what conditions creating a political space is appropriate.

 

In Somalia for instance, efforts have been made to engage with rank and file members of Al Shaabab who have disbanded from the group. In theory, allowing these individuals to participate in DDR reintegration processes with a CVE component focusing on de-radicalization, while at the same time affording them the opportunity to engage in a political process that2 addresses legitimate grievances, can be understood as promoting political agency to tackle radicalization.

In practice however, such initiatives have to be carefully calibrated to the political and social realities on the ground if they are expected to facilitate true social reintegration. In Mali, individuals and communities associated with radicalized groups were given the opportunity to disassociate themselves from Ansar al Dine and MUJAO and join the CPA under broad coalitions. Yet, this process was hampered by a lack of political will towards the CPA that left DDR processes stalled. These types of delays have proven detrimental DDR and led individuals and communities to return to radicalized armed groups. In this context, CVE might help prevent the slide back towards extremism, but ultimately the speed of implementation and political will of actors are crucial to a achieving long-lasting outcomes.

UN Peacekeeping, DDR & Children

By: Marko Stanic

In many ways, the role of the United Nations Peacekeeping efforts has become synonymous with the efforts of DDR. In many ways, the two can appear mutually exclusive – how can a nation have an effective transition from conflict to peace without the DDR programme and broader peacekeeping efforts?

The final paragraph (119) of the Role of United Nations Peacekeeping in Disarmament, Demobiliation and Reintegration, a report of the Secretary-General to the Security Council, seems to encapsulate the above statement firmly; “…the role of a peacekeeping operation in post-conflict disarmament, demobilization and reintegration is rooted in and feeds into a broader search for peace and development”. Consistent with what makes the DDR successful in peacekeeping operations, the SG acknowledges that one of the most important prerequisites for a successful DDR programmes is the presence of political will, support of civil society, and the assistance of the international community in the host nation.

In the early days of DDR, there has been a distinct lack of children, and child soldiers in the scope and caseload of DDR operations. This lack is most evident in Gen. 1. Since the turn of the millennium however, under the guise of Gen. 2 and 3, the caseloads have been expanded to include the youth. It does not take a lot to recognize that special attention needs to be paid to the DDR processes involving child soldiers. As defined by the United Nations, child soldiers are any persons under the age of 18 who take part in armed force in any capacity – this includes participation in direct combat, and any other non-combat roles, including accompanying groups as well as “girls recruited for sexual purposes and forced marriage.” (United Nations S/2000/101).

Reintegrating former (adult) ex-combatants into the society is a challenging process in itself, and it becomes especially challenging when children are involved. While children and adults may both share the same experience in armed conflict, children will in all likelihood respond differently to these stresses and traumas than adults. The exposure to risk from combat, and any other risks inherent in armed forces have the propensity to disrupt the physical, social, and emotional up-bringing of children. If professionally trained soldiers experience psychological consequences of combat such as post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), then what will these experiences have on children, and how might the DDR programmes help with this?

As the report by the Secretary-General suggests, “non-discrimination, gender equity, non-institutionalization and non-stigmatization of the children, and early family reunification” are all critically important in preparing DDR programmes that will include children as the targets of DDR. Furthermore, it is imperative to include all the children, including children not in armed forced but those growing up in the conflicted areas as well. It is important for the programmes to be inclusive as choosing to focus on one group over the other is not conducive of long-term peace and development.

While providing educational services does not fall under the operations and programmes of DDR, some fort of education is essential to the children entering the demobilization efforts. Much like male ex-combatants receive support packages and vocational training via reinsertion, so too should children receive education that would have been afforded in the absence of conflict. This will be vital for long-term reintegration. If children re-entering civilian status are expected to contribute to their communities in long-term (in adulthood), then the availability of schooling will directly affect how well they will reintegrate.

Lessons from Afghanistan:  Rethinking Reintegration & Disbandment

 

By Marko Stanic

Reintegration, as defined by The Role of United Nations Peacekeeping in Disarmament Demobilization and Reintegration (S/2000/101), a report of the Secretary-General is the process which enables former combatants and persons associated with them (women, children, families), to adapt and become productive members of their societies. This process includes economic and social adaptations by providing compensation packages, training, and job opportunities. As was pointed out by the SG, the process of Reintegration, while the last “step” in the DDR process, should not be followed with a silo approach – meaning that the Reintegration should not exclusively follow the process of Demobilization. All three phases of DDR ought to work in tandem with one another.

Keeping this definition of Reintegration in mind, political reintegration the “may be framed as conflict transformation tool. In this regard it aims to underpinning UN experiences at armed group and rebel groups…” (Political Reintegration & Armed Group Transformation). There are two primary objectives of political integration: 1. Inclusion of irregular armed forces to any agreed upon power sharing arrangements, and 2. Transforming the said group into productive, law abiding citizens. It would appear that, while the United Nations did hold these goals in mind, it fell short of achieving them in Afghanistan.

From 2002 through 2012, the UN efforts in Afghanistan included both positive and negative incentives aimed at the individuals within the armed groups. When addressing the armed groups however the UN seeks to either transform the groups transformation or disbandment. The disbandment of fighters in the Afghanistan did not succeed due to the assumption that a permanent break between the command and control, and individual fighters was possible. Conducting a Conflict-Development Analysis (CDA) in Afghanistan would have revealed the existence of very strong tribal ties. These ethnic identities often served as primary modes of identity, often trumping national Afghan identity.

The use of positive and negative incentives in Afghanistan aimed at achieving disbandment of armed groups themselves, rather than achieving group transformation. Of these incentives, the Commander Incentive Program (CIP) sought to break the command and control of the armed groups. The positive incentives for commanders in CIP included trips to haj as well as socio-economic packages. The CIP worked while the UN was able to provide resources – meaning that the permanent break in the patronage was attainable only with a constant supply of resources.

The failure of CIP to permanently disrupt the relationships between commanders and personnel, and lack of efforts to inspire positive social and political harmony within the armed groups prevented the groups’ transformation into legitimate political bodies. Undertaking robust analysis (such as CDA) may have averted these failures. Prior knowledge of armed groups would have shown evidence of political goals, and as such transforming an armed group into a political entity may have been successful. However, the fact remains that the initial objective of the UN was not the transformation of armed groups in Afghanistan, but rather disbandment through reintegration.

Should DDR only apply to societies in post conflict situations? 

Submitted by: Llaura Garcia

The Afghanistan Peace and Reintegration Program (APRP) is a reintegration program implemented in Afghanistan to help create and stabilize peace. The program is about building a better future by creating peace in the region and reintegrating ex-combatants into the community. The strategy of the APRP is available to all who are willing to join in rebuilding Afghanistan through peace and accepting the constitution. APRP is providing a better alternative to fighting. The program is about renouncing violence, transparency by those who govern, working together, training, addressing grievances, outreach, different reintegration packages, and overall –building a community. Overall, the framework of the program seems sound that it provides structure, balance, and vision for what the programs wants to accomplish for the Afghan people.

While I believe that this program will take a very long time for the process to be completed, APRP has a good vision and structure to move forward and eventually accomplish its goal. I believe that while the reintegration packages are different, the programs will provide training, education, and a chance for the people and the ex-combatants to move forward as a united group of people. In reading this and other programs about DDR, what struck me is that these packages of reintegration are being done only in post conflict situations. I wonder why can’t there be some sort of “preemptive” reintegration in areas that has deep divisions in societies.

In the aftermath of the US elections, many are shocked and many were saddened or angered by the results. How is it related? The results show deep division in society and the world overall. While the conflict and division may not lead to an all-out war, it does incite hate which translate back to areas where there are deep divisions and conflict. Here in the US, minorities are being harassed and even attacked for just being who they are and in Britain, minorities are being attacked as well. Many believe that the hate being incited by the government officials are inconsequential to the good that they will do for the country but is that really the truth? While I believe that not all Trump supporters are racists bigots, they are slightly giving the nod that the words that came out of Mr. Trump’s mouth is acceptable. It’s not bad enough that the country is still having racism issues but to have a President of the United States –the highest and probably one of the most prestigious titles in the world incite violence or hate is just frightening.

Since the end of the last election, a friend of mine wearing a hijab was told to “go home,” a coworker’s family was worried that they might get deported, and so many other examples of hate all over the world. So how is this related to DDR? Reintegration. Some of the mechanisms used in the reintegration packages should be highly recommended to these “modern society” to help bridge the gap. The funding will of course come from their governments but the fact if that not all post-conflict areas are the only ones that needs to have reintegration packages. I believe that given the state of the world and so many hateful actions reported and even caught on tape, I believe that countries should implement their own reintegration package to help bridge the gap between and to truly move forward as a united nation.

Jail: Jihad’s New Recruitment Center

Jail: Jihad’s New Recruitment Center

By Tamara Dickey

Reintegration of ex-Violent Extremists (VE) rarely occurs without intervention programs, many of which include forms of deradicalization and/or disengagement from terrorist organizations.  Most often states’ primary engagement with VEs is when they are detained or in prison.  Unfortunately, a broad general analysis of prisons has shown that many lack policies, capacity, and intention in their role on Countering Violent Extremists (CVE).  Prisons, in both Western and non-Western states, have recently been identified as incubators for terrorist if detainees and prisoners are not handled tactically.  Detention centers, in Iraq, Afghanistan, and Guantanamo Bay, have also been coined terrorist universities (Thompson), pressure cookers for extremism, and centers for jailhouse Islam.

The structure and organization of prisons and detention centers has been identified as a key problem in Countering Violent Extremists (CVE), mainly the issue of consolidating large groups of offenders together.  By grouping vulnerable low level offenders with already radicalized VEs the manifestation of mass radicalization was allowed to transpire.  According to a prison guard who spoke to the New York Times, training and the capacity for controlling this particular environment of potential radicalization did not occur.  “We are not really trained or prepared in any way to deal with religious radicalism […]. If we have such a hard time regulating something as simple as cigarettes, how do you expect us to regulate something as abstract as ideas, as religion” (Thompson).

In the case of these detention centers, prison authorities were ill equipped to understand the radicalization process.  Guards lacked the training and expertise to control the radicalization efforts within the centers.  Prison infrastructure and the capacity to handle massive numbers of detainees was also a critical problem. Coalition prisons, as an example, soon became a free training ground for recruitment and radicalization.

Critics have pointed to high profile cases of terrorists who can be traced back to detention centers and prisons, as examples of failed CVE actions.  For example:

  • 9 members of the Islamic State’s top command were held at Camp Bucca, a detention center that struggled with rapid radicalization of detainees (Barrett 20).
  • Saïd and Chérif Kouachi, the brothers responsible for the violent assault on satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo are suspected of being radicalized in a French prison (Temple-Raston).
  • Department of National Intelligence estimates that 30% of Guantanamo Bay detainees, both confirmed and suspected re-engagement, have “re-engaged” with terrorist groups (“Summery of the Reengagement of Detainees Formally Held at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba”).

Analysis of United States’ detention centers in the Middle East found gross overpopulation, as well as a lack of policy regarding detainee radicalization and reintegration as a leading problem in recidivism.  Andrew Thompson, a veteran of Operation Iraqi Freedom wrote in a New York Times article “the United States must convince its regional partners to avoid mixing radicals and moderates, and provide alternatives to prison for small-scale criminals. If we continue to replay the history of mass incarceration in the Middle East, we will remain stuck in the current cycle where our counterterrorism efforts create more terrorists” (Thompson).

New ideas on prison organization and policy have refocused attention on reintegration and rehabilitation verses detention.   Since, most detained or imprisoned VEs and suspected VEs are released– which can be seen in the case of 626 Guantanamo Bay detainees who have been released, repatriated, or resettled (“Guantánamo by the Numbers”)– primary focus on preventing recidivism of terrorist depends on the efforts of disengagement from terror organizations and deradicalization programs.   Combating Violent Extremist (CVE) must therefore include best practices of engaging with VEs being and continue through the detention process, which include programs for disengagement and/or deradicalization.

 

Work Cited:

Barrett, Richard. “The Islamic State.” The Soufan Group, 2014. http://soufangroup.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/10/TSG-The-Islamic-State-Nov14.pdf.

 

“Guantánamo by the Numbers.” Human Rights First. October 30, 2015. Accessed November 1, 2015. https://www.humanrightsfirst.org/sites/default/files/gtmo-by-the-numbers.pdf.

 

“Summery of the Reengagement of Detainees Formally Held at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba.” Department of National Intelligence. July 15, 2015. http://www.dni.gov/files/documents/GTMO Sept_2015.pdf.

 

Temple-Raston, Diana. “French Prisons Prove To Be Effective Incubators For Islamic Extremism.” NPR. January 22, 2015. Accessed November 1, 2015. http://www.npr.org/sections/parallels/2015/01/22/379081047/french-prisons-prove-to-be-effective-incubators-for-islamic-extremism.

 

Thompson, Andrew, and Jeremi Suri. “How America Helped ISIS.” The New York Times. October 2, 2014.

VIOLENT EXTREMISM AND THE RE-SHAPING OF PEACE OPERATIONS: DDR, CVE AND THE NEED FOR NEW POLICY GUIDANCE.

By Georgina Vazquez

United Nations (UN) peace efforts, and particularly peace operations, are often reviewed according their ability to adapt to ever changing contexts. The latter is reflected in two particular aspects: how should the UN engage in a particular peace mission or operations; how should the UN guide its transition processes during peace operations and missions. Both these questions are linked to the aspects of planning and the tools and frameworks the UN’s Security Council is taking into account when developing peace missions mandates.

Considering the above mentioned, currently Disarmament, Demobilization and Reintegration (DDR) programming is facing the challenge of adapting to the context of combating and/or countering violent extremism. This is particularly challenging as DDR as a political strategy for post-conflict management is now being planned to start operating in contexts in which military operations are ongoing and the prospects for achieving peace remain unclear, signifying a complete change from traditional and second generation DDR approaches. In these sense, DDR is challenged by the question of whether it can help demobilize and disengage combatants. How DDR ought to be planned in such context, and how will this political strategy adapt for it to be able to still deliver to its objectives? Do DDR benchmarks also need to change?

I argue that DDR must consider the following in order to quickly adapt is role in peace operations and keep its effectiveness for contributing to conflict management: a) It needs to be both flexible in terms of adapting to local contexts but should not lack the consideration of reformed and updated peace frameworks; b) planning for DDR mandates by the Security Council must be done taking into account the current fragmented programming issues that the United Nations is facing; c) to ensure that the DDR strategy responds to local needs, as well as to reduce coordination and collaboration issues among implementing actors (UN actors, local governments, non-government organizations and communities) DDR planning should fundamentally be on-field focused and people-oriented.

Regarding how DDR will or should adapt to new contexts of violent extremism, I believe one key aspect is benchmarking. Benchmarking implies that DDR will be clearly planned, thus avoiding undertaking mandates that are loose in frameworks and policy guidance; benchmarking DDR would then respond to the particularities of the context and would help guide DDR when lacking a peace framework and pre-conditions.

Additionally, aspects related to sequencing and expansions of caseloads are two key elements to consider when trying to keep DDR as a strategy in contexts facing violent extremism. On the first hand, if DD is less possible, then focusing on reintegration of victims or vulnerable populations is one step to prevent mobilization or engagement as well as to advance on efforts regarding helping communities to develop absorption capabilities.  This is just one particular example.

DDR is a relevant tool for peace, thus starting to think how to reach a third generation DDR and combine it with all the UN peace transformations to make it context-responsive is an urgent and current step.