The Targeting of Children in Conflict Zones, Part 1: General Trends

Violence against children is a conscious strategy employed by armed groups within conflict contexts. When children are targeted or killed, it is often in an attempt to instill terror in populations, or to reaffirm brutality and gain (global) notoriety, given that the targeting of children is meant to send a message to (adult) adversaries and/or the international community at-large.…

Dynamic Conflicts and Static Promises: Shifting Advantage, the Political Marketplace and Broken Ceasefires

In the past half-decade, multiple peace agreements and ceasefires have been implemented in various African countries to solve ongoing political conflicts on the continent. The most notable examples during this period are Mali, Central African Republic and South Sudan.…

Where’s ISIS in all this crisis?

The Egyptian air force’s bombing campaign in Libya’s eastern city of Derna on the 16th February in retaliation of the killing of 21 Coptic Egyptians has sought to raise fundamental questions over the extent and reach of the Islamic State’s presence in Libya. …

Rape as a Weapon of Political Violence, Part 2: Where, When, and by Whom is This Tactic Used?

Sexual violence (e.g. rape) is a conscious strategy frequently employed by armed groups to torture and humiliate opponents, terrify individuals, destroy societies though inciting flight from a territory, and to reaffirm aggression and brutality, specifically through an expression of domination (Bastick et al.,…

State Repression as an Obstruction to Conflict Monitoring

Governments may purposely repress or limit the information available to NGOs, media outlets and academics to prevent state forces or policies from being portrayed in a negative light. Conflict, dissent and civil war increase the incentives for controlling information relating to political violence.…

Rape as a Weapon of Political Violence, Part 1: Trends Across Africa

Sexual violence as a weapon of political conflict is a serious, present-day atrocity affecting millions of people (primarily women and girls)[1] with grave health implications, both physical and psychological (Bastick, Grimm, and Kunz, 2007; UN, 2015).…

Counter-revolution, Autocracy, and Stability in Egypt in 2014

The most significant trend witnessed throughout 2014 in Egypt was the dramatic decline of riot and protest events nationwide (see Figure 1). Sweeping detentions of Muslim Brotherhood supporters, unconstitutional civilian and military trials, and the introduction of legislation that curtails representation has seen Egypt slip into a counter-revolution reminiscent of past regimes under Mubarak in the late 1980s, and Nasser’s government in the 1950’s (Origins, July 2014).…