The Strategic Use of Unidentified Armed Groups In Conflict Zones

Unidentified armed groups (UAGs) constitute a large share of violent actors in the ACLED dataset; approximately 15% of organized, armed conflict carried out by violent actors (e.g., government forces, rebels, political militias, communal militias, external forces) are at the hands of UAGs.  …

The Targeting of Children in Conflict Zones, Part 2: Increased Lethality and Contexts

Children in conflict zones are subject to high rates of violence (killing, or severely harming), forcible inscription and negative developmental challenges. Violence against children is often used by armed groups to instill terror in populations, and to reaffirm brutality and garner notoriety.…

The Break of Dawn? Shifting Interests and Opportunities in the Libya Dawn Bloc

Libya was the fifth most active country in the ACLED dataset in February 2015 with an average of 4 fatalities incurred for every conflict event (see Figure 1). The recent wave of attacks by Islamic State groups has prompted widespread discussion of the role of Islamist groups such as the Shura Council of Islamic Youth, Ansar al-Sharia, Islamic State of Tripoli and the Abu Salim Martyrs Brigade in the political negotiation process mediated through the UN.…

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.,…