Post-Conflict State Building


Contemporary Issues


‘From Political to Personal Violence: Links between Conflict and Non-Partner Physical Violence in Post-Conflict Liberia’

This academic article looks at the relationship between war and interpersonal violence. The authors study non-partner physical violence (NPPV) as an often-understudied form of gender-based violence, and use Liberia as a case study to evaluate the impact of conflict on NPPV post-conflict.

The Need for a More Focused Autonomous Weapons Targeting Discussion

This ICRC Humanitarian Law & Policy blog post by John Cherry and Christopher Korpela urges that the meeting of the Lethal Autonomous Weapons Systems (LAWS) Group of Government Experts (GGE) must shift from a focus on “weapons of science fiction” towards a more practical discussion of current and future weapons capabilities.

Combatancy and Post-Conflict Reconciliation in Internationalised NIACs

This blog post by Professor Alonso Gurmendi responds to Dr Kubo Macak’s recent book on Internationalized Conflicts in International Law. The post picks up on particular aspects of the discussion dealing with the regulation of combatant’s privilege, and considers the differing dynamics of IACs and NIACs and their effects on this phenomenon.


Women’s Involvement in Peace-Related Processes

Various recent articles have drawn renewed attention to the significance of women’s involvement in peace- and post-conflict state building processes. ASPI has published an article on the “operational imperative” of women’s active participation in such operations, and particularly in post-disaster initiatives. Foreign Policy also published a recent article emphasising women’s essential role in post-conflict reconstruction efforts in Yemen. Relatedly, the Australian Institute of International Affairs and Chatham House have separately drawn attention to the deleterious effects of women’s exclusion from the South Sudan peace process, and its implications for the sustainability of peace.

Chatham House Report: “Syria’s Transactional State”

new report published by Chatham House suggests that the Syrian regime has become increasingly reliant on external actors pursuing their own interests in the region, turning it into a “transactional state” dominated by self-interested actors aligned with the Assad regime. The report concludes from this that the Assad government cannot be a partner for the international community in terms of providing peace and security for Syria.

‘The Local in Peacebuilding: What We Can Learn from Community-Led Organisations’

The IPI Global Observatory suggests that peacebuilding initiatives need to prioritise local and community-led efforts and organisations, and ensure that the world of the international community compliments and supports them. Available here.

September 2018: Conflicts and Climate Change Threaten Access to Food

In September 2018, the Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) released a new report indicating that 39 countries (including 7 in Asia) are experiencing food shortages due to ongoing conflicts and climate change. This article by the Australian Strategic Policy Institute similarly argues that national security for Australia must extend to protecting food and agriculture. There are also growing concerns that a devastating famine is developing in Yemen as the conflict continues there – see here, and also this analysis from Crisis Group suggesting that the recently failed Geneva Consultations could restart a frozen battle for the Red Sea port of Hodeida, proving fatal for millions already on the brink of starvation. In related news, a recent UNICEF report indicates that a third of the world’s out-of-school youth live in conflict and disaster-affected countries.

“How Wars End”

Professor Damien Kingsbury and Richard Iron CMG OBE, Australian Institute of International Affairs

The authors explore five principles to help identify the opportunities to invest in successful peace-making.

  1. The conditions have to be right for a war to end – these conditions can be cultivated, by improving the benefits of peace or increasing the costs of ongoing conflict to a belligerent. Examples cited: Dayton Agreement & Good Friday Agreement (1995)
  2. Independent and trusted mediation – impartial mediators with sufficient authority to command respect or compel obedience. Example: 2005 Helsinki Aceh Peace Agreement
  3. Meaningful negotiation between the right people – Meaningful requires consideration of the causes and drivers of the conflict; the right people are those that have control over belligerent forces. Examples: 1999 Lomé Peace Agreement – RUF negotiating party lost control of military; Cf. Adams and McGuiness who retained power over the whole IRA for the Good Friday Agreement.
  4. Transitions to peace must be mapped and agreed; successful peace is built, not imposed – this requires disarmament, demobilization, reintegration as well as income and self-respect for ex-combatants.
  5. The international community can play an important, or a complicating, role – by persuading or coercing combatants through systems of reward / punishment, or guarantees such as peace-keepers and monitors.

Operation Freedom’s Sentinel, Report to the United States Congress


Lead Inspector General for Overseas Contingency Operations, January 1, 2018 – March 31, 2018.

Operation Freedom’s Sentinel Report to Congress is issued according to five Strategic Oversight Areas: Security; Governance and Civil Society; Humanitarian Development; Stabilization; Support. The central issues raised in the Executive Summary is as follows.

Operation Freedom’s Sentinel Report to Congress is issued according to five Strategic Oversight Areas: Security; Governance and Civil Society; Humanitarian Development; Stabilization; Support. The central issues raised in the Executive Summary are as follows.

Population Security

  • The central effort remains stabilizing Kabul, amidst increased terror attacks.
  • Minimal progress in population security – targeting an increased percentage of Afghanis living under government influence.

Pressure on the Taliban

  • The arrival of new US Military Training Force to expand the Resolute Support train, advise, and assist mission.
    • The hope is that training will allow the National Defense Forces to carry out more simultaneous operations against the Taliban. Improvement is difficult to quantify.
  • Afghan Force levels continue to decline.
    • Concerns about recruiting, retention, casualty rates and therefore overall effectiveness of the ANDSF.
  • Trilateral U.S. pressure on the Taliban:
    • Military, Diplomatic (Pakistan eliminating safehavens), social pressures (legitimate elections). No publically available evidence indicates any of these mechanisms have had a significant impact. Suggestions of negotiation and reconciliation have not led to any indication of change in the Taliban position.
  • Key Challenges:
    • Managing increased violence and civilian casualty in “stable” areas
    • Difficulties for the ANDSF holding territory seized from the Taliban

Pursuing Peace

  • A Taliban open letter to the American people calls for change to US policy toward Afghanistan to pursue peace talks.
    • Taliban rejection of Afghan government as illegitimate.
    • Peace talks conditional on US removing troops and negotiating directly with the Taliban.
  • US refuses to take lead and supports an Afghan-led process.
  • The international community supports reconciliation between the Taliban and the Afghan government
    • President Ghani made an unconditional offer for peace talks
    • No framework for reconciliatory processes or discussions exist.


Consortium on Gender, Security and Human Rights online syllabus collection

The Consortium on Gender, Security and Human Rights is pleased to provide an online Collection of Syllabi on Gender, Armed Conflict, Security and International Relations. This collection of syllabi has been gathered from faculty and institutions both in the United States and internationally, and covers a wide range of topics related to gender and war. We hope the collection proves to be a valuable resource for faculty engaged in designing or updating similar courses, as well as for students interested in pursuing the study of gender and security. Please visit the collection at

Other resources

Geoffrey Swenson, ‘Why U.S. Efforts to Promote the Rule of Law in Afghanistan Failed’ (2017) 42(1) International Security 114-151 

Georgetown Institute for Women, Peace, and Security – Global WPS Index

Anthony H Cordesman, ‘Stability Operations in Syria: The Need for a Revolution in Civil-Military Affairs’ (2018) Military Review

Samuel J Cox, ‘The Philippines: After the Fighting in Marawi’ (2018) Australian Institute of International Affairs

Amy Krakowka Richmond, Chris Arney, Kathryn Coronges and Matthew Simonson, ‘The Role of Network Science in Analyzing Slums in Rapidly Growing Urban Areas’(2016) Small Wars Journal

Anastasia Shesterinina & Brian L. Job (2016) Particularized protection: UNSC mandates and the protection of civilians in armed conflict, International Peacekeeping, 23:2, 240-273,

Hal Brands, ‘Paradoxes of the Gray Zone’ – Foreign Policy Research Institute

Armin von Bogdandy et al, ‘State-Building, Nation-Building, and Constitutional Politics in Post-Conflict Situations: Conceptual Clarifications and an Appraisal of Different Approaches’ (2005) 9 Max Planck Yearbook of United Nations Law 579

Bond: State of the World’s Emergencies 2015 – Briefing Paper

Christopher M. Blanchard and Carla E. Humud, ‘The Islamic State and US Policy’ (2017) Congressional Research Service

The Center on International Cooperation, ‘Global Peace Operations Review: Annual Compilation 2015’

Centre for International Peace Operations, Map of Peacekeeping Operations (2014-2015)

Clare Castillejo, ‘The role of ex-rebel parties in building peace’ (2016) Norwegian Peacebuilding Resource Centre

Dr Claire Spencer, ‘Terror must not Trample on Tunisian Institutions’ – Chatham House: The Royal Institute of International Affairs

Daniel Fisher and Christopher Mercado, ‘Competitive Control: How to Evaluate the Threats Posed by ‘Ungoverned Spaces’ (2014) _Small Wars Journal

Dobbins, James, Laurel E. Miller, Stephanie Pezard, Christopher S. Chivvis, Julie E. Taylor, Keith Crane, Calin Trenkov-Wermuth and Tewodaj Mengistu, Overcoming Obstacles to Peace: Local Factors in Nation-Building, RAND Corporation

External Review of the Functions, Structure and Capacity of the UN Police Division

Geraint Hughes (2016) Militias in internal warfare: From the colonial era to the contemporary Middle East, Small Wars & Insurgencies, 27:2, 196-225.

Guidance Note of the Secretary General: United Nations Assistance to Constitution-making Processes (April 2009) United Nations Rule of Law

Harvard Humanitarian Initiative, Satellite Imagery Interpretation Guide – The Burning of Tukuls

Huma Haider – GSDRC Applied Knowledge Services, ‘Conflict Sensitivity: Topic Guide’ [asset:GSDRC_CS_topic_guide_Sep-2014.pdf]?

Hurst Hannum, ‘Human Rights in Conflict Resolution: The Role of the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights in UN Peacemaking and Peacebuilding (2006) 28 Human Rights Quarterly 1


Institute for Economics and Peace, Five Key Questions answered on the link between Peace and Religion

International Crisis Group, ‘Crisis Watch No. 154 | Tracking Conflict Worldwide’ (June 2016)

International Network to Promote the Rule of Law – Website

Joint Publication 3-07 ‘Stability’ (3 August 2016)

Joel Lawton and Major Lori Shields, ’ Mad Scientist: Megacities and Dense Urban Areas in 2025 and Beyond’ Small Wars Journal

Jonas Lindberg & Camilla Orjuela, ‘Corruption in the aftermath of war: An introduction’ (2014) 35 Third World Quarterly 723

Lt Col Remi Hajjar, ‘What Lessons did we Learn (or Re-Learn) About Military Advising after 9/11?’Military Review (November-December 2014)

Maria Fantappie, ‘Iraq: On the Edge of Chaos’, Crisis Group

Michael Butler, ‘Ten Years After: (Re) Assessing Neo-Trusteeship and UN State-building in Timor-Leste’ (2012) 13(1) International Studies Perspectives 85

Pat Paterson, ‘Transitional Justice in Colombia: Amnesty, Accountability, and the Truth Commission’ (January 2016) William J. Perry Center for Hemispheric Defense Studies

R J Mathews (ed), Proceedings of the Biological Weapons Convention Regional Workshop, 21-25 February 2005 (2005)

Richard Elkins, Jonathon Morgan and Tom Tugenhadt, Fog of Law: Saving our Armed Forces from Defeat by Judicial Diktat Policy Exchange UK (2015

Ronald R. Krebs and Roy Licklider, ‘United They Fall: Why the International Community Should Not Promote Military Integration after Civil War’ International Security 40, no. 3 (Winter 2015/16): 93–138.

Sarah Hearn and Jeffrey Strew, ‘Independent Review of the New Deal for Engagement in Fragile States’ (17 April 2016) NYU Center on International Cooperation

Securities and Human Rights Hub/Database

‘The Perils of Peacekeeping in Unstabilized Environments’ – Stimson Centre Report (21 March 2015)


United States Institute of Peace – ‘Toward a Rule of Law Culture’

United States Institute of Peace, ‘State Strengthening in Afghanistan’ by Scott Smith and Colin Cookman (eds)

US Aid – ‘Preventing Atrocities: Five Key Primers’

Vincenc Fisas, The design and architecture of peace processes: lessons learned in the wake of crisis(2015) Norwegian Peacebuilding Resource Centre_

Yash Ghai, ‘A Journey Around Constitutions: Reflections on Contemporary Constitutions’ (2005) 122 South African Law Journal 804

The Asia-Pacific Centre for Military Law is operated by the University of Melbourne and it is not an agent of, nor affiliated with, or part of, the Australian Government or the Department of Defence.