War and peace: The role of global civil society, M Kaldor, D Kostovicova, Y Said

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CHAPTER 4 WAR AND PEACE: THE ROLE OF GLOBAL CIVIL SOCIETY Mary Kaldor, Denisa Kostovicova and Yahia Said
Only the dead have seen the end of war. Plato The genocide (in Rwanda) in 1994 would not have been possible or taken such gruesome dimensions without the complicity of civil society groups. The ideology of hate was not only propagated by the state, but also actively supported by some civil society groups, including segments of the press. Timothy Longman, 1999 Kant was right when he said that a state of peace had to be `established'. What perhaps even he did not discern that this is a task which has to be tackled afresh every day of our lives; and that no formula, no organisation and no political or social revolution can ever free mankind from this inexorable duty. Michael Howard, 1978
Introduction There is a widespread view that the way to end wars is to promote global civil society. In places like Iraq, Afghanistan, the Democratic Republic of Congo, or Colombia, external donors provide money and training to help build civil society as a bulwark against violence. Civil society is, of course, the antithesis of war. Historically, civil society referred to a secular constitutional order, where the rule of law, based on an explicit or implicit social contract, replaced force as a method of governance. Thus it referred to domestic peace. Nowadays, global civil society is often equated with international NGOs, as the space between the state, the market and the family operating at a global level. In this chapter, when we use the term global civil society we mean a space (local, national and global) where individuals, groups and organisations come together voluntarily to debate public affairs and to exert political influence. Even though this space is more or less free of violence and relatively free of fear, it includes a complex range of different positions ­ those who oppose all wars, those The authors would like to thank Eman Ebed, Chloe Davies and Tahirih Lyon for their assistance on this chapter.
who favour some wars and oppose others, and those who try to manage or mitigate the effects of war. In this chapter, our aim is to outline these different positions. We do not reject the notion that the promotion of global civil society can contribute to peace. But we suggest that there needs to be greater understanding of the different strands of opinion, of who should be supported and how. We also argue that global civil society cannot be artificially created. Civil society is about agency ­ it is about the ideas and activities of individual human beings in different circumstances who choose to link up across borders or in other ways to magnify their capacities to act. While war tends to polarise and reduce the space where people can debate freely, it can also, paradoxically, promote civil society ­ many significant groups and organisations were founded in reaction to war. In developing this argument, we start with a brief historical discussion, outlining the relationship between civil society and war in the past and how this has changed as a consequence of globalisation. We then provide a framework for understanding different positions within civil society in relation to war. And in the last section, we illustrate this framework through case studies of Serbia and Iraq.
Historical context According to Michael Howard (2000), `peace' is a modern invention. The idea of discrete periods of peace and the imagined possibility of universal peace came into being after the Treaty of Westphalia in 1648 when modern states began to establish a monopoly of legitimate violence. This process was associated with the process of internal pacification, which involved the construction of civil societies. Wars became definable events, disruptions to normal `peaceful' social intercourse, in place of more or less continuous violence. They were, by and large, external events, against other states. And they had beginnings and endings. Hence the distinction between war and peace was both a geographical distinction between what was external and internal and, at the same time, a temporal distinction, that is, wars were contained in time. The definition of internal wars as `civil wars' reflected this distinction between domestic civil society and international anarchy. Wars also became increasingly destructive as professional armies were established, and science and technology was applied to warfare. We may be in a `civil state as regards our fellow citizens', noted Jean-Jacques Rousseau, `but in the state of nature as regards the rest of the world'; and he asked, have we not `taken all kinds of precautions against private wars only to kindle national wars a thousand times more terrible?' (quoted in Kaldor 1999: 17). Thus the earliest modern peace movements are to be found in those areas characterised by modern states. Of course, a peace tradition can be traced back to much earlier periods. The early Christians were pacifists but, after Christianity was adopted by the Roman Empire and war was legitimised by the teaching of St Augustine, Christianity became one of the most belligerent religions. Nevertheless there continued to be debates within the Christian Church. Thus, for Lollards, the followers of the Oxford reformer John Wyclif, who died in 1384, war was a contradiction of true religion. In the early fifteenth century, these first British pacifists included university-trained theologians and members of the gentry, peasants and artisans, but they became a repressed sect at the time when a cult of war appeared untouchable (Brock 1970). Cooper points out that these Christian pacifists, such as Quakers or Mennonites and Brethren on the continent, never became a model for widespread opposition to war,
despite their clear anti-war message that only drew vicious persecution upon them. Instead of proselytising, they made limited arrangements with the authorities, such as performing alternative services during the war (Cooper 1991: 5). Unlike in early Christianity, in classical Islam war could be justified in certain circumstances; Muhammad himself was a warrior in the Medina period. Nevertheless, there were pacifist strands of thinking in the period of classical Islam, especially among Shi'ites who argued that war was justifiable only in self-defence. Likewise, although Buddhism is widely considered a pacifist religion, Buddha was not against all wars. The Buddha `does not teach that those who are involved in war to maintain peace and order, after having exhausted all means, to avoid conflict, are blameworthy' (More Questions and Answers on Buddhism URL). Peace movements first made their appearance in the English civil war but became a significant component of European and North American civil society only after the Napoleonic Wars. By then, peace was understood as peace between nations. The Society for the Promotion of Permanent and Universal Peace was established in England in 1916. The American Peace Society was founded the same year. Its aim was: To increase and promote the practice already begun of submitting national differences to amicable discussion and arbitration and...of settling all national controversies by an appeal to reason, as becomes rational creatures....this shall be done by a Congress of Nations whose decrees shall be enforced by public opinion that rules the world...Then wars will cease... (Quoted in Howard 1978: 40­1) The first International Peace Convention was held in London in 1843 and the second in Brussels in 1848. Thereafter there were annual peace congresses in different European cities until the enterprise collapsed under the impact of the Crimean War and the subsequent bout of warfare in Europe. Towards the end of the nineteenth century the peace movement was revived. The liberal case for an international authority and an international civil society was supplemented by more radical arguments about social factors that lead to war. The early nineteenth-century liberals like Cobden or J S Mill
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had believed that free trade would increase international intercourse and eventually end wars. In the late nineteenth century, socialists argued that the expansionary nature of capitalism, especially imperialism, led to war, and in particular the armaments industry fomented war so as to increase its profits. Basil Zaharoff, the salesman of Vickers warships, became the personification of this idea (Scott 1962). From 1892, universal peace congresses were held annually. In 1900, according to F S L Lyons, there were 425 peace organisations ­ 46 in Britain, 72 in Germany, 16 in France, 15 in the US, 1 in Russia and 211 in Scandinavia (Lyons 1963). At the Hague Peace Conferences of 1899 and 1907, Baroness Bertha von Suttner organised a daily newsletter and daily salons where activists could mix with diplomats, in a foretaste of today's parallel civil society summits. Along with the peace movement came the rise of humanitarian agencies. Indeed, the first peace societies had been composed of people who had provided humanitarian assistance during the Napoleonic Wars. Later in the century, Henri Dunant was to found the Red Cross after he witnessed the horrors of the Battle of Solferino. The efforts of the Red Cross and peace groups were to lead to the codification of international humanitarian law as a result of The Hague and the Geneva Conventions. But peace and humanitarianism was only one strand of civil society thinking. Another important strand was nationalism and, until the end of the nineteenth century, nationalism was equated with freedom. Many civil society thinkers, such as Hegel, believed that patriotism was necessary to hold civil society together. War, argued Hegel, is necessary to preserve the `ethical health of peoples.... Just as the movement of the ocean prevents the corruption which would be the result of perpetual calm, so by war people escape the corruption which would be occasioned by a continuous or eternal peace'(Hegel 1829/1996: 331). Later in the century, Mazzini, one of the liberators of Italy, was to argue that war was necessary for liberation: Insurrection ­ by means of guerrilla bands ­ is the true method of warfare for all nations desirous of emancipation....It forms the military education of the people and consecrates every foot of the native soil by memory of some warlike deed. (Quoted in Howard 1978: 49­50)
And the free trade argument was turned on its head by Friedrich List, who argued that protection and even war strengthened the nation state. There was huge sympathy, especially in Britain, for the plight of the smaller nationalities under the Turkish or Austrian yoke. The Daily Mail talked of `gallant little Serbia' before the onset of the Balkan wars. The cause of Greek independence or of Bulgarian liberation from Turkish oppression was widely taken up. Yet another important position in civil society was the notion that imperialism was a way to extend the benefits of civilisation. William Gladstone, the British Prime Minister, justified the occupation of Egypt in terms that anticipated Bush and Blair's defence of the Iraq War after their failure to obtain the consent of the UN Security Council: We should not fully discharge our duty if we did not endeavour to convert the present interior state of Egypt from anarchy and conflict to peace and order. We shall look during the time that remains to us to the cooperation of the Powers of civilised Europe. But if every chance of obtaining co-operation is exhausted, the work will be undertaken by the single power of England. And he added that he had: laboured to the uttermost to secure that if force were employed against the violence of the Arabs it should be force armed with the highest sanction of law; that it should be force authorised and restrained by the united Powers of Europe, who in such a case represent the civilised world. (Quoted in Howard 1978: 56) By 1914, the growth of militarism, nationalism and imperialism had overwhelmed the growth of peace opinion. The widely held view that civil society favoured peace was overturned by the nationalist enthusiasms of the mass of the European population. The short twentieth century (as Eric Hobsbawm, 1994, calls it) from 1914 to 1989 was probably the bloodiest century in history. The `civilised' powers of Europe were responsible for two world wars and the Cold War. The First World War claimed 15 million lives. The Second World War claimed 35 million lives (half of which were civilian). The Cold War maintained an uneasy, no war­no peace in Europe through the threat of planetary destruction; outside Europe, some
In addition to peace and human rights groups, humanitarian agencies proliferated during the Cold War © Sven Torfinn/Panos Pictures
5 million people were killed every decade of the Cold War in conflicts fought in its name. The merger of nationalism and the state, and socialism and the state, gave rise to totalitarianism in which civil society was effaced. `Hegel was mutating into Hitler; Mazzini into Mussolini', wrote Michael Howard (2000: 55), and, he might have added, Marx into Mao (and Stalin though it lacks the alliterative ring). But the twentieth century also spawned a peace movement, larger and more global than its nineteenth century predecessor. In the First World War, the Union of Democratic Control established by those who opposed the war, such as Bertrand Russell, Charles Trevelyan and E D Morel, generated the ideas that led to US President Wilson's Fourteen Points. The Women's International League for Peace and Freedom (WILPF) was established after two meetings in The Hague of women from different sides in the war, as well as neutrals. WILF was to play a key role in promoting the League of Nations, as was the International Chamber of Commerce, which was concerned about the disruption to trade represented by war. The League of Nations Union proliferated local groups in the aftermath of the First World War. These efforts were to be deeply disappointed both by the rise of fascism and the failure of the League to respond to Italy's invasion of Abyssinia and Germany's march into the Rhineland. A mass transnational peace movement developed during the Cold War outside the Communist bloc. It was opposed both to nuclear weapons and particular wars such as Vietnam. It began in Japan and the
Pacific as a reaction to Hiroshima and Nagasaki and in opposition to atomic testing. It reached its height in Europe in the 1980s when some 5 million people demonstrated against a new generation of nuclear weapons in 1981 and again in 1983. By the end of the 1980s, small independent peace movements had also developed in the Eastern bloc. The Cold War period also marked the rise of human rights groups, along with the various human rights conventions and the Helsinki Agreement of 1975. Although some human rights activists were also peace activists, there was always a tension between peace and freedom that arose from the internal­external divide between civil society and war, which was similar to the tension between peace and national emancipation in the nineteenth century. Peace was about the international arena ­ peace between states. Freedom, or human rights, was considered a domestic responsibility ­ peace within states. Some human rights activists, particularly dissidents in Communist countries, believed that war or the threat of war was the only way to liberate themselves. A significant contribution to the ending of the Cold War was the dialogue between peace and human rights groups across the Cold War divide, which produced an emerging consensus that freedom is more likely to be achieved within a framework of international peace and vice versa ­ international peace is more likely to be achieved in democracies (see Kaldor 2003: ch. 3). In addition to peace and human rights groups, humanitarian agencies also proliferated in response to conflicts in the so-called
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Third World. NGOs such as Oxfam and CARE, which had been founded during the Second World War, continued their work during the Cold War. The Cold War and the arms race ended not with a war but with the victory of civil society. This, it can be argued, marked a profound rupture in international relations. It is no accident that the term `globalisation' entered public discourse in the aftermath of the Cold War. Globalisation is often considered an economic phenomenon; free trade and free capital movements have greatly increased economic interconnectedness and this has eroded the autonomy of the nation state to make economic policy. Many scholars argue that globalisation also means interconnectedness in other fields ­ political, military, cultural or social (Held et al. 1999; Giddens 1990). But perhaps the most significant change since the end of the Cold War has been that in the character of the nation state as a result of the loss of the monopoly of legitimate violence. As a consequence, the inside­outside contrast between internal peace and external war, between a domestic rule of law and international anarchy, has become blurred so that the idea of peace as international peace or domestic peace no longer has the same significance. This change is the consequence both of transnationalism and of fragmentation, as well as changing norms. The Kellogg­Briand Pact of 1928 and the Nuremberg trials after the Second World War made aggression an international crime. Today, the use of military force by states is illegal, unless in selfdefence or authorised by the UN Security Council. This new norm is paralleled by the declining capacity of states to wage war unilaterally. Military forces are increasingly interconnected through military alliances such as NATO, various partnerships, arms control arrangements, joint peacekeeping forces and exercises, not to mention the arms trade, the provision of military training and the transnationalisation of military production. Moreover, the huge increase in the destructiveness and accuracy of conventional arms means that any use of military force even against technologically inferior enemies, as in Iraq or Afghanistan, is very risky. But if the capacity to maintain a monopoly of legitimate violence is challenged from above by interconnectedness and new global norms, it is also challenged from below by the privatisation, fragmentation and informalisation of military forces in many parts of the world. It is often argued that, while
inter-state war has declined, there has been an increase in civil wars. This terminology reflects a continuing preoccupation with the inside­outside distinctions of the nation-state era. What has been increasing are `new wars', in which the distinctions between public and private, and between internal and external, break down. These wars are fought by a combination of state and non-state actors. They are both global and local; often violence is highly localised and may or may not spill over borders, although the actors may include foreign mercenaries, diaspora volunteers, transnational criminal groups, and international governmental and non-governmental agencies. The changing nature of war has been paralleled by a change in the meaning of civil society. During the Cold War, civil society activities were defined largely in relation to the nation-state; today global civil society is engaged in a dialogue with different levels of authority ­ local, national and global. Indeed, during the demise of the Cold War, the coming together of peace and human rights groups who addressed their concerns to governments, NATO and the Helsinki process, as well as local authorities, represented the emergence of a new type of public space. In the next section, we discuss various interpretations of contemporary wars and how these influence civil society action for peace or for war. Different civil society positions on war According to the Human Security Report 2005, the number of conflicts has declined in the first few years of the twenty-first century and, moreover, conflicts have become less deadly with declining numbers of casualties (Human Security Centre URL). The main reasons given are the end of colonialism and of the Cold War, and a more active role by the international community. It can be argued that the rise of global civil society, in particular the growing importance of peace and human rights groups, has contributed to this trend. In places where global civil society has been quiescent, for example in Darfur and Rwanda, or where global civil society is deeply divided, as in the Middle East, tragedies continue to take place. However, although the number of conflicts appears to be declining, there are disturbing counter-trends. These include the `war on terror' and the escalating violence in the Middle East, the increase in civilian casualties directly from violent attacks and indirectly
Table 4.1: Global civil society positions on war and peace
Interpretation of war `Old wars' Power politics Ancient rivalries `New wars' political economy New nationalist, religious and other ideologies
Anti-war Who: Peace movements How: Opposition to militarism and aggression Who: Conflict resolution groups, multiculturalists or consociationalists How: Negotiated final settlement Who: Global Witness, Campaign Against the Arms Trade, Revenue Watch, Development NGOs How: Undermining war economy and building an alternative Who: Human rights groups, women's groups, cosmopolitan networks How: Alternative identities, cosmopolitan ideologies and legitimate public authority
For some wars Who: Neo-conservatives, realists, Russian conservatives, anti-imperialists How: War is sometimes justified in the national or ideological interest Who: Nationalist and religious groups, clash of civilisations How: Interest in war to win power on the basis of identity Who: Criminals, smugglers, mercenaries, adventurers How: Interest in war as a source of revenue Who: Liberal internationalists, extreme secularists, those who favour `Responsibility to protect' How: Just war for human rights, and/or managing conflict and protecting civilians
from hunger and disease associated with war, the rise of terrorism and organised crime, and the spread of nuclear weapons. Moreover, in many of the areas where ceasefires have been reached, for example in large parts of Africa, the Balkans, the South Caucasus and Central Asia, people continue to experience high levels of insecurity as a result of human rights violations and crime; and the risk of conflict remains high. Whether these conditions can be addressed, and the secular decline in war-related violence continues, depends in large part on global civil society and the positions it adopts. Although a case can be made for global civil society's contribution to this decline, there are instances where global civil society has contributed to conflict. Therefore, it is important to analyse the various positions adopted by different actors and how these influence conflict trends. Table 4.1 provides a framework for identifying different strands of opinion within global civil society.
The first column refers to different ways of interpreting contemporary conflicts, which might be shared by both pro-war and anti-war groups. The second and third columns show the kind of groups that represent each position. In addition to these groups, there are humanitarian agencies that do not take positions but try to mitigate the effects of war. Of course, the myriad civil society positions is difficult to capture in a framework of this kind; within groups, movements and organisations, a variety of different views and strategies, both overlapping and contradictory, can be found. So the framework should be treated as a heuristic device; no doubt it is possible to find many ideas that do not neatly fit the framework. Old wars The first two positions are described as `old war' positions. Those who hold these views see war as something that takes place between two states, or
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coalitions of states or non-state actors who aspire to statehood, based on some deep-seated grievances or conflicts of interest. Power politics The first position is about `power politics' ­ the idea that war is pursued by states for geopolitical reasons, to protect their national interest and extend their power. This interpretation is usually applied to interstate war but there is a widespread view that other types of war are manipulated by outside powers. Thus, in Yugoslavia there were many who argued that US and NATO intervention was motivated by self-interest such as the establishment of new military bases or access to oil pipeline routes. At best, intervention in the Balkans was described as a typical imperialist undertaking of `imposing progress upon those in the cross hairs' (Cockburn 1999). In the South Caucasus, the clash between the United States and Russia over control of the region is often cited, with some reason, as a key factor in the persistence of frozen conflicts. Russia played a role in fomenting as well as freezing all the conflicts, and Russian conservatives argue that instability in the area helps to preserve the region as a Russian zone of conflict (Karagiannis 2002). The United States has been keen to build relations with oil-rich Azerbaijan, and has insisted on the construction of the Baku­Ceyhan pipeline, at great cost, which avoids Iran and Russia. Now it is sponsoring the `Caspian Guard' initiative, which includes the construction of radar facilities and assistance to the Azeri navy to prevent proliferation and protect the pipeline ­ objectives that can be perceived as targeted against Russia and Iran. Those who see war as power politics and support some wars include neo-conservatives in the US who believe in the use of force to extend America's global hegemony, and in the mission to extend democracy worldwide, based on the American model. This approach was embodied in the Project for the New American Century, which brought together a group of policy makers and intellectuals who later became known as the neoconservatives. They include Elliott Abrams, Dick Cheney, Francis Fukuyama, Donald Rumsfeld and Paul Wolfowitz, most of whom are or have been prominent members of the Bush administration. According to PNAC's Statement of Principles:
America has a vital role in maintaining peace and security in Europe, Asia, and the Middle East. If we shirk our responsibilities, we invite challenges to our fundamental interests. The history of the 20th century should have taught us that it is important to shape circumstances before crises emerge, and to meet threats before they become dire. The history of this century should have taught us to embrace the cause of American leadership. (PNAC 1997) Organisations such as the Heritage Foundation and American Enterprise Institute also embody this perspective. This position also includes realists who believe force should be used to protect national interest. Realists tend to be less belligerent than neoconservatives, who believe in America's mission to spread democracy. Realists argue that National interests can often be protected better using peaceful rather than violent means. Thus, leading American realists opposed the war in Iraq (Scowcroft 2006). Think tanks such as the International Institute for Strategic Studies in London and the Centre for Defence Studies in Delhi play a significant political role in promoting this way of thinking about war. Since most conceptions of war are shaped by the idea of clashes between states, groups that describe themselves as peace movements are usually those opposed to the war-like policies of states, especially the US. Peace movements have always been internationalist, and a number of important global peace coalitions campaign for peace and against armaments, especially weapons of mass destruction. These include some that were formed earlier in the twentieth century such as the International Peace Bureau or the Women's International League for Peace and Freedom. A significant recent initiative was the Hague Appeal for Peace (URL), which was established on the centenary of the 1899 Hague Peace Convention, when thousands of peace activists gathered in Brussels. The organisation brings together a network of peace groups and international organisations from around the world. Of course, many different positions are to be found among activists. The dominant view in the global movement that opposed the war in Iraq has been based on a similar interpretation of conflict as `power politics'. The war in Iraq is perceived as the means by which the United States seeks to control sources of oil
and territory for military bases. The global anti-war demonstration of 15 February 2003, involving 8 million people around the world, was unprecedented in size and coordination. One of the most popular banner/slogans of the action was `No Blood for Oil'. Speakers at the London rally, which brought 1.5 million people to the streets of London, rejected US and British justifications for the war on the grounds of weapons of mass destruction, deposing tyranny, or the war on terror, insisting instead that the pursuit of Iraq's vast oil wealth was the main motive. Noam Chomsky of MIT is one of the most prominent representatives of this perspective: ..they have an international program, which has been announced, dominating the world by force, permanently, preventing any challenge, and in particular, controlling the very crucial energy resources of the world. Mostly in the Middle East, secondarily in Central Asia and a few other places. (Chomsky 2003) Similarly, Tariq Ali lists three motives for the US war in Iraq: `re-colonization'­ oil, support for Israel and intimidation of strategic rivals such as China and Japan (Ali 2003a). This view could be regarded as a reverse echo of the pro-war realist view. Both agree on a particular interpretation of conflict. The different stances towards the war in Iraq depend on whether American control over oil fields or military bases is considered good or bad. In the first Gulf War, both the US and UK governments justified the war in terms of the need for oil. A paradox of this perspective is the tendency for anti-war activists to justify and support violent resistance against what they view as imperialist aggression, thus legitimising war of another kind. Many activists support, or refuse to condemn, Palestinian violence even when it is aimed at civilian targets. Some have described the insurgency in Iraq as an Intifada (Klein 2004). George Galloway, a British MP and leading figure in the UK Stop the War Coalition, called for an Iraqi Intifada in a speech delivered only two months after the invasion. In April 2003 Tariq Ali (2003b) referred to an Arab-wide Intifada as the only thing that could have prevented the invasion of Iraq. It is sometimes unclear whether the main goal of these activists is ending the war or the defeat of the United States and its allies.
Among peace activists and realists there are those who regard power politics as a significant source of conflicts but nevertheless believe these can be managed through diplomacy and multilateral organisations of states such as the United Nations. The International Crisis Group, which conducts research and advocacy on conflict and brings together former foreign policy officials with peace and human rights activists, often reflects this approach, although its invaluable reports on particular conflicts adopt a range of perspectives. Ancient rivalries The second position is ancient rivalries ­ the idea that there are long-standing divisions based on culture, race or religion that can, at best, be managed or suppressed. Thus Communist rule was supposed to have `kept the lid' on ethnic and religious divisions boiling underneath in the former Soviet Union and Yugoslavia. Likewise, colonialism in Africa is said to have contained tribal rivalries in Africa or masked religious difference in South Asia. The notion of ancient rivalries is applied both to inter-state conflict and to civil wars. The most well-known example of the former is Samuel Huntington's Clash of Civilisations (2002); while Robert Kaplan's Coming Anarchy (2001) and Balkan Ghosts (2005) put forward an ancient rivalries thesis to explain wars in the Balkans and Africa. In the scholarly literature, a distinction is drawn between primordial or essentialist understandings of nationalism and religious fundamentalism on the one hand, and constructed or instrumental approaches on the other. The former see nations and religions as deeply rooted in society, givens that cannot be changed. The latter argue that nationalist or religious identities are imagined, constructed or used as forms of political mobilisation through various means, especially the media. The ancient rivalries position is based on an interpretation of identity politics that is closer to the essentialist view than the constructionist or instrumental view. Nationalist and religious groups tend to present themselves as enduring phenomena, whose right to power derives from history. Therefore, those who perceive war as based on ancient rivalries and support war for that purpose are the more extreme nationalist and religious fundamentalist groups. Such groups include Seselj's Serbian Radical party, militant Zionists or Al-Qaeda (Kaldor and Muro 2003).
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`No blood for oil': anti-war protesters express a `power politics' interpretation of the war in Iraq © Andrew Testa/Panos Pictures
Contemporary secular ideological positions can also be treated as a version of the `ancient rivalries' position. In the aftermath of the 11 September 2001 terrorist attacks, the neo-conservative rhetoric intensified to describe an existential struggle between `us', the `civilized nations', and `Terrorists who hate us for what we are and who are bent on destructing our way of life' (Bush 2001); between democracy and religious fundamentalism; between good and evil. The rhetorical framework of the `global war on terror' is not unlike other religious and ethnic ideologies that depict an eternal cosmic struggle, and it is unsurprising that the two often overlap with American Christian Right groups or Jewish extremists in the United States and Israel. There are also, of course, moderate nationalist and religious political currents that oppose war but nevertheless favour access to power on the basis of national or religious identity. Thus, the moderate SDLP in Ireland consists of nationalists who favour a united Ireland but pursue their aims peacefully. The Bosnian Muslim Party, the SDA, favoured a multiethnic Bosnia, organised by ethnic parties in a peaceful way. And some nationalist groups veer from pro-war to pro-peace positions; this is probably true of both Likud in Israel and Hamas in Palestine. Moderate nationalist or religious groups often favour partition and/or consociational arrangements, whereby ethnic or religious interests are built into constitutional arrangements (Lijphart 1977). The Dayton Agreement, the Lebanese Constitution, and the Good Friday Agreement are examples of consociationalism. Partition has been widely applied in
former British colonies ­ India and Pakistan, Israel and Palestine, Cyprus, Northern Ireland, and most recently in the former Yugoslavia (Kumar 1997). Among scholars, there are those who argue that a strong civil society that crosses identity divisions helps to bring about peaceful coexistence of different ethnicities or religion. Thus Varshney (2002) shows that in India pre-existing cross-sectarian links help diffuse the conflict. This line of thought underlies the approach of those peace activists who accept the framing of conflict in terms of long-standing ethnic, religious or other identity-based rivalries and who support conflict resolution approaches. Thus Conciliation Resources, International Alert and other `second track' initiatives seek peaceful resolutions of conflict by facilitating dialogue between the warring sides through confidence-building exercises and placing protagonists in a neutral environment. The Israel­Palestine conflict, the most visible, emotive and senseless conflict for many people around the world, attracts many conflict resolution activists. One of these initiatives culminated in the 1993 Oslo Peace Accord after a process of informal meetings at the Norwegian Institute for Applied Social Science, which involved academics, intellectuals and grassroots activists from Israel and Palestine. At the heart of this model consociational arrangement is partition along ethnic lines which, by accepting that Palestinians and Israelis cannot share the same country, implicitly recognises a version of the ancient hatreds argument. Cther examples of the conflict resolution approach are `interfaith dialogues' or `dialogue of civilisations'. These initiatives seek to dispel the notion of ancient
hatreds, clash of faiths, civilisations and other identities by emphasising commonalities and dialogue. Unlike the conflict resolution approach, such initiatives attract anti-conflict ethnic and religious representatives, and are thus more likely to achieve agreement in the form of appeals and declarations for peace. However, the effectiveness of such outcomes is circumscribed by the fact that they emphasise the identities underpinning the conflict and tend to exclude alternative cross-cutting identities. Since the 11 September 2001 attacks in the United States there have been many initiatives involving Muslim, Jewish and Christian clerics calling for dialogue and condemning the targeting of civilians in the name of religion. On the assumption that most terrorists are unlikely to heed appeals from `moderate' clerics, and that the vast majority of Muslims do not need such appeals to refrain from attacking civilians of other faiths, the most significant result of such initiatives is to exonerate Islam from the violence perpetrated in its name. The actions of civic and religious leaders during the Acholi conflict in northern Uganda, many of whom have demonstrated a remarkable commitment to reconciliation, offers an example of identity-based civil society organisations playing a decisive and valuable role in pushing for the peaceful settlement of conflict. As Carlos Rodriguez says: During the early years of the war in Acholiland, religious leaders in the region focused primarily on providing moral and practical support to their parishioners and Church institutions became centres of support for thousands seeking shelter from the violence. Over time a greater consensus emerged amongst church leaders in the North on the need to be proactive in `bearing witness' about the conflict and to engage directly in peacebuilding. This transformation has resulted in a number of initiatives that have placed religious leaders at the heart of efforts to support a political resolution of the conflict and to address the consequences of the war... (Rodriguez 2002) The Acholi Religious Leaders Peace Initiative was formally inaugurated in February 1998 with Nelson Onono-Onweng, the Anglican Bishop of northern Uganda, as its founding chair. Its first major event was the Bedo Piny pi Kuc (sitting down for peace)
conference. It drew more than 150 Acholi, who discussed the causes and effects of the insurgency, the reasons for its persistence and possible strategies to end it. They concluded that `the insurgency cannot be won by the gun' and subsequently called for dialogue between the government and the Lord's Resistance Army, an amnesty and efforts at reconciliation through the Acholi traditional practice of mato oput. New wars In contrast to the first two positions, those who hold `new war' positions see the conflicts of today as complex socio-economic phenomena that transcend traditional concepts and categories. New wars sustain and reproduce themselves primarily with the help of war economies and the manufacturing of identities (Kaldor 1999). Instead of assuming deep-seated grievances or conflicts of interests, the warring parties may have shared interests in conflict in order to strengthen political and economic positions. Political economy Paul Collier analyses civil wars from an economic perspective, and points to the low opportunity cost of conflict in the absence of other forms of employment. According to this line of thinking, under certain conditions fighting is the only, or best available, form of employment. This situation is self-sustaining since a lack of security decreases the likelihood of other, more gainful, forms of employment emerging. Therefore, recruitment of combatants may be relatively easy, although warlords or rebel leaders still have to provide political justification. Once the fighting starts, however, the cycle of killing and revenge reproduces grievances and, together with the cycle of economic destruction, makes such conflicts difficult to stop. Collier emphasises dependence on primary commodities as a significant contributing factor to conflict because they provide a convenient economic base and/or prize for the rebellion (Collier and Hoeffler 2004). The availability of arms, especially small arms, linked to unemployment, is also considered one of the conditions that make violence an attractive option (see Box 4.1). In West Africa, gangs of young men armed with weapons made available as a result of the Cold War and regional conflicts provide a `nomadic army' for conflicts in different countries (see UNOWA 2005).
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Political economists such as David Keen (1998), Mark Duffield (2001), David Malone and Mats Berdal (Berdal and Malone 2002) consider that warring parties, who may comprise state and non-state actors, have a vested interest in war primarily for economic reasons, and therefore simultaneously collude and conflict with each other. Loot and pillage, control of primary commodities, smuggling and trafficking, or trade in arms may be the primary objective of predatory rulers, warlords and rebel leaders. In practise it is often difficult to distinguish between the Such activities may also be an expedient way to finance political causes, but with time the war economy takes over and it becomes less and less clear whether the political or the economic is the primary objective. There are two main interpretations about what creates the conditions for war economies and what the remedies might be. Liberals argue that authoritarian regimes and command economies cause shortages and market distortions that foster corruption, black markets and trafficking. Thus the solution is liberalisation, including the promotion of civil society as a counterbalance to the state. This line of thinking sees civil society engaged in the provision of social and humanitarian services as an alternative to the overbearing state (see the section on promoting civil society below). Others argue the exact opposite: liberal prescriptions restrict fiscal spending, creating unemployment that provides armies of recruits for warlords. Also, liberal economic policies undermine state legitimacy, thus contributing to war. The solution is a stronger, more accountable state and more rather than less state spending to provide essential services and create an alternative economic base to a war economy. One area where there is agreement is that of natural resources. Economists such as Sachs (Sachs and Warner 1995) and Collier (Collier and Hoeffler 2004) have found robust evidence to support what political economists have asserted all along: a direct correlation between resource dependence and conflict in less developed countries. Although there is no consensus on how resource dependence contributes to conflict ­ for example, geopolitics, state weakness or the provision of an income stream ­ there is agreement that transparency in the resource sector is central to addressing this issue. Several civil society activities focus on introducing
greater transparency in the extractive industries. The Revenue Watch (URL) network aims to bring transparency to the payments made by corporations to governments. The idea is that a public equipped with this information is better capable of holding government to account for the misuse of natural resource wealth. Similarly, some civil society groups are dedicated to breaking the link between natural resources and conflict (see Box 4.2). These initiatives have brought together both local and global civil society activists with governments, international organisations and companies. New nationalist and religious identities Those who believe that political interests drive war argue that nationalist and religious groups are an important factor, but that these ethnic and religious divisions are deliberately fostered for the purpose of winning power. Political leaders in formerly authoritarian states, new aspirants to power in moments of transition, and adventurers and criminals seeking legitimacy try to mobilise on the basis of sectarian identities, promoting exclusivist ideologies through the media and indeed through violence itself. The new wave of nationalist and religious ideologies, whether nationalist parties in the former Yugoslavia, Sunni­Shi'a divisions in Iraq, communalism in India, or the Hutu­Tutsi division in Rwanda, may appeal to memories of past violence, but they need to be understood as new phenomena, new religious and nationalist ideologies that have developed in response to the complex changes associated with globalisation. If sectarian identities are constructed rather than givens, then this position represents an implicit critique of diplomacy and conflict resolution approaches because such approaches legitimise exclusive ideologies by treating them as the key partners in peace processes. Those who interpret these conflicts as the consequence of new, rather than ancient, rivalries argue that what needs strengthening in civil society are those actors who promote a non-sectarian identity ­ cosmopolitan groups, human rights groups and women's groups, for example. In situations of violence, it might be necessary to talk to those who promulgate extremist ideologies but within a framework that engages and involves those who oppose such ideologies. Groups in this category combine work on peace and
Box 4.1: NGOs, global civil society and the UK arms trade The international arms trade, in its legal, illegal and illicit forms, has attracted increasing attention in recent years because of issues such as the use to which recipients put weapons, the purported role of small arms in conflicts, and government subsidies for arms production and export. The UK was the world's fifth largest exporter and fourth largest importer during 2000­4 (SIPRI 2005: 418, 449). It participates in various arms control mechanisms, and is particularly active in small arms control, working to strengthen controls on their supply, to reduce their availability and to address the demand for them (FCO 2005). In this it is supported by a number of NGOs, including Amnesty International (URL), British American Security Information Council (BASIC URL), International Alert (URL), Oxfam GB (URL) and Saferworld (URL). Yet its activity in the wider international arms trade continues to attract the criticism of these same organisations, as well as Campaign Against Arms Trade (CAAT URL) which does not work on small arms issues in any depth). These NGOs differ in their objectives and strategies, but are all active on one or more aspects of the arms trade. NGOs are not the only global civil society actors to be concerned with the arms trade; direct action groups, such as Disarm DSEi and Ploughshares, seek to disrupt it, while industry lobby groups such as the Defence Manufacturers' Association and Society of British Aerospace Companies seek to promote it. In addition, weapons manufacturers are integrated into the machinery of the UK state through their representation on military advisory bodies and a `revolving door' that operates between the arms industry and government. For example, the head of the Defence Export Services Organisation, the branch of the Ministry of Defence that promotes arms sales, is drawn from the arms industry (see CAAT 2005). This means that arms capital is structurally privileged over NGOs and direct action groups, and is therefore much more likely to ensure that the state acts in its interests. UK arms exports are ostensibly controlled by an eight-part set of guidelines, which amalgamates the EU Code of Conduct on Arms Exports (June 1998) with UK government criteria (July 1997). These guidelines are politically but not legally binding, and do not greatly restrict the level of exports. They set out the conditions under which the government will refuse arms export licences; for example, the UK government claims it will not issue a licence `if there is a clear risk that the proposed export might be used for internal repression' and `will not allow exports which would provoke or prolong armed conflicts or aggravate existing tensions or conflicts in the country of final destination' (Ministry of Defence, FCO and DTI 2000). However, the guidelines are so interpreted that high levels of exports are licensed to countries such as Indonesia despite the evidence presented by NGOs, campaign groups and activists, of the use of military equipment in human rights abuses in East Timor, Aceh, West Papua and elsewhere in Indonesia. `Risk' is clearly a relative concept. Although the guidelines are sometimes invoked to refuse licences and serve to legitimise claims that the UK is a responsible exporter, arms exports receive considerable support from, among others, government ministers (including the Prime Minister), defence attachйs and the royal family, who promote arms sales on behalf of major arms companies, such as BAE Systems. As well, arms exports are subsidised via the Export Credit Guarantees Department (ECGD), which guarantees companies against the risk of recipients defaulting. NGOs active in the arms trade cover a variety of issues and adopt a variety of conceptual approaches and strategies. For example, CAAT is opposed to the arms trade per se, but the other organisations are not. This reflects a key difference in campaign strategy: CAAT operates with a much stronger `outsider' approach than the other organisations. Whereas Amnesty, Oxfam and Saferworld are leading organisations in the Control Arms Campaign (URL), which is calling for an international arms trade treaty to codify states' existing responsibilities under international law, CAAT prefers to focus on its own Call the Shots campaign, which focuses on the relationship between arms companies and the UK government as the main reason for the high levels of support for arms exports. 105
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The ultimate test of the effectiveness of NGO campaigns on arms trade issues is the pattern of UK exports, which has not changed substantially under the Blair Administration, despite the so-called and (hurriedly dropped) `ethical dimension' to foreign policy and the proclaimed commitment to the arms export guidelines. However, NGO activity has served to publicise the operation and effects of the arms trade, signalling to industry and government that their actions are being scrutinised. In this sense, the activities of the various NGOs have a cumulative effect. CAAT's protests and demonstrations at arms company AGMs can serve to raise the political temperature and thus complement the work of the other, more insider NGOs. However, it is also possible that mainstream NGO initiatives have a negative impact on outsider groups' effectiveness: while NGOs such as Amnesty, Oxfam and Saferworld have a reputation for being 'engaged' and `constructive', CAAT is seen as less `realistic' and `reasonable'. This means the government, and on occasion industry, can engage with mainstream NGOs and claim to be taking NGO concerns into account, while sidelining the more far-reaching demands of outsider groups. Given that mainstream efforts have had little effect on the overall pattern of exports, perhaps the more extensive demands and alternative strategies of outsider groups hold greater potential for more transformational change; but they are being muffled by insider activity. For scholars and activists alike, this raises the uncomfortable possibility that much NGO activity is too close to government and industry for comfort.
Anna Stavrianakis, University of Bristol
human rights. The activities of the Helsinki Citizens Assembly (HCA) in the Balkans and the Caucasus were emblematic of this approach. It brought together activists, academics and policy makers who rejected the ethno-nationalists' narratives used to perpetuate the conflict. Unsurprisingly, many of those involved have developed an immunity to imposed identities as dissidents under communism. As an international network, the HCA linked them with peace activists in the West in a relationship based on mutual solidarity rather than support. Activists in the West were empowered by the information they obtained from their colleagues in the region, which enabled them to conduct advocacy and mobilisation in their own countries. Through this relationship, activists in Balkans and Caucasus were more aware of policy thinking in Western capitals, and were empowered and protected by their membership of an international movement. The network was thus able to devise ideas and policies, from peace corridors and prisoner exchanges in the Caucasus to protectorates in the Balkans, which played an important role in reducing conflicts and helped to create more space for nonethnic narratives. Women's groups, often formed in response to wars, often play a critical role in promoting non-sectarian identities. For example, in northern Uganda the Gulu District Women's Development Committee played a significant role in 1989 by mobilising other women in
a peaceful demonstration at a time when no other groups dared to speak out about the war: Wearing rags and singing funeral songs, the women marched through Gulu town demanding an end to the violence. At the same time, many from the LRA gave up fighting and returned home. Although there are no available statistics to substantiate the outcome of the demonstration, a period of relative calm followed...(Manivannan URL) Similar examples can be found in other conflicts, especially Sierra Leone and Liberia, where women's groups were instrumental in bringing about ceasefires, although, despite playing a key role in peace-making, women are often sidelined from the political process afterwards. Women in Black, an international network, began staging vigils in Israel in 1988 against the occupation of the West Bank and Gaza. The network has hubs in Italy, Spain, Germany, England, Azerbaijan, Colombia, and in the former Yugoslavia, where during the war women held weekly vigils against the Serbian regime's policies of nationalist aggression. Women in Black groups have formed in many cities in the United States since 11 September 2001 (Women in Black URL). Local action is another means of stemming conflict and creating `islands of civility'. Civil society activists working with international partners created such
islands in Tuzla in Bosnia and Herzegovina, and in Kazakh-Echevan on the border between Armenia and Azerbaijan. The people of San Jose de Apartado in Colombia have been recognised worldwide for bravely banning armed actors from their village, whether they are paramilitaries, guerrillas or the Colombian army. Residents who declared their village a `Peace Community' have pledged not to participate in conflict, directly or indirectly, nor to provide information to any parties involved in the conflict. The perceived threat of such a stance is perhaps indicated by the retaliation against the people of San Jose de Apartado: since 1997, armed groups have murdered 160 people ­ out of a total population of 2,000. In September 2005 members of the Colombian Solidarity Campaign and the European Network of Fraternity and Solidarity with Colombia joined 100 people from Colombia and abroad at a gathering of the Network of Communities in Resistance (RECORRE URL). The meeting was hosted by the Peace Community, a founding member of the network. Among those who believe that constructed religious and nationalist identities are important factors in conflict, some favour the use of force on the grounds that this is the only way to avoid legitimising extremist or sectarian positions ­ they perceive diplomacy as a form of appeasement. Thus, liberal internationalists favour humanitarian intervention ­ the `responsibility to protect' as a way of enforcing human rights. There is a civil society argument as well. In sectarian wars, the first victims are those who hold cosmopolitan positions ­ those who favour human rights and democracy. Such a position depends on being able to express opinion without fear; therefore, some would support the use of force to create public spaces ­ safe havens, protectorates or trusteeships ­ where alternative inclusive ideas can be strengthened. The risk of liberal internationalism is that it can be used to justify wars that have more to do with geo-politics than humanitarianism. Thus the strongest case for invading Iraq and Afghanistan was made on humanitarian grounds. Humanitarian groups and their role in conflict A significant global civil society actor in conflict zones is humanitarian NGOs, which do not take a political position on the conflicts in which they work. Regardless of their apolitical stance, the presence and activities of humanitarian agencies can be a
Women in Black demonstration: women's groups play a significant role in peacemaking © Penny Tweedie factor in the duration, intensity and outcome of conflict, whether intended or not. Groups that work with refugees and internally displaced people (IDPs), agencies that provide food, water, medicine and other services to people in war zones have first-hand knowledge about conflict and are often the first to warn of impending escalation. Therefore their presence can prevent and reduce suffering, and with it the grievances that perpetuate conflict. Warring parties, including state and non-state actors, often use the humanitarian aid infrastructure to pursue their goals, for example by intercepting supplies, forcing NGOs and international agencies to pay for access to injured civilians or displaced persons, and even using refugee assistance as a vehicle for ethnic cleansing. Often, UN, NATO and US forces seek to coordinate closely with humanitarian NGOs in order to provide services for civilians in their areas of operations. This reduces the burden on the military and casts it in a more favourable light. However, NGOs have been uneasy about this `encroachment on the humanitarian space', especially in the case of Iraq, where the legitimacy of the war is in question. Some argue that humanitarian and service-delivery NGOs absolve state actors from their obligations to protect and care for civilians, and this perpetuates state weakness and war economies. Others suggest that humanitarian agencies can make use of the legitimacy established by providing aid to influence the conflict and create situations free of fear.
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Box 4.2: Campaigning against the causes of conflict, corruption and human rights abuses Global Witness investigates the use of natural resources and their revenues to fund conflict, corruption and human rights abuses, and then works to stop it. Founded in London in 1995, it initially investigated the relationship between the genocidal Khmer Rouge in Cambodia and illegal timber exports across the Thai border. Although the border was closed in 1995, it soon became clear that the Khmer Rouge was only part of a wider problem in Cambodia and in many other resource-rich countries: the deliberate exploitation of political and economic disorder by elites to loot the state's assets. This was proven when Global Witness received confidential letters in early 1996 from Cambodia's co-prime ministers to the Thai prime minister, which agreed to circumvent an export ban to allow some 1.1 million cubic metres of timber to be exported by 18 Thai companies that had based their logging operations in pro-Khmer Rouge areas. The bulk of the revenue (between US$35 million and $90 million) would probably have gone directly to the Khmer Rouge war effort, although lucrative kickbacks were envisaged for all the other parties. The government itself would have made money from the deal too, of course (Global Witness 1996: 14). This looting is an extreme version of the `resource curse' ­ the common failure of the political structures that accrete around `bonanza' economies, which are based on the extraction of natural resources to convert that wealth into long-term social development. This is especially common when public institutions are relatively young. If a government has direct access to substantial rents from natural resources, typically from foreign investors, it is freed from the pressures for public accountability that emerge in a state dependent on broadbased domestic taxation. Instead of trying to appeal to a broad domestic constituency, ruling elites may focus on controlling resource rents. `Crony capitalism' soon develops, with government officials diverting revenues away from the public purse into systems of patronage to line their own pockets, and to fund internal security control and military adventurism. Domestic politics becomes a struggle between different constituencies for access to these sources of revenue. This `rentier' model of state (mis)behaviour is inherently unstable and vulnerable to dissolution into armed conflict as competing groups may resort to violence (see Collier 1998; Collier and Hoeffler 1998; 2000/1; 2002). Indeed, easily exploited natural resource rents encourage `political-military entrepreneurship': where there is little chance to prosper outside of the ruling elite, enterprising individuals may seek to gain wealth, power and status through the prosecution of armed conflict (Le Billon 2005). Tangible riches in the form of natural resources also alter the mindset of combatants, turning war and insurgency from a purely political activity into an economic one; conflicts become less about grievance and more about greed. Political alliances mutate and battlefield enemies often then collaborate to make money. Global Witness has perhaps done more than any other organisation to highlight and investigate this problem in the field. The methodology that we developed in Cambodia was simple and tries to marry some of the elements of investigative journalism with the more typical NGO method of dogged campaigning. We aim to gather detailed, first-hand evidence of the problem, seeking to name and shame those responsible for mismanagement and misappropriation of revenues from natural resources. Often a determined investigation is necessary to establish the facts, the reliability of our sources and to interpret the documents we have obtained. In drafting our reports we have to address significant libel concerns too. Once completed, we publicise our reports and lobby relentlessly for long-term solutions. This often means arguing for a reconfiguration of the international marketplace to reduce the opportunities to profit from illicit natural resource exploitation. Although closing a border (as in Cambodia) may be effective in the short term, eventually that border will reopen and the same problem may recur. The industry as a whole has to be sensitised to the problem and its working practices altered. In addition, local institutions need to be strengthened so as to manage ethically their side of the trade. Not all our findings are original; many may be `open secrets amongst the knowing, but the knowing are few' (to quote Felix Frankfurter, a legal adviser to US President Roosevelt on much of his New Deal legislation in the 1930s) (cited in Douglas 1934). The aim of our investigations is often to pressure governments, companies or institutions into tackling problems that they may be aware of but have chosen not to deal with. As Frankfurter 108
said (Douglas 1934): `there is a shrinking quality to such transactions; to force knowledge of them into the open is largely to restrain their happening. Many practices safely pursued in private lose their justification in public.' This is the essence of the Global Witness approach. A classic example of this was our investigation and campaign on `conflict diamonds', for which we were nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize in 2002. Prior to this campaign, it was seen as acceptable for major companies such as De Beers, its proxies and its competitors, in the name of sustaining the world diamond price, to buy diamonds directly or indirectly from conflict zones in countries such as Angola and Sierra Leone. Global Witness's main contribution was to expose these actions and their brutal consequences, which included bankrolling rebel groups like the Revolutionary United Front, notorious in Sierra Leone for mass rape, extrajudicial executions and other terror tactics such as amputating limbs. We and partner organisations then worked with industry and government to establish a regime to detect and remove conflict diamonds from the world trade. We lobbied through the UN for immediate sanctions on rebel groups, and pushed for a diamond trade licensing system known as the Kimberley Process. In many ways, the Global Witness approach has travelled well. A key refinement has been to work much more closely with local civil society groups. Unsurprisingly, many African, Latin American and Asian organisations ­ both grassroots and national ­ are well aware of the problems but are unable to document and expose them because of lack of resources or the threat of retaliation. Because we are international, we tend to have more room for manoeuvre: we can help assemble a more coherent paper trail and follow the leads from local NGOs to build a bigger picture of the problem, and use our knowledge of the international policy system to achieve more effective results. By publishing the information ourselves and publicising the wider problem, we can also act as a lightning conductor, drawing the heat of retaliation away from local groups while creating a domestic political space for them to occupy. An example of this approach is our collaboration with more than 300 NGOs in more than 50 countries (of which about three-quarters are developing countries) to launch a campaign for revenues from the oil, gas and mining industries to be disclosed and managed in a more open manner. We have extensively documented how a lack of transparency has facilitated the embezzlement of vast sums from the public purse by the ruling elites in many resource-rich countries, while the people as a whole remain in dire poverty. In Angola during the late 1990s, for example, against the background of the arms-to-Angola scandal in France, about a quarter of the oil dollars were missing from the state's accounts (mostly diverted into offshore structures linked to the president and his allies). Meanwhile a quarter of the children were dying of preventable diseases before the age of five (Global Witness 2004). Our efforts encouraged companies and governments to cooperate with international and local NGOs to establish a process to improve disclosure and tracking of revenues into national exchequers, called the Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (EITI). It remains a work in progress, with the support of about 20 resource revenue-dependent countries. It will allow local civil society groups to improve oversight of revenues, and facilitate debate about how those revenues are managed. Real progress has been made in this regard in countries such as Nigeria and Azerbaijan; in others, including Indonesia, Ghana and Trinidad, the commitment has been more rhetorical than real. In Congo Brazzaville and Equatorial Guinea, the government has shamelessly persecuted the very groups it is supposed to be working with. An international evaluation process within the EITI is necessary in order to reward countries that are making progress and to highlight and redress failures. Global Witness came into being because the misuse of natural resource revenues, which was beyond the control of citizens, was deepening corruption and fomenting conflict. Ultimately, our aim is to create ways for citizens to exercise control over revenues from their countries' natural resources so that they are a benefit rather than a curse. Once we have achieved that, Global Witness will become obsolete ­ but we are not there yet. Gavin Hayman, Campaign Coordinator, Global Witness 109
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Table 4.2 provides an overview of selected civil society actors in conflicts ­ their different roles and positions. Promoting democracy and `creating' civil society The promotion of civil society as a tool to prevent and reduce conflict is an extension of the liberal notion of civil society as counterbalance to the state. This is quite logical since the market and civil society are closely related in liberal thinking. Thus, Western donors have embraced the idea of supporting civil society both as a non-violent way of resolving conflict among competing interests and as part of a liberalising agenda that will prevent authoritarianism by restraining the state. If a normative understanding is applied, and `civility' is conceived as the opposite of `violence', then it follows that promoting `civil' society will undermine the threat of conflict. As Adekson says: The `civility myth' directly originates from the phrase `civil society,' which mistakably assumes that there is a section of society that is predominantly civil and another that is not. Following from this view, the state is regarded as a monstrous, corrupt, and inept leviathan that only could be resisted by a coherent, morally superior and orderly civil society. (Adekson 2004) In many parts of the world, there has been a backlash against donor support for civil society in conflict zones on the grounds that this has created an artificial `fifth column', which promotes the interests of donors. Authors like Ikelegbe argue that these NGOs are dominated by Western ideology and unable to manage conflicts effectively. If we look at what constitutes the present flowering of civil society groups, their direction and energy, it would seem that western liberal ideology and donor funding dictate them... Thus, numerous questions arise in the consideration of the constitution of civil society as an alternative platform for managing conflicts. (Ikelegbe 2003) Others critics, such as Chabal and Daloz (1999), argue that the blossoming of NGOs is not a sign of Westernstyle civil society but an opportunistic adaptation by political actors to the changing complexion of the international aid agenda, leaving unequal power
relations intact and, again, offering little hope for effective conflict resolution. The policies of donor agencies, particularly the Bretton Woods institutions, often result in what Richard Joseph (1998) terms `virtual democracy', which is arguably largely cosmetic, designed to gain respectability in the court of world opinion and thus access to resources, rather than a genuine political liberalisation. For Chabal and Daloz, `There is as yet no evidence of functionally operating civil society in Africa'. They argue that: The emergence of a properly institutionalised civil society, led by politically independent citizens, separate from government structures, is only possible where there is a strong and strongly differentiated state. Only then is it meaningful to speak of a counterhegemonic civil society. Instead, they suggest: What we observe in Black Africa is the constant interpenetration, or straddling, of the one by the other...Understanding politics in Africa is a matter of identifying the complexities of the `shadow boxing' that takes place between state and society. But above all, it is a matter of explaining the myriad ways in which political actors, within both `state' and `civil' society, link up to sustain the vertical, infra-institutional and patrimonial networks which underpin politics on the continent. (Chabal and Daloz 1999: 17) In some cases civil society promotion is taken even further and activists are given political roles, bypassing the political process. Civilian political actors drawn from civil society formed the first interim government in Liberia after the conflict, the Interim Government of National Unity (IGNU), and have been represented to some degree in the various interim arrangements up to leadership level since then, including the recent National Transitional Government of Liberia and its National Transitional Legislative Assembly. While this role has provided an important counterbalance to the power of the military factions, it has also served to compromise the supposed neutrality of those civil society actors who become part of the state, resulting in a local loss of legitimacy of even highly internationally respected individuals, as they have become identified more with
their own political ambitions, interests, prejudices and beliefs than with the more broadly representative role that they claimed initially (pers .comm, Philippa Atkinson). Thus, the key reasons against `importing' civil society to resolve conflict can be summarised as follows: · civil society is not an object but a complex set of relations that emerged historically in compromises made between Western publics and emerging state powers · in itself, civil society is not capable of catalysing a functioning and legitimate statehood necessary to ease violence · when civil society is imported, in the form of NGOs, it is tied to and serves particular interests that may themselves exacerbate conflict (for example, the dictates of international donors) · imported civil societies are often viewed as illegitimate `peace profiteers' · imported civil society can crowd out indigenous and rooted activists who may contribute to reducing conflict. On the other hand, where there are groups and organisations seeking to influence their own societies, as described above, then transnational links that allow these groups to strengthen their position through greater visibility, access to power holders or even funding outside assistance can be critical. Civil societies and conflict: a comparison of former Yugoslavia and Iraq Despite the obvious differences between the wars in the former Yugoslavia and Iraq, it is possible to identify some commonalities that help to illustrate the relationship between global civil society and war. Both countries were totalitarian states, which did not allow a free articulation of a political alternative and its organisation. In both countries, the creation of civil society paralleled a process of bloody disintegration, although the roots of civil society were in autonomous, often secret, spaces that, in Yugoslavia, became sites for a critical and free discussion carved out by liberal intellectuals, and, in Iraq, involved the opposition in exile, in Kurdistan, as well as underground. These nascent civil societies failed to defuse sectarian tensions. On the contrary, civil society actors influenced the framing of conflict in each country, which in turn shaped their profile and activities in relation to violence. In fact, it is more accurate to talk
about civil societies rather than `a civil society' in former Yugoslavia and Iraq. Different civil society actors and groups served either to promote or to counteract the conflicts in Yugoslavia and Iraq. In Yugoslavia, the `authentic' indigenous groups were instrumental in creating the notion that the Yugoslav conflict was caused by centuries-old ethnic hatreds, and was the outcome of competing and conspiratorial interests by great powers. By contrast, the emerging human rights, anti-war and women's groups challenged this deterministic interpretation of the conflict. They exposed the `production of hatred' and supported multiethnic tolerance on the ground and as a political vision. The outbreak of war in Iraq began as a result of foreign invasion; but Islamist and tribal leaders, together with the former exiled opposition, played a critical role in fomenting `resistance', which metamorphosed into sectarian conflict. As in Yugoslavia, human rights and humanitarian groups, women's organisations, progressive clergy, intellectuals, and artists held a different perspective, which promoted the Iraqi public interest and a non-sectarian Iraqi identity. Both conflicts are new wars, which cannot be separated from the plethora of global forces that moulded them; the nascent civil societies of Yugoslavia and Iraq, whether their actors promoted or opposed conflict, were part of a global network or were influenced by the global context. Former Yugoslavia With the waning of Communism in former Yugoslavia, the divergent ideological paths taken by the dissident intellectuals gathered around the journal Praxis illustrate the contradictory roles that segments of Yugoslav civil society played in relation to the conflict. Established in 1964, Praxis was the initiative of a group of Marxist scholars, who emerged as critics of the implementation of Marxist doctrine in Yugoslavia, specifically of the authoritarian and bureaucratic aspects as well as some elements of the marketoriented economic reforms. They advocated `socialist humanism', a more humane version of Communism, and hence did not question the system as such by calling for democracy. Nonetheless, they represented the centre of autonomous thought, which would spread with the decreasing legitimacy of the Communist Party during the 1970s and 1980s. However, this initial core of opposition would divide along two lines: nationalist and liberal (Dragovic-Soso 2002: 22­63; Magas 1993: 49­73).
Organisation NGO/group Movement/network Think tank/academia Media/website Inform/educate Lobby Mobilise Serve Riot/celebrate Power politics Ancient rivalries Political economy Ideologies Organisation NGO/group Movement/network Think tank/academia Media/website Inform/educate Lobby Mobilise Serve Riot/celebrate Power politics Ancient rivalries Political economy Ideologies
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Table 4.2: Selected global civil society actors
Predominant Significant To some extent
Acholi Religious Leaders Peace Initiative American Enterprise Institute Amnesty International Carnegie Endowment for International Peace Centre for Defence Studies, Delhi Christian Aid Communidad de Paz de San Jose de Apartado Communita Di San Egidio Conciliation Resources Gaza Community Mental Health Project Global Witness Gulu District Women's Development Committee Gush Shalom (Israel) Helsinki Citizens' Assembly Hague Appeal for Peace Institute for Security Studies (Africa) Inter-Church Peace Council (Netherlands) International Alert International Crisis Group International Institute for Strategic Studies International Peace Bureau Iraqi Women's Network *Italian Consortium of Solidarity *Mйdecins Sans Frontiиres (MSF) Nairobi Peace Initiatives Noam Chomsky Network of Communities in Resistance (RECORRE) Norwegian Institute for Applied Social Science (FAFO) *Oxfam Pax Christi (international) Paz Colombia Peace Brigades International Peace Now (Israel) Project for the New American Century 112
www.interfaithpeace.net/showorg. php?orgid=15 www.aei.org www.amnesty.org www.carnegieendowment.org www.cdiss.org www.christian-aid.org.uk www.cdpsanjose.org www.sanegidio.org www.c-r.org www.gcmhp.net www.globalwitness.org gush-shalom.org www.hyd.org.tr/en/hca.asp www.haguepeace.org www.iss.co.za www.ikv.nl www.international-alert.org www.crisisgroup.org www.iiss.org www.ipb.org www.whrnet.org www.icsitalia.org www.msf.org www.npi-africa.org www.chomsky.info http://www.prensarural.org/recorr e/index.html www.fafo.no www.oxfam.org www.paxchristi.net www.galeon.com/pazcolombia www.peacebrigades.org www.peacenow.org.il www.newamericancentury.org
Publish What You Pay Pugwash Conferences on Science and World Affairs Revenue Watch Institute Stockholm International Peace Research Institute Stop the War Coalition Women in Black womens International League for Peace and Freedom West Africa Network for PeaceBuilding (WANEP)
www.publishwhatyoupay.org www.pugwash.org www.revenuewatch.org www.sipri.org www.stopwar.org.uk www.womeninblack.net www.wilpf.org/ www.wanep.org
* humanitarian agencies are concerned with mitigating the effects of conflict rather than taking a position
The use of civil society as a platform for fanning exclusive Serbian nationalism is best illustrated by the Belgrade-based Serbian Association of Writers and the debates about Kosovo it hosted in the late 1980s. Kosovo's autonomous status was disputed in heated emotional language that vilified the Albanian majority population, portrayed the Serb emigration from Kosovo as an `exodus', and lamented their fate as `genocide' and `ethnic cleansing'. While these protest evenings focused on Kosovo established Serbs as victims at the hands of the Albanians, the Serbian sense of martyrdom in the federal Yugoslav context was articulated in the draft Memorandum of the Serbian Academy of Sciences and Arts, which was leaked to the public in 1986. Signatories described the Serbs as Yugoslavia's perennial losers ­ in economic, political and cultural terms ­ summed up in the phrase `weak Serbia, strong Yugoslavia'. The impact of the Memorandum was far-reaching, as it legitimised Serbian grievances, from Kosovo, through Bosnia and Herzegovina to Croatia (Thomas 1999: 32­51). This increasingly strident sector of civil society articulated Serbian grievances as an historical injustice. Portraying Serbs as martyrs at the hands of other national groups in Yugoslavia in exclusive nationalist terms foreclosed the possibility of a democratic and peaceful resolution of outstanding political and economic issues plaguing the federation, at a time
when the Communist Party was losing the mantle of undisputed arbiter. According to the Serbian Association of Writers and the Serbian Academy of Sciences and Arts ­ two `authentic' Serbian voices that were perceived as independent and reputable ­ the Serb battles of the late 1980s and early 1990s echoed those they had fought with their Balkan foes from time immemorial. Civil society had created a powerful vision of Serbian `plight'; all that the rising Serbian leader, Slobodan Milosevic, had to do was turn it into a political platform, summed up in the slogan `all Serbs in one state' (Gow 2003). Crucially, the implementation of this political programme entailed the use of force. As the clouds of war gathered over the former Yugoslavia, the `other' civil society was galvanised in a direct rejection of exclusive nationalism emanating from the non-state sector. Belgrade, Zagreb, Sarajevo and Prishtina became hubs of a new kind of activism focused on opposing the looming conflict. A number of human rights, anti-war and women's groups were founded and challenged the vision of closed societies propagated by nationalist civil society actors. Three interconnected features characterised their activism: · they supported an open, individual and human rights oriented vision of a multiethnic society · they harboured transnational linkages in former Yugoslavia
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· they connected and collaborated with global civil society in its opposition to the war in Yugoslavia. Liberal civil society's support for multi-ethnicity was informed by its interpretation of the looming ethnic conflict and bloodshed that followed: violence was a result of the instrumentalisation of ethnicity, rather than an inevitable and predetermined outcome of ancient hatreds. After the forced abolition of Kosovo's autonomy, civil society in Prishtina mounted a nonviolent response. In 1990, 400,000 Albanians signed a declaration. `For Democracy, Against Violence'; thousands of candles were lit in protest; pots and pans were banged at the beginning of the curfew; factory whistles and car horns were hooted at a specific hour to commemorate the dead (Kostovicova 1997: 24­5; Clark 2000: 57­8). In April 1992, thousands of citizens of Sarajevo thronged to the city to protest against ethnic divisions and affirm the city as a model of inter-ethnic coexistence and tolerance (Silber and Little 1995: 250­2). These mass grassroots anti-war manifestations were not enough to stop state repression nor, eventually, war in Kosovo and Bosnia and Herzegovina. However, they did provide a foundation for a variety of autonomous civil society activities during the war, from documenting war crimes to supporting the idea of multi-ethnicity. Alongside their liberal vision, transnational connections maintained among civil society groups in former Yugoslavia during the war also sent a strong message. They kept alive the meaning of multiculturalism while nationalists were trying to erase it ­ ideologically, through the political platform of a homogenous nation state and practically, through an ethnic cleansing campaign on the ground. During the war in Bosnia and Herzegovina, a number of anti-war activists from Serbia gathered around the project `Living in Sarajevo'. This initiative attracted more than a dozen NGOs and civic groups which pleaded with international agencies to facilitate a trip to Sarajevo. The Serbian activists considered their dispatches of food, clothes parcels and letters to their Sarajevo counterparts insufficient. Serbian activists wanted to meet Sarajevans to demonstrate that there was another Belgrade and another Serbia that did not accept national divisions. Eventually, in April 1994 a group of 38 anti-war activists from Serbia travelled for 48 hours from Belgrade to Sarajevo. Following the trails over Mount Igman, they entered the city through
its infamous tunnel, under heavy artillery and sniper fire from the Bosnian Serb Army. Such transnational horizontal links dating from the war provided a foundation for the future post-conflict reconciliation in the region. Connections with global civil society were equally significant. They provided an external legitimisation of multiculturalism when such ideas were under attack in former Yugoslavia. Also, they were a valuable gesture of solidarity when local peace activists, labelled national traitors, found themselves under tremendous pressure. The Peace Caravan organised by the Helsinki Citizens' Assembly in 1991 was one such initiative. The high point of the Caravan's voyage, which took it from Trieste through Slovenia, Croatia, Serbia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, and Macedonia, was a human chain formed around four places of worship in Sarajevo ­ Orthodox, Catholic, Muslim and Jewish. It did not stop the conflict, but was a powerful boost for peace activists. It also helped forge links between NGOs, peace groups and movements in Europe, and their counterparts emerging in former Yugoslavia, as well as among groups in Yugoslavia. These links would be a symbolic lifeline for local anti-war groups and activists who were increasingly marginalised, ostracised and threatened by their nationalist establishments, as the human and material cost of war grew. Such, for example, was the impact of Susan Sontag's stay in Sarajevo during the siege in 1993, where, under flashlights and candles due to a lack of electricity, she staged the Bosnian version of Samuel Beckett's Waiting for Godot, with a multi-ethnic cast ­ a symbol of the city's resistance to exclusive nationalism. However, transnational interaction with global civil society also provided external legitimisation to nationalist civil society in former Yugoslavia. The parade of `foreign friends' who visited and supported Serbian nationalists in Serbia and in Bosnia and Herzegovina during the war and its aftermath affirmed the portrayal of the conflict as one caused by `ancient hatreds' and great power rivalry. The frequent contacts of Russian йmigrй writer Eduard Limonov with a variety of civil society groups in the early 1990s, such as the Belgrade media and the Serbian Literary Society, are illustrative. His support for the Serbs was inspired by the pan-Slavic Orthodox solidarity in the battle against `the fascism of the new world order'. His support for the `Serb cause' was caught on camera on a visit to Bosnian Serbs, when he fired a
round at besieged Sarajevo from an anti-aircraft machine gun from one of the hills surrounding the city (Reljic et al. 1992). At the same time, as war continued the civil society landscape in former Yugoslavia became increasingly crowded by local and global NGOs whose activity focused on the delivery of humanitarian aid. Their engagement was based on the premise that the conflict could be mitigated through service provision, reconstruction, and stimulation of alternative livelihoods, in line with the political economy approach to conflict. Despite their narrow focus on humanitarian aid, these groups were often closely aligned to business or political interests; for example, `The Third Child' charity headed by Svetlana Raznatovic, aka Ceca, a folk singer and widow of the assassinated war criminal Zeljko Raznatovic, aka Arkan. Since 1994, the charity, which is closely linked with Arkan's extreme nationalist Party of Serbian Unity, has supported needy families with three or more children, many of them refugees and war veterans, in an effort to rehabilitate a traditional notion of Serbian family, and wrest Serbia from the perceived dangers of a low birth rate. Like many other local charities, it built its credibility on the fact that it had nothing to do with the West or Western NGOs. It was only after the war that the international community launched an `offensive' to create a civil society in the Balkans. During the war, outside support had been given to established grassroots initiatives. But this funding was an insufficient incentive for new groups to become involved in risky anti-war advocacy and activism. The outcome of post-war funding was the artificial creation of a multitude of NGOs, whose contribution to democratisation and good governance has been ambiguous. In the first five months of 2001, after Milosevic's fall the previous year, about 800 new NGOs were registered in Serbia owing to the surge in donations (NGO Policy Group 2001: 22­3). As elsewhere in former Yugoslavia, their key weakness has been instability of their mission, intermittently working on human rights, ethnic reconciliation, and environmental issues, and so on. Their activism was influenced by conditions attached to foreign donations, rather than by persuasion. The fate of Otpor, a group of fearless youths driven by a human rights agenda, who opposed Milosevic's regime, is telling. With a clenched fist spray-painted on the walls and streets of Serbia, it became a symbol of resistance
and alternative to xenophobic nationalism. However, Western support did not sustain its vigour beyond Milosevic's fall, when the group transformed into a political party that has failed to attract general support. In sum, the emergence of the civil society(ies) in former Yugoslavia contests the notion of civil society as a barrier to conflict. In fact, it shows that the interrelationship between local civil society, its global counterparts and conflict is much more complex. Different segments of civil society promoted and mitigated the conflict in Yugoslavia. At the same time, interaction with global civil society encouraged both integration and disintegration of the multi-ethnic societies in the Balkans, as civil society liberals and nationalists drew strength from contacts abroad. Lastly, in so far as the end of Communism overlapped with the beginning of the Yugoslav conflict, it is precisely the foreboding of a bloody war and its outbreak that prompted the emergence and growth of liberal, human rights and anti-war groups. Although they were marginalised by the pact between nationalist elites and nationalist civil society, liberal civil society established during the war has provided the foundation for building democracy and advancing reconciliation in the region after its end. Iraq In Iraq the interaction between civil society and conflict takes place within a context of pervasive fear and increasing sectarian polarisation. Some civil society actors helped shape the narratives that sustain the conflict while others struggle to dispel them. International efforts at promoting civil society have had limited success in creating sustainable, locally rooted groups, let alone reducing conflict. Segments of civil society contributed to the conflict in different ways: some actors promoted sectarian narratives that inflamed tensions; others, those in exile who were non-sectarian, identified the regime with the state, thus helping to precipitate state collapse after the US­UK-led invasion. In the aftermath, rule by the Coalition Authority served to entrench extremist narratives. After the regime-state collapse and pervasive fear The invasion did not only remove the regime, it also precipitated the collapse of the remnants of the Iraqi state. The army, security services and media were
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dissolved. De-Ba'athification crippled the rest of the bureaucracy by forcing many civil servants out of the public sector. And an unwillingness and inability to prevent rioting allowed the destruction of most state assets. Most damaging, however, were the images of rioting broadcast for weeks after the invasion. Coalition forces may have stood by in order to allow long-oppressed Iraqis to `let off some steam', and to emphasize news of the regime's demise. The quip by US Defence Secretary Donald Rumsfeld, `stuff happens', supports this view. The effect of the televised images of rioting was to engender a new fear among ordinary Iraqis about the rise of lawlessness. Indeed, criminal and terrorist networks took advantage of the security vacuum rapidly. Thus after the invasion, Iraqis were exposed to a new order of fear. The threat of repression by the regime was replaced by a myriad of other dangers: Coalition violence, suicide bombs, abduction gangs, religious zealots and sectarian vigilantes. If one could escape the regime's reach in the past by eschewing politics, today there is no guarantee of safety. Since 2003, ordinary Iraqis have become targets in a state of pervasive Hobbesian violence: Shi'a and Sunni, secular and religious, academics and labourers, collaborators and nationalists, women and children; even the dead are targeted by religious and sectarian fanatics who desecrate holy shrines. In such an atmosphere it is difficult to speak of civil society. Yet it is possible to argue that some civil society actors create and maintain the narratives that underpin some of the violence, while others struggle to contain it. Justifying violence The violence in Iraq is sustained by several overlapping narratives, most of which are generated by civil society. Indeed, these narratives were shaped by the experience of opposition groups both underground and in exile during the years of Saddam Hussein. The exiled opposition was largely divided between those who pursued a nationalist agenda and those who pursued Kurdish and Shi'ite agendas, and it is these groups that formed the main political parties. After the invasion of Kuwait the regime's Ba'athist ideology was largely discredited and Saddam Hussein turned to both Sunni Islam and tribalism to mobilise political support. At the same time, the regime was too weak to rule by repression alone and thus it combined co-optation with toleration for milder forms of opposition. This strategy
left enough space for the Hawza ­ the Shi'a religious hierarchy ­ to expand its role as the main moral authority, especially among the poor. Today the insurgency is largely Islamic, Sunni, yet nationalist in discourse, and targeted mostly at Coalition forces with the aim of driving them out of the country. Another discourse concerns the need to protect traditional Islamic, Arab and tribal values, and communities, from corruption by Westerners and their Iraqi allies. As the violence acquires a sectarian character, insurgents are being depicted increasingly as protectors of the Sunni community. Nationalist political and religious activists not only recognise resistance as a legitimate right, they advocate it as a religious and civic duty. While some caution that in the current circumstances it may be more appropriate to pursue resistance by peaceful means, most advocate or justify the use of force. Sunni clerics play a key role in providing the narrative for the insurgency, although they do not lead it. They are also involved in mobilising support for insurgents and civilian victims of counterinsurgency efforts and sectarian reprisals. Activists promoting the right to resist foreign occupation, including through violent means, are engaged in transnational networks through which they receive support from anti-imperialist and anti-capitalist campaigners, both in the region and in the West. Related to but distinct from the nationalist insurgents are the `holy warriors' associated with Al-Qaeda. They view Iraq as a battleground in a cosmic struggle against `Crusaders and Zionists'. In addition to attacking Coalition forces they target the Iraqi military and civilians, whom they deem legitimate targets due to their association with the foreign `infidels'. Al-Qaeda has set out to provoke civil war by targeting Iraq's Shi'a community; it also targets Sunnis who engage in the political process and anyone who does not subscribe to its extremist Wahhabi version of Islam. Al-Qaeda employs spectacular violence to provoke an overreaction that helps mobilise support in Iraq and across the Islamic world. Al-Qaeda benefits from transnational networks that facilitate funding, recruit fighters and conduct advocacy for the cause. Some of these networks include legitimate actors such as Islamist and Arab nationalist activists, who celebrate Al-Qaeda suicide bombers as martyrs. The official argument advanced by the Coalition and expatriate political leaders has evolved from liberation and regime change to the need to combat terrorism
and protect the democratic project in Iraq. As violence has intensified, the rhetoric focuses on the need to protect Shi'a and Kurdish communities from Sunnis who have, according to this narrative, associated themselves with Saddam's remnants and Arab AlQaeda fighters. This is exactly the intended consequence of Al-Qaeda's violence against the Shi'a community. It is also a logical evolution of the policies of returning exiles. Lacking a popular base, expatriate politicians saw sectarianism and ethno-nationalism as a means to attract popular support. They argued that the Shi'a and Kurdish communities were the victims of the regime, and the Sunnis were the regime's main constituency. This absolved their respective communities from culpability for the crimes of the regime and entitled them to power and resources in compensation for past suffering. Transitional justice is being used to redistribute power and resources on the basis of identity. Coalition forces have helped entrench the sectarianism of their expatriate allies. They introduced ethnic and sectarian quotas in the division of power and relied on sectarian and ethnic militias in counterinsurgency operations. Even in its attempts to redress sectarian tensions, the Coalition Authority is deepening them by reaching out to sectarian Sunni leaders as a counterbalance to perceived bias in favour of the Kurds and the Shi'a, thus encouraging politicians on all sides to identify themselves in sectarian terms. The economic agenda An important catalyst for the violence in Iraq is money. Criminal networks and traffickers of oil, weapons, drugs, people and money thrived before the war. In the aftermath of the invasion, the volume of criminal activity increased significantly, as a result of the collapse of state institutions on one hand and the massive influx of dollars, which have not been accounted for properly, on the other. Crime is intertwined with the violence on all sides. Sometimes it is difficult to know whether the political is a facade for economic enterprise, or crime is a tool to finance the political project. Civil society Whether any of the groups described above ­ former opposition parties, Islamists, tribal and criminal networks ­ can be construed as civil society is of course contested. Normative or value-based approaches to civil society may not accept them. Postmodern or
multicultural approaches may consider all but the criminal networks as local manifestations of civil society (see Kaldor 2003). Some may even consider smuggling and corruption as forms of social capital. However, there is no doubt that these groups have grassroots presence, represent the interest of crosssections of society and compete to impose their vision of how Iraqis should live their lives. The combination of pervasive violence and extreme exclusivist narratives leaves little space for nonsectarian, non-violent and democratic activism. Some of the groups and initiatives operating in this space were active before the invasion; they included artists, political debating societies, and groups of professionals, academics and civil servants acting within the folds of the state bureaucracy to promote a civil democratic alternative to the regime (Said 2005). Even within state-controlled NGOs, such as the Woman's Union and Dar Al-Hikma think tank, spaces were emerging for independent, if not dissident, thought, although these were more limited in size and influence than identity-based groups. The invasion and its aftermath weakened them further. There were also NGOs operating in exile and in Kurdistan, associated to varying degrees with the exile opposition, and providing humanitarian assistance, campaigning against the regime and/or sanctions. Conflict, including the invasion, has created both cleavages and transformations among these activists. Not all exiled campaigners against the regime were prepared to provide moral justification for the war. After the invasion, activists who sought redress for the regime's crimes were divided between those who argued for the redistribution of access to power and resources and those who adopted a transitional justice and human rights perspective. After the invasion Coalition forces and other international actors expended enormous resources on the development of civil society. US funds for the promotion of civil society amounted to US$3 billion (US Department of State 2006)1, in addition to the millions of dollars contributed by other Coalition governments, the UN and the European Union. The area of civil society investment was liberalisation. 1 Three categories in the Iraq Relief and Reconstruction Fund (IRRF) could be used for the promotion of civil society: Justice, Public Safety and Civil Society; Democracy; and Education, Refugees, Human Rights and Governance. These categories amount to US$2.75 billion.
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Box 4.3: Iraq's Mahdi army The oscillation of Muqtada al-Sadr's Mahdi army between a social movement and an armed militia, and between Islamic nationalism and Shi'a sectarianism, is emblematic of the processes taking place in Iraq today. Shortly after the invasion and the fall of the Ba'athist regime in 2003, the Sadrists emerged as a movement of young, poor Shi'a in the slums of Baghdad and the southern countryside, who were led by a populist cleric and engaged in a variety of contradictory activities. Some of al-Sadr's followers were involved in the looting that followed the regime's fall; and they were the first to organise neighbourhood watch committees and help restore some of the stolen property. They attracted many Shi'a ex-Ba'athists and yet engaged in vigilante violence against former Ba'athist officials. They established vigilante Sharia courts and prosecuted gypsies and Christians for selling alcohol. They were the first Shi'a group to clash with the Americans, losing thousands of fighters in Najaf and Sadr city in 2004. They declared solidarity with the Sunni insurgents in Falluja when the city was attacked in April 2004, but not when it was attacked again in November that year. The Sadrists continue to demand US withdrawal and deride the exiles for their association with the occupation, while participating actively in a government in which they have several ministers. They oppose the mainstream Shi'a parties, in part for their closeness to Iran, yet are suspected of receiving Iranian assistance, including weapons and training. Today, Mahdi army activists are accused of being at the forefront of Shi'a sectarian violence, while their leaders continue to engage with Sunni clerics with whom they maintain a better relationship than any of the other Shi'a groups. With their extensive grassroots network, the Sadrists are a microcosm of Iraqi society. Their convulsions reflect the fears and pains endured by a people racked by unimaginable violence. They lurch from one extreme to the other in search of answers, and in the process become part of the problem. Yahia Said, Centre for the Study of global governance, LSE
The Coalition Provisional Authority saw liberalisation as a conflict prevention tool. It sponsored civil society initiatives aimed at promoting small and medium enterprises, micro-lending, entrepreneurship and the delivery of social services. Beyond creating hundreds of donor-dependent civil society groups and entrepreneurs, it is difficult to test the sustainability and impact of these efforts. A handful of Iraqi and international groups focusing on humanitarian assistance, culture, development and human rights continue to resist sectarianism by promoting cross-cutting identities and interests, and engaging with global civil society networks to influence policy makers. They face enormous challenges and threats: their members are subjected to sectarian violence, and they may face political oppression for breaking the mould. These increasingly beleaguered actors include spiritual leaders, activists and professionals who refuse to be swept up by the sectarian fever. Among them are powerful figures such as Ayatollah Sistani ­
a leading force of moderation in Iraqi society whose standing is being weakened by parasitic politicians using his name for their divisive politics. There are clerics who take a stand against terrorist actions in the name of resistance or Islam. There are women activists who refuse to accept a constitution that puts them at the mercy of clerics. There are civil servants and professionals who are trying to save whatever is left of the state from destruction by short-sighted politicians. These are individuals who refuse to be reduced to their ethnic identity but rather identify themselves through their values and convictions. Although they may be politically isolated in an atmosphere of growing fear and hatred, they enjoy the trust of Iraqis with whom they stay connected, in contrast to politicians and holy warriors. These people are best equipped to negotiate and design Iraq's future and the political programme that will end conflict. To stand a chance of achieving this they will need the protection and empowerment by the international community.
Conclusion A Yearbook chapter cannot possibly do justice to the complex myriad of groups, movements and individuals engaged in debates about war. In a sense, the emergence of global civil society parallels the decline in violence between states as more and more decision-making taken at global, national and local levels reflects the outcomes of new forms of global politics involving states, international organisations and non-state actors. What we have argued, however, is that the capacity of civil society to address new forms of local and transnational violence in different parts of the world depends on the composition of civil society ­ the mix of different positions and different interpretations of contemporary warfare. While the emergence of actually existing global civil society is a necessary condition for a decline in war, an alternative method of managing conflict at global, national and local levels, it is by no means a sufficient condition. The very meaning of global civil society is the antithesis of war and violence, but actually existing global civil society is complex and contradictory, containing elements that can both contribute to peace and play a pivotal role in fomenting the conflict. The cases in Iraq and Yugoslavia show that any support for civil society has to be based on an understanding of the conflicts as `new wars', and has to be directed at transforming the war economies and constructing non-sectarian identities. In both these cases, conflict emerged in situations where there was little space for civil society. Fear caused by authoritarianism and totalitarianism, or by the insecurity that collapsing authoritarian and totalitarian states leave behind, is anathema to civil society or at least to those manifestations of civil society which can counteract conflict. Often these regimes leave behind perverse forms of civil society like religious and nationalist groups, which survive and thrive in the atmosphere of fear; but these can and often do engage in creating narratives for conflict. Once conflicts are under way there is even less space for activism of any kind. In such conditions investment in the promotion of civil society can at best be a futile exercise, especially when the models promoted are alien to the local environments. At worse they can further exacerbate conflict through feeding into war economies or further eroding state legitimacy.
The vulnerable remnants of non-sectarian, public interest-based activism in conflict zones, as well as those new groups, like women activists, that emerge in response to conflict, are critical to ending war, since they carry the seeds of rebuilding of legitimate public authority. Supporting them is therefore critical. So are proposals for addressing the underlying political economy of war, through, for example, revenue transparency or alternative legitimate livelihoods. In a global era the creation and development of civil society is no longer confined to local circumstances, if it ever was. With democracy promotion programmes focused on civil society building, with ties to diasporas and other connections, the outside world is deeply implicated in shaping non-state capacities and voices. In many cases external support has been critical in offering a lifeline to non-sectarian groups when their states clamped down on them. However, it is also true that outside assistance carries its own risks ­ the risks of co-optation and even delegitimisation. The most important form of support is engagement, which helps to create spaces free of fear and want where such groups can thrive, and which facilitates access to the key centres of power. The argument of this chapter has implications for the broader confrontation between terror and the war on terror, and the different positions to be found in global civil society. There are the neo-conservatives and liberal internationalists who support the war on terror as a way of confronting terror. There are the peace movements that give priority to opposing the war on terror. And there are those who understand the confrontation as an expression of ancient rivalries, both the global Islamists and those Western secularists who promote the idea of a `clash of civilisations'. A `new war' approach to the confrontation would promote a non-sectarian cosmopolitan identity that opposes both terror and the war on terror, and that creates new public spaces at local, national and global levels.
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