The implementation of South Sudan’s latest peace agreement appears to be at a standstill. Insecurity, food shortages and the breakdown in governance have forced more than 1.5 million people to ﬂee the country. President Salva Kiir’s announcement of a forthcoming national dialogue offers some hope. Yet people are divided on the legitimacy of the process: is this a ruse to detract attention from important reforms, or is it an opportunity to ﬁnally broaden the political process in South Sudan? External actors, including the African Union (AU), are also at odds with one another.
Considerable policy analysis has been devoted to bilateral strategic relationships between Pakistan and India, India and China, and China and the United States. But the strategic dynamics among these four nuclear powers cannot be understood or effectively addressed on a strictly bilateral basis. While Pakistan responds strategically to India, India responds both to Pakistan and China, which in turn responds both to India and the United States.
Liberia is at a pivotal point in its transition to a peaceful democracy. In October 2017 the country will have its first ‘open seat’ elections. The incumbent, President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, will step down and hand over power to the leader of one of the 22 political parties that are currently participating in the election. Moreover, despite security fears for the elections, the United Nations Mission in Liberia (UNMIL) has downsized from over 15 000 military troops in 2007 to around 1 000 soldiers in 2016 (see Figure 1).
Since 1945, the United Nations has helped support many successful peace processes and protected millions of civilians around the world.Peace operations deliver results: research estimates suggest that the presence of a UN peace keeping mission can reduce the risk of relapse into conflict by 75 – 85 percent;and that larger deployments diminish the scale of violence and protect civilians in the midst of fighting. Peace operations can be highly cost effective, with one General Audit Office assessment finding the cost to be roughly half of what a bilateral stabilization operation would cost.Different types of peace operations - from mediation and special envoys through to multidimensional peace-keeping and specialized justice and emergency health missions - have helped end long running conflicts and prevented violence from escalating or recurring in situations as diverse as Burkina Faso, Cambodia, the Central African Republic, Gabon, Guatemala, Guinea, Kyrgyzstan, Lebanon, Liberia, Namibia, Sierra Leone and Timor-Leste.