How the “Arms Sales Oversight Act” Could Prevent American Arms from Contributing to the Next Overseas Crisis

By: Daniel R. Mahanty and Eric Eikenberry The debate over U.S. complicity in Yemen’s humanitarian catastrophe is coming to a head in the Senate, with a series of votes on the Sanders-Lee-Murphy war powers resolution. But beyond this immediate measure, other members of Congress are planning to increase their long-term leverage over weapons sales to problematic…

The Pentagon Put Someone in Charge of Its Civilian Casualty Policy. Now What?

By: Daniel R. Mahanty and Rita Siemion For all the time and attention that the Defense Department has rightly spent addressing civilian casualties, no single official at the Pentagon has ever been formally charged with overseeing the many challenges involved with proactively preventing civilian casualties and assessing and responding to reports of harm. And while many…

Protecting South Sudan’s Peacekeeping Mission from the Regional Actors who Brokered Peace

“Accepting Ugandan & Sudanese troops in peace-keeping mission (UNMISS) would be a Mistake.” After five years of civil war, egregious violence against civilians, and seemingly countless failed ceasefires, politicians are celebrating the latest round of South Sudanese peace and security agreements. Today, President Museveni of Uganda and President Bashir of Sudan will be in the…

Breaking the Cycle of Violence in Conflict Starts with Protecting Civilians Caught Within It

When I talk to people about armed conflict today, I usually get one of two responses: “The fighting is so far away and has lasted so long that nothing can be done about it,” or “If only there were stronger military responses, all terrorist groups, like Boko Haram, ISIS, and Al-Qaida, would be defeated.”   Our experience talking with civilians, security forces, and other stakeholders in conflict zones around the world shows that reality is far more nuanced. Since its founding in 2003, CIVIC has witnessed modern conflict’s increasingly devastating –…

THE DECLARATION OF SHARED COMMITMENTS ON UN PEACEKEEPING: One Step Forward – or Twenty Years Back?

  Almost two decades ago, following consecutive catastrophic peacekeeping failures in Rwanda and Srebrenica, world leaders turned the protection of civilians into a non-negotiable priority for UN peacekeepers. Recognizing that such failures undermined the entire enterprise of peacekeeping, in 1999, the UN Security Council began authorizing peacekeeping operations to protect civilians. In the years since,…