Saferworld new reports: Yemen, Afghanistan, Somalia

However, alternatives to the dominant military-authoritarian paradigm – in which militarised notions of masculinity are also a prominent feature – are available. In the discussion paper, Dilemmas of Counter-Terror, Stabilisation and Statebuilding, Saferworld provided a review of global evidence on the impacts of existing approaches, and suggested a number of constructive directions for improved policy, including:

  • Avoiding defining conflicts narrowly as problems of ‘terror’, ‘extremism’ or ‘radicalisation’, and instead adopting a more impartial, holistic and sustainable approach to resolving them
  • Changing international and national policies and approaches that fuel grievances and undermine human rights
  • Redoubling efforts for diplomacy, lobbying, advocacy and local-level dialogue to make the case for peace and adherence to international law by conflict actors
  • Looking for opportunities to negotiate peace – balancing pragmatic considerations with a determined focus to achieve inclusive and just political settlements in any given context
  • Considering the careful use of legal and judicial responses and targeted sanctions as alternatives to the use of force
  • Taking greater care when choosing and reviewing relationships with supposed ‘allies’
  • Supporting transformative reform efforts to improve governance and state-society relations and uphold human rights
  • Choosing not to engage if harm cannot be effectively mitigated and no clear solution is evident.

This report is accompanied by two others on Afghanistan and Somalia. Together, they explore the issues identified in the initial discussion paper through detailed examination of specific country contexts from a peacebuilding perspective – in order to stimulate further debate on the lessons learnt.

This report analyses external actors’ approaches to Yemen and their impacts on its conflict dynamics. It looks in particular at counter-terror, stabilisation and statebuilding efforts in Yemen, and identifies a number of critical questions and suggested alternative approaches drawing on the lessons from the context. It begins by summarising the key conflict dynamics in Yemen’s recent history and the most significant factors driving them. It then discusses briefly the role played by regional powers, with particular emphasis on the role of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, before describing and analysing in more detail the approaches taken to Yemen by the US, UK and other major Western actors over the last 15 years.

Blown back: Lessons from counter-terror, stabilisation and statebuilding in Yemen