Selected in-depth contributions to the fields we work on, written by Berghof staff and invited affiliates, partners and guest researchers.


Berghof Glossar zu Konflikttransformation und Friedensförderung. 20 Essays zu Theorie und Praxis

Das Berghof Glossar zur Konflikttransformation und Friedensförderung stellt die wichtigsten Grundprinzipien und -ansätze unserer Arbeit vor, in der wir Menschen und Konfliktparteien auf der ganzen Welt bei ihren Bestrebungen begleiten, eine friedlichere Zukunft zu schaffen.

Salafi jihadi armed groups and conflict (de-)escalation: The case of Ansar Dine in Mali

As violent conflict erupted in Mali in 2012, the Salafi jihadi Armed Group (SJAG) Ansar Dine quickly emerged as one of its main protagonists, and its leader Iyad Ag Ghaly retained a prominent role within the umbrella entity Jamāʿat nuṣrat al-islām wal-muslimīn (Group for the Support of Islam and Muslims, JNIM) formed in March 2017. This case study report analyses three strategic shifts undergone by Ansar Dine (and then JNIM), and underscores a non-linear evolution towards conflict escalation, both in terms of the geographic spread and level of violence. The study explores the organisational and ideological patterns contributing to this behavioural shift, as well as the role of external factors such as inter-party power dynamics and international intervention in constraining, incentivising or provoking Ansar Dine’s strategic shifts. The study concludes by exploring possible future scenarios for conflict de-escalation.

Salafi jihadi armed groups and conflict (de-)escalation: The case of al-Shabaab in Somalia

Since 2006 Somalia is caught in a spiral of violence and suffering from continuing attacks by the Salafi jihadi Armed Group (SJAG) al-Shabaab. This case study report asks under which circumstances al-Shabaab has reduced its violent behaviour in the past and explores the experiences and options for third party dialogue engagement. Outlining al-Shabaab’s development, the report analyses three strategic shifts of behavioural de-escalation identifying the organisational, ideological and external factors that contributed to the de-escalation. On the topic of dialogue engagement, the report maps past experiences, entry points and challenges for negotiations. Findings point to an opening in favour of negotiations as the military stalemate continues and highlights the important role of the Somali civil society for creating space for conflict transformation. Considering the lack of success of military approaches in defeating al-Shabaab and the very limited efforts of dialogue engagement with the SJAG, the report poses the question if al-Shabaab’s de-escalation is even possible without dialogue engagement?

Salafi jihadi armed groups and conflict (de-)escalation: The case of Ahrar al-Sham in Syria

In the Syrian civil war, the Salafi jihadi armed group Ahrar al-Sham was one of the largest and most powerful non-state armed groups. This report outlines the development of Ahrar al-Sham and explores the conditions that led to its de-escalation and analyses as a second step the role and challenges of dialogue engagement. The report analyses three strategic shifts of de-escalation and the organisational, ideological and external factors that contributed to these shifts. The report then outlines the experiences of third-party dialogue efforts with Ahrar al-Sham, analysing the challenges of such endeavours for third parties but also for Ahrar al-Sham. As a borderline Salafi jihadi armed group that was not terror listed, the report offers valuable insights into the challenges of negotiations with more extreme Salafi jihadi armed groups. In the case of Ahrar al-Sham the main challenges resulted from the internal group dynamics and the rivalry with other insurgents on the Salafi jihadi spectrum.

Dialogue with Salafi jihadi armed groups: Challenges and opportunities for conflict de-escalation

This report was written in the context of the research project “Salafi-Jihadi Armed Groups – (De-)escalation Trajectories and Dialogue Options” conducted by the Berghof Foundation from November 2017 to December 2019. Case study research was carried out on Salafi-jihadi armed groups (SJAGs) in Mali, Somalia and Syria.

Conflict Assessment, Galmudug State: An Analysis of Local Perspectives

This study investigated the nature and dynamics of conflicts in Galmudug State. The assessment ex-amined the various conflicts that exist in the state and the key actors that play a central role in these conflicts. The assessment also examined the conflict resolution mechanisms that are used to resolve local conflicts in Galmudug State, and the actors that play an important role in conflict resolution and reconciliation processes. Furthermore, we examined opinions and attitudes on topics such as federal-ism, the 4.5 system and overall political participation in Galmudug State. Lastly, the study investigated the various challenges to conflict resolution and reconciliation processes as well as the urgent needs of the citizens of Galmudug State with regard to peace and conflict.

Warbixin ku saabsan Qiimeynta Khilaafka ee Dowlad Goboledka Galmudug: Falanqayn Ku Saabsan Deeganka...

Daraasadaan waxay baaris ku sameysay nooca iyo habka is rogrogidda khilaafaadka Galmudug. Qiimeyntu waxay baartay khilaafaad kala duwan oo gobolka ka dhex jira iyo jilayaasha doorka ugu muhiimsan. Waxaa kale oo ay qiimeyntu baartay habkii horay khilaafka Galmudug loogu xallin jiray, iyo jilayaasha doorka muhiimka ah ka ciyaara xallinta khilaafka iyo geedi-socodka dib u heshiisiinta. Intaa waxaa dheer in aan baarnay fikrada iyo aragtiyo ay ka mid yihiin federaal, nidaamka 4.5 iyo guud ahaan ka qeybgalka siyaasadda Galmudug. Ugu dambeyntii, daraasadaan waxay baartay caqabada kala duwan oo ku gudban xallinta khilaafka iyo geedi-socodka dib u heshiisiinta, iyo sidoo kale, baahida deg degga ah ee uu shacabka reer Galmudug qabo markii loo eego nabad iyo khilaaf.

SIPRI Yearbook 2019. Armaments, Disarmaments and Internatinal Security

Kurzfassung Deutsch

Das SIPRI Yearbook 2019 verbindet Originaldaten aus Bereichen wie weltweiten Militärausgaben, internationalen Waffentransfers, Rüstungsproduktion, Nuklearstreitkräften, bewaffneten Konflikten und multilateralen Friedenseinsätzen mit aktuellen Analysen wichtiger Aspekte der Rüstungskontrolle, des Friedens und der internationalen Sicherheit. Diese Broschüre fasst den Inhalt des SIPRI Yearbook 2019 zusammen und bietet eine Auswahl der darin enthaltenen Daten und Analysen.

"Insistimos en la paz": roles, retos y oportunidades de la sociedad civil colombiana e internacional...

Hispano-Americana 64, edited by Roland Spiller / Thomas Schreijäck

From a practitioners' view, the article analyses Colombian civil society's role in the peace process against general functions of civil society, especially in peace processes. Colombia's vibrant and diverse organizations play different and potentially complementary rotes, while reflecting the country's dividing lines along levels, regions, and ideology. In Berghof Foundation's conflict transformation work, civil society actors co-shape, even in less visible rotes than other sectors, various elements of the peace process acting, among other roles, as watch dogs, incubators for democracy, intermediators, dialogue practitio­ ners, and in peace infrastructures.

Community Perspectives on Violent Extremism: Strengthening local factors of social resilience

Policy Brief No. 9

Dealing with violent extremism (VE) has emerged as a central framework of analysis and policy-making in most Western and non-Western government agencies. It is also heavily shaping the programming of non-governmental agencies and research institutions. While there is an undeniable need to address the phenomenon, more often than not analysis and programming fall short in understanding and tackling its root causes, factors, actors and systemic dynamics.