Photo: Amr Abdallah Dalsh

Conflict and Security

We examine causes and consequences of violent conflict in unstable regions of the Middle East, Africa and Asia. We ask how efforts to (re)construct states shape local, regional and international security.

Completed projects

Oct 2013 - Dec 2013

Policy Briefs Afghanistan

Karin Ask


Thomas Hylland Eriksen

Associated Senior Researcher

Abdel Ghaffar Ahmed

Professor of Development Studies, Ahfad University and University of Khartoum

Are John Knudsen

Senior Researcher

Siri Neset

Associated Researcher

Kjetil Selvik

Senior Researcher (on leave)

Elin Skaar

Senior Researcher, Coordinator: Rights and Legal Institutions

Arne Strand

Deputy Director, Research Director, U4 Director

Astri Suhrke

Senior Researcher

Gunnar M. Sørbø

Senior Researcher

Kari Telle

Senior Researcher

Elling N. Tjønneland

Senior Researcher

Liv Tønnessen

Research Director

Torunn Wimpelmann


International Responses to Violent Conflict

International responses to violent conflict have become more fragmented and contested. The global peacebuilding enterprise has branched out beyond the UN and the World Bank. Assertive and often controversial military deployments have become part of peace operations. Diplomacy is failing to address large conflicts such as Syria, and complicated patterns of transnational conflicts no longer fit the concept ‘civil war.’

We research contemporary military, diplomatic and aid interventions by regional, international and Western actors. We also carry out evaluations of specific projects and programs designed to build peace.

Security and Statehood in the Middle East

Our research programme on security and statehood in the Middle East tries to understand the dynamics of contemporary upheavals in the region. From Libya to Afghanistan, violent conflicts have afflicted communities and threaten the viability of the state.

  • We ask what drives the descent into social and political volatility
  • We trace the origins to the social relations that have shaped models of statehood and authority in different countries
  • We examine how the organization, mobilization and legitimation of armies and other parts of the security apparatus have set the stage for internal conflict
  • We analyze how regional and international rivalries affect struggles over state authority
  • We pay particular attention to the role of the media in fueling social and political polarization