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Revisiting the Role of Men in Post-Conflict era

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Authors: Janakan Muthukumar & Ibrahim Bahati*

The purpose of this policy brief is to provide insight into the role of men in contemporary peacemaking and in post-conflict rebuilding and empowerment programs. In doing so, the first part of this brief provides the changing role of the men, and how it influences the peacemaking and post-conflict and empowering process. The second part will address how revisiting the roles of men would make a positive impact in peacemaking and in post-conflict rebuilding and empowering programs.

Changing the role of men in the post-conflict context

The battle for equality and recognition of women’s rights during and after conflict and displacement have been an unfinished business. It is because the war is often a gendered practice, a political act dominated mostly by men. Reports indicate that almost in all cases, men are the primary perpetrators of violence in an act of war. Gender experts argue that such role men play is a socially constructed one, a result of dominant masculinities. In many societies, such dominant masculinism was hailed of heroism. However, today’s nature of conflicts has been changed and has influenced in redefining the ideology of masculinity in new ways.

The nature of conflict has been changed as no longer a battlefield against another group or only against a state but against non-state actors such as terrorist groups, and pirates. In such content, not only the means and methods of warfare but also the involvement of women changed the discourse of war. Women in every capacity in the military, but also in joining in terrorist groups as militants have changed the gender discourse in war zone rapidly as the war on terror has become no longer solely a male preserve. Such involvement of women in the war zone has alarmed the states and international bodies to change the discourse of war, as to accommodate ‘gender-related persecution’ not only at the battlefield but also in providing security and humanitarian assistance in refugee camps. This notion of gender persecution particularly under scrutiny in cases of detainees, spies and prisoner of war as it has no legal meaning, rather is used to encompass the range of different claims in which gender is the relevant consideration in the determination of their status.

On the other hand, the nuance of gender-related persecution reaffirms the historical aspect of war, that women are the immediate victims of the war, however, the men are also being targeted in the same manner. In such instances, there have been no policies and specific legal aspects those protect the rights of men. Further, the ideology that men are supposed to be strong, acting as protectors have never been a rightful claim and weakened by the external factors, such as poverty, diseases and being the target of racial and other discrimination. Further, the crimes against men particularly in the conflict zone, such as male rape and male mutilation are being today’s weaponry of war significantly moved the paradigm that the role of men as a victim is required to be acknowledged, and such acknowledgement must be taken into account in peacemaking and post-conflict rebuilding and empowering programs.

Evidence also indicates that in instances where men have been left out in social rebuilding causes severe backlashes in the peacemaking process. Although few researchers indicate the action of left out men in turning to other institution of control such as militarism as the absolution of their emasculation and a gateway to reassert their ‘control’ such as in the case of Somalia, where men joined al-Shabab to regain the social status and power, which in their view provides ‘alternative pathway to manhood’ or in Kaduna, Nigeria, where men resorted to use of religion as their safe space of control and assert their influence caused the peacemaking process unsuccessful. Therefore, revisiting the role of men as a primary victim, but also as a stakeholder in peacemaking and post-conflict rebuilding and empowering programs is unavoidable.

Revisiting the role of men, accommodating them as the primary victim and stakeholder in the peacemaking process

There have been unspecific reasons for the reluctance in involving men in post-conflict rebuilding, particularly in women empowerment and development projects. Apart from the assumption that conflict is usually a male preserve, the other reasons emanate from the social structure of patriarchal and of the fact that male figures are already being favoured over the female. It is like asking, why we give rights to someone who already has them? Second, the ideology of masculinity ignores that war has an effect on boys and men, and itself create gender silence when men are instrumentalized as evil in nature and want to control women, and patriarchal. Third, gender experts indicate that ‘men appear to be missing from much of gender and development policy’ or practice is due to the fact that there has been lack of studies on men and masculinities when analyzing the socioeconomic and political structure, particularly at conflict situation. Cleaver indicates that programs like Women in Development which were only pro-women failed to achieve their overall objectives because men were delineated in the process as agents of women’s empowerment projects.

Ignoring men as development partners in post-conflict arrangements is more likely to trench them in gendered vulnerabilities causes collapsing masculinities, results for violence for absolution. The fact that there remains a gendered theorization of development and peacemaking processes without or with less imploring of a gender lens has resulted into similar processes where ‘the impact of the development of men remains relatively less well understood.’ In fact, the talk of ‘masculinities’ inclusion in the post-conflict development practice has political dimensions and that this invisibility reproduces ‘gender inequality, both materially and ideologically.’

On the other hand, it is also to be noted that the assumption to look at all women as naturally feminists, supporting the women’s rights to gender equality is not accurate. Women as individual agents also have the interests and motivations of which might be distanced from creating safe spaces that are free from violence. There are many cases where women militants have profiteered from female genital mutilation in societies. Such evidence indicates that making a case that caregiving is largely feminized is not absolute.

In this context, following the adoption of UN Security Council Resolution 1325 (2000) there have been two explicit ways provided to include men in the Women, Peace and Security (WPS) agenda. One is by ‘the enlistment of men and boys in the effort to combat all forms of violence against women’, and by engage ‘men and boys as partners in promoting women’s participation in the prevention and resolution of armed conflict, peacebuilding and post-conflict situations.’ Although the national action plans (NAP) of the states’ attempt their own way in accommodating these recommendations of inclusion, in the context of conflicts and post-conflict such arrangements have been usually forgotten. Thus, in those situations, men are more likely to oppose reconstruction goals that are assembly seen as likely to cause a power shift in their power balance. Duriesmith argues in warfare, dominant masculinity dupes’ men’s awareness that their ‘own expendability in military service creates contempt for women as objects that men are supposed to protect.’ Thus, post-conflict community reconstruction programs need to harness the prowess of participatory action process where inclusion, power and ideological difference are central to the policy debate. For example, there should also be healing centres that serve post-traumatic men as it serves women. Such initiatives are important in barring cyclical forms of violence against women when men with post-traumatic disorders return to the society where the same perpetrating laws, culture and agents remain without any reform in terms of education or seeking justice. Beyond reasons that are both political and cultural, the space for creating the dialogue of the vulnerabilities of the male gender on issues of victimhood such as male rape should be created against it has been reflected as a taboo. Further, recognizing that male rape has been used a ‘weapon of war’ is essential in understanding and designing the post-conflict restricting programs address such violence, thus men can also involve from being the victim, and as partners in the peacemaking process.

The notion of incorporating men in the peacemaking, post-conflict reconstruction and empowering process comes in two faces. One envisioning them as agents of change while the other to counter the negativities of collapsing masculinities which manifest in all forms of violence (physical, sexual and psychological) which may end up as systematic or structural combat. Thus, peacebuilding missions and campaigns must harness the power of ‘willing men’ as both champions and change agents for their targets and cause. Although men have been identified as the primary perpetrators of crime in the war zone, the fact that similarly men on the forefront leading the way to stop also cannot be ignored. This in its own brings to another reality that plagues women’s rights in conflict and post-conflict situations.

Conclusion

Revisiting the role of men does not mean revisiting their gender roles per say but as well the situations which they find themselves in. It means the need to continuously ask the questions that consider what dimensions men and women could be found in common in restructuring and what type of agency does that fuel in post-conflict situations. The language and practical tendency to over-focus on women as the victimized group at the hands of men, the ‘dominant’ in itself has allowed the continuous perpetration where women have been treated and turned into victims in need of saving from traditional men in need of fighting against. This creates the ‘logic of masculinist protection’ from the roots of the society up to the state. It also roots for ‘behavioural propensities of men link[ed] to violence’ while circumventing women to be more of peacemakers thus amounting to ‘these differences that help to account for the structure of states and international relations.’  The discussion about ‘what about men?’ in conflict to peacemaking and development situations is complex but is inescapable of the time. Complexities continue to emerge due to lack of understanding that not all men are obstacles to women’s development and equal rights, nor all men have benefited from patriarchy positively and its hegemonic masculine dominance. Men are also being victimized of conflict equally. It requires more policy guidance and practices in the post-conflict situations that could emphasize the role of men in this transition. Such policies must acknowledge that the popular understanding of masculinities has been overweighed to lean into the fitting of ‘hegemonic masculinities’ which needs to be deconstructed.

*Ibrahim Bahati is a Mastercard Foundation Scholar at the American University of Beirut (Lebanon) studying an MSc. in Rural Community Development and MA in Gender Studies at Makerere University, Uganda. He is currently The Global Summit People’s Fellow (2018) a recent Women in International Security Next Generation Fellow (2017) and holds a BA in Development Economics.

Janakan Muthukumar is a young academic, currently undertakes a research project at the University of Toronto on G7 commitments on International Security. He holds an LLM in International Law from the University of London, UK and a Master in Human Rights and Democratisation at the University of Sydney, Australia. His research focuses on armed conflicts, counterterrorism and counterproliferation.

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Indian Chronicle: Exposing the Indian Hybrid warfare against Pakistan

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In recent years Indian hybrid warfare against Pakistan has intensified manifold to malign Pakistan Internationally through disinformation and propaganda tactics. Hybrid warfare has mainly been described as achieving war-like objectives with the help of fake news, disinformation, and propaganda. The Objectives of Hybrid warfare are mostly to secure long term victory against the opponent. Similarly, India has launched massive hybrid warfare against Pakistan, which was uncovered by EU DisinfoLab in its report called “Indian Chronicle”.

EU DisinfoLab is an independent organization working to expose and tackle disinformation campaigns targeting the European Union and its member states. The organization has claimed that the disinformation campaign against Pakistan has been active since 2005, “a massive online and offline 15-year ongoing influence operation supporting Indian interests and discrediting Pakistan internationally”.

In a recent investigation EU DisinfoLab has exposed a malicious Indian campaign against Pakistan. In the report, “Indian Chronicle” EU DisinfoLab has exposed the dubious use of media outlets, NGOs, and fake personnel by India to malign Pakistan. The disinformation campaign mainly targeted the United Nations and the European Union through more than 750 fake media outlets and 10 fake NGOs. According to the report, “uncovered an entire network of coordinated UN-accredited NGOs promoting Indian interests and criticizing Pakistan repeatedly. We could tie at least 10 of them directly to the Srivastava family, with several other dubious NGOs pushing the same messages.”

According to the report the disinformation campaign is supported by the Srivastava group. The Srivastava group has helped in “resurrected dead NGOs” to spread fake news. The report says that “Our investigation led to the finding of 10 UN-accredited NGOs directly controlled by the Srivastava Group, which our full report introduces at length. Their common trait? The fact that they all rose from the ashes of real NGOs. Indian Chronicles effectively benefited from the track record of these organizations while pursuing their agenda: discrediting Pakistan and promoting Indian interests at UN conferences and hearings,”.

Moreover, Asian News International (ANI), a major news agency in India has provided a platform for suck fake news campaigns. The aim of the Srivastava group and ANI media outlet is “to reinforce pro-Indian and anti-Pakistan (and anti-Chinese) feelings” in India, and “internationally, to consolidate the power and improve the perception of India, to damage the reputation of other countries and ultimately benefit from more support from international institutions such as the EU and the UN”.

The report claim that the organizations funded by the Srivastava group-sponsored trips for European Parliament members to Kashmir. “The organizations created by the Srivastava Group in Brussels organized trips for Members of the European Parliament (MEPs) to Kashmir, Bangladesh, and the Maldives. Some of these trips led to much institutional controversy, as the delegations of MEPs were often presented as official EU delegations when they were in fact not traveling on behalf of the Parliament,”. Such sponsored trips aimed to build a positive image of India, while spreading disinformation about the alleged claims of Pakistan-sponsored terrorism in Kashmir.

Moreover, India has been actively involved in portraying Pakistan as a terrorist-sponsored state through its disinformation and fake news technique. For instance, India is lobbying strongly at FATF to put Pakistan on the blacklist.

India has also supported and sponsored Baloch separatist leaders and spread disinformation through their fake media outlets as mentioned in the EU DisinfoLab report.“These UN-accredited NGOs work in coordination with non-accredited think-tanks and minority-rights NGOs in Brussels and Geneva. Several of them – like the European Organization for Pakistani Minorities (EOPM), Baluchistan House, and the South Asia Democratic Forum (SADF) – were directly but opaquely created by the Srivastava group,”one of the examples is Kulbhushan Jadhav, an Indian spy who was captured in Pakistan.

The Indian Chronicle report has exposed the dubious face of India and the administrative structure of the United Nations and the European Union. Indian involvement in the spread of disinformation and resurrection of dead people and NGOs has exposed its long-standing for Human rights and democracy. Meanwhile, the reports have also exposed the administrative structure of the UN and EU, as they failed to notice the activities of fake UN-accredited NGOs and spread of disinformation through their affiliated NGOs.

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Hybrid Warfare: Threats to Pakistani Security

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‘Victory smiles upon those who anticipate the changes in the character of war’-Giulio Douhet

Hybrid threats are becoming a norm in Pakistan and if we want to move forward in this age of technological advancements, cybercrimes, and the use of social media, we must have a wholesome response mechanism.

Hybrid warfare is a military strategy that employs not only conventional forms of warfare but irregular with it as well. It involves propaganda, cyber-attacks, state-sponsored terrorism, electoral intervention, and many more means of multi-dimensional approaches towards war which are used by militarized non-state actors. The term ‘Hybrid’ came into use around 2005-2006 due to the Israel-Hezbollah war (“Lessons from Lebanon: Hezbollah and Hybrid Wars – Foreign Policy Research Institute” 2016) and became a hot-topic in 2014 after the annexation of Crimea. Using non-confrontational means can lead to internal struggles and crumbling of the target. What direct force won’t get you can be easily achieved by infiltration and multi-faceted resources. It’s neither character of war nor its outcome that defines it as a hybrid war, but the changing tactics (“State and Non-State Hybrid Warfare” 2018). In a world where everyone, from wealthy states to those caught in throes of hunger, is armed to the teeth, there are ways to achieve socio-political objectives through the use of violent and non-violent non-state actors.

Pakistan – A Target

Pakistan has risen to incredible heights despite it being a relatively young nation and this is only proved further by the interest international players have in its internal workings. Several factors contribute to the important stature Pakistan holds in the international community such as the Pak-China alliance, its geostrategic location, military aptitude, Russian interests in the Indian Ocean, Deep Sea Gwadar Port (One Belt One Road Project), neighbor to Afghanistan (a country existing as a battleground for proxies), etc. All these reasons make sure to keep Pakistan on the radar.

Though it may be secure militarily, Pakistan is still vulnerable to hybrid threats due to internal dynamics, numerous conflicting interests of nations in state-affairs, and increasing non-state actors. South Asian nuclearization has all but guaranteed that a full-fledged war between Pakistan and India is unlikely therefore the latter uses hybrid warfare to weaken Pakistan from within.

Evolutionary Nature of War

There was truth to Heraclites’s words when he claimed that change is the only constant in our world. The social theory of evolutionary change tells us that individuals, communities, societies, and states are always in a state of motion, continuously evolving according to the era. War is born from man, it is only fair that if a man changes, so shall war. It has become more complex; the stakes have raised from territorial boundaries to the maintenance of world order and preservation of state sovereignty. Wars are no longer fought on the borders, skirmishes aside, the real destruction takes place within. Due to the paradigm shift after the Cold War (Ball 2018), there rose a need for legal, economical, socio-political, and informational means of warfare. It is used as a way to undermine other nation-states in pursuit of national power; the international system is not only a race but also a way to tear others down.

Threats to Pakistani Security

To secure Pakistan from all sides, we must first analyze the threats it faces from all sides. Conventional Warfare used to be seen as one dimensional and it only perceived assault to be done through the land, air, or sea channels. However, now it is fought in various intangible zones.

·         External

India

India is a budding regional hegemon due to its political and economic growth including hidden agendas. Pakistan is perceived to be a direct threat to India especially after the launch of the CPEC project, perceived to be undermining its hold over the region, which is why it is employing stratagems of hybrid warfare to internally weaken Pakistan. Till now India has used State-Sponsored terrorism, funded insurgencies, operated terror cells, and even sent fighter jets into Pakistani Airspace as an attempt to ruin its reputation in the international community.

Afghanistan

There has been growing instability in Afghanistan which has led to mass migrations across the porous border into Pakistan, with around 1.4 million registered Afghans (United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees 2018) and 1 million unregistered (“Amnesty International” 2019). India has its claws in Afghan matters as well and will use it to exploit Pakistan’s weaknesses even after US forces leave the arena. Afghan Government’s poor administrative capability especially after the return of DAESH (Tribune 2020) and Tehrik-e-Taliban Afghanistan are threats to Pakistan as well as regional peace and are a major cause of lawlessness in the country and has a spillover effect for its neighbors.

Iran

Ideologically speaking, Iran is a sectarian threat to Pakistan and its Port Chahbahar stands to lose active traffic once CPEC is fully functional which means it stands as an instigator of hybrid warfare and it would be a risk to overlook it based on past good relations.

USA

Even after the Cold War, strategic rivalry and animosity between the powers including Russia, America, and China still exist. The emergence of China as an economic superpower is perceived as a threat to the US due to which there is a major shift in its defensive posture towards the region.

The US has shown significant interest in Pakistan due to its geo-strategic location but not all interest has yielded positive results. They carried out a surgical strike for the capture and assassination of Osama-Bin-Laden. Such a breach of sovereignty and security is a hybrid threat.

·         Internal

Sectarian

There are several lobbies in Pakistan all vying for their own cause. The Iranian lobby has sectarian undercurrents. Sectarianism has always been one of the leading factors of the divide in the Muslim civilization and is the rising trend of terrorism.Such conflict itself is volatile and is deepening the rift between different sects(Shia-Sunni) of Pakistan, causing unrest.

Economic

Rising prices of commodities such as flour and sugar can lead to social unrest and discord. Such industries and their stocks are under the thumb of a select few, the elites. With the right bribes and conditions, even they would agree to sell out society.

Non-State Actors

Non-state actors are groups or organizations that have influence in the state but work independently and have their socio-political agendas (“Towards a Typology of Non-State Actors in ‘Hybrid Warfare’: Proxy, Auxiliary, Surrogate and Affiliated Forces” 2019). They work on political opportunities and mobilized grievances. Groups like BLA (Balochistan Liberation Army), TTP (Tehrik-e-Taliban Pakistan), and Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT) are some of the major actors. Pakistan needs to focus on curbing Jihadist Terrorism as it is keeping it from leaving the grey list of FATF.

·         Technological

Information

It refers to the spread of miscommunication. Propaganda and circulation of false news through social media are a relatively common way to cause turmoil in a community. Once a rumor is circling, there is no way to erase it. India claims that Pakistan is spreading the false narrative of ‘Islam being in danger’ to justify its actions, although untrue, is something that the Indians fully believe now. That Pakistani Intelligentsia is made solely to create narratives under which to attack India. Such beliefs further antagonize the states against each other.

Indian Chronicles are a prime example of information warfare being waged against Pakistan.

Cyber

Channels such as Cyber-Jihad and Dark Web come under the purview of cyber warfare and are a threat to the fabric of society and its security in Pakistan.

Given the above discussed bleak prevailing internal security situation, Pakistan needs to formulate a short to mid and long-term response that curbs all external and internal parties alongside proxies from infiltrating and influencing the working of the state and affecting the masses.

For a full-spectrum approach, all domains should be covered such as diplomacy, defense, internal and external security, economic, informational, cyber, and media security.

There are steps to be followed through for active and effective quelling of hybrid threats. First, a strategy must be put for, then tactical action should be taken and lastly, the implementation process should be supervised and fully followed through.

The main focus of the state should be on deterrence towards, protection from, and prevention of hybrid threats to the state.

One must not forget that Hybrid war is a mix of both unconventional and conventional warfare, therefore a nation-wide response should include the intertwined operational capabilities of armed forces alongside political actors. Pakistan sees its security being threatened both by internal factors and external hostile/proxy elements. This is hampering state development. State-building and nation-building must go hand in hand if counter and deter such threats effectively.

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The Impact of Management in Information Security

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Authors: Sajad Abedi and Mahdi Mohammadi

Due to the increasing role of information security in the management of any society, public and private organizations and institutions are inevitably required to provide the necessary infrastructure to achieve this. In addition to material resources, management techniques also have a great impact on the optimal and successful implementation of information security management systems. The recording of management standards in the field of ICT information security can be designed in a planned way to change the security situation of organizations according to the needs of the organization and ensure security in terms of business continuity and to some extent at other levels (crisis management and soft war). Despite extensive research in this area, unfortunately for various reasons, including the level of security of the issue for governmental and non-governmental institutions or the direct relationship of the field with their interests, clear and useful information on how to implement and prioritize the implementation of a system over the years. The past has not happened until today.

The protection of the organization’s information resources is essential to ensure the successful continuation of business activities. The fact that information and information assets play a key role in the success of organizations has necessitated a new approach to protecting them. Until now, risk analysis and management has been used to identify the information security needs of the organization. After analyzing the risks, security controls were identified and implemented to bring the risks to an acceptable level. But it seems that risk analysis is not enough to identify the information security needs of the organization. Evidence of this claim is that risk analysis does not take into account legal requirements, regulations and other factors that are not considered as risk, but are mandatory for the organization.

Identifying, assessing and managing information security risks is one of the key steps in reducing cyber threats to organizations and also preventing the unfortunate consequences of security incidents that make organizations more prepared to face cyber risks. The risk assessment process, which is the first phase of a set of risk management activities, provides significant assistance to organizations in making the right decision to select security solutions. Risk assessment is actually done to answer the following questions: * If a particular hazard occurs in the organization, how much damage will it cause? * What is the probability of any risk occurring? * Controlling how much each risk costs. Is it affordable or not? The results of risk assessment can help in the correct orientation in choosing solutions (which is to eliminate the main threats) and can also be used in formulating and modifying the security policies of the organization. Risk management is a comprehensive process used to determine, identify, control, and minimize the effects and consequences of potential events. This process allows managers to strike the right balance between operating costs and financial costs, and to achieve relevant benefits by protecting business processes that support the organization’s goals. The risk management process can greatly reduce the number and severity of security incidents that occur in the organization. Risk management has 5 steps, which are: 1. Planning: At this stage, how to manage potential risks in the organization is determined and completed by developing a risk management plan. This plan defines the risk management team, defines the roles and responsibilities of individuals and the criteria for assessing identified risks. Documented. 2. Identification: At this stage, team members gather around each other, identify potential hazards, and record them in the organization’s risk list. Arranging group brainstorming sessions is a good way to identify hazards 3. Assessment: In this step, the assessment of identified risks is performed using the criteria defined in the risk management plan. Risks are assessed based on their probability of occurrence and possible consequences.

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