Mark Knight

Policy and Research Papers

Monopoly of Force

The loss by many states of the monopoly of the legitimate use of force has contributed significantly to the proliferation of failed and failing states worldwide. In such states, a multitude of threats, including insurgencies, terrorist networks, transnational organized crime, and illicit shadow economies, flourish. These states often become trapped in cycles of violent conflict that threaten stability and security at home, in their neighborhoods, and throughout the world. States emerging from conflict are highly prone to return to conflict within the first few years of postconflict status. The widespread availability of lethal weapons exacerbates the tensions that already permeate conflict and postconflict environments.

The mechanism of disarmament, demobilization, and reintegration (DDR) is widely acknowledged to be an essential component of successful peacekeeping, peace-building, postconflict management, and state-building. Security sector reform (SSR) has emerged as a promising though poorly understood tool for consolidating stability and establishing sovereignty after conflict. While DDR enables a state to recover the monopoly (or at least the preponderance) of force, SSR provides the opportunity for the state to establish the legitimacy of that monopoly.

The essays in this book reflect the diversity of experience in DDR and SSR in various contexts. Despite the considerable experience acquired by the international community, the critical interrelationship between DDR and SSR and the ability to use these mechanisms with consistent success remain less than optimally developed. DDR and SSR are essential tools of modern statecraft, but their successful use is contingent upon our understanding of both the affinities and the tensions between them. These essays aim to excite further thought on how these two processes—DDR and SSR—can be implemented effectively and complimentarily to better accomplish the shared goals of viable states and enduring peace.

Edited by Melanne A. Civic and Michael Miklaucic, with contributions from:

  • Josef Teboho Ansorge
  • Nana Akua Antwi-Ansorge
  • Judith Asuni
  • Alan Bryden
  • Véronique Dudouet
  • Jennifer M. Hazen
  • Michelle Hughes
  • Jacques Paul Klein
  • Mark Knight
  • G. Eugene Martin
  • James Mattis
  • Sean McFate
  • Anne-Tyler Morgan
  • Jacqueline O’Neill
  • Courtney Rowe
  • Mark Sedra
  • Matthew T. Simpson
  • Cornelis (Kees) Steenken
  • Jarad Vary
  • Adriaan Verheul
  • Eric Wiebelhaus-Brahm
  • Paul R. Williams

Reversing the Stabilisation Paradigm: Towards an Alternative Approach

Stability stabilisation

This practice note from the Stability Journal by researcher Mark Knight examines the dialogue around the concept of 'stabilization'. The author contests the view that stabilisation is inhibited by the unachievable objective of a liberal peace, arguing instead that it is stability which is an unachievable objective that inhibits the end goal of a liberal democratic state. Instead of stability, then, the author argues that stabilisation should aim for the protection and enjoyment of human rights. Finally, the note concludes that stabilisation can be understood as a set of political actions in support of an ideological outcome, and that such an understading is compatible with current international engagements.

To access the practice note Reversing the Stabilisation Paradigm: Towards an Alternative Approach, kindly follow the link.


Security and Human Rights in Peace Processes: Advising Armed Insurgencies

This paper focuses on the way in which transitional security processes are applied during internationally supported peace processes. It describes the existing security transition process and outlines how its application undermines the agency of armed insurgents. An alternative approach is presented in the form of advice to armed insurgents, whereby armed insurgents are advised to integrate human rights within their peace and security strategy from the outset, to ensure that their transition strategy is cohesive, and that it supports a genuine and sustainable democratic post-agreement environment. An alternative security transition process is outlined from within the human rights framework, and a definition and understanding of ceasefires is proposed that provides armed insurgents the flexibility to define, manage and effectively utilize ceasefires within an internationally supported peace process. The sequential and unbalanced approach to post-conflict disarmament, demobilization and reintegration (DDR) and security sector reform (SSR) is reformulated into a balanced, concurrent and reciprocal focus on “transition of the security state,” “organization,” “weapons” and “individuals.” The cumulative impact being that armed insurgent organizations can survive the peace, and retain their capacity to pursue their goals in a democratic post-agreement environment, whilst simultaneously enhancing the legitimacy of the post-agreement state.

For access to the full report Security and Human Rights in Peace Processes: Advising Armed Insurgencies, please follow the in-text link.