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War does not respect political or territorial boundaries but forms part of regional conflict systems through dynamics that cross borders: refugee flows, nomadic armed groups like the LRA, narcotic or criminal networks, blood diamonds, or psycho-social ties.
In many of today's wars, violence is driven in part by cross- border regional conflict dynamics. And, as this important new publication from Conciliation Resources makes clear, failure to take the regional dimension of civil wars into account increases the risk that peacebuilding strategies will fail. What is needed, in addition to the statebuilding policies that are now de rigeur in post-conflict environments, are strategies that address cross- border conflict dynamics with the relevant regional states and cross-border communal engagement.
Andrew Mack, Director of the Human Security Report Project (HSRP) at Simon Fraser University and a faculty member of the university's School for International Studies.