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IISS: Prof. Russell Crandall and Haley Rhodes ’16 Offer Strategic View on Peace in Colombia

Haley Rhodes '16
Haley Rhodes '16

The peace agreement negotiated between the Colombian government and the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC), announced June 23, was an historic moment in security studies and conflict resolution.

For those policy experts without a strong Latin American background, however, the timely work of Associate Professor of Political Science Russell Crandall and recent graduate Haley Rhodes '16 will be a key resource. The pair wrote a briefing titled "Colombia: the fraught end of a long war" for the UK's prominent think-tank International Institute for Strategic Studies (IISS) and their subscription briefing series, "IISS Strategic Comments."

Crandall and Rhodes frame their analysis with a summary of the decades-long conflict in the South American nation, the longest armed conflict in the Western hemisphere, and the heretofore unsuccessful attempts to reach an agreement between the government and the FARC. The set of negotiations that led to the June 23 announcements began four years ago under the direction of President Juan Manuel Santos.

The "innovative and comprehensive" peace accord is not short on critics; many Colombian citizens continue to oppose some of the deal's negotiated terms, particularly justice provisions that critics view as too lenient for FARC fighters. Additionally, levels of confidence in the government, President Santos and the peace process overall are particularly low.

With "cautious optimism" about the peace process, Crandall and Rhodes conclude that while the Colombian people will likely vote yes two-to-one in an October plebiscite to officially approve the deal, the real challenge will be the act of implementation and state-building that follows.

Crandall and Rhodes's briefing is available for purchase and digital download on the IISS website.