Conflict and Countering Violent Extremism: Implications


This paper summarises the implications drawn from the project ‘Conflict and Countering Violent Extremism’, conducted by RUSI for the Department for International Development in 2015. The project examined similarities and differences between Islamic Violent Extremist groups and other conflict actors, and what this means for development, state building and peace building responses. In view of the project’s main findings on what approaches are effective in dealing with conflicts involving violent Islamists this paper expands on the following key implications for state building and peace building:

  • Building or rebuilding state capacity is an essential pre-requisite for managing many Islamist violent extremist problems.
  • Security sector reform can promote a less violent response, and hence reduce the risk of Islamist extremist violence increasing or recurring.
  • Religion in general (and Islamism in particular) does not make violent groups automatically intractable. They should not, therefore, be excluded from negotiating table just because they are Islamists who use violence.
  • Interventions to promote economic security in conflict-afflicted areas have the potential to reduce or at least contain support for the most problematic violent Islamists.
  • Addressing grievances will not necessarily resolve conflicts. However, addressing grievances may contain groups and, in time, reduce their support.
  • Development practitioners should work in an ‘IVE-sensitive’ manner even when not directly addressing extremist violence.
  • The most problematic Islamist groups will work to impede the core aims of statebuilding – creating inclusive political settlements, developing core state functions and responding to public expectations – because increasingly they are seeking to do the same themselves.


Glazzard, A.; Jesperson, S.; Winterbotham, E. Conflict and Countering Violent Extremism: Implications. RUSI, London, UK (2015) 18 pp.

Conflict and Countering Violent Extremism: Implications

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