Transnational Peace Building and Conflict: Lessons from Aceh, Indonesia, and Sri Lanka
- Sojourn: Journal of Social Issues in Southeast Asia
- ISEAS–Yusof Ishak Institute
- Volume 24, Number 2, October 2009
- pp. 211-235
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Global attention generated after the December 2004 Asia tsunami disaster catalyzed one of the most successful internationally-mediated peace processes in the world in Aceh, Indonesia, but did not save the peace process in Sri Lanka. Rather, international aid contributed to a "no war, no peace" equilibrium in Sri Lanka that was brought to an end by the military victory of the government. This paper compares these two highly internationalized peace processes in Southeast and South Asia, particularly, the role of international actors in reconstruction, and analyses the reasons for the different outcomes. Based on ethnographic fieldwork, the paper traces how transnational aid networks, discourses and practices may become endogenous in local or internal conflicts and peace dynamics over time. Finally, it is clear that inclusive and comprehensive peace building, as well as the space for transformation of conflicting groups, is the key to successful peace building.