ICOS works in conflict and post-conflict zones using Cultural Analysis research to examine the perceptions of local people with regards to their own situation or their attitudes towards the political/security landscape in their country. The unique insight provided by this work is used to gain a true understanding of the reality on the ground and to develop realistic and sustainable policy recommendations.
ICOS has been conducting Cultural Analysis research in Afghanistan since 2005, resulting in the publication of over 35 reports on the situation in the country. Much of the research has focused on military-aged males to determine their susceptibility to supporting or joining insurgent groups and provide a longitudinal assessment to evaluate the effects of international military operations. ICOS has also conducted field research on local perceptions of the war in Iraq, and research to assess the impact of the war on terror in fuelling support for insurgent groups in Somalia.
This paper reviews the history of the modern Syrian state and the diverse domestic, regional and international factors that have led to the current conflict. The paper also reviews the dynamics feeding into the conflict and the convergence of pressures which have led to the continuing violence in the country. The paper also presents findings from recent ICOS field research carried out in northern Syria. Finally it gives recommendations… More
Research regarding the death of Osama Bin Laden, conducted immediately following the event, revealed mixed opinions among Afghan men interviewed. The majority of respondents thought his death was good news, with the most significant pockets of negative opinion present in Kabul University and Marjah district in Helmand. Opinions of those interviewed were split on whether or not his death will signify the end of Al… More
Young Afghans have a vital role to play as the international community begins reducing its military and civilian presence in Afghanistan and students at Kabul University are likely to be at the forefront of their generation and can be key players in a successful and durable transition.
There is support for international military operations and for the transition from the students interviewed at Kabul University,… More
This report looks at the current dynamics in Kandahar and Helmand provinces, southern Afghanistan, in the context of the United States’ announced plan to begin drawing down military forces in Afghanistan in five months. The surge of 30,000 additional US forces has changed the security dynamics on the ground significantly, with the additional troops making major gains in clearing districts previously held by the Taliban.… More
ICOS gave evidence before the Committee on Foreign Affairs of the House of Representatives of the Parliament of the Netherlands, regarding the upcoming Dutch police training mission. ICOS highlighted that the Netherlands can provide concrete and positive assistance in training a more effective Afghan civilian police force one step at a time. Within the international framework of the Netherland’s commitments to NATO and the European Union, this police training mission… More
At a NATO Conference on Civil-Military Interaction in Norfolk, Virginia, ICOS presented the findings of its field research throughout 2010. The presentation assessed how the civil-military approach can benefit from the grassroots perceptions of the Afghan people, in order to identify their priorities and beliefs.
In October 2010 the International Council on Security and Development (ICOS) interviewed 1500 Afghan men in southern and northern Afghanistan. In Helmand and Kandahar, 1000 men were interviewed. In Panjshir and Parwan, 500 men were interviewed.
The two clusters of provinces chosen by ICOS reflect very different ethnic and political situations. Panjshir and Parwan are dominated by ethnic Tajiks, and were the stronghold of the… More