Much naivete and lack of realism were needed to believe that the "Cold War" (actually "cold peace", war is never cold) was the only conflict formation there was around. We are ruled by people capable of making such basic mistakes all the time in their diagnosis of the world system. But this is not the time for any triumph: obviously, the world situation is as critical as ever. Our commitment to peace means that our task is basically to be constructive. And the following are ten pointers in that spirit.
I have for a long time argued for an expanded peace concept, by expanding the violence concept beyond direct violence so as to include structural (indirect) and cultural (legitimizing) violence, and I stand by that: Peace = direct peace + structural peace + cultural peace. But the definition has a basic shortcoming: it is too static. So let me try this one: Peace is what we have when creative conflict transformation can take place nonviolently. Thus, peace is seen as a system characteristic, a context within which certain things can happen in a particular way. The test of the pudding is in the eating; the test of a marriage is when the going is rough, not in smooth water; the test of peace is in the ability to handle conflict. Three points are made: the conflict can be transformed (not resolved, conflicts are not (re)solved) by people handling them creatively, transcending the incompatibilities in the conflict, and, without recurring to violence.
This raises some questions both for the system and for the actors embedded in it. The actors have to be capable of acting nonviolently. And the system (not necessarily the same as a country, there could be super- and sub-systems), has to be peaceful in it self, meaning low on structural and cultural violence. When a conflict transformation process is on, vertical, elitist structures should not be used or constructed (or at least not be sustained); the process should take place within a peace culture legitimizing creative, nonviolent handling of conflict, ruling out violence. A tall bill. But: peace is revolutionary. Not only a peace culture but also a peace structure are needed; they are the two concrete system characteristics. And the actors should then try to proceed without physical or verbal violence.
Peace researchers have defined their "nature" in the IPRA statutes, Art. 2, "IPRA is a voluntary non-profit association of researchers and educators for scientific purposes". But this no longer covers what IPRA members do. Very many have progressed from peace research, with a certain distance to the phenomena, and peace education, only communicating the results of peace research, to peace action, practicing the findings of peace research, relating directly to at least one party in an ongoing conflict. A not unimportant question is what such people should be called. The person doing research is obviously a researcher; the more modest "peace studies" presumably being what students do (and of course professors are also students). The person doing education is an educator; a teacher or professor. But how about a person doing peace action, what is s/he?
"Actor" has a touch of theater, or sociology. "Peace keeper-maker-builder-promoter" are fine as descriptors of activities, but as contract with the public may lead the practitioners into the problem of promising more than they can deliver. Thus, in Yugoslavia today even the modest "peacekeeper" at best sounds like a joke, at worst like a fraud. "Peace activist" covers all of this, but also has a touch of the naive and unskilled. "Conflict manager" is ruled out by anybody with a sense of structural violence as non-peace; "conflict helper" or "conflict assistant" reek of false modesty. "Conflict facilitator" may be interpreted as meaning "conflict enhancer", really getting the violence going. And conflict transformer: too electrifying.
I suggest peace worker, and conflict worker. I am certainly not the first, but let us see if these terms could stick. They are modest and carry no built-in promise that may be short of what is delivered. Of course the workers should be skilled; but the unskilled are not ruled out. The point is to do an honest job, not to claim fame or to call a press conference; being like a Catholic nun who acts but is neither seen no heard. Social workers seem to see themselves that way; health workers, at least in the lower echelons of the health professions, likewise. There is also a connotation of quantity: there could be many, even very many of us. Like a swarm of conflict and peace workers, unleashed upon a conflict until parties with violent inclinations give in, if for not other reasons to get rid of us. Slightly violent, but far better than the naive alternative: some empty agreement signed at the top, usually binding only on some highly forgettable "statesmen" trying to substitute structural for direct violence.
Much is needed if our task is to reduce suffering (dukkha) and enhance life (sukha), for all life, also peace with nature. Our brain will have to absorb, produce and store knowledge--holistic, not only transdisciplinary, and global, not only transnational--and it must be realistic to be adequate. Nobody does anybody any favor by projecting unwarranted optimism or pessimism on reality.
There is the danger of apodictic "knowledge", the synthetic a priori knowledge, true by fiat, in need of no check against empirical reality. We all have some of that, we need others to tell. In Western civilization dense layers of "apodicticity" can be found in the successor sciences to theology as the carrier of unfalsifiable knowledge, when God started dying during the Enlightenment, leaving behind State and Capital: jurisprudence in general and diplomacy in particular for the State; economics for Capital. The knowledge may hold in an ideal reality of perfect individual "rationality", with perfect insight in the consequences of possible actions pursued, and maximization of product sums of probabilities and utilities so as to abstain from all crimes and to make optimal choices in the market. If people do not behave like that tend to be blamed, not the theories. Perfect individuals would fit the predictions perfectly, in a seamless union of the prescriptive and the predictive. Such quasi-science, so basic in our civilization, can also be found in a Gandhi, or in any peace worker whose "knowledge" is "perfect non-violence works perfectly." It certainly does, in ideal reality, or in such virtual realities as are increasingly constructed by our media. But that insight is not very useful in empirical reality.
And yet this is far from sufficient. The struggle for peace is usually a struggle
to transcend that empirical reality precisely because it does not permit nonviolent,
peaceful conflict transformation. That means, new realities must take shape
in people's minds, as potential realities, even ideal realities. The right to
entertain and pursue modest utopias is a basic human right, but not the right
to pursue totalizing utopias encompassing all aspects of everybody, except as
a pure phantasy. Nor do we have any right to believe that we already live in
partial or total utopias, and that empirical evidence to the contrary is irrelevant.
The capacity needed to transcend empirical reality is known as imagination related
to knowledge, but not identical with it. But, however imaginative our hypotheses
about how a potential reality would be and how to obtain it, under no circumstance
should we fall into the trap of protecting our hypotheses in the way the three
producers of apodictic knowledge have done. Falsifiability remains an important
guide (but is that guide itself falsifiable?)
Third, we would like our heart to absorb, produce and store compassion, with suffering as well as with joy and enhancement. Like negative peace, com-suffering is only part of the story; there is also the need for com-happiness with the joys of others. Both. And yet this is far from sufficient. This all has to be so deeply rooted in us that it survives set-backs and backlashes. In short, perseverance, the capacity to go on in spite of no positive feedback or no feedback at all. Which, of course, raises the problem of apodicticity again. How do I know I am on the right track with no or even negative feedback? You don't. You have only your intuition and the guidance of others to steer you.
The argument that knowledge, imagination, compassion, perseverance constitute
a syndrome of mutually reinforcing faculties can be posited against the argument
that "this is demanding too much". And yet, the role models exist.
There are such easily recognized models as monks and nuns of any religion, fully
dedicated to serve other human beings on the basis of brain and heart. There
are doctors and nurses; social workers, etc. And there are models so close that
we often do not see them: our own mothers, other family members, at our best
ourselves in the family. Obviously, the university at best caters only to knowledge,
in the positivist tradition leaving out the other three; and at worst is so
high on apodicticity that the knowledge is useless. No doubt the families of
origin and procreation are the major universities and laboratories; that is
where we learn the basics (or fail to learn them), that is where we are tested.
Which does not mean that this is the only place, or the only test.
We are now facing the very concrete problem of the inadequacy of the universities for the training of peace workers. There is probably much to learn from monasteries and military schools: they take in much more of the person. Of course, the military imparts the knowledge of how to increase suffering and decrease life, and compassion only with their own kind, hatred of the other side. But imagination and perseverance are key ingredients. Put a manual for soldiers, essentially in how to commit murder without suffering the same fate next to a manual in nonviolence; identify dissimilarities (easy) and similarities (they are deeper). There is space for much mutual learning here as the military get gradually weaned from their violence, attacking other nations and other social classes.
The reason why the state system today is mainly incompatible with peace is partly found in the state patriarchy, in the arrogance and secrecy, in the “causa sua” mentality of being their own cause not moved by anybody else (and certainly not by democracy), in having a monopoly on the ultimate means of violence and being prone to use them ("to he who has a hammer the world looks like a nail"). All this is bad enough, even if by and large less pronounced in smaller states, more in the larger ones, and even more in such super-states as the United States, the former Soviet Union, China, India and the European Union. But in addition states are also sustained by a concrete belief system that runs roughly as follows:
• the world system is basically a system of states;
• the states are represented in the world system only by the heads of states/governments, foreign ministers and diplomats;
• the representatives have a monopoly on defining the state interests (national interests), and their task is to promote them;
• the state interests are sometimes incompatible; the instrument for removing incompatibilities is negotiation; the inputs are the state interests; the outputs are ratifiable treaties/conventions;
• the sum of mutually adjusted state interests is the world interest/human interest (like male interests = human interests).
The problem rests, of course, with the first and the last propositions, both blatantly wrong, tenable probably mainly to people with the mind-set described in the first sentence above. The belief that people trained in promoting national interests (and even paid to do so) are “ipso facto” adequate for the promotion of world and human interests is an act of faith (apodicticity again).
Peace research as it became institutionalized at the end of the 1950s was
obviously in part a child of the Cold War (Peace!), the balance of power paradigm,
interpreted by West as superiority and by East as parity, was not rejected by
peace researchers as models of what actors were pursuing, but as paradigms of
One line of critique focuses on "balance", claiming that the term has no operational counterpart and hence, to some, is vacuous. Neither the actors, nor others would ever agree on the meaning of balance except under the highly unrealistic assumption of two countries/alliances, equally endowed, with qualitatively identical weapons systems, and then as quantitative identity. Remove only one such assumptions and all parties can claim a deficit and the paradigmatic right to quantitative and/or qualitative armament.
If we then turn to "power", the critique focuses on what may wait at the end of the arms race spiral: war "with all necessary means". The subjective probability of nuclear war held by nuclear planners may have been low, but not zero lest the credibility of a second strike also becomes zero. Consequently they were, in fact, contemplating a holocaust, exterminating, say, 500 million in the NATO-WTO theater. Most of these planners are still at large.
But there was no war, "deterrence worked"? Leaving aside that this presupposes that either, or both, in fact planned a nuclear war but were afraid of the consequences, there is the basic problem of how this brutalized both planners and planned, legitimizing mega-violence. Imagine an Auschwitz, complete with gas chambers and crematorium, built to scare people, including Jews, but not used. Would that be innocent? Would we condone that?
The Cold War (Peace!) over, Paradigm II enters fully, a paradigm for handling inner conflict by punishing those inside the system who break the rules, rather than deterring those outside. The paradigm starts with rules legitimately produced, the use of such rules to classify an act as infraction, the use of infraction to arraign actors into court, the use of courts to acquit or sentence, the use of sentences to impart pain, the use of pain to satisfy the victims' presumed need for revenge and to serve the functions of individual and general prevention. Obviously, the paradigm has religious roots, with the State in God's place. There is no room for reconciliation between perpetrator and victim, but for a clean slate after pain has been received.
Internationalization of this paradigm means international rules (law), and the conceptualization of the world system as an inner system. In the wake of that follow UN Charter Chapters 6 and 7, from diplomatic and economic sanctions via peace-keeping to peace-enforcement. In practice this gives license to isolate, marginalize, stigmatize as pariah countries, killing slowly the old and the sick, the women and the children, in short killing along the margins of patriarchic/meritocratic societies, ultimately bombing "them" into pre-industrial or stone ages. From a military point of view this means a chance to unleash their violence with impunity since the other party is by definition weaker, otherwise Paradigm I would have been used. For the more violence-prone this must have been marvelous, a chance to practice what they have learnt but could not use during Paradigm I time, like a monastery having sex education, but yearning for a little bit of practice.
I would like to be one, among many, mobilizing peace workers against this violent, revenge-loaded Paradigm II, again based on the apodictic "knowledge" of rule of law. Have a look at empirical studies of the individual and general prevention theses in connection with domestic legal systems: if punishment works so badly there in the name of what do we assume that it should work at the inter-state level? Diplomatic sanctions isolate the actor with whom we need more dialogue than anybody else. Economic sanctions is a slow, highly violent way of killing everybody except the able-bodied males presumably to be killed by direct violence. The two together stigmatize a country as a pariah country, readying it as a recipient of "all necessary means", with the help of mass media.
War crime tribunals, like the International Crimes Tribunal for Former Yugoslavia (ICTFY) in the Hague with its 24 prison cells is also a way of creating martyrs. Actors are punished for ghastly deeds when they are low class people from a low class country ("the Balkans") and murder directly, face to face, often torturing and raping first, as opposed to cool killing from a distance and as opposed to those high up who give the orders or manipulate political situations from the inside (Milosevic, Tudjman and Izetbegovich, and the Bosnian civilian and military leaders) or from the outside (the Pope, Alois Mock, Hans-Dietrich Genscher, Helmut Kohl). The 12 men in the Council of Ministers of the European Union (then Community) that fateful premature recognition night mid-December 1991 made a mistake possibly of the magnitude of 3V, V being the Versailles Treaty mistake of 1919 (another mistake of the same magnitude being the failure to honor the Algerian election in favor of FIS about at the same time).
But should we let individual crimes pass, focussing only on the bad, collective “karma” trough dialogue and reconciliation exercises, on the sinking ship and its holes rather than on guilt-attribution? Are the victims not entitled to the exercise of justice; are the co-nationals of the authors of these hideous crimes not entitled to acquittal from any collective guilt by pointing the finger in the right direction?
These are good questions, and there are no perfect answers round to my knowledge. So, just as for Paradigm I above I am not rejecting Paradigm II completely; I only position myself as a critic under the obligation to come up with a constructive answer.
Some of that can be found in the very promising instrument of the Truth Commissions; operating in post-dictatorship Central and South America, and in South Africa. Let us assume that they have the empirical job of assessing what happened, wie es eigentlich gewesen; the critical job of evaluating this in no uncertain terms in the light of basic values, sacred and secular; and the constructive job of addressing two basic questions: what should we, and what could we have done at this and that cross-road in the past (the therapy of the past), and, what now? Tall orders. But the documents already emerging are very promising, particularly when there are many and diverse citizens making depositions. Even if done without names everybody will know who they are; moreover, they will know. But they are less stigmatized, more free to draw the same conclusions as the rest of society. If someone then organizes the dialogue with the victims and the bereaved instead of creating prison walls in-between a much deeper peace might, just might, be possible.
If Violence = Direct + Structural + Cultural violence, then exactly what can a peace worker do to undo violence? Diagnosis, Prognosis and Therapy no doubt, but how?
Much direct violence can be traced back to vertical structural violence, such as exploitation and repression, for liberation, or to prevent liberation. In the background is cultural violence legitimizing both the structural violence and direct violence to undo it and to maintain it. The prognosis is bad: violence breeds violence; partly through the simple mechanisms of revenge, and partly because acts of violence are made use of to cancel any bad conscience arising from one's own use. Hence, increase the space for actors to proceed nonviolently! In that process mechanisms to lower the level of violence (peace-keeping) may be indispensable, but not only based on military training: add police training, nonviolence training, conflict mediation techniques, and have at least 50% of the peacekeepers being women.
If we then proceed to peace-making there is one mistake that is no longer pardonable: the single-shot "table at the top", the high table, for the "leaders". Let one thousand conferences blossom, use electronics to generate a visible flow of peace ideas from everywhere in society. Proposals may be contradictory, but why should peace look the same at all places? Tap the insights all over, marginalizing nobody, making peace-making itself a model of structural peace. To believe that a handful of diplomats can do it alone is like believing in having 400 apparatchiks plan the economy for 400 million. And look at Israel/Palestine in the hands of the leaders only, peace forces on both sides apparently being deactivated.
Peace-building activities can be identified with building structural and cultural
peace. This requires ability to identify the non-articulated conflicts all over
society, not necessarily trying to handle all of them (which would be impossible
anyhow), but to recognize them--a very important step toward positive transformation.
Above all this means identifying exploitation, repression and marginalization
(vertical) and groups that are too tight to be comfortable or too far apart
to interact (horizontal).
Undoing cultural violence is even more difficult. Again the "hidden part of the iceberg" metaphor is useful, as for structural violence. But now the hidden is not deep down in social structure, but in the culture, hidden in the collective subconscious. Thus, when diplomats negotiate four layers can easily be identified: the national interests s/he is supposed to represent (like obtaining bases abroad), the individual interests (like displaying negotiation brilliance for career purposes), the individual subconscious (like overcoming a sense of inferiority) and the collective subconscious, the implicit assumptions about what is normal/natural (cosmology, cultural codes, deep culture).
One example: the DMA (Dichotomization, Manicheism, Armageddon) syndrome. The world is seen in bipolar terms (like the West against an Islamic/Confucian alliance), one is seen as good and the other as bad (guess which one), and there will be a battle (so better prepare). With DMA as the shared collective subconscious of negotiating diplomats drawing lines on maps, with rulers (please note the double meaning of that word) comes naturally. Thus, a shared collective subconscious may be particularly dangerous if the shared unstated assumptions are bello- rather than paxogenic.
"Because it leads to peace" is not good enough; we do not know that in advance (apodicticity again!). "Because it is intended to lead to peace" is not good enough either; everybody can say that; even military ready to spread death around might say "peace is our profession". "Because there is a demand and we deliver the supply", or "because we are the supply and create the demand", are the two sides of the market logic, demand-driven and supply-driven, but not good enough either, placing the responsibility with the demand side. If the demand comes from the state system, governmental or intergovernmental, this will be seen by some as solving the problem of legitimacy, particularly if the governments are democratic, even though the IGOs, including the UN, are far from democratic. As to the state system, however, see [5,6] above. That system will probably change in a more democratic direction, but not quickly.
I would not dispute the right of everybody to act out of compassion, according to their best knowledge, to reduce suffering and enhance life. But human beings are imperfect, and so is our compassion, and so is our knowledge. This principle of human fallibility should, in my view, lead us to draw one consequence: act so that the consequences of your action are reversible. Prefer the action that can be undone. Proceed carefully, you may be wrong.
But is that not counter-intuitive? Is it not better to engrave peace in stone, even in steel? No, because it may be the wrong peace, and even if right it may be too static. Peace is a process. We can assume a general inclination of human beings toward life enhancement or at least away from suffering. Adequate peace, an ever better peace, or ever better peace process, will attract support.
Of course, irreversibility is a question of degree. Physical death is probably recognized by most as irreversible, as final; a strong argument not only against capital punishment, but against lethal violence of any kind. It cannot be undone. There is a special case of this argument: you may kill the wrong person. I would see such arguments as stepping stones toward a more general position on nonviolence; an argument that certainly can also be rooted in the assumptions of immanent religion, "there is that of God in everybody". Be cyclical, not linear in thoughts and action.
This also applies to physical violence to artifacts: a building destroyed can never be rebuilt. It can only be imitated as anyone experiencing European reconstruction after the enormous violence of the Second World war can bear testimony to. Anything blown into smithereens suffers the high entropy of violence and death, the total irreversibility. Violence is so irrational.
But how about the violence that harms and hurts, but stops short of death? This is known as a trauma, and even the best job performed by the specialists in the physical traumas to the body, and the spiritual traumas to the soul, can never undo them completely. Scars remain, also on the bereaved, those left behind after an unacceptable death of a beloved one. Assuming that all scars can be removed is to assume that the human being is a machine, reparable by substituting spare parts. Can learning of the techniques of direct violence (military training), and of structural violence (major aspects of mainstream economics and jurisprudence) be unlearned, or is the damage (such as the knowledge of how to make nuclear weapons) irreversible? An interesting topic for future research: how to make learning of violence reversible.
Thus, there is an entropy of war and violence; but there is also an entropy of peace. I have argued for some time that chaotic, highly diverse structures, and cultures! with all kinds of interlinkages, are much better carriers of peace by peaceful means than clear-cut structures (e.g., polarized alliances) and cultures (with DMA-syndromes) low on entropy, but high on energy; ready for the final battle. A contradiction? No, the entropy of peace presupposes intact, even enhanced life, but then organized so as to increase the spiritual entropy of a complex Self and a social entropy of super-complex social and world disorders. The entropy of peace is a barrier against the physical and spiritual entropy of death and violence. And there is an entropy of nature known as mature eco-systems, based on the diversity and symbiosis of deep ecology: again the formula is the same, high entropy.
The task of creative, positive conflict transformation is not only to avoid violence, to abstain from the irreversible, but to increase the entropy by coming out of that phase of the conflict with more mature selves and more mature social formations around. Conflict, then, becomes the Great Teacher, a spiritual gift to all of us. But conflict transformation may also be negative, leaving enormous irreversibilities in homosphere, biosphere, lithosphere, hydrosphere, atmosphere, cosmosphere, and damage to the soul not easily reversed: hatred, cravings for revenge, restitution, building one's future life around intense wishes to exchange one irreversibility for the other. A spirit of forgiveness (not forgetting!) on top of complex and creative conflict transformation may be helpful, as practiced by the second giant of this century after Gandhi: Nelson Mandela. Like Gandhi, a gift to us all.
An approach I often make use when I insert myself as one more party in a conflict formation, with no claim to neutrality, or objectivity, or any such thing (I also have goals, as indicated above), is to ask the original participants to identify critical points in the past and then ask the question, what should, what could have been done. Counterfactual history, in other words. That exercise for the Second World invariably brings up the Versailles treaty of 1919. Of course it was reversible. There could have been a second conference five years later, undoing this highly violent collective humiliation, exploitation, repression and marginalization of a country which like the others had engaged in a favorite European pastime (if history is a guide): killing each other. The reward might have been considerable: depriving Hitler of his major argument, avoiding the Second World War. Those who did not think such thoughts, or having thought them, but did not implement them, share responsibility with the Nazis; this always being the case responsibility is shared, in a collective karma).
Another case: what should have been done instead of the premature recognition of parts of Yugoslavia as independent states? The problem is not self-determination, but  where are the selves and  how do they relate to each other after determination has been exercised? Self-determination for Croats implies the same for Serbs in Croatia; with the same reasoning for Croats and Serbs in Bosnia and for Albanians in Serbia and Macedonia. And so on. The instrument may be vote by district like in the Danish-German process of 1920; the independencies emerging may then be confederated afterwards. A possibility, maybe worth trying.
More promising is another proposal addressing the major theme of the XV General IPRA Conference: intercultural conflicts. Nations are cultural constructs built around the kronos and kairos of time and space, weaving them into religion/ideology and language. The spatial component, to protect the sacred places and have enough territory to be self-sustaining leads to basic incompatibilities when entropy is high, all nations within the territory have claims on the same square kilometers, and nobody wants to move. When subjected to the representatives of a state-system which itself embodies the DMA syndrome, and to diplomats ruling by rulers, drawing lines on the map, or in the sand in the desert (Sir Percy Cox in Iraq in 1922), the D-job will be done, usually followed by both M and A, thereby keeping the diplomats in business. If there are 2000 nations in the world capable of articulating their claims, but only 200 countries and 20 nation-states, then there are 1980 more battles to fight, a suicide recipe given the quality and quantity of arms there are around. Hence, D and M have to go.
An alternative would be to keep the high entropy of living around each other,
building autonomy around one parliament for each national constituency, with
monopoly on the administration of the sacred points in space and time, on language,
religion, ideology and idiom (meaning most of education), on policing and courts
for self-policing and self-adjudication, and for some aspects of the economy.
Like US Democrats and Republicans do when voting in the primaries, or like Samis
in Norway do when they vote for the Sami parliament. Worth trying, it just might
work, under some circumstances to be explored (no apodicticity, please!)
Peace is a revolutionary idea; "peace by peaceful means" defines that revolution as nonviolent. That revolution is taking place all the time; our task is to expand it in scope and domain. The tasks are endless; the question is whether we are up to them.
I have argued above for our insertion into conflicts, invited or uninvited,
by and large by-passing the state system, deriving our legitimacy partly from
the right that stems from our concern (we are all in it anyhow, as conflicts
become ever more indivisible), and partly by advocating a basic principle for
peaceful action: reversibility, the possibility of undoing any action as we
may have been in the wrong. That, needless to say, also presupposes ability
to admit mistakes, a rare commodity, and ability to listen to the verdict of
the empirical world rather than to the "self-evident" hypotheses in
our mind, in our ratio.
But peace is also an exercise in perseverance? Yes, you may have to wait decades for a good idea to be implemented, if at all; and even if it is implemented you may never hear about it [a] because you are dead, [b] because your idea was co-opted by somebody who "had always been of that opinion". Peace work is not a recipe for immediate gratification. Proceed with care, rather than with high-pitched publicity; nonviolently.
Sooner or later this will lead peace workers, regardless of which of the many established or potential peace professions they exercise (and there are many taking shape right now) to the problem of establishing ‘a code of conduct’. If we do not do it, you can be sure that somebody else will, like a state-system highly jealous of its presumed monopoly on conflicts. A major task if we are serious in our work. And serious we should be; in the age of the cholera.
* This article was originally published in Peace and Conflict Studies, Vol. 2, No. 1, June 1995.
For example, Somalia is a fiction as a country in the European sense even if it comes close to one language and one religion; it is a set of polities organized as clans, lineages and problems have to be dealt with in that framework. To define clan leaders as "war lords," launching a hunt on them, is intellectually feeble to say the least.
For an exploration of this, see Johan Galtung, "Cultural Violence", Journal of Peace Research, vol. 27, no. 3, 1990, pp. 291-305.