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  • Author: Pauline Le Roux
  • Publication Date: 12-2019
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Africa Center for Strategic Studies
  • Abstract: The Sahel has experienced the most rapid increase in militant Islamist group activity of any region in Africa in recent years. Violent events involving extremist groups in the region have doubled every year since 2015. In 2019, there have been more than 700 such violent episodes (see Figure 1). Fatalities linked to these events have increased from 225 to 2,000 during the same period. This surge in violence has uprooted more than 900,000 people, including 500,000 in Burkina Faso in 2019 alone. Three groups, the Macina Liberation Front (FLM),1 the Islamic State in the Greater Sahara (ISGS),2 and Ansaroul Islam,3 are responsible for roughly two-thirds of the extremist violence in the central Sahel.4 Their attacks are largely concentrated in central Mali, northern and eastern Burkina Faso, and western Niger (see Figure 2). Multiple security and development responses have been deployed to address this crisis. While some progress has been realized, the continued escalation of extremist violence underscores that more needs to be done.
  • Topic: Security, Islam, Regional Cooperation, Violent Extremism
  • Political Geography: Africa, Mali, Sahel, Niger, Burkina Faso
  • Publication Date: 03-2019
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Africa Center for Strategic Studies
  • Abstract: Increased attacks from militant Islamist groups in the Sahel coupled with cross-border challenges such as trafficking, migration, and displacement have prompted a series of regional and international security responses.
  • Topic: Security, Migration, Regional Cooperation, Trafficking , Displacement
  • Political Geography: Africa, Mali, Chad, Mauritania, Sahel, Niger
  • Author: Stéphane Valter
  • Publication Date: 01-2019
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Center for International and Regional Studies: CIRS
  • Abstract: This paper presents a study of Egyptian Shiʿism by providing historical context as well as a focus on actual or current issues. The study includes a historical overview of local Shiʿism (Fatimid period, late nineteenth century, 1940s–1960s, and contemporary period); Shiʿi institutions and personalities; the situation following Egypt’s 2011 revolution; the hectic one-year government of the Muslim Brotherhood (2012–2013); President al-Sisi’s authoritarian takeover; and, finally, an exploration of the current geopolitical stakes, focusing mainly on the rivalry between Saudi Arabia and Iran over religious hegemony.
  • Topic: Security, Geopolitics, Shia
  • Political Geography: Africa, Iran, Middle East, Saudi Arabia, Egypt
  • Author: Anthony H. Cordesman
  • Publication Date: 01-2018
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Center for Strategic and International Studies
  • Abstract: The United States, its allies, and international organizations are just beginning to come to grips with the civil dimensions of "failed state" wars in Afghanistan, Iraq, Libya, Somalia, the Sudans, Syria, and Yemen. In each case, it is clear that the civil dimension of the war will ultimately be as important as the military one. Any meaningful form of "victory" requires far more than defeating the current extremist threat in military terms, and reaching some temporary compromise between the major factions that divide the country. The current insurgent and other security threats exist largely because of the deep divisions within the state, the past and current failures of the government to deal with such internal divisions, and the chronic failure to meet the economic, security, and social needs of much of the nation's population. In practical terms, these failures make a given host government, other contending factions, and competing outside powers as much of a threat to each nation’s stability and future as Islamic extremists and other hostile forces. Regardless of the scale of any defeat of extremists, the other internal tensions and divisions with each country also threaten to make any such “victory” a prelude to new forms of civil war, and/or an enduring failure to cope with security, stability, recovery, and development. Any real form of victory requires a different approach to stability operations and civil-military affairs. In each case, the country the U.S. is seeking to aid failed to make the necessary economic progress and reforms to meet the needs of its people – and sharply growing population – long before the fighting began. The growth of these problems over a period of decades helped trigger the sectarian, ethnic, and other divisions that made such states vulnerable to extremism and civil conflict, and made it impossible for the government to respond effectively to crises and wars.
  • Topic: Security, War, Fragile/Failed State, ISIS, Conflict
  • Political Geography: Afghanistan, Africa, United States, Iraq, Middle East, Yemen, Syria, Somalia, South Sudan, Sundan
  • Author: Vincenza Scherrer, Alba Bescos Pou
  • Publication Date: 01-2018
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Geneva Centre for Security Sector Governance (DCAF)
  • Abstract: Multilateral organizations are playing an important role in shaping the SSR agenda through the development of policy and guidance and by engaging in the provision of a wide range of SSR support on the ground. However, despite their significant engagement in this area, there is no predictability in terms of the type of support that multilateral organizations will take on. While policy frameworks concur that international support should be well coordinated, the support provided by these organizations tends to be compartmentalized in practice. As a result, considerable time is often lost while each organization separately assesses a conflict, maps what others are doing, and agrees on a division of labour. The report presents the findings of a multi-year research project on the approaches of the United Nations (UN), the African Union (AU), the European Union (EU), and the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE) to supporting nationally-led SSR processes. The study aims at developing an empirically-based understanding of the roles and potential comparative advantages of these organizations in SSR support, as well as avenues for enhanced cooperation. For this purpose, the study examines the following three categories related to the role of multilateral organizations in SSR support: normative frameworks, institutional capacities, and operational practices. This report was commissioned from DCAF by the Security Sector Reform Unit (SSRU) of the United Nations Department of Peacekeeping Operations (DPKO).
  • Topic: Security, Human Rights, Peacekeeping, Reform, Multilateralism
  • Political Geography: Geneva, Africa, Europe, United Nations, European Union, African Union
  • Author: James M Dorsey
  • Publication Date: 03-2016
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Centre for Non-Traditional Security Studies (NTS)
  • Abstract: China’s increasingly significant economic and security interests in the Middle East have several impacts. It affects not only its energy security but also its regional posture, relations with regional powers as well as the United States, and efforts to pacify nationalist and Islamist Uighurs in its north-western province of Xinjiang. Those interests are considerably enhanced by China’s One Belt, One Road initiative that seeks to patch together a Eurasian land mass through inter-linked infrastructure, investment and expanded trade relations. Protecting its mushrooming interests is forcing China to realign its policies and relationships in the region. As it takes stock of the Middle East and North Africa’s volatility and tumultuous, often violent political transitions, China feels the pressure to acknowledge that it no longer can remain aloof to the Middle East and North Africa’s multiple conflicts. China’s long-standing insistence on non-interference in the domestic affairs of others, refusal to envision a foreign military presence and its perseverance that its primary focus is the development of mutually beneficial economic and commercial relations, increasingly falls short of what it needs to do to safeguard its vital interests. Increasingly, China will have to become a regional player in competitive cooperation with the United States, the dominant external actor in the region for the foreseeable future. The pressure to revisit long-standing foreign and defence policy principles is also driven by the fact that China’s key interests in the Middle East and North Africa have expanded significantly beyond the narrow focus of energy despite its dependence on the region for half 1 China has signalled its gradual recognition of these new realities with the publication in January 2016 of an Arab Policy Paper, the country’s first articulation of a policy towards the Middle East and North Africa. But, rather than spelling out specific policies, the paper reiterated the generalities of China’s core focus in its relations with the Arab world: economics, energy, counter-terrorism, security, technical cooperation and its One Belt, One Road initiative. Ultimately however, China will have to develop a strategic vision that outlines foreign and defence policies it needs to put in place to protect its expanding strategic, geopolitical, economic, and commercial interests in the Middle East and North Africa; its role and place in the region as a rising superpower in the region; and its relationship and cooperation with the United States in managing, if not resolving conflict.
  • Topic: Security, Diplomacy, Economics, Imperialism, Infrastructure
  • Political Geography: Africa, United States, China, Middle East, Asia, North Africa
  • Publication Date: 09-2015
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: International Crisis Group
  • Abstract: Violence in the Niger Delta may soon increase unless the Nigerian government acts quickly and decisively to address long-simmering grievances. With the costly Presidential Amnesty Program for ex-insurgents due to end in a few months, there are increasingly bitter complaints in the region that chronic poverty and catastrophic oil pollution, which fuelled the earlier rebellion, remain largely unaddressed. Since Goodluck Jonathan, the first president from the Delta, lost re-election in March, some activists have resumed agitation for greater resource control and self-determination, and a number of ex-militant leaders are threatening to resume fighting (“return to the creeks”). While the Boko Haram insurgency in the North East is the paramount security challenge, President Muhammadu Buhari rightly identifies the Delta as a priority. He needs to act firmly but carefully to wind down the amnesty program gradually, revamp development and environmental programs, facilitate passage of the long-stalled Petroleum Industry Bill (PIB) and improve security and rule of law across the region.
  • Topic: Security, Political Violence, Development, Environment, Oil, Poverty
  • Political Geography: Africa, Nigeria
  • Author: Fernando Almansa
  • Publication Date: 05-2015
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Oxfam Publishing
  • Abstract: In Somaliland, Puntland and South Central Somalia, the International Community is mixing its political interests with its humanitarian agenda. Insecurity severely hampers access in many parts, making it difficult to implement and monitor humanitarian responses. International humanitarian actors need to revisit their strategies and invest more in working with local agencies to deliver aid. Local humanitarian actors need to take courageous humanitarian leadership with full accountability and transparency. Many international donors often appear to give priority to broader security agendas and the need for transparency over humanitarian action to save lives. This report assesses the capacity of local humanitarian actors to deliver humanitarian aid in response to the repeated crises that the country faces. It is the starting point of an Oxfam project to build the strength of local humanitarian actors to deliver effective humanitarian responses.
  • Topic: Security, International Cooperation, Transparency, Humanitarian Crisis
  • Political Geography: Africa, Somalia, Puntland, Somaliland
  • Author: Karen del Biondo
  • Publication Date: 02-2015
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: The Kolleg-Forschergruppe (KFG)
  • Abstract: The Joint Africa-EU Strategy (JAES), which was adopted in 2007, aimed to break with the traditional do¬nor-recipient relationship between the EU and Africa and to develop a true partnership. The concept of partnership has been central in EU-Africa relations ever since the Lomé Agreement (1975), but many have argued that it has been eroded by conditionalities and the end of special trade preferences. Ideally, a partnership is characterized by shared values, equality and trust, but are these principles reflected in the JAES? This study investigates this question by focusing on the thematic partnerships on peace and security and democratic governance and human rights. The paper argues that, despite the power asymmetries between the EU and Africa, the JAES has been characterized by equality in decision-making and by African ownership in capacity-building. However, while the JAES may objectively be based on shared values, the EU and the AU have often differed on how to apply those values in concrete situations, more particularly on the question which type of intervention is acceptable (conditionality, military intervention, etc.). Moreover, the analysis identifies a general feeling of mistrust amongst both parties in the partnership.
  • Topic: Security, Human Rights, Governance
  • Political Geography: Africa, Europe
  • Author: Matt Bryden
  • Publication Date: 02-2014
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Center for Strategic and International Studies
  • Abstract: The September 2013 attack on Nairobi's Westgate Shopping Center, which left more than 70 people dead, has positioned the Somali extremist group, Al-Shabaab, firmly in the global spotlight. While some observers have interpreted the attack as a sign of "desperation," others perceive it as an indication of Al-Shabaab's reformation and resurgence under the leadership of the movement's Amir, Ahmed Abdi aw Mohamud Godane. The reality is, as usual, more complex. Westgate provided a glimpse of a movement in the throes of a protracted, fitful, and often-violent transition: Al-shabaab is in the process of reinventing itself.
  • Topic: Security, Islam, Terrorism, Armed Struggle, Counterinsurgency
  • Political Geography: Africa
  • Publication Date: 01-2014
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: International Crisis Group
  • Abstract: Un an après l'intervention française, l'intégrité territoriale et l'ordre constitutionnel ont été rétablis au Mali. Mais la persistance des tensions intercommunautaires et de violences localisées témoigne d'une stabilisation encore précaire du Nord, alors que les forces françaises et onusiennes peinent à consolider leurs progrès en matière de sécurité. Les attentes à l'égard du président Ibrahim Boubacar Keïta sont immenses. Il doit à la fois élaborer un compromis sur le devenir du Nord et engager la réforme d'un Etat affaibli par la crise. Son gouvernement doit aller au-delà des déclarations d'intention et passer à l'action. Pour consolider la situation à court terme, il est tenté de renouer avec un système clientéliste qui a conduit les précédents régimes dans l'impasse. Le président ne peut certes pas tout réformer brusquement mais l'urgence de la stabilisation ne doit ni faire manquer l'occasion d'entamer une réforme profonde de la gouvernance ni occulter la nécessité d'un dialogue véritablement inclusif sur l'avenir du pays.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution, Security, Political Violence, Islam, Post Colonialism, Armed Struggle
  • Political Geography: Africa
  • Publication Date: 01-2014
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: International Crisis Group
  • Abstract: The violence in Darfur's decade-old war spiked in 2013, as the mostly Arab militias initially armed by the government to contain the rebellion increasingly escaped Khartoum's control and fought each other. Recent fighting has displaced nearly half a million additional civilians – in all 3.2 million Darfurians need humanitarian help. The Doha Document for Peace in Darfur (DDPD) signed in Qatar in 2011 is largely unimplemented, notably because it was endorsed by factions with limited political and military influence, blocked by the government and suffered fading international support. The main insurgent groups remain active, have formed an alliance that goes beyond the region and increasingly assert a national agenda. If Darfur is to have durable peace, all parties to the country's multiple conflicts, supported by the international community, need to develop a more coherent means of addressing, in parallel, both local conflicts and nationwide stresses, the latter through a comprehensive national dialogue; eschew piecemeal approaches; embrace inclusive talks; and recommit to Sudan's unity.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution, Security, Civil War, Islam, War, Armed Struggle, Insurgency, Fragile/Failed State
  • Political Geography: Africa
  • Publication Date: 04-2014
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: International Crisis Group
  • Abstract: La pénétration du pastoralisme qui s'accentue depuis plusieurs années en Afrique centrale génère des conflits à la fois fréquents et ignorés dans un monde rural où l'empreinte de l'Etat est particulièrement faible. Ces conflits s'intensifient sous l'effet conjugué de plusieurs facteurs: l'insécurité croissante, le changement climatique qui pousse les pasteurs toujours plus au sud, l'éclatement des couloirs traditionnels de transhumance, notamment transfrontaliers, l'extension des cultures et l'augmentation des cheptels qui entrainent une compétition accrue sur les ressources naturelles. Même si les défis sécuritaires du pastoralisme ne sont pas de même intensité dans les trois pays étudiés dans ce rapport (Tchad, République centrafricaine et République démocratique du Congo), ils ont deux dénominateurs communs : l'impératif d'une prise en compte de ce problème par les pouvoirs publics et la nécessité d'une régulation de la transhumance qui inclue les différents acteurs concernés.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution, Security, Agriculture, Climate Change, Natural Resources, Infrastructure
  • Political Geography: Africa
  • Publication Date: 05-2014
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: International Crisis Group
  • Abstract: Madagascar is on the cusp of exiting a five-year political crisis compounded by economic disorder and international isolation. Presidential elections in late 2013 were endorsed as credible following the victory of Hery Rajaonarimampianina. The return to democracy paves the way for renewed international support. However, division entrenched by former President Marc Ravalomanana's exile has polarised the country. The coup regime of Andry Rajoelina was characterised by socio-economic malaise, rampant corruption, institutional decay and the breakdown in the rule of law. The political system, which is the primary obstacle to sustained recovery, needs much more than a cosmetic makeover; fundamental reform is necessary. The African Union, Southern African Development Community and International Support Group for Madagascar must support Rajaonarimampianina's efforts to balance political interests in a marked departure from the traditional winner-take-all approach; reform and strengthening of key democratic institutions; and reform and professionalisation of the security sector.
  • Topic: Security, Economics, Politics
  • Political Geography: Africa, South Africa, Tamil Nadu
  • Publication Date: 11-2014
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: International Crisis Group
  • Abstract: Nigeria's presidential, parliamentary and state gubernatorial and assembly elections, scheduled for February 2015, will be more contentious than usual. Tensions within and between the two major political parties, competing claims to the presidency between northern and Niger Delta politicians and along religious lines, the grim radical Islamist Boko Haram insurgency and increasing communal violence in several northern states, along with inadequate preparations by the electoral commission and apparent bias by security agencies, suggest the country is heading toward a very volatile and vicious electoral contest. If this violent trend continues, and particularly if the vote is close, marred or followed by widespread violence, it would deepen Nigeria's already grave security and governance crises. The government, its agencies and all other national figures must work urgently to ensure that the vote is not conducted in an explosive situation as this could further destabilise the country.
  • Topic: Security, Political Violence, Ethnic Government, Governance, Sectarian violence, Self Determination
  • Political Geography: Africa, Nigeria
  • Author: Anna van der Vleuten
  • Publication Date: 03-2014
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Collaborative Research Center (SFB) 700
  • Abstract: As early as 1992, the Treaty of the Southern African Development Community (SADC) already included a commitment to human rights, democracy, and the rule of law as governance standards in its member states, but it was in 2001 that SADC significantly broadened its efforts at governance transfer. SADC focuses in particular on standards related to gender, (socioeconomic) human rights, and (electoral) democracy, which are promoted and protected through various instruments including military interventions and sanctions in the framework of security cooperation. While the rule of law and good governance have also gained a more prominent place on the agenda since 2001, standards and instruments are less developed. Overall, there is a significant gap between the prescription of standards and policies on the one hand and the implementation of measures on the other. The suspension of the SADC Tribunal in 2010 following its rulings on human rights issues clearly shows the limits of SADC as an active promoter vis-à-vis its member states.
  • Topic: Security, Development, Governance
  • Political Geography: Africa
  • Author: Richard Gowan, Nora Gordon
  • Publication Date: 05-2014
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Center on International Cooperation
  • Abstract: In this paper, New York University's Center on International Cooperation (CIC) seeks to explore potential pathways to United Nations Security Council (UNSC) reform. We begin with an overview of the current context, which has been characterized by increasing international pressure for Security Council reform. The Council's abysmal performance in the Syrian crisis has fueled the mounting pressure for reform, which includes the French proposal to limit use of the veto and Saudi Arabia's rejection of a non-permanent seat. We then offer a brief history and analysis of previous reform attempts; an explanation of global perspectives on the issue of UNSC reform; background on the Intergovernmental Negotiations (IGN) on UNSC reform in New York; and an analysis of discussions on reform in and around the African Union.
  • Topic: Security, International Security, Reform
  • Political Geography: Africa, New York, Saudi Arabia
  • Author: Mohamed Salah Tamek
  • Publication Date: 05-2014
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: The Washington Institute for Near East Policy
  • Abstract: Morocco has had a largely successful record of countering violent extremism within its borders, including the dismantling of numerous cells linked to al-Qaeda core or its North African offshoot, al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM). Thousands of suspects have been arrested for perpetrating assassinations, assaults, and robberies; huge caches of heavy weapons have been confiscated; and authorities have foiled many attempts to attack security services, tourist attractions, diplomatic delegations, and places of worship for Christians and Jews. In addition, two channels of recruitment for jihadists in Mali were dismantled in late 2012, and two months ago, Moroccan and Spanish security forces jointly dismantled a transnational cell recruiting fighters for Syria and Mali.
  • Topic: Security, Terrorism, Armed Struggle
  • Political Geography: Africa, Middle East, Syria, Morocco, Northern Mali
  • Author: Freedom C. Onuoha
  • Publication Date: 06-2014
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: United States Institute of Peace
  • Abstract: Since Nigeria's return to democracy in May 1999, armed nonstate groups have significantly undermined the country's internal security environment, largely using young men as foot soldiers. Among these groups, Boko Haram has grown to become a serious national, regional, and international concern. Estimates of the death toll from Boko Haram attacks since 2009 range as high as ten thousand fatalities. With Boko Haram and other groups seemingly gaining in strength, questions arise as to why young men join them in the first place and what the government and other actors can do to prevent it. Surveys, interviews, and focus groups conducted in Nigeria in 2013 suggest that poverty, unemployment, illiteracy, and weak family structures make or contribute to making young men vulnerable to radicalization. Itinerant preachers capitalize on the situation by preaching an extreme version of religious teachings and conveying a narrative of the government as weak and corrupt. Armed groups such as Boko Haram can then recruit and train youth for activities ranging from errand running to suicide bombings. To weaken the armed groups' abilities to radicalize and recruit young men, the Nigerian government at all levels, perhaps with support from interested international actors, could institute monitoring and regulation of religious preaching; strengthen education, job training, and job creation programs; design robust programs to aid destitute children; promote peace education; and embark on an anticorruption campaign. Addressing the conditions that make it possible for insurgents to recruit young men in Nigeria can significantly diminish the strength of the insurgency, if not eliminate it altogether.
  • Topic: Security, Islam, Terrorism, Armed Struggle
  • Political Geography: Africa, Nigeria
  • Author: Nicola Deghaye, Tamlyn McKenzie, Petronella Chirawu
  • Publication Date: 07-2014
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Oxfam Publishing
  • Abstract: Recognising inequality is at the heart of the South African 'development problem', Oxfam commissioned the Health Economics and HIV and AIDS Research Division (HEARD) to produce this report, which is divided into two parts, to enable an understanding of the dimensions of inequality in South Africa and to provide Oxfam with a set of basic measures against which it could measure its success in dealing with inequality.
  • Topic: Security, Gender Issues, Health, Food
  • Political Geography: Africa, South Africa