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  • Author: Richard Reid
  • Publication Date: 01-2021
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: Georgetown Journal of International Affairs
  • Abstract: This article seeks to place the recent conflict in Ethiopia in deeper historical context. It traces the roots of Tigray province’s identity through various phases in Ethiopia’s history, and argues that the Tigray People’s Liberation Front (TPLF) is the culmination of decades, even centuries, of a struggle for status within the Ethiopian nation-state. The article proposes that Ethiopia’s history, inseparable from that of neighboring Eritrea, is characterized by cyclical shifts in access to power, as well as conflicts over inclusivity and cohesion, and that crushing the TPLF militarily will not resolve those conflicts.
  • Topic: Security, History, Conflict
  • Political Geography: Africa, Ethiopia, Tigray
  • Author: Roman Krtsch
  • Publication Date: 01-2021
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: Institute for Development and Peace
  • Abstract: The immediate aftermath of civil wars is a period prone to heightened contention: Political decisions about the distribution of aid or power, for example, can deepen social fault lines and in some instances even result in violent unrest. Yet despite its relevance, our knowledge on the drivers for individual participation in post-conflict contentious activism remains limited. Previous research has found particularly wartime experiences to affect political and social behaviour of individuals in the post-conflict period. Based on these findings, I argue that exposure to civil war violence increases the likelihood for individuals to participate in post-war protests. Moreover, I conjecture that this effect can be explained with the reinforcement of group-based grievances. Using survey data from the Afrobarometer collected shortly after the end of the Ugandan civil war in 2008, I find support for the argument: Results from linear probability models show a consistent and robust relationship between county-level war violence and the likelihood to participate in protests. An additional analysis with a novel measure of group-level exposure and a causal mediation analysis furthermore corroborate the assumed mechanism.
  • Topic: Conflict, Protests, Violence, Post-Conflict
  • Political Geography: Uganda, Africa
  • Author: Alan Boswell
  • Publication Date: 04-2021
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: United States Institute of Peace
  • Abstract: South Sudan’s civil war expanded into Equatoria, the country’s southernmost region, in 2016, forcing hundreds of thousands to flee into neighboring Uganda in what has been called Africa’s largest refugee exodus since the 1994 Rwandan genocide. Equatoria is now the last major hot spot in the civil war. If lasting peace is to come to South Sudan, writes Alan Boswell, it will require a peace effort that more fully reckons with the long-held grievances of Equatorians.
  • Topic: Conflict Prevention, Civil War, Conflict, Crisis Management, Peace
  • Political Geography: Africa, Sudan, South Sudan
  • Author: Obert Hodzi
  • Publication Date: 01-2020
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: Georgetown Journal of International Affairs
  • Abstract: With a few exceptions, armed civil wars are no longer commonplace in Africa, but anti-government protests are. Instead of armed rebels, unarmed civilians are challenging regimes across Africa to reconsider their governance practices and deliver both political and economic change. In their responses, regimes in countries like Zimbabwe, Cameroon, Rwanda, and Burundi have favored the combat mode—responding to dissent with military and repressive means. With few options, civilian movements look to the United States for protection and support while their governments look to China for reinforcement. If the United States seeks to reassert its influence in Africa and strengthen its democratic influence, its strategy needs to go beyond counterterrorism and respond to Africa’s pressing needs while supporting the African people in their quest for democracy and human rights.
  • Topic: Security, Conflict, State Violence, Civilians
  • Political Geography: Africa, China, Asia, North America, United States of America
  • Author: Rahma Dualeh
  • Publication Date: 08-2020
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: Georgetown Journal of International Affairs
  • Abstract: Five years have passed since the UN global mandate on preventing violent extremism (PVE) was launched and rapidly adopted by the Horn of Africa (HoA) countries. Since then, mostly small and medium international organizations funded by foreign, largely Western, donors have pioneered work in this space. Notably, the African Union (AU) Peace & Security Council has tried to lead the region’s path to PVE – it has championed the inclusion of youth and called for gender mainstreaming in programming. The AU has also attempted to connect East and West Africa’s lessons learned in combatting violent extremism. Yet, challenges remain with regard to implementing both regional and international PVE-related commitments.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution, Security, War, Violent Extremism, Conflict
  • Political Geography: Africa, Horn of Africa
  • Author: International Crisis Group
  • Publication Date: 01-2020
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: International Crisis Group
  • Abstract: Trafficking – a catch-all term for illicit movement of goods and people – has long sustained livelihoods in northern Niger. But conflicts are emerging due to heightened competition and European pressure to curb migration. Authorities should persevere in managing the extralegal exchange to contain violence. What’s new? Niger’s informal systems for managing violence related to drug, gold and people trafficking in the country’s north are under strain – due in part to European pressure to curb migration and in part to increased competition over drug transport routes. The discovery of gold could bring new challenges. Why does it matter? Tacit understandings between the authorities and traffickers pose dangers, namely the state’s criminalisation as illicit trade and politics become more intertwined. But the collapse of those understandings would be still more perilous: if trafficking disputes descend into strife, they could destabilise Niger as they have neighbouring Mali. What should be done? Niger should reinforce its conflict management systems. Action against traffickers should focus on those who are heavily armed or engage in violence. Niamey and external actors should reinvigorate the north’s formal economy. European leaders should ensure that their policies avoid upsetting practices that have allowed Niger to escape major bloodshed.
  • Topic: Economy, Trafficking , Conflict, Violence
  • Political Geography: Africa, Europe, Niger
  • Author: International Crisis Group
  • Publication Date: 01-2020
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: International Crisis Group
  • Abstract: The African Union is best positioned to send peacekeepers to the continent’s various war zones. But it often lacks the funds available to the UN’s blue helmets. A compromise over co-financing peacekeeping missions would serve the conflict prevention goals of both institutions. What’s new? Attempts to reach agreement upon a UN Security Council resolution on using UN assessed contributions to co-finance African Union (AU) peace support operations have ended acrimoniously, damaging relations between the Council and the AU Peace and Security Council. Discussions are now on hold, offering the parties an opportunity to clarify positions. Why does it matter? Access to UN financing offers the hope of predictable and sustainable funding for vital AU peace operations, whose offensive mandates are often better suited to current conflict dynamics in Africa. An AU summit in February 2020 could determine if and how the proposal is pursued. What should be done? The UN and AU should pursue a compromise. It could involve agreeing to treat AU troop contributions as in-kind payment, creating a joint mechanism for monitoring human rights compliance, and stipulating that a commander reporting to both institutions will lead co-financed missions.
  • Topic: Conflict Prevention, United Nations, Peacekeeping, Conflict, African Union
  • Political Geography: Africa
  • Author: Peter Albrecht, Podder Sukanya
  • Publication Date: 05-2020
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: Danish Institute for International Studies
  • Abstract: UN peacekeeping missions are deployed in increasingly violent contexts, such as Mali and South Sudan. It leaves such missions suspended somewhere between traditional peacekeeping and peace enforcement. Concurrently with this transformation, protection of civilians has become increasingly important. How do countries like Ghana and India, two of the main contributors of troops to UN missions, define, approach, and experience the task of protecting civilians? What do they consider its key components to be? And what do they think is required to protect well? This new DIIS report concludes that the individual combat experience of troop-contributing countries is a defining feature of how protection of civilians is approached in peacekeeping missions. The report suggests that it is important to understand how difference plays out across missions, and how countries that contribute troops to missions understand and respond to their roles in these missions. This understanding is required in discussions about how effective and coherent we might expect peacekeeping to be as a form of intervention. This report is based on fieldwork in India and Ghana. Data on the Ghana case has been partially collected through the project Domestic Security Implications of Peacekeeping in Ghana (D-SIP), funded by the Danish Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
  • Topic: Security, Defense Policy, Democratization, Non State Actors, Fragile States, Conflict, Violence, Peace, Police, Justice
  • Political Geography: Africa, South Asia, India, Ghana
  • Author: Fiona Mangan, Igor Acko, Manal Taha
  • Publication Date: 02-2020
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: United States Institute of Peace
  • Abstract: Coffee production is a fairly small part of the Central African Republic's economy, but it plays an outsize role in the country's ongoing conflict. Armed militia groups that hold sway over the country's main coffee growing regions and trade routes reap millions of dollars in funding to sustain their operations. This report discusses how understanding the political economy of conflict in the Central African Republic can help national and international stakeholders break the cycle of violence.
  • Topic: Agriculture, Natural Resources, Economy, Conflict, Violence
  • Political Geography: Africa, Central African Republic
  • Author: Laura Barber
  • Publication Date: 05-2020
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: United States Institute of Peace
  • Abstract: Sudan's decades-long economic relationship with China has almost always been dominated by oil. Yet this relationship has changed significantly in the past decade—first with the loss of oil reserves when South Sudan became an independent nation in 2011, and more recently due to the ouster of longtime ally President Omar al-Bashir. This report, based on interviews with policy officials, diplomats, industry and security experts, and others, examines China’s evolving commercial and political interests in this vital nation in the Horn of Africa.
  • Topic: Conflict Prevention, International Relations, Geopolitics, Conflict, Transition
  • Political Geography: Africa, China, Sudan, Asia
  • Author: Paul M. Carter Jr.
  • Publication Date: 07-2020
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: United States Institute of Peace
  • Abstract: Under Vladimir Putin, Russia’s global ambitions have steadily increased, including in unstable areas of the Middle East, Africa, and the Western Hemisphere. For the most part, Moscow’s activities in these and other areas run counter to Western interests and undermine efforts to mitigate conflict through broad-based, transparent processes. This report outlines the factors that appear to be motivating the Kremlin’s conflict-zone interventions and places them within the larger context of Russian foreign policy interests.
  • Topic: Conflict Prevention, Foreign Policy, Conflict
  • Political Geography: Africa, Russia, Eurasia, Middle East, Syria
  • Author: Anwar A. Bashir
  • Publication Date: 03-2020
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: Al Jazeera Center for Studies
  • Abstract: Since Abiy become the new prime minister of Ethiopia, Ethiopian politics has taken a new turn. He has released political prisoners, promoted media freedom and increased inclusion of women into the political arena. He has also invited the opposition to the discussion table, and reduced tension in the 18-year feud between Ethiopia and Eritrea. As a result, some politically-oriented Ethiopians believe Abiy has taken exquisite and peerless actions. There are also several reprehensible issues, which have started under his tenure. Communal violence has peaked whilst agreements with opposition groups was met with skepticism. Moreover, the number of internally displaced people (IDPs) in Ethiopia has reached a zenith due to the ethnic violence, for which human rights organizations have heavily criticized Ethiopia’s leadership. Several political analysts note that Abiy’s transformations are only a veneer, because his agreement with oppositions groups are yet to be implemented, especially with the Oromo Liberation Front (OLF), the oldest opposition in the country. This skepticism from the opposition has resulted in a new coalition party aimed at undermining the incumbent government in the upcoming Ethiopian 2020 election. Ogaden Liberation Front (ONLF), the second oldest opposition has complained of mistreatment by the leadership of the Somali region. Outspoken opposition politician Lidetu Ayalew of the Ethiopian Democratic Party has asserted, “Ethiopia as a nation is not ready to hold general parliamentary elections.” On the other hand, Abiy disbanded the longest ruling party in the country, the EPRDF, an action that has resulted in a widening dichotomy within his inner-circle. Jawar, an Oromo media tycoon, has tremendous support from the youth, especially since the Oromo region has boycotted Abiy’s policies. With all these various issues and considerations, there is much anticipation as to how the upcoming elections will unfold.
  • Topic: Government, Elections, Conflict, Borders
  • Political Geography: Africa, Ethiopia, Somalia, Eritrea
  • Author: Mohammed Cherkaoui
  • Publication Date: 05-2020
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: Al Jazeera Center for Studies
  • Abstract: There has been fluctuation and reconstruction of political legitimacy. Since the summer of 2014, two battles over legitimacy have spoiled Libyan politics and weakened the UN mediation with two rounds of international recognition of one new political institution or another.
  • Topic: Politics, United Nations, Conflict, Legitimacy
  • Political Geography: Africa, Libya, North Africa
  • Author: Mohammed Cherkaoui
  • Publication Date: 05-2020
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: Al Jazeera Center for Studies
  • Abstract: Foreign manipulation defies the wisdom of envisioning a political settlement of the Libyan conflict. All international diplomatic gestures need to be aligned via the UN platform, with a well-defined trajectory, rather than any zero-game equation or realist calculation.
  • Topic: Diplomacy, Politics, United Nations, Conflict, Legitimacy
  • Political Geography: Africa, Libya, North Africa