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  • Author: Stephanie Savell
  • Publication Date: 03-2021
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Watson Institute for International and Public Affairs at Brown University
  • Abstract: United States “security assistance” exports a militarized counterterrorism model to dozens of countries through money, training, and weapons. This model comes with dangerous costs. The narrative, tactics, funding, and institutional supports of the U.S. post-9/11 wars fuel repression and corruption, and escalate cycles of violence. This paper delves into the current conflict in Burkina Faso as an illustrative case study of how the U.S. counterterrorism model has caused more, not less, instability and violence. Despite the relatively low levels of terrorism assessed in Burkina Faso at the time, the United States laid the groundwork for increased militarism in the region when it began providing security assistance to the country in 2009. Today, Burkina Faso is enveloped in a spiraling conflict involving government forces, state-sponsored militias, and militant groups, and civilians are paying the price. Militant groups have strengthened and seized territory, ethnic tensions have skyrocketed, thousands of Burkinabe have been killed and over one million displaced. A Burkina-based human rights group has warned that the government’s ethnic killings may lead to the “next Rwanda.”
  • Topic: Security, Ethnic Conflict, Counter-terrorism, Conflict
  • Political Geography: Africa, United States of America, Burkina Faso
  • Author: International Crisis Group
  • Publication Date: 12-2019
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: International Crisis Group
  • Abstract: Ethiopia’s political opening under Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed has won well-deserved accolades but also uncorked dangerous centrifugal forces, among them ethnic strife. With international partners’ diplomatic and financial support, the government should proceed more cautiously – and consultatively – with reforms that could exacerbate tensions. What’s new? Clashes in October 2019 in Oromia, Ethiopia’s most populous region, left scores of people dead. They mark the latest explosion of ethnic strife that has killed hundreds and displaced millions across the country over the past year and half. Why did it happen? Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed has taken important steps to move the country toward more open politics. But his efforts to dismantle the old order have weakened the Ethiopian state and given new energy to ethno-nationalism. Hostility among the leaders of Ethiopia’s most powerful regions has soared. Why does it matter? Such tensions could derail Ethiopia’s transition. Meanwhile, reforms Abiy is making to the country’s powerful but factious ruling coalition anger opponents, who believe that they aim to undo Ethiopia’s ethnic federalist system, and could push the political temperature still higher. Elections in May 2020 could be divisive and violent. What should be done? Abiy should step up efforts to mend divisions within and among Ethiopia’s regions and push all parties to avoid stoking tensions around the elections. International partners should press Ethiopian leaders to curb incendiary rhetoric and offer increased aid to protect the country from economic shocks that could aggravate political problems.
  • Topic: Conflict Prevention, Diplomacy, Ethnic Conflict, Transition
  • Political Geography: Africa, Ethiopia
  • Author: Robert E. Gribbin
  • Publication Date: 05-2019
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: American Diplomacy
  • Institution: American Diplomacy
  • Abstract: Twenty-five years ago, in April 1994, the havoc of genocide visited Rwanda. In a three-month-long paroxysm of violence, almost a million souls died. The country was devastated, the remaining population cowed, government non-existent, and the economy in shambles. Twenty-five years ago, in April 1994, the havoc of genocide visited Rwanda. In a three-month-long paroxysm of violence, almost a million souls died. The country was devastated, the remaining population cowed, government non-existent, and the economy in shambles.
  • Topic: Security, Diplomacy, Ethnic Conflict, Genocide, Politics, History, Peacekeeping, Refugees, Memory
  • Political Geography: Uganda, Africa, Tanzania, North America, Rwanda, Burundi, Central African Republic, United States of America, Zaire
  • Author: Amanda F. Grzyb
  • Publication Date: 03-2019
  • Content Type: Research Paper
  • Institution: Brown Journal of World Affairs
  • Abstract: In March 2012, the errant roots of a nearby tree broke through one of the mass graves at the top of the Bisesero memorial, a remote site in the western province where Rwandans have laid to rest approximately 50,000 victims of the 1994 genocide. With material support from district leaders, genocide survivors from the Twumba sector labored for weeks to remove approximately 10,000 bodies from the water-damaged tomb. They put the remains in large wooden coffins on the floor beneath thousands of skulls and bones stacked on the shelves of a corrugated metal shed where they had been awaiting incorporation into the unfinished memorial exhibit for more than a decade. Attempts to repair the tomb caused additional structural damage and eventually the remaining bodies also had to be removed, again by local survivors.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution, Conflict Prevention, Ethnic Conflict, Genocide, Sectarian violence, Humanitarian Intervention, Violence
  • Political Geography: Africa, Rwanda
  • Author: Odigwe A. Nwaokocha
  • Publication Date: 06-2019
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Brazilian Journal of African Studies
  • Institution: Brazilian Journal of African Studies
  • Abstract: Civil War war fought between July 6, 1967, and January 12, 1970. The war was a result of the Nigerian federal government’s attempt to militarily force the Eastern Region, which had seceded as Biafra, back to Nigeria. The secession was followed by three waves of targeted killings of the Igbo group, mostly from the East in the Northern Region, in May/June, July/August and September/October 1966. The Igbo group was the primary target of the attacks (First 1970, 311-334). The Igbo-speaking Anioma people were not part of Biafra but the old Midwest Region on the Nigerian side. They are generally considered as Igbo (Talbot 1969; Isichei 1976, 16). They were classified as pro-Biafra by federal forces and encountered some unique challenges in the war. The conflict got to them on August 9 1967, when Biafran forces crossed the Niger Bridge, invaded the Midwest and opened a new phase in the war. The armed conflict in Aniomaland was mean, involving the killing of unarmed civilians in many places. This forms the focus of this work. The work shows that Biafran forces kick-started this terrible episode by invading the Midwest. Historical facts show that their atrocities were lower compared to those of federal forces. There were three waves of civilian killings in Aniomaland during the war. The first involved Biafran killing people of Northern descent and non-Nigerians. The second was the Agbor episode where Ika micro-nationalism, bred by fear of being slaughtered for being Anioma, led some Ika into attacking the Igbo, including the Anioma. The third was the killing of the Anioma people by Nigerian troops in Utagba-Unor, Isheagu, Ogwashi-Uku, Ibusa and Asaba when they overran the area.
  • Topic: Civil War, Ethnic Conflict, History, Violence, Civilians
  • Political Geography: Africa, Nigeria
  • Author: Chukwuemeka Enyiazu, Chikodiri Nwangwu
  • Publication Date: 04-2019
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: African Heritage Institution (AfriHeritage)
  • Abstract: Land use is a fundamental agrarian question which remains central to the economic survival of humanity, especially in Africa. The limited access to land in most African social formations has engendered a fierce competition between non-agricultural user groups and their agricultural counterparts, on the one hand, and among various agricultural user groups, on the other. The two major groups of agricultural land users are nomadic pastoralists and sedentary peasant farmers. As a predominantly agrarian nation, more than half of Nigeria’s workforce is engaged in farming. Nonetheless, the internecine conflict between these two groups of agro-land users, which continues to acquire ethnic, religious and political tinge, has grave implications for human security in the country. Explanation of the conflict between nomadic pastoralists and sedentary farmers has centred on climate change, population growth, and insecurity. However, the transnational character of this conflict has not received adequate scholarly attention. Despite the existence of regional frameworks like the ECOWAS Transhumance Protocol, there is a dearth of knowledge on how these regional efforts could be leveraged by the Nigerian government in order to contain the harmful impacts of transhumant pastoralism in the country. Using the regional security complex theory, this paper argues that networking of relevant security agencies, regional bodies and other stakeholders, including civil society organisations, is the panacea for tackling the tension-soaked relationship between these land users.
  • Topic: Agriculture, Ethnic Conflict, Pastoralism, Armed Conflict , Farming, Nomad
  • Political Geography: Africa, Nigeria
  • Author: Chikodiri Nwangwu
  • Publication Date: 05-2018
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: African Heritage Institution (AfriHeritage)
  • Abstract: Post-war Igbo ethno-nationalism has witnessed two distinct but interconnected generations. Both of them emerged as a response to the ineffective and objectionable implementation of post-war peace-building initiatives as well as the progressive victimisation of the Igbo since the end of the Nigerian Civil War in 1970. While the first generation is championed and dominated by conservative Igbo petty bourgeoisie, the second is revolutionary and commonly associated with populist youth-led lumpen neo-Biafran separatist movements. In line with the philosophy of akona-uche, the former seeks mainstream inclusivism through democratic and non-confrontational approach in its response to the perceived widespread victimisation of the Igbo. On the contrary, the latter is inspired by the principle of nzogbu-nzogbu and seeks radical separatism as the most sustainable solution to the Igbo question in Nigeria. The reinvention of the nzogbu-nzogbu approach to Igbo nationalism in 1999 has attracted substantial public and scholarly attention. However, extant studies are mainly awash with explanations of the recurrent agitation for Biafra. There has not been any systematic investigation of how the fissure between the lumpen and aristocrats (Oha-na-Eze) of Igbo extraction undermines the pursuit of Igbo nationalism. Using the Marxist social class analysis, the study found that the Igbo question will remain a wild goose chase until the contradictions in the material conditions of the Igbo petty bourgeoisie and their masses are conscientiously harmonised.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution, Civil War, Ethnic Conflict, Nationalism, Peacekeeping, Armed Conflict
  • Political Geography: Africa, Nigeria
  • Author: Elias Chukwuemeka Ngwu, Michael E. Nwokedi
  • Publication Date: 04-2018
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: African Heritage Institution (AfriHeritage)
  • Abstract: Nigeria’s eighteen years of civilian rule has been dotted with incessant ethno-nationalist agitations which have often threatened the peace and tranquillity of the Nigerian state and the orderly conduct of public and private businesses. The Nigerian state has in turn often responded to these agitations through an admixture of appeasements and the application of force in what is commonly referred to as the carrot and stick approach. While the state has largely been successful in containing such agitations, and ultimately bringing them within the bounds of order, two of such on-going agitations – the Boko Haram insurgency in the Northeast and the Biafra separatist agitations in the Southeast – appear to have so far defied the military prowess and the strategic ingenuity of the Nigerian state. Both also standout, whereas earlier agitations were merely targeted at redressing certain identified grievances. These lay claim to the very soul of the Nigerian state; that is, the inviolability of Nigeria’s unity and corporate existence. Whereas several explanations have been offered for the persistence of these conflicts, this paper seeks to further evaluate their rising intractability within the wider context of the overall tension between nationhood and state-building. The paper relies on primary and secondary data derived from documents and through interviews. They will be analysed using logical inferences.
  • Topic: Ethnic Conflict, Nationalism, Sectarian violence, Violence, Peace, State Building
  • Political Geography: Africa, Nigeria
  • Publication Date: 09-2015
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: International Crisis Group
  • Abstract: Crisis in the Central African Republic (CAR) is longterm and characterised by sporadic surges of violence against a backdrop of state disintegration, a survival economy and deep inter-ethnic cleavages. Armed groups (including the anti-balaka and the ex-Seleka) are fragmenting and becoming increasingly criminalised; intercommunal tensions have hampered efforts to promote CAR’s national unity and mend its social fabric. Unfortunately, the roadmap to end the crisis, which includes elections before the end of 2015, presents a short-term answer. To avoid pursuing a strategy that would merely postpone addressing critical challenges until after the polls, CAR’s transitional authorities and international partners should address them now by implementing a comprehensive disarmament policy, and reaffirming that Muslims belong within the nation. If this does not happen, the elections risk becoming a zero-sum game.
  • Topic: Political Violence, Arms Control and Proliferation, Democratization, Ethnic Conflict, Political Economy, Fragile/Failed State
  • Political Geography: Africa
  • Publication Date: 12-2014
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: International Crisis Group
  • Abstract: In the midst of the Ebola crisis, Guinea is preparing for the presidential election due in 2015. The exact election date is just one of many points being contested by the government and opposition. The political debate is increasingly held along ethnic lines, rallying the vast majority of the Malinké behind President Alpha Condé's coalition and the Peul behind former Prime Minister Cellou Dalein Diallo's alliance. Violent protests around elections in 2012 and 2013, with highly contested results, brought both sides to the negotiating table, but the July 2014 talks about a future electoral framework quickly failed, marking the parties' deep suspicion and unwillingness to compromise. A highly flawed judiciary adds to the climate of uncertainty and the government is reluctant to listen to calls for a new round of dialogue and international mediation. In its latest briefing, Guinea's Other Emergency: Organising Elections, the International Crisis Group outlines the steps that should be taken to ensure peaceful elections.
  • Topic: Ethnic Conflict, Ethnic Government, Political Power Sharing, Self Determination
  • Political Geography: Africa, Guinea
  • Author: Carlo Koos
  • Publication Date: 03-2014
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: German Institute of Global and Area Studies
  • Abstract: Studies have found that politically deprived groups are more likely to rebel. However, does rebellion increase the likelihood of achieving political rights? This article proposes that rebellion helps ethnic groups to overcome deprivation. I illustrate this by using a "typical" case (the Ijaw's struggle against the Nigerian government) to demonstrate how ethnic rebellion increases the costs for the government to a point where granting political rights becomes preferable to war. Further, I exploit time-series-cross-sectional data on deprived ethnic groups to show that rebellion is significantly associated with overcoming deprivation. The statistical analysis shows that democratic change is an alternative mechanism.
  • Topic: Conflict Prevention, Political Violence, Ethnic Conflict, Poverty, Armed Struggle
  • Political Geography: Africa, Dhaka
  • Author: Charles Taylor, Alfred Stepan
  • Publication Date: 02-2014
  • Content Type: Book
  • Institution: Columbia University Press
  • Abstract: How can people of diverse religious, ethnic, and linguistic allegiances and identities live together without committing violence, inflicting suffering, or oppressing each other? In this volume, contributors explore the limits of toleration and suggest we think beyond them to mutual respect. Salman Rushdie reflects on the once tolerant Sufi-Hindu culture of Kashmir. Ira Katznelson follows with an intellectual history of toleration as a layered institution in the West. Charles Taylor advances a new approach to secularism in our multicultural world, and Akeel Bilgrami responds by offering context and caution to that approach. Nadia Urbinati explores why Cicero's humanist ideal of Concord was not used in response to religious discord. The volume concludes with a refutation of the claim that toleration was invented in the West. Rajeev Bhargava writes on Asoka's India, and Karen Barkey explores toleration within the Ottoman and Habsburg Empires. Sudipta Kaviraj examines accommodations and conflicts in India, and Alfred Stepan highlights contributions to toleration and multiple democratic secularisms in such Muslim-majority countries as Indonesia and Senegal.
  • Topic: Conflict Prevention, Political Violence, Ethnic Conflict, International Cooperation, Sectarianism
  • Political Geography: Africa, South Asia
  • Publication Identifier: 9780231165679
  • Publication Identifier Type: ISBN
  • Author: Diana Felix da Costa
  • Publication Date: 06-2013
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Norwegian Centre for Conflict Resolution
  • Abstract: Despite the Murle group being politically and economically marginalised, local and national political and popular discourses portray this group as the main aggressor in South Sudan's Jonglei State. This widely asserted narrative ignores the fact that responsibility for the cycle of violence in Jonglei rests with all those perpetrating violence and certainly not solely with one group. While sharing an overarching ethnic identity, when it comes to issues of peacebuilding, the Murle can be neither seen nor treated as a consolidated group. Rather, there are cattlekeeping Murle living in the lowlands of Pibor county and agrarian Murle living in the Boma Plateau; there are also age-sets, clans and many other differentiating factors. Accusing all Murle of responsibility for violence only serves to magnify the sense of marginalisation and isolation felt by the Murle as a whole. This policy brief seeks to address some of the differences between the cattlekeeping lowlands Murle and the cultivating highlands Murle from the Boma Plateau. By doing so, it highlights the importance of understanding cultural specificities and the local political economy and, when it comes to peacebuilding, of differentiating who is responsible for a specific conflict and who has influence over those responsible.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution, Political Violence, Economics, Ethnic Conflict, Peacekeeping
  • Political Geography: Africa, Sudan
  • Author: Fouad Farhaoui
  • Publication Date: 11-2013
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: International Strategic Research Organization (USAK)
  • Abstract: Though the French intervention against extremists in northern Mali thrust the crisis in Mali onto the international stage, the conflict itself is the result of long-stewing factors left over from the French colonial period.
  • Topic: Economics, Education, Ethnic Conflict, Migration, Post Colonialism
  • Political Geography: Africa
  • Author: Anouar Boukhars
  • Publication Date: 03-2012
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Carnegie Endowment for International Peace
  • Abstract: The Western Sahara, a former Spanish territory annexed by Morocco despite Algerian objections, is a critical region that could quickly become part of the criminal and terrorist networks threatening North Africa and the Sahel. The undergoverned areas abutting the territory are becoming major hubs for drug trafficking, contraband smuggling, and weapons circulation. And Al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM) is extending its reach in the region. The potential for destabilization is real.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution, Ethnic Conflict, Islam, Terrorism, Self Determination
  • Political Geography: Africa, United States
  • Publication Date: 07-2012
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: International Crisis Group
  • Abstract: Although it should provide development opportunities, renewed oil interest in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) represents a real threat to stability in a still vulnerable post-conflict country. Exploration has begun, but oil prospecting is nurturing old resentments among local communities and contributing to border tensions with neighbouring countries. If oil reserves are confirmed in the east, this would exacerbate deep-rooted conflict dynamics in the Kivus. An upsurge in fighting since the start of 2012, including the emergence of a new rebellion in North Kivu and the resumption of armed groups' territorial expansion, has further complicated stability in the east, which is the new focus for oil exploration. New oil reserves could also create new centres of power and question Katanga's (DRC's traditional economic hub) political influence. Preventive action is needed to turn a real threat to stability into a genuine development opportunity.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution, Political Violence, Development, Ethnic Conflict, Oil
  • Political Geography: Africa, Democratic Republic of the Congo
  • Publication Date: 08-2012
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: International Crisis Group
  • Abstract: The death of Prime Minister Meles Zenawi, who had not been seen in public for several months, was announced on 20 August 2012 by Ethiopian state television. The passing of the man who has been Ethiopia's epicentre for 21 years will have profound national and regional consequences. Meles engineered one-party rule in effect for the Tigray People's Liberation Front (TPLF) and his Tigrayan inner circle, with the complicity of other ethnic elites that were co-opted into the ruling alliance, the Ethiopian People's Revolutionary Democratic Front (EPRDF). The Front promised freedom, democracy and ethnic devolution but is highly centralised, tightly controls the economy and suppresses political, social, ethnic and religious liberties. In recent years, Meles had relied ever more on repression to quell growing dissent. His successor will lead a weaker regime that struggles to manage increasing unrest unless it truly implements ethnic federalism and institutes fundamental governance reform. The international community should seek to influence the transition actively because it has a major interest in the country's stability.
  • Topic: Democratization, Ethnic Conflict, Politics, Social Stratification
  • Political Geography: Africa, Ethiopia
  • Publication Date: 10-2012
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: International Crisis Group
  • Abstract: Depuis la mutinerie de Bosco Ntaganda en avril 2012 et la formation du Mouvement du 23 mars (M23), les Kivus sont en proie à une nouvelle spirale de violence. Cette crise révèle que les problèmes d'aujourd'hui sont les problèmes d'hier car le cadre de résolution du conflit défini en 2008 n'a pas été mis en oeuvre. L'application de l'accord du 23 mars 2009 entre le gouvernement et le Conseil national pour la défense du peuple (CNDP) a été un jeu de dupes au cours duquel les autorités congolaises ont fait semblant d'intégrer politiquement le CNDP tandis que celui-ci a fait semblant d'intégrer l'armée congolaise. Faute de réforme de cette dernière, la pression militaire sur les groupes armés n'a eu qu'un impact éphémère et la reconstruction post-conflit n'a pas été accompagnée des réformes de gouvernance et du dialogue politique indispensables. Pour sortir de la gestion de crise et résoudre ce conflit qui dure depuis presque deux décennies dans les Kivus, les bailleurs doivent exercer des pressions sur Kigali et Kinshasa.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution, Security, Ethnic Conflict, Human Rights, Human Welfare, Humanitarian Aid, Fragile/Failed State
  • Political Geography: Africa
  • Publication Date: 12-2012
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: International Crisis Group
  • Abstract: Since 2001, violence has erupted in Jos city, capital of Plateau state, in Nigeria's Middle Belt region. The ostensible dispute is over the “rights” of the indigene Berom/ Anaguta/Afizere (BAA) group and the rival claims of the Hausa-Fulani settlers to land, power and resources. Indigene- settler conflicts are not new to Nigeria, but the country is currently experiencing widespread intercommunal strife, which particularly affects the Middle Belt. The Jos crisis is the result of failure to amend the constitution to privilege broad-based citizenship over exclusive indigene status and ensure that residency rather than indigeneity determines citizens' rights. Constitutional change is an important step to defuse indigene-settler rivalries that continue to undermine security. It must be accompanied by immediate steps to identify and prosecute perpetrators of violence, in Jos and other parts of the country. Elites at local, state and federal level must also consistently implement policies aimed at reducing the dangerous link between ethnic belonging and access to resources, power and security if intercommunal violence is to end.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution, Political Violence, Democratization, Ethnic Conflict, Natural Resources, Territorial Disputes
  • Political Geography: Africa, Nigeria
  • Publication Date: 12-2012
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: International Crisis Group
  • Abstract: Les Forces démocratiques alliées-Armée nationale de libération de l'Ouganda (ADF-N alu) sont un des groupes armés les plus anciens et les moins connus de l'Est de la République démocratique du Congo (RDC) et le seul de cette région à être considér é comme une organisation terroriste appartenant à la nébuleuse islamiste d'Afrique de l'Est. S'ils ne constituent pas une menace déstabilisatrice comme le Mouvement du 23 mars (M23), ils tiennent cependant tête à l'armée congolaise depuis 2010. Créé en RDC en 1995 et situé aux confins montagneux de la RDC et de l'Ouganda, ce groupe armé congolo-ougandais fait preuve d'une extraordinaire résilience qui tient à sa position géostratégique, son inse rtion dans l'économie transfrontalière et la corruption de s forces de sécurité. Par con- séquent, avant d'envisager toute nouvelle intervention militaire contre les ADF-Nalu, il convient de faire la part du mythe et de la réalité et de réduire sa base socioéconomique tout en proposant une offre de démobilisation et de réinsertion à ses combattants.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution, Political Violence, Ethnic Conflict, Armed Struggle
  • Political Geography: Africa
  • Author: Alexander De Juan
  • Publication Date: 05-2012
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: German Institute of Global and Area Studies
  • Abstract: Institutions can contribute to regulating interethnic conflict; however, in many cases they fail to bring about lasting peace. The paper argues that their negligence of intraethnic factors accounts for some of this failure. Ethnic groups are often treated as unitary actors even though most consist of various linguistic, tribal or religious subgroups. This internal heterogeneity is often obscured by overarching collective ethnic identities that are fostered by interethnic conflict. However, when such interethnic conflict is settled, these subgroup differences may come back to the fore. This “resurgence” can lead to subgroup conflict about the political and economic resources provided through intergroup institutional settlements. Such conflict can in turn undermine the peace-making effect of intergroup arrangements. Different subgroup identity constellations make such destructive effects more or less likely. The paper focuses on self-government provisions in the aftermath of violent interethnic conflict and argues that lasting intergroup arrangements are especially challenging when they involve “contested” ethnic groups.
  • Topic: Conflict Prevention, Political Violence, Ethnic Conflict, Religion, Governance, Sectarian violence
  • Political Geography: Africa, Iraq
  • Author: Jon Temin, Lawerence Woocher
  • Publication Date: 03-2012
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: United States Institute of Peace
  • Abstract: Numerous predictions asserted that the referendum on the secession of southern Sudan would lead to renewed civil war. Despite ongoing violence in many parts of Sudan and South Sudan, the referendum process was largely peaceful. This unanticipated result may prove a relatively rare instance of documented success in conflict prevention. Warnings of impending violence came from many sources. They were timely but tended to be vague. Whether they were overly dire because of faulty assumptions about the conflict dynamics deserves scrutiny. Two prominent narratives explain why the referendum process was peaceful: one that emphasizes domestic factors and another that focuses on international intervention by Africans and westerners. It is highly likely that both contain important explanations for the peaceful referendum. People in Sudan and South Sudan tend to emphasize the domestic narrative; members of the international community tend to focus on international engagement. Several lessons for global conflict prevention can be drawn from the Sudan referendum experience: Preventing conflict in what seems like dire circumstances is possible. Coordinated outside actions should support local conflict-mitigating dynamics. Technical actions, such as election or referendum logistics, can have a significant positive impact on political processes. International actors need to be receptive to taking preventive action. Focusing on successes, as well as failures, is critical.
  • Topic: Conflict Prevention, Ethnic Conflict, Territorial Disputes, Self Determination
  • Political Geography: Africa, Sudan, South Sudan
  • Author: Aaron Sayne
  • Publication Date: 07-2012
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: United States Institute of Peace
  • Abstract: Many of Nigeria's worst conflicts pit the recognized original inhabitants, or indigenes, of a particular place against supposedly later settlers. These conflicts may be growing deadlier and more numerous with time. State and local governments have free rein to pick who is an indigene. Abuse of the label can foster deep socioeconomic inequalities, given that indigenes enjoy preferential access to land, schools, development spending, and public jobs. These inequalities feed into violence, although righting inequality may not be sufficient to end violence in every case. The indigene-settler distinction is also explosive because it reinforces and is reinforced by other identity-based divides in Nigeria. These differences in ethnicity, language, religion, and culture can be longstanding and deeply felt, but how they factor into violence is again not well understood. Poor law enforcement responses also help entrench violence between indigenes and settlers. Official complicity and indifference make prosecutions rare. Destructive conduct by the Nigerian security forces itself often becomes a structural cause of violence. Serious thought about how to prevent or resolve indigene-settler violence has barely started in Nigeria. Addressing inequality between indigenes and settlers calls for serious, microlevel analysis of local economic dysfunctions and opportunities, along with real official commitment to make and enforce better policies. More holistic understandings of justice are also needed. The worst hot spots will need a wide menu of well-planned interventions. Options include securitization, criminal prosecution, mediation and dialogue, truth commissions, victim compensation programs, public health and trauma assistance, public institutional reforms, education, and communications work. In some cases, building sustainable peace could take a generation or more.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution, Political Violence, Crime, Ethnic Conflict, Peace Studies
  • Political Geography: Africa, Nigeria
  • Author: Rigobert Minani Bihuzo
  • Publication Date: 07-2012
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Africa Center for Strategic Studies
  • Abstract: Landmark peace agreements signed in 2002 by 11 African governments and various nonstate armed groups were meant to end 7 years of war that had ravaged Africa's Great Lakes region. A decade later, instability, tightly intertwined with regional geopolitics, persists. Recurring conflict has killed tens of thousands, mostly civilians, and displaced millions of others. The extended instability has also led to a collapse of basic social services and economic activity in parts of the DRC, resulting in manifold more deaths due to malnutrition, lack of access to basic healthcare, and scarce livelihood opportunities.Amid this breakdown, barbaric forms of violence have emerged. During one 4-day period in the summer of 2011, nearly 400 women, men, and children were raped by militia fighters. Since 1996, there have reportedly been more than 200,000 rapes, which are mostly attributed to armed militias.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution, Ethnic Conflict, Peace Studies, Political Economy, Treaties and Agreements, Governance
  • Political Geography: Africa
  • Author: Jon Temin, Theodore Murphy
  • Publication Date: 06-2011
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: United States Institute of Peace
  • Abstract: Approaches to Sudan's challenges—by both Sudanese and the international community— have been fragmented and regionally focused rather than national in scope. They overlook fundamental governance challenges at the roots of Sudan's decades of instability and the center of the country's economic and political dominance of the periphery, which marginalizes a majority of the population. Such fragmentation diffuses efforts into fighting various eruptions of violence throughout the periphery and confounds efforts to address governance and identity issues. Ongoing processes in the future Republic of Sudan, sometimes referred to as north Sudan, continue this trend. While Darfur negotiations and popular consultations in Blue Nile and Southern Kordofan states should continue, they should eventually be subsumed into a national process aimed at addressing the root causes of Sudan's governance failures. The process should feed into, and then be reified by, development of a new national constitution. Even now the goal of these regional processes should be re-envisaged as steps toward a national process. Sudanese negotiations largely occur between elites. Negotiators often cannot claim genuine representativeness, resulting in lack of broad buy-in and minimal consultation with the wider population. The ongoing Darfur negotiations are a case in point. To avoid prolonging the trend, a more national process should be broad-based and consultative. It should feature an inclusive dialogue, involving representatives from throughout the periphery, about the nature of the Sudanese state and how to manage Sudan's considerable diversity. Southern secession in July 2011 presents an opportunity for Sudanese to take a more comprehensive, holistic approach to their governance problems. Significant adjustments are warranted by the end of the Comprehensive Peace Agreement, such as the development of a new constitution. The opportunity to initiate fundamental governance reform may be ripe because the ruling National Congress Party is under intense political and economic pressure. The Arab Spring revolts, the economic shock of lost oil revenue, and the proof of governance failure that southern secession represents have inspired, among some NCP leaders, a belief in the necessity of preemptive change. Any reform of northern governance should be led by Sudanese. Perceptions that external actors are forcing change can be counterproductive. The international community can support a reform process but should tread carefully. International efforts should focus on promoting an enabling environment in which nascent Sudanese-led efforts can take root and grow. Support to constructive voices and aid to inchoate political initiatives should be available when requested. Supporting a national process poses a challenge for the international community as its capacity, pressure, and incentives are already distributed across the various regional political processes. Pressures and incentives are tied to specific benchmarks defined by those processes, making it difficult to reorient them toward the new criteria dictated by a national process.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution, Political Violence, Civil War, Ethnic Conflict
  • Political Geography: Africa, Sudan
  • Author: Jok Madut Jok
  • Publication Date: 09-2011
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: United States Institute of Peace
  • Abstract: The government of South Sudan and its development partners appear to be heavily focused on state building and less so on nation building: the question of how to turn the young state into a nation in which all South Sudanese can see themselves represented.
  • Topic: Civil Society, Development, Ethnic Conflict, Fragile/Failed State, Governance
  • Political Geography: Africa
  • Publication Date: 09-2011
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Oxfam Publishing
  • Abstract: Amidst jubilant celebration in July 2011, the new Republic of South Sudan entered the international stage albeit as one of the least developed countries in the world. One in eight children die before their fifth birthday, the maternal mortality rate is one of the highest in the world and more than half the population lives below the poverty line. Against a backdrop of chronic under-development, the country is acutely vulnerable to recurring conflict and climatic shocks. More than 220,000 people were displaced last year due to conflict and more than 100,000 were affected by floods; and already this year, fighting in the disputed border areas, clashes between the Sudan People‟s Liberation Army (SPLA) and militia groups, disputes over land and cattle, and attacks by the Lord‟s Resistance Army, have forced nearly 300,000 people from their homes. The situation is exacerbated by a continuing influx of returnees, restricted movement across the northern border, high fuel prices and regional shortages in food stocks. South Sudan is a context that challenges normal development paradigms and fits awkwardly in the humanitarian relief–recovery–post-conflict development continuum. This complexity has not always been reflected in the strategies of either donors or implementing agencies.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution, Civil War, Ethnic Conflict, Territorial Disputes
  • Political Geography: Africa, South Sudan
  • Publication Date: 07-2011
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Human Rights First
  • Abstract: Mass atrocities are organized crimes. Those who commit genocide and crimes against humanity depend on third parties for the goods and services—money, matériel, political support, and a host of other resources—that sustain large-scale violence against civilians. Third parties have supplied military aircraft used by the Sudan Armed Forces against civilians, refined gold and other minerals coming out of eastern Democratic Republic of the Congo, and ensured a steady flow of arms into Rwanda. Governments seeking to prevent atrocities cannot afford a narrow and uncoordinated focus on the perpetrators of such violence. Rather, an effective strategy must include identifying and pressuring third-party enablers— individuals, commercial entities, and countries—in order to interrupt the supply chains that fuel mass violence against civilians.
  • Topic: Political Violence, Crime, Ethnic Conflict, Genocide, Human Rights, Human Welfare
  • Political Geography: Africa, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Rwanda
  • Author: Øystein Rolandsen, Jacob Høigilt, Åshild Falch
  • Publication Date: 01-2011
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Norwegian Centre for Conflict Resolution
  • Abstract: As a former coloniser and the Sudan's Nile-valley neighbour to the north, Egypt will inevitably be affected by the Sudan's political transition. As Egypt's regional influence appears to wane, the Sudan's increasing economic strength and the likely secession of Southern Sudan exemplify Egypt's overall difficulties in regard to the regional politics of the Horn of Africa and Nile Basin. Egyptian policy-makers and diplomats struggle with fundamental contradictions in Egypt's current regional status, competing priorities, and the need to stay on good terms with all political parties in the Sudan. To be able to balance domestic needs, relations with its immediate neighbours, and its role as a regional power Egypt must reshape its foreign policy; Egypt's national interests in the Sudan preclude neutrality in the processes ahead. It can however play a key role in a joint regional and international effort to secure the peaceful secession for Southern Sudan.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution, Foreign Policy, Civil War, Democratization, Diplomacy, Ethnic Conflict, Islam
  • Political Geography: Uganda, Africa, Sudan, Egypt
  • Author: Helmoed Heitman
  • Publication Date: 06-2011
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Africa Center for Strategic Studies
  • Abstract: There is much happening in Africa that is positive— economically, socially, and politically. But a large share of the continent remains fragile, putting those gains at risk. The most pressing challenges facing many African states are paramilitary threats— threats that are beyond the ability of most police forces and frequently transcend national borders. Organized crime, rural banditry, piracy, local warlords, guerrillas, ethnic and religious violence, and extremist Islamist groups are just a few of an array of such threats.
  • Topic: Security, Political Violence, Crime, Ethnic Conflict, Poverty, Insurgency, Piracy
  • Political Geography: Africa
  • Author: Chris Kwaja
  • Publication Date: 07-2011
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Africa Center for Strategic Studies
  • Abstract: Communal clashes across ethnic and religious faultlines in and around the city of Jos in central Nigeria have claimed thousands of lives, displaced hundreds of thousands of others, and fostered a climate of instability throughout the surrounding region.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution, Ethnic Conflict, Religion
  • Political Geography: Africa, Nigeria
  • Publication Date: 11-2011
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Global Centre for the Responsibility to Protect
  • Abstract: This brief seeks to clarify how the Responsibility to Protect (R2P) applies to the threat posed by the Lord's Resistance Army (LRA) and examines the measures that should be taken by regional governments, the African Union (AU), donor governments and the UN Security Council in order to protect populations under threat.
  • Topic: Political Violence, Ethnic Conflict, Human Rights, Armed Struggle, Insurgency
  • Political Geography: Africa, United Nations
  • Author: Gregory Mthembu-Salter, Elana Berger, Naomi Kikoler
  • Publication Date: 09-2011
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: The Global Centre for the Responsibility to Protect
  • Abstract: Over the course of the past forty years, waves of interethnic conflict in Burundi have killed hundreds of thousands of people and displaced over a million more. In 1993 the assassination of Melchior Ndadaye, the country's first Hutu president, by paratroopers from Burundi's Tutsi dominated armed forces, set off another round of violence with Hutu militias attacking Tutsi civilians and the armed forces retaliating by attacking Hutu communities. The situation ultimately devolved into a civil war that lasted for more than ten years.
  • Topic: Ethnic Conflict, Genocide, Human Rights, Peacekeeping
  • Political Geography: Africa, Burundi