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  • Author: Paul D. Williams
  • Publication Date: 05-2015
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Council on Foreign Relations
  • Abstract: The number of UN peacekeepers is at a record high, with nearly 110,000 uniformed deployed "blue helmets" worldwide, most of them in Africa. But the status quo is "untenable," warns Paul D. Williams, author and associate professor of international affairs at George Washington University, in a new Council Special Report, Enhancing U.S. Support for Peace Operations in Africa. Unrealistic mandates, unsustainable supplies of personnel, hostile host governments, and mission creep have undermined peace operations, Williams writes. "Given the growing interest in fostering a stable and prosperous Africa, the United States should wield its political influence to address these challenges."
  • Topic: Foreign Policy, Humanitarian Aid, War, Fragile/Failed State, Peacekeeping
  • Political Geography: Africa
  • Author: Bronwyn E. Bruton
  • Publication Date: 03-2010
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Council on Foreign Relations
  • Abstract: Somalia has been a failed state for the better part of two decades; bereft of central government, cantonized into clan fiefdoms, and wracked by deadly spasms of violence. Repeated efforts to create a viable national government have failed.1 For the United States, the principal concern, especially since 9/11, has been the fear that Somalia might become a safe haven for al-Qaeda to launch attacks in the region and even conceivably against the U.S. homeland. U.S. efforts to prevent that from happening, however, have been counterproductive, alienating large parts of the Somali population and polarizing Somalia's diverse Muslim community into “moderate” and “extremist” camps. Several indigenous militant Islamist groups have emerged and grown stronger in recent years. One coalition, headed by a radical youth militia known as the Shabaab, now controls most of southern Somalia and threatens the survival of the Transitional Federal Government (TFG)—the latest UN-brokered effort to establish a functioning authority in the capital city of Mogadishu.
  • Topic: Humanitarian Aid, Fragile/Failed State, Governance
  • Political Geography: Africa
  • Author: Katherine J. Almquist
  • Publication Date: 03-2010
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Council on Foreign Relations
  • Abstract: Sudan faces the prospect of renewed violence between north and south over the next twelve to eighteen months. Under the terms of the 2005 Comprehensive Peace Agreement (CPA) that ended Sudan's bloody civil war, which claimed two million lives and displaced four million more, a referendum in southern Sudan must be held by January 2011 to determine whether it remains united with the north or secedes from it. Given that popular sentiment in the south overwhelmingly favors secession, two basic scenarios are conceivable: the south secedes peacefully through a credible referendum process, or the CPA collapses and the south fights for independence. There is no scenario in which the south remains peacefully united with the north beyond 2011. Further complicating prospects for averting renewed violence are the ongoing conflict in Darfur and potential conflicts in other marginalized areas of the north. The violent secession of the south would hinder efforts to resolve these conflicts, as well as increase the prospect for greater internecine fighting among historic rivals in the south. The resulting significant loss of life and widespread political unrest would threaten regional stability and challenge U.S. interests in Africa.
  • Topic: Ethnic Conflict, Islam, Armed Struggle, Counterinsurgency
  • Political Geography: Africa, United States, Sudan
  • Author: John Campbell
  • Publication Date: 09-2010
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Council on Foreign Relations
  • Abstract: Nigeria is a country of overlapping regional, religious, and ethnic divisions. Rifts between the North and the South of the country, ethnic groups, and Islam and Christianity often coincide and have sometimes resulted in sectarian violence. This has been the case particularly in its geographical center and in the Niger Delta region. In the Middle Belt, as the former is called, bouts of retributive bloodshed between Christian farmers and Muslim pastoralists erupt with some frequency. In the Niger Delta, an insurrection against the Abuja government has been raging for more than a decade over regional, ethnic, and environmental grievances. In all, credible observers ascribe over twelve thousand deaths since 1999 to ethnic, religious, and regional conflict in Nigeria.
  • Topic: Political Violence, Democratization, Ethnic Conflict, Sectarian violence
  • Political Geography: Africa, Nigeria
  • Author: Judith Burdin Asuni
  • Publication Date: 09-2009
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Council on Foreign Relations
  • Abstract: When a group of Western oil workers was kidnapped in the Niger Delta in January 2006, the immediate hike in prices at gas stations around the world served as a timely reminder of the importance of this unstable region to international oil supplies. A previously unknown group announced it was holding the workers. It called itself the Movement for the Emancipation of the Niger Delta (MEND) and quickly sparked panic within the oil industry with a second set of kidnappings and a series of attacks on oil facilities. Anxiety reached new heights when, in an email sent to journalists, MEND claimed responsibility for an attack on an offshore facility, Bonga, in mid-2008. The installation, located a full seventy-five miles from the mainland, had previously been considered too ambitious a target for the militants. By the summer of 2008, oil was trading at $147 a barrel and oil production in the Delta was down by a quarter. Who was this mysterious group, whose members—armed with little more than a few AK-47s and speedboats—were able to massively disrupt oil supplies and wreak havoc on world commodity prices? Where did it come from, and what does it want? Is it a coherent group with clearly defined aims and political ambitions? Or is it merely a disparate ragtag of disillusioned youths, with powerful backers, intent on little more than petty criminality?
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution, Arms Control and Proliferation, Corruption, Crime, Oil
  • Political Geography: Africa
  • Author: Michelle D. Gavin
  • Publication Date: 10-2007
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Council on Foreign Relations
  • Abstract: Over the past decade, the refusal of President Robert Mugabe and his Zimbabwe African National Union-Patriotic Front (ZANU-PF) ruling party to tolerate challenges to their power has led them to systematically dismantle the most effective workings of Zimbabwe's economic and political systems, replacing these with structures of corruption, patronage, and repression. The resulting 80 percent unemployment rate, hyperinflation, and severe food, fuel, and power shortages have created a national climate of desperation and instability. Meanwhile, often-violent repression has left the opposition divided and eroded public confidence in mechanisms to effect peaceful political change.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution, Civil War, Development
  • Political Geography: Africa, Zimbabwe
  • Author: Vincent A. Mai, Frank G. Wisner, William L. Nash, ArthurMark Rubin
  • Publication Date: 05-2007
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Council on Foreign Relations
  • Abstract: Outside the continent's crisis areas, few African countries are more important to U.S. interests than Angola. The second-largest oil producer in Africa, Angola's success or failure in transitioning from nearly thirty years of war toward peace and democracy has implications for the stability of the U.S. oil supply as well as the stability of central and southern Africa. Consequently, the United States has an interest in helping Angola address its numerous and significant national challenges.
  • Topic: International Relations, Foreign Policy, Peace Studies
  • Political Geography: Africa, United States, Angola
  • Author: Robert I. Rotberg
  • Publication Date: 04-2007
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Council on Foreign Relations
  • Abstract: Nigeria's vital importance for Africa's political development, for U.S. and European interests, and for world order cannot be exaggerated. Nigeria's sheer aggregate numbers—possibly as many as 150 million of the full continent's 800 million—and its proportionate weight in sub-Saharan Africa' s troubled affairs, make the country's continuing evolution from military dictatorship to stable, sustained democracy critical.
  • Topic: Democratization, Economics
  • Political Geography: Africa, Europe, Nigeria
  • Author: Jennifer Cooke, David Henek
  • Publication Date: 02-2007
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Council on Foreign Relations
  • Abstract: On January 17, 2007, the Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS), in collaboration with the Council on Foreign Relations, the U.S. Institute of Peace, and the Woodrow Wilson International Center, hosted a major conference in Washington, D.C., entitled "Somalia's Future: Options for Diplomacy, Assistance, and Peace Operations." The conference brought together expert observers from Mogadishu, senior U.S. policymakers, representatives from humanitarian assistance organizations, and regional analysts to convey to a U.S. audience the current situation in Somalia and to lay out the challenges facing the United States and the broader international community.
  • Topic: Development, Diplomacy, Peace Studies
  • Political Geography: Africa, United States, Somalia
  • Author: Lee Feinstein
  • Publication Date: 01-2007
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Council on Foreign Relations
  • Abstract: The killing and destruction of national, ethnic, racial, or religious groups is a historical reality. So, too, is the dependable failure of the rest of the world to do much about it. Slow-motion ethnic cleansing in western Sudan is the most recent case of a state supporting mass atrocity and the rest of the world avoiding efforts to end the killing. Preventing and stopping such mass atrocities faces four reinforcing problems.
  • Topic: Genocide, Human Rights, Terrorism
  • Political Geography: Africa, Sudan
  • Author: Terrance Lyons
  • Publication Date: 12-2006
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Council on Foreign Relations
  • Abstract: In 2006, the Horn of Africa witnessed major escalations in several conflicts, a marked deterioration of governance in critical states, and a general unraveling of U.S. foreign policy toward the strategically located region. The U.S.-brokered Algiers Agreement to end the 1998–2000 border war between Ethiopia and Eritrea is at a crossroads. Ethiopia has resisted implementing the decisions made by the Eritrea-Ethiopia Border Commission (EEBC), Eritrea has imposed unilateral restrictions on the United Nations Mission in Ethiopia and Eritrea (UNMEE), and both states have rejected the EEBC's plans to demarcate the border unilaterally. In Sudan, implementation of the Comprehensive Peace Agreement remains incomplete, and the violence in Darfur continues to rage and spill into Chad. In Somalia, the Transitional Federal Government (TFG) has failed to establish itself outside of Baidoa and its rival, the Union of Islamic Courts (UIC), has seized control of Mogadishu and much of southern Somalia. The rapid rise of the UIC in mid-2006 in particular amplified prospects for regional conflict as Ethiopia and Eritrea sent significant military support to the opposing sides. On December 6, 2006, the UN Security SudanCouncil unanimously endorsed Resolution 1725, a plan supported by Washington to deploy African troops to prop up the authorities in Baidoa. The Islamic Courts have stated that this intervention will be regarded as an invading force and will escalate, rather than reduce, the conflict.
  • Topic: International Relations, Development
  • Political Geography: Uganda, Africa, United States, Washington, Sudan, Ethiopia, Somalia, Eritrea
  • Author: J. Brian Atwood, Robert S. Browne, Princeton N. Lyman
  • Publication Date: 05-2004
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Council on Foreign Relations
  • Abstract: The United States will host the G8 Summit at Sea Island, Georgia, in June 2004. Many urgent and critical international issues need to be discussed at the summit, especially developments in the Middle East and in the worldwide war on terrorism. It will be important, however, that the summit also maintain the momentum of the past three years in the G8-Africa partnership. This will reinforce the work of African leaders who are championing democracy, human rights, and good governance. Africa, moreover, figures prominently in the three global issues the United States has selected for the summit: freedom, security, and prosperity.
  • Topic: Security, Treaties and Agreements
  • Political Geography: Africa, United States, Middle East, Georgia, Island
  • Publication Date: 05-2004
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Council on Foreign Relations
  • Abstract: The United States has embarked on a major effort to combat the HIV/AIDS pandemic. The success of this effort will be critical. Yet as impressive as the U.S. response has been, more will have to be done on a broader level to achieve the objectives that have been set forth.
  • Topic: Human Welfare, Third World
  • Political Geography: Africa, United States
  • Author: Robert A. Manning, J. Robert Kerrey
  • Publication Date: 07-2001
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Council on Foreign Relations
  • Abstract: Southeast Asia presents the United States with both an important challenge and an opportunity. American leadership and enlightened action in Southeast Asia in the critical period ahead will almost certainly help stabilize a region undergoing troubling political and economic turbulence. Absent our leadership, democratizing states may founder and economic conditions in a majority of the region's countries will likely worsen. It is in the interest of the people of the United States that we choose the first course. The July 1997 collapse of the Thai baht, which triggered a regional crisis that threatened to destabilize world financial markets, was a chilling reminder of Southeast Asia's importance; the 1999 East Timor crisis is another tragic event that caught the United States unprepared. The 1990–91 Cambodia peace process, on the other hand, was a sterling example of how American leadership can make a difference. We believe the new administration has an opportunity for a fresh start to shape a coherent, proactive approach to the region. As Secretary of State Colin Powell prepares for his visit to the area during the July meeting of the ASEAN Regional Forum (ARF), and as the administration considers President Bush's first trip to Asia for the October summit of the leaders of the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation group (APEC) in Shanghai, this is a timely moment to review the situation in Southeast Asia.
  • Political Geography: Africa, United States, Southeast Asia
  • Author: Salih Booker, Peggy Dulany, Frank Savage
  • Publication Date: 04-1998
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Council on Foreign Relations
  • Abstract: Significant positive developments in Africa have recently created a sense of economic and political renewal throughout much of the continent. Over two-thirds of African countries are implementing economic policy reforms that emphasize growth, private-sector development, and greater openness to the global economy. Aggregate growth rates for these 35 African countries in 1995 and 1996 averaged 5 percent, more than twice the rates of the previous decade. A new generation of leadership in Africa is promoting a reform agenda that offers important opportunities for rapid economic growth and increasing African countries' participation in the global economy. Now that an increasing number of African countries are becoming strong candidates as potential trade and investment partners, the United States should be at the forefront of the industrialized world in pursuit of these new opportunities. Recognizing the favorable economic and political trends occurring in most African countries, the Council on Foreign Relations--while taking no position on the subject as an organization--sponsored an independent Task Force of distinguished private citizens, committed to strengthening American ties with Africa, to make recommendations on how best to advance mutual U.S. and African interests in the sphere of economic relations.
  • Topic: International Political Economy
  • Political Geography: Africa, United States