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  • Publication Date: 09-2010
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: International Crisis Group
  • Abstract: Eritrea has been deeply troubled since independence in 1991. Following the devastating war with Ethiopia (1998-2000), an authoritarian, militarised regime has further tightened political space, tolerating neither opposition nor dissent. Relations are difficult with the region and the wider international community. At African Union (AU) behest, the UN Security Council imposed sanctions in 2009 for its support of the Somali Islamic insurgency. It has become, in effect, a siege state, whose government is suspicious of its own population, neighbours and the wider world. Economically crippled at birth, it is a poor country from which tens of thousands of youths are fleeing, forming large asylum-seeking communities in Europe and North America. But Eritrea is an extreme reflection of its region's rough political environment, not its sole spoiler. More effort to understand the roots of its suspicions and greater engagement rather than further isolation would be a more promising international prescription for dealing with the genuine risks it represents.
  • Topic: Islam, United Nations, Insurgency, Fragile/Failed State, Sanctions
  • Political Geography: Africa, Europe, North America, Ethiopia, Eritrea
  • Publication Date: 09-2010
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: International Crisis Group
  • Abstract: After decades of bad governance and misuse, the armed forces are a potential source of instability which could still throw Guinea and the region into chaos. At the very least, if not reformed thoroughly, they will continue to pose a threat to democratic civilian rule. The recent establishment of a transitional government and the ongoing, although fragile, electoral process are a significant opportunity. Getting army reform wrong could have disastrous consequences for the country's political future. Getting it right entails numerous technical challenges, redefining the relationship of the armed forces with civilian power and addressing the critical issue of military financing, in order to create disciplined, effective and affordable armed forces. The suspension of the second round of the presidential elections, originally scheduled for 19 September, has heightened tension. Though the army has remained neutral, fears remain that if the election is not completed successfully and without excessive delay, it may seize the opportunity to intervene again. This would be a major setback to any prospect of medium-term reform, which requires respect for civilian rule and oversight. The army's well-deserved reputation for indiscipline and resistance to democratic civilian rule is a product of its troubled past. The country's first two presidents both manipulated the armed forces to their own political ends, allowing insubordination to develop, and bought off senior ranks with patronage opportunities. Mutinies over poor conditions, and waves of irregular recruitment characterised the last years of President Lansana Conté. The junta that took over on his death in December 2008 further exacerbated the situation in the military. Its leader, Dadis Camara, used the army against political opponents, fostered tension between the junta and the rest of the armed forces and recruited ethnic militia.
  • Topic: Corruption
  • Political Geography: Africa
  • Publication Date: 11-2010
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: International Crisis Group
  • Abstract: En mars 2009, acculé par des manifestations, ainsi que par une mutinerie de l'armée, l'ancien président Marc Ravalomanana remet le pouvoir à un directoire militaire, qui le transmet immédiatement au maire de la capitale de l'époque, Andry Rajoelina, meneur des mouvements de contestation. 1 A la tête de l'Etat depuis lors, la Haute au- torité de la transition (HAT) monopolise le pouvoir, alors qu'une opposition structurée en « mouvances » représen- tant les anciens présidents du pays réclame une gestion inclusive et consensuelle de la transition defait, ouverte par la chute de Ravalomanana et l'installation au pouvoir de la HAT. 2 Ce mode de gestion av ait fait l'objet d'accords en 2009 à Maputo et à Addis-Abeba entre les quatre chefs de mouvances, mais ceuxci ont été annulés de manière unilatérale par le président de la HAT.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution, Politics, Fragile/Failed State, Governance
  • Political Geography: Africa
  • Publication Date: 11-2010
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: International Crisis Group
  • Abstract: Le plan de résolution du conf lit au Kivu consistant à pri-vilégier la solution militaire s'avère être un échec. Deux années après le début du rapprochement entre le président Congolais Joseph Kabila et son homologue rwandais Paul Kagame, les soldats gouvernementaux sont encore aux prises avec des miliciens pour le contrôle des terres et des zones minières. Bien qu'aucune des deux parties n'ait réellement les capacités de pr endre un ascendant définitif, elles ont toutes deux les ressources suffisantes pour prolonger la lutte. Dans le même temps, les civils subissent des violences extrêmes et la situation humanitaire se dété-riore. Les tensions ethniques se sont aggravées à l'annonce des plans de rapatriement de dizaines de milliers de réfu-giés congolais qui ont fui au Rwanda durant les années 1990. Le Conseil de Sécurité des Nations Unies a observé la situation se dégrader à l'est du Congo sans s'opposer aux décisions de Kagame et Kabila.
  • Topic: Civil War, Diplomacy, Economics, Peace Studies, Treaties and Agreements, War, Peacekeeping
  • Political Geography: Africa, Democratic Republic of the Congo
  • Publication Date: 12-2010
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: International Crisis Group
  • Abstract: In the diamond mines of the Central African Republic (CAR), extreme poverty and armed conflict put thousands of lives in danger. President François Bozizé keeps tight control of the diamond sector to enrich and empower his own ethnic group but does little to alleviate the poverty that drives informal miners to dig in perilous conditions. Stringent export taxes incentivise smuggling that the mining authorities are too few and too corrupt to stop. These factors combined – a parasitic state, poverty and largely unchecked crime – move jealous factions to launch rebellions and enable armed groups to collect new recruits and profit from mining and selling diamonds illegally. To ensure diamonds fuel developmen t not bloodshed, root and branch reform of the sector must become a core priority of the country's peacebuilding strategy.
  • Topic: Political Violence, Poverty, Natural Resources
  • Political Geography: Africa
  • Publication Date: 12-2010
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: International Crisis Group
  • Abstract: Violence in northern Nigeria has flared up periodically over the last 30 years. Mainly in the form of urban riots, it has pitted Muslims against Christians and has seen confrontations between different Islamic sects. Although there have been some successes in conflict management in the last decade, the 2009 and 2010 troubles in Bauchi, Borno and Yobe states involving the radical Boko Haram sect show that violence still may flare up at any moment. If the situation were to deteriorate significantly, especially on Christian-Muslim lines, it could have serious repercussions for national cohesion in the build up to national elections in April 2011. To deal with the risks, community-level initiatives need to be reinforced, a more subtle security response should be formulated and the management of public resources must be improved. While some in the West panic at what they see as growing Islamic radicalism in the region, the roots of the problem are more complex and lie in Nigeria's history and contemporary politics.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution, Political Violence
  • Political Geography: Africa, Nigeria
  • Publication Date: 01-2009
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: International Crisis Group
  • Abstract: Since independence and for fourteen years of war, Liberia's army, police and other security agencies have mostly been sources of insecurity and misery for a destitute people. The internationally driven attempt to radically reform the security sector since the war's end in 2003 is a major chance to put this right and prevent new destabilisation. Security sector reform (SSR) programs have been unprecedented in ambition but with mixed results. Army reform, entailing complete disbanding of existing forces, has made significant progress despite lack of proper oversight of private military companies (PMCs) and of consensus on strategic objectives. But police and other security reforms are much less satisfactory. The bold approach to army reform was possible due to strong national consensus and the presence of a large, liberally mandated UN presence. Government and donors must sustain their support to maintain hard-won momentum in army reform and, once clear benchmarks are set, give a floundering police force more resources. The drawdown of the UN force, begun in the second half of 2008, underlines the urgency.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution, Conflict Prevention, Security, Development, Government, War
  • Political Geography: Africa, United Nations, Liberia
  • Publication Date: 04-2009
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: International Crisis Group
  • Abstract: L'Est du Tchad est une poudrière dont l'explosion pourrait déstabiliser l'ensemble du pays ainsi que les pays voisins et aggraver une situation humanitaire déjà désastreuse. Les conflits locaux fondés sur la raréfaction des ressources ont été exacerbés par des manipulations politiques nationales et régionales. La population a déjà énormément souffert des conflits internes tchadiens, de la crise du Darfour et de la guerre froide tchado-soudanaise. Les deux gouvernements, avec le soutien de leurs partenaires internationaux, devraient reprendre la mise en place de l'accord de Dakar, mais une conférence spécifiquement dédiée au conflit à l'Est du Tchad devrait également être organisée afin que les acteurs locaux et nationaux trouvent des solutions aux causes internes de la crise. Elle devrait être intégrée dans les structures existantes du processus de paix tchadien.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution, Development, Poverty, War
  • Political Geography: Africa
  • Publication Date: 05-2009
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: International Crisis Group
  • Abstract: The deal struck by the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) and Rwanda for renewed military and political cooperation is an important step forward, but is not sufficient to bring peace to the Kivus. Their five-week joint military operation did not produce significant results against the Rwandan Hutu rebels. Integration of the former insurgency that came over to the government's side after Laurent Nkunda was dropped as its leader is precarious, despite the 23 March 2009 agreement it signed with Kinshasa. An international monitoring group chaired by UN Special Envoy Olusegun Obasanjo and Great Lakes Envoy Benjamin Mkapa should work with the Congolese and Rwandan governments to support and implement a genuine and comprehensive peacebuilding strategy, while donors should condition their support on adoption and implementation by Kinshasa of a comprehensive package of judicial measures to fight impunity.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution, Peace Studies, Post Colonialism, War
  • Political Geography: Africa, Democratic Republic of the Congo
  • Publication Date: 07-2009
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: International Crisis Group
  • Abstract: The International Criminal Court (ICC) arrest warrant against President Bashir for atrocity crimes in Darfur has brought Sudan to a new decision point. The longruling National Congress Party (NCP) has defied the court, gained African Union (AU) and Arab League pressure on the Security Council to suspend the case and restricted humanitarian aid in Darfur, putting several million internally displaced persons (IDPs) and others at risk. Darfur rebels have been emboldened, reducing prospects for diplomatic progress. Simultaneously, the Comprehensive Peace Agreement (CPA) that ended the North-South civil war is unravelling. As a new U.S. special representative begins to make his mark, the international community may be ready to sacrifice the justice issue for a quick-fix deal that would ensure elections in 2010. But Sudan will have peace only when its impunity system is dismantled. The right course is to build leverage by strongly backing the ICC so as to persuade the NCP that it will only secure the deferral of Bashir's case by adopting and implementing serious reforms.
  • Topic: Ethnic Conflict, Genocide
  • Political Geography: Africa, Arabia