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  • Author: Prosper Nzekani Zena
  • Publication Date: 01-2013
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Africa Center for Strategic Studies
  • Abstract: With organized initiatives for demobilization, disarmament, and reintegration (DDR) in 10 African states, there is widespread recognition of the importance of these programs to advancing stability on the continent. Even so, these initiatives are often under-prioritized and -conceptualized, contributing to the high rates of conflict relapse observed in Africa. DDR efforts across Africa over the past decade indicate that DDR cannot substitute for measures that address core conflict drivers and is often hobbled by expedient but fragile efforts to integrate nonstate militias with a national defense force.
  • Topic: International Affairs
  • Political Geography: Africa
  • Author: Mathurin C. Houngnikpo
  • Publication Date: 01-2012
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Africa Center for Strategic Studies
  • Abstract: A spate of military coups from 2008 to 2010 in Mauritania, Guinea, Niger, and Madagascar raised the specter of a return to military rule in Africa. While the subsequent resumption of civilian government in Guinea and Niger has reduced these concerns, evidence of military influence in politics remains widespread across the continent. This is prominently in view in Egypt where, in the midst of political transition, the military is attempting to maintain a privileged role for itself despite the widespread demands for genuine democratic reform.
  • Topic: Security, Democratization, Politics, Armed Forces
  • Political Geography: Africa, Egypt, Guinea, Mauritania
  • Author: J. Peter Pham
  • Publication Date: 04-2012
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Africa Center for Strategic Studies
  • Abstract: The Nigerian militant Islamist group Boko Haram has grown increasingly virulent since late 2010, reflecting a major transformation in its capacity, tactics, and ideology. There are indications of expanding links between Boko Haram and international Islamist terrorist organizations. Support for Boko Haram among some of northern Nigeria's marginalized Muslim communities suggests that security actions alone will be insufficient to quell the instability.
  • Topic: Political Violence, Islam, Terrorism, Armed Struggle, Insurgency
  • 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: Birame Diop, David M. Peyton, Gene McConville
  • Publication Date: 08-2012
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Africa Center for Strategic Studies
  • Abstract: In April 2012, the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) declared its readiness to deploy 3,000 troops to northern Mali in response to seizures of territory by Tuareg separatists and Islamist militias. Left unanswered was the question of how ECOWAS would transport these troops and their equipment to Mali. Only airlift resources would be able to deliver personnel and heavy equipment into the area of operations (AO) in a timely manner, provide operational mobility within the AO against dispersed and heavily armed irregular forces, monitor a geographic area larger than France, and sustain operations for months or years. The inability to respond to these challenges to territorial control, in turn, further emboldens such separatists and other spoilers.
  • Topic: Security, Economics, Islam, Insurgency, Narcotics Trafficking
  • Political Geography: Africa, France
  • Author: Terje Østebø
  • Publication Date: 11-2012
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Africa Center for Strategic Studies
  • Abstract: The rise of Islamic militancy in parts of the Sahel and Horn of Africa poses growing threats to regional stability. The appeal of these militants stems from their ability to tap into and persuade marginalized communities, particularly youth, that their grievances can be rectified by the establishment of a more pure Islamist culture. Despite breakthroughs, Islamic militants in Africa typically do not possess great military power and may not seek to govern at the state level. Rather, they tend to be homegrown phenomena, focused on local concerns. Islamic militant organizations in Africa generally only command the support of small minorities within Muslim communities. However, ill-considered interventions, especially those involving Western forces, can reinforce the militants' narrative, thereby strengthening their credibility and recruitment.
  • Topic: Islam, Armed Struggle, Insurgency, Youth Culture
  • Political Geography: Africa
  • Author: Steven Livingston
  • Publication Date: 03-2011
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Africa Center for Strategic Studies
  • Abstract: Political instability and violence in Africa are often the products of rumor and misinformation. Narrow interests have used politically biased newspapers and radio programming to spread disinformation and champion politically divisive causes. Meanwhile, reasonable opposition voices have been kept silent and shuttered from public life, often by repressive, even violent means. This remains a serious concern across Africa.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution, Security, Political Violence, Science and Technology
  • Political Geography: Africa
  • Publication Date: 11-2011
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Africa Center for Strategic Studies
  • Abstract: A question often asked since the launch of the Arab Spring in January 2011 is what effect will these popular protests have on democracy in the rest of Africa. Frequently overlooked in this discussion is that Sub-Saharan Africa has been experiencing its own democratic surge during this time with important advances in Guinea, Côte d'Ivoire, Niger, Nigeria, and Zambia, among other countries. This progress builds on nearly two decades of democratic institution building on the continent. Even so, the legacy of “big-man” politics continues to cast a long shadow over Africa's governance norms. Regime models on the continent, moreover, remain highly varied, ranging from hard core autocrats, to semi-authoritarians, democratizers, and a select number of democracies.
  • Topic: Democratization, Regime Change
  • Political Geography: Africa, Arabia, Nigeria, Zambia
  • Author: Assis Malaquias
  • Publication Date: 07-2011
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Africa Center for Strategic Studies
  • Abstract: South Africa's transition from apartheid to democracy in 1994 was expected to usher in a new era of peace, stability, and accelerated development. However, despite widespread optimism, political violence has persisted. Although a fraction of that experienced under apartheid, levels of political violence are worsening and indicative of the country's potential fragility. They also map out the fault lines along which South Africa may yet stumble.
  • Topic: Political Violence, Apartheid, Democratization, Poverty
  • Political Geography: Africa
  • Publication Date: 11-2011
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Africa Center for Strategic Studies
  • Abstract: A question often asked since the launch of the Arab Spring in January 2011 is what effect will these popular protests have on democracy in the rest of Africa. Frequently overlooked in this discussion is that Sub-Saharan Africa has been experiencing its own democratic surge during this time with important advances in Guinea, Côte d'Ivoire, Niger, Nigeria, and Zambia, among other countries. This progress builds on nearly two decades of democratic institution building on the continent. Even so, the legacy of "big-man" politics continues to cast a long shadow over Africa's governance norms. Regime models on the continent, moreover, remain highly varied, ranging from hard core autocrats, to semi-authoritarians, democratizers, and a select number of democracies.
  • Topic: Democratization, Development, Governance, Popular Revolt
  • Political Geography: Africa, Arabia, Nigeria