Countries and Contexts

Africa’s security challenges vary greatly by – and often within – country. In an effort to advance understanding of the underlying drivers and possible responses to these threats, ACSS compiles and updates a short list of perceptive analyses of selected security contexts for readers’ reference.  The views expressed are those of the authors and do not represent an endorsement by ACSS or the Department of Defense. Please click on a link below to learn more.

  • Algeria

    • Algeria: Current Issues

      By Alexis Arieff. Congressional Research Service, January 2012. Algeria is a crucial state in a volatile region but faces growing internal and external challenges. While financially stable and benefiting from a robust security apparatus, rising unemployment and housing shortages have led to protests against the “pouvoir,” an opaque politico-military elite network that dominates decisionmaking. Meanwhile, the growing capacity of Al Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM), comprised of former militants from the 1990s Algerian civil war, poses a threat to stability in Algeria and neighboring states. The government must fulfill recent political reforms to stave off further internal turmoil and overcome its resistance to working collaboratively with regional and international partners if it is to tackle its terrorist threats. Download the article [PDF]
    • Regional Security Cooperation in the Maghreb and Sahel: Algeria’s Pivotal Ambivalence

      By Laurence Aïda Ammour, Africa Center for Strategic Studies | February 2012 army_algeria

      Despite growing concerns across the Sahel and Maghreb over the increasing potency of al Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb, the diffusion of heavily armed mercenaries from Libya, the expanding influence of arms and drugs trafficking, and the widening lethality of Boko Haram, regional security cooperation to address these transnational threats remains fragmented. Algeria is well-positioned to play a central role in defining this cooperation, but must first reconcile the complex domestic, regional, and international considerations that shape its decision-making.

      Download Security Brief #18 [PDF]: ENGLISH | FRANÇAIS | PORTUGUÊS

    • Salafism and Radical Politics in Postconflict Algeria

      By Amel Boubekeur, Carnegie Endowment for International Peace | September 2008 Confronting indigenous Islamists movements has been a challenge not only for the West but for Arab governments. Strategies for the inclusion of moderates into the legal and political process while aggressively pursuing the radicals are gaining traction, though the political ramifications of this approach have yet to be seen. Part of the government strategy to counter radical groups (Da’wa Salafism, Salafiyya Harakiyya and Salafiyya Jihadiyya) includes amnesty for those who abandon their radical views and a concerted effort of aggressively pursuing the rejecters. While only Da’wa Salafism has accepted the amnesty offer, the other two have seen their influence decline.  Despite the success in containing these radical groups, the author argues that they still retain the capability to carry out terrorist attacks and thus represent a serious security threat.

      Download the Paper [PDF]

  • Angola

    • The Peace Dividend: Analysis of a Decade of Angolan Indicators, 2002–12

      By Markus Weimer. Chatham House, March 2012. Angola marked a decade of peace in April 2012. High rates of economic growth have characterized the post-conflict era, but so have high inflation and a hefty dependence on oil revenues and foreign investment. Moreover, oil production has declined in recent years due to price instability and maintenance needs, and may fall further in the future. Corruption has also surged and surpassed access to electricity, finance, and transportation as the leading obstacle for businesses. These challenges pose severe impediments for development and poverty reduction in Angola. Download the Article: [PDF]
    • Angola’s Strategic Cooperation with BRIC Countries

      By Ngwenya Kiala. South Africa Institute of International Affairs, May 2011. Angola’s double digit growth rates have attracted significant amounts of investment from emerging market leaders Brazil, Russia, India, and China. Strong relations with Brazil have been boosted by historical and linguistic ties, whereas China’s vast presence in Angola has been propelled by large amounts of assistance and high level political and diplomatic contact. Meanwhile, Russia has sought “elite” level interactions with Angolan leaders and India has developed a reputation for completing large infrastructure projects, reflecting their interest in greater engagement. Still, both countries lag in terms of their presence in Angola. For its part, Angola has ostensibly emphasized diversification of its economy and human capital development in its engagement with investors, though these aims have been compromised by extensive corruption and minimal levels of accountability. Download the Article: [PDF]
    • Legitimacy Crisis Haunts Angolan Election

      By Louise Redvers. Mail & Guardian, May 2012. As Angolan President Eduardo dos Santos reaches the tail end of over three-decades of ruling what is now Africa’s fastest growing economy, there is growing dissatisfaction with the government. Without a well-established, transparent, and credible electoral process, it is possible that a power struggle within the ruling MPLA party and rising levels of public discontent could emerge and lead to instability. View the Article: [HTML]
    • Angola’s Foreign Policy: Pragmatic Recalibrations

      By Dr. Assis Malaquias, Africa Center for Strategic Studies | May 2011 assis-acss-2

      The interconnectedness between domestic security and international relations has defined Angola’s post-colonial history. To survive various domestic security challenges, the country deployed considerable resources in two areas. Internally, Angola invested disproportionately in a strong security sector to deal with the immediate threats posed by opposing parties. Internationally, it focused diplomatic efforts on nurturing relations with key strategic allies, notably the former Union of Soviet Socialist Republics (USSR) and Cuba, to help shape external environments to its advantage. This strategy has succeeded in ensuring regime survival.

      With the end of the civil war and as the regime sought to consolidate its gains, an important foreign policy recalibration took place that resulted in the development of a strategic partnership with China. Recently, internal expectations and demands for fast economic growth within a democratic political system have meant that relations with mature democracies like the US are likely to take precedence.

      This paper assesses the trajectory of Angola’s foreign policy as a reflection of its desire to manage three key historical challenges. These are survival, between independence in 1975 and the end of the civil war in 2002; reconstruction and growth, from the end of the civil war to the present; and the approaching task of democratic development. The paper suggests that for each stage, Angola has embraced a major international partner – the former USSR for survival; China for reconstruction and growth; and the US for democratic development.

      Read the Paper [PDF]

    • Angola: Parallel Governments, Oil and Neopatrimonial System Reproduction

      By Paula Roque, Institute for Security Studies, June 2011. The MPLA, Angola’s preponderant ruling party, has begun to demonstrate some fragmentation into four conflict-prone factions. Shadow-structures of government control developed by the party’s highest leaders as well as access to lucrative oil revenues and support of the nation’s powerful intelligence services may allow the MPLA to continue to rule Angola despite forthcoming changes in MPLA leadership. However, managing an ever-expanding patronage network has strained the shadow government’s resources, introducing new incentives and opportunities for reform in Angola’s opaque political structure.

      Download the Article [PDF]

  • Burundi

    • Closing Doors? The Narrowing of Democratic Space in Burundi

      By Human Rights Watch, November 2010. Burundi’s 2010 elections failed to consolidate previous democratic gains. Rather, increasing repression, executions, and extended detention of critical journalists and activists by the country’s ruling party are signs of an emerging one-party state. To protect democratic space and expression in Burundi, the attorney general should be provided more independence to investigate and prosecute perpetrators of political violence and the UN-appointed independent expert for human rights should be permitted to conduct regular assessments and reports. Download the Article: [ENGLISH][FRANÇAIS]
    • Security Sector Reform Monitor: Burundi

      By The Centre for International Governance and Innovation, 2009. The Arusha Agreement that ended the civil war in Burundi called for balanced representation of Hutu and Tutsi in the security and justice institutions. Lack of professionalism in those sectors prompted security sector reforms that led to the creation of a new national police force (Burundi National Police, BNP). Provisions in the Arusha Agreement called for a systematic vetting of the new forces to weed out those accused of human rights. However, former guerillas and ex-soldiers have found their way into the BNP creating challenges of legitimacy, supervision, discipline and training. This is creating operational difficulties for the institution. In addressing these challenges, the author recommends increased funding, oversight over resources, and an end to arbitrary detention of citizens. Download the Article: [Part 1][Part 2]

  • Cameroon

    • Cameroon: Fragile State?

      cameroon_fragileBy International Crisis Group, 2010.

      Cameroon rarely garners as much attention as Africa's more turbulent countries, but its political system may prove too rigid to manage a stagnating economy, inequalities embedded in ethnic differences, and extensive corruption. A more transparent and accountable electoral administration system and general respect of the rule of law may better stem various weaknesses from destabilizing the country.

      Download the Article: [ENGLISH][FRANÇAIS]

  • Central African Republic

    • “They Came To Kill”: Escalating Atrocities in the Central African Republic

      Human Rights Watch | December 2013 — The rise of Christian militias in response to the atrocities committed by Muslim Seleka forces in 2013 has led to an escalation of violence in the Central African Republic. This report documents large-scale abuses committed by Christian anti-Balaka (“anti-machete”) militias and their consequences, which range from internal displacement to the interruption of medical care and education. The transitional government must cooperate with French and African Union troops as well as humanitarian agencies in order to shield civilian populations from further militia abuses and conflict.

      Download the paper

    • Central African Republic: Better Late Than Never

      International Crisis Group | December 2013 — The near total collapse of the state in the Central African Republic has left nearly half the population in need of assistance and triggered intense inter-religious violence. With a precarious order in place following a robust French military intervention, considerable challenges to resolving this crisis remain. To begin reestablishing the rule of law, the new transitional regime must work closely with international partners to speed the provision of humanitarian aid to the population. Securing the country’s main roads will also help reduce intercommunal clashes. In the medium term, authorities will have to work on interfaith reconciliation, investigating human rights violations, and a transition to an elected, legitimate government.

      Download the paper

    • State Fragility in the Central African Republic: What Prompted the 2013 Coup?

      By Siân Herbert, Nathalia Dukhan, and Marielle Debos, GSDRC | July 2013 map of Central African RepublicThe Central African Republic’s history since independence has featured numerous military coups and toppled governments. This cycle has persisted due to the failure to fairly implement several inclusive dialogues and reconciliation processes, most recently in 2003, 2008, and 2013, which motivated groups to resort to arms and dashed their faith in negotiations. Unsurprisingly, then, in 2013 an alliance of militias from the northeastern part of the country overthrew the government dominated by allies of now-ousted President Bozizé, who received extensive support from Chad and other foreign governments. However, an ensuing power vacuum poses a more complex stabilization challenge while a variety of undisciplined militias and combatants are suspicious of offers of concessions or compromise.

      Download the Article [PDF]

    • Dangerous Little Stones: Diamonds in the Central African Republic

      By International Crisis Group. 2010. The Central African Republic’s diamond sector is increasingly used to enrich elites and reinforce current political leaders rather than alleviate poverty and inequality. In particular, recent laws grant the president exclusive control over the granting of concessions and mining rights. This has expanded the number of dangerous illegal mines, incentivized smuggling and corruption, and fueled ethnic divisions, setting the stage for armed groups to easily recruit new members. By reforming the diamond sector, the government can avoid a worsening “conflict diamonds” scenario. Wider application of international accountability mechanisms such as the Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative coupled with the strengthening of artisanal miners’ unions could avoid a downward cycle of conflict. Download the article: [PDF]

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  • Other Reads on Central African Republic

    No Red Lines in Central African Republic: It’s Time to Act

    By Amadou Sy, Brookings Institution | November 2013

    Violence and instability continues to worsen in the Central African Republic where a network of militias overthrew the government in March 2013 but a largely incapable transitional government has taken its place. United Nations experts have warned of a possible genocide and religiously motivated violence has surged despite a long-history of harmonious Muslim-Christian relations. A desperate need for enhanced protection of civilians is raising questions about the “responsibility to protect” principle and whether regional governments and international actors should expand their intervention in the country.

  • Chad

    • Refining Relations: Chad’s Growing Links with China

      By Romain Dittgen and Daniel Large. South African Institute for International Affairs, June 2012. Since the World Bank ended its involvement in the Chad-Cameroon Pipeline project in 2008 over Chad’s diversion of oil profits away from social and development projects, China has become an important political and economic player in Chad with major investments in the hydrocarbon sector. It has also supported the construction of a highway and cement plant and plans a regional railway and an international airport. This relationship could yield some benefits, but critics worry about Chad’s preference for “showy” infrastructure projects rather than poverty reduction investments. Continuing oil revenues are also vital to Chad’s ability to meet promises on low energy prices and other raised public expectations. Already high, China’s role and influence in Chad will likely further increase. Download the article: [PDF]
    • Africa Without Qadhafi: The Case of Chad

      By International Crisis Group. October 2011. Chad faces new challenges in its relationship with post-Qadhafi Libya. It is viewed suspiciously in Libya, a product of past conflicts and its alleged support for the Qadahfi regime during its final months. However, Chad is a source of labor and resources for Libya, which holds significant investments in Chad. Arms trafficking and militia activity have also surged along their shared border, so instability in either country would quickly ripple into the other. Chad is eager to cooperate with the new Libyan government and ease any ill will. The country has strengthened military patrols in border regions, but it needs to address the presence of militia groups in Chad that threaten Libya and other neighbors. Download the article: [PDF]
    • Chad: Escaping from the Oil Trap

      By International Crisis Group, 2009. This ICG report explores why the discovery of oil has led to growing authoritarianism in Chad instead of improving the lives of its citizens. The report looks at the backlash to the World Bank’s sanctions in response to the Chadian government’s backtracking on the agreed framework, which included the Committee of Control and Supervision of Oil Revenues (CCSRP in French). The report recommends both a domestic and international response to the oil problem in Chad. This includes transparency, strengthening of internal control mechanisms, providing technical support to civil society and pressure from France, the US and China to encourage national dialogue. Download the Brief in: [ENGLISH][FRANÇAIS]
    • Towards Resolving Chad’s Interlocking Conflicts

      By Sarah Bessell and Kelly Campbell. USIP, 2008. According to this USIP report, the difficulty in resolving the Chadian conflict is partly due to the fact that it has always been viewed through the lens of the situation in Darfur. This approach has contributed to difficulties in finding a negotiated settlement. The Sudanese government’s continuous support for Chadian renegade groups with no political agenda exacerbates the already tense relations between the two governments and has contributed to the deplorable humanitarian and security situation. In addressing these concerns, the authors recommend a multifaceted approach, which includes coordination of in-country security activities among the UN, EUFOR and MINUCART. A pledge by both governments to end hostilities and material support for rebel groups should also be enforced. Download the Article: [PDF]

  • Côte d’Ivoire

    • Addressing Côte d'Ivoire's Deeper Crisis

      Abidjan-webBy Thierno Mouctar Bah. Africa Center for Strategic Studies, March 2012.

      Although Côte d'Ivoire's traumatic post-election standoff has been resolved, legacies of a national identity crisis fostered during ten years of exploitation of ethnic and regional divisions have left this strategic West African country vulnerable to further instability. Avoiding this will require constructive engagement from Côte d'Ivoire's neighbors. International partners' assistance is also needed to build stronger national institutions, particularly a more independent electoral commission and professional military, as well as reinforcement of traditional reconciliation mechanisms.

      Download the Brief: ENGLISH | FRANÇAIS | PORTUGUÊS

    • Education and Conflict in Côte d’Ivoire

      By Joseph Sany. U.S. Institute of Peace, April 2010. The Ivorian education system has been both victim and agitator of conflict. Conflict has severely weakened it, leaving fewer productive outlets and opportunities for the country’s large youth population. However, years of undue political influence in the system promoted conflict-prone thinking. Unified and inclusive curricula that prioritize women’s education and the development of northern Ivorian schools would improve national educational capacity and reverse previously biased and polarizing programs. Download the Article: [PDF]
    • From Miracle to Nightmare: An Institutional Analysis of Development Failures in Côte d’Ivoire

      By Brian Klaas. Africa Today, Fall 2008. Côte d’Ivoire’s democratic opening in 1990 lacked functioning accountability mechanisms, allowing a network of political, business, and military elites to exploit ethnic politics and perpetuate violence and instability for their own financial and electoral gains. To better link elite prosperity to peace and unity rather than violence and division, reforms that require financial disclosure of government officials, prohibit and prosecute ethnic militias, and expand eligibility for political participation are needed. Download the Article: [PDF]
    • The Security Sector in Côte d'Ivoire: A Source of Conflict and a Key to Peace

      By Arthur Boutellis. International Peace Institute, May 2011. Côte d'Ivoire's security forces tripled in size in the last ten years, an increase which has been accompanied by the growing political influence of uniformed men. Security sector reform will therefore be priority in stabilizing Côte d'Ivoire's democratic transition. However, efforts must go beyond standard disarmament or reunification objectives and focus on developing, through broad-based consultation, a new security architecture that changes the relationship among politicians, security institutions, and the population. The sustainability and success of any program will be incentivizing willing support from security personnel, many of whom are convinced that they stand to lose from any changes. Download the Article: [PDF]

    Other Reads

  • Democratic Republic of the Congo

    • Striking Gold: How M23 and Its Allies Are Infiltrating Congo’s Gold Trade

      By Ruben de Koning and the Enough Team, The Enough Project | October 2013 — Gold-smuggling revenues are vital for rebel campaigns in the DRC, allowing militias like M23 to capture and hold vast densely populated areas. A wide range of local partners and international resellers are crucial facilitators of such gold smuggling. Despite the fact that the names of many of these local and international smugglers are known, no sanctions have been brought against them by the United Nations, the United States, or the European Union. Refiners in the United Arab Emirates, where much of the gold is sold, must also play their part in stifling this illegal trade. Meanwhile, the DRC and neighboring countries should expand mineral certification processes to improve oversight of the trade and reduce the proceeds reaching illegal armed groups.

      Download the paper [pdf]

    • From CNDP to M23: The Evolution of an Armed Movement in Eastern Congo

      By Jason Stearns, Rift Valley Institute | 2012 The M23 militia, which was founded in April 2012 and dismantled in late 2013, was the latest in a series of armed groups to emerge from the Kivu region in the eastern Congo. These rebellions have often enjoyed vital support from the Rwandan government, which has focused attention on condemning and sanctioning such assistance. However, other long-term grievances and ethnic divisions that span the region’s borders have also fostered these movements. Historically, local Tutsi elites and their constituencies have backed armed movements like M23 out of self-interest, ethnic solidarity, and distrust of the Kinshasa government. The Congolese government could better address these interests through security sector and judicial reforms as well as economic integration, thereby minimizing local incentives to support armed rebellions.

      Download the paper [pdf]

    • Rumors of Peace, Whispers of War: Assessment of the Reintegration of Ex-Combatants into Civilian Life in North Kivu, South Kivu and Ituri

      By Guy Lamb and Nelson Alusala. Transitional Demobilization and Reintegration Program, February 2012. Roughly 100,000 combatants have been demobilized over the last decade in the Democratic Republic of the Congo. Many have transitioned into civilian employment in economic sectors for which no assistance or training was provided, demonstrating a strong demand for nonviolent livelihood opportunities. Formal associations developed by ex-combatants that provide a safety net, a source of reassurance, and a networking opportunity have proven critical linchpins to successful transitions to civilian life. Still, recidivism has been high, particularly for militants who integrated into the armed forces where unaddressed marginalization, skewed benefits, and weak promotion potential are incentivizing desertion and militancy. Download the Article: [PDF]
    • Increasing Security in DR Congo: Gender-Responsive Strategies for Combating Sexual Violence

      By Rosan Smits and Serena Cruz. Clingendael Conflict Research Unit, June 2011. Despite significant efforts to combat sexual violence in the DRC, prevalence rates remain among the highest in the world. This is due not only to capacity constraints but also because programs primarily target conflict zones and fail to address violence-prone social constructions common around the country. Treatment must move beyond the “weapon of war” narrative to incentivize male and female empowerment strategies nationwide and strengthen the link between judicial action and gender-related social services. While rape is not strictly a security concern, SSR programs must also address that sexual violence is commonly committed by those in uniform, discrediting security forces and undermining stability. Download the Brief: [PDF]

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  • Egypt

    • From Violence to Moderation: Al-Jama‘a al-Islamiya and al-Jihad

      By Amr Hamzawy and Sarah Grebowski. Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, April 2010. Recognizing that violence has failed to achieve political change has led al-Jama’a al-Islamiya and segments of al-Jihadi to renounce violence and redefine their attitudes toward the state and society, shifting the Islamist spectrum toward moderation. However, the continued imprisonment of prominent Islamists and the government’s restrictions on others’ participation in political and social life remain obstacles to an emerging moderate Islamist agenda. Download the Paper: [PDF]
    • Egypt Security Sector Reforms

      By Mohamed Kadry Said and Noha Bakr. Arab Reform Initiative, February 2011. Security sector reform is among the important priorities facing Egypt’s political transformation. Restructuring within Egypt’s military, police, Central Security Forces, and the General Intelligence Service is needed to maintain the security sector’s popular support and credibility. Egypt’s emerging democratic state will require security forces that are accountable to elected civilian authorities, respectful of citizens, and adaptive and collaborative so as to confront novel threats.
      Download the Article:
      Download the Article: [PDF]
    • Democratization in Egypt: The Potential Role of Decentralization

      By Jamie Boex. Urban Institute Center on International Development and Governance, February 2011. Decentralization in Egypt could provide a substantial opportunity for democratization and improved responsiveness in Egypt’s public sector. While initiated under the Mubarak regime, reforming the hierarchical and bureaucratic nature of local administration has the potential to result in a more efficient allocation of resources and should remain a priority as a civilian government structure is reconstituted. Download the Brief: [PDF]

  • Equatorial Guinea

    • The Political Economy of Oil in Equatorial Guinea

      By Brendan McSherry. African Studies Quarterly, Spring 2006. Despite having the means to easily fund infrastructure, job creation, and service delivery, resource-rich countries such as Equatorial Guinea are often some of the most corrupt, unequal, and underdeveloped. However, Equatorial Guinea’s decision to forge a close political relationship with the United States has led to an element of economic dependency. Though not yet substantially used, this economic leverage provides enhanced opportunities to pursue a dialogue for reform. Download the Article: [PDF]

  • Ethiopia

    • Ethiopia After Meles

      By International Crisis Group. August 2012. Despite establishing strong international partnerships for counter-terrorism and development, Ethiopia's political system has grown increasingly unstable, something that is likely to be tested with the passing of Prime Minister Meles Zenawi. Twenty one years of strict single party rule by the EPRDF, centered on Meles, and the unfinished strategy of ethno-federalism have left Ethiopia's transition in a precarious position. Increasingly repressive policies and centralized politics have closed any legitimate means to express grievances, leading to growing popular discontent, as well as radicalization - with serious implications for the region. Going forward, Meles' Tigray People's Liberation Front (TPLF), which dominates the EPRDF, may choose to defuse tensions by becoming more inclusive or employ greater levels of repression in response to growing protests. While the latter course may be favored by the increasingly influential security forces, maintaining stability within Ethiopia's complex political landscape will be more difficult without Meles' stature and political acumen. Download the Article: [PDF]
    • Mapping Digital Media: Digital Media, Conflict and Diasporas in the Horn of Africa.

      By Iginio Gagliardone and Nicole Stremlau. Open Society Foundation, December 2011. Ethiopia’s internet and information technology has been tightly controlled by the government, especially since the controversial 2005 elections. This has kept technology access among the lowest on the continent - only 7 percent of Ethiopians have mobile phones and only 0.75 percent are Internet users. Blogging and other new media content filtered by Ethiopian censors, however, still find their way into Ethiopian radio and newspapers. Moreover, even while the government tries to suppress new technologies it recognizes their potential. It has invested heavily in an extensive video conference network that is deployed in schools and government agencies and has promised affordable and fast internet to its citizens. This ongoing tension between government efforts to tightly control the expansion and use of information technology and widespread demand for access will likely escalate as the government debates whether to link to a new fiber optic system being installed along the East African coast. Download the article: [PDF]
    • Ethiopia: Assessing Risks to Stability

      By Terrence Lyons. Center for Strategic and International Studies, June 2011. Through the use of patronage networks and targeted suppression of opposition groups, the ruling party in Ethiopia, the EPRDF, has consolidated a firm but potentially brittle hold on power. Its control is vulnerable to internal divisions, which are likely to widen with the death of Prime Minister, Meles Zenawi. Economic volatility could also be destabilizing since the party has justified its authority on strong economic growth.  Ethiopia’s unstable neighbors, Eritrea, Sudan, and Somalia, may further contribute to internal instability both directly and since some opposition groups within Ethiopia are supported by neighboring states in the region pursuing irredentist claims. Download the article: [PDF]

  • Guinea Bissau

    • Advancing Stability and Reconciliation in Guinea-Bissau: Lessons from Africa's First Narco-State

      By Davin O'Regan and Peter Thompson, Africa Center for Strategic Studies, June 2013 official-bringing-out-the-parcels-of-drugs-during-search Large quantities of cocaine have flowed through Guinea-Bissau for nearly a decade, accelerating a cycle of coups and crises that demonstrate the broad threats posed by narco-trafficking in Africa. The direct involvement of military and political leaders in the trade has also hollowed out state structures, creating a significant obstacle to stabilizing the situation. Addressing these challenges will require fundamental reforms to the presidency, a top-heavy military, and international counter narcotics cooperation.

      Download the Report [PDF]: ENGLISH | FRANÇAIS | PORTUGUÊS

    • Civil-Military Relations and Political Order in Guinea-Bissau

      By Birgit Embaló. Journal of Modern African Studies, 2012. Since independence, Guinea-Bissau has been beset by multiple military coups d’état and authoritarian governments. Such instability is largely a product of competition and disputes between the country’s two most powerful institutions, the dominant “liberation” political party PAIGC and the military. Both have served as the gateway to political and economic influence in a weakly governed context, using patronage, violence, ethnic mobilization, and, increasingly, illicit arms and drug trafficking to strengthen their authority over one another. This has set back multiple previous democratic openings and instability has spilled into neighboring Senegal and Guinea. Strengthening other voices in Guinea Bissau, including local and traditional authorities, civil society actors, and emerging political parties may lead to a more balanced and less violent system of governance. Download the Article: [PDF]
    • Beyond Turf Wars: Managing the Post-Coup Transition in Guinea-Bissau

      By International Crisis Group. August 2012. Sharply differing responses to a 2012 military coup in Guinea-Bissau between West Africa’s regional bloc ECOWAS and the Community of Portuguese Speaking Countries (CPLP) is impeding stabilization efforts. Both organizations hold points of leverage and influence in Guinea-Bissau to stymie the other, but together they could steer the country through recent years of tumultuous and volatile insecurity marked by high levels of drug trafficking. ECOWAS could use its financial clout and peace mission to push for needed security sector and electoral reforms while the CPLP could work with popular political parties to ensure a credible and participatory election. Guinea-Bissau has been unable to address drug trafficking and various political assassinations, so an international commission of inquiry should also be created to shed light on past abuses that have fed a culture of impunity. Download the article: [PDF]
    • Republic of Guinea-Bissau: Census of the Armed Forces

      By United Nations Integrated Peace-Building Office in Guinea-Bissau, April 2008. As one of the few African countries to win a war for independence, the Armed Forces in Guinea-Bissau have been a source of national pride. However, the security sector is now overstaffed and unsuited to current security threats. The government is unable to pay troops, fueling resentment, corruption, and incentives to move into illicit activities. According to a census of the armed forces, there are currently 2.73 soldiers per 1,000 people in Guinea-Bissau compared to the West African average of 1.23 soldiers per 1,000 people. The majority of troops (71%) are stationed in the capital, and the organization is very top heavy with nearly half (42%) being officers. A detailed census of the force can be used to improve the management of security resources, identify and track active military members, and “rightsize” the security sector. Download the article: [PDF]

  • Guinea

    • We Have Lived in Darkness

      guineaBy Human Rights Watch, May 2011. To sustain momentum generated by Guinea’s first ever democratic elections in 2010, President Alpha Condé must take decisive steps to address weaknesses within the judicial system and ensure that domestic investigations and prosecutions are conducted fairly and independently, particularly for those responsible for the 2007 and 2009 massacres of peaceful demonstrators. The government should also implement the pertinent recommendations contained in the joint ECOWAS-UN security sector reform roadmap, such as steady reductions of troop strength and military spending, both of which have risen considerably over the last decade. Download the Article: [ENGLISH] [FRANÇAIS]
    • Guinea at a Crossroads: Opportunities for a More Robust Civil Society

      By Kalie Sillah and Charles Kojo VanDyck, West Africa Civil Society, 2009. While the quest for self-rule, democracy and good governance has been the fundamental motivating factor behind the emergence and proliferation of civil society institutions in Guinea, structural difficulties have hampered its progress. Sillah and VanDyck explore civil-political patronage and how it has affected the development of a viable civil society in Guinea. Historical analysis for these institutional weaknesses is traced post-independence from President Toure to the present. In spite of the challenges faced, the authors are of the belief that a viable civil society is a realistic prospect in the evolving Guinean political landscape. Download the Article: [PDF]

  • Kenya

    • The Kenya National Dialogue and Reconciliation (KNDR) Monitoring Project

      By South Consulting. 2013. The Kenya National Accord was signed in 2008 in the wake of widespread violence following highly disputed national elections. However, limited application of the Accord has lowered Kenyans’ perceptions of their government. In fact, very few of the 16 reforms under the agreement have been enacted. The government should move more quickly to implement the remaining reforms while also improving and expanding civic education to increase knowledge of Kenyans’ constitutional rights.

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    • After the Kenyan Intervention in Somalia

      By Ken Menkhaus, The Enough Project | January 2012 Al Shabaab’s position has been steadily eroded in Somalia by intervening African forces, but any forthcoming victory over the group will be short lived. Without a broad-based plan for peace, a resulting power vacuum could trigger violent intercommunal clashes. Alternatives, such as the creation of buffer zones within Somalia sponsored by regional actors, will be unpopular with Somalis and have often failed in the past. Instead, a sense of shared power and prosperity should be fostered in urban hubs, such as the major port city Kismayo, where a “pax commercial” administered by a neutral, multilateral entity might forestall and defuse contentious clan relationships.

      Download the Article [PDF]

    • Kenya: Assessing Risks to Stability

      AssessingRisksBy Joel D. Barkan, Center for Strategic and International Security, June 2011. Stability in Kenya leading up to elections in 2012 will in part be determined by the interaction between a young, urban, and increasingly assertive middle class that supports recent reforms and Kenya’s traditional powerbrokers who seek to limit changes to the current political system. Growing economic inequality, the continued utilization of ethnicity to mobilize votes, and ongoing investigations of top politicians are also complicating an already charged and volatile political atmosphere. The steady implementation of recent constitutional reforms and other changes to the judicial, and executive branches of government will be critical to continuing development and stability. Download the Article: [PDF]
    • Internal Displacement and Local Peacebuilding in Kenya

      InternalDisplacementKenyaBy Jaqueline M. Klopp, Patrick Githinji, and Keffa Karuoya. United States Institute of Peace, September 2010. Kenya’s failure to effectively resettle internally displaced persons (IDPs) years after post-election violence in 2008 indicates a concurrent failure of peacebuilding and worsening ethnic tensions. Remedial initiatives operate in distinct, parallel programs and often reach only urban- and youth-centric portions of the affected population. A systematic, cohesive approach to economic empowerment among IDPs combined with community education initiatives would more effectively solve security issues while promoting growth. Download the Article: [PDF]
    • The Mountain Of Terror: A Report on the Investigations of Torture by the Kenyan Military at Mt. Elgon

      By Kenya National Human Rights Commission, May 2008 In 2008, the Kenya National Human Rights Commission conducted a fact-finding mission to better understand local militias in the Mt. Elgon district of western Kenya and the deployment of military units to quell such activity. Evidence emerged that the militias were involved in manipulating land allocations, were influenced by local political leaders, and were responsible for killings and intimidation. The commission also found evidence that the military, which is often more respected and trusted than the Kenyan police, used illegal detentions, torture, and extrajudicial killings during its deployment, which undermined efforts to pacify the region.

      Download the Article [PDF]

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  • Liberia

    • A Populations-Based Survey on Attitudes about Security, Dispute Resolution, and Post-Conflict Reconstruction in Liberia

      By Patrick Vinck, Phuong Pham, and Tino Kreutzer. Human Rights Center, UC Berkeley, June 2011.

      Five years after emerging from decades of civil war, most Liberians perceive many advances in their country, according to surveys. Strong majorities feel safer, few report any ill will to other ethnic groups, and most are eager to participate in national elections. However, growing rural-urban cleavages indicate a need for expanded educational and housing initiatives. Land disputes have also become a driver of tensions and could be better managed through improvements to the formal court system and educational campaigns as to how to access legal services.

      Download the Article: [PDF]


    • Oversight of the Liberian National Police

      By David C. Gompert, Robert C. Davis, Brooke Stearns Lawson. Rand, 2009. This report reviews the challenges faced by the Liberia National Police (LNP) both logistically and structurally in their effort to provide security in post-conflict Liberia. The study compares these emerging structures with three other established police services on the continent namely South Africa, Nigeria and Ghana and draws on their best practices for recommendations. These include the creation of a mixed oversight (government-independent) body of the police service to enhance professionalism. Download the Article: [PDF]
    • LIBERIA: Uneven Progress in Security Sector Reform

      By International Crisis Group, 2009. This ICG reports looks at the successes and challenges facing SSR in Liberia. The report discuses US private contractors’ role in the training of the military and the backlash it has faced. Meanwhile, the DDRR process employed in Liberia has been touted as one of the best in the world, notable for a meticulous vetting process that excluded ex-combatant from joining the new military. The report highlights major threats to the SSR program which includes unemployment for ex-combatants (due to the exclusion under DDRR), a growing number of land disputes, lack of coordination of the security agencies, and the frequent cancellation of human rights and rule of law training due to limited funding. Download the Article: [PDF]

  • Libya

    • Illicit Trafficking and Libya’s Transition: Profits and Losses

      By Mark Shaw and Fiona Mangan, U.S. Institute of Peace | February 2014 — Illicit trafficking of drugs, people, arms, and goods have become a major source of revenue for the numerous militias and armed groups in Libya as well as a driver of competition and corruption within the post-Qadhafi political order. Such activities are complicating an unstable transition and the development of new state institutions. Stronger efforts to promote inclusivity among constituents and business opportunities in key trafficking regions, especially in border areas, may undercut illegal economic activity and weaken armed actors. Additional improvements in the security sector may also reduce the “protection” market controlled by militias, thereby incentivizing demobilization of some armed groups.

      Download the paper

    • Seeking Security: Public Opinion Survey in Libya

      By National Democratic Institute | November 2013 — A series of public opinion surveys conducted by NDI in May and September 2013 assessed the attitudes of Libyans towards the post-Qadhafi political transition. While the surveys found that Libyans’ trust in the General National Congress, which has governed the country since 2012, was declining, most Libyans also held negative perceptions of militias and saw disarming these groups as the country’s number one priority. Encouragingly, affiliation with emerging political parties tends to be based more on policies and platforms than local or tribal ties, and the majority of respondents favored the establishment of quotas to ensure the representation of women and ethnic minorities in the constitution-drafting assembly.

      Download the paper

    • Building Libya’s Security Sector

      By Frederic Wehrey and Peter Cole, Carnegie Endowment for International Peace | August 2013 — Years after the fall of the Qadhafi regime in 2011, Libya’s new security services remain outnumbered and outgunned by multiple armed militia groups across the country. Resulting problems include a worsening spiral of violence in the country’s east and weak border security, which has led to a boom in illicit trafficking. In order to rebuild its security sector, the Libyan government needs to establish a new security architecture with clear authorities and coordinating mechanisms; speed militia integration, demobilization, and pension plans; and improve recruiting, vetting, and training of new forces.

      Download the paper

    • Fault Lines of the Revolution: Political Actors, Camps and Conflicts in the New Libya

      By Wolfram Lacher, German Institute for International and Security Affairs | May 2013 — Two opposing camps are emerging in Libya’s fragmented political landscape, each featuring a wide range of shifting factions and interests. Representatives of “revolutionary” forces seek root-and-branch reform of the political and business elite to their advantage. They face a heterogeneous camp of more established actors who fear further loss of influence following the collapse of the Qadhafi regime. This rift runs through the General National Congress, between individual cities and tribes, and divides elements in the security sector and business community. The rivalries tend to focus on local issues, and therefore are unlikely to translate into national level fissures. However, establishing structures of accountability and forums for dialogue can bridge rifts and foster a shared vision of the country’s future.

      Download the paper

    • Libyan Islamists Unpacked: Rise, Transformation, and Future

      By Omar Ashour. Brookings Doha Center, May 2012. Multiple, diverse Islamist influences are shaping post-Qadhafi Libya. These include the Muslim Brotherhood, which emulates the moderate, political party model of the Egyptian Muslim Brotherhood; the Libyan Islamic Movement for Change, formerly a violent anti-Gaddafi militia; and an amorphous Salafi movement which has long been nonviolent but lacks organization. Although certain Libyan Islamists fought in Algeria, Afghanistan, and Chechnya, this experience strengthened the dedication of many to a peaceful political process in Libya. Overall their experiences with al Qaeda and AQIM have not been positive and most seek to be inclusive and gain legitimacy both nationally and internationally. Download the article: [PDF]
    • Libya: Post-War Challenges

      Misrata was heavily damaged by fighting during the 2011 Libyan civil war. (November 2011) By African Development Bank, September 2011. The replacement of the Qadhafi regime in Libya will not eliminate the patterns of patronage in existence since 1969. Only an integrated and systemic interweaving of various social, political, legal, and economic initiatives can prevent backsliding to authoritarianism. The key to success will be political governance matched by economic reconstruction and by legitimacy for those in charge of the post-conflict governing structures. Download the Article: [PDF]

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  • Mali

    • Illicit Trafficking and Instability in Mali

      By Peter Tinti, Global Initiative Against Transnational Organized Crime, January 2014 MUJAO in MaliThe introduction of the cocaine trade in northern Mali in the early 2000s scrambled the region’s loose, informal power dynamics. Militias became more numerous and many state institutions were soon corrupted. This illicit economy eventually contributed to the collapse of the state in 2012 and even continued during a brief occupation by Islamist militias and a subsequent French military deployment. A comprehensive effort to build capacity as well as accountability in the Malian security services is vital to reducing the persistent instability bred by trafficking.

      Download the paper [pdf]

    • A Handbook on Mali's 2012-2013 Crisis

      By Alexander Thurston and Andrew Lebovich, Institute for the Study of Islamic Thought in Africa | September 2013 — This Handbook provides the reader with a detailed guide of the short-term and long-term causes of the 2012-2013 Malian crisis. After it transitioned to civilian rule in 1991, Mali was hailed as one of the best examples of successful democratic transitions in West Africa. However, neither the grievances of northern Malian communities nor the endemic problems that plagued the weak central government, such as corruption and contraband smuggling, were ever addressed by the national authorities in Bamako. The destabilizing growth of al Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb starting in the 2000s and the regional instability that followed the Arab Spring helped trigger a long-gestating crisis. Likewise, resolving these drivers of instability will require addressing long-running disagreements over legitimate political processes and decision-making as well as intense suspicion and polarization across the north.

      Download the paper

    • Managing Climate Change and Conflict in Mali

      By Robbie Watts. Institute of Development Studies, 2012. Long-standing conflicts in Mali, such as the Tuareg rebellion, are complex and highly political and are not readily explained with an environmental security narrative. Since the 1970s, Mali has promoted private land ownership rather than common property rights, resulting in the marginalization of northern pastoralists as agriculturalists cultivate previous migratory routes. Updating conventions on land-use practices would help resolve disputes between the two. Mali’s National Adaptation Action Program has acknowledged the high adaptive capacity and ecological/economic efficiency of mobile livestock systems in the Sahel, but has not reinforced it to prevent famines that are a feature of the northern region’s volatile weather patterns. Current national plans for agricultural expansion must be more resilient, flexible, and diverse given the country’s varied climates and land-use practices. Download the Article: [PDF]
    • What Went Wrong in Mali?

      By Bruce Whitehouse, London Review of Books | August 2012 Touareg Independence Fighters Mali’s reputation as a relatively stable and accomplished democracy was upended by a military coup in March 2012. The coup elicited tempered resistance and its leaders have remained influential, raising questions about the strength Mali’s democratic system. In actuality, the previous regime had in recent years suppressed debate in the National Assembly and had harassed some journalists. Meanwhile, a culture of corruption flourished in the judiciary and millions in foreign assistance in the aid sector disappeared into personal accounts. Key facets of Mali’s democracy had been weakening for some time. A vibrant press and popular expectations for legitimate and representative governance persist, but institutional setbacks create challenges in reviving Mali’s democracy.

      Download the Article [PDF]

    • Trying to Understand MUJWA

      By Andrew Lebovich, Al Wasat | August 2012 Similarly to what was believed about al Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM) in 2010, the Movement for Unity and Jihad in West Africa (MUJWA) is thought to be using jihadist activities as a façade for its profitable cocaine and kidnapping business in the Sahel. However, it has several motivations and is not necessarily leaving jihadism for crime. Perhaps its criminal activities allow it to be jihadist, or vice-versa. During the secessionist takeover of the major city of Gao, MUJWA’s policies changed from banning soccer and television to trying to overcome local resistance and recruit supporters. Since consolidating power in Gao MUJWA has begun carrying out an extremist form of Sharia law against popular will possibly to instill belief, settle local scores, or make locals fear MUJWA enough to tolerate their criminal activities.

      View the Article

    Read more on Mali

  • Other Reads on Mali

    Report of the Secretary-General on the Situation in Mali

    By United Nations Security Council | November 2012

    Mali’s crisis has improved following the removal of Islamist militias from most major cities in the north by a French-led and African supported operation, which is being replaced by a new UN peacekeeping mission. However, while the of holding national elections has achieved some short-term political stability, social polarization, intercommunal tensions, and antagonism between political actors remain high and could escalate into further conflict if unresolved. Moreover, the mandate of the UN peacekeeping in Mali to protect civilians and deter violence will require robust capabilities that are not typical of most UN missions.

    Traditional Conflict Medicine? Lessons for Putting Mali and Other African Countries on the Road to Peace

    By Peter J. Schraeder, Nordic Journal of African Studies | July 2012

    In 2012, a northern rebellion led to the loss of state control of half of Mali’s territory. Northern groups fear the suppression of their nomadic culture and dominance by southern political leaders. Peace approaches used during prior uprisings, including efforts to strengthen interdependent economic relationships between meat- and dairy-supplying pastoralists and livestock-feed producing southern agriculturalists may reverse growing north-south rifts. Likewise, consensus building can be fostered through northern traditions such as the right to voice opinions in open fora and collective community-based decisionmaking. Such approaches can promote dialogue and address some of the roots of northern Mali’s secession.

  • Mauritania

    • Mauritania Politics and Security

      By MENAS Associates, May 2012 Mauritania has seen a surge in public demonstrations about unemployment, poor infrastructure, women’s rights, food insecurity, slavery, and a national registration program deemed discriminatory. The underlying message of many of the protests is a desire to end military rule. Meanwhile, having undertaken comparatively tough cross-border counterterrorism operations, Mauritania faces further terrorist threats as groups have strengthened from territorial gains in northern Mali. Further military actions and terror attacks, however, may only create more dissent among the populace, leaving the current regime precarious. Download the article [PDF]
    • Mauritania’s Islamists

      By Alex Thurston. Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, March 2012 The legalization of once harshly suppressed Islamist groups in Mauritania has yielded a largely tolerant movement that supports democratic order and rejects jihadism. Islam appears to be the guiding value not the political doctrine of mainstream Mauritanian Islamists who are increasingly politically active and astute. However, their latitude to further undermine extremist ideologies and threats to Mauritania is tempered by the political necessity to remain distant from an unpopular regime that has aggressively pursued extremist groups. Download the article [PDF]
    • Sifting Through the Layers of Insecurity in the Sahel: The Case of Mauritania

      By Cédric Jourde, Africa Center for Strategic Studies

      mauritania_armyIncreasing narcotraffic and a more active AQIM are elevating concerns over instability in the Sahel. However, the region’s threats are more complex than what is observable on the surface. Rather, security concerns are typically characterized by multiple, competing, and fluctuating interests at the local, national, and regional levels. Effectively responding to these threats requires in-depth understanding of the multiple contextual layers in which illicit actors operate.

      Download Security Brief #15 [PDF]: ENGLISH | FRANÇAIS | PORTUGUÊS

  • Morocco

    • Western Sahara: The Failure of “Negotiations without Preconditions”

      By Anna Theofilopoulou, United States Institute of Peace | April 2010rasd

      The tenuous stalemate between the Polisario Front of the Western Sahara region of Morocco and the national government has fueled tensions with regional rival and Polisario-supporter Algeria and perpetuated human rights abuses and low-intensity conflict.  The “negotiations without preconditions” approach to resolve the standoff has made little progress, allowing each side to retain its original, mutually-exclusivist solution. African neighbors and other international actors must exert more pressure on both sides to push for progress on a dispute that is destabilizing the North and West African regions.

      Download the Article [PDF]

    • Constitutional Reform in Morocco: Reform in Times of Revolution

      By Abdellah Tourabi, Arab Reform Initiative | November 2011morocco_protest A recent constitutional reform process initiated by Morocco’s king in response to the “Arab Spring” protest movements that emerged in neighboring North African states received overwhelming approval in a popular referendum. The eventual reforms codified important rights and freedoms, broadened the rule of law and the independence of the judiciary, but did not reduce the powers of the King, who remains at the centre of Moroccan political life. Vocal opposition movements, including many youths, continue to voice support for a genuine parliamentary monarchy.

      Download the Article [PDF]

  • Niger

    • Niger: Another Weak Link in the Sahel?

      By International Crisis Group | September 2013 Threatened by the growing presence of trans-Sahelian Islamic militant networks, including those that destabilized neighboring Mali, Niger has increased military spending, border security, and troop deployments. Ties with France and the United States, which has based surveillance aircraft in northern Niger, have also grown due to fears of an international terrorist threat. Though such efforts have addressed short-term security vulnerabilities, they have come at the expense of vital social and development programs targeting Niger’s marginalized regions and inter-communal tensions. This risks alienating a population that still views the government skeptically after recent periods of authoritarian and military rule. Government policies should be rebalanced to renew and expand various national development initiatives.

      Download the paper [pdf]

    • Overstating Terror in Niger

      By Andrew Lebovich, Foreign Affairs | August 2013 The Nigerien government is facing increasing security challenges following a number of terror attacks, an influx of refugees from neighboring states, and regional instability. Yet Niger should not be viewed as the next battleground of Islamic militancy - Niger is not Mali, its neighbor where Islamic militant groups seized large portions of the country in 2012. Niger has a vibrant multiparty, democratic culture, and, despite a history of military coups, organized free and legitimate elections in 2010. Further improvements to governance and broad-based development will reinforce Niger’s resilience against internal and regional terrorist threats.

      Read the article

  • Nigeria

    • ACSS Research Director Discusses Future of Boko Haram on Arise TV

      Arise News - Boko Haram Authorities in Nigeria claimed to have killed the leadership of Boko Haram. Does that mean that the campaign of terror in the country's north is over? Dr. Joseph Siegle, Research Director at the Africa Center for Strategic Studies (ACSS) discussed the topic and what it means for the future of the Islamic group in an interview with Arise TV. The 7-minute interview aired August 25, 2013, as part of a weekly news roundup of the Nigeria-owned international station that has offices in New York.

      Watch Dr. Siegle’s interview

      For more information about Boko Haram, read ACSS' recent Africa Security Brief on Mitigating Radicalism in Northern Nigeria.
    • Mitigating Radicalism in Northern Nigeria

      By Michael Olufemi Sodipo, Africa Center for Strategic Studies, August 2013 05-17-2013warcrimesOngoing attacks by Boko Haram and other violent Islamist groups coupled with an at times arbitrary response by Nigeria's security forces have contributed to a deteriorating security situation in the north. Increasingly frequent attacks and bombings also mask longer-running radicalization dynamics. A sustained approach targeting every stage of the radicalization spectrum, from addressing socioeconomic grievances, to cross-cultural peacebuilding initiatives, to rehabilitating radicalized members of violent Islamist groups, as well as a more measured use of force are needed to reverse this broader trend.

      Download Security Brief #26 [PDF] ENGLISH | FRANÇAIS | PORTUGUÊS

    • What’s Next for Security in the Niger Delta?

      By Aaron Sayne, The United States Institute of Peace | 2013 The once volatile Niger Delta has enjoyed relative peace and stability since an amnesty program demobilized thousands of militants in 2009. However, without subsequent rehabilitation of militants and reforms, many ex-combatants have been absorbed into opaque “private security” arrangements, which may be fueling organized crime and undermining peace. Former militants may also be exploited by politicians seeking to sway upcoming elections. While the reemergence of conflict seems avoidable in the short term, persistent instability and violence in region demand stronger efforts to complete the rehabilitation and reintegration of former fighters.

      Download the Article [PDF]

    • Boko Haram's Evolving Threat

      By J. Peter Pham, Africa Center for Strategic Studies | April 2012Photo Credit: George Osodi/IRIN

      A surge in large-scale attacks over the past year by Nigerian Islamist terrorist organization Boko Haram presents a serious threat to stability in West Africa’s most populous state and the world’s sixth largest oil exporter. The group has successfully expanded its geographic reach, mastered new sophisticated tactics, and targeted symbols of international presence in Nigeria. In this Africa Security Brief, J. Peter Pham assesses the significance of this upsurge, examines the origins and goals of this opaque group, and puts forward priorities for responding to this threat.

      Download Security Brief #20 in: ENGLISH | FRANÇAIS | PORTUGUÊS

    • Tracking Social Media: The 2011 Nigerian Elections

      By Judith Asuni and Jacqueline Farris, Shehu Musa Yar’Adua Foundation | 2011 New social media technology has changed the pattern of how information is disseminated to Nigerian citizens. This was dramatically displayed during Nigeria’s most recent national elections, during which voting irregularities and electoral violence were monitored and better managed using widely available new media tools. Such technology, however, was also be used to stoke post-election political violence. Civil society groups, the electoral commission, security agencies, and media outlets must integrate these new tools into their planning so as to absorb, respond to, and raise the accuracy of vastly higher levels of circulating information.

      Download the Article [PDF]

    • Nigeria's Pernicious Drivers of Ethno-Religious Conflict

      By Chris Kwaja, Africa Center for Strategic Studies | July 2011nigeria_mosque-horz Nigeria's long-running "indigene-settler" conflict in and around Jos, Plateau State has escalated in recent years and may spread to other ethnically mixed regions of the country, heightening instability. Navigating such inter-communal fault lines is a common challenge for many African societies that requires looking past symptoms to address systemic drivers. In Nigeria, this will entail measures that directly mitigate violence as well as realize constitutional reform.

      Download Security Brief #14 in: ENGLISH | FRANÇAIS | PORTUGUÊS

    Other Reads

  • North Africa

    • Religion and Politics in Arab Transitions

      By Barah Mikaïl, FRIDE | February 2012 The recent electoral successes of Islamist parties over their secular counterparts in North Africa is due as much to their comparatively strong record of opposition to former autocrats as it is to the appeal of their religious ideologies. Regardless, religion will not be excluded from the public sphere during this moment of political transition in the Maghreb, as even most secular parties publicly espouse religious beliefs. Rather than achieving a staunchly secular new order, North Africa’s transitioning states should focus on preventing religious segregation within emerging state institutions or making religion a central aspect of politics as opposed to a guiding principle for political parties and actors.

      Download the Article [PDF]

    • Arab Social Media Report

      By Fadi Salem and Racha Mourtada, Dubai School of Government | January 2011

      Online social networking is changing entrepreneurship, civic participation, political activism, independent media, and more in the Arab world, particularly among the 21 million people on Facebook across 22 countries.  Even where internet penetration is low or access is restricted, eager users are finding creative ways to bypass filters or use mobile devices to enable access to social media.

      Read the Report

    • Protest Movements and Political Change in the Arab World

      By Marina Ottaway and Amr Hamzaway, Carnegie Endowment for International Peace | January 2011

      Levels of discontent and unrest have been growing for several years in North Africa and have coalesced into direct challenges to incumbent authoritarian regimes. Their success will be contingent on the ability of dispersed opposition groups to coordinate their efforts and link socioeconomic and political grievances as well as how incumbents choose to respond.

      Download the Article [PDF]

    • Arab Human Development Report: Challenges to Human Security in the Arab World 2009

      By UN Development Program, Regional Bureau for Arab States | 2009

      Stability in the Arab region has been impeded by governments’ persistent focus on state-centric concepts of security. Infrastructure development, good governance, poverty alleviation, and other crosscutting human development issues are equally if not more important to state security and their absence pose a threat to the Arab region.

      Download the Article in: ENGLISHFRANÇAIS

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  • Sahel

    • Report of the Secretary-General on the Situation in the Sahel Region

      By United Nations Security Council | June 2013 AQIM leader reveals strategy States in the Sahel are facing unique security challenges as a result of the fallout from the post-Qadhafi transition in neighboring Libya and the 2012 crisis in Mali. Half a million people are estimated to have been displaced in Mali, with many fleeing across its borders, and basic health and educational services have yet to return to northern Mali’s population centers. Meanwhile, other states remain vulnerable to insecurity resulting from terrorist activities, illicit trafficking, and related organized crime. Regional organizations such as ECOWAS and the African Union as well as with other international partners are vital to overcoming the complex security and governance challenges that may overwhelm the Sahel’s fragile states if they confront them in isolation.

      Download the Report [PDF]

    • Insurrections, kidnappings and instability: Security dynamics in the Sahara/Sahel in the wake of the Libyan uprising

      By Maplecroft | February 2012 Sahel Ineffective governance, inadequate security measures and the outflow of arms from post-Qadhafi Libya are contributing to lawlessness, smuggling, kidnapping, and terrorism in the Sahel. The influx of weapons into northern Mali is fueling and will sustain the newly formed National Movement for the Liberation of Azawad (NMLA) rebellion, whose operations have displaced tens of thousands into neighboring countries and is having a broadly destabilizing impact in the Sahel. Meanwhile, national governments in the region have been unable to overcome complex and contradictory aims to collaborate effectively to address these new challenges.

      Read the Article

    • Regional Security Cooperation in the Maghreb and Sahel: Algeria’s Pivotal Ambivalence

      By Laurence Aïda Ammour, Africa Center for Strategic Studies | February 2012 army_algeria

      Despite growing concerns across the Sahel and Maghreb over the increasing potency of al Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb, the diffusion of heavily armed mercenaries from Libya, the expanding influence of arms and drugs trafficking, and the widening lethality of Boko Haram, regional security cooperation to address these transnational threats remains fragmented. Algeria is well-positioned to play a central role in defining this cooperation, but must first reconcile the complex domestic, regional, and international considerations that shape its decision-making.

      Download Security Brief #18 [PDF]: ENGLISH | FRANÇAIS | PORTUGUÊS

    • Sifting Through the Layers of Insecurity in the Sahel: The Case of Mauritania

      By Cédric Jourde, Africa Center for Strategic Studies

      mauritania_armyIncreasing narcotraffic and a more active AQIM are elevating concerns over instability in the Sahel. However, the region’s threats are more complex than what is observable on the surface. Rather, security concerns are typically characterized by multiple, competing, and fluctuating interests at the local, national, and regional levels. Effectively responding to these threats requires in-depth understanding of the multiple contextual layers in which illicit actors operate.

      Download Security Brief #15 [PDF]: ENGLISH | FRANÇAIS | PORTUGUÊS

    • West Africa’s Growing Terrorist Threat: Confronting AQIM’s Sahelian Strategy

      By Modibo Goïta, Africa Center for Strategic Studies | February 2011 aqim Al Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM) has undertaken increasingly frequent and effective attacks in the past year, posing a dangerous and growing threat in Africa's Sahel region. Reversing this trend presents a particularly complex challenge as AQIM has simultaneously strengthened ties to local communities and regional criminal networks. Efforts to counter AQIM will require collaborative region-wide strategies that feature complementary security and development initiatives.

      Download Security Brief #11 [PDF]: ENGLISH | FRANÇAIS | PORTUGUÊS

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  • Sierra Leone

    • A Village-Up View of Sierra Leone’s Civil War and Reconstruction: Multilayered and Networked Governance

      By James B M Vincent, Institute of Development Studies | May 2012 Many local and traditional institutions that functioned throughout Sierra Leone’s chaotic civil war and remain essential to ongoing peace building and reconciliation. For instance, as brutal militias expanded their influence and the government saw its authority wane  some local traditional authorities adapted to these shifting power dynamics and included more youths and women into decision making processes. This endured and contributed to preventing renewed fighting in the post-conflict era since many youth had previously been easily recruited by militia groups. Continued collaboration with local and traditional authorities can help consolidate still needed security sector and other reforms.

      Download the Report [PDF]

    • From Patronage to Peacebuilding? Elite capture and governance from below in Sierra Leone

      By Melissa T. Labonte, African Affairs | December 2011 Efforts to decentralize authority in Sierra Leone are very vulnerable to “elite capture,” a phenomenon that led to abuses of authority, competition, and eventually widespread militancy and violence in the past. Decentralization is a common strategy in post-conflict situations to build confidence in governance arrangements. However, in Sierra Leone, as in other contexts, local authority is often misused if not properly overseen. Without proper management and effective accountability, decentralization efforts could undermine broader peace efforts in Sierra Leone.

      Download the Article [PDF]

    • Security System Reform in Sierra Leone and the Role of the Office of National Security

      By Brigadier General (ret.) Kellie Hassan Conteh, The Global Facilitation Network for Security Sector Reform | October 2008 AP Photo

      Sierra Leone’s security sector has been significantly transformed since the country emerged from civil war. Intelligence offices were reformed, a National Security Council created, inter-agency coordination improved, and the security sector is generally less politicized. This transformation process helped lay the groundwork for Sierra Leone’s post-conflict return to free, fair, and safe democratic elections.

      View the Article [PDF]

    • Security Sector Reform under International Tutelage in Sierra Leone

      By Osman Gbla, International Peacekeeping | August 2006 Author examines the effectiveness and challenges facing security sector reform (SSR) efforts being implemented in Sierra Leone. Whilst the author praises the institutional capacity restructuring in retraining and re-integrating of ex-combatants into the security forces, he highlights the lack of oversight and non-involvement of the judiciary, parliament and civil society as a major concern. He concludes by questioning the implementation capacity as well as the over-reliance on foreign donors to sustain and fund the program.

      Read the Article

  • Somalia

    • The Re-Invention of Al Shabaab: A Strategy of Choice or Necessity?

      By Matt Bryden, Center for Strategic and International Studies | August 2013 — The deadly attack on Kenya’s Westgate mall in September 2013, in which al Shabaab militants killed more than 70 people, exemplifies a shift in the extremist group’s aims, strategy, and composition following its steady loss of influence in Somalia. New leadership has refocused the group on international jihad, which is likely to sustain its relevance even as regional and international forces seize control of al Shabaab strongholds in Somalia. However, internal tensions and depleted strength leave al Shabaab vulnerable. Efforts to build a more legitimate and effective government in Somalia will further undermine the group.

      Download the paper [pdf]

    • Somalia Redux? Assessing the New Somali Federal Government

      By Matt Bryden, Center for Strategic and International Studies | August 2013 A new Somali federal government was established in 2012 to a wave of international optimism, including some comparisons to the transformational effects of the Arab Spring. However, the new government must address three key challenges that it has largely ignored in its proposed strategy to stabilize the country. First, an inclusive political process is needed to address the local grievances that have been exploited by the Islamic militant group al Shabaab to mobilize support. The second involves tackling pervasive corruption that discredited and weakened the preceding transitional authorities and dampened an economic recovery. Lastly, basic electoral procedures and institutions must be established to hold a constitutional referendum, national elections, and other polls critical to ending the government’s transitional nature.

      Download the paper [pdf]

    • Community-Led Stabilization in Somalia

      By Siris Hartkorn, Forced Migration Review | 2011 Access by international actors to provide humanitarian assistance in Somalia is complicated by the presence of numerous Non-State Armed Groups (NSAGs). While many are dangerous and predatory, some NSAGs are viewed as legitimate among the local population and community. Although controversial, engaging with comparatively responsible and legitimate NSAGs through community safety projects to ensure civilian security may be necessary and productive in cases like Somalia, where central state authority is severely limited.

      Download the Article [PDF]

    • Arms Flows and the Conflict in Somalia

      By Pieter D. Wezeman, SIPRI Background Paper | October 2010 International responses to the protracted instability in Somalia have included both general restrictions on arms supplies and arming specific actors. However, such efforts have generated significant human rights and regional instability risks. Countries seeking to support stabilization efforts should consider channels that are more closely monitored such as through the African Union or directly to its Somalia peacekeeping mission instead of to troop-contributing countries or the Somalia transitional government.

      Download the Paper [PDF]

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  • South Sudan

    • Fragility and State-Society Relations in South Sudan

      By Kate Almquist Knopf, Africa Center for Strategic Studies, September 2013 southsudanTwo years into South Sudan's state-building effort, Africa's youngest country faces a variety of trials: the threat of renewed conflict with Sudan, localized ethnic-based insurgencies, deepening strains from food shortages, and weak governance structures, among others. Underlying all of these challenges are fragile state-society relations, which have constrained a national dialogue on needed reforms. Trust and confidence in the government can be generated through a concerted effort to build inclusive coalitions of state and nonstate actors, expand independent media, and construct a rules-based, accountable foundation for the new state.

      Download the Research Paper [PDF]: ENGLISHFRANÇAIS

    • Work in Progress: Security Force Development in South Sudan Through February 2012

      By John A. Snowden, Small Arms Survey | June 2012 Numerous militias, intercommunal fighting, and cross-border clashes comprise a volatile and unstable security landscape in South Sudan. Meanwhile, security force development has been undermined by poor planning and resource allocation processes as well as a complex disarmament and security sector reform effort. Effectively responding to South Sudan’s growing unconventional security challenges requires a doctrinal realignment within the military to include a maneuverable approach to countering irregular groups as well as a clearer delineation of roles and collaboration between the military and police. The security services will also need to better manage misconduct, professionalization, and personnel management to build a trusted force.

      Download the Article [PDF]

    • Governing South Sudan: Opinions of South Sudanese on a Government that Can Meet Citizen Expectations

      By Traci Cook and Leben Moro, National Democratic Institute | March 2012 Welcome to South Sudan According to post-independence surveys and focus groups, growing numbers of South Sudanese express dissatisfaction with pace of development, the rising cost of living, and insecurity. Citizens, however, place greatest emphasis on the importance of inclusivity and appreciate the government’s efforts to reflect the country’s ethnic and regional diversity in high-level cabinet appointments. At the same time, many feel too uninformed and unfamiliar with existing governance structures and therefore unable to participate and assess performance. The government of South Sudan will need to expand opportunities for citizen participation and feedback in order to cultivate the public’s confidence and address development and security challenges.

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    • South Sudan: International State-Building and Its Limits

      By Wolfram Lacher, Stiftung Wissenschaft und Politik | February 2012 After becoming independent in July 2011, South Sudan commenced a massive and, inevitably, long-term state-building effort. The country faces severe obstacles, including minimal basic infrastructure, weak markets for goods and services, and lasting legacies from decades of civil wars. The political elite has also split into various competing interests groups, and amid severe institutional weaknesses this has led to rampant corruption and clientelism. Meanwhile rising inter-communal and -ethnic conflict has widened societal faultlines, and the security sector’s reputation for abuses and heavy handedness has alienated its support. State-building progress in South Sudan will require an agenda that prioritizes anti-corruption and human rights, both by state authorities and international partners.

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    • Local Justice in Southern Sudan

      By Cherry Leonardi, Leben Nelson Moro, Martina Santschi, and Deborah H. Isser, Rift Valley Institute and U.S. Institute of Peace | 2010


      Favoritism, corruption, and political interference in South Sudan’s emerging justice system have lowered confidence in its ability to resolve disputes and address revenge killings and inter-communal conflict.  However, local and traditional justice mechanisms have established records of consensual dispute resolution within and across ethnic lines and could be better integrated with newly formed southern governance structures.

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  • Sudan

    • At an Impasse: The Conflict in Blue Nile

      By Claudio Gramizzi, Small Arms Survey | December 2013 The conflict in Blue Nile, a Sudanese state located on the border with South Sudan, restarted in September 2011 as a result of renewed tension between the Khartoum government and the Sudan People’s Liberation Movement-North rebel group. Within weeks, tens of thousands of troops, including locally recruited, government-equipped militias, were mobilized and significant military resources and aerial bombardments were used in battle. Though the conflict has regional dimensions, including evidence that rebels enjoy some ties to the government in South Sudan, it is largely a product of widespread divisions and grievances internal to Sudan.

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    • Sudan’s Popular Protest Movement: Will the International Community Continue to Ignore It?

      By Dalia Haj-Omar, Open Democracy | November 2013 — A veteran activist from demonstrations that swept several cities in Sudan in 2010 and 2012 examines how the reemergence of protests in 2013 have changed the country’s power dynamics. In a sign of some weakness, the government has resorted to extraordinary measures such as the extended closure of universities, severing internet service, and the use of force by police to deter marchers. One significant factor driving Sudanese onto the streets has been a surge in the cost of living and basic goods, yet the extension of loans and investments from Qatar, the World Bank, and western businesses has provided the Khartoum government more flexibility to slow the expansion of popular discontent.

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    • Sudan’s Popular Protest Movement: Will the International Community Continue to Ignore It?

      By Dalia Haj-Omar, Open Democracy | November 2013 A veteran activist from demonstrations that swept several cities in Sudan in 2010 and 2012 examines how the reemergence of protests in 2013 have changed the country’s power dynamics. In a sign of some weakness, the government has resorted to extraordinary measures such as the extended closure of universities, severing internet service, and the use of force by police to deter marchers. One significant factor driving Sudanese onto the streets has been a surge in the cost of living and basic goods, yet the extension of loans and investments from Qatar, the World Bank, and western businesses has provided the Khartoum government more flexibility to slow the expansion of popular discontent.

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    • Making Sense of the Protests in Khartoum

      By Alex de Waal, African Futures | October 2013 — Bouts of protests in recent years, some violent, have drawn comparisons to the Arab Spring and to previous uprisings that toppled past governments in Khartoum. However, opposition groups lack the organizational structure or sympathy among key constituencies, such as large Islamic groups or the military or police, to achieve genuine political change. With opposition groups relatively weak and disconnected, the Sudanese regime will likely remain shaken but resistant to genuine reforms.

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    • Sudan: Anatomy of a Conflict

      Harvard Humanitarian Initiative | May 2013 — Archival satellite imagery and open-source data reveal that more dwellings and aid shipments were destroyed by armed militants in various areas of Sudan during fighting from 2010 to 2012 than previously reported. The resulting humanitarian crisis from this destruction is far starker than initially thought. Geospatial tracking has also indicated abuses and extrajudicial executions by Sudanese government forces, most notably through the movement of police vehicles. Additional data will provide a better understanding of the complete humanitarian implications, consequences, and perpetrators of violence and internal conflicts in Sudan.

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    • Major Reform or More War

      International Crisis Group | November 2012 — Chronic conflict, driven by the concentration of power and resources in Khartoum, continues to plague Sudan. A more inclusive government that addresses at least some of the grievances that have propelled rebellions in Darfur, the East, and the country’s new southern region are needed, but pledges to transform governance remain unfulfilled. A key hurdle – though not the only one – is President Bashir, who has further centralized authority in a small circle of trusted officials and appears unwilling to genuinely relinquish power. A managed transition to a government that includes but is not dominated by his National Congress Party (NCP) may provide the productive and broad-based reforms needed to prevent conflict and address the aspirations of Sudan’s many marginalized people.

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  • Tunisia

    • (Français) La Tunisie des frontières : Jihad et contrebande

      (Français) International Crisis Group | novembre 2013 — Le soulèvement populaire qui a fait chuter le régime de Ben Ali a contribué à la création d’un « vide » sécuritaire en Tunisie qui est menacé par le retour inéluctable des combattants tunisiens du front Syrien. Il est urgent que le gouvernement tunisien œuvre à la mise en place de mesures socioéconomiques et sécuritaires visant à réduire la porosité des frontières. Les carences sécuritaires aux frontières impliquent la nécessité de l’augmentation des contrôles frontaliers ainsi que du développement des capacités de renseignement. Cependant, il faut également que le gouvernement développe des programmes de réinsertion sociale pour les combattants revenant du front Syrien pour préparer l’avenir politique du pays.

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    • The Dynamics for Transition in Tunisia and Their Implications on the Economy

      By Mondher Ben Ayed, Legatum Institute | June 2013 — In the years preceding the Arab Spring, Tunisia seemed poised to transition from a state-controlled economy to a free-market economy. However, three major economic problems derailed this process and fueled some of the discontent that sparked the 2011 uprising: the development gap between coastal areas and more impoverished inland regions; a rising unemployment rate, particularly for youths; and the corrupt business environment, illustrated by the valuable stakes many politically connected individuals held in major businesses. Since the transition, Tunisia has reformed the banking sector and adopted a new investment code, but it must focus on other changes to stimulate private sector employment and reduce inflation. Doing so will improve the chances of a successful political transition.

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    • Transition to Democracy in Tunisia: Where to?

      By Emma Jeblawi, Arab Reform Initiative | February 2013 — More than two years after a popular uprising against a long-standing autocratic government, Tunisia’s transition to democracy has encountered numerous obstacles and delays. New political parties remain polarized and unable to compromise while hardline and jihadist groups have begun to emerge. Human rights protections remain vague and weak, furthering hampering emerging civil society organizations that already lack organizational sophistication. A general sense of fatigue with the transition is settling among Tunisians, raising the prospect that constitutional reforms and future elections will not be viewed as credible or legitimate.

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  • Uganda

    • Lessons from the Frontiers: Civilian Disarmament in Kenya and Uganda

      By Manasseh Wepundi, James Ndung‘u, and Simon Rynn, Saferworld | May 2011 uganda_irin

      Low-intensity violence, largely revolving around cattle raiding, remains a regular fact of life along the Kenya-Uganda border region. Local communities have turned to small arms and light weapons as guarantors of safety while uneven state disarmament efforts have fuelled local tensions and suspicions.  Disarmament should be politically neutral, de-emphasize coercive measures, be combined with state security initiatives, and incorporate more cross-border cooperation between Kenya and Uganda.

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    • Museveni and the 2011 Ugandan Elections: Did the Money Matter?

      By Jeffrey Controy-Krutz and Carolyn Logan, AfroBarometer | September 2011

      Following President Museveni’s resounding re-election victory, many critics noted that massive government spending on public goods and rumored vote buying as critical to his success, among other allegations of fraud and manipulation. An uninspiring opposition, sustained economic growth and an improved security situation also contributed to the strong showing of the ruling party. However, economic concerns over growth, a national government rumored to be near bankruptcy, and continuing political restrictions threaten voter satisfaction with the President’s 25-year rule.

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    • Countering the Lord’s Resistance Army in Central Africa

      By Andre LeSage, Institute for National Strategic Studies | July 2011 uganda_lra_irin

      The Lord’s Resistance Army has proven a recalcitrant insurgent threat that is able to operate over an expansive territory and regularly move between several states that struggle to control their border regions. Ending the LRA insurgency will require extensive coordination and cooperation between several governments and UN peacekeeping missions and an expanded intelligence network featuring realtime community-to-community communications to create actionable information of LRA whereabouts. Diplomatic and reconstruction efforts are also essential to reintegrate combatants and address displacement and dislocation.

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    • Oil and Gas Laws in Uganda: A Legislator’s Guide

      By Jessica Banfield, International Alert | May 2011

      With the discovery of massive oil deposits, Uganda must avoid the fate of many African countries with oil wealth: failure to convert natural resources into prosperity, poverty alleviation and widespread development. Uganda’s reserves necessitate a pre-existing legislative framework and establishing internal capacity to handle the wealth and complications of extraction. Transparent disclosure of revenues, a law-enforcement agency independent of government influence, environmental protections – with corresponding institutional capacity – and a progressive revenue collection system should be incorporated to ensure that oil benefits all Ugandans.

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    • Transitioning to Peace: A Population-Based Survey on Attitudes About Social Reconstruction and Justice in Northern Uganda

      By Phuong Pham and Patrick Vinck, Human Rights Center, University of California – Berkeley School of Law | December 2010 n_uganda

      Since the withdrawal of the Lord’s Resistance Army from Northern Uganda in 2005 security threats have waned but disputes over land and resource shortages among millions of returnees are destabilizing fragile reconstruction gains. Shifting resources to establish a stronger judiciary system and effective policing to address expanding land disputes can foster security and strengthen community bonds. International Criminal Court initiatives in the region and public remembrances of past violence are also critical reconciliation and transitional justice efforts.

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  • Zimbabwe

    • In Zimbabwe, A Luta Continua

      By David B. Moore, African Arguments | August 2013

      Robert MugabePresident Mugabe’s ZANU-PF political party won a sweeping though controversial victory in the 2013 national elections, ending a unity government with the main opposition MDC party. However, ZANU-PF shows no signs that it will institute major policy and institutional reforms. Rather, it is likely to turn inward to groom a successor to the elderly Mugabe, even while its talk of land seizures and forced sales of foreign businesses could upset a fragile economy. The MDC will struggle to break ZANU-PF’s institutional lock-hold on the judiciary, the security sector, and public service delivery. Even after a decisive outcome of recent elections, Zimbabwe may see few political and economic changes before the next major vote in 5 years’ time.

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    • Change and ‘New’ Politics in Zimbabwe: Interim Report of a Nationwide Survey of Public Opinion in Zimbabwe, June–July 2012

      By Susan Booysen, Freedom House | August 2012 ZANU PF supporters 150x150 According to surveys conducted in 2012, Zimbabweans are hopeful that conditions in their unstable country are improving but still see a need for vast political and economic reforms. Citizens remain divided over the performance of the previous coalition governing arrangement, but, surprisingly, supporters of the two main political parties share many political and economic priorities. Meanwhile, Zimbabweans are increasingly interested in political participation, voting, and public and private news via traditional and electronic media. With a major 2013 election victory behind it, the ruling ZANU-PF party will be governing a population watching for and expecting changes.

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    • Providing Security and Justice for the People: Security Sector Reform in Zimbabwe

      By Cheryl Hendricks and Lauren Hutton, Institute for Security Studies | June 2009 The violent crackdowns against opposition parties and civil society and senior officers’ deep involvement in corruption have left Zimbabwe’s security sector deeply reluctant to forsake its influence over the country’s politics and economy. And while Zimbabwe’s political leaders have little interest in reforming the security sector, the sclerotic institution will eventually have to devise a framework for gradual change following decades of progressive politicization. Such an effort will need to placate the fears of the aging security establishment with possible immunity packages and promises not to investigate financial holdings in return for retirements and a retrenchment from politics. The rank and file must also be provided their benefits promptly while they are confined to barracks and a demobilization planning effort can commence. Overall change will likely be incremental but have a significant impact on the country’s stability.

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