Back in 2002, Meles Zenawi, then prime minister of Ethiopia, drafted a foreign policy and national security white paper for his country. Before finalizing it, he confided to me a “nightmare scenario” — not included in the published version — that could upend the balance of power in the Horn of Africa region.
The scenario went like this: Sudan is partitioned into a volatile south and an embittered north. The south becomes a sinkhole of instability, while the north is drawn into the Arab orbit. Meanwhile, Egypt awakens from its decades-long torpor on African issues and resumes its historical stance of attempting to undermine Ethiopia, with which it has a long-standing dispute over control of the Nile River. It does so by trying to bring Eritrea and Somalia into its sphere of influence, thereby isolating the government in Addis Ababa from its direct neighbors. Finally, Saudi Arabia begins directing its vast financial resources to support Ethiopia’s rivals and sponsor Wahhabi groups that challenge the traditionally dominant Sufis in the region, generating conflict and breeding militancy within the Muslim communities.Continue Reading →
In this presentation I will argue that African scholarship on Africa is operating at only a fraction of its true potential, and that it is hampered by the preferences, policies and politics of the western academy.Continue Reading →
This essay briefly examines the possible components of a ‘human security approach’ to African peace missions and security sector governance/reform.
There are three overlapping general frameworks for human security (MacFarlane and Khong 2006). The first (‘Canadian’) focuses primarily on protection from organized violence; the second (‘Japanese’) on protecting and promoting a broad range of human capabilities; […]Continue Reading →
Alex de Waal’s recent blog included a long and interesting quote from Jean-Marie Guéhenno. In a way, Guéhenno would seem to be in agreement with Kissinger. They both seem to assert the importance of prior intellectual knowledge and high-offices are less of a place for growing intellectually. What Kissinger articulated was: “High office teaches decision making, […]Continue Reading →
On October 20, 2015, the World Peace Foundation and Tufts Initiative on Mass Atrocities and Genocide invited Scott Straus to present the key findings from his book. Straus started his presentation by laying out the research puzzle. Why does mass violence develop in some cases but not others? He tackles this problem by systematically comparing cases in post-Cold War, sub-Saharan Africa that experienced genocide with those that did not, despite the presence of similar risk factors: Mali, Senegal, Cote d’Ivoire, Rwanda and Sudan (Darfur). He finds that deep-rooted ideologies—national founding narratives—play a crucial role in shaping strategies of violence.Continue Reading →
The intra-state nature of African conflicts is a product of the breakdown of law and order, public safety and security as well as collapse of police and law enforcement institutions resulting in weak states. While most of the challenges of peacekeeping operations require policing skills, political decision makers are increasingly relying on military responses. Consequently, PSOs, policing and populations are being militarized in the process. Peacekeepers are obliged to bridge the policing gaps through the provision of interim executive policing services in host countries. More importantly, they are expected to assist in rebuilding and re-establishing credible policing and rule of law institutions and services in those Member States. The rule of law is the crucible of any state and cornerstone of good governance, without it there is chaos, crass impunity and rule of the jungle.Continue Reading →
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