Partnering to make peace: The effect of joint African and non-African mediation efforts’

This article systematically examines the varying effectiveness of African and non-African third parties in mediating civil wars in Africa. Drawing on data from the Uppsala Conflict Data Program, supplemented with unique data on mediation efforts, which together cover all mediation efforts in civil wars in Africa between 1960 and 2012, this article presents quantitative evidence supporting the effectiveness of African third parties. Compared to non-African third parties, African third parties are far more likely to conclude peace agreements and these peace agreements are more likely to be durable. Most effective, however, are mixed mediation efforts in which there is coordination between African and non-African third parties, but in which African third parties take the lead. The phrase, ‘African solutions to African challenges’ should thus be understood as a division of labour and responsibilities, rather than an excuse for non-African third parties to ignore Africa’s problems or African third parties acting on their own.

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Lessons from African Union-United Nations Cooperation in peace operations in CAR

This article examines the roles of the United Nations (UN) and the African Union (AU) in the Central African Republic (CAR), where there is a long history of successive conflict resolution efforts that have been overseen by the international community and the region alternatively. The AU, regional economic communities (RECs) such as the Economic Community of Central African States (ECCAS), and regional leaders have also played important roles during the many initiatives aimed at resolving conflict in CAR. This article analyses the responses and relationship between these institutions and actors, beginning with the deployment of an inter-African monitoring mission in 1997. It focuses less on what happened during those conflicts and more on who defined the objectives and strategies of international responses, and who decided which instruments should be used in pursuit of these goals.

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Inclusion in Peacekeeping

There is an international norm of inclusion in peace processes and political settlements. This is recent. Twenty years ago, the participation of unarmed political parties, civil society actors and women, was only a moral principle and an aspiration, disputed by political elites and questioned by conflict mediators. Today it has become a norm of international political practice, in the sense that people in conflict-affected countries demand inclusion, the international sponsors of peace processes seek it, and protagonists in conflicts tactically call upon it, occasionally to good effect. Inclusion is not law. It is still contested, but its challengers are in retreat. This paper examines what has occurred.

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When Disorder Has a Value: Denunciation and Liberty in Armed Conservation in the Central African Republic

In other words, order is the purpose of society. Disorder is therefore always a failure of society or otherwise undesirable, and the purpose of social mechanisms is to contain and process conflict. These equations whereby order = good and disorder = bad, have often been taken to be key elements of what Geertz critically called the “consensus gentium” (nuggets of cultural universals)[ii]. But there is good reason to question whether the values embedded in those equations are indeed universal/neutral.

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An Age of Uncertainty

It is worthwhile at this juncture to consider the nature of the US presidency and its likely impact on the role of the US in the post-World War II and post-Cold War world order. The issues inherent in the US president’s recent statements and behavior — his fondness for autocrats, dismissal of allies and long-term partnerships, and his embrace of mercantilist approaches to trade —constitute a major break with core bipartisan traditions in US foreign policy.[i] Close advisors to the president articulate broad views of global politics that they define as standing at odds with this tradition.[ii] These developments contribute to a major increase in uncertainty for those who govern amidst disorder.

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Theorizing (Dis)order: Exploratory Remarks

The philosopher Eric Heller wrote, ‘Be careful how you interpret the world; it is like that.’[29] One of the challenges facing the social scientist is that a deep knowledge of a particular issue, or a particular place, allows the scholar to write about it with an authoritative subjectivity. In my own writings on Sudan, I have approached the same topic (e.g. political violence) from different perspectives, each time with some explanatory purchase. These different frameworks of explanation may be incompatible with one another, but that has not hindered me from using them.

My concluding point in this paper is therefore, that (dis)order may be in the eye of the beholder, or the pen of the writer, as much as in the world that is being observed or described. However, rather than lapsing into an irretrievable subjectivity and a resigned agnosticism, I prefer to be cautious about what can and cannot be explained, and to insist on always bearing in mind the limitations of any particular point of view.

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