This paper identifies the factors linked to cross-country differentials in growth performance in the aftermath of social conflict for 30 sub-Saharan African countries using panel data techniques. Our results show that changes in the terms of trade are the most important correlate of economic performance in post-conflict environments. This variable is typically associated with an increase in the marginal probability of positive economic performance by about 30 percent. Institutional quality emerges as the second most important factor. Foreign aid is shown to have very limited ability to explain differentials in growth performance, and other policy variables such as trade openness are not found to have a statistically significant effect. The results suggest that exogenous factors ("luck") are an important factor in post-conflict recovery. They also highlight the importance in post-conflict settings of policies to mitigate the macroeconomic impact of terms of trade volatility (including countercyclical macroeconomic policies and innovative financing instruments) and of policies to promote export diversification....
August 17, 2009 Duke University // Mediterranean Quarterly
The recent formation of al Qaeda in the Maghreb (AQIM) could be interpreted
as the opening of a new battlefield in the cause of international jihad.
Such a front, however, is not unprecedented. Algerian veterans of the 1980s
Afghan campaign against the Soviets returned home and played a key role in
the Islamist insurgency. Composed mainly of Algerian “Afghans,” the Armed
Islamic Group (GIA) committed unspeakable atrocities in the 1990s. Moroccan
and Algerian émigré communities in Europe, moreover, have played
important roles in financing for al Qaeda and a variety of North African
Salafist groups. Given its consolidation of North African Salafist terrorist
groups under one umbrella, al Qaeda in the Maghreb does present substantial
security challenges for North African and European governments.
Terrorism in the Mediterranean region has grown recently because of
numerous factors. By far the most important have been the growing fundamentalism
of some Maghrebi communities in Europe, the failures of the
jihadist movement (most notably in Algeria), and the financial largesse provided
to jihadist terror organizations by Islamist civil society and criminal networks. The Iraq war has added a powerful new impetus to the expansion
of the jihadist movement.
In this essay I argue that the al Qaeda – North African Salafist alliance is
a response to post-9/11 organizational and ideological problems. Al Qaeda’s
loss of its Afghan sanctuary and the breaking up of its command-andcontrol
operations have made it dependent on affiliates to recruit terrorists.
The inability of the North African Salafists to overthrow any government in
the Maghreb, moreover, requires the commissioning of a cause that could
give them new life. The crossfertilization of al Qaeda and North African
Salafists is a mutually beneficial arrangement designed to compensate for
My argument proceeds on four levels. First, I analyze various jihadist
movements, their common problems, and the reasons why they crossfertilize
their operations. Second, I examine the role of extremist Maghrebi communities
in Europe in facilitating this intermarriage between international
and nationalist jihadism. Third, I note the role of wars (Afghanistan, Bosnia,
Chechnya, Iraq, and Kashmir) in raising Muslim consciousness and Islamic
extremism. Finally, I provide an overview of the security threats created by
the Salafists’ incorporation into al Qaeda for the Mediterranean region....
September 11, 2008 Combating Terrorism Center // West Point
[article is on pages 17-19] on august 6, 2008, a military coup in Mauritania ousted the 15-month old administration of President Sidi Ould Cheikh Abdallahi. Soldiers seized Abdallahi (known popularly as Sidi) and Prime Minister Yahya Ould Ahmed Waghf, took control of the state television and radio stations, and announced that Mauritania would be ruled by an 11-man military junta. Since winning its independence from France in 1960, there have been more than 12 coup attempts in Mauritania, a country of three million that straddles Arab and black West Africa and the Sahara and Sahel regions. Sidi’s decision to fire the army chief of staff, the general who headed the presidential guard, and two other top military officials immediately precipitated the coup. Yet the coup is also the culmination of a three-month political crisis marked by bitter disagreements between Sidi and the opposition groups in parliament.
This article argues that in addition to the series of specific concerns with Sidi’s administration, the main source of instability in Mauritania is structural. Building an inclusive democracy while countering terrorism—against the backdrop of a strong military presence—eventually brought down Sidi’s government. This challenge could confront any civilian president in a democratizing weak state with a strong military. Sidi and his prime ministers were so determined to foster a pluralistic democratic environment that they even brought a newly-formed moderate Islamist party into the government. Simultaneously, the Sidi government’s inept approach to counter-terrorism unnerved the cadre of military officers upon whom Sidi depended for credibility. In attempting to appeal to everyone, Sidi satisfied no one....
December 13, 2006 Nations Unies // Haut Commissariat aux Réfugiés
L’image la plus répandue du camp de réfugié est celle d’un espace fermé et isolé dans lequel des milliers de personnes survivent grâce à l’assistance humanitaire. Cette image ne reflète pourtant pas la diversité des situations rencontrées sur le terrain. Quelle que soit leur forme, ouverts ou fermés, étroitement contrôlés par les autorités du pays d’accueil ou non, les sites de réfugiés ne sont en réalité jamais complètement clos. Le déplacement forcé et le regroupement dans des camps suscitent sans cesse de
nouvelles formes de mobilités, qui sont activement recherchées par les individus pour reconstruire un capital économique, social et politique. Lorsque la liberté de circulation des réfugiés est restreinte par les pays d’asile, ces mobilités ne disparaissent pas pour autant. Elles deviennent simplement clandestines et donc invisibles aux yeux de l’observateur non averti. Même des camps tels que Dadaab au Kenya ou Kigoma en Tanzanie, réputés pour leur isolement, se trouvent en réalité au coeur de chaînes migratoires et de transferts financiers considérables entre leurs habitants (S.Turner, 2002 ; Horst, 2002)....
June 1, 2006 Sciences Po // Center For Peace And Human Security
Situated in between Ghana and Benin, with a coastline of no more than 56km, Togo is one of Africa's smallest countries. However, what has habitually been a little talked about West African nation holds a long history of political unrest and has recently entered into a phase of instability in the beginning of 2005. Civil society members and organizations are now regrouped in the WANEP network, (West African Network for Peacebuilding) in a joint effort to set a national agenda toward reconciliation, peace and security and lead the way in facing Togo's unprecedented public health, development and education challenges....
In the five years since the Sept. 11 attacks, the Bush administration has solidified a trend of supplying high technology weapons and millions of dollars in military assistance to allies in the "war on terror." Support for the United States - either in its quest to stamp out international terrorist networks, or for its operations in Iraq and Afghanistan - seems to take precedence over other criteria usually taken into account when the United States considers an arms transfer. According to standing tenets of U.S. arms export policy, arms transfers should not undermine long-term security and stability, weaken democratic movements, support military coups, escalate arms races, exacerbate ongoing conflicts, cause arms build-ups in unstable regions, or be used to commit human rights abuses. However, in the last five years, the Bush administration has demonstrated a willingness to provide weapons and military training to weak and failing states and countries that have been repeatedly criticized by the U.S. State Department for human rights violations, lack of democracy, and even support of terrorism. To thoroughly evaluate and analyze this trend of increased military assistance, the Challenging Conventional Threats project at CDI has, since 2001, profiled countries that have a unique role in the "war on terror," through the strategic services they have provided to the United States as it conducts anti-terror operations across the globe. The series features analysis of the current political situations in the profiled countries, taking into account other indicators of the relative stability and openness of the country, such as military expenditures, total number of armed forces, and the human rights situation as assessed by the U.S. State Department, alongside an evaluation of U.S. military assistance to these countries over the past 17 years - the post-Cold War years....
July 13, 2006 Project on International Courts and Tribunals // African International Courts and Tribunals
The Arab Maghreb Union (AMU) was established in 1989 by the Treaty of Marrakech. Although the Member States of the AMU envisioned creating strong ties that would assist them in working together for regional peace and economic development with greater negotiating power against the Europe of the twelve in particular, they did not create an independent Union with many supranational powers. This is reflected in the Treaty of Marrakech provisions on its regional court, the Instance Judiciaire (AMUIJ) and the statute of the Court....
May 26, 2006 United Nations // Electronic Mine Information Network
It is estimated that Mauritania is home to hundreds of thousands of mines and other explosive remnants of war (ERW), dating back to the Western Sahara conflict. None of the areas are mapped, so evaluating the scope of the problem is complex and ultimately makes demining more dangerous and expensive. Mines buried by migrating sands further complicates the challenges of demining operations. The two regions mainly affected are in the North: Daklet Nouadhibou and Tiriz Zemour with 310,000 square kilometers and 294,000 people at risk. According to the Landmine Monitor Report, between 1978 and 2005, 346 persons died, 239 persons were injured, 580 animals were killed and 33 vehicles were destroyed. As of March 2006, four mine accidents were reported to the NHDO....
Two years ago a ruthless Algerian terrorist outfit, the Salafist Group for Preaching and Combat, better known by its French abbreviation, GSPC, announced it was joining al-Qaeda. Since then, al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM), as the group is now known in counter-terrorism circles, has stepped up a bombing campaign in Algeria and claimed responsibility for operations in several other North African countries. Last month the Moroccan government said it had broken up a terrorist cell with links to the group, while Algeria has toughened its security measures since more than 70 people were killed in attacks by AQIM in the last two weeks of August. The emergence of a powerful regional group of Islamist insurgents, recruiting members from among the millions of religious and poor North Africans, is rattling all the governments in the region and raises the unnerving prospect of a new wave of North African bombers heading for the cities of western Europe. But does AQIM really exist as a co-ordinated regional organisation?
So far there is little evidence that it does. Until now, nearly all of AQIM’s claimed attacks have been in a rectangle of land to the east of Algeria’s capital, Algiers. (The GSPC, from which AQIM has emerged, is a ruthless remnant from the civil war which began after the Algerian army stepped in to prevent Islamists from taking over after they had won the first round of an election in December 1991, thereby prompting a decade of strife that left as many as 200,000 people dead.) In this mountainous zone, clashes between AQIM fighters and Algerian security forces are occurring almost every day. Whenever the authorities claim a big victory, AQIM invariably sets off a suicide-bomb or a remote-controlled explosion, usually aimed at Algerian forces, sometimes at foreigners. AQIM said it was behind the double bombing last December of the UN offices in Algiers and a court house, killing more than 40 people. But AQIM’s presence elsewhere in the region is fuzzier. In Algeria, says George Joffé, a north Africa specialist at Cambridge University, there is “constant low-level violence, a bit like in Colombia”. But he doubts that AQIM is a “coherent regional organisation, more a series of groups with national agendas and a common ideology”. He discounts the idea that they are controlled by al-Qaeda’s leaders on the Afghan-Pakistan border....
Mauritania, an often-ignored country in the western periphery of the Arab world, surprised observers two years ago by undertaking one of the most forthcoming advances toward democracy in the region. Democratic reforms came as a result of a 2005 bloodless military coup led by Colonel Ely Ould Muhammad Vall. Vall demonstrated enlightened leadership by pledging to restore democracy and ensure a constitutional transfer of power through free and fair elections. A swift political transition process culminated in credible legislative and presidential elections. President Sidi Muhammad Ould el-Sheikh Abdullahi, an independent, formerly exiled economist who served in previous cabinets, was elected in March 2007 in the country’s first peaceful transfer of power. Abdullahi pledged to fight corruption, guarantee freedom of speech, alleviate poverty, eliminate slavery, and promote justice and national reconciliation.
The new government has taken some positive political steps, including passing a law that criminalizes slavery, requiring senior officials to declare their assets, and requiring 20 percent female representation in electoral lists. Freedom of speech and the press have also registered significant improvements....
June 14, 2007 Fédération Internationale des ligues des droits de l'Homme // International Rehabilitation Council for Torture Victims
The so-called "war on terrorism" has seen democratic governments resort to torture and ill treatment of persons suspected of involvement in terrorist activities and has reignited the age-old debate about whether torture can be justified if the purpose is to save innocent lives. In this context, prominent opinion and decision-makers as well as members of the general public in leading democratic countries have argued that new forms of transnational terrorism necessitate a revision of existing legal and moral norms related to torture and ill treatment. At the same time, authoritarian rulers around the world have exploited this climate to step up their oppression of political opposition groups.
In February 2007, with funding from the European Commission, the Fédération International des Droits de l'Homme (FIDH) in partnership with the #IRCT launched the three-year project, "Preventing Torture within the Fight against Terrorism". The overall objective is to contribute to re-establish international respect for the absolute prohibition against torture and ill treatment embedded in international law. The project will do this through a wide range of complementary activities covering research, awareness raising, advocacy and capacity building....
This Policy Brief examines the real and imagined influence of al-Qa‘ida in North Africa and the Sahel. Despite a perception of the transnationalization of terrorist movements in North Africa under al-Qa‘ida’s banner, robust evidence of an effective al-Qa‘ida’s expansion in the Maghreb and the Sahara/Sahel region remains elusive at best. Rather, doubts about al-Qa‘ida’s actual threat and the efficacy of international response in the context of pervasive state failure in the Sahel raise questions regarding the policy objectives of US-led counter-terrorism in the region....
I consider it a singular honour to have been invited today by Chatham House
to address this august forum. The Economic Community of West African
States (ECOWAS), which I represent, is a regional organisation which has,
over the years, gained your attention only for the unfortunate reasons of state
implosion and instability caused by bad governance and marginalisation. I
therefore welcome the opportunity to throw further light on its objectives,
challenges, and achievements, which factors have effectively brought
together fifteen West African states in the enterprise of improving upon the
living standards of 230 million people as well as integrating them.
The term ‘Chatham House Rule’ is today an internationally-accepted cliché
that this Institute has contributed to international diplomacy discourse, a
reference norm in rigorous and policy-oriented exchanges on global peace
and security. I therefore view your invitation to lead today’s discourse about
‘Democracy in the context of Regional Integration in West Africa’ as an
unique honour for me personally, and a recognition of ECOWAS as a leading
brand in regional integration.
Ladies and gentlemen, the evolution of ECOWAS can only be properly
understood against the backdrop of the fascinating history and circumstances
of West Africa since establishing contact with the world beyond its borders.
The fact that slavery, colonialism, as well as racial and economic
marginalisation, had left an intrinsic yearning for freedom, unity and solidarity
among peoples of African descent everywhere defines its wish to integrate its
states and peoples....
This special research report provides an analysis of a set of new issues that have been emerging in the West African subregion and possible implications for the Security Council in the coming year(s). It identifies some key emerging threats to peace and security in the 16-state subregion and their linkages to existing security challenges. The report points to a key feature: the fact that some of the new threats are essentially criminal rather than political in nature. However, it explains also the growing political and security implications. The report also highlights action already taken by the Council to recognise these threats and considers options available to the Council to tackle these issues going forward.
The raw material for the study was derived from literature research; field research in a number of countries in the West African subregion (including Guinea-Bissau, Liberia, Senegal, Ghana and Nigeria); and interviews in the region with diplomats, government officials and officials of relevant international intergovernmental bodies (e.g. UN Office in West Africa or UNOWA, UN Office for Drugs and Crime or UNODC, the Economic Community of West African States or ECOWAS and the AU), NGOs and academics....
April 13, 2011 Center for Strategic and International Studies
National security is normally seen in terms of military strength and internal security operations against extremists and insurgents. The upheavals that began in Tunis, and now play out from Pakistan to Morocco,. have highlighted the fact that national security is measured in terms of the politics, economics, and social tensions that shape national stability as well. It is all too clear that the wrong kind of internal security efforts, and national security spending that limits the ability to meet popular needs and expectations can do as much to undermine national security over time as outside and extremist threats.
It is equally clear that calls for democracy are at best only the prelude to dealing with critical underlying problems, pressures, and expectations. It is far from certain that even successful regime change can evolve into functional democracies and governance. Countries with no political parties and experienced leaders, with no history of checks and balances in government, with weak structure of governance led by new political figures with no administrative experience, will often descend into chaos, extremism, or a new round of authoritarianism. Even the best governments, however, are unlikely to change an economy and national infrastructure in less than half a decade, and existing demographic pressures will inevitably go on for at least the next decade....
March 18, 2011 United Nations Mine Action Service // United Nations Development Programme // United Nations Children’s Fund
The Portfolio of Mine Action Projects is a resource tool and reference document for donors, policy-makers, advocates, and national and international mine action implementers. The country and territory-specific proposals in the portfolio reflect strategic responses developed in the field to address all aspects of the problem of landmines and explosive remnants of war (ERW). This country and territory-based approach aims to present as comprehensive a picture as possible of the full range of mine action needs in particular countries and thematic issues related to mine action. The portfolio ideally reflects projects developed by mine- and ERW-affected countries and territories based on their priorities and strategies; the approaches are endorsed by national authorities. The portfolio does not automatically entail full-scale direct mine action assistance by the United Nations, but is in essence a tool for collaborative resource mobilization, coordination and planning of mine action activities involving partners and stakeholders. A country portfolio coordinator (CPC) leads each country portfolio team and coordinates the submission of proposals to the portfolio’s headquarters team. While the majority of the CPCs are UN officials, this role is increasingly being assumed by national authorities. The country portfolio teams include representatives from national and local authorities, non-governmental organizations (NGOs), the United Nations and the private sector. Locally based donor representatives are invited to attend preparation meetings. Each portfolio chapter contains a synopsis of the scope of the landmine and ERW problem, a description of how mine action is coordinated, and a snapshot of local mine action strategies. Many of the strategies complement or are integrated into broader development and humanitarian frameworks such as national development plans, the UN development assistance frameworks and national poverty reduction plans. This 14th edition of the annual Portfolio of Mine Action Projects features overviews and project outlines for 29 countries, territories or missions affected by landmines and explosive remnants of war. There are 238 projects in the 2011 portfolio. Africa accounts for the largest number: 92....