Issue No: 06/2023

Conflict & Resilience Monitor – 1 September 2023

The Conflict and Resilience Monitor offers monthly blog-size commentary and analysis on the latest conflict-related trends in Africa.

Photo: MINUSMA/Harandane Dicko

This week as we faced the familiar scenes of an announcement from military officers on national television in Gabon saying that they have seized power, the centrality of the conversation regarding unconstitutional changes of power in the African conflict and resilience landscape is increasingly clear. In helping us to understand the resurgence of these types of transitions of power, Fatma Ahmed and Jide Martyns Okeke have written a timely piece which explores the triggers and structural factors behind military coups. In keeping with these developments, Festus Kofi Aubyn shares an analysis on the ECOWAS response to the coup in Niger and cautions against the overreliance on sanctions at the expense of a political solution to a political problem.

Moving to East Africa, we have a piece from Sara Tadesse Gebremariam which looks at the current conflict in Ethiopia’s second most populous region, Amhara. This conflict ensues against the backdrop of the Pretoria Peace Agreement between the Government of Ethiopia (GoE) and the Tigray People’s Liberation Front (TPLF). In this analysis, the author explains that the Abiy administration will need to balance trading off current instability in the Amhara region with risking a return to civil war in Tigray, if the Pretoria Agreement is not implemented as agreed.

The final section of this month’s Monitor reflects on the latest developments within global governance. In the context of the New Agenda for Peace, Cedric de Coning has authored a piece which focuses on the recommendations made regarding support to African peace operations. He explains that, in the new era of networked peace operations, the United Nations, African Union and other actors need to find new ways to cooperate so that they complement and mutually reinforce each other, as part of a new emerging global peace and security architecture.

In keeping with the discussions on emerging global architectures, Bhaso Ndzendze and Siphamandla Zondi have written a piece which reflects on the dynamics and politics of an expanded BRICS.

Chief Editor: Conflict & Resilience Monitor​
Managing Editor: Conflict & Resilience Monitor
Assistant Editor: Conflict & Resilience Monitor​
Photo: US Africa Command
Peace and Security

From fighting Jihadists to fighting Juntas: Explaining the recent resurgence of military coups in Africa, and how to prevent recurrence

  • Jide Martyns Okeke
  • Fatma Ahmed

The 26 July coup in Niger is not an isolated event. Rather, it represents the recent resurgence of military coups that have plagued Africa, especially West Africa and Sudan. Since 2020, Africa has recorded seven successful coups and three unsuccessful coups. Some of these coups have occurred within the same country notably, Mali and Burkina Faso. These coup-affected countries have also experienced military rule for a third of their post-colonial independence. The resurgence of military coups is rooted in a combination of triggers, proximate and structural factors that require examination.

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Photo: Présidence de la République du Bénin
Peace and Security

Beyond Sanctions and the use of force: How ECOWAS can negotiate a political solution to Niger’s coup

  • Festus Kofi Aubyn

The emergence of ‘putschist-populist’ politics in West Africa is threatening the hard-won democratic progress over the past decades. The 26 July coup in Niger, which was the sixth in three years is a classic case in point. The coup truncated the first civilian-to-civilian transition in 2021 since Niger’s independence in 1960 and hurt the country’s image as the most reliable Western ally in combatting terrorism in the Sahel. Regionally, the coup did not only dent the reputation of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS), but it also accentuated the failures of ECOWAS in adopting a more robust preventive approach to coups d’états. It is therefore not surprising that ECOWAS has taken a harder stance on Niger’s new military regime than it has on previous coups in Guinea, Mali, and Burkina Faso to demonstrate that “it cannot only bark but can bite”.

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Photo: Paul Kagame/Flickr
Political Unrest or Violence

Ethiopia’s Amhara region in turmoil

  • Sara Tadesse Gebremariam

Amid the signing of the Pretoria Peace Agreement between the Government of Ethiopia (GoE) and the Tigray People’s Liberation Front (TPLF), renewed strife simmers in the country’s second most populous region – Amhara. The situation on the ground remained tense following the GoE’s announcement to disband regional Special Forces. The government maintains that change is essential for national unity, however, this plan has faced opposition from Fano, non-state militia with no formal command structure, taking part in a week of violent protests across the region in April 2023.

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Photo: MINUSMA/Harandane Dicko

The New Agenda for Peace and UN support for African peace operations

  • Cedric de Coning

The global order is rapidly changing. UN and African-led peace operations must adapt to both new geo-political realities as well as new threats and challenges. A major new UN policy document suggests what its member states need to do to prevent conflict and sustain peace during this period of uncertainty, and some of the recommendations calls for support to African peace operations.

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Government of India

An expanded BRICS could reset world politics but picking new members isn’t straightforward

  • Bhaso Ndzendze
  • Siphamandla Zondi

Eager to escape perceived western domination, several countries – mostly in the global south – are looking to join the Brics bloc. The five-country bloc (Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa) is also looking to grow its global partnerships. What began in 2001 as an acronym for four of the fastest growing states, BRIC (Brazil, Russia, India and China), is projected to account for 45% of global GDP in purchasing power parity terms by 2030. It has evolved into a political formation as well.

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