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Peace and Security (347)

In life realities on the ground often lay waste to the best-laid plans. So has it been for the AU in the Libyan crisis. Since the rebels entered Tripoli on August 21 the hand-wringing around the AU’s marginalisation by Nato during the campaign has reached a crescendo. In that period, the Transitional National Council (TNC) has been recognised as the legitimate government in Libya by many states, including 20 from Africa; there has been a diplomatic flurry of activity on both sides of the Mediterranean with pledges for reconstruction assistance… and oil contracts; and the Libya Contact Group met in…
On 23 August 2011, Tom Wheeler, former Ambassador and Research Associate at SAIIA, spoke to Lerato Mbele on CNBC Africa's Beyond Markets show on the meaning of the developments in Libya. Also feauring in this show is Daniel Kinnear, Senior Executive Associate at the Africa Strategy Group. [Duration: 10min 49sec] Watch the videoThis video is copyright of ABN Digital/ CNBC Africa.        
As published in The Thinker, Volume 30, pp.30-33 During March and April this year I spent a significant amount of time traversing the complex network of gravel roads that run from Hoima to the shores of Lake Albert in western Uganda. This Lake has become the epicentre of Uganda’s oil sector with nearly 2 billion barrels of proven reserves. Tullow oil that has been leading the exploration campaign recently signed a deal with Total and CNOOC to begin production this year or by the latest in 2012. Lake Albert lies in the Albertine Graben, and oil experts speculate that the…
On Wednesday 20 July 2011, 80 civil society organisations in Malawi held a protest against the government’s handling of the economy. The protests turned violent following efforts by the police to restrain the march. Nineteen people were killed in the three main towns of Mzuzu, Lilongwe and Blantyre. Some shops were looted and cars, including those of privately-owned radio stations, were scorched.
Since taking up its seat as a non-permanent member of the United Nations Security Council (UNSC) in January 2011, South Africa has been at the vanguard of global geopolitical developments. The recent uprisings in North Africa, in countries such as Tunisia and Egypt, and the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation’s (NATO) enforcement of Resolution 1973 in Libya have received international attention. Despite initially having voted for Resolution 1973, South Africa is now highly critical of its implementation, championing instead the African Union’s position to find a political solution for Libya.
This time last year the world was watching an event unfold in Africa. The eyes of the world were not fixed on Africa because a civil war was unfolding or genocide was committed by a callous regime. The fixation was caused by ‘the beautiful game’ being played as South Africa hosted the 2010 FIFA World Cup. This was a proud moment for South Africa and the continent. During the presentation of the South African bid on the 14 May 2004, Thabo Mbeki said that millions of Africans on the continent and the African Diaspora had ‘embarked on an exciting human…
Since gaining independence from the United Kingdom on New Year’s Day in 1956, Sudanese people from both the north and south have had to endure two civil wars that lasted a total of forty years. The first civil war began in 1955, a few months before independence as the state of Sudan, and lasted until 1973. The second civil war started in 1983 and ended 23 years later in 2005, with the signing of the Comprehensive Peace Agreement (CPA). In addition to the massive displacement of people during the most recent war, 2.5 million people lost their lives. Southern Sudan’s…
SAIIA Occasional Paper No 86, June 2011
On Saturday, 9 July 2011, Southern Sudan will celebrate its independence from Northern Sudan. Independence for the south has wide ranging implications for the region: firstly, in terms of the impact it will have on relations with Northern Sudan and, secondly, in terms of unresolved border issues such as the disputed district of Abyei. Southern Sudan’s independence is also significant due to the challenge it presents the north and south in terms of managing its new border, and to find a deal on the export of oil from Southern Sudan through the northern pipeline and refinery infrastructures. For South Africa,…
As published in The Star, 28 June 2011 Barring war, natural disaster, or revolution in a country, few events can have such a dramatic impact on the life of a nation as secession. In a state-centric world where territorial boundaries mark the outer limit of sovereign political power, secession affects all facets of political, economic and social existence. While Southern Sudan gears up for its long awaited independence celebrations, tensions along the north-south border, and unresolved questions regarding post-independence management of citizenship and the oil industry are raising concerns.
SAIIA Occasional Paper No 84, May 2011
As published by The New Age on 7 June 2011 There is a long-held view in South Africa that the way the political problems were solved in this country between 1990 – when Nelson Mandela was released – and 1994 with the transition to full democracy, is a process applicable to all situations of internal conflict in Africa. The evidence has been accumulating for some years that this is not the case. Unless the one factor that laid a basis for success in South Africa’s successful negotiated transition is present, the South African model will not apply. That factor is…
As published in The New Age 31 May 2011 At a recent public discussion of events unfolding in North Africa and the Middle East, Na’eem Jeenah of the Afro Middle East Centre in Johannesburg spoke of how these days, events that used to take decades unfold in just weeks.
The South African Institute of International Affairs, Western Cape Branch, invites you to a public seminar to be addressed by Dr Petrus de Kock speaking on 'Upheaval in the Nile Basin: a tour from Lake Albert, through Southern Sudan, to Cairo' at The Centre for the Book, 62 Queen Victoria Street, Gardens, Cape Town on Tuesday 7 June 2011 at 5:00 for 5:30 pm
Konrad-Adenauer-Stiftung and the South African Institute of International Affairs cordially invite you to a two day conference: Strengthening the UNSC: Tapping into the German and South African Experience. The South African Institute of International Affairs (SAIIA), the Institute for Security Studies (ISS), the Konrad-Adenauer-Foundation (KAS) and the Hanns-Seidel-Foundation (HSS), with the support of the German Embassy, are jointly convening a two-day conference to discuss ways and means of strengthening collaboration between the South African and German governments during their 2011- 2012 tenure at the United Nations Security Council (UNSC).
Armed conflicts, whether big or small, create confusion as social life is disrupted by acts of organised violence. Libya’s rapid descent from street protests to armed conflict caused the country’s cities to deteriorate into blown-out ghost towns in a matter of weeks. Under conditions of conflict where belligerents lob grenades, fire bullets and bombard each other with artillery shells, the flow of information is also disrupted. It was amid the dust and bullet-ridden confusion of Libya’s battlefronts that South African born photographer, Anton Hammerl, disappeared.
It is nearly four months since the rebellion started in Libya and it seems that the intervention sanctioned by the United Nations Security Council (UNSC) has reached a stalemate. Muammar Gaddafi is still in power and while the rebels have kept their ground they have not made a significant advance on Tripoli.Thousands of civilians have lost their lives and the cost of the military campaign to the United States alone is said to be in excess of $750 million. Could the governments that voted in favour of Resolution 1973 have foreseen the stalemate and the protracted nature of the campaign?…
Since the long series of public holidays began, I have been called on by the electronic media to comment many times on developments in Syria. For a long time it seemed to be the only remaining large state in the Middle East unaffected by the turmoil and violence of the so-called “Arab spring”. Why was that, I kept asking. And why has it all changed as suddenly as change came to other states in the region and North Africa?
With the conflict now ostensibly over in Ivory Coast, attention is now sure to turn to the blame game. For former President Laurent Gbagbo, and others who are likely to stand trial, it is not just the history books which are at stake, but their future freedom.
In April 2011, in the midst of upheavals and revolutions in the Middle East and North Africa, Rwandans commemorate the seventeenth anniversary of the Rwandan genocide - a period of 100 days during which over a million Rwandans were slaughtered. Although the country has made significant gains in reforming its socio-economic landscape and achieving increased gender parity, many observers argue that this has come at the expense of core political freedoms.
As the dust starts to settle on a devastated and traumatised Abidjan, attention has focused on Alassane Ouattara, now the effective, as well as elective, leader of the country. Common views in the international media are that he has to play the reconciliation card, and probably form a government of national unity to appease those who fear exclusion.
All political leaders come to power owing something to someone. And paying those debts is usually a major feature of their first years in office. In the case of Ivory Coast's new President, Alassane Ouattara, this is doubly so. The fact that Mr Ouattara won November's elections is now accepted by all of the African Union. This election victory is of course his main card.
The slide towards civil war in Côte d’Ivoire looks, on the face of it, like a fight between two men in business suits. One refuses to leave power and the other  wants to exercise the right bestowed on him by the country’s voters and take over as president.
27 March 2011: Tensions have escalated between South Sudan and Sudan following reports of bombings of oil fields earlier today. This occurred just a day after the first military clashes between the two countries since South Sudan seceded from Sudan.
For Africa, the future isn’t what it used to be. We are witnessing and living in extraordinary and epoch-making times. In contrast to the third wave of democratisation that swept away totalitarian regimes throughout Eastern Europe in 1989, the tumult that grips the world now is playing out on our own continent.
As published by The New Age on 11 March 2011 There is no doubt that the level of discontent around the world is rising to dangerous levels. Maybe that is what their leaders think, but it is clear, to use a contemporary term, revolution has gone viral. Not only are social networking and cellphone technology helping ordinary people, especially the youth, to arrange and coordinate protest movements and events, but these same technologies are spreading the word about what is happening in country after country.
SAIIA Policy Briefing No 29, March 2011
The South African Institute of International Affairs, Western Cape Branch invites you to a public seminar to be addressed by Dr Tim Murithi  on “The Birth of a Nation: An Independent South Sudan and the Prospects for Peacebuilding and Development”, at The Centre for the Book, 62 Queen Victoria Street, Gardens, Cape Town on Tuesday 1 March 2011 Parking is freely available behind the building after 5pm at 5:00 for 5:30 pm.
As a new wave of democratisation breaks on Africa’s northern shores, the common goals of the Maghreb’s people are hitting up against starkly different types of state. The situation in Libya is different from Egypt and Tunisia is two respects. First, is the ruthless personality of Libya’s leader, Muammar Gaddafi.
As published by The New Age, 22 February 2011 For the past weeks the unfolding drama in the Middle East has dominated news reports and media commentary to exclusion of almost every other issue. And there is still no end in sight. As events reach a certain interim stage of resolution in one country, attention moves to another. Even as pundits attribute the problems in one country to a particular cause, the popular uprisings in another country seem to have a different cause.