During the past two decades, both West Africa and Central Africa have suffered a large number of intertwined wars. In both regions, these ‘webs of war’ have included interstate conflicts and rivalry, as well as wars over the control of many of the involved states. Existing perspectives tend to reduce these intertwined wars to a series of parallel civil wars within each of the various states. They see states as operating at the regional level, whereas the armed opposition to those states operates only at the national level. This chapter argues that many armed, non-state groups in West Africa and Central Africa should be seen as regional actors, and thus that conventional two-level analysis does not catch the complexity of conflict in those regions. Although major violence continues in Central Africa, it has largely been contained in West Africa. This needs to be seen in relation to the level of institutionalization of security and military cooperation in the two regions. In both regions, regional organizations carried out military operations that were highly controversial among their member-states. In West Africa, a series of interventions strengthened both regional cooperation and cooperation with external partners, whereas in Central Africa this was not the case. In West Africa, peace support operations have increasingly been carried out within a regional perspective. Not so in Central Africa. The chapter concludes with an examination of efforts to build a capacity for peace support operations within the African Union, based on subregional organizations but with strong involvement by external actors.
Ulriksen, S. (2010), "Webs of war: Managing regional conflict formations in West Africa and Central Africa", Berg Harpviken, K. (Ed.) Troubled Regions and Failing States: The Clustering and Contagion of Armed Conflicts (Comparative Social Research, Vol. 27), Emerald Group Publishing Limited, Bingley, pp. 355-380. https://doi.org/10.1108/S0195-6310(2010)0000027018Download as .RIS
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