Conflict Trends Issue 1 2013
"The Evolving Mediation Capacity of the Southern African Development Community' outlines the progress that SADC has made in its capacity to respond to political conflicts in the Southern African region through mediation. In ‘Political Deadlock in Libya and Syria’ the argument presented is that, unlike Libya, Syria suffers from a phenomenon called ‘political deadlock’ at three different levels: intrastate, interstate and at the United Nations Security Council (UNSC). Political deadlock in Syria has hindered the international community’s ability or willingness to start a veritable peace process, which has severely reduced the likelihood for peace in Syria. In ‘A Reconsideration of Force Theory in Nigeria’s Security Architecture’ Nigeria is not at war – at least not in the technical sense – yet the polity is awash with various degrees of violence. The checklist of violence and associated human carnage is intimidating: ethno-religious conflicts, electoral violence, political assassinations, hostage-taking and kidnap-forransom, sea piracy and terrorism. Despite the probability that these security threats could have their bases in multitudinous causes and therefore require multifaceted approaches, the response of the Nigerian state has been unidirectional and consists of deploying force to contain them. ‘Customary Institutions and Traditions in Pastoralist Societies: Neglected Potential for Conflict Resolution’ reviews the dynamics of pastoralist conflicts, using case examples of how cultural traditions and customary institutions can contribute to successful conflict resolution. ‘A Creative Approach to Measuring Reconciliation in Rwanda’ argues strongly for the employment of a complementary methodology for surveying the reconciliatory climate – the alternate approach first, analysing the assumptions which underlie the belief that a specific agenda of reconciliation will succeed, and second, evaluating the strength of the desire for reconciliation, the strategies of implementation, and the impact of initiatives designed to achieve common goals. In ‘Affirmative Action and Women’s Empowerment in Ghana: Challenges to a Growing Democracy’ affirmative action warrants that any discrimination which infringes on the fundamental rights of women should be outlawed, whilst women’s socioeconomic development, influence and impact on society are traditionally and constitutionally entrenched. In ‘South Sudan: Livestock Patrol Unit Gives Hope to Jonglei State’ takes a closer look at how the South Sudanese government, with the support of the United Nations (UN), has developed this specialized police unit in an attempt to end cycles of violence that have existed in South Sudan for generations."