Conflict Trends Issue 1 2014
In ‘Has the Rise of China in Africa made Democratisation Less Likely?’ the article draws on Denis Tull’s insightful framework for thinking about Chinese activities in Africa to demonstrate the need for greater nuance in the way we assess China’s impact on democracy. In ‘Preventing Violent Conflict in Somalia: Traditional and Constitutional Opportunities’ opportunities for preventing violent conflict in Somalia exist both within traditional and the proposed constitutional systems, and these opportunities should be capitalised on, both individually and in combination, where xeer can be used to bring more Somali meaning to the constitution. In ‘South Sudan’s 2013 Resurgent Political Crisis: Through the Lens of Social Capital’ social capital is an important ingredient in the state building process, a lack of which gave rise to the December 2013 political crisis in South Sudan. The concept of social capital insofar as it affects peace and conflict is reviewed in this article. ‘Connections and Disconnections: Understanding and Integrating Local Perceptions in United Nations Peacekeeping’ argues that the international community needs to do more to systematically collect, share and analyse local perceptions and ensure that they are used when monitoring progress towards key benchmarks and informing decision-making on the ground and at the United Nations (UN) Security Council and UN Secretariat/headquarters. Some practical recommendations are provided for policymakers and the international community. ‘The Anatomy of Mass Accountability: Confronting Ideology and Legitimacy in Rwanda’s Gacaca Courts’ presents a brief overview of the genocide and subsequent legal responses. This will be followed by an outline of various criticisms of gacaca in terms of its effectiveness and legitimacy as an innovative but untested approach to mass accountability. ‘What it takes to Bring Peace to the Eastern DRC’ analyses the elements that brought M23 to the negotiation table to sign a peace agreement, and highlights the remaining major problems that prevent the complete and lasting stabilisation of the region. ‘Amnesty at Risk: Is the Niger Delta Sliding Back into Instability?’ argues that the amnesty scheme has failed to address the core underlying issues (for example, government corruption, the political sponsorship of violence and environmental degradation by oil multinational corporations) that continue to fuel hostilities and resistance in the Niger Delta. The recent heightened criminality in the Niger Delta suggests that the fragile peace established by the amnesty programme is now at risk, and the region seems to be sliding back into instability.