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Accueil > Research at CFEE > Axes and research programs > Theme 3. Social and political transformations in the contemporary Horn of Africa

Peace and security : Conflicts in the Horn of Africa, peacekeeping operations, and international organisations

David Ambrosetti (CFEE),
Jean-Nicolas Bach (Sciences Po Bordeaux, LAM),
Gérard Birantamije (Lake Tanganyika University, Bujumbura),
Romain Esmenjaud (IHEID Geneva& UN DPKO),
Ahmed Hassen Omer (Institute of Ethiopian Studies, AAU),
Jérémy Révillon (Université de Pau et des Pays de l’Adour / LAM),
Nina Wilén (FNRS, Université libre de Bruxelles).

This new program aims at fostering scientific exchanges on armed conflicts management policies conducted by State authorities and international organisations responsible of peace and regional security.
The fact that the African Union Headquarters, including the Peace and Security Council and the Peace and Security Department, are located in Addis Ababa, encourages the CFEE to support research in Political Sociology on this organisation and its relations with other kinds of (African and non-African) actors and bodies concerned with this field.The CFEE also conducts research on topics related to armed conflicts in the Horn of Africa, and the diplomatic and military role played by Ethiopia in matters of regional security in the past as well as in the present (for instance in Sudan / South Sudan or in Somalia).
This program focuses on the modes of integration of African armies in multilateral programs for armed conflicts management (of African States or the UN), and the transformations they undergo while doing so. From this viewpoint, more traditional works on the logistics and the institutional strengths and weaknesses of these organisations (especially within the framework of the new African Peace and Security Architecture), bothhighlight and draw on works on African armies and their social and political (extra-military) roles. This is even more evident when one considers national armies that have been subjected to reforms promoted by competent international organisations and are nowadays deployed within multilateral operations on the African continent or elsewhere. The questions raised here concern the relationship between the professionalisation and the internationalisation (and sometimes extroversion) of the contingents involved and, by extension, ofthe entire armies. This relationship needs to be understood with regard to the internal transformations that armies undergo (social bases, relation channels with the rest of the political society and the State apparatus, etc.), as well as to the individual career paths of soldiers and officers in terms of accumulated new social capitals and related internal or international promotions.
Directed by David Ambrosetti, this program is based on partnerships with the Observatory of the Horn of Africa (Sciences Po Bordeaux / Les Afriques dans le Monde), the Directorate General for International Relations and Strategy(DGRIS)of the French Ministry of Defence, the REPI of the Université libre de Bruxelles, the Institute for Peace and Security Studies (IPSS) of Addis Ababa, and the Department of Political Science and Strategic Studies of Mekelle University. Within the framework of this partnership, the CFEE has organised an international meeting on “African armies in peacekeeping operations. Which social and professional transformations ?” in Addis Ababa from the 25th to the 26th of April 2016. The meeting gathered thirteen renowned researchers working on this topic. They came from Belgium (FNRS/ULB and Ghent University), Burundi (Lake Tanganyika University), Danemark (Royal Danish Defence College), the United-States (Georges Washington University), Ethiopia (Institute of Ethiopian Studies of Addis Ababa University, and an independent consultant), France (CNRS, and an independent consultant) and the United Kingdom (University of Birmingham, SOAS of London). Four African Regional Economic Communities were discussed : the EAC, the CEEAC, the IGAD, and the SADC.
The meeting was held in different places : the CFEE, the Institute for Peace and Security Studies (IPSS) of Addis Ababa (a structure highly connected to international actors based in Addis Ababa and involved in the training of Ethiopian practitioners that has organised the Tana Forum for the past five years), and then the Peace Support Training Centre of the Ethiopian Ministry of Defence (FDRE-PSTC, a structure inaugurated in June 2015 whose colonel in charge of the Research section, Dr. Elias Seyoum, has been directly associated to this meeting in the CFEE).
An audience made of Ethiopian scholars as well as civil practitioners and militaries based in Addis Ababa and working for international organisations (Peace and Security Department of the African Union, European Union Delegation to the African Union) has discussed the original texts produced for this meeting. The publication of these texts is in progress.
The lessons learned from this comparative approach will have several implications. First of all, operational implications : a reevaluation of these armies’ capacities when they are deployed. Social Sciences are here to remind us that the reinforcement of military capacities cannot rely solely on foreign collaborators’ training actions. Instead, reinforcement develops within the social structures of the armies in question, and with the shared experience of the field among each contingent and between contingents. The troops may be more or less inclined to implement international mandates and rules of engagement depending on the geopolitical stands of their political leaders (especially in the case of Ethiopia, Uganda, and Rwanda), important constraints due to domestic policies (developmental priorities in South Africa and in Ethiopia, safety emergencies in Ethiopia and Rwanda), or the need for national armies that are in the process of restructuring and exposed to the continued presence of foreign troops to be internationally acknowledged (RDC). A special interest is given to the perception of national and foreign troops under multilateral mandates, as well as to the ideas, ethos, and other presuppositions conveyed within peacekeeping training centres supported by foreign donors.
Beyond pure operational effectiveness, the transformations induced by this practice for the armies in question on the long run are also important. International organisations agents should always try to assess the effects of this practice on the long run in order to either reduplicate them (when the effects are positive) or avoid or contain them (when the effects are negative). During the Addis Ababa meeting, long-term transformations related to the way national armies think of their political roles before and after the troops deployment have held our attention. With the case of Burundi, we saw that an army in the process of restructuring could enter a phase of professionalisation and depoliticisation if its political environment managed to keep it away from the political society requesting a military intervention in its favour. When political competition becomes acute and public space no longer has any safeguard protecting military institutions, these requests threaten the professionalisation and depoliticisation process in the army. The Ugandan case, on the other hand, showed that when semi-authoritarian national political authorities were in charge of appointing people to high positions in international missions, it allowed the semi-authoritarian political regime in questionto redistribute political resources in its favour.

Follow the news of this research program on the blog of the CFEE :

Ambrosetti, David, Esmenjaud, Romain, 2014, “Whose Money Funds African Peace Operations ? Negotiating Influence and Autonomy with External Partners”, in Marco Wyss et Thierry Tardy (eds.), Peacekeeping in Africa : The Evolving Security Architecture, Routledge : 73-89.
Ambrosetti, David, Esmenjaud, Romain, 2014, “Le financement des opérations de paix africaines : quatre types d’arrangements et leurs enjeux politiques”, in Matthieu Fau-Nougaret et Luc Marius Ibriga (dir.), L’Architecture de paix et de sécurité en Afrique. Bilan et perspectives, Paris, L’Harmattan, p. 135-154.
Ambrosetti, David, 2013, “Les négociations diplomatiques au Conseil de sécurité”, in Franck Petiteville et Delphine Placidi-Frot (dir.) Les négociations internationales, Paris, Sciences Po Presses, p. 231-255.
__ 2012, “Résolution 929 (1994) : Situation concernant le Rwanda (opération multinationale)”, in Mélanie Albaret, Emmanuel Decaux, Nicolas Lemay-Hébert et Delphine Placidi-Frot (dir.), Les grandes résolutions du Conseil de sécurité, Paris, Dalloz, 2012, p. 191-201.
__ 2012, “The Diplomatic Lead in the United Nations Security Council and Local Actors’ Violence : The Changing Terms of a Social Position”, African Security 5:2, p. 63-87.
 2011, special issue : “Sud-Soudan : conquérir l’indépendance, négocier l’État”, Politique africaine, n°122, juin 2011. Introduction : “Le Sud-Soudan en paix ? Sociologie politique d’une promesse d’indépendance”, p. 5-20.
—  2010, “Beyond the “Norm Entrepreneur” Model : Rwanda, Darfur, and Social Sanction among UN Diplomats”, Global Society 24:2, p. 151-171.
—  2009, Normes et rivalités diplomatiques à l’ONU. Le Conseil de sécurité en audience, Bruxelles, P.I.E. Peter Lang.
ô 2009, special issue : “Crises et organisations internationales”, Cultures & Conflits, n° 75, winter 2009, with Yves Buchet de Neuilly. Introduction : “Les organisations internationales au cœur des crises. Configurations empiriques et jeux d’acteurs”, p. 7-14.
—  2009, “‘Décide de demeurer saisi de la question’. La mobilisation du Conseil de sécurité de l’ONU face aux crises”, Cultures & Conflits, n° 75, winter 2009, p. 99-122.
—  2009, “Nouvelles normes, nouveaux espaces de jugement : la valeur légitimatrice de l’ONU et ses effets normatifs”, in Yves Schemeil et Wolf-Dieter Eberwein (dir.), Normer le monde, Paris, L’Harmattan, p. 311-335.
—  2008, “Urgences et normalités de gestionnaires face aux violences ‘des autres’ : l’ONU et le Soudan”, Actes de la recherche en sciences sociales, n°174, septembre 2008, p. 81-99.
—  2005, “L’humanitaire comme norme du discours au Conseil de sécurité : une pratique légitimatrice socialement sanctionnée”, Cultures et Conflits, n° 60, Dossier sur L’action humanitaire : normes et pratiques. Politique, prescriptions légales et obligations morales, p. 39-62.
— 2004, “S’opposer aux États-Unis au Conseil de sécurité : l’argumentation contre la puissance dans les négociations multilatérales”, Études internationales, 35:3, p. 469-494.
Bach, Jean-Nicolas. 2014. “La difficile construction de l’Architecture de paix et de sécurité en Afrique de l’Est”, in Matthieu Fau-Nougaret & Luc Marius Ibriga (dir.), L’Architecture de paix et de sécurité en Afrique. Bilan et perspectives, Paris, L’Harmattan : 223-240.
Bach, Jean-Nicolas, Esmenjaud, Romain. 2012. “Innovations normatives, résilience des pratiques : A quoi (et à qui) sert l’AMISOM ?”, Sécurité globale, winter 2011-2012, p.67-82.
Birantamije, Gérard. 2015. Contribution to the Livre « Vert » de Stratégie de Défense et de Sécurité de l’Union des Comores (together with the Commission de rédaction du Livre vert).
— “Civil society organizations and transitional justice in Burundi : When making is resisting”. 2016 (forthcoming), in Briony Jones and Julie Bernath (eds.), Resistance and transitional justice. New perspectives on power and legitimacy at times of transition.
— 2016 (forthcoming). “La rhétorique autour des opérations internationales de maintien de la paix : changement de discours et changement par le discours ?”, in Maurice Amuri Mpala-Lutebele (ed.), Oralité, traditions et modernité en Afrique subsaharienne au XXIe siècle.
— 2014. La crise de l’Etat et la réforme du secteur de la sécurité au Burundi. Essai d’analyse de l’opérationnalisation de la notion d’appropriation locale, Bruxelles, Saarbrücken, Editions Universitaires Européennes.
— Nimubona, Julien, et Nkurunziza, Joseph. 2012. “The process of security transition in Burundi. Challenges in security sector reform and combatant integration”, in Véronique Dudouet, Hans J. Giessmann, Katrin Planta (eds.), Post-war security transitions. Participatory peacebuilding after asymmetric conflicts, London, New York, Routledge, p. 143-159.
Esmenjaud, Romain. 2015. “The Mission des Nations Unies en Centrafrique (MINURCA)", in Joachim Koops, Norrie McQueen, Thierry Tardy and Paul Williams,Oxford Handbook on UN Peace Operations, Oxford, Oxford University Press.
— 2014. “The African Capacity for Immediate Response to Crisis : conceptual breakthrough or anti-imperialist phantom ?”, African Security Review, Vol. 23, Issue 2.
— 2013. “Comment rendre l’Architecture de paix et de sécurité en Afrique plus efficace ?”, Revue Défense nationale, October 2013, p.57-62
— 2013. “Africa’s conception of security in transition : The continent’s approach to multilateral interventions, from N’Krumah to the African Standby Force”, in Tim Murithi (ed.), Handbook of Africa’s International Relations, London, Routledge, p.115-124.
— 2012. “L’africanisation des opérations de paix : Dynamiques politiques et fondements conceptuels", in Pierre Pascallon et Pascal Chaigneau (ed.), L’évolution des conflictualités et des politiques de sécurité et de défense en Afrique, Paris, L’Harmattan, p.141-166.
Esmenjaud, Romain, and Benedikt Franke. 2009. “Qui s’est approprié la gestion de la paix et de la sécurité en Afrique ?”, Revue internationale et stratégique, 75 (n°3), p.37-46.
— 2008. “Who owns African ownership ? The Africanisation of security and its limits", South African Journal of International Affairs, 15 (n°2), p.137-158.
Révillon, Jérémy, 2013. “L’intégration régionale rwandaise”, Mambo ! Newsletter de l’IFRA, vol. XI, n°7.
Gaparayi, Gaspard, et Golooba-Mutebi, Frederick. 2013. “Le Rwanda, un modèle économique ?”, Observatoire des Grands Lacs en Afrique, Note n°3.
— 2014. “La politique étrangère burundaise : intégration régionale et maintien de la paix”, Mambo !, newsletter de l’IFRA, vol. XII, n°5.
Wilén, Nina, Ambrosetti, David, and Birantamije, Gérard. 2015. “Sending Peacekeepers Abroad, Sharing Power at home : Burundi in Somalia”, Journal of Eastern African Studies 9:2, p. 1-19.
Birantamije, Gérard, and Ambrosetti, David, 25 of May 2015, “Is Burundi still a credible peacekeeper ?”, Washington Post Monkey Cage blog.
Birantamije, Gérard. 2015. L’engagement du Burundi et du Rwanda dans les opérations de maintien de la paix. Quels bénéfices pour les capacités nationales de défense ? Etude comparée, Paris, DGRIS, July, available here.
— 2015, “Security Sector Reform and Statebuilding”, in Jackson, P. (ed.), Handbook of International Security and Development, Edward Elgar Publishing.
— 2014, “Security Sector Reform, Gender and Local Narratives in Burundi”, Journal of Conflict Security and Development, vol.14, n°3, p.331-354.
— 2012, Justifying Interventions in Africa : (De)Stabilizing Sovereignty in Liberia, Burundi and the Congo, London, New York, Palgrave Macmillan.
— 2012, “A Hybrid Peace through Locally Owned and Externally Financed SSR-DDR in Rwanda ?”, Third World Quarterly, vol.33, n°7.
Chapaux, Vincent, 2011, “Problems of Local Participation and Collaboration with the UN in a Postconflict Environment : Who Are the Locals ?”, Global Society, vol.25, n°4, p. 531-548.
— 2011,“Entre souveraineté copartagée et coopération conditionnelle : GEMAP au Liberia”, Etudes internationales, vol.42, n°2.
— 2009, “Capacity-building or Capacity-taking ? Legitimizing Concepts in Peace and Development Operations”, International Peacekeeping, vol.16, n°3, p.337-351.
Delcourt, Barbara, 2009, “The Creation of a Democratic Caucus within the UN and the Reform of the Human Rights Commission : Towards the Recognition of an Exclusionary Principle in Global Governance ?”, in Lesage, Dries (ed.) Contemporary Global Governance, Brussels, Peter Lang, p. 147-173.