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Mali: Prime Minister Ousted by Military

11 Dec

David O. Kuranga, Ph.D.

The author is the Managing Director and Principal of Kuranga and Associates, a full-service investment, political and economic risk consultancy, and asset management firm that specializes in Africa. He is also the author of The Power of Interdependence with Palgrave Macmillan Press.

The military junta in Mali, arrested and ousted the countries Prime Minister and his entire government earlier today. The move will be condemned by regional leaders who are already holding emergency talks over the development. Further it will likely serve to hasten the deployment of regional troops that has already been authorized by the regional organizations, ECOWAS an AU. The delay is largely attributed to the UN Security Council that was originally believed to be a supportive partner in the process but has actually delayed intervention already by months. The move by the military junta is also a serious indictment of the UN Secretary General and his special envoy for Mali, Prodi who have recently downplayed the need to act urgently in Mali. France recently called for an urgent resolution authorizing action in Mali. However their ambassador in Bamako had recently softened their proactive stance. Regional troops will soon be in Mali regardless of what the UN Security Council does in New York. Regional leaders will soon have an emergency summit on the matter, after which a concrete decision will be take to move forward. While it believed that the force would not arrive till 2013, it is not possible that forces will arrive before the end of the year.

The military in Mali has been closely watching the development surrounding the intervention force, something that the junta members still serving in the military have resisted. The lack of support shown by the United Nations, including the Secretary General and his special Envoy Prodi, and the United States to the urgent appeals of ECOWAS and the AU likely encouraged them to take this step. Not only did the Secretary General say that military intervention was not a priority he also questioned the comprehensive plan put forth by ECOWAS, ridiculing the only major authority that has kept the military in check in Mali. The United States and its Department of State also sought to undermine ECOWAS by somehow unilaterally appointing Algeria as the “leader” in negotiations in Northern Mali. The lead negotiator, appointed by ECOWAS, is the President of Burkina Faso. He has been effective in gaining concessions from two of the groups operating in Northern Mali. The steps to undermine ECOWAS by the UN and the US will be futile. Algeria will not be the lead negotiator and the Secretary General’s attempts to delay military intervention will also not materialize. The key power in the West African region is ECOWAS, ultimately their agenda as they have prioritized it, will prevail. As this happens all other stakeholders will fall in-line, eventually.

Moving forward, watch closely for ECOWAS decisions as this will indicate the direction of the multilateral mission. For details of the process behind multilateral missions see my book The Power of Interdependence.

Kuranga and Associates Global Consultancy is a political and economic risk management firm with a principle practice area of Africa. To learn more about Kuranga and Associates go to www.kaglobal.net. © Copyright 2012 David Kuranga. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

David O. Kuranga; Ph.D. Managing Director Kuranga & Associates Global Consultancy Phone: 212.363.0936 david.kuranga@kaglobal.net https://kurangaandassociates.wordpress.com http://us.macmillan.com/thepowerofinterdependence/DavidOladipupoKuranga

Political Risk in Mali and West and North Africa: Update…

4 Dec

David O. Kuranga, Ph.D.

The author is the Managing Director and Principal of Kuranga and Associates, a full-service investment, political and economic risk consultancy, and asset management firm that specializes in Africa. He is also the author of The Power of Interdependence with Palgrave Macmillan Press.

There is great concern over the security situation in Mali. At present both ECOWAS and the AU have agreed to send up to 5000 troops from African countries to help regain Mali’s territory. The plan enjoys wide support throughout Africa and as it appears even among some parties in Europe who are not keen on seeing an extremist haven involved in criminal activity develop and train equip and spread through North Africa. According to decision-makers that I have spoken to, a lot of the responsibility for what is happening in Mali falls squarely on NATO due to its hastily planned intervention in Libya which was not supported by the AU at the time. Shortly after the NATO led bombing campaign in Libya fighters and weapons caches traveled to Mali to establish a foothold in the North of the country. Had it not been for the failure of the NATO led campaign in Libya to contain post regime fighters from leaving the country with large supplies of weapons the situation in Mali would not be.

Now regional decision-makers are poised to begin to clean-up that mess starting in Mali. They have pledged material resources as well as armed troops to commence the task. It was the view of some African decision-makers that financial support from Western allies responsible for the Libya fiasco, would be forthcoming. Primarily for this reason, they forwarded plans to the UN Security Council to get an international resolution endorsing the steps they had taken and opening up the mission for international support. However, based on the statements made by UN Special Envoy Prodi, and the UN Secretary General himself, ECOWAS and AU decision-makers are now realizing that same UN Security Council that endorsed the intervention in Libya which directly lead to the problem in Mali is not willing to support their efforts to clean things up. The UN Secretary General noted that the UN did not have the resources to support an African-led mission and it was not clear how they intended to finance the operation. The Secretary General and his Envoy have called for more negotiations, even though one of the largest groups occupying northern Mali has never participated in any negotiations and has no intention of doing so. Further its membership appears to be almost entirely foreign, with more and more recruits coming in from territories as far as Pakistan.

African decision-makers in ECOWAS and the AU are sending representatives to the UN to convey the need to act urgently. It was the UN Security Council that requested they provide a clear plan for retaking the territory during the UN General Assembly, something that was never done for Libya. Even after presenting this plan, the prevailing disposition is to wait and allow the groups that refuse to negotiate more time to recruit train and equip fighters making dislodging them that more difficult. However, it is not likely that ECOWAS and AU will entertain more stalling from the international “partners”. Intervention in Mali by a regional force will occur in a matter of weeks. The measure has already been authorized by ECOWAS and the AU. It does not require any UN Security Council approval or authorization and it is fully within the UN Charter for states within the region to act. Indeed, a United States General, said in a statement that groups in Mali were funding and supporting Boko Haram in northern Nigeria, giving that country the full right of self-defense to remove them. In addition the regional arrangements for both ECOWAS and the AU allow for intervention in member states for reasons such as this. Indeed ECOWAS has already intervened in Guinea-Bissau with troops to stabilize that country. The only reason why there has been a delay in Mali was the expectation that countries outside the Africa region would support and take part once the UN Security Council endorsed the ECOWAS and AU authorized mission. The right of regional organizations to intervene in member-states is also part of the UN Charter in Chapter 8 (Article 52) on regional arrangements, thus it is fully within the authority of ECOWAS and the AU to intervene in Mali without any UN Security Council action.

The signaling by the international community that it will not act on Mali will not be accepted by African decision-makers. Regardless of what happens in New York, African troops will be in Mali in a matter of weeks. ECOWAS has already planned on holding a donors conference to raise resources needed to support an intervention, originally it had been planned to hold it after the UN Security Council resolution, but it could be held before even if the UN choses to do nothing. It is not possible to negotiate with parties that do not wish to negotiate. Further armed rebellions are not ended by negotiation unless there is a credible threat of force that would compel a fruitful negotiation, something that has not occurred thus far.

There will be an armed operation in Mali, both the regional countries and Mali itself will be shouldered with the cost of executing it if international partners do not provide support and if they are not effective in raising revenue through their planned donors conference. As this happens, investors in the region should understand that the government in Mali will need resources, thus increase in taxes and fees as happened recently with the Mali gold tax is entirely possible. Further, neighboring countries, Mauritania, Niger, Nigeria, Algeria, Burkina Faso, and Libya could see instability spill over into their territory. Likely many of the fighters will flee north to Mauritania, Algeria, and Libya, as they will blend in better with those populations than they would if they chose to venture south. While regional forces will work to contain and neutralize them, they are fully aware that many of them will flee the fighting as they are dislodged.

As this happens one country to be very watchful of is Mauritania. The president of that country is still suffering from a gunshot wound he sustained from one of his officers in October. As he spends most of his time in France receiving treatment, it is not clear he will be able to hold on to power. He has refused to support any armed role in the conflict in Mali, however should armed fighters enter into his countries territory his army will undoubtedly be drawn in. Should this happen, his government will have to divert more resources to securing their border with Mali and the tenure of his presidency could be cut short. Investors should be mindful that there are substantial political risks in Mauritania moving forward, just as much as Mali if not more. It is entirely possible that there will be a regime change there and the transitional government may tap mining and energy investors there for more revenue as aid flow may be cut in response to a military take-over.

The best case scenario would be for the NATO alliance; that bares full responsibility of the residual effect of their handy work in Libya, to support the African-led mission in Mali. If this happens it will shorten the length of conflict, and potentially enhance the ability of regional countries to round-up weapons caches and the surge of foreign fighters that moved into Mali. Despite this, the regional body is ready to act and will within weeks. This will eventually lead to stability in Mali, perhaps within a year. There may however be some spill-over into neighboring countries. For the time being, Mauritania appears to be at the most risk, followed by Algeria which may see another authoritarian leader in North Africa fall if instability reignites social unrest there. The other reason why Mauritania is at greater risk than Niger and Burkina Faso is because Mauritania is no longer a member of ECOWAS. Had it been, ECOWAS leaders would have sent envoys there to mediate with the military, opposition, and political stakeholders as soon as the president was shot in October, limiting the possibility that he would be overthrown. The details of the process behind regional diplomacy in Africa is detailed in my book, The Power of Interdependence with Palgrave Macmillan Press.

***For the full report contact me by email.***

Kuranga and Associates Global Consultancy is a political and economic risk management firm with a principle practice area of Africa. To learn more about Kuranga and Associates go to www.kaglobal.net. © Copyright 2012 David Kuranga. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

David O. Kuranga; Ph.D.
Managing Director
Kuranga & Associates Global Consultancy
Phone: 212.363.0936
david.kuranga@kaglobal.net
https://kurangaandassociates.wordpress.com/

http://us.macmillan.com/thepowerofinterdependence/DavidOladipupoKuranga

Mali: ECOWAS Strips Former Junta Leader of “Head of State” Status

5 Jul

David O. Kuranga, Ph.D.

The author is the Managing Director and Principal of Kuranga and Associates Global Consultancy, a political and economic risk management firm that specializes in Africa. He is also the author of The Power of Interdependence with Palgrave Macmillan Press.

The former junta leader that removed the out-going president of Mali before his term was set to expire in just a few weeks is no longer recognized by ECOWAS as a former “Head of State”. The agreement to recognize the junta leader was done in order to pave the way for a quick return to civilian governance. However, shortly after the parliamentary speaker assumed the presidency, military guards aided an attack on him at the presidential palace and refused to prevent protestors from occupying the usually heavily guarded residence. After the incident the regional body promised to investigate and punish all those that were responsible for the attack on the interim-President and parliamentary speaker. As it appears that investigation has led to reversal of the fortunes of the former junta leader. Those who speculated that the military in Mali had any leverage over ECOWAS to prevent the return of constitutional order, or to block a multilateral ECOWAS force from helping to retake the north of the country are mistaken.

The regional body utilizes methods of “sticks” and “carrots” in order to coerce or enties key domestic stakeholders to comply with their decisions. Once this occurs the domestic parties usually do not have many real options at their disposal. They can either benefit from cooperating or can face the consequences of failing to comply. As it appears, the former junta leader in Mali tried to do both. He stepped down and recieved the status as a “former head of state” a position that grants a $9,000 USD monthly salary. After he handed power to the civilian authorities, he then through the military refused to protect the new civilian leader and an help orchestrate an attack on his residence conducted by plain-cloths civilians.

An ECOWAS force on the ground in Mali is imminent. Likely France and potentially a few other western countries will provide further assistance once a UN resolution is passed. Once this happens, military leaders in Mali will have lost most of their bargaining power, if not already. Further rebels to the north who refuse to comply with regional mediators will also come under threat of military action. They are likely to be repelled from key central cities and towns shortly after the mulitalateral intervention. They also retreat to neighboring countries or sparsely populated regions of Mali.

Kuranga and Associates Global Consultancy is a political and economic risk management firm with a principle practice area of Africa. To learn more about Kuranga and Associates go to www.kaglobal.net. © Copyright 2012 David Kuranga. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

David O. Kuranga, Ph.D.
Managing Director

Kuranga & Associates Global Consultancy
Office: 212.363.0936
New York, NY
david.kuranga@kaglobal.net
https://kurangaandassociates.wordpress.com/
http://us.macmillan.com/thepowerofinterdependence/DavidOladipupoKuranga

Threat of ECOWAS Military Action Brings Mali Rebels to the Table

20 Jun

David O. Kuranga, Ph.D.

The author is the Managing Director and Principal of Kuranga and Associates Global Consultancy, a political and economic risk management firm that specializes in Africa. He is also the author of The Power of Interdependence with Palgrave Macmillan Press.

In armed rebellion negotiation only occurs when the rebels feel as though their security is in jeopardy and that they can perhaps secure themselves through dialogue. Given the ease at which the two major rebel groups in Mali were able to capture the North after the military junta took power in Bamako there is no reason to believe they were at all threatened or that their security was placed in jeopardy by Mali’s military. In fact, the military junta leader in Bamako sought to hold talks with the rebels but was ignored completely.

As the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) intervened pledging to boost Mali’s military efforts the rebels have reevaluated their initial decision not to negotiate. Those who believe that ECOWAS military forces are not up to the task of routing the two rebel groups in northern Mali need to take a closer look at the rebels themselves who certainly disagree. If the ECOWAS threat was not significant then both groups would have ignored them the same way they did the military junta leader in Mali. However both groups have not ignored ECOWAS. Instead they have sent delegates to neighboring Burkina Faso to hold negotiations with President Blaise Compaoré, the official ECOWAS mediator in the crisis. Perhaps even more significant, one of the groups have dropped their calls for an independent state a clear sign that they are heeding the ECOWAS stance that the territorial integrity of Mali is non-negotiable.

I was recently contacted by a high-ranking Western diplomat who questioned the capacity of ECOWAS to follow-through on their threat to conduct military operations to restore the territorial integrity of Mali. Anyone with this view has only to look at the response of rebel leaders themselves. First look at the way both rebel groups responded to the military junta in Bamako when they completely ignored the military leader who briefly took over the government. Then look at the way they are now sending entire delegations to the capital of Burkina Faso to negotiate with the ECOWAS mediator after the block pledged to send thousands of troops. Both groups are threatened and they know that if they do not change course their days are numbered. As I said to the Western official who contacted me, it is not advisable to underestimate the capacity of the sophisticated multilateral instruments in place in the African region. When put into action, they are yet to fail to yield positive results. The impact of multilateral action throughout the world is the topic of my new book The Power of Interdependence.

Kuranga and Associates Global Consultancy is a political and economic risk management firm with a principle practice area of Africa. To learn more about Kuranga and Associates go to www.kaglobal.net. © Copyright 2012 David Kuranga. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

David O. Kuranga, Ph.D.
Managing Director

Kuranga & Associates Global Consultancy
Office: 212.363.0936
New York, NY
david.kuranga@kaglobal.net
https://kurangaandassociates.wordpress.com/
http://us.macmillan.com/thepowerofinterdependence/DavidOladipupoKuranga