Conflict Resolution in Africa

Brookings Institution Press
1

While dramatic changes are taking place on the international scene and among the major powers, Africa continues to suffer from a multitude of violent conflicts. The toll of these conflicts is monumental in terms of war damage to productivity, scarce resources diverted to armaments and military organizations, and the resulting insecurity, displacement, and destruction. At the same time, Africans, in response to internal demands as well as to international changes, have begun to focus their attention and energies on these problems and are trying innovative ways to resolve differences by nonviolent means. The outcomes of these attempts have urgent and complex implications for the future of the continent with respect to human rights, principles of democracy, and economic development.

In this book, African, European, and U.S. experts examine these important issues and the prospects for conflict management and resolution in Africa. They review the scholarship in resolution in light of international changes now taking place. Addressing the undying, internal causes of conflict, they question whether global events will promote peace or threaten to unleash even more conflict.

The authors focus their analysis on the issues involved in African conflicts and examine the areas in need of the most dramatic changes. They offer specific recommendations for dealing with current problems, but caution that unless policymakers confront the security situation in Africa, further destruction to national unity and political and economic stability is imminent. Case studies and themes for further, long-term research are recommended.

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About the author

Francis M. Deng is a nonresident senior fellow in the Foreign Policy Studies program at the Brookings Institution and co-director of the Brookings-SAIS Project on Internal Displacement. He has served as the Sudan's minister of state and foreign

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Additional Information

Publisher
Brookings Institution Press
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Published on
Jul 1, 2011
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Pages
418
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ISBN
9780815707189
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Features
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Language
English
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Genres
Political Science / International Relations / General
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Content Protection
This content is DRM protected.
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Genocide results from the culmination of conflicts over identity. A group of people that feels threatened by extinction resorts to genocide as a pathologically defensive reaction. This poses a security dilemma that can only be broken by quelling the feelings of threat and fear that prompt mass violence. In order to prevent genocide, it is essential to understand the internal dynamics of identity conflict. It is also important to intervene at the early stages of identity conflict; the parties involved require external help to ease tensions. In this volume, noted thinkers and practitioners of conflict management, who hail from ten different countries, present ideas on how to prevent identity issues from causing fear and escalating into genocide. They focus on measures for handling the internal dynamics of parties facing identity conflicts, as well as considerations for arranging external assistance. Contributors address the problem of outbidders, actors whose non-conciliatory attitudes put them in positions of leadership in their identity groups. Since political extremism and violence can signal resolve and commitment to a group cause, moderates give way to hardliners. Spoilers, who believe that peace undermines their interests and power, also play a key role in the dynamics of conflicts. Careful attention is necessary to select appropriate third parties who can pull conflicting parties off the course of conflict. The authors discuss the concepts and practices involved in changing structures and attitudes to ease tensions, as well as the measures interveners must take to work in the midst of conflicting groups.
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