In addressing these and other questions, Paul Williams offers the first comparative assessment of more than two hundred armed conflicts which took place in Africa between 1990 and 2009 - from the continental catastrophe in the Democratic Republic of Congo to the environmental disaster in the Niger Delta and mass atrocities in the Sudan. Taking a broad comparative approach to examine the political contexts in which these wars occurred, he explores the key ingredients that provoked them and the major international responses undertaken to deliver lasting peace.
Part I, Contexts provides an overview of the most important attempts to measure the number and scale of Africa's armed conflicts and provides a conceptual and political sketch of the terrain of struggle upon which these wars were waged.
Part II, Ingredients analyses the role of five widely debated features of Africa's wars: the dynamics of neopatrimonial systems of governance; the construction and manipulation of ethnic identities; questions of sovereignty and self-determination; as well as the impact of natural resources and religion.
Part III, Responses, discusses four major international reactions to Africa's wars: attempts to build a new institutional architecture to help promote peace and security on the continent; this architecture's two main policy instruments, peacemaking initiatives and peacekeeping operations; and efforts to develop the continent.
War and Conflict in Africa will be essential reading for all students of international peace and security studies as well as Africa's international relations.
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"Williams' analysis and critique, written with substantial clarity, is a valuable contribution to the debate over African peace and security, with insights that may prove of benefit for the examination of armed conflicts beyond the African region."
Australian Journal of International Affairs
"Well written and thoroughly researched, War and Conflict in Africa provides a comprehensive assessment of attempts to explain the proliferation of conflict in post-Cold War Africa ... the book provides a useful overview for scholars and naturally lends itself as an academic course-text."
Journal of Military History
"A valuable reference for students, policy makers, civil society actors and those determined to promote peace and security in Africa."
Political Studies Review
"War and Conflict in Africa contributes to a more complex understanding of the political actors and systems that catalyze or prevent conflict and offers a cautionary tale to those who seek only proven, easy predictions."
New Security Beat
"Williams has produced the foundational framework for understanding the mainsprings of armed conflict in Africa over the past twenty years. This book is a must-read for those who want a nuanced understanding of the causes and processes of conflict on the African continent. Williams's analysis is brilliant and enhances the book's value for students, governments, NGOs - anyone working to promote peace and security in Africa."
William Reno, Northwestern University
"Encyclopaedic in scope and cogent in analysis, War and Conflict in Africa debunks a great deal of received opinion and offers not only a sophisticated view of how African conflicts come about but also a critical appraisal of attempts to resolve them. It should be required reading for scholars as well as for all those who seek to mediate in conflicts both in Africa and elsewhere."
Christopher Clapham, University of Cambridge
"This incisive study will be an invaluable resource for students and policymakers seeking to understand and ameliorate Africa's complex and destructive conflicts."
David Keen, London School of Economics and Political Science
List of Tables vi
List of Figures vii
List of Abbreviations viii
Part I Contexts 13
1 Counting Africa’s Confl icts (and their Casualties) 15
2 The Terrain of Struggle 35
Part II Ingredients 53
3 Neopatrimonialism 55
4 Resources 72
5 Sovereignty 94
6 Ethnicity 113
7 Religion 128
Part III Responses 147
8 Organization-Building 149
9 Peacemaking 168
10 Peacekeeping 184
11 Aid 205