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Peace, crisis and conflict

What are the key questions related to diplomacy and foreign policy?
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Fiifi Edu-Afful, Andrew E. Yaw Tchie, Festus Kofi Aubyn, Ousmane Aly Diallo, Mariana Llorens Zabala

Shifting from External Dependency: Remodelling the G5 Sahel Joint Force for the Future

After a decade of battling jihadist and violent extremist groups in West Africa, France has initiated the restructuring and relocation of its largest overseas military mission in the Sahel with an announcement of the withdrawal of Operation Barkhane (the French military counterterrorism intervention) from Mali. The exit over the coming months may signify an important shift of western military operations in Mali and the Sahel. France’s deployment in the Sahel was initially triggered by the activities of Tuareg separatists in the northern part of Mali. Islamic extremists closely associated with Al-Qaeda took advantage of the situation, seizing north Mali and spreading their activities southwards in 2012. Despite French counterterrorism operations, instability worsened, and Islamists controlled vast swathes of northern and central Mali, parts of Burkina Faso, and western Niger. Over time, under the motivation of France, the G5 Sahel Joint Force (G5S-JF) was created to address the everyday challenges of terrorism and transnational organised crime among the five member states (Burkina Faso, Chad, Mali, Mauritania, and Niger). For a force supported by three United Nations Security Council Resolutions 2359 (2017), 2391 (2017) and 2480 (2019); and with a force strength of 5600 troops organised around three sectors, its operational successes have been a mixed bag (ten joint border operations). Operation Barkhane together with European Union Training Mission Mali (EUTM), the Capacity Building Mission in Mali (EUCAP Sahel Mali) and Niger (EUCAP Sahel Niger) and the United Nations Multidimensional Integrated Stabilization Mission in Mali (MINUSMA), has enhanced the operational readiness and capabilities of the G5 Sahel through mentoring, training, and funding of the joint-force operations. Additionally, these external operations, particularly Barkhane, have been supportive of the activities of G5S-JF by providing intelligence, supporting logistical and joint planning, providing aerial and air support, and engaging in medical evacuation. Notwithstanding, the Joint Force has been contending with weak intelligence, shortfalls in equipment, limited aerial capabilities and a lack of rapid response, which invariably hinders operational effectiveness. The Joint Force represents an essential step toward addressing the instability that affects Mali and the broader Sahel, but as of yet, the G5S-JF has been unable to fully demonstrate its effectiveness as a force despite significant support from donor countries such as France. Moreover, it is uncertain how Mali´s withdrawal from the Joint Force will impact on the overall strategy of the G5S-JF and its sustainability going forward, especially given Mali’s recent announcement of withdrawing from the G5 Sahel. The departure of Barkhane, together with Takuba and other European arrangements from Mali, raises many unanswered questions about the funding, operational capacity and political cooperation between the other member states of the Joint Force. Even though France has reiterated that it will continue to support peacekeepers serving under MINUSMA; and Malian troops continuing to battle Islamic violent extremism after the Barkhane withdrawal, the response time to jihadist attacks and activities inside Malian territory will not be the same. Without Barkhane, the G5S-JF will struggle to protect civilians, evacuate soldiers in need of medical attention, and support effective joint planning and coordination of G5S-JF and intelligence sharing —which has been instrumental in the fight against jihadist. To address emerging challenges, enhance the ability of the G5S-JF and sustain its support, this report proposes four possible options that could fill the gap resulting from the current security vacuum being created following the possible withdrawal of some of the external military forces from Mali, and Mali itself from the G5S-JF. In arriving at these proposed options, emphasis is placed on regional perspectives, which draws on African frameworks and the use of African resources, experience, capabilities and understanding. The report argues that this would allow better ownership and closer proximity to the issues, ensuring that international partners are not dictating how the region and African Union (AU) Member States (MS) should solve challenges. The evaluation considered the full spectrum of options to include: A reconfigured and scaled-up G5 Sahel Joint Force (Plus); A reconfigured G5 Sahel Joint Force and revised MISAHEL through the AU, ECOWAS, ECCAS and CENSAD; An integrated ECOWAS (deployment of the African Standby Force) utilising the G5 Sahel force; and Elevating the G5 Sahel force to an AU (Peace Enforcement mission) with UN support. The proposed options focus on military and hybrid solutions that can tackle existing challenges in the Sahel and West Africa as a whole. However, defeating jihadism and violent extremism is essentially a job that should include intelligence and police authorities to win the hearts and minds of the population, but this cannot be done solely with hard stabilisation efforts. Tackling the vast challenges in the Sahel requires a careful mix of adaptive, agile and sustained efforts that cut across social, economic, political, developmental, humanitarian and recovery instruments and support. Thus, the report suggests additional stabilisation efforts to support the Sahel focused on local, national, regional and international initiatives that can connect to the ground and tackle internal challenges comprehensively. These initiatives, it will be argued, can plug into existing structures but also help to support structures not fully recognised. Efforts to resolve the problems in the Sahel stand a much greater chance of success if fully supported with buy-in from the AU, together with ECOWAS and support from the UN, EU and donors that can draw on the full spectrum of available instruments which have a demonstrable desire to work with like-minded partners. The authors of this report believe that a scaled-up and reconfigured G5 Sahel Joint Force (G5 Sahel Plus) option (discussed below) would have been the optimal model. However, following the recent withdrawal of Mali from the G5S-JF and the deteriorating political landscape in the region and between states, the authors’ reassessment calls for an AU Peace Enforcement mission as the most appropriate, given the current situation. It is important to note, the recommendations provided in this report hinge on the ability of the current and former G5S-JF states to address and resolve the deteriorating political situation, which is fluid in nature and continuously evolving. This will require all states (current and former G5S-JF) to recognise that they need each other to address these challenges, and that any reconfiguration (the models provided in this report) depends on the political situation being fully addressed. There is a need, as the models indicate, to have more joint efforts between the AU and ECOWAS to assist in resolving the current impasses in the region.

  • Africa
  • Peace operations
G5 Sahel report cover 2.png
  • Africa
  • Peace operations
Publications
Publications
Report
Sarah-Myriam Martin-Brûlé, Andrew E. Yaw Tchie, Olajumoke ( Jumo) Ayandele, Thea Willoch Njaastad

UNITAMS Mandate Renewal Study: Fostering a Process of Trust and Inclusivity

The United Nations Integrated Transition Assistance Mission in Sudan (UNITAMS) was established on 3 June 2020 under UN Security Council (UNSC) Resolution 2524 to support Sudan during its transition to democratic rule and it was renewed the following year through SC 2579(2021). UNITAMS was conceived of and designed to respond to new and long-standing issues in Sudan: the political transition process that began with the December 2018 revolution and the legacy of armed conflicts. The Mission’s mandate explicitly recognises the adverse effects of climate change on the stability of Sudan and stresses the need for appropriate risk assessment and risk management strategies. Yet, since the adoption of the Mission’s mandate in June 2020 and its renewal in June 2021, Sudan’s political, security and economic situation has deteriorated significantly. An attempted military coup in September 2021, followed by a successful coup d’état on 25 October 2021, has further worsened Sudan’s political crisis, increasing insecurity, undermining the economy, and resulting in the interruption of bilateral and international funding – all amidst the continuing global pandemic. This fast-changing political, security and economic context has placed UNITAMS in a very delicate position in relation to the host government. It has required UNITAMS to focus a significant portion of its attention on good offices and diplomacy so that, together with the African Union (AU), Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD), and other international partners and Sudanese stakeholders, it can support a process aimed at bringing Sudan’s transition back on track. While the UNITAMS mandate remains relevant and adequate, the Mission must continue to be allowed the flexibility to adapt its focus to the fast-changing dynamics on the ground. UNITAMS’ good offices’ role should remain at the centre of the Mission’s efforts during the next mandated period, helping Sudanese stakeholders to find an inclusive political settlement that can secure a transition to democratic rule in the medium to long term. At the same time, the Mission should continue its work in support of its other objectives and priorities, including the protection of civilians, the implementation of the peace agreement, and advisory and capacity building, particularly related to the rule-of-law sector. The Mission should strengthen its focus on and ability to integrate climate-related security risks into its analytical work, especially as it relates to supporting local conflict prevention, mitigation and reconciliation efforts to prevent inter-communal violence. While there has been significant progress in strengthening collaboration among the UN, AU and IGAD, maintaining and sustaining the partnership must remain a key priority in the Mission’s work to promote regional stability.

  • Africa
  • Peace operations
  • United Nations
UNITAMS report cover.png
  • Africa
  • Peace operations
  • United Nations
Publications
Publications
Policy brief

Deterrence and (Re)assurance in the High North – Finland and Norway Compared

- Finland and Norway are both frontline states to Russia with a similar deterrence and defense strategy. - Finland’s geopolitical position as a frontline state is mainly defined by the long land border to Russia. Norway is predominantly a maritime frontline state. - Norway is both a frontline state and a rear area for staging support to military operations in the Nordic Region. - Geography is a factor influencing the different approaches in Finland and Norway to foreign military activity near Russia. Also, proximity to nuclear forces and test areas.

  • Defence
  • Security policy
  • NATO
  • Europe
  • Russia and Eurasia
  • The Nordic countries
  • Conflict
Screenshot 2024-02-23 at 10.49.27.png
  • Defence
  • Security policy
  • NATO
  • Europe
  • Russia and Eurasia
  • The Nordic countries
  • Conflict
Building peace through a sustainable environment
Podcast

Building peace through a sustainable environment

Why should we connect the environment to issues of peace and conflict? And in a world of dramatically increased geopolitical tensions, is it possi...

  • Africa
  • Peace operations
  • Humanitarian issues
  • Conflict
  • Fragile states
  • Migration
  • Nation-building
  • Climate
  • International organizations
  • United Nations
  • AU
  • Africa
  • Peace operations
  • Humanitarian issues
  • Conflict
  • Fragile states
  • Migration
  • Nation-building
  • Climate
  • International organizations
  • United Nations
  • AU
The next migration crisis: Is the EU better prepared?
Podcast

The next migration crisis: Is the EU better prepared?

In this podcast episode we take a closer look on how the EU will handle a new migration crisis. A new wave of mass migration to Europe might be bu...

  • Europe
  • Migration
  • Governance
  • Europe
  • Migration
  • Governance
Abkhazia between Russia and the outside world
Podcast

Abkhazia between Russia and the outside world

De facto states - states that have failed to win international recognition - have long been understudied 'blank spots,' overlooked in academic lit...

  • Diplomacy
  • Foreign policy
  • Russia and Eurasia
  • Conflict
  • Fragile states
  • Governance
  • Diplomacy
  • Foreign policy
  • Russia and Eurasia
  • Conflict
  • Fragile states
  • Governance
Putin’s potential headache: The anti-mobilization protests in North Caucasus
Podcast

Putin’s potential headache: The anti-mobilization protests in North Caucasus

After Vladimir Putin’s announcement of the partial mobilization of the war in Ukraine in September, people, and in particular women, took to the s...

  • Russia and Eurasia
  • Humanitarian issues
  • Conflict
  • Fragile states
  • Russia and Eurasia
  • Humanitarian issues
  • Conflict
  • Fragile states
Camille  Vern
Researchers

Camille Vern

Visiting Research Fellow

Camille is a visiting research fellow at NUPI for two months and will take part in the work of the Research Group Peace, Conflict and Development....

  • Diplomacy
  • Conflict
  • International organizations
  • AU
  • Diplomacy
  • Conflict
  • International organizations
  • AU
Russian youth, war, and independent journalists in exile
Podcast

Russian youth, war, and independent journalists in exile

The Russian online magazine DOXA is this year's winner of the Norwegian Student Peace Prize. The committee highlights their work exposing corrupti...

  • Russia and Eurasia
  • Humanitarian issues
  • Conflict
  • Human rights
  • Russia and Eurasia
  • Humanitarian issues
  • Conflict
  • Human rights
Publications
Publications
Scientific article
John Karlsrud, Malte Brosig

How Ad Hoc Coalitions Deinstitutionalize International Institutions

As ad hoc coalitions (AHCs) proliferate, particularly on the African continent, two questions crystallize. First, what consequences do they bring about for the existing institutional security landscape? And second, how can the trend of AHCs operating alongside instead of inside regional organizations be captured and explored conceptually? To answer these questions, we closely examine the Multinational Joint Task Force (MNJTF) fighting Boko Haram and its changing relationship to the African Union (AU). Through the case study and a review of policy and academic literatures, the article launches the concept of deinstitutionalization and how it can be characterized. We identify three features of deinstitutionalization – AHCs can bypass standard procedures for decision-making processes; whittle down established institutional scripts, and shift resource allocations. We detail how the AHCs contribute to changing practices of financing international peace and security operations, with an examination of EU and UN policies and practices. In sum, the paper unwraps the processes of deinstitutionalization and identifies three forms of rationales for this process – lack of problem-solving capacity, limited adaptability and path dependency.

  • Africa
  • Peace operations
  • Humanitarian issues
  • Conflict
  • Fragile states
  • Migration
  • Nation-building
  • Insurgencies
  • United Nations
  • AU
International_Affairs_87(5).jpg
  • Africa
  • Peace operations
  • Humanitarian issues
  • Conflict
  • Fragile states
  • Migration
  • Nation-building
  • Insurgencies
  • United Nations
  • AU
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