THE SEARCH FOR AN AFRICAN COMMON SECURITY MECHANISM, A LOOK AT THE ROLE OF ECOMOG IN LIBERIA
The focus of this research is on the prospects of an African common security system that should serve both as an intervention force and a deterent to the surging millatary conflicts in the African region especially after the end of the cold war era.The extend to which African conflicts have taken, is becoming a matter of grave attention not only affecting the African community but also the international community.
Following the civil war that erupted in Liberia in 1990 which took almost a million lives and displaced almost a quarter of the country's population,
leaders of the Economic Community Of West African States (ECOWAS) felt and realised the need to put an end to the tragedy of the Liberrian people and to prevent the situation from serving as a precedent in other countries in the subregion. ( In the Liberian war it was a civilian clique that tried, almost successful ly to overun a mi litary regi me, an exception rather than the rule i n most militarised conflicts, at least in West Africa).
The Ecowas Monitoring Group (ECOMOG). thus became a sub-regional military intervention force set up with the task of intervening in the Liberian civil war. Member countries of Ecowas pulled up resources both logistically and militarily to set up the standing force which was charged with the responsibility of moving into Liberia and to use political means to get all parties to the negotiating table and also to establish safe havens for those who were victims of the war. The ECOMOG has been the first of its kind in Africa and was wholly a subregional initiative. Their mandate therefore could be seen as political and their mission, peace keeping.
Researchers have tried to study the need for an African common secutity network in the light of the conflict situation in Africa. I intend, through this project, to complement the work of other researchers dealing with these issues, by attempting to asses whether some kind of security arrangement is relevant and or feasible to the African region considering the diversities of the conflicts taking place now. The research strategy of this thesis can best be explained by pointing to 5 analytical decisions that delimts the scope of the thesis. Basically these would include:
(1) The acceptance of the classical, interstate notion of collective security arrangements.
(2) Th introduction of a typology of collective security arrangements, (3) The forcus on systems level, structural factors such as the distribution of capabillties accross states and levels of Institutlonalisatlon,
(4) The traditional approaches to the concept of seurity. (5) Approachestoissuesofintervention.
The Thesis has been divided into six chapters, Chapter being the introduction of the Thesis.
Chapter 2 draws on existing body of literature on collective security in order to establlsh a working definition of ideal collective security. This definition will serve as the conceptual framework for analysis.
This would lead us on to researching on literature on collective security in Africa and this would Involve looking at past attempts at collective security on the regional levels.
Chapter 3 looks specifically at the issues of security in Africa. We would need here to establish the perceptions of insecurity in individual African countries that has led to the proliferations of armaments in the continent which inevitably incraeses the perception of insecurity. One attempts here to study the break downs of democracy and issues of conflicts on some cases study basis. The roles of colonisation and its effect on the present conflict situations in Africa would be looked at, which may lead us into discussing the roles of foriegn
- military interventions in Africa and the roles of the O.A.U in putting a strong hand into the issues of conflict.
Chapter 4 would basically look at ECOMOG as a collective security mechanism on a sub-regional basis. Having gone through the definitions of collective security, we would lead ourselfs into an attempt at developing a typology of operational collective security arrangements in this chapter, which would be necessary when discussing the ECOMOG.
Chapter 5 analysis the relevance and feasibility of collective security in post cold war Africa. The relevance of collective security has to do with whether the concepts and mechanisms of collective security has the potential of been realised given a particular interpretation of a present or future reality in Africa. By feasibility is meant the extend to which collective security, if relevant, is a workable security option given a particular interpretation of a present and future reality in Africa.
This would also be a study of the roles and effectiveness of collective
-0 sanctions within various approachs towards collective security. The specific aim is to identify how structural factors affect the effectiveness of military andnon military sanctions given a particular collective security arrangement.
Chapter 6 gives a summary of the individual chapters and reflections on the issue of security in Africa.