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A clear framework for sharing analysis and information should be established and existing mechanisms, such as regular meetings between the PSC and its regional equivalents, should be operationalised. This will build trust between the RECs and the AU, ensuring that regional bodies are more fully engaged in AU efforts on peace and security, and might also help mitigate some of the political barriers to collective action and decision-making.

Moves to reform and bolster the PSC have languished. Kagame wanted to ensure that member states sitting on the Council be both committed to and capable of effectively carrying out their responsibilities. Fears that Sisi will seek to reverse progress already made seem exaggerated: Egypt has publicly stated its commitment to continuing the reform process. The government has since engaged in low-intensity warfare against armed insurgents and brutally repressed peaceful dissidents.

Violence, rising unemployment, the collapse of basic services and deepening social fractures have forced more than , Burundians to flee the country, according to UN figures. Hide Footnote In short, risks of a violent deterioration are high and the need for external involvement urgent. Yet the AU faces considerable obstacles in this regard. President Nkurunziza, in other words, appears to be pulling Burundi further toward isolation, shoring up his domestic base and pre-empting any attempt by the AU or the EAC to encourage compromise ahead of the presidential election.

Such hurdles notwithstanding, the AU will need to try to actively reengage ahead of those elections: urging the government to open political space ahead of the polls and allow political parties to campaign freely; insisting its human rights observers and military experts be allowed to remain on the ground; and urging the government to sign a memorandum of understanding enabling these AU personnel to carry out their mandate in full. As the polls draw nearer, the AU should steadily increase the number of its monitors and advisers to prepare the ground for a long-term election observation mission.

In particular, the AU should consider resurrecting the high-level delegation it appointed in February composed of Ethiopia, Gabon, Mauritania, Senegal and South Africa , or a similar structure, to help build regional consensus on the mediation process and interact directly with Nkurunziza. In addition, the PSC should meet regularly on Burundi, especially during the run-up to the elections when the risk of an escalation in violence will be heightened.

This, however, will be difficult if Burundi is elected to the Council in February, as expected. Since September , fighting has killed at least civilians, forcing 30, to flee to neighbouring Nigeria and leaving a further , internally displaced in Cameroon, according to UN figures.

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At least soldiers, gendarmes and police officers have died in the violence — more than in the five-year fight against Boko Haram in the Far North — and another have been injured. Separatist casualties number more than For the most part, the government has signalled its determination to crush the insurgency rather than address Anglophone concerns. In a welcome gesture, authorities released Anglophone detainees in mid-December, but it remains unclear whether the government has had a genuine change of heart: hundreds, including separatist leaders, are still incarcerated.

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Nor is it clear whether this move alone will convince hard-line separatists to talk rather than fight. Confidence-building measures are an essential first step. These measures could open the way for talks between the government and Anglophone leaders, followed by an inclusive national dialogue that would consider options for decentralisation or federalism.

Yet so far the AU has been surprisingly reserved on the Anglophone crisis, despite the high number of casualties and the danger of wider civil conflict. They should also call for implementing the confidence-building measures listed above and for beginning a national dialogue.

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To this end, heads of state should affirm that any obstruction could lead to sanctions against individuals hindering peace, whether government or separatist. The humanitarian situation remains dire, with more than one million people internally displaced or fleeing to neighbouring countries and 2. Russian involvement has complicated dynamics further. An accord was signed early February, but still needs ratification.

In the past, talks held in foreign capitals — involving some but not all armed groups — degenerated in a cycle of broken promises. In contrast, local peace processes held inside CAR, many initiated by religious organisations, have had modest success, easing intercommunal tensions and instituting temporary truces in certain areas. A sustainable political solution in CAR would benefit from a new approach to mediation that involves greater international military pressure on armed groups, and attempts to negotiate with them at the local level where possible.

This approach would also recognise that many have local agendas that cannot be addressed without the participation of the local population. To this end, and in the wake of the Khartoum agreement the AU should bring its mediation efforts back in-country and organise separate talks with those parties that have interests in a particular conflict zone, as well as community dialogues aimed at addressing truly local grievances. Ideally, these local initiatives would lead to a second phase of consultations with groups with national claims and ties to regional states, providing a more realistic framework for a program of national mediation.

Chad and Sudan offer backing or safe haven to some insurgent factions, many of whose members originate in these neighbouring countries. Their agreement to cut support and accept the repatriation of fighters will be critical. If so, a structure nonetheless should be put in place to build consensus between Bangui and key regional governments, chief among them Chad and Sudan, with the aim of securing buy-in to the AU-led mediation and reducing support from neighbouring countries to insurgent groups in CAR.

Although official tallies gave Tshisekedi a narrow victory, a parallel count by the Congolese Catholic Church confirmed by leaks from the electoral commission indicated that Fayulu had won by a landslide. The clear implication was that Kabila and his allies had rigged the results in favour not of their initially favoured candidate — whose victory would have been met with incredulity and would have united the opposition — but of the opposition candidate they found more palatable.

Initial reactions by most African and Western diplomats were muted. In stark contrast, an ad hoc meeting of African leaders assembled by AU Chairperson President Kagame, issued a surprisingly bold statement on 17 January. The rest of the international community soon followed suit.

The episode was damaging to the AU. But the greatest damage would be to the continent as a whole if the AU, chastened by this embarrassment, were deterred from acting in future situations of this type, giving autocratic regimes an implicit green light to continue to rig elections with impunity. This highly controversial background aside, the new president and government have a responsibility to focus on stabilising the country and avoid spill-over from internal conflicts affecting the rest of the region. Of course, Tshisekedi will have to work with Kabila, who enjoys a large majority in the newly-elected parliament.

But AU leaders should strongly encourage Tshisekedi to demonstrate his independence from the former regime and reach out to Fayulu as well as his supporters to build a broad-based coalition. The PSC in particular ought to keep the DRC on its agenda, as unrest in the East is likely to worsen, which could also exacerbate already serious tensions among Rwanda, Uganda and Burundi.

It is also likely to sow further instability.

Trump's policy of inaction is whetting Iran's appetite for aggression | The Times of Israel

Most important, Mogadishu has thrown away an opportunity to build a local power-sharing model with a conservative Islamist who could potentially be a bridge to the Salafi community and undercut support for the Al-Shabaab insurgency. Gains made during the last eighteen months — including agreement on the Roadmap on Inclusive Politics, adoption of the National Security Architecture and commitment to the Somalia Transition Plan — risk being undermined or reversed.

In September , President Salva Kiir and his main rival Riek Machar, the former vice president-turned rebel leader, signed a power-sharing agreement. Violence has subsided and, for now, that is reason enough to support this fragile accord. The deal, brokered by Presidents Omar al-Bashir of Sudan and Yoweri Museveni of Uganda, the regional leaders with the most at stake in South Sudan, is not a final settlement to the war. But it opens the door to a new round of fraught negotiations that could lead to a unity government and, eventually, elections. There are abundant reasons for scepticism.

This new pact builds on a previous deal, concluded in August , which collapsed less than twelve months after it was signed, triggering a surge in fighting. By calling for elections in , the agreement perpetuates the Kiir-Machar rivalry and risks yet another violent showdown. Worryingly, security arrangements for the capital, Juba, have yet to be finalised, as have plans for a unified national army.

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In addition, donors, tired of financing failed deals, are waiting for concrete action by Kiir and Machar before committing funds. The U. But momentum is being lost, and if this deal fails the country could plunge back into bloody warfare. Although the AU took a back seat in South Sudan from the outset, essentially supporting mediation efforts of the regional bloc IGAD, it has an important role to play going forward. The High-Level Ad Hoc Committee on South Sudan — composed of Algeria, Chad, Nigeria, Rwanda and South Africa, and known as the C5 — forms part of the body tasked with finalising the formation of regional states, the number and boundaries of which are disputed.

Building consensus on this politically sensitive and highly technical issue will require consistent engagement from the C5 heads of state, who would be well advised to draw on support from the AU Border Program and partners with relevant expertise. The new accord is supposed to be guaranteed by a region that itself is in flux — alliances are shifting following the rapprochement between Ethiopia and Eritrea — and that does not agree on what form a lasting political settlement should take or how to reach one. Anti-government demonstrations have engulfed towns and cities across Sudan since mid-December , when the government ended a bread subsidy.

Security forces have killed dozens in a crackdown that could intensify further. President Omar al-Bashir, in power since , has survived past challenges to his authority by resorting to brutal repression.

African leaders with influence in Khartoum should publicly warn against the use of deadly force and call on the government to keep the security forces in check. Behind the scenes, they should encourage Bashir to step aside and provide incentives, such as guaranteeing asylum in a friendly African country, for him to do so.

In a world with fewer rules, the only truly effective one is knowing what you can get away with. The answer today, it turns out, is: quite a lot. As the era of uncontested U. More leaders are tempted more often to test limits, jostle for power, and seek to bolster their influence — or diminish that of their rivals — by meddling in foreign conflicts. Multilateralism and its constraints are under siege, challenged by more transactional, zero-sum politics.

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Instruments of collective action, such as the UN Security Council, are paralysed; those of collective accountability, including the International Criminal Court, are ignored and disparaged. Nostalgia can be deceptive. Too fond a portrayal of the era of Western hegemony would be misleading.

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A liberal and nominally rules-based order hardly stopped those setting the rules from discarding them when they saw fit. The erosion of Western influence, in short, looks different from Moscow, Beijing, and the global south than it does from Brussels, London, or Washington. Still, for better and for worse, U. In their domestic policies, many of those leaders embrace a noxious brew of nationalism and authoritarianism. The mix varies from place to place but typically entails rejection of international institutions and rules.

There is little new in the critique of an unjust global order. But if once that critique tended to be rooted in international solidarity, today it stems chiefly from an inward-looking populism that celebrates narrow social and political identity, vilifies minorities and migrants, assails the rule of law and independence of the press, and elevates national sovereignty above all else.

Trump may be the most visible of the genre, but he is far from the most extreme. The wind is in the sails of strongmen worldwide. They realize, at times perhaps to their surprise, that constraints are crumbling, and the behavior that results often fuels violence or crises.

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All are motivated in part by what leaders perceive as a yellow light where they used to see solid red. Beyond their borders, these leaders test norms, too. Saudi Arabia has pushed the envelope with the war in Yemen, the kidnapping of a Lebanese prime minister, and the gruesome murder of dissident journalist Jamal Khashoggi in its consulate in Istanbul. Iran plots attacks against dissidents on European soil.