"What policy value might derive from analyzing the recent experience of Liberia with interim governments as conflict management and institution building agents? The Liberian case provides a window into a set of factors that exist in a number of countries - fragile regimes that 'govern' resource-rich economies - that could potentially lead to state erosion and failure in many countries with these same features: 1. First, Liberia is the prototypical weak state eroded first by privilege, and subsequently by ambitious individuals whose use of armed gangs brought down the state. 2. Second, Liberia, along with Sierra Leone, provides an optic on contemporary warlord politics as a condition with its own specifiable properties and political economy. 3. Third, Liberia's disintegration, its civil war, the interim governments and its future governance arrangements are intimately tied to subregional politics (the Mano River Basin). 4. Finally, Liberia's experience with regional peacekeepers and regional economic arrangements provides both cautionary tales and positive precedents with respect to state-building, governance, stability and legitimacy. Overall, explaining how and why the Liberian state failed, and the challenges and opportunities faced by the international community as it sought to reconstitute a viable Liberian regime, therefore hold lessons for many countries in similar situations."
Naval Postgraduate School, Center for Contemporary Conflict: http://www.ccc.nps.navy.mil
Strategic Insights (January 2006), v.5 no.1