Understanding and Responding to Conflict in Africa: Crisis Response Versus Conflict Resolution   [open pdf - 857KB]

"This project evaluates a conundrum facing those making and implementing foreign policies in the U.S. government and elsewhere, whether, in devising policies to address complex security crises, to focus on comprehensive programs that influence the fundamental drivers of conflict (root causes) or to pursue a more limited strategy that seeks to respond to the symptoms of violence. It explicitly focuses on the twin issues of when and why the policy community may take one approach over the other, and what tradeoffs the chosen strategy then creates. The project explores these issues by analyzing the dynamics in a particular subset of policies: mediation strategies employed by third party interveners in violent civil conflict. The project assesses the choices and consequences of different strategies for conflict mediation as a microcosm for debates over whether those responding to conflict should focus their efforts on addressing the fundamental drivers of conflict or the symptoms of conflict once it occurs. The analysis aims to extract insight into the effects of different approaches to conflict resolution and intervention, with the goal of helping to inform policy decisions across the range of programs and agencies that address issues of African security. The case first analyzes the strategies adopted by third-party mediators responding to the Burundian civil war, identifying when they attempted to address root causes as opposed to seeking to halt violence and addressing the immediate symptoms of conflict. Second, the paper investigates how these strategies affected the course of the conflict and the outcomes of their mediation efforts. This paper lays out the consequences of the choices made by mediators on the process of peace negotiations in Burundi, explicitly comparing across various attempts to resolve the Burundian civil war." Note: This document has been added to the Homeland Security Digital Library in agreement with the Project on Advanced Systems and Concepts for Countering WMD (PASCC) as part of the PASCC collection. Permission to download and/or retrieve this resource has been obtained through PASCC.

Report Number:
Advanced Systems and Concepts Office, Report Number 2010 008
Public Domain. Downloaded or retrieved via external web link as part of the PASCC collection.
Retrieved From:
ASCO/PASCC Archives via NPS Center on Contemporary Conflict
Media Type:
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