'Security Is like Oxygen': A Regional Security Mechanism for West Africa   [open pdf - 48KB]

"Since the end of the Cold War, the geostrategic significance of Africa to the United States has markedly declined, resulting in the treatment of Africa as a 'backwater' in official U.S. policy making in recent years. The derogation of African issues in U.S. foreign relations became evident as early as 1989, when war broke out in Liberia, a country hitherto regarded as having a long-standing special relationship with the United States. But Africa's, even Liberia's, low priority in the dawning era failed to draw U.S. military intervention 'to nip the civil war in the bud.' This prompted the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) to form and insert an ad hoc military force--the ECOWAS Cease-Fire Monitoring Group, or ECOMOG--into Liberia in 1990. Initially designed for a brief operation in Liberia, ECOMOG has since deployed in two other states as well, Guinea-Bissau and Sierra Leone. Given the current chaotic, even hopeless, situation in Sierra Leone, and the less serious but still nebulous state of affairs in Liberia , Guinea, and Guinea-Bissau, subregional leaders have been under pressure to transform ECOMOG into a permanent regional force within a general ECOWAS security framework. To give effect to that dream, in October 1998 the ECOWAS Authority of Heads of States and Governments endorsed the establishment of a collective security regime known as the Mechanism for Conflict Prevention, Management and Resolution, Peacekeeping, and Security."

2001 Naval War College Review. Posted here with permission. Documents are for personal use only and not for commercial profit.
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Naval War College Review: http://www.usnwc.edu/Publications/Naval-War-College-Review.aspx
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Naval War College Review (Summer 2001), v. 54 no. 3, p. 52-62
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