"Between November 14 and 15, members of the Zimbabwe Defense Forces (ZDF) seized control of the state-owned Zimbabwe Broadcasting Corporation and secured other key political and military facilities, in an action seen by some observers as a coup d'état. The ultimate objective and possible trajectory of their intervention remain unclear, but the move appears to have been sparked by a succession struggle within the ruling Zimbabwe National Union-Patriotic Front (ZANU-PF). [...] The situation in Zimbabwe remains fluid, and what outcomes may result from the military's intervention are unknown. The ZDF's action holds the potential to bring about a political transition reversing a years-long trend of undemocratic governance, human rights abuses, and a badly ailing economy. Alternately, it could possibly worsen the security and economic situations. How the United States--and other external actors--might affect the outcome remains to be seen. [...] The ZDF intervention is almost certain to fundamentally reshape the political landscape. Whether the military may, however, simply attempt to protect its interests and those of the historically hardline ZANU-PF wing of the party with which it is allied--or whether it facilitates a governance agenda centered on 'investment, development and prosperity' (as its intervention statement suggested)--remains to be seen. An alternative option could be a government of national unity akin to one that existed between 2009 and 2013. It ended after procedurally flawed elections in 2013."
CRS Insight, IN10819
Federation of American Scientists: http://www.fas.org/sgp/crs/index.html