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Apply theories of conflict in respect to international relations and what you have learned about identifying obstacles to conflict resolution and proposing alternative strategies to overcome such barriers to conflict in the Central African Republic. Use must support your argument with logic and statistical support.
 

Emergence of new threats and mechanisms for peacebuilding

Conflict resolution is a fundamental element of the topic international relations. The dynamic nature of the global system has seen the emergence of new threats, new types of feuds and new unique intervention mechanisms aimed at encouraging peace. In one of the reports by World Bank, it demonstrated that most wars are eminent in the current civil wars. The research outlines how ethnic compositions in Africa are the recipe for long-term conflicts. The Central African Republic’s case portrays a present and perpetuating the feud. As a matter of fact, the mutiny evidenced in the Central African Republic that was orchestrated by the Seleka meant an alliance, an alliance that targeted armed groups, primarily the rebels that are Muslims. It stirred weakening of the nation’s security. Infrastructure and exaggerated tribal differences have collectively increased the risk of rivalry. Based on the fact that the Central African Republic has harboured a flow in violations of human rights coupled with war cases and crimes against humanity stirring clashes between Christians and Muslims.

Many people have been killed and others continue to be abused in the Central African Republic. Children and women are exposed to great risks and people die due to malnutrition and disease. The civil war evidenced in Central Africa is not only based ethnic groups seeking political power but also economically motivated and based on the social structure. It is crucial to differentiate between causes of conflicts when identifying relevant resolutions to be employed as there are no one-size-fits-all in matters pertaining conflicts.

In the recent wake of eruptions characterized by violence in CAR, it is crucial to examine the underlying conflict that keeps recurring and provide recommendations for an alternative approach to a peaceful environment in CAR.

Following the death of a taxi driver in September 2015, led to Bangui which is the capital of Central African Republic being rocked with violence and more than 30 people were confirmed dead and thousand more individuals were displaced. This case is a perfect example of how tense CAR remains an episode of violence can occur at any moment.

The essay aims at providing insight on the CAR violence based on interviews by key specialists taking a keen look on the main factors that led to ethnic violence with a focus on the violence spurred by the Anti-Balaka groups, barriers to conflict resolution in CAR and the alternative solutions to conflict resolution. 

Causes of conflicts and relevant resolutions

The political elites in Central African Violence employ violence in ascending to power and instrumentalize tribalism by promoting the use of negative stereotypes. For instance, when Bozzie and other individuals started employing stereotypes such as foreigner in politics, they understood that it would impact negatively on the public, solely due to people getting paranoid of foreign conquest that still is eminent in their memories. Such fear has resurfaced following violence in neighboring countries such as Congo and Chad where there are mercenaries.

Referring to a norm of violence does not portray that people from Central Africa have a violent culture, but rather reveals the failure of the state and institutions to provide maximum security and justice. It is from such failure that has led to the creation of armed units that have replaced the state and become legitimized. The repercussions of having a culture based on violence are that the level of impunity is on the rise and distort the compass that individuals use in defining what is normal and abnormal based on violence.

The ambiguous role that Chad plays in CAR politics

The Central African Republic and Chad share a border that covers 1200km.The two countries are characterized by a substantial trade in goods and population migration. Chad has been playing a crucial role in Central African political and security dimensions since 2002.For instance, most of the opposition factions that challenged the presidency of Deby a Chadian president were established and originated from the northern part of CAR which serves as the political hub for such groups. Also, Chad’s primary source of income after the oil is pastoralism which entails precisely more than 20 million heads of livestock. Conventionally, transhumance has been occurring between Chad and CAR, but in the recent years due to the impacts of desertification, more Chadian pastoralists have been forced to migrate their cattle to CAR. Consequently, the rivalry has intensified between pastoralists and farmers as a result of competition over pastures making it difficult for conflict resolution process to take place effectively.

Regional armed combatants

The Lord's Resistance Army was formed in the Central African Republic in 2008.The terrain, location and failure to deal with violent factions led CAR to become an attractive hub for the LRA. The group as documented has been practising widespread abused such as banditry and in some cases, it attacks civilians and humanitarian employees. The number of armed members in the LRA was approximately 200 as per 2014.LRA remained to be the main threat in regions such as the east and Southeast of the Central African Republic in 2015.The mode of operation of LRA entails generating income from the exploitation and trade of natural resources specifically gold and ivory. The members of LRA avoid confrontation with other factions or international forces so that they can preserve ammunition for hunting expedition.

Underlying conflict and violence in the Central African Republic

The LRA mobile nature, the ability to innovate strategies and their adaptability have made responses by international bodies slow and predictable as they are hampered by national politics. Ex-Seleka factions and the LRA operate in the same geographical region and contacts between the two groups have been reported as regular with clashes between the two arises.

The LRA case reveals the failure of feeble states and international bodies to deal with versatile armed groups crossing the border where LRA is one of the groups and is an impediment to conflict resolution process in the Central African Republic. 

Though there has been limited literature that reveals capacities for conflict resolution, this part highlights processes and institutions that could positively affect the process of peacebuilding.

Instituting former conflict resolution mechanisms particularly for the the agro-pastoralism.

The present crisis in the Central African Republic has led to violence and war between the pastoralists and farming institutions coupled with sectarian violence. Pastoralists are primarily Muslims whereas most farmers are either Christians or animists. Tensions were already present between these two groups and the increasing number of Chad pastoralists seeking pastures and water in the Central African Republic exacerbated such tensions. Historically, it is the interdependence that existed between the two communities that facilitated the establishment of traditional committees that oversaw mediation processes between pastoralists and farmers. However, these committees were dismantled following the crisis. Reviving and strengthening such committees could be one of the strategies that can play a big part in defusing tensions between the pastoral and farming communities thus encouraging reconciliation.

The religious leaders in the Central African Republic can play a vital role in stabilizing the political climate of the region through reconciliation. The role and function of religious leaders are necessary at both the grassroots and national level. However, there is little evidence of their participation in conflict resolution process.

Promoting a decentralized system of governance is also another effective alternative. The proliferation of armed groups in the country has been possible due to the chronic of governance at the state level and also due to the absence of territorial management frameworks targeting social and economic development beyond Bangui. The administration of Central African Republic and institutions of law enforcement are centralized and economic activities are primarily concentrated in Bangui. As such it is clear that armed groups have always set a target on Bangui which is the primary political and economic powerhouse. 

Factors that led to ethnic and sectarian violence


Promoting democracy at the local level in the 170 communes and the other seven regions with the inclusion of Bangui has been discussed in the past but was never implemented. The European Development Pole identified the importance of this need and was supposed to implement the initiative in 2013.According to the programme, the primary objective was to establish the authority of the state in both the regional axes and around provincial centers, boosting economic and social prosperity by relying on funding from donors in these regions. Also, construction of roads to link various axes and promote trade between regions and with surrounding countries was also part of the program. However, the programme has been suspended since the onset of the current crisis. It is through reviving such initiatives that will make them be preconditioned by the participation of the state to forget the past and establish a decentralized form of governance.

Evidence from other cases reveals that incorporating the armed units in the state security can be an effective long-term resolution to curb violence and enhance the political stability of the nation. Based on the Anti-Balaka indulgent in violence in CAR any attempts made in incorporating them may be fatal and illogical. However, dismantling the structure of Anti-Balaka and adopting some elements in present armed forces has been the trend in previous scenarios have failed DDR processes. However, incorporating the Anti-Balaka structures in the security units at village level is worthy.

As portrayed in CAR, the state faces the challenge of providing security to its entire population across the nation. Groups such as Anti-Balaka have been developed based on this context and their presence and operations have been legitimized by the public. It is this legitimacy of such groups that reveals why disarming and dismantling such groups may be doomed and fail as revealed in the previous DDR programs.

In overcoming barriers to conflict resolution in CAR, the state needs assistance in two forms. First and foremost, the country needs funding from the experts and donors for 3 fundamental approaches that is DDR, SSR and the control of reconstruction funds; moral support from ECCAS in the form of political and military enhancement. With the assistance from the UN and France, the regional institution should facilitate oversight of Libreville Agreement and the decisions made during heads of state summit in Chad. It is also the responsibility of the regional organization to act as a mediator in mitigating tensions that are political and military in nature that may occur. 

Alternative solutions for peacebuilding


Failure of a transition renders the country ungovernable making it a grey hub at the center of Africa. Already, CAR is categorized as a hub for armed militia terrorists; Lord’s Resistance Army combatants have in the south-east of the nations since early 2008 with the Vakaga region serving as a hub for poachers and traffickers from surrounding countries with the inclusion of Sudan. The collapse of the state could provide room for the development of criminal networks that establish themselves in CAR thus undermining the stability of the country.

In order to prevent the country from becoming a war-torn region, international donors and partners have to go beyond their wait and see slogan and mixed reactions that have seen global monitoring of political transition governments.

Conclusion

In understanding how, such episodes of violence occur, it is important to understand the dynamics revolving around the conflict in CAR. Unfortunately, Central African Republic is one of the countries in African continent that is under-researched. Despite a series of succession disputes for the past two decades, little efforts have been used in understanding the origin and dynamics of such feuds. Nevertheless, previous efforts to maintain peace in the region of Central African Republic have failed as depicted in the last case of violence in 2012.One of the primary explanations why strategies aimed at peacebuilding have failed in the past is due to a misunderstanding of the conflict. 

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Smith, Ivone Lockhart. "Conflict management in the Central African Republic: making genocide prevention work." African Security Review 23, no. 2 (2014): 178-185.

Truffer, Patrick. Conflict Management in the Central African Republic: A Need for New Approaches. November 17, 2014. https://www.offiziere.ch/?p=18547 (accessed April 27, 2018).

UNHCR. Central African Republic:Addressing the Protection Crisis. November 2015. https://data2.unhcr.org/en/documents/download/33060 (accessed April 27, 2018).

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