How (Not) To Write about African Wars

Rwandan genocide memorial church. Image: Adam Jones/Wikimedia

This article was originally published by the World Policy Institute on 30 September 2014.

Even a seasoned follower of political affairs might be excused for struggling to make sense of the seemingly worsening vortex of ongoing armed conflicts. Chances are, given the recent war in Gaza, the promising but still fragile developments in Afghanistan, and the twinned and tragic mess Syria and Iraq has become, his analytic brain might be reasonably overwhelmed.

But, to be sure, in the daily media discourse, some of the complicated nuances of these events have been gaining attention, making their way into public debates and helping form policy positions and diplomatic or military options. In short, news and information consumers are treated to a varied diet in relation to the coverage of world conflicts— most of which, in recent years, have been internal civil wars.

The argument holds, however, only if African civil wars are removed from the list. As it appears, those belong to a different category. For African civil wars, if the dominant media discourse is to be believed, explanations are easy and definitive. » More

Yemen Deal Brings Little Solace

Protestors in the streets of Sanaa. Image: Sallam/Wikimedia.

This article was originally published by IRIN on 23 September 2014.

With northern rebels claiming the capital Sana’a and Al-Qaeda militants increasing their attacks in the south, Yemen’s security crisis is likely to continue, experts believe. While a new agreement between the Houthi rebels and the government may have temporarily reduced fears of all-out civil war, the country’s political, security and economic crises are unlikely to ease, leading NGOs to fear increasing humanitarian needs. » More

Robust Peacekeeping – A Desirable Development?

Image: flickr/Irish Defense Forces


This article was originally published by E-International Relations on 2 September, 2014.

A UN-sponsored report recently concluded that more than 191,000 people have now been killed in the Syrian conflict. Commenting on the report, UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Navi Pillay strongly criticized the Security Council for its inaction. The case of Syria has once again raised the question about the relevance of the UN and its ability to protect civilians. While civilians are being slaughtered on the battlefield, the UN Security Council fails to agree on an appropriate reaction. It may remind us of historical failures of the UN, like in Rwanda and Bosnia. What happened to the promises that “never again” would this happen? » More

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Truce in Mozambique Offers Tentative Peace And a Return to Politics

Mozambique's opposition leader Afonso Dhlakama

Lider da Renamo/Wikimedia

This article was originally published by IPI Global Observatory on 26 August, 2014.

Following months of conciliatory talks, Mozambique’s Frelimo ruling party and the Renamo opposition party agreed to a ceasefire on Sunday, August 24. The deal between the government and the former rebel group formalized a peace agreement brokered between the two parties earlier in the month. It provides for the implementation of a number of measures aimed at finding a binding and peaceful solution to the recent political impasse, ahead of presidential elections due to take place in October. » More

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Review – Women and Militant Wars: The Politics of Injury

Image: Peter Davis/Flickr

This article was originally published as a book review of Swati Parashar’s Women and Militant Wars: The Politics of Injury by E-International Relations on 14 August 2014.

In her new book, Swati Parashar looks at the subjectivities of militant women in two protracted South Asian conflicts: Kashmir and Sri Lanka. She reveals that women who do not fit the stereotypical bill of wailing victim or mother are silenced by a dominant social discourse, which translates into the absence of women in peace building processes and post-war politics. Parashar draws on her qualitative research, International Relations, feminist literature and a vast number of multidisciplinary sources on gender and war to shed light on the mutual effects of politics and gendered  understandings of female identities and bodies. Her book is divided into several chapters introducing the topic of silencing, gendered nature of wars, issues connected to her fieldwork, her findings from Kashmir and Sri Lanka, and finally the politics of remembering. » More

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