Author Archives: jfcurtis

Counter-terrorism in Africa: a few constraints

Counter-terrorism in Africa remains a concern and the latest events testify of the increasing level of the threat. Indeed, in March 2017, 03 major West African terrorist organizations (Ansardin, Aqmi, and Al Mourabitoun), decided to merge and pledged allegiance to Al Qaida. The advent of armed groups, within the framework of this fight is a major handicap for states already facing multiple fronts as it is the case for Nigeria, Cameroon, Mali and Niger. Then, the problem becomes the following one: how can the African countries victims of terrorism overcome the diverse constraints impacting on their efficiency? Following the merger of those 3 African terrorist groups, many attacks occurred in Mali, Niger and Burkina Faso. This merger conveyed 2 messages, a political and a military one. The military message is clear, the mutualization of the all resources to reach a common objective. The limits in the antiterrorist action in Africa, are at the same time endogenous and exogenous. Thus we identified several constraints that impact this action at a national level but especially a regional level:

1/ The strategic and conceptual limit: several African states involved in counter-terrorism, have a defense or national security policy unfortunately unsuitable for the terrorist threat, because they undermine the terrorist and extremism challenges. Indeed, the lack of consistency in the process of elaboration of a national strategy against terrorism leaves the field open, in any form of interpretation and actions often inevitably coordinating and suffering from an insufficiency of coherence. Without quoting any precise example, thus it seems obvious that fighting against terrorism requires a realistic approach to the problem, by integrating the local factors which favor the emergence of any forms of radicalization, leading to violent extremism or to terrorism. The absence of national strategy, thus is a major weakness for an effective action against the terrorist groups, because not putting clearly the stakes and the answers adapted to the threat. A strategy is an unavoidable road map for any actions to be carried out. It is a prerequisite registering the threat in a national dimension and an African contextual reality with its strengths and weaknesses. The conceptual approach becomes, the road map to be followed in order to reach the expected results.

2/ The limit of the military and security programming: the inclusion of the military effort in time allows a rationalization of the investments and a coherence of the security expenditure in particular in equipment, infrastructures and armament. Security and military programming laws of the African countries when they exist, do not automatically integrate the expenses bound to counter-terrorism despite the evolving nature of terrorism. Following the example of Mali and Ivory Coast which passed military programming laws (Mali in 2015 and Ivory Coast in 2016), other countries would gain to rationalize their spending specific to this terrorist threat which is unpredictable. Why not anticipate a specific law against terrorism with a chapter dedicated to a special financial programming? Ivory Coast already has a law carrying repression of terrorism but it does not have a specific financial aspect.

3/ The limit of the regional and joint answer: African member states of regional organizations such as ECOWAS, are active in a regional or sub-regional effort to counter terrorism as in the example of G5 Sahel. These regional and inclusive initiatives often suffer from an effective implementation of road maps adopted in a consensual way. The limit of the commitment of states often absorbed by expensive national realities, comes to press heavily on the execution of the joint directives. The creation of several sub-regional mechanisms of early warning and prevention of threats, also suffers from a heavy redundancy and a lack of clarity in the implementation. Finally, the budgetary inadequacies and the non-payment of the contributions of states overshadows the momentum for an integrated and effective answer.

4/ The capacity limit: the fight against terrorism is clearly expensive financially but it is even more costly on a capacity point of view of security forces. Indeed, the specificity of the threat requires the creation of specialized national mechanisms and especially the existence of specialized units, trained, equipped and hardened regarding asymmetric warfare. The imbalance between the African states having specialized units and those who do not have any, is such that the vulnerability of some states is at a critical level. Kenya, Ivory Coast, Tunisia, Chad and Nigeria, to quote only those, are examples of countries whose specialized units are references because having been confronted militarily to terrorist groups in fights. The capacity building of Special Forces, should be more than ever a priority for African states.  Only prevention mechanisms and specialized units, can overcome such a threat. Finally, the ultimate capacity weakness remains the military intelligence to be perfected, because suffering from a hardening in equipment and skills.

5/ The limit of sensitization: the African states invest little in a communication and an offensive sensitization policy against terrorism. This insufficiency explains the increasing radicalization risks and the exposure of badly informed communities. Indeed, many states do not sensitize their population on the risks of radicalization and often underestimate this risk by not speaking about it. A few states such as Senegal, are today models regarding communication and regarding sensitization on the subject. The acts of deterrence, prevention and repression stemming from the commitment of President Macky Sall are not to be any more demonstrated.

6/ The limit of the permeability of the borders: the porosity of the African borders adds to their vulnerability within the framework of counter-terrorism because of the lack of control of migration flows. Thus the African states would gain to strengthen their strategies on the borders, to limit the traffic of weapons and materials used in the preparation of explosive devices.

To conclude, this brief examination of the constraints linked to counter-terrorism in Africa easily demonstrates the necessity of a complete revision at a national, sub-regional and regional level. An in-depth revision of the strategies and current mechanisms is a necessity, to strengthen the preventive and repressive response. We shall not insist enough on the importance of prevention regarding counter-terrorism, as well as the accent to be put on a robust regional cooperation in intelligence.

By Jean Francois CURTIS

NATIONAL SECURITY IN COTE D’IVOIRE: 2 LAWS PASSED!

January 13th, 2016, President Ouattara of Cote D Ivoire, promulgated two major laws on National Security. On one hand the Law N°2016-09 related to the Programming of Internal Security Forces for the years 2016-2020 and on the other hand the Law N°2016-10, related to Military Programming for the years 2016-2020. Besides the legal dimension of these laws, we praise their existence for security systems in Ivory Coast. Indeed, these two laws were expected for several decades without being a priority for the successive governments until recently, in 2012. How is it possible that for many years, governments could not find any coherence between National Security functioning and its organization? Several reasons seem to have delayed the formulation of these laws, in particular the years of military crises which affected the country.

It is at the end of the political crisis of 2011, that security systems in Ivory Coast knew a period of significant reforms, materialized by the Security Sector Reform (SSR). This reform allowed between 2011 and 2015, to formulate the major texts of National Security among which, the Strategy for National Security and the SSR Strategy. Defence and Internal Security merged to make only one through National Security concept. The measures retained within the framework of the SSR program, were scheduled in their execution over several years by being classified as short, medium and long-term reforms. All the short-term reforms have been implemented, they included in particular the formulation of texts related to National Security.

Furthermore, what makes those two laws decisive, is the fact that they allow to rationalize the implementation of the National Security Policy. Indeed, these laws register the investments and the diverse expenses for security over 04 years in a coherence and an unprecedented programming. The real challenge thus becomes their effective implementation. From a point of view of National Security governance, these laws translate and imply a level of transparency, accountability and integrity on behalf of the security and defence institutions. Their promulgation makes them open to the public, for consultation and especially allows the National Assembly, to play completely its role of democratic scrutiny and control of those institutions.

Apparently, passing a law on a precise subject does not imply its effective consideration. It is for that reason, that it seems more than ever essential that both ministries (Defence and Security) in charge of the implementation of the promulgated laws, are equipped with follow-up and evaluation mechanisms. Moreover, the National Assembly through its specialized commissions will be responsible for monitoring the implementation of those two laws.

As a consequence, big challenges await the institutions concerned by these two laws, we focus on the following: 1/ the translation of both laws in specific implementation directives or sectorial Action plans at the operational level; 2/ the introduction of reframing, follow-up and evaluation mechanisms  for the effective implementation of both laws ; 3/ the adherence by all National Security actors to the execution of those two laws; 4/ the consideration of a set of measures to facilitate the cut in staff, the reorganization of the structures and the operational capacity building of security forces; 5/ the annual revision of the aforementioned laws by the National Assembly; 6/ the adaptability of the laws facing diffuse and evolving threats; 7/ a significant national effort to mobilize the resources necessary for the implementation of the two laws; 8/ the progressive empowerment of National Security forces through the creation of a national civilian-Defence Industry for the production of goods both for military and civilian use; 9/ the effective accountability of the security institutions through regular reports made available to the National Assembly as for the good execution of the measures contained in the laws and a publication of the annual results ; 10/ the preservation of a budgetary credibility!

By JF CURTIS

 

Security in Africa: perspectives for 2016!

The past year, had its “crop” of crises and victims on the African continent. The security balance sheet of year 2015 is thus mitigated enough. If we trust the 2015 Global Peace Index (GPI), published by Institute for Economics and Peace, insecurity globally stagnated from a point of view of its intensity. According to the GPI, we count among the most secure countries : Ghana, Botswana, Malawi, Sierra Leone, Senegal, Tanzania and Gabon. It should be noted, that Cote d’Ivoire and Guinea-Bissau, demonstrated the most remarkable national security level improvements. On the other hand, we notice among the “bad pupils” : South Sudan, CAR, Somalia, DRC, Nigeria, Chad, Cameroon, Mali, South Africa and Burundi.

Several factors allow to estimate the level of safety on the continent. The threats are multiple and strike the African countries in diverse ways and with a relative intensity. Terrorism remains the major threat affecting countries as Cameroon, Chad, Nigeria and Mali. Politico-military crises (political instability) also affects countries such as Burundi, DRC, South Sudan and CAR. A high level of criminality also strikes Nigeria, Somalia, Zimbabwe, Angola and Libya. The small weapons illicit traffic affects all the regions of the continent, given the conflicts which occurred there and which continue (Libya, Mali, CAR, etc.). Maritime piracy, also continues to weaken exchanges in the African waters, especially in the Gulf of Guinea and Gulf of Aden (Somalia, etc.). Finally, the questions of the security sector governance, remain a concern, because the security systems of several African states, are failing and require in-depth reforms. We do not pretend, to cover all the issues which threaten those states, but this brief assessment allows us to realize the urgency, to take into account very quickly all these challenges by building a strong security sector governance and reinforcing the regional and international cooperation.

In 2015, we made a few recommendations based on a 2014 security assessment in Africa. Today, it seems  crucial to assess if those recommendations have been carried out and if so, how effective they have been?

1/ With regard to the issue of political violence and political crises generally, it should be noted, that several elections were positively conducted on the continent in 2015. Ivory Coast moreover surprised the international community by its political maturity. On the other hand, countries as Burkina Faso which finally held calmed elections at the end of the year, endured military coups, bringing disorder. The Year 2016 will be too, rich in presidential elections in particular in Gabon, DRC,  Chad, Equatorial Guinea, Rwanda and Benin. The conditions around some of these elections remain shady and conflicting. We thus recommend, in order to prevent pre-electoral, electoral and post-election tensions, the following : a) the signature of a charter of acceptance of democratic alternation by all political parties, to reiterate their respect for the democratic game; b) the signature of a charter of inviolability of the constitution by all political actors, to avoid any unconstitutional violence; c) the UN and AU support in the follow-up of the pre-electoral and electoral process by the installation of surveillance missions. These missions could include nationals of countries which had successful elections in 2015, such as Ivory Coast, Guinea and Burkina Faso; d) a strong mobilization of the civil society following the example of the ” Balai Citoyen” in Burkina Faso. Indeed, citizen mobilization so as to ensure transparent and democratic elections is more than necessary in Africa. Citizen watch has to express itself in the respect for the law and be taken into account by national leaders.

2/ Concerning the fight against terrorism, the continent mobilized militarily speaking. Indeed, several initiatives were taken or are in the course of execution, both at the coordination and operational levels, in particular the creation of a multinational mixed force ( 8700 men) by the Lake Chad Basin Commission and the G5 Sahel which organizes the installation of a joint integrated general staff. In a pragmatic way, all the current initiatives are essentially military, in regard to regional cooperation or combat equipment assistance or intelligence support or still in terms of capacity building of the African armies by the western armies. The civil dimensions of this merciless fight against terror spread by the Islamic State, Boko Haram, el Shabbab or Aqmi, remains neglected. Thus we recommend for 2016 the following measures: a) a regional and national mobilization for the implementation of sensitization and awareness politics, towards populations to thwart the psychological warfare engaged by these terrorist groups; b) the actual setting up at the national level, of watch groups in all the communities, to alert the authorities in case of threats; c) the increase of the Human Development Index (HDI), in every African country to break the link “ignorance-poverty-terrorism”; d) a greater commitment of the Muslim communities, in the fight against terror, by creating watch committees in order to foster awareness and sensitization; e) the effective creation of elite units specialized in counter terrorism, would be a main advantage; f) the formulation and implementation of national policies aimed at preventing and repressing any religious radicalisation!

3/ Concerning the post-crisis tensions which affect few countries, such as Burkina Faso, we suggest the following : a) the pursuit of any Security Sector Reforms (SSR) national program, in countries such as Mali and Ivory Coast. The formulation and implementation of a SSR national policy in countries as Burkina Faso, enduring a paralysis of its security systems is necessary. The SSR must be regularly monitored, by an independent mechanism, to ensure its coherence and its efficiency; b) the institution of viable mechanisms of human development, allowing to fight against the impoverishment of the African societies and so to reduce their vulnerability; c) the acceptance of the rules of good governance is critical for these countries, which in a context of recovery also have to create a mechanism in charge of promoting on one hand, integrity, transparency, ethics and accountability and on the other hand, sanctioning any breach in these principles.

4/ Regarding training and capacity building, the creation of civilian think tanks dedicated to strategic thinking, is on the agenda more than ever. Indeed, reflection remains the heart of anticipation and prevention. Several centres or institutes already exist regarding security on the continent in particular, The Institute for Security Studies (ISS, South Africa), the Moroccan Centre of Strategic Studies (CMES, Morocco) or still the Kofi Annan International Peacekeeping Training Centre (KAIPTC, Ghana) and the Institute for Strategic Studies and Defence (IESD, Ivory Coast). The interaction between these centres and states, is critical to enrich research on the highly strategic matters. However, it is crucial that these centres are not just the consequence of a trend. Indeed, the example of the IESD is edifying, because since the launch of its activities in June, 2015, no activity was organized. Worse, the IESD does not have a management team, no recruitment was made, it has no headquarters and no training program. It is almost an empty shell.

5/ Finally, with regard to borders control, the African states are more than ever vulnerable, because having excessively permeable borders. Indeed, this porosity favors the traffics of every type from drug trafficking, to human trafficking. It is time for the African countries to consider borders control as an absolute priority. Sound national borders control policies must be formulated and implemented. The cross-border cooperation owes, too to be reconsidered and improved in particular in the monitoring of migration flows! Moreover, a better control of the borders contributes widely to the fight against several plagues of which terrorism.

So as to conclude, we have in a few words, covered critical issues to be addressed in 2016. It is up to African states, to welcome the strategic reflection with open arms, in order to enrich the existing state capacities. Besides it is urgent that the resolutions stemming from various meetings on security held in 2014 and 2015 (Dakar Forum , Tana Forum, etc.), see a beginning of implementation. To finish, the task can seem extremely difficult, however to reflect Antonio Gramsci’s famous quote,  ” even if we are pessimists because of intelligence, we have to be optimists because of will “.

By JF CURTIS

Post-crisis stabilization: Case study of Burkina Faso!

The events currently striking Burkina, just reflect how much the post-crisis stabilization process was not conducted in a positive manner. The military coup which started on Wednesday, September 16th, 2015, shows one more time the destabilizing role of the African armies, when they are instrumented. Burkina which was about to finalize its transition, finds itself in a catastrophic situation with this military takeover by force.

The armies are very often, the engines of destabilization of the African regimes. The causes were widely examined, but the main ones remain the political instrumentalization and the lack of civic virtue. Mali was destabilized by its army, the same goes for many countries of which Ivory Coast in 1999. Indeed, many servicemen are actors of the destabilization of their countries, but not all of them. It is not a question of saying that all the servicemen are instrumented and to throw depreciation on the profession. Quite the opposite, it is a question of reminding how much responsible the African Armies are in the instability of the continent. The case of Burkina is very interesting, because while we are writing this post, the armed forces (army, gendarmerie and air force) are intervening to bring the transition back to its initial point, due to the unsatisfactory ECOWAS agreement proposal with the rebels (RSP). The RSP (elite presidential force) which conducted the military coup is facing the rest of the defense and security forces.

Countries in post-crisis situation or which are in full reconstruction, often overestimate their stabilization process. Some, consider themselves even stable, without all the prerequisites being taken into account. It is exactly this excess of confidence in a galloping economy, in some positive signs of recovery, that deceive the decision-makers and their vigilance.

The armies which are often affected by the interference of politics in the military affairs, find themselves compromised and partial. Moreover, an “elite unit” (RSP of Burkina), is often excessively armed and affiliated with a regime. However, it is good to underline that the army is in principle, the emanation of the nation and thus its reflection. A divided nation has a vulnerable army. On the contrary, A united army, worried of serving the Nation and apolitical, reflects a solid and constructed nation. How many African countries can boast to have such defense and security forces? Little, except some exceptions such as, South Africa, Ghana, Morocco and Senegal.

We shall now recall what we consider as being the major points of any post-crisis stabilization process, by emphasizing the fact that there are no “miracle solution” :

1/ The question of the national ownership of multisectorial stabilization is major. Indeed, several countries essentially built their stabilization process around an economic recovery program which is naturally insufficient (Cote d’Ivoire, etc.). Post-crisis stabilization is multidimensional and has to be considered as such! For instance, some countries implemented a heavy and expensive DDR program with mitigated results.

2/ Economic recovery, reconciliation and pacification of the territory must be concomitantly driven. In many cases, one is achieved to the detriment of the others, which has the effect of weakening the whole social reconstruction effort.

3/ To be successful, post-crisis stabilization and recovery must be inclusive. It is up to the political decision-makers to allow that any process of stabilization takes into account all the national stakeholders (civil society, NGOs, etc.). The marginalization of any of them, would weaken the whole process. Only an inclusive stabilization process is viable.

4/ Stability relies upon justice, reconciliation, good governance, social and economic reconstruction, political will from the “winner” and Security Sector Reform (SSR) implementation. The case of Burkina Faso, illustrates the necessity of an in-depth reform of its security and defense systems. An army which contributes constantly to destabilize a country is in distress. SSR brings coherence and professionalism in the defense and security sector.

5/ Mediation from exterior partners is vital. For instance the role of France in contributing to achieve stability in Côte d’ivoire is noteworthy. More than that, the role of international actors like Human Rights Watch, the United Nations and others to monitor the evolution of major issues in post conflict countries is also noticeable. Regional actors are as important. In the case of Burkina Faso, the involvement of ECOWAS is necessary.

6/ The inestimable financial and technical contribution of exterior partners, is an important factor of a successful post-crisis stabilization process. Indeed, the role of the international organizations and the bilateral partners is not to be underestimated. Very often, it is the exterior stakeholders who create the conditions of return to normality by accompanying countries afflicted by many years of conflict.

So as to conclude, we must keep in mind that once Burkina Faso will come out of this major crisis, the country will have to implement its transition process until the elections take place. Then, a post-crisis stabilization process could be conducted in a sustainable manner by being inclusive and comprehensive.

Security in Africa: Three major challenges

The current events on the African continent are rich enough to remind us how much instability strikes the region but very often with the same denominators. North Africa and Sub-Saharan Africa are confronted with common challenges such as terrorism, illegal immigration, problems of governance, military empowerment, etc. Moreover, the recent visits of King of Morocco in Senegal then in Ivory Coast, testify of the necessity of strengthening the regional cooperation. The stakes are multiple and rather complex to be all covered in this article. We are thus going to look at three major issues for the African countries to consider:

1/ The fight against terrorism: while the fight against AQMI, BOKO HARAM and AL SHEBBAB seems to stagnate, it is important to put in perspective the partial results of this ongoing fight. Indeed several leaders of those groups were neutralized by the special forces of ” qualified and equipped” countries. Moreover, sleeper cells were identified then handled in countries of the region. Is it sufficient when we know that the recruitment of the followers of religious extremism and its realization through terrorism, continues to make emulators?  It is unfortunately the most vulnerable populations which are the favourite targets of the recruiters of these extremist groups. In other words, the poor people are specifically targeted because very often or too often receptive to messages conveyed by these movements. We thus insist on the necessity for the African countries, to create effectively the conditions of human development for their populations, poverty must be fought. The redistribution of wealth has to be a reality once and for all in Africa. The armed struggle against these movements must too be maintained, but especially the anticipation of this threat has to be the keystone of this war. The African armies must be trained and supported in logistics by the West, to eradicate this permanent threat. Besides, the African States have to develop an inclusive African strategy of fight against this plague, based on the key role of communities. Finally, the raising awareness of the youngest, remains a success factor of this fight against terror. The African countries must be more active on the frontlines of psychological warfare against terrorism and to do so, they can outsource this merciless fight.

2/ The fight against illegal immigration: on this point, the current event reflects the urgency to act for the African governments. The images of illegal immigrants or refugees, piled up in boats and for many having died during their crossings towards Europe, shocked the world opinion. But did these images really move the African themselves? What about the mobilization of countries where these immigrants’ waves come from? What about the African solidarity in front of this drama, which testifies of a collective failure to ensure the human development on the continent and so to make it attractive for all these desperate persons? Let us not forget that all these migrants, fled their countries for a quest of human dignity somewhere else. Living in better conditions, free and far from the possible oppression of some regimes, that is what also motivates the illegal immigration. The time is for the mobilization of countries suppliers of these immigrants to create the conditions of their care and especially the conditions of their self-fulfilment on their lands of origin. Indeed it is of the responsibility of the Africans, to make attractive their countries not only for the foreign investments but especially to avoid these flows of refugees or immigrants. If the socioeconomic conditions were gathered, if these countries had a sustainable policy in favour of the citizen, job opportunities and a strategy of effective redistribution of wealth, we would not certainly be there! It is thus urgent that the continent, which aspires to emergence, begins to emphasize the human development. Why leave when one feels at home and cared about? Finally, let us not forget that these refugees are the visible face of the iceberg, but what about all those who cannot leave, who are in a total precariousness and thus vulnerable to terrorism and to crimes of any kind? Today, we think that the priority for the African Union ( AU), should be to set up a mechanism of fight against this massive illegal immigration then to dismantle the networks which are associated to it. The priority for the member states of the AU, has to be: the redistribution of the wealth, the emergence of a strong middle class, more jobs and a national attractiveness.

3/ The military empowerment: the North / South military cooperation is in a permanent imbalance. An imbalance widely in favour of the most advanced countries. The military-industrial complexes of these countries, are in a constant war of influence and economic warfare. The competition is rough to win markets with countries of the “South”, in search of stability and often little democratic. France, the United States, Israel and China, to quote only those, intervene either directly, thus officially (technical support, equipment, logistics, training, etc.), or indirectly, thus unofficially (covert operations, arms sales, discreet support for a regime, etc.). Every time, a common denominator: the economic interest, the regional positioning, etc. China has for example, a tradition of discreet arms sale, to regimes wishing to remain and undergoing rebellions. As for France, it operates openly in Mali for a certainly noble cause but obviously interested. The United States too, intervene discreetly in the training and the logistic backup, in particular in the fight against terrorism and regarding intelligence. The strategy of influence is thus very active in Africa on the military sector. The empowerment of the African countries regarding security and defence, should constitute a priority for their leaders. How to create the conditions of a credible national defence, a capacity to defend oneself only then within a coalition? The example of Ivory Coast is edifying on this question of the autonomy. Indeed, by creating with the support of France, an Institute of Strategic Studies and Defence, Ivory Coast makes a commitment on the ground of regional training, thus capacity building. Capacity building, is the basis of empowerment in the sector of security and defence. The African Union and the sub-regional organizations, should urgently, accelerate their reflections on the strategic autonomy which would allow the African to assume without complex , their security on the continent. We suggest that the African countries, actually emphasize training and equipment. All this, that must obey a precise and coherent sequencing. These countries, should formulate national security policies, laws of military and security programming and by effectively implementing them. Finally it would be useful for some African countries, not able for multiple reasons to aspire to military autonomy, to consider the example of Costa Rica, which chose to have no army but a strong police. To ensure its national defence, Costa Rica signed a military agreement with the United States, which are ready to intervene if needed. This measure allowed Costa Rica to dedicate its budget to education, environment, training, research and tourism. Costa Rica is not thus autonomous militarily but it is an emerging country.

These three security related issues are only a tiny part of the challenges facing Africa. The continent presents in spite of all the troubles which it faces, indicators favorable to its emergence, such as the massive investments. It is important that the African leaders meet around a table, to review all the challenges of the continent and bring it viable, inclusive and coherent solutions, once and for all. By putting in the center of this collective reflection, ” the African citizen “. To resume Antonio Gramsci’s quotation, it will be a matter for the African leaders “to ally the pessimism of the mind with the optimism of the will “.

 

 

 

Army professionalization: Case study of Cote d’Ivoire

The question of the professionalization of the Ivory Coast army, is a subject which for several decades remains thorny. Indeed, after several politico-military crises , Ivory Coast reconstructs quite slowly on still fragile foundations. The commentators of the national context, tend to separate the advent of a professional army from the stabilization of the country. How to build a professional army, when the causes of the politico-military crises which shook the country, are partially taken into account in the resolution of those crises? The multiple breaches of the Ivory Coast soldiers tarnished their image, then contributed to the bad governance of the defence sector (Transparency International Government Defence Anti-Corruption Index 2013, Ivory Coast ranked High risk). The massive insufficiently qualitative recruitments, operated during and after all these crises, the last one of which was the one of 2010, came to dissolve the achievements of the 70s and 80s which were relevant years for the Ivory Coast army until the military coup of 1999. The FANCI (Armed Forces of Ivory Coast), were a model up to the 90s because they embraced professionalism and republican values.

President Ouattara, in his diverse speeches intended for the armies, always emphasized the professionalism and the necessity to build an ” emerging army “. He constantly warned the Republican Forces of Ivory Coast (FRCI since 2011, former FANCI), as for their behaviour which have to be the reflection of discipline, public-spiritedness and republican values.  He also reminded to the servicemen, their place in society as guarantor of freedom and territorial integrity. Furthermore, he reminded them that their duty is to serve the nation. Besides, from all the troubles which undermine the armies, corruption, abuses and political instrumentalization remain the most fought but still active concerns.

We cannot consider the professionalization of the armies without defining it. What thus a professional army? The professionalization of an army, is its profound qualitative transformation at the staff level. This transformation aims at improving the national defence sector, to make it an effective and reference tool. Professionalization comes along with a reconsideration of staff (reduction, rejuvenation, feminization, training, careers, academic route, etc.), to adapt itself to new missions and realities. In most of the cases, the professionalization of the armies is a consequence of an evolving and revised defence policy. The example of France in this domain is edifying in many respects, despite the multiple controversies which ensued from it. Professionalization thus emphasizes the capacity building of servicemen and women.  Training is at the heart of professionalization also called “career army”. To say things simply, by choosing the professionalization of an army, a State chooses quality through training and technicality.  Professionalization brings answers to endogenous needs (low levels of education and training), as well as exogenous ones (new threats like cyberwar, terrorism etc.) which require specific skills and new answers, adapted to reality and its new challenges.

In Ivory Coast, the professionalization of the armies has a implementation framework which is since 2011, the Security Sector Reform (SSR). Indeed, this vast qualitative transformation of all the actors of the security sector, towards a better governance, integrates specific reforms  for the armies, aiming at professionalization. The illustration of this current professionalization is the capacity building of the officers and the non-commissioned officers since a few years as well as the creation of specialized units (CCDO, Special forces, etc.) to tackle specific threats. Historically, the professionalization of the armies in Ivory Coast, knew four major periods:

1/ From 1970 till 1990: the period of construction and consolidation of the armies. For this period, the armies had their hour of glory and the question of the professionalization was of the exclusive competence of the Ministry of Defence.

2/ From 1990 till 2002: the period of upheavals (military coups) and unprecedented political instrumentalization. There also, the Ministry of Defence was the unique actor of a possible professionalization.

3/ From 2002 till 2010: the period of the major discussions on defence or the stammerings of the professionalization. For this period, the leading actor of professionalization became because of the political context, the Prime Minister’s Office, chairing the Workgroup on the Refoundation and the Restructuring of the Armies ( GTRRA). This workgroup gathered all the actors of national defence, to propose a new defence policy accompanied by a plan of professionalization and of reunification of the conflicting parties ( FANCI / FAFN).

4/ Since 2011: the Presidency of the Republic, through the National Council for Security, coordinates the professionalization of the armies, the base of which was in 2012, the Workgroup on the Security Sector Reform (GTRSS), think-tank on the aforementioned reform and its implementation. The FANCI merged with the FAFN, became FRCI in 2011.

This short historic reminder, highlights a major evolution, in the appropriation of professionalization at the national level. From the Ministry of Defence ( 1970-2002 ) through the Prime Minister’s Office ( 2002-2010 ) to find itself at the Presidency (2012-) nowadays. The professionalization of the armies was never decreed officially but it is implicitly quoted in all the reference texts, such as the political agreements since 2003, the national security policy as well as the national SSR strategy. There were thus several attempts to make rational ” the professional army ” in Ivory Coast, but we are not at a time of assessment because it is only since 2011 that this project was really conducted.

Once this brief inventory of the professionalization of the armies in Ivory Coast achieved, it seems more than necessary to remind some of the challenges that faces the implementation of a professional army:

1/ The consideration of sociopolitical prerequisites is a priority in the professionalization of the armies. So the issues connected to national reconciliation and post-crisis stabilization, must be resolved to guarantee a successful professionalization. Let us not forget that the cement of an army is its cohesion. As such, the army owes in particular, to be a model of tolerance and to reflect the nation in its diversity. The germs of the discord and conflict have to disappear.

2/ An exhaustive review of the professionalization of the armies is more than necessary. Indeed, in spite of the attempts of professionalization and the multiple realized audits, what about the achievements? Where are we with this professionalization? What are the weaknesses and strengths of the initiatives up to here? It is urgent to conduct an evaluation of the professionalization of the armies in Ivory Coast so as to update the existing data. For instance, the Ministry of Defence announced that the armies went from 15000 men in 2011 to 23000 today. How is this increase of staff part of an efficient professionalization plan? Is this increase as qualitative than it is quantitative?

3/ The formulation of a strategic program for the professionalization of the armies is imperative. On this point it is good to remind the urgency of an in-depth reflection regarding the professionalization of the armies on the horizon 2025. This strategic program will take into account studies already realized on the subject, will identify the key areas of this professionalization and will translate into an action plan, the retained actions for that purpose.

 

Anti-Terrorism in Africa: A multidimensional strategy!

 

 

The terrorist attacks which shook France for 72 hours between January 07th and January 9th, 2015, transposed in a rough way on the French territory, the horror lived in sub-Saharan Africa by the populations and the powerless states. Indeed, the balance of the attack is heavy, 3 shot down terrorists, 17 dead victims, about 20 wounded persons and the affected millions of French, all this in 3 days. Only the sporadic attacks of Boko Haram in Nigeria can boast about such macabre balance which very often are heavier. It is not only the macabre discount which has to prevail here, in consideration of the multiple victims of the terrorism in the world, but also the symbol which was scoffed! Yes, it is France, country of human rights, country embodying the freedom of expression which was quite hard struck by radicalism and intolerance. Charlie Hebdo embodied this vital freedom certainly lively and raw by moment but authentic. These attacks made several victims but could we think that freedom of speech would be the target of terrorist acts?

Africa is not unfortunately outdone in this ” inhumanity of terror “, the continent undergone with violence and powerlessness the repeated assaults by several terrorist groups which are mainly, AQMI (branch of Al-Qaeda), Boko Haram and Al-Shabaab. There also, the macabre discount is without appeal: we reach 15000 deaths to this day (from 2000 till 2014)! According to the Institute for Economics and Peace ( IEP), in its 2014 Global Terrorism Index, those 3 groups are among the 10 most active, violent and murderous terrorist organizations since their creation. As an example, from 2002 till 2013, Boko Haram, with about 10000 men, conducted 750 attacks in Nigeria, with a macabre discount of 3500 deaths, on the basis of a religious extremism ,which translates the will to establish an Islamist state (unconditional application of the Sharia in Nigeria).

Other international indexes come to consolidate the IEP Global Terrorism Index, in particular the AEGIS Advisory 2015 Strategic Risk Outlook and also GEOS 2014 Risk Map. Both, GEOS and AEGIS are specialized in country-risk classification and in strategic intelligence.

Having made this alarming observation, we are not going to come back on the causes, nor on the modus operandi (lone wolves, conventional attacks, kidnappings, hostage taking, cyber-attacks, etc.) of these terrorist groups, which have moreover their specificities both in the ideological and the operational approaches, but we are going to identify a strategy for a regional, coherent and inclusive response to the permanent threat of religious extremism.

Indeed, it is the sketch of a multidimensional strategy that we advise, to thwart better the expansion of terrorist ideology on the continent, while taking for model, the military operations theatre which is characterized by several fronts. So our multi-form strategy, takes into account simultaneously 8 fronts:

1/ The ideological front: terrorism draws its strength from an ideology of religious extremism. The “Sharia” is the classic model which attracts many candidates. The west is presented as ” the wound ” and the Islamist radical movements are the cure to this “wound”. It would be thus convenient, to beat terrorism on its favourite ground which is ideology. The African societies almost quite westernized, have to create for their youth a viable and pragmatic ideological alternative to avoid the attraction of radicalism. It is the introduction of an ideal of life, that will allow to make the difference between terrorism and democracy. The African countries thus owe within a short space of time, to set up multidisciplinary committees asked to think about this societal ideal (a model of African democracy), which could make young people dream, give them opportunities and so  divert their attention from religious obscurantism.

2/ The front of the development: at this level, it is a question of setting up tools which will allow to contain the attractiveness of terrorism. Indeed, the strong rate of impoverishment and illiteracy of these African societies, constitutes a melting pot for the recruitment of young people, in the middle of an identity crisis  and in search of marks. We thus suggest, an urgent implementation, of the UNDP Human Development Index (HDI) measures , in every concerned country. Besides, it is important, to involve the civil society in this debate for an inclusive and participative response. Every African country could create at the community level, a prevention committee of sectarian drifts stemming from the diversion of Islam. Better, the creation of local watch and sensitization committees in every village of the threatened or border countries, would be a main advantage. These local committees would stress the sensitization of young people as for the risks of religious toughening and would serve as early warning devices.

3/ The military front: here, it is a question of striking militarily all the terrorist groups at their heart. Still it is necessary, that the African armies are equipped and trained for such an option. Having said that, a joint answer for example, at the level of ECOWAS with the support of the western countries could allow to weaken the terrorist threat in the sub-region, following the example of the backward movement of AQMI in Mali (at least of its weakening). At this level, it would be necessary in every African country, to create as a matter of urgency units specialized in the in-depth action (special forces) to act in a surgical and effective way against these groups. The air or logistic support of western countries would be ideal. We recommend as a sub-regional answer (ECOWAS), the creation of a mixed elite unit based on the French GIGN (Groupe d’Intervention de la Gendarmerie Nationale) or the US SWAT (Special Weapons and Tactics), to mutualize the resources of the African countries in this merciless fight. So you should not ignore, the capitalization of decisive experience of a country as Chad which demonstrated its operational and tactical capacities to face these groups. Finally, the outsourcing of the fight against terrorism, remain a complementary option, to halt the advance or the nuisance of these groups. This outsourcing would materialize for any country in the region, by the use of Private Military Companies (PMCs) likely to have the necessary skills and adequate equipment.

4/ The intelligence front: intelligence is at the heart of the fight against terrorism in Africa. It is a question for African countries, to consult at the sub-regional level in order to mutualize and share the necessary means to this end. Besides, most of those countries display a deficit in intelligence for which they pay a very high price. It would be thus wise, to polarize the efforts around a sub-regional synergy for intelligence. There also, the western support through training and logistics, would be an asset. Finally, national capacity building regarding strategic intelligence, remains the keystone of this terrorist problem.

5/ The religious front: the unprecedented mobilization of the Muslim communities in Africa, is more than necessary to denounce religious radicalism and its consequences which also strike Muslims. Moreover, there is only one Islam and many extremist Islamist aberrations. It is these abuses which must be denounced, because they negatively affect this noble religion. This option can seem utopian, because many African societies are already eroded by religious sectarian aberrations and thus avoid the sensible subject.

6/ The legislative front: this chapter is certainly one of the most important, because it concerns the revision of the legal arsenal of the African countries, to adapt it to the terrorist threat. Indeed, the national legislations have to evolve, so as to incorporate in a coherent and realistic way, provisions that would facilitate the intervention of security and defence forces in the fight against terrorism.

7/ The international front: an international cooperation is more than vital, to allow the African countries to prevent and push back terrorism. The support in capacity building, in training and in logistics would be the basis of this stronger anti-terrorist cooperation.

8/ The financial front: finally, this last aspect of our strategy, determines almost our whole proposal, because the sinews of war remains money. We recommend that the African countries, organize discreet national and international fund raising for the antiterrorist fight, following the example of the fight against Ebola, which mobilized donors. Of this financial solidarity will depend the outcome of the anti-terrorist struggle.

In conclusion, the fight against terror, in order to push it back or why not annihilate it (ideal), constitutes the world major priority today. It would be thus convenient for the African countries, to take advantage of this upsurge of international solidarity and consciousness, to strengthen their national strategies and so contribute actively to this struggle for freedom and democracy. A multidimensional and joint strategy is thus imperative to reach that goal.