Search Penny Hill Press

Loading...

Thursday, April 28, 2011

Côte d’Ivoire Post-Gbagbo: Crisis Recovery


Nicolas Cook
Specialist in African Affairs

Côte d’Ivoire is emerging from a severe political crisis that followed a disputed November 28, 2010, presidential runoff election between former president Laurent Gbagbo and his, former Prime Minister Alassane Ouattara. Both claimed electoral victory and formed opposing governments. Their rivalry spurred a full-scale civil military conflict in early March 2011, after months of growing political violence. The main conflict died down days after Gbagbo’s arrest by pro-Ouattara forces, aided by United Nations (U.N.) and French peacekeepers, but limited residual fighting was continuing to occur as of April 20.

The election was designed to cap an often forestalled peace process defined by the 2007 Ouagadougou Political Agreement, the most recent in a series of partially implemented peace accords aimed at reunifying the country, which was divided between a government-controlled southern region and a rebel-controlled northern zone after a brief civil war in 2002. Ouattara based his victory claim on the U.N.-certified runoff results announced by the Ivoirian Independent Electoral Commission (IEC). These indicated that he had won the election with a 54.1% vote share, against 45.9% for Gbagbo. The international community, including the United States, endorsed the IEC-announced poll results as legitimate and demanded that Gbagbo cede the presidency to Ouattara. Gbagbo, rejecting the IEC decision, appealed it to the Ivoirian Constitutional Council, which reviewed and annulled it and proclaimed Gbagbo president, with 51.5% of votes against 48.6% for Ouattara. Gbagbo therefore claimed to have been duly elected and refused to hand power over to Ouattara. The electoral standoff caused a sharp rise in political tension and violence, deaths and human rights abuses, and spurred attacks on U.N. peacekeepers. The international community used diplomatic and financial efforts, sanctions, and a military intervention threat to pressure Gbagbo to step aside.

The crisis directly threatened long-standing U.S. and international efforts to support a transition to peace, political stability, and democratic governance in Côte d’Ivoire, among other U.S. goals. Indirectly at stake were broad, long-term U.S. efforts and billions of dollars of foreign aid to ensure regional stability, peace, democratic and accountable governance, and economic growth in West Africa. The United States supported the Ivoirian peace process diplomatically and financially, with funding appropriated by Congress. It supports the ongoing U.N. Operation in Côte d’Ivoire (UNOCI) and helped fund a UNOCI predecessor; and helped a regional military intervention force deploy in 2003. The 112
th Congress may be asked to consider additional funding for UNOCI, post-conflict recovery efforts, or for additional emergency humanitarian aid, in addition to $33.73 million worth of such assistance provided as of mid-April. Côte d’Ivoirerelated bills introduced in the 112th Congress include H.Res. 85 (Payne), expressing congressional support for such ends, and H.Res. 212 (Timothy V. Johnson), calling for the United States not to intervene militarily in Côte d’Ivoire in the absence of congressional approval. Top U.S officials also attempted to directly pressure Gbagbo to step down. An existing U.S. ban on bilateral nonhumanitarian aid was augmented with visa restrictions and financial sanctions targeting the Gbagbo regime. As of early 2011, regional mediation had produced few results.

Efforts are now turning toward maintaining security and public order, economic recovery, transitional justice and accountability for human rights abuses, and national political reconciliation and reunification. Continued political volatility is likely, both due to the divisions that widened during the post-electoral crisis, and pending resolution of the varied root causes of the crisis. The Overview and Recent Developments sections discuss Gbagbo’s capture and ensuing events; prior developments are addressed in the balance of the report.



Date of Report: April 20, 2011
Number of Pages: 86
Order Number: RS21989
Price: $29.95

Follow us on TWITTER at
http://www.twitter.com/alertsPHP or #CRSreports

Document available via e-mail as a pdf file or in paper form.
To order, e-mail
Penny Hill Press  or call us at 301-253-0881. Provide a Visa, MasterCard, American Express, or Discover card number, expiration date, and name on the card. Indicate whether you want e-mail or postal delivery. Phone orders are preferred and receive priority processing.

Monday, April 25, 2011

Sudan: The Crisis in Darfur and Status of the North-South Peace Agreement

Ted Dagne
Specialist in African Affairs

Sudan, geographically the largest country in Africa, has been ravaged by civil war intermittently for four decades. More than 2 million people have died in Southern Sudan over the past two decades due to war-related causes and famine, and millions have been displaced from their homes. There were many failed attempts to end the civil war in Southern Sudan. In July 2002, the Sudan government and the Sudan People’s Liberation Movement (SPLM) signed a peace framework agreement in Kenya. On May 26, 2004, the government of Sudan and the SPLM signed three protocols on Power Sharing, on the Nuba Mountains and Southern Blue Nile, and on the long disputed Abyei area. The signing of these protocols resolved all outstanding issues between the parties. On June 5, 2004, the parties signed “the Nairobi Declaration on the Final Phase of Peace in the Sudan.” On January 9, 2005, the government of Sudan and the SPLM signed the final peace agreement at a ceremony held in Nairobi, Kenya. In April 2010, Sudan held national and regional elections. In January 2011, South Sudan held a referendum to decide on unity or independence. Abyei was also expected to hold a referendum in January 2011 to decide whether to retain the current special administrative status or to be part of South Sudan. The Abyei referendum did not take place. In the Southern referendum, 98.8% voted for independence and 1.4% for unity.

The crisis in Darfur began in February 2003, when two rebel groups emerged to challenge the National Congress Party (NCP) government in Darfur. The crisis in Darfur in western Sudan has led to a major humanitarian disaster, with an estimated 1.9 million people displaced, more than 240,000 people forced into neighboring Chad, and an estimated 450,000 people killed. In July 2004, the House and Senate declared the atrocities in Darfur genocide, and the Bush Administration reached the same conclusion in September 2004. On May 4, 2006, the Government of National Unity and the Sudan Liberation Movement/Army (SLM/A) signed the Darfur Peace Agreement (DPA) after almost two years of negotiations. In December 2010, the Government of Sudan began a major military offensive against the SLM.

In July 2007, the U.N. Security Council passed Resolution 1769, authorizing the deployment of a robust peacekeeping force to Darfur. The resolution calls for the deployment of 26,000 peacekeeping troops to Darfur. The resolution authorizes the United Nations African Union Mission in Darfur (UNAMID) to take all necessary measures to protect its personnel and humanitarian workers. As of August 2010, UNAMID deployed a total of 22,007 peacekeeping personnel. As of August 2010, 73 peacekeeping personnel have been killed in Darfur. In July 2008, International Criminal Court (ICC) Chief Prosecutor Luis Moreno-Ocampo accused President Omar Bashir of Sudan of genocide, crimes against humanity, and war crimes and asked ICC judges to issue an arrest warrant for President Bashir. On March 4, 2009, the ICC Pre-Trial Chamber issued a warrant of arrest for President Bashir for war crimes and crimes against humanity.

In late October 2009, the Obama Administration announced a new Sudan policy. The new Sudan policy focuses on three policy priorities: the crisis in Darfur, the implementation of the North- South peace agreement, and counter-terrorism. The new policy links the lifting of sanctions and incentives to verifiable progress on the ground. In mid-September, the Obama Administration announced new policy initiatives on Sudan. The new policy update focuses on the Administration’s active and expanded diplomatic engagement and relaxation of sanctions and restrictions. On March 31, 2011, President Obama appointed Ambassador Princeton Lyman as Special Envoy for Sudan.



Date of Report: April 8, 2011
Number of Pages: 38
Order Number: RL33574
Price: $29.95

Follow us on TWITTER at
http://www.twitter.com/alertsPHP or #CRSreports

Document available via e-mail as a pdf file or in paper form.
To order, e-mail
Penny Hill Press  or call us at 301-253-0881. Provide a Visa, MasterCard, American Express, or Discover card number, expiration date, and name on the card. Indicate whether you want e-mail or postal delivery. Phone orders are preferred and receive priority processing.

Friday, April 22, 2011

Algeria: Current Issues


Alexis Arieff
Analyst in African Affairs

U.S.-Algerian ties have grown as the United States has increasingly viewed the government of Algeria as an important partner in the fight against Al Qaeda-linked groups in North Africa. The Algerian economy is largely based on hydrocarbons, and the country is a significant source of natural gas for the United States and Europe. Congress appropriates and oversees small amounts of bilateral development assistance, and Algerian security forces benefit from U.S. security assistance and participation in bilateral and regional military cooperation programs.

Algeria’s relative stability, always tenuous, has most recently been challenged by a series of riots, strikes, and demonstrations since early January 2011. The unrest has been motivated by economic distress (such as high food prices, unemployment, and housing shortages), as well as longstanding political grievances. The example of neighboring Tunisia’s “Jasmine Revolution” and the ripple effects of political change in Egypt may contribute to opposition activism, although the counterexample of violent repression in Libya and Bahrain may also dampen enthusiasm. The government has reacted both by attempting to assuage the public through political and economic concessions and by using the security forces to prevent and break up demonstrations. Across the region, other authoritarian governments have adopted similar approaches with varying results.

Algeria’s political system is dominated by a strong presidency and security apparatus. The military is the heir to Algeria’s long struggle for independence from France, and has remained the most significant political force since independence in 1962. Following Algeria’s bloody civil war in the 1990s, the military backed Abdelaziz Bouteflika for the presidency in 1999. He was reelected for a third term in April 2009 and has no clear successor. The 74-year-old president is widely rumored to be in poor health. The voice of the military has been muted publicly since Bouteflika was first selected, but may be heard during a future presidential succession. Low voter turnout in the May 2007 parliamentary election may have reflected general lack of public faith in the political system in general and the weak legislature in particular. High official turnout figures for the 2009 presidential election were disputed by rival candidates.

Domestic terrorism perpetrated by violent Islamists remains Algeria’s principal security challenge. Algerian terrorists also operate across the southern border in the Sahel and are linked to terrorism abroad. The U.S. State Department lists two Algerian groups as Foreign Terrorist Organizations. The more notorious and active is Al Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM), which pledged allegiance to Al Qaeda in 2006 and may increasingly be described as a criminalterrorist mutation. Algeria, as the dominant economic and military power in the region, has attempted to take the lead in developing a regional approach to counterterrorism in the Sahel. The legacy of Algeria’s anti-colonial independence struggle contributes to Algerian leaders’ desire to prevent direct foreign counterterrorism intervention, their residual skepticism of French intentions, and their positions on regional affairs, including a non-interventionist stance toward Libya’s conflict. See also CRS Report R41070, Al Qaeda and Affiliates: Historical Perspective, Global Presence, and Implications for U.S. Policy, coordinated by John Rollins.

President Bouteflika’s tenure has produced an energized foreign policy. Strains in ties with neighboring Morocco continue, due mainly to the unresolved status of the Western Sahara, but also to a rivalry for regional power. Relations with former colonial power France remain complex and volatile. See also CRS Report RS20962, Western Sahara, by Alexis Arieff.



Date of Report: April 13, 2011
Number of Pages: 24
Order Number: RS21532
Price: $29.95

Follow us on TWITTER at
http://www.twitter.com/alertsPHP or #CRSreports

Document available via e-mail as a pdf file or in paper form.
To order, e-mail
Penny Hill Press  or call us at 301-253-0881. Provide a Visa, MasterCard, American Express, or Discover card number, expiration date, and name on the card. Indicate whether you want e-mail or postal delivery. Phone orders are preferred and receive priority processing.

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Political Transition in Tunisia

Alexis Arieff
Analyst in African Affairs

On January 14, 2011, President Zine El Abidine Ben Ali fled the country for Saudi Arabia following weeks of mounting anti-government protests. Tunisia’s mass popular uprising, dubbed the “Jasmine Revolution,” appears to have added momentum to anti-government and pro-reform sentiment in other countries across the region, and some policy makers view Tunisia as an important “test case” for democratic transitions elsewhere in the Middle East.

Ben Ali’s departure was greeted by widespread euphoria within Tunisia. However, political instability, economic crisis, and insecurity are continuing challenges. On February 27, amid a resurgence in anti-government demonstrations, Prime Minister Mohamed Ghannouchi (a holdover from Ben Ali’s administration) stepped down and was replaced by Béji Caïd Essebsi, an elder statesman from the administration of the late founding President Habib Bourguiba. On March 3, the interim government announced a new transition “road map” that would entail the election on July 24 of a “National Constituent Assembly.” The Assembly would, in turn, be charged with promulgating a new constitution ahead of expected presidential and parliamentary elections, which have not been scheduled. The protest movement has greeted the road map as a victory, but many questions remain concerning its implementation.

Until January, Ben Ali and his Constitutional Democratic Rally (RCD) party exerted near-total control over parliament, state and local governments, and most political activity. Tunisia has cultivated strong ties with France and the European Union, its largest trading partner, as well as with the United States. Despite many political and economic characteristics shared across the region, Tunisia exhibits a number of unique attributes: it has a relatively small territory, a large and highly educated middle class, and a long history of encouraging women’s socioeconomic freedoms. Islamist parties were banned by Ben Ali, but some have now gained legal recognition.

Tunisia’s unexpected and rapid transition raises a wide range of questions for the future of the country and the region. These pertain to the struggle between reformists and entrenched forces carried over from the former regime; the potential shape of the new political order; the future role of Islamist and/or radical movements in the government and society; the role of the military and security services in steering political events; and the difficult diplomatic balance—for the United States and other actors—of encouraging greater democratic openness while not undermining other foreign policy priorities. Congress authorizes and appropriates funding for bilateral assistance and conducts oversight of U.S. policies toward Tunisia and the wider region.

U.S.-Tunisian relations have been highly focused on military assistance and counterterrorism. Some Members of Congress argue that new aid should allocated for democracy promotion and economic recovery in Tunisia, while others contend that budgetary cuts take precedence over new aid programs, and that economic stabilization may be best addressed by the private sector or other donors. The Obama Administration has proposed $20 million in “transition support” for Tunisia to be administered by the State Department’s Middle East Partnership Initiative (MEPI), as well as financial support through the Overseas Private Investment Corporation. S. 618 (Kerry) would authorize the President to establish a Tunisian-American Enterprise Fund to promote private sector investment and better corporate governance. Congress has been supportive of security assistance programs in Tunisia in the past, directing the State Department to allocate levels of Foreign Military Financing (FMF) that surpassed executive branch budget requests.



Date of Report: April 15, 2011
Number of Pages: 32
Order Number: RS21666
Price: $29.95

Follow us on TWITTER at
http://www.twitter.com/alertsPHP or #CRSreports

Document available via e-mail as a pdf file or in paper form.
To order, e-mail
Penny Hill Press  or call us at 301-253-0881. Provide a Visa, MasterCard, American Express, or Discover card number, expiration date, and name on the card. Indicate whether you want e-mail or postal delivery. Phone orders are preferred and receive priority processing.

Kenya: Current Conditions and the Challenges Ahead

 
Ted Dagne
Specialist in African Affairs

Kenya, a nation of about 36.9 million people, has been an important ally of the United States for decades. Kenya moved from a one-party state to a multi-party democracy in 1992. Kenyans voted in record numbers in the country’s first multi-party election in almost 26 years. President Daniel arap Moi defeated opposition candidates by a small margin. In 1997, Kenya held its second multiparty elections, at the height of tensions between the opposition and the ruling party. President Moi was re-elected with 40% of the votes cast, while his nearest rival, Mwai Kibaki, won 31%. In the 2002 presidential and parliamentary elections, the opposition National Rainbow Coalition (NARC) defeated the ruling Kenya African National Union (KANU). In the presidential election, NARC leader Kibaki defeated Uhuru Kenyatta, the leader of KANU.

On December 27, 2007, millions of Kenyans went to the polls in Kenya’s fourth multi-party elections, with the hope of strengthening the institutions of democracy and, most importantly in the view of many observers, of bringing change. An estimated 14.2 million (82% of the total eligible voters) Kenyans were registered to vote, while 2,547 parliamentary candidates were qualified to run in 210 constituencies, according to the Electoral Commission of Kenya (ECK). Nine candidates competed in the presidential election. The opposition reportedly made significant gains in the parliamentary elections. The ECK, however, hastily declared President Kibaki as the winner of the elections. Kibaki was quickly sworn in as president, while international and domestic election observers declared the elections as rigged and deeply flawed.

Following the announcement of the election results, violence erupted in many parts of Kenya. More than 1,000 people have been killed and an estimated 350,000 reportedly displaced. In August 2008, the Kenya National Commission on Human Rights (KNCHR) released a report on the post-election violence. In early February, the opposition and the government began negotiations under the leadership of former U.N. Secretary General Kofi Annan. The two parties agreed to work together to end the violence, improve humanitarian conditions, and write a new constitution within a year. In late February, the government and the opposition reached a powersharing arrangement. On March 18, 2008, the Kenya parliament unanimously approved the agreement. On April 3, 2008, the parties agreed on a 40-member cabinet. But important reforms agreed to by the parties have yet to be implemented. The initial United States government reaction to the December elections was considered by some international observers as contradictory and seen by some Kenyans as being one-sided in favor of President Kibaki. On December 30, the United States government reportedly congratulated President Kibaki. Senior Bush Administration officials visited Kenya in an effort to resolve the crisis and provided support to Kofi Annan’s mediation efforts. The Obama Administration has repeatedly pressed the government of Kenya to implement reforms agreed to by the parties in 2008. In September 2009, Assistant Secretary of State for Africa Johnnie Carson sent a letter to 15 Kenyan officials warning them that reforms must be implemented. In April 2010, the Kenyan parliament passed a new draft constitution, and on August 4, 2010, Kenyans approved the new constitution. The next general elections are scheduled for 2012. 
.

Date of Report: April 15, 2011
Number of Pages: 19
Order Number: RL34378
Price: $29.95

Follow us on TWITTER at
http://www.twitter.com/alertsPHP or #CRSreports

Document available via e-mail as a pdf file or in paper form.
To order, e-mail
Penny Hill Press  or call us at 301-253-0881. Provide a Visa, MasterCard, American Express, or Discover card number, expiration date, and name on the card. Indicate whether you want e-mail or postal delivery. Phone orders are preferred and receive priority processing.