IRREGULAR WARFARE IN AFRICAN CONFLICTS

  • Rialize Ferreira

Abstract

Irregular wars have erupted in African states since colonial independencefrom Western European countries in the 1960s. The end of the Cold War in 1989and the changing nature of international politics did not bring about politicalstability in African states either. These intrastate wars were by-products of historicdisputes kept hidden during the Cold War. When the ideological confrontationended, they surfaced again. Intrastate wars and irregular warfare are not newphenomena on the African continent and led to the collapse of state institutions incountries such as Liberia, Somalia, Sierra Leone, the Democratic Republic of Congo(DRC), Uganda, Sudan and Burundi. Rather than addressing African animosities,conflict continues unabated.The article aims to investigate why irregular (or asymmetric) warfare isutilised in African conflicts where rebel and ethnic groups retain residual militarycapacity to deploy against weak central governments if their socio-economicdemands are not met in the emerging states. The article combines “grievance” and“greed” models to explain the motivations for conflict, while the conceptualisationand utilisation of asymmetric warfare approaches in the African context of irregularwar are questioned. Democratic values such as freedom, justice, equality and humandignity are lacking in conflict-ridden societies where unequal forces compete forpolitical and economic control or control over scarce resources. Peacekeepingoperations cannot succeed unless the basis for equitable participation in, and thesharing of wealth and power is established in African societies.
Published
2011-08-10
How to Cite
Ferreira, R. (2011). IRREGULAR WARFARE IN AFRICAN CONFLICTS. Scientia Militaria - South African Journal of Military Studies, 38(1). https://doi.org/10.5787/38-1-79
Section
Articles