Publications

Political change and urban space in West Africa

Since the beginning of this decade, urban areas in West Africa have seen the rise of new patterns of social protest, with no link to party systems. Based on logics of generational tensions, these movements have been at the core of an alternating political power in Burkina Faso and Senegal. The reasons for this protests are mainly related to the high cost of living, improved living conditions and issues of governance. These movements appear to be partly the result of a significant political outreach process and a slow urban associative maturation. In addition, very high social and spatial inequalities in urban areas between a globalized elite and a majority of the population made poor and peripheral are the seeds of an antagonistic resentment. In this context, the outskirts of the cities stand for the place of urban growing discontent.
(Photo from website leral.net)
 
 

Boko Haram: developments 2012-2015

This note highlights the evolution of Boko Haram since 2012, when the jihadist organisation – initially active mainly in north-eastern Nigeria – expanded its attacks to three neighboring countries: Niger, Cameroon and Chad.

Besides increasing the areas under its control, other features explain the development of Boko Haram: structuring, tactics, communication, alliance with other jihadist movements, weapons supply, etc.

Special attention is paid to the year 2015, which marks a turning point in the life of the armed group. The increased involvement of the region's security forces has allowed to considerably reduce the area under its control. If its capacity for harm appears weakened, its adaptability should inspire caution to those who claim that Boko Haram is being eradicated.

Crédit photo : capture d'écran d'une vidéo de propagande de Boko Haram

The Gulf Cooperation Council: a case of shaky power politics

Since the collapse of Saddam Hussein’s regime in 2003, the Gulf Cooperation Council has stood as the main competitor of Iran regarding regional affairs. Emboldened by Saudi Arabia military buildup during the last decade, the GCC has been developing its own defense architecture aimed at sustaining stability within Member States as well as countering any Iranian moves that could further strengthen Tehran’s foothold in the region.

Mali: progress and challenges

On Friday 20 November, the Radisson Blu of Bamako was attacked by armed men. After being claimed by Al Mourabitoune and Al-Qaeda of the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM), and then by the Macina Liberation Front in collaboration with Ansar Dine, the attack reflects the recent changes that have been seen within jihadist groups and their modes of action. However, apart from this attack and Mali’s security issues, this note also analyses the country’s overall situation and the progress that have been made since the election of Ibrahim Boubacar Keita as Mali’s head of state in August 2013. More specifically, besides the implementation of the peace agreement signed in June 2015, the note addresses four issues: security, development, internal fractures and the State.
Crédit photo : La Grande Mosquée de Djenné (source : Michele Alfieri / 123 RF) 

Military spending in East Asia: Territorial conflicts and spiraling risks

Since 1997, the rise of China brought the level of military spending in East Asia to unprecedented heights, and all regional countries have invested considerable resources in their respective naval forces. In a context characterized by political tensions and territorial disputes, is this military spending pattern posing a risk to regional stability? The present note identifies some of the key components of an overall rush toward the maritime domain in East Asia and assesses that territorial disputes do not just broaden the scope of the regional security dilemma; they reshape it on a basis that is more volatile than ever.

Crédit photo : exercices maritimes entre les marines américaine et sud-coréenne (source : Aaron Shelley/ U.S. Navy)

 

Arms and diplomacy in Ukraine in the shadow of the Syrian crisis

Should arms be sent in Ukraine, to support the authorities in Kiev against pro-Russian separatists in the Donbass, thus against Russia? Since war erupted in Eastern Ukraine, Western countries are nurturing diverging points of view on this issue. The debate, fuelled by ambiguous concepts such as “non-lethal weapons” or “defensive lethal weapons”, therefore appears to be confusing.
This Analysis aims at taking stock of what is said and done about this thorny issue, made even more complicated by the Syrian crisis.
(Photo:  Radar AN/TPQ-36 Firefinder)
 

 

Les transferts d’armements de la Région wallonne en 2014. Synthèse du rapport annuel

L’année 2014 a vu les exportations wallonnes exploser et atteindre un nouveau record sur les dix dernières années, tandis que l’Arabie saoudite maintient sa place de client privilégié de la Région. Cet Éclairage fait une synthèse des principales informations sur les licences octroyées par le gouvernement wallon en 2014, ainsi que les destinations des armements produits en Wallonie.
En 2014, le montant total des licences d'exportations approuvées par le gouvernement wallon a atteint 4 306 299 198 EUR, soit une augmentation de 838 % par rapport à 2013 et un total plus de quatre fois supérieur au précédent pic de 2009. Il s’agit d’une nette rupture par rapport à la moyenne de la période 2004-2013. À elle seule, la valeur des licences accordées en 2014 représentent près de la moitié (42 %) du total de la valeur des licences accordées entre 2003 et 2014 . Seules trois licences d'exportations ont été refusées en 2014, portant sur trois destinations différentes à savoir le Kosovo, la Turquie et le Venezuela.
Quelque 444 licences d'importations ont été octroyées en 2014 pour un montant de 109 269 724 EUR, ainsi que 30 licences de transit représentant un total de 92 941 346 EUR. Aucune demande de licence d'importation ou de transit n'a fait l'objet d'un refus en 2014.
Crédit Photo: GDLS Canada
 
 

The Israeli-Palestinian issue and the Euro-Mediterranean Partnership: Chronicle of an announced failure?

The Euro-Mediterranean Partnership had raised many hopes on both sides of the Mediterranean. Yet the agreements have not been satisfactory and sometimes proved largely disappointing compared to their initial ambitions. The European Neighbourhood Policy and later the Union for the Mediterranean have not been able to revitalize this partnership. A number of shortcomings have shaken it right from the start. Identifying these weaknesses and the political will to address them is therefore, necessary to revitalize the partnership. The main stumbling block continues to be the Israeli-Palestinian issue. The partnership will only become legitimate if it can act credibly and effectively in consultation with other international actors on this decades old central issue for the Mediterranean area - and beyond.
 
 
 

Burkina’s new Mining code: a share of gold for everyone?

Burkina Faso is one of the poorest countries in the world. Its development strategies are focused mainly on the industrialization of its natural resources. Gold mining has become, since 2009, the country’s main source of economic growth, even though it has failed to initiate the economic leverage needed to improve the living conditions of the population. In order to solve this issue, the transitional government has adopted a new Mining Code in June 2015. This note studies the evolution of this sector so as to determine to what extent the new Mining Code may contribute in making gold the lever of sustainable socio-economic development, which Burkina Faso aspires for 2025?​

Objectif Bastogne : sur les traces des reporters de guerre américains

Hiver 44-45 : Ernest Hemingway et Martha Gellhorn parcourent les collines enneigées et ensanglantées des Ardennes. Walter Cronkite qui, dans les années 1960, sera surnommé "l’homme le plus digne de confiance de l’Amérique", informe pour United Press à partir de Luxembourg et d’Assenois. Le mythique Robert Capa fixe son objectif au plus près de l’action.

Une Bosnie sinistrée vingt ans après Dayton

Le 21 novembre 1995, un accord conclu sur la base étatsunienne de Dayton (Ohio) mettait fin à la guerre en Bosnie-Herzégovine. Vingt ans plus tard, si le pays a quasiment disparu des écrans des téléviseurs, il continue à vivoter dans le moule de l’accord, officiellement signé le 14 décembre à Paris.

Une des particularités de l’accord de Dayton est qu’il n’a pas été conclu par les trois factions qui se sont âprement combattues pendant trois années et demie. Si le président internationalement reconnu du pays, le Bosniaque Alija Izetbegović, l’a bien signé au nom de sa communauté, les Serbes et Croates bosniens ont été représentés par les présidents de deux pays voisins – certes impliqués dans le conflit – le Serbe Slobodan Milošević et le Croate Franjo Tudjman.

Crédit photo : Slobodan Milosevic, Alija Izetbegović et Franjo Tudjman (source : Jan Underwood/Dayton Daily News)

 

COP 21, ENMOD and the 6th November : Peace and War at Stake

In 2001, the United Nations General Assembly adopted a resolution proclaiming that November 6th would be the “International Day for Preventing the Exploitation of the Environment in War and Armed Conflict”.

On the eve of the 21st Conference of the Parties to the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), or COP21, held from November 30 to December 11, 2015 at Paris-Le Bourget, this was the opportunity to discuss what COP 21 would not talk about: the impact of armed forces on climate change, in peacetime as in wartime.

My purpose here is not to show why the rampant militarization of our planet is a major cause of deterioration of our ecosystems. Nor is it to remind everybody of the obvious: that war is inherently destructive for the environment. I don’t even wish to investigate the reasons why the environmental impact of military activities is not taken into account[1]. My purpose, on November 6th, was to remind that the environment, which is always a collateral victim of conflicts and military activities, can also become a weapon in itself, and it is urgent that we concern ourselves with the legal instruments designed to prevent that risk.

War, law and environment

International humanitarian law has two main instruments to protect the environment during hostilities.

Tunisia: a threatened exception

Tunisia is an exception in a deteriorating regional environment. Nearly five years after its revolution, Tunisia’s progressive constitution arises from an unprecedented compromise between political forces whose interests ultimately proved to be compatible. As a tribute to the progress achieved in more than two years, a coalition of four civil society groups was recently awarded the Nobel Peace Prize. This highly symbolic honor acknowledges the work of a heterogeneous quartet erected amidst the political crisis and rewards the Tunisian national dialogue. However, the country is facing major obstacles. It suffers from the consequences of the Libyan security vacuum, as well as from the geopolitical tactics of regional powers with conflicting interests. Moreover, Tunisia’s economy is plagued by terrorism, which threatens to undermine its democratic impulse. 

Crédit photo : Marche de la liberté à Tunis, en janvier 2012 (source : Amine Ghrabi / Licence Creative Commons)

Juger les multinationales. Droits humains bafoués, ressources naturelles pillées, impunité organisée.

Coca-Cola, Monsanto, Shell, Nestlé, Bayer, Texaco… : certaines marques sont associées à des scandales retentissants. Hydropiraterie en Inde, pesticides aux effets dévastateurs, exploitation pétrolière transformant le delta du Niger en désert écologique, drame du Rana Plaza au Bangladesh, enfants empoisonnés par le plomb au Pérou…, la liste est longue et plus qu’inquiétante.

L’accord sur le nucléaire iranien : décryptage

Ça y est, depuis la "date d’adoption" le 18 octobre 2015, l’accord sur le dossier nucléaire iranien est officiellement sur les rails. Mais ce document d’une centaine de pages peut se révéler un véritable casse-tête pour les non-initiés. Tentative de décryptage d’un accord complexe aux implications profondes et multiples pour le Moyen-Orient et la non-prolifération nucléaire...

Traité de non-prolifération nucléaire : l'échec de 2015 mènera-t-il au succès de la Première Commission ?

Les quatre semaines de la 9e conférence d’examen du Traité de non-prolifération nucléaire (dite "RevCon 2015"), du 27 avril au 22 mai 2015, se sont achevées dans la division. Personne ne remet en question que le TNP est la pierre angulaire du régime de non-prolifération. Mais le problème est qu’il n’est plus que cela : le pilier "désarmement nucléaire" est dans un état de mort clinique. 

Impact de la baisse du prix du pétrole sur les pays producteurs d’Afrique équatoriale

Sauf événement géopolitique majeur ou revirement soudain de la stratégie suivie par l’Arabie saoudite, le prix du pétrole ne devrait pas remonter durablement dans les prochains mois. Comme tous les pays exportateurs à travers le monde, les États producteurs d’Afrique équatoriale sont durement affectés par la chute du prix du pétrole et la réduction des recettes pétrolières depuis l’été 2014, même si le Cameroun, du fait de son économie plus diversifiée et de l’importance de son marché intérieur, est mieux armé pour y faire face.

Les gouvernements ont, pendant plusieurs mois, cherché à minimiser l’ampleur des ajustements budgétaires nécessaires, arguant que la baisse du cours du pétrole ne serait que temporaire. Au cours du premier semestre 2015, tous ont néanmoins dû admettre la nécessité de procéder à des révisions budgétaires se traduisant à la fois par une réduction importante des investissements publics (en particulier dans les projets d’infrastructures qui représentaient pourtant le fer de lance de leurs politiques de développement et de diversification de l’économie) et par une envolée du déficit budgétaire, qui devrait à terme entraîner une hausse (parfois très importante) de l’endettement de ces États. 

2015 Ivorian Elections: Should the EU Have Observed the Polls?

If Africa is the privileged destination of the EU electoral observation missions, the European observers will not be in Ivory Cost for the presidential elections foreseen the 25 of October 2015. After the 2010 electoral conflict, when the EU was massively present, this decision has surprised more than a few.

This article analyses three aspects of the Ivorian electoral process (the Independent Electoral Commission running, the electoral roll redaction and the results traceability), in order to align them with the criteria usually followed by the EU before deciding the deployment of a mission. The aim is to understand if the choice of not being in Ivory Coast this time is relevant. 

Crédit photo : Lancement de l'opération de révision de la liste électorale à Yamoussoukro (source : CEI)

Monitoring of regional Stability in the Sahel region and in West Africa – July to September 2015

This quarterly monitoring aims to follow the security situation in West Africa with a focus on Burkina Faso, Côte d’Ivoire, Guinea, Mali, Niger and Senegal. It examines in particular broad internal security issues, regional tensions, and cross-border crime and trafficking.

Published by GRIP since 2011, it is part of a project named “Contributing to improve human security, conflict prevention and strengthening the rule of law in Sub-Saharan countries” funded by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Grand Duchy of Luxembourg.

(Photo: élections en Guinée, 10 septembre 2015, © guinee7.com)

 

 

Armes nucléaires: et si elles ne servaient à rien? 5 mythes à déconstruire

«Ce sont les bombes sur Hiroshima et Nagasaki qui ont forcé le Japon à capituler»; «Les armes nucléaires nous protègent. Elles ont empêché la Guerre froide de dégénérer en guerre ouverte»; «la dissuasion nucléaire est efficace, il suffit de penser au blocus de Berlin ou à la crise des missiles de Cuba»; «De toute façon, il n’y a pas d’alternative, on ne peut pas désinventer la Bombe…»

SIPRI Yearbook 2015 (Résumé) - Armements, désarmement et sécurité internationale

Voici le résumé en français du SIPRI Yearbook 2015, un annuaire apprécié dans le monde entier par des politiciens, des diplomates, des journalistes, des académiques, des étudiants et des citoyens, comme une source fiable et indépendante de données et analyses sur l’armement, le désarmement et la sécurité internationale.

Burkina Faso and its army brought to heel by the Regiment of Presidential Security?

Since the fall of Blaise Compaoré on 31 October 2014 following a popular revolt, Burkina Faso goes through a period of political turbulences, with its stability shaken by four attempts by the RSP to end the transition. This time in fact, the RSP managed to perpetrate a coup, but it is not clear yet that it will succeed in ending that regime. This situation is not as unusual as it seems, if one replaces it in the context of the political developments the country has been going through since its independence.

Crédit photo : le chef de la junte, le général Gilbert Diendéré (source : capture d'écran d'une vidéo de France24)

 

Humanitarian Dimension of Disarmament and Nuclear Danger in France

The humanitarian approach has become central in the discussions on nuclear disarmament. It is based on the risk of detonation of a weapon by a voluntary, accidental or malicious act. Many cases have been reported in the US, UK and Russia. The scarcity of information in France appears to be related to the worship of the "secret" that exists generally on nuclear weapons. But the lack of official information doesn’t mean that there wasn’t a military nuclear accident. Moreover, if the effects of a nuclear detonation are widely shared, French diplomats and French think tanks criticize both the arguments and the purpose of this approach: the elimination of nuclear weapons...
 
Crédit photo: Marine nationale / Alain Monot
 

Small arms, new technology and control challenges

Recent technological developments offer new opportunities to strengthen and enhanced existing practices in marking, record-keeping, securing, and tracing of small arms and light weapons. However, new technologies also bring important challenges for existing control instruments and mechanisms with possible negative consequences for international efforts to prevent and combat the illicit trade in small arms. This research note intends to shed light on the recent developments in technology, small arms conception and production, the implications for effective marking, record-keeping and tracing, and consider the effective use of technologies and relevant tools to reinforce its efficiency.

Crédit photo : pièces du pistolet en polymère "Liberator"  produites par une imprimante 3D (source: Justin Pickard/Licence creative commons)

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