Publications

Donald Trump as President-elect: new symptom of a retreat of liberal values in the West?

The recent election of Donald Trump and the Brexit vote have belied dominant predictions based on a long-held view that sees the occasional electoral victories of xenophobic and extreme right-wing movements in Western countries as mere bumps in a journey leading to a liberal, cosmopolitan world. However, the popular vote in two of the most advanced democracies in the world, along with the rise of racist demagogues in several European states seem to signal a worrying and growing success of populist ideologies resting on racism and anti-globalism, political authoritarianism and social conservatism. And an equally worrying shift towards “illiberal democracy”, i.e. a type of regime where democratically elected leaders enact legislations that suspend or limit civil liberties, press freedom or the independence of courts.

Cartoon (c) David Parkins

 

The UN and the fight against the illicit trade in small arms in 2016

In June 2016, fifteen years after the adoption of the United Nations Programme of Action on small arms (PoA), States gathered once more to assess progress achieved in the prevention and eradication of the illicit trade in small arms. Following the entry into force of the Arms Trade Treaty in 2014, the adoption in 2015 of the 2030 Sustainable Development Agenda, 2016 will have been a year of transition and small steps forward for the United Nations small arms process. Not to mention the upcoming Third Review Conference of the PoA in 2018.

Burkina Faso and the reform of the army: where do we stand two years after the popular insurrection?

This paper analyzes the reform of the armed forces in Burkina Faso, two years after the collapse of the Blaise Compaoré regime. The reform is a continuation of the democratic change brought about by the October 2014 revolution. The stability of the new government headed by President Roch Kaboré and the need to respond to the terrorist threat are the main issues and challenges. Despite the changes recorded, the reform is still limited in its scope, because it doesn’t yet address the defense paradigm of the country.

Crédit photo : Forces armées nationales (FAN) du Burkina Faso (source : aouaga.com/photographe A.O)

Monitoring of regional Stability in the Sahel region and in West Africa – October to December 2016

This quarterly monitoring, published by GRIP since 2011 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. It aims to monitor 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 and transnational crimes.

Photo Credit: Manko Wattu Senegal (Great Opposition March) Seneweb.com

The South Korean industrial defense base: an emerging global player

Over the last 60 years South Korea experienced a tremendous economical, industrial and technological development. The so-called Land of the Morning Calm has grown from one the poorest country after the Korean to the 11th world economy in terms of GDP. South Korea also developed an impressive industrial and technological defense base, coming from a total dependency on US imports to a total of 3.49 billion USD of defense products exports in 2015. In this analysis, we will attempt to scrutinize the industrial policies and the security context which made this growth possible. Then, we will analyse the KF-X project (4th generation combat aircraft) currently developed jointly by South Korea and Indonesia. This ambitious project represents a crucial test for the South Korean defense industry in terms of securing technology transfer and assembling capabilities.  (Full text in French only)         

(Photo credit: Korean Republic Armed Forces. Digitalmode.net)

How does environmental crime affect peace and security in West Africa?

The issue of "environmental crime" is currently high at the international political agenda, but how about West Africa in particular when we know that this region is at the crossroads of wildlife trafficking? How does this phenomenon materialize in this region? This note precisely aims at outlining a mapping of practices and issues associated with environmental crime in this region of the world. After an overview of the main trafficking across West Africa, this analysis addresses in greater detail the issues associated with forest crime and illegal fishing, as well as their impact in terms of regional peace and security. Finally, this paper presents a synthetic review of the various political and legal mechanisms developed for the purpose of combating environmental crimes and abuses. (Full text in French only)

The UN General Assembly opens perspectives for a treaty to ban nuclear weapons

For the first time in two decades, the international community met at the United Nations First Committee to adopt or reject a concrete resolution proposal to take negotiations on multilateral nuclear disarmament forward. A large majority of states – result of the humanitarian initiative movement – supported by civil society proposed that in 2017, a legal instrument for the prohibition of nuclear weapons should be negotiated, despite strong opposition from the nuclear powers. It is therefore a real argumentative battle on the objectives and consequences of this resolution establishing a future treaty which took place between the different parties during this 71st session of the United Nations General Assembly. (Full text in French only)

(Photo crédit: icanfrance.org - vote OEWG)

 

Inside the Lockheed Martin’s System. Contribution on the debate on the replacement of the Belgian F-16

What political, economic, and military system looms behind Lockheed Martin F-35 Joint Strike Fighter? In June 2014, the Belgian armed forces have launched a procedure intending at the replacement of their F-16 fighter-bomber planes. The F-35 is one of the five airplanes currently evaluated as possible successor for the F-16. Furthermore, many people believe Lockheed Martin’s machine has the favour of the Belgian pilots. This aim of this paper is to contextualize the Belgian debate which surrounds this replacement by exploring in a critical way the role of the social forces at play in this technical project.

Photo credit: shaneforce.skynetblogs.be (Our country sold sixteen F-16 fighter-bombers to Jordan: four two-seat and twelve single-seat)

 

 

 

North Korea: worst-case scenario?

North Korea is a strange country. Since Kim Jong-un took power, hopes of a new détente in the peninsula have been dashed by increasingly frequent provocations by Pyongyang – missiles launches and nuclear tests – with potentially disastrous regional consequences. In this way, North Korean actions prompted the issue missile defense to become a new locus of tensions between regional powers. From these developments, two fundamental questions arise: what capabilities does North Korea have? What does North Korea want? This is second part* of the analysis brings forward a critical view of Pyongyang’s ambitions and constrains as well as an open-ended probe into the diplomatic options available to the international community.

Crédit photo : les statues de Kim Il-sung et Kim Jong-il devant le "Palais du Soleil Kumsusan" - en fait, le mausolée érigé à la gloire de la dynastie Kim (source : collection privée)  

* First part : North Korea: Nuclear and ballistic stakes

Western troops in Niger: Controversial presence, usefulness still to be demonstrated

Because of its geostrategic situation, at the crossroads of several hotbeds of destabilization, Niger has witnessed, for a few years, the multiplication of western military bases, mostly managed by France and the United States. The country indeed has become the rear base of the French Opération Barkhane, as well as an observation post for the United States in a region undermined by several uprisings, most of them with jihadist characteristics. However, these deployments are not well regarded by the Nigerien population and army, accustomed not to abdicate their defence tools to foreigners and attached to the sovereignty of their country.

Crédit photo : Opération Barkhane (crédit : ECPAD)

North Korea: Nuclear and ballistic stakes

North Korea raises questions. Since Kim Jong-un took the reins, hopes of a new détente in the peninsula have been dashed by increasingly frequent provocations by Pyongyang – missiles launches and nuclear tests – with potentially disastrous regional consequences. In this way, North Korean actions prompted the issue missile defense to become a new locus of tensions between regional powers. From these developments, two fundamental questions arise: what capabilities does North Korea have? What does North Korea want? In a two-part analysis, we seek to uncover the fundamentals in technology and diplomatic history that are needed to address such questions. This is the first part of the analysis. It conveys a simplified picture of the stakes involved in deterrence and missile defense in the peninsula.

Crédit photo : Parade militaire à Pyongyang exhibant le nouveau missile intercontinental « KN14 » dont les capacités restent inconnues (Source : Arms Control Wonk)

“Embargo” against Egypt and weapons used for internal repression

On August 14, 2013, the Egyptian security forces began the evacuation of a sit-in by supporters of President Morsi, deposed by the army on July 3, 2013. The evacuation is particularly violent: around a thousand people die. In response, EU member states adopt three measures: an “embargo” on the "Equipment which might be used for internal repression” without any precise definition of the scope of the embargo; a reassessment of the current arms export licenses and a review of the security cooperation with Egypt. In this Analysis, we will try to assess the way in which the EU Member States have applied such measures and discuss the issue of the definition of “equipment that can be used for internal repression” as well as the legal developments in this area. We will then examine the evolution of European arms exports to Egypt and the situation of human rights on site.

Crédit photo : Manifestation au Caire (source : Flickr/Violet Paradise/Licence Creative Commons)

Rassemblement démocratique du peuple camerounais (RDPC) : Radioscopie et trajectoire d’un parti présidentiel

Cette note sur le Rassemblement démocratique du peuple camerounais (RDPC) s’inscrit dans le volet d’analyses consacré à l’étude des systèmes politiques d’Afrique centrale1. Elle complète les travaux déjà réalisés sur d’autres partis « présidentiels » de la sous-région, en l’occurrence, le Parti congolais du travail (PCT) et le Parti démocratique gabonais (PDG), avec lesquels le RDPC partage quelques similarités de parcours. La création du Rassemblement démocratique du peuple camerounais (RDPC), le 24 mars 1985, répond à une succession de tensions institutionnelles au sommet de l’État ; elle témoigne de la recomposition de l’espace politique camerounais, consécutive à la démission2 inattendue du premier président de la république, Ahmadou Ahidjo, le 4 novembre 1982...

Monitoring of regional Stability in the Sahel region and in West Africa – July to September 2016

This quarterly monitoring, published by GRIP since 2011 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. It aims to monitor 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 and transnational crimes.

Photo Credit: L’enquête sur la mort de Thomas Sankara et douze de ses compagnons étant presque achevée, le procès pourrait se tenir d’ici la fin de l'année selon la justice militaire burkinabè (source : Gardens of Freedom / Twitter)

Uncertain balance of power in Nagorny-Karabakh :Towards renewed hostilities ?

In spite of a shaky ceasefire entered into force in 1994, Azerbaijan and Armenia have remained at daggers drawn over Nagorny-Karabakh. Benefiting from massive oil revenues, Azerbaijan has dramatically stepped up military expenditures over the last decade partly aimed at purchasing game-changing weapons. On the other side, Armenia has sought to offset its scarce financial resources with increased security cooperation, if not bandwagoning, with Russia, which in turn used it as a way to prevent Azerbaijan’s ally Turkey from encroaching too far into South Caucasus. Nonetheless, with the sale of S-300 PMU2’s systems to Azerbaijan, Russia seems to have tacitly agreed on a potential resumption of hostilities from Baku. 

Crédit photo : Musée des soldats morts au combat de la République du Haut-Karabakh, Stepanakert (Source : Adam Jones / LCC)

The author would like to warmly acknowledge all the persons who contributed to this paper, with a special mention to Mr. Masis Ingilizian, military analyst for Bellingcat.

Golfe de Guinée : enjeux et défis d’une architecture africaine de sûreté et sécurité maritimes

L’insécurité maritime, en essor depuis le tournant des années 1990, demeure l’une des menaces majeures à la sécurité et à la stabilité économique des États riverains du golfe de Guinée ; tant pour ceux situés sur le littoral, que ceux enclavés dans l’arrière-pays, qui dépendent également du commerce maritime pour leurs importations et leurs exportations. Ce défi sécuritaire dans le golfe de Guinée, prend la forme d’attaques – en moyenne une par semaine –, contre les navires transportant les produits pétroliers ou contre les installations d’extraction d’hydrocarbures situés en off-shore. Ce sont aussi des prises d’otages, des vols à mains armée et des détournements de cargaisons de pétrole brut. Depuis dix ans, près de 600 attaques, en haute mer ou dans les eaux territoriales des États riverains, ont été enregistrées. Si le nombre d’incidents déclarés semble stagner, les attaques sont devenues plus violentes avec le recours par les assaillants aux armes de guerre et à une logistique conséquente pour acheminer les cargaisons d’hydrocarbures dérobées...

Enjeux électoraux au Gabon : quelques hypothèses sur l’élection présidentielle d’août 2016

L’élection présidentielle gabonaise du 27 août 2016, pourrait marquer un tournant dans l’histoire politique du pays ; c’est en effet la première échéance électorale présidentielle « normale » de l’ère post-Omar Bongo Ondimba, puisque celle de 2009 a été anticipée à la suite du décès du doyen gabonais. Par rapport au scrutin de 2009, cette élection revêt par ailleurs plusieurs caractéristiques singulières, dont il faut tenir compte dans l’appréciation de ce que pourrait être l’avenir politique du Gabon. Tout d’abord l’ampleur de la mobilisation des acteurs des deux camps, majorité présidentielle et opposition, contrairement à l’élection de 2009 dont l’effet de surprise avait réduit les capacités d’action de plusieurs acteurs politiques. À titre d’illustration, aucun candidat de l’opposition n’avait pu déployer des représentants dans l’ensemble des bureaux de vote. Tout comme plusieurs d’entre eux n’avaient pu parcourir la moitié des localités importantes du pays, en raison de l’insuffisance de ressources, tant matérielles qu’humaines. De même, les candidats n’avaient pas eu le temps de mettre en place une stratégie de contestation des résultats des urnes en cas d’irrégularité, stratégie qui aurait pu contraindre le vainqueur à partager le pouvoir...

The challenges of the awakening civil society in Chad

Between autumn 2014 and spring 2016, Chad witnessed a popular mobilization of an unprecedented scale. The protest was initially driven by the economic difficulties but gradually became more political, particularly with the action of the civic associations platforms "Trop, c’est trop", "Iyina" and "Ça suffit". The importance of these numerous civil society organizations demanding the departure of President Idriss Déby, grew over this period, but not without difficulties. In a context of restricted civil liberties, particularly since the presidential elections of April 2016, these organizations seem fragile, and struggle to maintain a high level of popular mobilization. On the eve of President Deby's inauguration on August 8, 2016, the possibility of a real awakening of the Chadian civil society remains to be assessed.

(Photo: blogger Makaïla's website)

Les 100 jours de Faustin-Archange Touadéra : défis de la RCA post-conflit

L’élection, en février 2016, de l’ancien Premier ministre Faustin-Archange Touadéra à la présidence de la Centrafrique, a marqué formellement la fin de la transition et le début de la phase de reconstruction du pays, après trois années de crise. Bien que la cause immédiate de la crise centrafricaine reste le coup de force perpétré en mars 2013, par la coalition des rebelles de la Séléka, contre le président François Bozizé, les facteurs explicatifs des cycles de crises en Centrafrique sont à situer dans l’héritage historique des coups de force et dans la fragilité structurelle de l’État centrafricain...

Monitoring of regional Stability in the Sahel region and in West Africa – April to June 2016

This quarterly monitoring, published by GRIP since 2011 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.

It aims to monitor 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 and transnational crimes.

Crédit photo : l'ex-ministre sénégalais de l’Écologie a dénoncé l'ampleur du trafic illégal du bois de vène en Casamance 

 

When France is no longer a dream. The example of Niger

This document is the ‘Note d’actualité No. 38’ (June 2016), property of the Thomas More Institute (with the support of the DGRIS). Reproduction by GRIP courtesy of its author, Antonin Tisseron.

Niger, a country particularly exposed to the jihadist threat that burdens the Sahel-Saharan strip, is generally regarded in France as a reliable partner that is aware of the security issues. Caught between the AQIM movement in the West, the Libyan conflicts and Islamic State in the North as well as Boko Haram attacks in the South, the authorities have undertaken to increase the strength of the armed forces while several attempted terrorist actions were thwarted in the country. Seen from Niger, however, away from the corridors of power, Franco-Nigerien relationship has showed significant deterioration in recent years. And while this deterioration is not inexorable, it cannot be neglected. Considering that Niger is no exception.

Crédit photo : Wikimedia Commons/Jean Rebiffé/Niamey from the sky

RD Congo, régionalisme et équilibres géopolitiques : les enjeux du nouveau découpage territorial

Le 9 janvier 2015, le Parlement congolais adoptait la loi relative au redécoupage du pays en 26 provinces, contre 11 initialement. Bien que cette réforme figure dans la Constitution de 2006, sa mise en œuvre aura attendu près de dix ans, et intervient dans un contexte de tensions politiques, à moins d’une année de la fin du deuxième et dernier mandat constitutionnel du président Joseph Kabila. Parallèlement à la mise en œuvre du processus de découpage territorial, le Parlement congolais avait également apporté un amendement à la loi électorale, visant à subordonner la tenue des prochaines élections présidentielles – théoriquement programmées pour novembre 2016 – à l’organisation d’un recensement préalable de la population. La mesure sera retirée suite aux violentes manifestations populaires survenues entre les 19 et 23 janvier 2015, contre ce qui est alors apparu à une partie de l’opinion et à l’opposition, comme une « tentative de modification » du calendrier électoral, en vue de maintenir le président sortant au pouvoir au-delà des délais constitutionnels...

After Compaoré: discussing "the Ivorian policy” of the new government of Burkina Faso

Following the collapse of the Compaoré regime in 2014, Burkina Faso is witnessing a shift in its foreign policy. One of the challenges for the country is to maintain its diplomatic influence in the region. This crisis with Côte d’Ivoire, which resulted from the arrest warrant released by Burkina Faso against Guillaume Soro, is a test for the new President Roch Kabore. Regarding Côte d’Ivoire as a threat for its government, President Kaboré has to mediate between the quest for justice of its population and the need to maintain a peaceful relationship with Côte d’Ivoire, an emerging regional power since the end of the civil war in 2011. Despite the political will of both countries to settle the conflict peacefully, political tensions in their domestic politics are likely to worsen the stability of the Abidjan-Ouagadougou diplomatic axis in the following years.

(Photo credit: commons.wikimedia.org - President Roch Marc Christian Kaboré)

Dismantling of nuclear weapons and vessels: A terrifying legacy for future generations

As part of disarmament agreements, or due to obsolescence, a large number of nuclear weapons and nuclear vessels – especially nuclear-powered submarines – must be dismantled. All countries are facing the same challenge posed by the security and environmental constraints of storing large quantities of fissionable and radioactive materials for a very long period. The new economic sector that might be generated by these activities, in Brest for example, cannot make us forget the terrifying burden imposed on future generations by decades of "belief" in nuclear deterrence.

Crédit photo : Le SNLE Le Terrible lors de sa sortie du hall de construction (DCNS)

Côte d’Ivoire, the difficult path to Reconciliation

Peace in Côte d’Ivoire will be difficult to consolidate without progress in the reconciliation process. Improvements in social cohesion remain blocked by grievances over the access to land – an issue that president Alassane Ouattara promised to address upon his reelection in October 2015. Steps should also be taken to prevent the reconciliation process from being perceived as driven by victor’s justice – by those who won the war, exclusively targeting those who lost, that is Gbagbo and his followers.

Crédit photo : Le Gri-Gri international

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