Sunday, February 29, 2004

African Defence

Leaders attending the African Union (AU) summit in Sirte, Libya unanimously approved the Common African Defence and Security Policy (CADSP) ... an agreement that establishes a multinational force for Africa.

(Gadaffi's proposal that countries scrap their national armies and create a continetal army wasn't taken all that seriously.)

Getting back to what the leaders agreed to ... from the AU press release ...
The African Union plans to establish an African Standby Force with a capacity to prevent and resolve conflicts on the Continent, a Military Staff Committee and a Continental Early Warning System, within the framework of the new Peace and Security Council of the Union.
Here is what the force will look like ...
The African Standby Force would be deployed at five regional bases by 2005, expanding to a continental force by 2010, a declaration adopted at an African Union (AU) summit said.

Initially, it would involve some 15,000 AU troops, drawn primarily from the continent's military powerhouses -- South Africa, Nigeria, Kenya and Egypt, AU sources said.

... The rapid reaction force will have a peacebuilding and humanitarian role, and may intervene unilaterally in the event of "war crimes, genocide and crimes against humanity, as well as a serious threat to legitimate order," the text said.
The full-text of the agreement isn't available online yet ... but fortunately, we do have access to the Draft Framework for a Common African Defence and Security Policy. According to the framework, the AU can intervene in response to "grave circumstances" ...
...namely: war crimes, genocide and crimes against humanity, as well as a serious threat to legitimate order, in order to restore peace and stability to the Member States of the Union upon the recommendation of the Peace and Security Council.
The most interesting aspect of this agreement is that the AU would be allowed to intervene unilaterally (without invitation) if the organs empowered to make such a decision say so.
The principle of common defence -- that an attack on one state should be considered an attack on the entire continent and that all African countries should work together to prevent and resolve conflicts -- is enshrined in the founding charter of the AU.

... The new AU policy expands the traditional definition of defence and security to include not just states but citizens and their economic, nutritional and health-related well-being.
Caveat -- both the Reuters and the Agence France Presse stories mention the detail about the AU being allowed to act unilaterally ... however, I haven't found the exact wording in an official document ...

Let's get back to the African Standby Force. There rhetoric is certainly lofty and there are high hopes ... but how to pay for it?
Funding will be a major obstacle, the union is already US$40 million in debt [inherited from the OAU]. But aid will be sought from donor countries including the United States, Europe and Japan, said Ould Salek, a foreign minister for Western Sahara, a territory in southern Morocco recognized by the African Union.
As it happens, on Friday, the European Union pledged 250 million euros (US$312 million) for the AU's "peace-support operations". However, the funding is not specifically for the African Standby Force because right now, it only exists on paper.

For the moment, lets assume that the only issue facing this force is money. Depending on donors doesn't make for stable funding ... and it's possible that donors might attach conditions to the money ... all this could serve to limit the independence and efficacy of the AU and its Standby Force.

In the face of so many problems, the Ghanian foreign minister struck a defiant tone ...
Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo ... said the establishment of an African Stand-by Force was a good idea and feasible, therefore, the leaders should mobilize resources towards the implementation and not to allow the "no resources syndrome" to effect the maintenance of peace on the Continent.

OAU = Organization of African Unity (replaced by the AU in 2002)

Please note that there doesn't appear to be one title for this security agreement ... however, of the following, the first one seems to be the most commonly used
-- Common African Defence and Security Policy
-- African Non-Aggression and Common Defence Pact
-- Common Defense and Security Policy for Africa