Advancing Stability and Reconciliation in Guinea-Bissau: Lessons from Africa's First Narco-State - Regional Spillover, Guns, Drugs, Illicit Resources, Trade in Cocaine, Organized Crime, Killings
Professionally converted for accurate flowing-text e-book format reproduction, this book examines the deep problems faced by the African nation of Guinea-Bissau. A string of crises stretching back more than a decade has rendered Guinea-Bissau one of the most fragile states in Africa. More
Professionally converted for accurate flowing-text e-book format reproduction, this book examines the deep problems faced by the African nation of Guinea-Bissau.
A string of crises stretching back more than a decade has rendered Guinea-Bissau one of the most fragile states in Africa. This recurring cycle of political violence, instability, and incapacitated governance, moreover, has accelerated in recent years, most notably following a military coup in April 2012. Exploiting this volatility, trafficking networks have coopted key political and military leaders and transformed Guinea-Bissau into a hub for illicit commerce, particularly the multibillion dollar international trade in cocaine. This has directly contributed to instability in Senegal, Guinea, Liberia, Mali, Mauritania, Nigeria, and elsewhere in Africa. European and African organized criminal groups have likewise established ties to the Guinea-Bissau trade. Drawn by the lucrative revenues, al Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb and other militant groups in West Africa have also been linked to Guinea-Bissau trafficking. Now commonly referred to as Africa's first narco-state, Guinea-Bissau has become a regional crossroads of instability.
Responses to Guinea-Bissau's bouts of crises, however, have tended to be short lived and neglect the country's deep institutional weaknesses and vulnerabilities. Clashes within the military, coups d'etat, and strings of politically motivated killings have been met with condemnation from regional and international partners followed by calls for investigations or a transitional election—but with few genuine reforms. Oftentimes many of the perpetrators of Guinea-Bissau's crises retain or even expand their influence and stature. Meanwhile, economic growth has been episodic, human development indicators have been stagnant, and a humanitarian emergency imperiling 300,000 people looms. Given the sensational nature of these crises, root drivers of instability are consistently overlooked, including a political system marked by the concentration of authority in the executive branch and a security sector that has gradually expanded its involvement in politics. As a result, crises inevitably reemerge. While narcotics traffickers initially targeted Guinea-Bissau because of its weak oversight and governance capacity, the drug trade has dramatically compounded these drivers of instability while spawning others.
Despite Guinea-Bissau's serious challenges, some groundwork for reform has been laid by the country's emerging civil society actors and democratic institutions. An independent media sector, several prominent and well-organized human rights groups, an improved police force, and a national legislature that has on occasion demonstrated its influence, represent a potentially vital reform network. These civil society actors and independent reformers are under growing pressure from the increasingly emboldened military and political leadership that has captured escalating trafficking revenues, however.
Executive Summary * A Worsening Cycle of Crises and Regional Spillover * Politicization of the Military * Winner Take All * Guns, Drugs, and Illicit Resources * Competition Drawn Along Ethnic Lines * Distrusted International Partners * Analysis: From Fragile States to Narco-States * Recommendations * Political and Governance Reforms * Dealing with the Past * Depoliticization of the Military * Reversing the Narco-State * Pressuring Spoilers * Empowering Civil Society and Independent Media * Harmonizing International Approaches * Conclusion
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