II

Trouble Spots
Conflicts in Africa are sources not only of humanitarian concern. They effect important U.S. security objectives as well as the achievement of international norms of conduct that are vital to America’s moral values. In this section, ‘‘Trouble Spots,’’ we deal with several conflicts that touch on these various interests and the difficulties in addressing them. Zimbabwe is a tragic country. Over the past decade, President Robert Mugabe has steadily destroyed the commercial farming economy of the country, stripped away the protection of law by undermining and intimidating the judiciary, closed down much of the independent press, rigged elections, and ruthlessly crushed opposition. The result is a country nearly in ‘‘free fall.’’ Inflation exceeds 2,000 percent, unemployment in some estimates is as high as 80 percent, millions of Zimbabweans have fled the country, and those remaining rely heavily on the support of international humanitarian agencies and the remittances of their relatives abroad. Yet somehow, neither the surrounding states, the African Union, nor the international community as a whole has been able to alter these developments. In his article on ‘‘The Limits of Influence,’’ Princeton N. Lyman explains how such happenings in a country cannot only go on without being stopped, but also how the international community is perforce an enabler in Mugabe’s continuing authoritarian rule. Only Mugabe’s recent excesses of brutality, and uneasiness within his own party, may portend an end to this situation. [85]
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Trouble Spots Darfur, the western region of Sudan, has on the other hand captured the world’s attention. With at least 200,000 people dead, 2.5 million displaced, and continuing harassment and violence against the survivors, Darfur has challenged the world’s commitment of ‘‘never again,’’ i.e., to prevent genocide such as happened in World War II and again in Rwanda in 1984. In this situation, unlike Zimbabwe, the United States and the United Nations have been actively involved, seeking to end the conflict that began in 2003, to bring an international peace force into the region to protect the displaced, and to punish those accused of the most egregious offenses. The Africa Union has been similarly engaged, providing the only peacekeepers in the region so far, but at levels and equipment woefully below what is needed. For all these efforts, the situation remains nearly as bad today as it has been for the past four years. Lee Feinstein has put this conflict into the context of the commitment, made at the UN’s Millennium summit, that it is the responsibility of the international community to protect those in any nation whose government cannot or will not protect them from widespread violations of their human rights and threats to their very survival. Feinstein demonstrates the difficulties that face nations and institutions in carrying out this commitment in Darfur and provides clear and practical recommendations not only for the immediate crisis in Darfur but for similar situations in the future. Eben Kaplan’s article traces the development of the terrorist infiltration in Somalia, and the complexities of how to address it. For fourteen years, the conditions within Somalia simmered below the surface of American attention. Burned by the debacle of U.S military intervention in 1992–93, when eighteen U.S. servicemen were killed and some dragged through the streets of Mogadishu, the United States largely stayed out of the many subsequent but largely ineffective efforts by neighboring African states to bring some kind of order and centralized government to the country. America’s interest, especially after 9/11, focused almost exclusively on trying to capture alleged terrorists who had taken refuge there. But in 2006, America’s interests were seriously challenged when an Islamic movement, similar in its initial strategy to the Taliban [86]
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Trouble Spots in Afghanistan, swept to power in Mogadishu, providing for the first time in decades order, the protection of commerce, and the potential for national government. The movement was, however, also determined to impose a strict Islamic system of laws and culture on the country, and was led by some who were on the U.S. and the UN’s terrorist lists. Ethiopia, whose interests were similarly challenged by this movement, swept the new government out of power in a lightning military attack in December 2006. But the result has been a guerrilla war, pitting insurgents against both the Ethiopian military and the fledging Somalian government it protects. An Africa Union peacekeeping force, barely mobilized, faces similar opposition. Mogadishu has thus once again become the scene of daily fighting, mortars, and casualties. Hundreds of thousands have fled the capital, creating a major humanitarian crisis. The United States faces a more difficult challenge than ever in trying to address the dangers of this failing state. Somalia brings into relief the larger security threats that exist in the Horn of Africa. Professor Terrence Lyons examines these in his report. The Ethiopian-Eritrean conflict, which he addresses, has the potential to spill over into the larger region of the Horn of Africa. Sudan, Somalia, Uganda and Kenya are all drawn into the complexities of the Horn’s conflicts. For the United States, there is the special dilemma of dealing with an Ethiopian regime that is its most valuable ally in the war on terror in this region, but that has stepped back from the promising opening toward democracy of two years ago and that faces internal threats of its own. Not surprisingly, the U.S. Senate has been calling for the Bush administration to develop a comprehensive policy toward the Horn. John Prendergast and Colin Thomas-Jensen offer one approach to developing such a policy.

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