D3.7 Africa: Conclusion Report

D3.7 Africa: Conclusion Report

Lead beneficiary: RDDC
Delivery date: 26/06/2017
Revision: 2.0

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Executive Summary:

This report draws together information and analyses from the preceding eight reports of IECEU Work Package 3 that examine the effectiveness of EU civilian crisis management operations in Libya, South Sudan, CAR and DR. Congo. The four cases are examined in separate sections. The following is based on the findings in the eight previous deliverables, and pools together the conclusions from these previous eight deliverables in WP3.

The IECEU case study on EUBAM mission in Libya illustrates the great challenges that the international community has in addressing protracted and increasingly complex conflict and post-conflict environments. The Civil war in Libya, the fall of long term dictator Col. Ghaddafi, and the resulting chronic and globalised conflict that followed, made Libya an extremely difficult and challenging place to operate in. The killing of the US Ambassador in Benghazi in 2012 was an illustration of the difficulties and dangers to international staff working in Libya. The Libya reports, assesses the contribution by the EU CSDP mission EUBAM Libya to the overall security of the state of Libya. The EUBAM Libya mission was launched in May 2013 with the objective of supporting Libyan authorities in improving and developing the security of the country’s borders. After the security situation in Libya became unbearable in the summer of 2014, the mission was evacuated to Tunis and subsequently put on hold. Therefore its contribution to the security in Libya and its ability to support the Libyans in terms of the border management ended up being minimal. However, this does not mean that the mission would not provide valuable information and lessons for the future CSDP missions and operations. The Libya reports map the overall conflict trajectory in Libya and the particular contexts in which EUBAM Libya was functioning, and assess, on a strategic level, the processes that led to the mission and to its, at least temporary, closure. The reports firstly maps out the nature of the conflict, whilst the second part describes the particular context in which the EUBAM Libya was functioning, assessing the mission through its changing activities, as a part of the international effort to rebuild Libya and also raises up some critique that was presented at the time of the mission, such as the possible human right violations by some of the Libyan partners of the mission. The history of Libya explains large parts of the volatility of the conflict and many of the conflict related difficulties that the EUBAM Libya mission faced, operating in what the academic literature has called the “accidental state”, un-institutionalized in nature of the country and based on the regional and tribal tensions to create a system in which all power was concentrated on the top, but which lacked cohesion on all levels of governance. This allowed Col. Ghaddafi to rule, but it also built the Libyan state extremely volatile. After the fall of Ghaddafi, the Libyan state disintegrated and feel victim to a fractionalisation. The EU established its EUBAM Libya mission with a task to develop an Integrated Border Management (IBM) strategy together with the Libyans and support and train the capabilities of Libyan border control, within this context. From the start the mission had severe problems related to the security situation, which first handicapped the work of the mission and ultimately led to its evacuation. However, the fundamental and more “lesson-like” problem identified behind the failure of the mission is the systemic fragmentation of the Libyan state, which prevented a symmetric relationship between the mission and the Libyan counterparts. The problem of changing counterparts on the Libyan side of the administration was confirmed by the interviews of the locals. In short, there was not a single accountable recipient representing a particular branch of border management that could have served as an established partner. Instead, the limited strategic planning that the mission was able to carry out was unproductive, partly because the absent and changing partners, partly because of the misplaced idea that the Libyans would be interested in IBM style way of arranging border management. While the strategic goals of the mission failed, it did, however, engage in some operational training, which’s effectiveness is difficult to assess within the scope of this review, due to the relatively small scale of those activities and especially due to the present security situation, preventing a field trip to Libya.

The effectiveness study of EUBAM Libya is based on 18 interviews conducted between January 2016 and February 2017, combined with an extensive document and literature review. The originally planned field trip to Libya, mentioned in the grant agreement, was cancelled because of the security situation in Libya. Furthermore the mission had already been evacuated to Tunis at this point (from July 2014 on).

The DR Congo
The first EU mission, Operation Artemis, was deployed in the Ituri provincial capital of Bunia in 2003 with the aim of stabilizing a deteriorating security situation. The force was deployed parallel to the existing UN PSO mission in the DRC, and functioned as a bridging mission preparing the deployment of the UN force. In 2005 the EU launched both a EUPOL and a EUSEC mission, which were supposed to help train the Congolese police and military institutions as part of the SSR and state-building project initiated after the signing of the two peace agreements. The EUPOL project was ended in 2014, EUSEC in 2016. In 2006 the EU deployed EUFOR RDC to assist the UN and Congolese authorities to secure the national elections. The EU has therefore been involved in a wide range of post-conflict state-building initiatives as part of larger efforts to address the vast range of causes of conflict in the DRC. As documented in the review, conflict and wars in the DRC go back beyond 1996, have had different expressions, been internationalized and linked to regional security dynamics, and exemplify the debate on the role and importance of natural resources in conflict and the impact of international responses to this type of conflict. The security situation in the DRC remains volatile, and in North Kivu alone there are still more than twenty non-state armed groups, and the debate over political secession surrounding President Kabila has moved conflict in the country into a new and potentially very dangerous phase. EU involvement started with the deployment of Artemis in 2003, and the study ends with the closure of EUSEC in July 2016. All EU missions in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) have been part of EU support for the transition and implementation of the 2002 Peace Agreement in the country. A key challenge was that the sheer size of the DRC, the lack of infrastructure and the non-permissive environment made it a very difficult and complex undertaking. The Congolese partner has been resistant to reform, and the EU has found it difficult to undertake its SSR (security-sector reform) initiatives successfully. Some informants even called the EU project generally a failure, whilst others argued that the sometimes it is better doing something than nothing. Generally the short term military deployments have been more successful, and managed to achieve their objectives. The two capacity-building missions have been less successful and the results have been mixed. Problems interacting with the local partners, lack of use of local interlockers and experts, the frequent change of personnel and lack of access to the lessons learned reports are but examples of the challenges faced by the missions and projects. There has generally been a discrepancy between ambitions and then the reality on the ground, which has increased the perception of failure and lack of success.

South Sudan
The South Sudan reports assesses the contribution by the EU CSDP mission EUAVSEC to the overall security of the state of South Sudan, and the success and failures of the EUAVSEC mission. The mission was launched in July 2012 following South Sudan’s request for EU support to strengthening security at Juba International Airport, as part of the international community’s overall assistance to the country. A key challenge for South Sudan after independence was to establish a fully operational transport hub for commercial and passenger purposes. Improving airport security will not only contribute to the fight against crime and international terrorism, but also enable the increased flow of people and goods, thus helping to boost trade and promote regional integration. After the security situation in South Sudan deteriorated in December 2013, the mission – although not formally terminated was evacuated and brought to an end when fulfilling its mandated deployment period in January 2014. Although having trained 350 personnel, the contribution to the overall security in South Sudan and its ability to support the South Sudanese Government in terms was limited. However, this does not mean that the mission would not provide valuable information and lessons for the future CSDP missions and operations. The European Union did not have a strong stance with regard to the independence of South Sudan. This development was mainly driven by the United States and China as well as the international community which saw the potential of a new-born resource rich country that could prosper and lead to economic benefits. Already at the independence celebration of South Sudan on 9 July 2011, in which the author of this analysis personally participated, the subordinated role of the EU became obvious. The former High Representative of the European Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy, Lady Baroness Ashton was among the last political leaders to address the cheering population in the act of independence. Therefore, it is no surprise that the EU needed to find its role in the new state of South Sudan. The deployment of the EUAVSEC mission at the airport of Juba in order to enhancing airport and aviation security was only a minor step in the context of developing the country. Therefore it is also no surprise that the mission itself is much unknown in South Sudan today.

Central African Republic (CAR)
The Central African Republic (hereafter referred as CAR) has suffered from poor governance and underdeveloped security institutions throughout its independent history. The CAR has never had an effective central government, and it has struggled with recurrent insurgencies and military coups. Changes in power have merely been followed by violent conflict, leading to a replacement of one ruling elite with another. In this sparsely populated country that is unable to protect its citizens, there is little government accountability, and the weak security sector has been partially the source of the violent conflicts over the years. After the increased international presence in the country as a result of the conflict that erupted in the 2013, efforts have been focused on stabilization and rehabilitation of the country.

To respond to the violent conflict in CAR, the European Union (EU) unanimously decided to deploy a military operation (EUFOR RCA) to contribute to safe and secure environment and provision of humanitarian aid to affected population. EUFOR RCA’s deployment had a strong symbolic value for the EU’s global actorness, and the question of the EU’s political creditability can be seen to be the major reason behind the establishment of the operation. Despite the will to intervene, the EU member states were reluctant to contribute troops to such an operation, which reflected in its planning. As a result, EUFOR RCA was given a limited mandate in terms of tasks, area of operation, and time.

Despite its rocky beginning the achievements of EUFOR RCA in the Central African Republic are numerous when measured against its restricted mandate. Firstly, security conditions improved extensively in the districts (‘arrondissements’) that were under European forces’ responsibility. While NGOs’ access to the third and fifth district was difficult or impossible prior to EUFOR, humanitarian workers could operate safely after European troops were deployed. The Bangui airport protection ensured by the European Union allowed air traffic to proceed without any serious incidents. Also, EUFOR succeeded in restoring basic freedom of movement for the citizens even if risks of attacks persisted because of rampant criminality. Furthermore, EUFOR securing action contributed to the return of some IDPs who had taken shelter in the M’Poko camp, and even some refugees benefited from the reduction in tensions that European troops fostered and were able to go back to their residences. In addition, as EUFOR RCA took over from Sangaris, some French troops were freed for re-deployment to the provinces and therefore could cover more territory.

Ultimately, since the EUFOR action was a bridging operation, it succeeded in giving the MINUSCA enough time to deploy and for organising a smooth take-over with UN troops, which took place in March 2015. It must be stressed that EUFOR met all of these objectives without any casualties – this is particularly significant since Bangui was the most dangerous area of operations where an EU operation has ever been deployed. Whilst EUFOR was put to the test on several occasions, it has always responded in line with its robust mandate and with respect for the proportionality principle. Furthermore, the discrimination between combatants and non-combatants has never been infringed.

One of the most important achievements of EUFOR RCA lies in the excellent relationship that troops had with local citizens. By all accounts, the European force was respected and appreciated because it succeeded in building a relationship of trust with the Bangui population. Night and day patrols played a significant role in that success since EUFOR’s ubiquitous presence not only reassured many of the citizens but also allowed daily dialogue with the latter. With this structure, EUFOR was able to build a wide network of contacts that proved particularly useful for gathering of information and intelligence but also in reducing tensions and defusing potential violent crisis (e.g., in preventing riots). Another achievement that merits a special note is the solid co-operation and relationship between EUFOR and the humanitarian community. Information was regularly shared between military and civilian personnel, and EUFOR succeeded in securing tension-free access for aid workers to the various districts, since no escort action or confusion as to roles took place. Such a relationship is especially noteworthy in light of the mutual incomprehension and enmity that traditionally impair the effectiveness of collaboration between NGOs and peacekeepers.