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Title: Managing Arms in Peace Processes: ECOWAS and the West African Civil Conflicts
Contributor(s): Badmus, Isiaka Alani (author)
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Abstract: The article entitled 'Small Arms and Light Weapons Proliferation and Conflicts: Three African Case Studies' which appeared in the Nigerian Journal of international Affairs, vol. 31, no. 2, 2005, was my first major study on the issue of Small Arms and Light Weapons [hereinafter refer to as SALW] proliferation and African convicts. Ever since, I have closely been following the West African politico-military landscape with reference to SALW proliferation - an interest that was further sharpened by my invitation to the Economic Community of West African States [ECOWAS] Executive Secretariat in Abuja, Nigeria for an interview into its newly initiated Regional Small Arms Control Programme [ECOSAP]. I intend not to detail my discussions on the meaning of SALW. Instead, a comprehensive analysis of the roles of ECOWAS as a sub-regionai organisation in maintaining regional peace and security become imperative, and the paper is also interested in looking, albeit briefly, at the processes leading to the formation, and dynamics of ECOWAS. This is very fundamental because the insights from such retrospective exercise will help us immensely to really fathom the transcendence of ECOWAS beyond its original mandate, i.e., economic development. 'In addendum', relying on Article 52 of the United Nations [UN] Charter, regional organisations are empowered to maintain regional peace and security. Thus, ECOWAS that was initially established as an institution for economic integration or West Africa ventured into regional security issues as a result of the rebellion that started in December 1989 in Liberia by Charles Taylor against Samuel Doe’s government. With the establishment of the ECOWAS Ceasefire Monitoring Group [ECOMOG] that is now the military force of ECOWAS, the stage was set for ECOWAS intervention in the West African civil conflicts. It is true that the Nigeria-dominated ECOMOG brought peace to Liberia. While Sierra Leone would have been a ghost of itself by now and Ivorians are now experiencing peace [albeit fragile] courtesy of the combined roles of ECOMOG and French forces. The question is why has SALW continued to attract very high premium in the hands of non-State actors and national armies alike? How has ECOWAS been managing arms especially during post-conflict peace building?. This is fundamental considering the fact that for a state that just came out of civil conflict in order not to roll back into anarchy or Hobbesian state or nature; SALW has to be properly managed in the interest of sustainable peace and development. The above arguments will be fully developed in the subsequent sections.
Publication Type: Working Paper
Field of Research (FOR): 160607 International Relations
HERDC Category Description: W Working Paper
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Series Name: e-Working Papers CEAUP
Series Number : WP/CEAUP#2009/01
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