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Emergent Evidence Based Practices Supporting SDG 16

Emergent Evidence Based Practices Supporting SDG 16

Presented by: The Carter School Better Evidence,  September 2021

Facilitator: Susan Allen

Drawing from across local and global agencies, we examine emergent evidence-based practices that support SDG 16 and how the evidence informs this work. Looking at the cutting edge of peace and development work, we consider a) what the new approaches are, and b) how the evidence base informs the development and adaptation of these new approaches. By learning today from the cutting-edge approaches, we encourage further innovation based on evidence to strengthen our progress towards SDG 16, setting an agenda for a field-wide movement to improve practice by improving the evidence base and its accessibility and influence in shaping policy and practice. This discussion highlights the important roles for universities in supporting SDG 16.

Speakers: Margarita Tadevosyan, Interim Executive Director of the Better Evidence Project

Tammy Smith, Senior Advisor, UN Peacebuilding Fund Ekaterina Romanova, Carter School Alumna

Yahoska Berríos, Head of Monitoring, Evaluation and Learning, Conciliation Resources

Adeline Sibanda, Founder and Managing Director of ADESIM Developments

Categories
War Prevention Case Studies

Preventing Armed Conflict In The Gambia

Preventing Armed Conflict In The Gambia

Year(s): 2017 – present.

Location: The Gambia.

UN Regional Group: Africa.

Type of Conflict: Risk of a Vertical (state-based) Intrastate Conflict with Foreign Involvement.

Type of Initiative: Diplomacy.

Main Implementing Organisation(s): The African Union and the Economic Community of West African States.

Impact: Lasting.

Summary: The deployment of an Economic Community of West African States peacekeeping force has helped The Gambia to prevent a constitutional crisis that from escalating into an armed conflict.

Description of Case 

In December 2017, The Gambia held a presidential election. The incumbent, President Yahya Jammeh, had been in power since 1994, led a repressive regime, and had refused the presence of international monitors at the polls. Thus, the unexpected announcement from the Gambian Electoral Commission that the opposition candidate had won the contest caught many observers off guard. Even more surprising was the conciliatory tone initially offered by Jammeh, who congratulated his rival, Adama Barrow.[1] Within a week, however, Jammeh deployed troops on the streets and claimed irregularities in the vote-counting process meant that fresh elections should be held. Fearing armed conflict or a brutal crackdown, Barrow, along with tens of thousands of other Gambian citizens, fled to neighbouring Senegal.

The international community, led by the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS), was quick to condemn Jammeh’s actions and called for the restoration of constitutional rule. The UN Special Representative for West Africa and the presidents of Liberia, Nigeria, Ghana, and Sierra Leone visited Jammeh, imploring him to give up the presidency. Jammeh’s refusal to cede power led ECOWAS to gather troops on the border and prepare for a military intervention once his mandate ended.[2] The EU provided initial funds for the operation via its Early Response Mechanism and has continued supporting ECOWAS efforts in The Gambia.[3] In the meantime, Barrow was inaugurated in the Gambian Embassy in Senegal on 19 January 2017 and, on the same day, the UN Security Council approved ECOWAS intervention to enforce the decision of the Gambian people.[4] The ECOWAS Mission in The Gambia made clear its intention to enter the country the moment Jammeh’s term in the presidency ended, however such action was avoided when he finally agreed to leave the country.[5] In 2018, the African Union Technical Support to The Gambia mission was established to support the stabilisation process and advise the Gambian government on the rule of law, democracy, transitional justice, and Security Sector Reform.[6] Diplomatic pressure and threat of military intervention helped to ensure a peaceful transfer of power and maintain stability in The Gambia.

[1] Christof Harmann. “ECOWAS and the Restoration of Democracy in The Gambia.” Africa Spectrum, Vol. 52, No. 1. (2017) pp.86-7

[2] Ruth Maclean. “Gambia crisis: Senegal troops poised at border as Jammeh mandate ends.” The Guardian. (2017) Available at: https://www.theguardian.com/world/2017/jan/19/senegal-troops-poised-at-the-gambia-border-as-jammeh-mandate-ends (Accessed 11/11/2020)

[3] Africa-EU Partnership. Mission in the Gambia (ECOMIG). (EU, 2019) Available at: https://africa-eu-partnership.org/en/projects/mission-gambia-ecomig (Accessed 11/11/2020)

[4] United Nations Security Council. Resolution 2337. (UN, 2017) Available at: http://unscr.com/en/resolutions/2337 (Accessed 11/11/2020)

[5] Ruth Maclean. “Yahya Jammeh leaves the Gambia after 22 years of rule.” The Guardian. (2017) Available at: https://www.theguardian.com/world/2017/jan/21/anxious-gambians-await-former-president-yahya-jammeh-departure (Accessed 11/11/2020)

[6] Chido Mutangadura. “Will The Gambia be a turning point for AU peace efforts?” Institute for Security Studies. (2019) Available at: https://issafrica.org/iss-today/will-the-gambia-be-a-turning-point-for-au-peace-efforts (Accessed 12/11/2020)

Categories
Webinars

The Importance and Value of Local Peacemaking Initiatives: Lessons From Africa

The Importance and Value of Local Peacemaking Initiatives: Lessons From Africa

Presented by: Carter School Better Evidence, April 2022

Project Facilitator: Jeffrey Helsing, Executive Director, Better Evidence Project, Carter School, George Mason University

This session will focus on the importance of local peacemaking initiatives and how outside intervenors can complement rather undermine such efforts, as too often occurs. The specific focus will be on examples from Sub-Saharan Africa. Three cases will be highlighted: a South Kivu dialogue process that was organized and facilitated by Carter School faculty member Charles Davidson and local partners in the DRC; local mediation practice in Bangassou in the Central African Republic supported by UN Senior Mediation Advisor and Better Evidence Project Advisory Board member Emmanuel Bombande; and a successful network of women mediators (HAWENKA) who have strengthened the ongoing peace process among warring Somali diaspora groups in Northern Kenya. The Carter School’s Better Evidence Project provided a grant to HAWENKA that developed lessons from the mediation with an eye to developing evidence of the effectiveness of locally facilitated peacemaking efforts. There will also be a facilitated discussion about how local peacemaking initiatives are becoming more prevalent and more successful in areas where international efforts have usually failed.

Speakers:

Charles Davidson, PhD. Director, Carter School Political Leadership Academy

Amina Hassan Ahmed, Director, HAWENKA

Samwel Oando, Senior Advisor, HAWENKA, Kenya; and National Centre for Peace and Conflict Studies, University of Otago, New Zealand

Emmanuel Habuka Bombande, Senior Mediation Adviser, United Nations Department of Political and Peacebuilding Affairs

Categories
Webinars

Evidence Based Peacemaking: What We Need to Know; What We Need to Share; What We Need to Learn

Evidence-Based Peacemaking: What We Need to Know; What We Need to Share; What We Need to Learn

Presented by: Carter School Better Evidence, April 2022

Project Facilitator: Jeffrey Helsing, Executive Director, Better Evidence Project, Carter School, George Mason University

Search for Common Ground and the Better Evidence Project are working in different ways to develop more resources for evidence of peacemaking and war prevention while also developing networks that will enable peacebuilding organizations worldwide to share lessons and data. This session will be a discussion about what we know and don’t know, the next steps towards strengthening evidence-based peacebuilding, and where gaps remain. As a community of practice, how can we more effectively share what we are learning? At a minimum, evidence-based peacebuilding must result from meaningful input from, and collaboration with, practitioners and organizations in conflict-affected societies. How can scholars and researchers contribute to that? Search for Common Ground has developed a Global Impact Framework, in consultation with organizations and practitioners in the field, intended to bring together the lived experience of those living and working in conflict and to align measures that help people understand where they are most influential in transforming conflict. In doing so, Search for Common Ground and the Better Evidence Project, through its forthcoming Resource Center, are reframing the conversation about evidence related to peace and conflict in a way that can foster cross-fertilization and inform better learning and decision-making at all levels, while also incorporating local actors and needs as well as bridging theory and practice.

Speakers:

Jessica Baumgardner-Zuzik, Deputy Executive Director, Alliance for Peacebuilding, Search for Common Ground

Jack Farrell, Manager, Partnerships & Strategic Innovation and Project Lead of DME for Peace, Search for Common Ground Member of Learning, Evaluation and Research team, United States Institute of Peace

Ziad Al Achkar, PhD Candidate, Carter School; Research Affiliate, Better Evidence Project

Sandra Tombe, Research Program Officer, Learning, Evaluation and Research United States Institute of Peace

Categories
War Prevention Case Studies

Stopping The Armed Conflict In The Central African Republic For Four Years

Stopping The Armed Conflict In The Central African Republic For Four Years

Year(s): 1996 – 2000.

Location: Central African Republic.

UN Regional Group: Africa.

Type of Conflict: Vertical (state-based) Intrastate Conflict with Foreign Involvement.

Type of Initiative: Mediation of a peace agreement and a peacekeeping mission.

Main Implementing Organisation(s): Regional governments and the UN.

Impact: Limited.

Summary: The conflict in the Central African Republic was stopped for four years by a diplomatic intervention by regional governments and the deployment of a monitoring mission followed by a UN peacekeeping mission.

Description of Case 

On 18 April 1996, soldiers of the Central African armed forces staged a mutiny in protest against poor living conditions, the dismissal of the army chief of staff, and unpaid wages. More mutinies took place in May and November.[1] Increasingly frequent clashes and a deteriorating security situation was met with the deployment of 1,500 French troops in support of the government. Although this operation did protect key infrastructure, French involvement inspired demonstrations and protests, further destabilising the situation.[2] Additional mutinies took place in November 1996, leading to more clashes with French troops. In response, the domestic political opposition together with a former prime minister approached delegates at the France and Africa summit in Ouagadougou on 4-6 December 1996 for help. The summit concluded with an agreement that the leaders of Burkina Faso, Chad, Gabon, and Mali would travel to Bangui to negotiate a truce with the mutineers. This effort produced a ceasefire and created the framework for a peaceful resolution of the crisis to be negotiated. Talks were held the following year, with a weeklong conference taking place between 11 and 18 January encompassing opposition parties and civil society setting out various political and economic reforms, as well as the reorganisation of the armed forces.[3] On 25 January, these commitments were affirmed alongside an agreement to end hostilities in the Bangui Accords, which also established an international committee to oversee implementation.[4]

With support from the Government of France, the Inter-African Mission to Monitor the Implementation of the Bangui Accords (Mission de surveillance des accords de Bangui, MISAB) was stood up on 31 January to replace French forces, which were withdrawn. Composed of 800 troops and led by a Gabonese general, MISAB was mandated to verify compliance with the Accords and begin a disarmament campaign.[5] MISAB clashed with mutinying Central African troops several times before a ceasefire was negotiated on 28 June 1997. This ended the conflict (which cost the lives of around 1,000 people) and created the framework for the Bangui Accords to be implemented.[6] On 27 March 1998, the United Nations Mission in the Central African Republic (Mission des Nations Unies dans la Republique Centrafricaine, MINURCA) replaced MISAB.[7] These efforts helped to prevent further conflict in the Central African Republic until they were withdrawn in 2000. Within a year of the withdrawal, after almost four years of peace, more Central African troops mutinied, and the conflict resumed.[8]

 

[1] Moussounga Itsouhou Mbadinga. “The Inter-African mission to monitor the implementation of the Bangui agreements (MISAB).” International Peacekeeping, Vol. 8, No. 4. (2001) p.22

[2] Howard W. French. “Anger at French Troops Grows in Central Africa.” The New York Times. (24 May 1996) Available at: https://www.nytimes.com/1996/05/24/world/anger-at-french-troops-grows-in-central-africa.html (Accessed 9/12/2021)

[3] Preliminary Agreement on National Reconciliation Pact, 1997. Available at: https://www.theguardian.com/world/2015/sep/24/burkina-faso-coup-rise-and-fall-of-what-you-need-to-know (Accessed 9/12/2021)

[4] Bangui Accords, 1997. Available at: https://peacemaker.un.org/carbanguiaccords97 (Accessed 9/12/2021)

[5] Mandate of the Inter-African Force to Monitor the Implementation of the Bangui Agreements, 1997. Available at: https://peacemaker.un.org/carinterafricanforce97 (Accessed 9/12/2021)

[6] Dynamic Analysis of Dispute Management Project. Central African Republic (1960-present). (DADM, 2021) Available at: https://uca.edu/politicalscience/dadm-project/sub-saharan-africa-region/central-african-republic-1960-present/ (Accessed 9/12/2021)

[7] UN Peacekeeping. Central African Republic – MINURCA Background. (UN, 2001) Available at: https://peacekeeping.un.org/sites/default/files/past/minurcaB.htm (Accessed 9/12/2021)

[8] Dynamic Analysis of Dispute Management Project. Central African Republic (1960-present).

 

Categories
War Prevention Case Studies

Stopping The Armed Conflict In Somalia (Mudug)

Stopping The Armed Conflict In Somalia (Mudug)

Year(s): 1993.

Location: Mudug, Somalia.

UN Regional Group: Africa.

Type of Conflict: Horizontal (non-state) Intrastate Conflict; Vertical (state-based) Intrastate Conflict with Foreign Involvement.

Type of Initiative: Mediation of a peace agreement.

Main Implementing Organisation(s): Local people and organisations.

Impact: Limited.

Summary: The peace agreement ended the fighting in the central province of Mudug, reducing armed conflict in the area and allowing supplies to cross Somalia, mitigating the impact of other conflicts.

Description of Case 

Mudug is an administrative region of Somalia located in the centre of the country, separating Puntland and Somaliland from Mogadishu and the rest of Somalia. This position makes it a vital crossroads for trade within Somalia (particularly to the northern ports on the Gulf of Aden) and with neighbouring Ethiopia. As such, armed conflict in Mudug has severe humanitarian implications for the entire region. After the fall of the regime in 1991, the city of Galkayo (the capital of Mudug) was attacked by troops of a faction of the United Somali Congress (USC), one of the powerful armed groups that had driven Barre from Mogadishu. Over 500 people were killed, with many more wounded or captured, in this act of ‘clan cleansing.’[1] The following year, as the various armed groups in Somalia consolidated their respective territorial strongholds, Mudug became the frontline between the USC and the SSDF. Frequent clashes occurred throughout 1992 (despite the short-lived UN-mediated ceasefire negotiated that year), stifling trade and the movement of aid.[2]

It was not until 1993, following extensive negotiations in Addis Ababa between the various armed factions in Somalia, that the prospect of stopping the fighting in Mudug was considered. Talks between the leaders of the Somali Salvation Democratic Front and the USC faction operating in Mudug (who had, incidentally, shared a prison cell during the Barre regime and knew each other well) along with 227 delegates from the relevant clans began on 28 May 1993, and culminated on the 3 June with the signing of the Mudug Peace Agreement. The agreement contained an immediate ceasefire, provisions for reparations and disarmament and demobilisation of some forces, stipulated the withdrawal of armed forces to a 70km buffer zone, and also established a technical committee composed of the signatories to monitor implementation and administer diyah payments.[3] Unusually, it also contended that any future fighting should avoid towns and tarmac roads, indicating a level of flexibility but also a shared understanding of the unique importance of Mudug. While many aspects of the agreement were not maintained for long, the signatories did not relapse into a major conflict and the de facto line of separation established in 1993 continues to be respected (for the most part) and has helped to shelter northern Somalia from conflict for almost three decades. In 2007, local and international NGOs campaigned to consolidate the 1993 agreement and maintain peace in Mudug with noteworthy success.[4]

 

[1] Lidwien Kapteijns. “Clan Cleasing in Somalia: The Ruinous Turn of 1991 (2013) interview with Reinventing Peace.” World Peace Foundation. (2013) Available at: https://sites.tufts.edu/reinventingpeace/2013/10/17/clan-cleansing-in-somalia-the-ruinous-turn-of-1991-2013/ (Accessed 29/10/2021)

[2] UCDP. SSDF – USC/SNA. (UCDP, 2021) Available at: https://ucdp.uu.se/nonstate/5444 (Accessed 29/10/2021)

[3] Mudug Peace Agreement, 1993. Available in: Ralph Johnstone, ed. Peacemaking at the Crossroads: Consolidation of the 1993 Mudug Peace Agreement. (Interpeace, 2006) pp.30-1

[4] Johnstone, ed. Peacemaking at the Crossroads. p.25

 

Categories
War Prevention Case Studies

Stopping The Armed Conflict In Angola For Five Years

Stopping The Armed Conflict In Angola For Five Years

Year(s): 1994 – 1999.

Location: Angola.

UN Regional Group: Africa.

Type of Conflict: Vertical (state-based) Intrastate Conflict with Foreign Involvement.

Type of Initiative: Mediation of a peace agreement and a peacekeeping mission.

Main Implementing Organisation(s): The UN and the governments of Portugal, USA, and USSR.

Impact: Limited.

Summary: The fighting in Angola was significantly reduced for approximately five years thanks to the mediation efforts of the UN and the governments of Portugal and USA.

Description of Case 

After a lengthy armed struggle to throw off colonial rule, Angola descended into war just months after becoming independent from Portugal in 1974. Two armed groups, the Popular Movement for the Liberation of Angola (MPLA) and the National Union for the Total Independence of Angola (UNITA) fought each other for control of the country, with the former receiving extensive assistance from Cuba and the Soviet Union and the latter being supported by South Africa and the USA. This devastating conflict raged until 1988, when a ceasefire set the scene for the withdrawal of foreign troops the following year.[1] Representatives of the MPLA and UNITA then attended talks in Zaire in 1989, before entering into an 18-month period of negotiations supported by the UN and the governments of the USA and USSR in Portugal in 1990. These talks culminated with the 1991 Bicesse Peace Agreement, which established a fresh ceasefire, set the framework for the creation of an integrated national army, scheduled elections to take place within 16 months of the signing of the agreement, and called for an extremely limited peacekeeping mission (the United Nations Angola Verification Mission, UNAVEM) to monitor implementation.[2]

The election resulted in a victory for the MPLA. UNITA disputed the result, reformed their armed forces (which had disarmed much less than the MPLA’s), and launched a blistering offensive. By the beginning of 1993, UNITA held 75 per cent of the country. In May 1993, the US government withdrew its support for UNITA and recognised the embattled MPLA administration. Combined with losses on the battlefield, this forced UNITA leaders back to the negotiating table. On 20 November 1994, talks in Zambia supported by Portugal, the UN, and the USA culminated with the signing of the Lusaka Protocol.[3] This agreement established power-sharing mechanisms, again attempted to disarm or integrate combatants, and again included the deployment of a severely under-strength peacekeeping mission. The agreements signed in Bicesse and Lusaka succeeded in stopping the war for approximately five years but failed to create the framework for a lasting peace to develop in Angola.

 

[1] UCDP. Government of Angola – UNITA. (UCDP, 2021) Available at: https://ucdp.uu.se/statebased/714 (Accessed 26/10/2021)

[2] Peace Accords for Angola (Bicesse Accords), 1991. Available at: https://peacemaker.un.org/node/143 (Accessed 26/10/2021); Virginia Page Fortna. “A Lost Chance for Peace: The Bicesse Accords in Angola.” Georgetown Journal of International Affairs, Vol. 4, No. 1 (2003) p.74

[3] Lusaka Protocol, 1994. Available at: https://peacemaker.un.org/node/145 (Accessed 26/10/2021)

 

Categories
War Prevention Case Studies

Resolving The Militarised Territorial Disputes Between China And Russia/Soviet Union

Resolving The Militarised Territorial Disputes Between China And Russia/Soviet Union

Year(s): 1991 – 2008.

Location: China/Russia International Border.

UN Regional Group: Eastern Europe and Asia-Pacific.

Type of Conflict: Risk of an Interstate Conflict.

Type of Initiative: Stabilising borders and resolving a militarised territorial dispute.

Main Implementing Organisation(s): The governments of China and Russia.

Impact: Lasting.

Summary: The long-standing border dispute between China and Russia (which almost sparked a war in the 1960s) was resolved, dramatically reducing the chance of an interstate conflict

Description of Case 

China and the Soviet Union shared a 4,300km border, much of which had been negotiated in the nineteenth century by the Russian Empire and had never been properly demarcated. Although the two states shared relatively cordial relations after the establishment of the People’s Republic of China, geopolitical and ideological differences quickly soured this relationship. Beginning in the 1950s, this rivalry manifested itself in a series of increasingly deadly border clashes that culminated in March 1969 when, after Chinese troops ambushed a Soviet patrol on Zhenbao/Damansky Island in the Ussuri/Wusuli River. In response, the Soviets launched a major counterattack using heavy weapons which it claimed cost the lives of over 800 Chinese troops.[1] Further fighting took place when Soviet troops attempted to recover equipment lost in the assault.[2] In August 1969, Soviet troops ambushed a Chinese patrol in another part of the frontier, while artillery barrages continued for weeks at various points on the border, highlighting the potential for the conflict to spread.[3] With 34 Soviet and 59 Chinese divisions deployed along the border, agreements in place to allow Soviet forces to use Mongolian territory, and both states transporting nuclear weapons to the region, this Sino-Soviet border conflict represented one of the most dangerous moments of the Cold War.[4] Following the conflict, the border continued to be highly militarised and the potential of a similar incident sparking an unprecedented interstate conflict remained a constant danger.

Bilateral talks were held in September-October 1969 but ultimately failed to produce a resolution to the dispute. Indeed, military preparations continued apace after the negotiations and the border was closed entirely until 1982, when it was opened to low levels of trade. However, considerable military forces continued to be stationed on either side of the border and without a formal agreement in place, the risk of war remained a constant threat. In 1986, with the war in Afghanistan draining resources, Soviet leaders sought a resolution to the dispute with China and initial talks about the border began alongside incremental troop withdrawals from the frontier by both armed forces. Joint boundary commissions were put to work to demarcate the border, and on 16 May 1991 the Sino-Soviet Border Agreement was signed, settling the eastern section of the border.[5] The western portion was resolved in 1994, and the remaining points of contention were addressed in 2005 during negotiations in Vladivostok. In 2008, the entire border was formally agreed at a ceremony in Beijing.[6] These efforts have greatly reduced the risk of a potentially devastating interstate conflict.

[1] Benjamin Brimelow. “A bloody battle over a tiny island raised fears that China and the Soviets would start World War III.” Business Insider. (10 March 2021) Available at: https://www.businessinsider.com/fighting-over-dispute-border-island-risked-chinese-soviet-nuclear-war-2021-3?r=US&IR=T (Accessed 30/11/2021)

[2] Neville Maxwell. “How the Sino-Russian boundary conflict was finally settled: From Nerchinsk 1689 to Vladivostok 2005 via Zhenbao Island 1969.” Critical Asian Studies, Vol. 39, No. 2. (2007) p.248

[3] Ibid. p.249

[4] Thomas W. Robinson. The Sino-Soviet Border Dispute: Background, Development, and the March 1969 Clashes. (RAND, 1970) pp.35.8

[5] Agreement on the Eastern Section of the Boundary between the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics and the People’s Republic of China (1991 Sino-Soviet Border Agreement), 1991. Available at: https://www.peaceagreements.org/view/1740 (Accessed 30/11/2021)

[6] Reuters Staff. “China signs border demarcation pact with Russia.” Reuters. (31 July 2008) Available at: https://www.reuters.com/article/us-china-russia-border-idUKPEK29238620080721 (Accessed 30/11/2021)

 

 

 

Categories
War Prevention Case Studies

Resolving The Militarised Territorial Dispute Between Qatar And Saudi Arabia

Resolving The Militarised Territorial Dispute Between Qatar And Saudi Arabia

Year(s): 1992 – 2001.

Location: Qatar/Saudi Arabia International Border.

UN Regional Group: Asia-Pacific.

Type of Conflict: Risk of an Interstate Conflict.

Type of Initiative: Diplomacy and the resolution of a militarised territorial dispute.

Main Implementing Organisation(s): The Government of Egypt.

Impact: Lasting.

Summary: The territorial dispute between Qatar and Saudi was resolved, preventing an interstate conflict from erupting over the contested territory.

Description of Case 

Although the territory of Saudi Arabia was never colonised by European powers, all its neighbouring states were. As a result, the contemporary international borders are the result of colonial era treaties drawn up in the 1920s and revised in later decades. The Saudi border with Qatar (a British protectorate from 1916 until 1971) was partially demarcated in 1965, but 20km of territory remained disputed. The situation was further complicated by a series of highly contested treaties in the 1970s in which the United Arab Emirates had ceded territory to Saudi Arabia, including land bordering Qatar. In 1990, the Saudis asserted their authority over the territory for the first time by closing the historic road between Abu Dhabi and Qatar and building some guard posts in the area. On 31 September 1992, Qatari and Saudi troops clashed at Qatar’s al-Khofous Border Crossing, leaving three dead. The following day, the Government of Qatar suspended the 1965 agreement with Saudi Arabia, leaving the entire frontier between the two countries as contested – and already militarised – territory. Just hours after the Qatari declaration, Saudi troops launched an attack on the border post.[1] The Qatari troops stationed there had been ordered to hold fire, preventing further bloodshed, but the crisis threatened to escalate into a much larger conflict on 4 October when the Qatari government issued a protest memorandum describing the incident as an unjustified military attack.[2] In the context of ongoing rivalry between Qatar and Saudi Arabia on a host of issues at the time, the prospect of further armed clashes on the border sparking an interstate conflict was reasonably high.[3]

Qatar boycotted the Gulf Cooperation Council in response to the crisis and its threat of withdrawal prevented the organisation from being able to serve as effective mediator. Fortunately, the Government of Egypt made noteworthy progress in its efforts to contain the crisis. Following a series of talks, the Qatari and Saudi governments agreed to form a technical committee to delineate the border, with Egypt serving as the guarantor of the committee’s findings.[4] The dispute became militarised again in 1994, with five skirmishes taking place along the border just as the committee was supposed to begin its work.[5] This delayed, but did not halt progress, and after agreeing to the findings of the committee in 1999, a formal agreement was signed in Doha on 21 March 2001.[6] In 2008, the two countries restored diplomatic relations and the following year signed a border agreement at UN Headquarters in New York, providing a symbolic final resolution of the issue.[7]

[1] Associated Press. “2nd Saudi Border Clash Reported.” The Washington Post. (1/10/1992) Available at: https://www.washingtonpost.com/archive/politics/1992/10/02/2nd-saudi-border-clash-reported/c50bc249-a594-4466-bf39-e07cdff44a34/ (Accessed 17/11/2021)

[2] Associated Press. “Qatar Demand Saudis Leave a Disputed Post.” The New York Times. (4 October 1992) Available at: https://www.nytimes.com/1992/10/04/world/qatar-demand-saudis-leave-a-disputed-post.html (Accessed 17/11/2021)

[3] Gwenn Okruhlik & Patrick Conge. “The Politics of Border Disputes: On the Arabian Peninsula.” International Journal, Vol. 54, No. 2. (1999) p.236

[4] Ibid.

[5] Yoel Guzansky. “Lines Drawn in the Sand: Territorial Disputes and GCC Unity.” Middle East Journal, Vol. 70, No. 4. (2016) p.551

[6] Associated Press. “Saudi and Qatar End 35-Year Border Dispute, Sign Accord.” Al-Bawaba. (21 March 2001) Available at: https://www.albawaba.com/news/saudi-and-qatar-end-35-year-border-dispute-sign-accord (Accessed 17/11/2021)

[7] Guzansky. “Lines Drawn in the Sand.” p.550

 

Categories
War Prevention Case Studies

Resolving The Militarised Territorial Dispute Between Eritrea And Yemen

Resolving The Militarised Territorial Dispute Between Eritrea And Yemen

Year(s): 1995 – 1998.

Location: The Hanish Islands, Yemen.

UN Regional Group: Africa and Asia-Pacific.

Type of Conflict: Risk of Interstate Conflict.

Type of Initiative: Diplomacy and the resolution of a militarised territorial dispute.

Main Implementing Organisation(s): The Government of France, the UN, and the Permanent Court of Arbitration.

Impact: Lasting.

Summary: The immediate threat of armed conflict was ended and the territorial dispute over the Hanish Islands was resolved by the Permanent Court of Arbitration.

Description of Case 

The Hanish Islands are an archipelago in the Red Sea located between Eritrea and Yemen. During the colonial period, the Italian and British governments failed to definitively settle the boundaries between their respective colonies, and this situation did not improve when Ethiopia and North Yemen governed the land on either side of the Islands. The dispute remained largely dormant until Yemeni unification and Eritrean independence (1990 and 1991, respectively), when both administrations sought to settle their borders and raise revenue. In 1995, Yemen granted a tourism license to develop diving on the islands, sending 200 soldiers to guard the construction site on the largest island in the archipelago (Greater Hanish), while Eritrea signed a contract for oil exploration in the maritime area around the Islands and issued an ultimatum of 11 November for the Yemeni troops to withdraw. After ministerial talks took place in October and 25 detained Yemeni fishermen were released by Eritrean authorities, the dispute appeared to be nearing a diplomatic resolution.[1] However, when the Eritrean armed forces found the Yemeni positions on Greater Hanish still occupied on 15 December, they launched an offensive. The fighting continued for 3 days, when telephone negotiations between both presidents resulted in a ceasefire at midnight on 17 December. The battle was already over when the deadline hit, leaving a total of 18 dead and 213 captured Yemeni soldiers and civilians.[2] The prisoners were released three days later.

After the battle, the Arab League condemned Eritrea and urged its members to support Yemen’s claim to the Islands, sparking a brief war of words with the Organisation of African Unity. The discovery that some Israeli-made boats were used in the Eritrean offensive added another dimension to the dispute, leading to condemnations of the Eritrean government by a host of Arab states.[3] The belligerents received offers to mediate from the UN, Organisation of Islamic Conference, and several prominent regional powers, but, after diplomatic pressure from the UN Secretary-General, eventually accepted the offer of the French government in 1996. After months of talks, the parties agreed to refer the case to the Permanent Court of Arbitration (PCA) to judge the case and resolve it peacefully.[4] Tensions were heightened again in August 1996 after more military activity in the area, but on 3 October 1996 a formal peace agreement was signed in Paris. The arbiters came to their decision on 9 October 1998, awarding most of the islands to Yemen but guaranteeing Eritrean fishing rights in the area.[5] The armed conflict was over, the dispute was resolved, and the risk of a more severe interstate conflict was greatly reduced.

[1] Daniel Dzurek. “Eritrea-Yemen Dispute Over the Hanish Islands.” IBRU Boundary and Security Bulletin, Vol. 4, No. 1. (1996) p.72

[2] Jeffrey Lefebvre. “Red Sea Security and the Geopolitical-Economy of the Hanish Islands Dispute.” Middle East Journal, Vol. 52, No. 3. (1998) p.369

[3] Ibid. p.377-8

[4] Yemen-Eritrea Arbitration Agreement, 1996. Available in: Yearbook of Islamic and Middle Eastern Law, Vol. 3, No. 1. (1996)

[5] Permanent Court of Arbitration. Case 81: Eritrea/Yemen – Sovereignty and Maritime Delimitation in the Red Sea. (PCA, 2021) Available at: https://pca-cpa.org/en/cases/81/ (Accessed 19/11/2021)