Military intervention in Africa’s conflicts as a route to peace: Strengths and pitfalls

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African Journal of Political Science and International Relations

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Academic Journals


University of Cape Town

This study seeks to answer a basic question: what are the merits and flaws of military intervention as a tool of conflict management in Africa? It uses a qualitative research approach and draws on existing literature on conflicts and military intervention in Africa. The study argues that military intervention and peacekeeping operations (PKOs) have become the most common approaches to conflict management in Africa. While these approaches have been effective in mitigating, or at least managing, most of the continent’s conflicts, they are not without lapses. In addition to human and financial costs, dubious intentions of interventions, and damning recent revelations of misdemeanour of peacekeepers, an additional troubling lapse of interventions and PKOs is their inability to address the fundamental causes of conflicts. Consequently, intervention-induced peace in most post-conflicts states remains tenuous, leaving them susceptible to relapse into conflict with the exit of peacekeepers. The article suggests that addressing the root causes is a better and a more sustainable way of mitigating conflicts and promoting peace in Africa.