As the Libyan people see renewed prospects for peace, subnational governance may represent an integral part of a resolution to protracted instability.
Resolving subnational conflicts is ultimately about governance because their drivers are frequently linked to grievances and perceived injustice associated with access to power and resources, and to feelings of ethnic, social and / or geographic exclusion and marginalization.
Since the end of World War II, we have experienced a shift in conflict dynamics, from inter-state to intra-state conflicts. In 2016 alone, the world witnessed 47 intra-state conflicts. Today, wars are fought within state borders between a multiplicity of actors over the distribution of political power and national wealth both at and between the center and subnational governance levels. Marginalized groups are vying for greater autonomy at the local level, while those in control of the state—be they majorities or dominant minority groups—seek to consolidate political power at the center. Such intra-state conflicts with subnational dimensions are among the most protracted and violent conflicts.
Al-Qaeda’s alleged involvement in the Paris attacks not only highlights the continuing threat from al-Qaeda in general, which must not be underestimated; it also underscores the similarities and differences between al-Qaeda and Islamic State.
International crisis management in Syria requires a re-direction of strategic thinking towards internal containment.
Al-Qaeda may not have regained the global threat potential that it posed a decade or so ago â€“ at least, not yet. But its local and regional efforts have made it, in many cases, a powerful and entrenched source of instability. If left unchecked, such local and regional power can grow into something altogether more terrible.
Without a broader regional approach â€“ and a consensual one at that â€“ neither South Sudan nor the region as a whole are likely to see more stability in the future.
The widespread lack of peace and security is not the only problems that Africa faces, but they are at the heart of them: development and good governance cannot thrive in situations of violence and instability. As such, the very theme of the summitâ€“Peace and Security in Africaâ€“is very aptly chosen. It is a reflection of the challenges for Africa, as well as of the concerns and self-interests of its international partners.
Hopefully, the sheer scale of the Nairobi attack serves as a wake-up call that triggers a renewed effort by Somalians, their neighbours, and their international partners to come together and finally address a decades-old crisis that has slowly but undeniably spun out of control.