Journal of International and Global Studies


The role of regional and sub-regional organizations cannot be overstated in conflict resolution, especially in their sphere of influence. The African Union and The Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) have played prominent roles in places like Burundi, Darfur, Chad, Somalia, and Liberia. The success achieved in these interventions would not likely have been forthcoming if the US, European Union and its member nations, along with the United Nations had not given their support to these regional and sub-regional organizations. In other words, the cooperative, collaborative, and supportive understanding between these extra-African bodies and the regional and sub-regional organizations has recorded more success than a unilateral intervention. To elaborate, the support given to ECOWAS in Liberia led to a successful resolution of that country’s war, and the AU-UN hybrid operations in Darfur is yielding some kind of modest success. Analysts have posited that at present, in the resolution of protracted conflict, there is no substitute for coherent, coordinated intervention by global power and regional and sub-regional organizations. In contrast, unilateral intervention, which, in addition to being wasteful and expensive, can be internationally controversial on the grounds of both legality and legitimacy, especially where the UN has not given its nod. This article submits that cooperation between the UN and regional and sub-regional African organizations should have been applied to the resolution of Mali’s conflict. Even though African regional institutions lack the required expertise, logistics, diplomatic, and financial muscle to singularly mount a successful intervention without support from extra-Africa, a swift response from and the immediate engagement of the Western world in the form of willing partnership with regional African organizations would dramatically improve the outcome of peacekeeping operations in Africa. It is the contention of this paper that France’s late intervention (after the troops of African led International Support Mission in Mali (AFISMA) were overrun) significantly weakened a proactive response to the conflict. The same resources used by France could have been more effectively and efficiently utilized if made available to the African Union. - Considering the fact that the African Union lacked the resources to effectively intervene in Mali, making such resources available to the Union would have bolstered its capacity to intervene in Mali. In this case, cooperation not for that mission alone but future missions could have been achieved.

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