World View: U.N. Secretary-General in Central African Republic Begs for More Funding

Soldiers from MINUSCA (UN Mission in the Central African Republic) patrol in Bangui on December 10, 2015

This morning’s key headlines from

  • UN Secretary-General in Central African Republic begs for more funding
  • Bangassou becomes the most dangerous town in Central African Republic

UN Secretary-General in Central African Republic begs for more funding

Young Christian militiamen pose in southeastern Central African Republic on August 16. (AFP)
Young Christian militiamen pose in southeastern Central African Republic on August 16. (AFP)

The ethnic and religious civil war that began in Central African Republic (CAR) in 2013 was supposed to have ended long before now, but instead the violence has been increasing steadily and, at the same time, the amount of funding for peacekeeping efforts from donor nations is decreasing, leading to fears of an even larger bloodbath than we’ve seen so far.

At a press conference in CAR on Wednesday, United Nations Secretary-General António Guterres said:

We need the commitment of the international community not only to reduce this suffering, but because there is an opportunity to build a new Central African Republic in peace and security.

This international solidarity can allow the Central African Republic to engage in a process of development for the benefit of all its people.

I am optimistic [that] it is the moment for the international community to commit because it is worthwhile.

Well, if Guterres is really that optimistic, then he is delusional.

CAR is in the midst of a generational crisis war, and a generational crisis war can only end in one way. This is what politicians do not understand. Since 2013, they have sent in different waves of peacekeepers, they have had several elections for president, they have even had a visit from the Pope. Each of these events was supposed to bring an end to the war, but that hope was always delusional. A generational crisis war comes from the people, not from the politicians or the religious leaders. Central African Republic is a huge country, and the war is both religious and ethnic, pitting Christians against Muslims and land-owning farmer tribes against nomadic herder tribes.

Not surprisingly, there is often an alignment between the farmer-herder fault lines and the sectarian fault lines. In Central African Republic, the Muslims are mostly from nomadic herder tribes, while the Christians are mostly from land-owning farmer tribes. However, this division is not monolithic. As I described a couple of months ago, there are also Muslim farmer tribes and, in some cases, the Muslim and Christian farmer tribes are banding together to fight against the Muslim herder tribes.

The politicians and religious leaders are not going to end this war. The people of CAR will have to end it on their own. From the point of view of Generational Dynamics, the only way that a generational crisis war can end is with an explosive climax. The climax could be literally explosive, as in the case of the firebombing of Dresden and Tokyo and the nuking of Hiroshima at the end of World War II. But more likely it is a genocidal explosion that is so horrific that both sides decide that they have to stop fighting. An example is the Rwanda genocide of 1994, when Hutus killed almost a million Tutsis in three months.

It is impossible to predict what sort of explosive climax will end the CAR war, or when it will occur. But it is likely to involve millions of people and be a bloodbath of a kind that is usually remembered for decades or even centuries. And increased international funding of peacekeepers will do nothing to affect it. Newsweek and United Nations and Anadolu

Bangassou becomes the most dangerous town in Central African Republic

A United Nations situation report on Central African Republic (CAR) indicates that violence in CAR has been increasing steadily since October 2016, and has become increasingly widespread, affecting more and more regions of the country. It is possible that this is building to some kind of explosive genocidal climax.

According to Tuesday’s situation report:

Since October 2016, violent clashes and inter-communal tensions fueled by armed groups have continuously increased in the Central African Republic (CAR). In the absence of an effective judicial system and basic services by the public administration, armed groups have continued to perpetrate violent and destabilizing acts, of which the civilian population is the main victim. The targeting of minorities, including women and children, has resurfaced, with killings and attacks against communities multiplying.

Conflict and forced displacement is increasingly widespread and impacting previously unaffected parts of the country. Today, the CAR is one of the few countries in the world where almost one person out of two depends on aid to survive.

The number of people displaced has reached an ever-recorded high of 1.1 million people. As the crisis further expands towards the East and North West of the country, there are new massive displacements and there is a significant risk that the condition of people previously displaced that remain in camps will deteriorate. Nearly one family out of four has already been forced to flee. In July 2017, the number of IDPs exceeded 600,000, which represents an increase of almost 50 per cent since January.

Since 2013, we have described a number of bloody clashes between Muslims and Christians in different regions of CAR. Today, the most dangerous town in CAR is the southeastern town of Bangassou.

Bangassou is a Christian-controlled town of about 35,000. In May, Christian militias launched an assault on other armed groups, including pro-Muslim groups or militias from the Fula ethnic group. Seventy-six civilians and six peacekeeping troops were killed. Moroccan peacekeepers rescued about 2,000 people and brought them to the town’s Catholic church compound. Since then, unidentified gunmen have been shooting at the church on an almost daily basis. About a million people have been displaced from their homes. All the businesses and buildings have been deserted.

Because there have been increased attacks on UN peacekeepers, in Bangassou and elsewhere, at a ceremony on Tuesday, Secretary-General António Guterres paid tribute to the peacekeepers:

I want to say that we need to make sure that the world fully appreciates the heroic contributions of peacekeepers protecting civilians, sometimes in extremely difficult circumstances, like the ones we face in the Central African Republic.

It is a great sentiment, but as a practical matter, there have been few situations where peacekeeping forces have accomplished much. In CAR, peacekeeping forces have been able to keep the two sides apart in the capital city Bangui, but have not been effective elsewhere.

The violence in Bangassou is being repeated in towns and villages all across CAR. Sometimes it is Muslims slaughtering Christians, or vice-versa, or sometimes it is one ethnic group slaughtering another, irrespective of religion. The current peacekeeping force’s mandate expires on November 15. Guterres has urged the UN Security Council to add 900 troops to the 12,500 already there, to enable the force “to shape and influence security situations, rather than react to them.”

In a country of 4.7 million people, in thousands of villages at war with each other, it is hard to see what 900 additional troops is going to accomplish. UN ReliefWeb and Gulf Times and AFP and United Nations

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KEYS: Generational Dynamics, Central African Republic, CAR, António Guterres, Bangassou
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