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Regional Repercussions

Vol. 5 No. 1 | Summer 2018

Intersectionality of Conflict in Africa

The African Union’s Conflict Prevention and Early Warning Division (CPEWD) Mechanism

Ambassador Frederic Gateretse-Ngoga


        Over the years the African continent has made significant strides in ensuring its voice is heard on the global scene. Despite this progress, Africa is still not perceived as a credible business partner. Although Africa has experienced significant economic growth, it is still considered “jobless” growth. A “youth bulge” is also appearing across the continent, which can be both an asset and a ticking time bomb. Overall, Africa continues to witness diverse threats to its peace and security, ranging from communal, ethno-religious, and pastoralist conflicts to violent extremism, and most recently, the increasing impacts of climate change. Combined, these threats have claimed an enormous number of lives and properties, displaced millions, and destroyed sources of livelihoods all while stunting socio-economic progress. It is critical for the African Union (AU) and its member states to collectively address the root causes and to understand the multidimensionality of security in Africa to avoid further bloodshed.

Understanding what breeds instability is essential in preventing the outbreak of violence and conflict. Instability is often caused by four main factors: power contestation, lack of inclusivity, unequal distribution of resources, and impunity. If these root causes are not addressed in a timely manner, instability is inevitable. Over the years, several strategies have been employed at national, regional, and continental levels to address conflicts. We are perplexed by the dynamics of the existing threats, as well as the patterns of the emerging threats. Assessments reveal an increasing inter-relatedness of the existing and emerging threats and predict their escalation if they are not adequately addressed in a timely manner.

More often than not, the signs of potential violent conflicts exist, but the corresponding responses are relatively weak or late. This trend has compelled world leaders to advocate for prevention at the earliest stage given the enormous humanitarian, psychological, and socio-economic costs of violence. As such, the imperatives of matching early warning with early response to prevent and or mitigate violent conflicts cannot be overemphasized. However, these strategies should not be implemented separately or haphazardly, but in concerted and coordinated manners to ensure tangible impacts...

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Ambassador Frederic Gateretse-Ngoga

Ambassador Frederic Gateretse-Ngoga is a Burundian national and currently serves as head of the Conflict Prevention and Early Warning Division (CPEWD) at the African Union Commission. The Division includes the Continental Early Warning System, the Panel of the Wise, and the AU Border Program. Prior to this, he worked as a senior officer with the African Union Mission in Somalia (AMISOM). Ambassador Ngoga studied in France as well as the United States where he attended the University of Pennsylvania, Harvard University, and Suffolk University. He also received numerous professional trainings on peacekeeping and international security with Harvard’s John F. Kennedy School of Government, the African Center for the Research and Study on Terrorism in Algeria (ACSRT), and the British Army’s Defense Intelligence and Security Center (DISC) in Chicksands, United Kingdom. He was appointed Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of the Republic of Burundi on April 16, 2014.

Identity and...

Identity and Conflict, Permanent Deconfliction or

Eventual Reset?

A Conversation with U.S. Army Colonel Robert E. Hamilton

Interviewed by FSR Staff

Colonel Robert Hamilton spoke with The Fletcher Security Review in early November 2017 at Fletcher’s Religion, Law and Diplomacy Conference. The following conversation is an excerpt from their extensive interview.

Fletcher Security Review: First and foremost, sir, I want to thank you for taking the time today to talk with The Fletcher Security Review (FSR). It is a really unique opportunity for us to hear from someone like yourself who is not only a practitioner with decades of experience but also a highly accomplished scholar and researcher. Your perspective is extremely valuable and we have a lot to learn from your work. It is interesting to see Professor Elizabeth Prodromu mention today during the panel that in some circles people are calling for a Dayton Accord-like settlement in Syria. In many ways it is easy to see some of the parallels in terms of the complex identity terrain, a number of foreign powers who have intervened . . . I wonder what you, first, think about the parallel between Bosnia and Syria and then wonder what you see in terms of the identity terrain on the ground in Syria more generally?

Colonel Robert Hamilton: So I have actually drawn that parallel — a Dayton for Syria. Not because I think Dayton is perfect; I just spent five minutes telling you everything that is wrong with Dayton. But because I think - you are a former military officer, we have this saying in the military that perfect is the enemy of the good or the enemy of the good enough. What we need in Syria is a good enough outcome to where the interests of all the internal and external parties are represented at least to the point that no single party, either inside or outside of the country, feels like it is in their interest to escalate the conflict again...

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U.S. Army Colonel Robert E. Hamilton


U.S. Army Colonel Robert E. Hamilton is a Black Sea Fellow at the Foreign Policy Research Institute and is a professor in the Department of National Security and Strategy at the U.S. Army War College. He has served as a strategic war planner and country desk officer at U.S. Central Command, as the Chief of Regional Engage- ment for Combined Forces Command-Afghanistan, and as the Chief of the Office of Defense Cooperation at the U.S. Embassy in Georgia and as the Deputy Chief of the Security Assistance Office at the U.S. Embassy
in Pakistan. Colonel Hamilton was a U.S. Army War College fellow at the Center for Strategic and International Studies in Washington, DC, where he authored several articles on the war between Russia and Georgia and the security situation in the former Soviet Union. Colonel Hamilton holds a PhD in International Relations from the University of Virginia.

Where Are We...

Where Are We Now? Important U.S.-Russia

Geo-Strategic Flashpoints

A Conversation with Dr. Evelyn N. Farkas

Interviewed by Ryan Rogers

In January 2018, Dr. Farkas discussed a range of issues concerning Russia and the post-Soviet space with the Fletcher Security Review. The conversation took place in the run-up to the March 2018 presidential elections in Moscow and before President Putin’s highly publicized Presidential Address to the Federal Assembly, in which he unveiled a number of new nuclear weapon systems currently under development by the Russian Federation.

Fletcher Security Review: I thought maybe we could start with Ukraine and an issue you have personal experience with from your time in the Pentagon as the Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for Russia, Ukraine, and Eurasia — the decision to provide lethal aid to Ukraine. I know you recently took part in an extremely important and insightful panel at the Atlantic Council on the future of Ukraine and the situation in the Donbass, more specifically, where Ambassador Kurt Volker kicked things off by saying that 2017 had been the most violent year of the conflict. Since that panel, the Trump Administration has reportedly approved the sale of $41 million of high powered sniper rifles and an export license for Javelin anti-tank missiles. It seems that there is some confusion amongst the expert community as to what this actually means in reality. Does this announcement directly translate into Ukrainian military units employing U.S.-made weapons on the battlefield in the near future and is this ultimately a wise policy to pursue on the way to achieving a settlement to the conflict?

Evelyn Farkas: Well first of all there has already been U.S.-made military equipment, if not weapons, being used on the battlefield. In terms of what it means, I think it provides a stronger deterrent for Ukraine against the Russians. That works as follows: if the Russians know that the Ukrainians have sniper capability, and more importantly the anti-tank capability through the Javelins, then they will think twice about using their tanks or using their forces to launch a new attack or offensive against Ukrainian territory. The Russians have demonstrated that they are sensitive to casualties. They are sensitive to their public becoming aware of their casualties and if the casualties reach a sufficiently large number, there is no way to hide them from the public. As it is, journalists have been beaten up and forced to remain silent with regard to the casualties that have already resulted because of Russia’s ongoing military campaign in Ukraine...

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Dr. Evelyn N. Farkas

Dr. Evelyn N. Farkas is a nonresident senior fellow at the Atlantic Council, and a national security analyst for NBC/MSNBC. She served from 2012 to 2015 as deputy assistant secretary of defense for Russia/Ukraine/ Eurasia, responsible for policy toward Russia, the Black Sea, Balkans, and Caucasus regions and conventional arms control. From 2010 to 2012 she served as senior adviser to the supreme allied commander Europe and special adviser to the secretary of defense for the NATO Summit. Prior to that, she was a senior fellow at the American Security Project, and executive director of the Commission on the Prevention of Weapons of Mass Destruction Proliferation and Terrorism. From April 2001 to April 2008, she served as a professional staff member of the Senate Armed Services Committee on Asia Pacific, Western Hemisphere, Special Operations Command, peace and stability operations, combatting terrorism, counternarcotics, homeland defense, and export control policy. Dr. Farkas obtained her MA and PhD from The Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy and is a member of the Council on Foreign Relations. She is a member of the board of trustees of Franklin & Marshall College and Aspen Institute Socrates Seminar, and Harold Rosenthal Fellowship advisory boards. She has received several Department of Defense and foreign awards and an honorary doctorate from Franklin & Marshall College.

Decoding U.S.-...

Decoding U.S.-India Relations

A Conversation with Ambassador Tim Roemer

Interviewed by Divya Prabhakar

Fletcher Security Review: What were the dynamics of the U.S.-India relationship in 2009 when you were appointed as the U.S. Ambassador to India under the newly elected Obama administration? Did the administration inherit a healthy relationship from the previous administration or were things lukewarm?

Ambassador Roemer: In 2009, the Obama administration inherited a strong and robust U.S.-India relationship from the Bush administration. In fact, the strategic depth of the relationship increased even under the Clinton administration. The economic engagement too was slowly improving and there was a rich potential for exploring further possibilities for engagement. However, we still needed something more tangible to build on, primarily on security. We had recently passed a nuclear initiative which unleashed immense potential for taking commercial and defence relations to the next level, but large parts of this initiative were never implemented. Taking charge in 2009, I had spoken to president Obama about the shift or rebalance to Asia, the primary element of his foreign policy doctrine as well as the fact that India was going to be a linchpin in this pivot.


We were looking for opportunities on defence, energy, intelligence, and counterterrorism to broaden and deepen the strategic aspects of this relationship. We found it. In fact, the recent Mumbai attacks, despite being a black swan and a tragedy for India, did not prevent it from opening up to the United States. India was forthcoming and willing to learn how it could prevent such an attack from happening again. Through improving its intelligence gathering, counterterrorism forces, and law enforcement, locally, in cities like Mumbai. We built upon this need while also responding to India’s desire to increase contacts through two very important initiatives. One was a new counterterrorism agreement and the second related to defence and technology exchanges. Those two areas served to build bridges, creating tangible and concrete avenues for India and the United States to work together...

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Ambassador Tim Roemer


Ambassador Tim Roemer has broad experience spanning international trade, national security, and education policy. Roemer served as U.S. Ambassador to India from 2009-11. He served in the U.S. House of Representatives from 1991 – 2003 as a Democrat from Indiana’s 3rd congressional district. He is currently strategic counselor at APCO Worldwide, a global public affairs and strategic communications consultancy.

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