Title: African studies quarterly
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Title: African studies quarterly
Series Title: Gale Group
Uniform Title: African studies quarterly (Online)
Physical Description: Serial
Language: English
Creator: University of Florida -- Center for African Studies
Publisher: University of Florida, Center for African Studies,
University of Florida, Center for African Studies
Place of Publication: Gainesville, Fla
Publication Date: Spring 2008
Copyright Date: 2010
Frequency: quarterly
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Subject: Electronic journals
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African studies -- Periodicals
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Abstract: Presents "African Studies Quarterly," an electronic journal published quarterly by the Center for African Studies at the University of Florida in Gainesville. Posts contact information for the editorial office via street address, telephone number, and e-mail. Lists advisory board and staff members. Offers access to the current issue, as well as to previous issues. Contains articles and related book reviews. Provides information on submissions and links to "African Anthropology."
Restriction: Licensed for access by authorized UF users (current UF students, faculty and staff -- and others within a UF Library.) Some e-journal service providers may offer only selected articles.
System Details: Mode of access: World Wide Web.
Dates or Sequential Designation: Vol. 1, issue 1 (May 1997)-
General Note: Title from title screen (viewed Aug. 6, 1999).
General Note: An online journal of African studies.
General Note: Latest issue consulted: Vol. 7, issue 4 (spring 2004) (viewed at publisher's Web site, Aug. 19, 2004).
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Volume ID: VID00031
Source Institution: University of Florida
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issn - 2152-2448
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African Studies Quarterly



Volume 10, Issue 1
Spring 2008









Published by the Center for African Studies, University of Florida


ISSN: 2152-2448









African Studies Quarterly

Executive Staff
Hunt R. Davis, Jr. Editor-in-Chief
Todd H. Leedy Associate Editor
Shylock Muyengwa Managing Editor
Corinna Greene Production Editor















































African Studies Quarterly I Volume 10, Issue 11 Spring 2008
http://www.africa.ufl.edu/asq









































University of Florida Board of Trustees, a public corporation of the State of Florida; permission is hereby granted for
individuals to download articles for their own personal use. Published by the Center for African Studies, University of Florida.








































African Studies Quarterly I Volume 10, Issue 11 I Spring 2008
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Table of Contents


A Question of Intervention: American Policymaking in Sierra Leone and the Power of
Institutional Agenda Setting
Christopher Cook

Comparative Perspectives on the Rehabilitation of Ex-Slaves and Former Child Soldiers with
Special Reference to Sudan
Randall Fegley

Official Representations of the Nation: Comparing the Postage Stamps of Sudan and Burkina
Faso
Michael Kevane

AT ISSUE

An Interest in Intervention: A Moral Argument for Darfur
Christy Mawdsley




Book Reviews

Telling the Truths: Truth Telling and Peace Building in Post-Conflict Societies. Tristan Anne
Borer, ed. Notre Dame, IN: University of Notre Dame Press, 2006. 328 pp.
Mark Davidheiser

Darfur: The Ambiguous Genocide. Gerard Prunier. Ithaca, New York: Cornell University
Press, 2007. 236 pp.
Wendy De Bondt

Theatres of Struggle and the End of Apartheid. Belinda Bozzoli. Athens, OH: Ohio
University Press, 2004. 208 pp.
Kenly Greer Fenio

Reconstructing the Nation in Africa: The Politics of Nationalism in Ghana. Michael Amoah.
London: Tauris Academic Studies, 2007. 248 pp.
Heidi G. Frontani and Kristine Silvestri

Gallery Bundu: A Story about an African Past. Paul Stoller. Chicago: University of Chicago
Press, 2005. 176 pp.
Abdourahmane Idrissa

Philosophical Perspectives on Communalism and Morality in African Traditions. Polycarp
Ikuenobe. Lanham, MD: Lexington Books, 2006. 329 pp.
F. Ochieng'-Odhiambo


African Studies Quarterly I Volume 10, Issue 11 Spring 2008
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History Making and Present Day Politics: The Meaning of Collective Memory in South
Africa. Hans Erik Stolten, ed. Uppsala: Nordiska Afrikainstitutet. 2007. 376 pp.
Robert Shanafelt

Fighting the Slave Trade: West African Strategies. Sylviane A. Diouf, ed. Athens, OH: Ohio
University Press, 2003. 242 pp.
Michele L. Simms-Burton

West African Literatures: Ways of Reading. Stephanie Newell. Oxford: Oxford University
Press, 2006. 288 pp.
Alioune Sow















































African Studies Quarterly I Volume 10, Issue 11 Spring 2008
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African Studies Quarterly I Volume 10, Issue 1 I Spring 2008


A Question of Intervention: American Policymaking in Sierra

Leone and the Power of Institutional Agenda Setting

CHRISTOPHER R. COOK

Abstract: This article is an examination of American foreign policy towards Sierra Leone
in 1999 and 2000. Hopefully it will contribute to the literature of Sierra Leone while
shedding theoretical light on types of humanitarian intervention. It seeks to answer two
questions about American policy: First, why did the Clinton White House become
involved in this particular West African civil war? Secondly, what factors led the U.S. to
give financial and logistical help but not military aid? These types of limited
interventions have usually been ignored by American foreign policy scholars. To
understand Sierra Leonean decision making, it examines four key policy decisions using
primary interviews with Clinton officials and looking at internal documents from the
White House, Defense and State Departments. I contend that a theory of international
institutional agenda setting can best describe American policy. This argument explores
how constructivist norms (i.e. human rights and sovereignty) are transmitted, magnified
or mitigated by international institutions. By bringing neo-liberal institutional literature
back into constructivism we can show how 'institutional identity' influences and shapes
state policy preferences-- not only in decisions to intervene but in shaping the size and
scope of UN peacekeeping mandates.

Introduction

The Revolutionary United Front (RUF) waged a decade long gruesome and terrifying
campaign to unseat the Sierra Leonean government. Tens of thousands of people died, millions
were displaced and the economy destroyed. Under international pressure the warring parties
signed a peace agreement in Lome, Togo in July of 1999 which quickly collapsed. The RUF were
finally defeated with a strengthened UN peacekeeping mission, West African military help, and
key American and British aid. This article is an examination of the American decision-making in
this conflict.
By using Sierra Leone as a case study we can hopefully expand two areas of the foreign
policy literature concerning failed states and intervention: most treatments of Sierra Leone
concentrate on the government in Freetown or the institution of the UN, not the decision
making process in Washington. Secondly, and more substantively, I wish to examine the
decision making process in what I define as limited interventions. To accomplish these goals we
need to answer two questions about U.S. policy in Sierra Leone: first, why did the United States



Christopher R. Cook is an assistant professor of political science in Pennsylvania State University at Erie (The
Behrend College), whose research focuses on American foreign policy and humanitarian intervention. His current
interests involve American support for the intervention of other nations and international organizations to stop gross
human rights abuses and dealing with complex human emergencies.
http://www.africa.ufl.edu/asq/vl0/v10ilal.pdf
University of Florida Board of Trustees, a public corporation of the State of Florida; permission is hereby granted for individuals
to download articles for their own personal use. Published by the Center for African Studies, University of Florida.
ISSN: 2152-2448






2 I Cook


become involved in the United Nations Mission in Sierra Leone (UNAMSIL)? The Clinton
Administration could have easily ignored the crisis. It was a low intensity civil war in a region
with little strategic interest. Secondly, I try to answer why the U.S. chose to provide logistical
and financial aid but not military help.
To answer these questions I will carefully look at American policy in Sierra Leone for 1999
and 2000 using internal memos from the National Security Council (NSC), Defense and State
Departments, combined with elite interviews of key Clinton decision makers. This article will
then break down Sierra Leone policymaking into four key decisions: first, the early 1999
decision to help end the conflict; second, the American dedication to the Lome Accords that
culminated in July of 1999; third U.S. support for UNAMSIL; and finally the U.S. decision to
save UNAMSIL as it seemed it was going to collapse in early 2000. We will then test these four
observations against a structured focused comparison of two hypotheses of foreign policy
making: neoclassical realism and what this article will develop as a hypothesis of institutional
agenda setting based on constructivism and neo-liberal institutionalism. Since realism (in its
many forms) is still considered the dominant paradigm of foreign policy scholarship it is
essential we also discuss how it views intervention in Sierra Leone. These hypotheses will
hopefully shed some theoretical light on how the Administration framed the questions of
intervention and what guided their actions.
I contend that institutional commitments and UN legitimacy play a crucial role in
American policy formulation for Sierra Leone. Nancy Soderberg, a member of President
Clinton's NSC staff summarizes the power of international commitments, "Sierra Leone does
not become an issue on its own throughout all this. The UN cannot technically place items on the
NSC agenda -- but the UN is part of the NSC agenda."' Institutional agenda setting provides a
robust look at how the Sierra Leonean crisis was framed by these international commitments
and how they shaped the policy path that was eventually chosen.

Sierra Leone and the Concept Of Limited Intervention

What makes Sierra Leone a compelling case is the nature of American involvement. UN
missions in Sierra Leone, the Democratic Republic of the Congo and East Timor fall into a
category of limited U.S. intervention. What is often missing in the literature of intervention and
peacekeeping is a qualitative look at how decision makers understand peacekeeping as a
question of degrees. There are levels of intervention. A limited intervention provides the
financial and logistical support to other organizations and nations in humanitarian crises but
does not reach the level of military intervention, or as policymakers say "boots on the ground."
In fact, a large component of U.S. participation in UN peacekeeping is not providing military
but critical logistical aid.
Yet the literature has been silent on this subject. Interventions are often seen as a simple
dichotomy: you either intervene or not. There are also plenty of large 'n' quantitative works on
"third party" and UN interventions. However, these studies have the UN as the focus of
analysis and not Washington. A good example of this can be found in Mark J. Mullenbach's
recent, "Deciding to Keep Peace: An Analysis of International Influences on the Establishment
of Third-Party Peacekeeping Missions."2 There has been an explosion of qualitative research in


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A Question of Intervention I 3


places where the U.S. has actively intervened. For example, Ivo Daalder and Michael O'Hanlon
of the Brookings Institute provide a descriptive policy analysis of the Bosnia and Kosovo
conflicts. [3 In the same vein, Ken Menkhaus and Louis Ortmayer provide an exhaustive account
of Somalia. [4] American failure to intervene has also been widely explored from a normative
perspective; for example: Samantha Powers, A Problem from Hell, and Philip Gourevitch's
work on Rwanda.5
Sierra Leone has not garnered the same kind of academic scrutiny as some of these other
humanitarian tragedies in the post cold war world. But these kinds of missions deserve special
attention because they are qualitatively different than what happened in Somalia and Rwanda.
By providing a rich deep look at Sierra Leone I hope to shed light on the concept of limited
intervention while adding to the historical record of American policymaking in West Africa.

Theoretical Discussion of Complex Human Emergencies

In order to better understand why the U.S. intervened in Sierra Leone and how it chose the type
of intervention we need to ground our discussion in the larger theoretical debate of
intervention, peacekeeping, and foreign policy. Can theory help us explain American behavior?

Neoclassical Realism

Realism is the baseline in which to judge American policy. In the eyes of Washington's
non-academic elites it is nothing more than creating policy that advances (or protects) American
strategic interest. The real debate is how broadly we define interest. Peacekeeping sometimes
advances these interests and sometimes not. However, one thing is certain for realists: the U.S.
should only become involved in peacekeeping when American interests are threatened. The
academic side of the realist debate is a bit more complicated but arrives at the same conclusion.
The power of realism is its parsimonious understanding of international relations. The
world is understood as an anarchical system of nation states. The only difference between states
is power. International relations occur in relation to the distribution of power. Realism has been
silent about what to do in humanitarian crises and complex humanitarian emergencies for two
reasons: first, because structural realism implicitly deals with a bigger picture and not specific
cases. Secondly, that humanitarian tragedy is a priori outside of the national interest for most
states. Kenneth Waltz for example seems to dismiss foreign policy outright in his work on
structural neo-realism. Waltz cannot tell us how effectively (or even how) the units of a system
(states) will respond to these pressures and possibilities of changes in the balance of power.6
Unless genocide or gross human rights abuses dramatically changes the balance of power then
realism does not have much to say about peacekeeping. We find this same lack of
understanding for the role of peacekeeping in the offensive and defensive variants of realism
debated in the 1990s.7
Though this paper focuses on understanding American foreign policy, it is important to
note that realism has traditionally been silent about the politics of Africa and the third world in
general. As John F. Clark states: "Neo-realism provided a form of analysis that seemed well
suited to the Great Power relations of the Cold War era, but it reveals little about international


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4 I Cook


politics on the periphery in the post-Cold War era."8 Clark goes on to state: "The concept of
[western inspired] national interest fails patently in Africa."9 Clark, along with other African
scholars, Sakah Mahmud, and Assis Malaquias, point out that various African nations are often
peripherally connected to global power politics.10 Overall, peacekeeping in the developing
world has remained outside the scholarly gaze of structural realism.
A more fruitful alternative for understanding American foreign policy is the school of
neoclassical realism." Neoclassical realists grapple with the foreign policy decisions that many
structural realists ignore. The key to neoclassical realism is how policymakers perceive relative
power. Gideon Rose explains: "Foreign policy choices are made by actual political leaders and
elites, and so it is their perceptions of relative power that matter."12 This emphasis on perception
as an intervening variable opens up the black box of domestic politics and lets the state back
into the analysis.
So how does a realist explain humanitarian intervention and peacekeeping? A neo-classical
realist would contend that the core of every peacekeeping operation is a sober analysis of
national interest. Policymakers must perceive that something will be gained from participating
in these kinds of international ventures. A successful mission might maintain or change the
distribution of power but always to the benefit of the intervening nation. What kind of
hypothesis could we derive from neoclassical theory (hereinafter realism) when it comes to
Sierra Leone?
Hypothesis 1, Realism: The U.S. will intervene in Sierra Leone if policymakers perceive
American strategic and economic interests are at stake. These interests may include regional
stability. Conversely, the U.S. will not intervene if these specific criteria are not met
If this hypothesis is true we will find the Clinton Administration making choices to
intervene or not based on explicit arguments of Sierra Leone's importance to the stability to
western Africa. These findings will be strengthened if we find evidence that top-decision
makers made consistent and repeated references, in their comments to the media, minutes from
official meetings, memoirs, government papers, reports, and personal interviews, to what were,
if any, the geo-strategic and financial stakes Sierra Leone had to the United States.

Institutional Agenda Setting Hypothesis

The institutional agenda setting hypothesis explores how constructivist arguments of
norms are transmitted, magnified or mitigated by international institutions. By bringing back
institutions into the constructivist argument we can show how 'institutional identity' influences
and shapes state preferences. States choose to cooperate in peacekeeping missions in areas of
little strategic importance. However, there is a second part to the theory: since these institutions
are meeting grounds they must mediate between international norms of human rights with
member preferences of national interest. Organizations send mixed signals to policy-makers
about its preferences. The end result is fluctuations over policies chosen or limited
interventions.
Constructivism provides an interesting avenue of research in the development of state
norms and identity in complex human emergencies. Martha Finnemore's The Purpose of
Intervention best exemplifies this new research agenda.13 Finnemore sets out to explain why


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A Question of Intervention I 5


states conduct military interventions; and how the rationalizations for such actions have
changed over time. Intervention in the 19th century was strictly limited, and often tied to
collecting international debts. By the 20th century, intervention to stop gross human rights
abuses were not only discussed, but expected from the international community. In her earlier
works, Finnemore (joined by Kathryn Sikkink) explore why states would accept these norms.
They posit that states have a sense of appropriate behavior (and later Finnemore discusses the
concept of felt obligations). In a process similar to peer pressure, policymakers accept these
norms, "not out of conscious choice, but because they understand these behaviors to be
appropriate."14 State identity changes when enough critical states endorse the new norm.
Finnemore ends The Purpose of Intervention with a jumping off point for future research:
"We lack good understandings of how law and institutions at the international level create
these senses of felt obligation [towards the norms of humanitarian intervention for example] in
individuals, much less states, that induce compliance..."15 What we can tease out of
Finnemore's work is that membership and participation in these institutions are the
transmission belt for felt obligations. Finnemore's constructivism leads us to institutional
liberalism.
International regimes are systems of norms and rules agreed upon by states to govern.16
The primary goal of institutionalism was to demonstrate that even in anarchy structured
cooperation was still possible.17 Robert Keohane and Joseph Nye, two of the most prominent
architects of institutionalism contend: "in the long run, one may even see changes in how
governments define their own self-interest in directions that conform to the rules of the
regime."18 Keohane and Nye seem to suggest a constructivist argument. Over time institutions
can change the behavior (and identity) of member states. The wall of fixed identity (so
important to neo-liberalism) is now broken.
Jennifer Sterling-Folker concisely sums up the theoretical connections between liberal
institutionalism and constructivism and how they are "birds of a feather,"
Actor expectations in a given issue-area [peacekeeping] converge around principles,
norms, rules, and decision making procedures which have relevance because they are the social
practices in which elites are already engaged when the regime analysis begins. This neo-liberal
institutionalism already recognizes what [Alexander] Wendt labels the fundamental principles
of constructivist social theory... that people act towards objects, including other actors, on the
basis of the meanings that the objects have for them.19
This connection between liberal institutionalism and constructivism is where I want to
develop my hypothesis of institutional agenda setting in limited interventions.

Institutional Agenda Setting: Transmission

The UN plays an important role in transmitting ideas of peacekeeping to elite policymakers
of member states. Ending gross human rights abuses is enshrined in the UN Charter (found in
Chapters VI and VII). Over time, nations make UN peacekeeping part of their agendas even if it
is not always consistent with a strict understanding of national interest.20 States learn to see
multilateral action as the best way to end gross human rights abuses even in the face of
institutional weakness in the UN Department of Peacekeeping. Keohane argues in After


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6 I Cook


Hegemony that states are loath to scrap these international regimes because they embody sunk
costs. They "persist even when all members would prefer somewhat different mixtures of
principals, rules, and institutions."21 Institutions have staying power and once established
become difficult to remove and hard to change.

Institutional Agenda Setting: The Importance of Feedback Loops

When it comes to complex human emergencies policymakers take their cues from
international organizations. But agenda setting is a two way street. Institutions may be difficult
to remove or change but they are open to influence from states. Stephen Krasner contends
iterated cooperation within an institutional framework leads to a reinforcing feedback loop. The
more states cooperate the more this reinforces the institutions of cooperation. However, that
loop is more complex than just reaffirming legitimacy. 22 If institutions push on states it is
reasonable to assume that states push back. That is why constructivists are partially correct. UN
identity is not fixed but a dynamic interaction with its members. States bring to the UN
different interests, and capabilities. There are competing norms in the international sphere.
Finnemore is correct to say that modern norms of intervention seem to trump sovereignty in
military interventions. But it would be incorrect to assume that sovereignty, defined here as
protecting national interest has no power in these organizations. The ideas of sovereignty and
non-intervention are just as entrenched at the international level as stopping gross human rights
abuses.
Nicholas Wheeler examines how the ideas of sovereignty cut both ways in the Vietnamese
invasion of Cambodia in 1978. The Vietnamese initially argued it was defending itself from an
invasion by Kampuchea (a sovereignty argument). Many states, including China, saw it as
aggression. What was initially left unsaid by the international society was the benefit of
removing the Khmer Rouge. Wheeler challenges us to think of competing norms: "How should
we morally judge a society of states that condemns the practice of humanitarian intervention on
the twin grounds that such a right will be abused and set a dangerous precedent?"23 The norms
of sovereignty are still strong. The U.S. chose to avoid the UN all together in Kosovo, opting for
military action through NATO because of what preemptive war means to sovereignty and the
expected Chinese and Russian opposition on the Security Council.
Institutions mediate the effects of the competing strategic and material interests of member
nations with the norms of human rights. But states are active participants in the feedback
process. In the example of peacekeeping: member state feedback to a proposed mission may be
negative, thus tending to reduce the possibility of intervention; or positive, thus increasing the
likelihood of multilateral engagement. But one thing is clear the size, scope and breadth of
peacekeeping missions are partially reflection of the international consensus. This institutional
agenda setting hypothesis not only allows us to understand why states choose to intervene but
can try to predict the kind of intervention that will occur. Here is our hypothesis for Sierra
Leone:
Hypothesis 2: Institutional Agenda Setting: The U.S. will intervene in Sierra Leone if key
U.S. policymakers feel that Sierra Leone is important to the agenda of international institutions


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A Question of Intervention I 7


like the United Nations and other regional organizations. The institutional agenda (and its
intensity) will dictate the size and scope of the American role.
If hypothesis 2 is correct we will find the Clinton White House acknowledging the
importance, taking into account, and making choices of intervention based on their assessments
and perceptions of 'pressures' from international organizations such as the United Nations. This
hypothesis also postulates that the debate on intervention would be framed within the context
of the UN. The findings will be strengthened if we see evidence that top decision-makers were
explicitly concerned about international organizations from their comments to the media,
minutes from official meetings, memoirs, government papers, reports, and personal interviews.

BACKGROUND TO THE SIERRA LEONE CRISIS

In 1991, President Joseph Momoh planned to hold free elections after many years of one
party rule. However, the country broke out into civil war before that election could happen. A
group calling themselves the Revolutionary United Front (RUF) crossed into Sierra Leone from
Liberia that March with the goal of ending Momoh's grip on power. Where did the RUF come
from? During the 1980s, Libya had trained individual revolutionaries. This group of men
included Charles Taylor of Liberia and Foday Sankoh, a former Sierra Leonean Army officer.
The roots of the RUF may have started in Libya but they grew into maturity during the Liberian
civil war. In 1989, Charles Taylor, helped by Sankoh, launched a rebel insurgency against
Samuel Doe's Liberian government. Taylor returned the favor by helping bring war to Sierra
Leone.
It is hard to describe what the RUF really stood for. They played themselves off as a
political movement for a better Sierra Leone, but in reality the RUF were no more than common
thugs who killed, raped, looted and wanted the precious diamond mines. They conducted
military operations like: "Operation Pay Yourself" or "Operation No Living Thing." 24
According to Ibrahim Abdullah and Patrick Muana:
The RUF has defied all available typologies on guerilla movements. It neither a separatist
uprising rooted in a specific demand, as in the case of Eritrea, or a reformist movement with a
radical agenda superior to the regime it sought to overthrow. Nor does it possess the kind of
leadership that would be necessary to designate it as warlord insurgency. The RUF has made
history; it is a peculiar guerilla movement without any significant national following or ethnic
support.25
Ryan Lizza of New Republic reported: "Typically RUF troops would enter a village and
round up the children: Girls as young as ten would be raped. Boys would be forced to execute
village elders and sometimes even their own parents. Once the past was cut off from the
children they are hooked on speed."26 Sankoh often tried to target certain ethnic groups to rip
apart the fabric of the nation and cause mayhem. By 1992, the RUF had captured most of the
eastern part of the country and created a refugee crisis. People fled into the capital of Freetown
and into other neighboring countries.
President Momoh quickly doubled the size of the army with whoever wanted to sign up.
But the Sierra Leonean government did not have the money or resources to conduct a long term
civil war. The army was underpaid, overworked and ultimately demoralized. They eventually


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8 I Cook


overthrew Momoh under Captain Valentine Strasser, chair of the National Provisional Ruling
Council (NPRC). But the Strasser regime now faced international pressure, as well as the civil
war. The UN, the Organization of African Unity and The Economic Community of West African
States (ECOWAS) worked to negotiate a political settlement to return the country to civilian
rule. In January of 1996, the settlement came when Strasser was himself deposed in a coup. The
new government promised and delivered free elections within two months.
Ahmad Kabbah was elected President. But he soon realized his government was too weak
to avoid further bloodshed so he entered into negotiations with the RUF that culminated in the
Abidjan Accords in November, 1996. The Accords called for a cease-fire, disarmament,
demobilization, and a National Commission for the Consolidation of Peace to be established.
The cease fire did not last and fighting broke out by the end of the year leading to a coup of
Kabbah by pro-RUF elements in the military in 1997. Coup leader Johnny Paul Koroma invited
the RUF to join the government.
International pressure and sanctions worked effectively to force the coup leaders to the
negotiating table but ultimately the situation was solved militarily when ECOMOG forces (the
monitoring group of ECOWAS) combined with local anti-junta Sierra Leonean militias
launched an offensive in February of 1998.27 The following month Kabbah was reinstated. Over
the next several months ECOMOG forces were able to establish control over roughly two-thirds
of the country. Alongside ECOMOG, the United Nations Observer Mission in Sierra Leone
(UNOMSIL) was established in July 1998 to monitor the military and security situation.
However, these organizations were not able to maintain the momentum. Another brutal RUF
offensive toppled Kabbah in early 1999 and seized Freetown.

Key Decision One: Getting Involved in Sierra Leone

The first decision I want to examine is Clinton's policy during the early chaotic months of
1999. Our hypotheses need to answer the fundamental question: Why get involved in Sierra
Leone? It is important to note that the U.S. at this juncture could have chosen to ignore the
conflict. Our realist hypothesis (hypothesis one) would suggest that if the U.S. had strategic
interests in the region it would intervene to protect them. Conversely, the lack of interest would
signal American non-involvement. Institutional agenda setting (hypothesis two) presents a
different scenario: American policymakers understood that the UN is the dominant institution
in setting the American agenda for gross human rights abuses absent broader national interests.
While realism does have something to say about American interests and West African regional
stability, the institutional agenda setting hypothesis presents us with a more robust picture of
the actual policy path chosen.
The Clinton Administration had been closely monitoring the Sierra Leonean civil war. They
applauded the election of Ahmad Kabbah in 1996, and supported the Nigerians and the other
West African states of ECOWAS in reinforcing the civilian government. However, it was during
the 1998-99 RUF offensives that the NSC started to seriously consider policy options. A
Presidential Decision Directive-25 analysis (PDD-25 is an internal review to vet peacekeeping
missions) was prepared and shared with the Senate Foreign Relations Committee.


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A Question of Intervention I 9


Administration officials did not think that Sierra Leone met the criteria for American action. The
question of military intervention was moot. 28
Throughout the winter and spring of 1999, the Clinton White house was swamped with
other international and domestic problems: the Kosovo crisis, UN missions were being planned
in the Congo and East Timor, and the White House was dealing with the impeachment trial.
According to internal memos, the NSC and the State Department were content to create an
expanded UNOMSIL and a strengthened Nigerian-led ECOMOG as the best way to deal with
the situation.29 The White House was not blind to the challenges UNOMSIL would face--
including the failure of the RUF to turn over the diamond mines, corruption, continued
fighting, lack of revenues, and the weakness of ECOMOG capabilities when compared to the
RUF.
The ideal solution for American policymakers was a UN Mission that would eventually
work in conjunction with a comprehensive peace settlement and the Nigerian-led ECOMOG
providing the military support.30 Such an agreement would not only end the fighting, but
provide a vehicle for disarmament, demobilization and reintegration of the RUF back into
Sierra Leonean society.31 According to Ryan Lizza, the diplomatic process started when the
State Department and Howard Jeter got RUF Ambassador Omrie Golley to speak on the phone
to President Kabbah, eventually leading to negotiations that led to Lome. After the
breakthrough phone call, American officials were dispatched to follow up on the conversation
and build the foundation for what would become the Lome Accords.32
Can a realist explain the policy decisions of the Clinton White House in the early months of
1999? Since the U.S. never contemplated sending troops, realism would seem a viable theory in
lieu of national interests. However, realism needs to explain the kind of involvement the U.S.
would take. Some of these answers lie within an understanding of regional stability in West
Africa. American policy was no longer a question of Sierra Leone or the brutality of the RUF but
of greater regional security. West African concerns included: containing Charles Taylor in
Liberia, and strengthening regional governments especially the democratic regime in Nigeria.
Today Nigeria is one the top oil exporters to the United States.
Throughout internal documents we find evidence of the importance of regional stability to
planning a U.S. response in Sierra Leone. One of the key questions that guided Clinton policy
after the Somalia debacle: "Does UN involvement advance U.S. interests?" Policymakers were
confident that it did by helping "regional instability...",33 They repeatedly talked about stability
and communicated that to Congress. Former Deputy to the U.S. Ambassador to the United
Nations and one-time Director of Global and Multilateral Affairs at the National Security
Council Robert C. Orr states, "The U.S. does have real interest in West Africa, not just on the
humanitarian side, but in terms of hard national interests: oil, and the stability of major key
regional states. Sierra Leone provided a huge challenge to the struggling democratic leadership
in Nigeria."34
But even if we establish that Sierra Leone had importance to American interests can realism
explain the degree of participation? The choice to work through the UN and the limited
response could be a reflection of the value U.S. policymakers put on that stability. West Africa
would be of secondary or tertiary importance to the White House. The strength of ECOWAS
could guarantee the U.S. not having to put large amounts of boots on the ground to remedy


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10 I Cook


various crises situations.35 But as we will explore later, if the continued conflict in Sierra Leone
proved to be too much a strain on Nigeria and these other regional powers then what would the
U.S. do? At this juncture realism has a limited explanatory power.
However, we can find a more robust explanation of American policy in the institutional
agenda setting hypothesis. The documents and interviews also reveal a White House agenda
based on human rights, and a need to stop the violence, but more importantly UN legitimacy.
As Finnemore points out, institutions at the international level create a sense of felt obligation
for intervention. In the early months of 1999 American and UN policymakers realized a more
aggressive policy was needed in light of the revelations of gross atrocities the RUF were
committing. The sacking of Freetown transformed the crisis from a localized West African
conflict with little political value to a question of international norms and human rights that
threatened the legitimacy of the United Nations. Nancy Soderberg, Clinton's Alternate U.S.
Representative for Special Political Affairs at the UN Mission and former Deputy Assistant to
the President for National Security Affairs on the NSC, contends that Sierra Leone entered the
American agenda when "the RUF started to reach the capital, and horrific pictures emerged of
chopping off of hands."36 Eric Schwartz, Special Assistant to President Clinton and Senior
Director for Multinational and Humanitarian Affairs for the NSC, points out the importance of
the UN to policy discussion at the NSC: "There was awareness at the senior level of government
that the credibility of UN peacekeeping was at stake and the lives of thousands of people were
at stake."37 UN Ambassador Richard Holbrooke viewed Sierra Leone, as well as the Congo, as a
testing ground for UN peacekeeping, and suggested that if the UN failed in Africa, it failed in
general.38
Both Soderberg and Schwartz suggest that the RUF had crossed a line with its seizure of
the capitol. The RUF behavior was no longer acceptable within the changing norms of war. But
the line crossed was not one of American interest. Internal discussions show that stopping the
RUF and the legitimacy of the UN occurred side by side. Our hypothesis can now extrapolate
into possible policy options. First, that any kind of mission would be conducted by the UN.
Second, stopping the RUF had institutional limitations (both logistical and financial) within the
UN. These limitations stem from a general lack of enthusiasm from the rest of the world. At this
stage, there was not going to be a muscular UN response beyond the ECOMOG forces already
present.

Key Decision Two: The Lome Accords and UNAMSIL

In key decision two we will explore why the U.S. opted to pursue a comprehensive peace
plan between the Government of Sierra Leone and the RUF to end the conflict. At this juncture a
peace plan was not the only option. The accords culminated in the creation of UNAMSIL.
Realists (hypothesis one) would predict that the Lome Accords would advance American
interests and protect the stability of West Africa. Whereas, institutional agenda setting
(hypothesis two) predicts that the Lome negotiations are guided by the need to stop the
suffering but tempered with a realization of the limitations of ECOMOG and the UN to use
force. We find that in decision two realism, struggles with predicting the outcome of the Lome
Accords. Once again the agenda setting hypothesis provides a more compelling explanation.


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A Question of Intervention I 11


Throughout the first half of 1999, special envoy Jesse Jackson, and other State Department
officials worked with Charles Taylor in Liberia, the RUF, and President Kabbah to sit down and
negotiate a comprehensive peace plan. In May, serious talks began in Lome, Togo. A cease fire
was signed on May 18 and on July 7 the Sierra Leone government and the RUF officially signed
the agreement.39 The White House hoped that a minimal UN investment was needed for its
implementation.40 On May 7, the Administration informed Congress that if a peace agreement
were negotiated theU.S. would support a stronger UN mission.41 A month later the White
House notified Congress that the Lome Accords "represent Sierra Leone's best chance to end a
terrible war"42
The Administration was honest that Lome was far from perfect. Officials told the Senate
Foreign Relations Committee they would not push for a war crimes tribunal. The White House
also told the Senate there were doubts about ECOMOG's ability to stay and possible RUF
resistance. TheU.S. did not have faith in the Kabbah regime. However, Administration officials
felt that the people of Sierra Leone's views on the peace agreement were more important than
seeking justice.43
Officially, the Lome peace agreement ended hostilities, formed a new government of
national unity, and requested, as planned, an expanded role for ECOMOG and UNOMSIL.
Under the agreement, the RUF would become a political party and some members of the RUF
would be incorporated into the government until the next general elections in early 2001. All
former combatants, including the RUF, members of the former military who led a 1997 coup
against the government, and the pro-government civil defense forces were required to assemble
for disarmament and demobilization. Eventually the World Bank, working with the Sierra
Leone government would invest in long-term development projects to reintegrate ex-
combatants into the civilian economy.44
But the agreement was flawed. Leonard Hawley, the former Deputy Assistant Secretary of
State, Bureau of International Organization Affairs states: "Lome was a screwed up agreement
largely because it was put together by diplomats who wanted to get a solution to the fighting
because it was pretty bleak. They wanted to open the door so they could get something in
there... not really appreciating the military and other aspects of it." Hawley describes some of
the problems the U.S. faced in implementing Lome:
When I finally got a shot at the draft of the Lome agreement I sent out some immediate
[corrections to the settlement.] There was no way disarmament was going to happen within
sixty days of the signing. There are no mechanisms within the agreement that stated the RUF
had to come to a joint Lome commission, or that they have to abide by the decisions of
something like a joint commission and several other implementation mechanisms that we had
learned were tried and true to implement deals.45
But why back a poor agreement? Hawley contends that Kabbah was interested in a deal,
and as for the RUF: "...they would sign just about anything." It was Kabbah that gave Sankoh
amnesty, diamonds, and a government position which was essentially his primary goal. To not
deal with the RUF was to ignore the reality on the ground. As one Defense Department official
put it, "the inherent weakness of Kabbah government meant that it probably could not survive
on its own and Kabbah did not have control of the diamonds."46 If the Nigerians and ECOMOG
withdrew, the RUF would have realistically defeated Kabbah.


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With Lome signed the UN needed a new mandate to replace UNOMSIL to enforce the
Accords. Officials were cognizant that proposals in the UN needed to be carefully vetted to
match resources with mission objectives.47 As sporadic fighting continued in Sierra Leone, an
internal memo on June 17 mapped out the outstanding questions about a possible mission:
there was a fear of the RUF reneging on their Lome promises. Thus anyone sent to peace-keep
in Sierra Leone must be able to defend themselves and a Chapter VII peace-enforcement
mandate was considered crucial.
On July 16, the State Department prepared a new PDD-25 analysis for the expanded UN
Sierra Leone mission for NSC consideration. The undersecretaries (the Deputies) wondered if
the proposed operation had adequate means to carry out its mission in the face of potential
rebel resistance. Would the RUF really disarm and give up the diamonds?48 Problems still
remained concerning the international funding and the financing of ECOMOG. 49 The analysis
asked this crucial question, "Does UN involvement advance U.S. interests, and is there an
international community of interest in dealing with the problem on a multilateral basis?" The
first part of the question was yes: Lome would promote a peaceful settlement, reduce regional
instability, and alleviate humanitarian crises. The second question on international support
seems to have been a bit more qualified. Outside of West Africa and Great Britain there was not
much interest in Sierra Leone.50 Because of the lack of international support Sierra Leone was
going to have to be a Chapter VI (peace-keeping) mission that would make allowances for self
defense. The mission had to avoid open ended commitments, clear exit strategies, setting down
reasonable objectives for reconciliation and conducting elections, the professionalization of the
Sierra Leone army and police, and building accountability and responsibility into the
government. But even with these considerable shortfalls the NSC Deputies Committee decided
to officially support the expanded mission on August 5.
The White House officially informed Congress of its intentions to vote for an expanded UN
observer mission to Sierra Leone later that month. The letter states: "Because we believe that the
prompt expansion of UNOMSIL is an important factor in maintaining the momentum of... [the]
peace process which could be jeopardized by delay." 51 The letter made sure to note that the UN
did not requestU.S. military participation in UNOMSIL. American involvement would be
limited to civilian specialists that would help build public support for the integration of ex-
combatants, document human right abuses for a possible Truth and Reconciliation Committee,
and help the Sierra Leone government devise a strategic framework to coordinate peacekeeping
humanitarian relief and development activities alongside financial aid. 52
The culmination of this behind the scenes work produced UNSC Resolution 1260, an
interim measure designed to be implemented in accordance with Lome. The Resolution called
for the expansion of UNOMSIL. The U.S. voted in favor of it on August 20, 1999. With
ECOMOG providing the security, the Resolution authorized the provisional expansion of the
mission (political, civil affairs, information, human rights, and child protection elements) along
with necessary equipment and administrative and medical support. The role of UNOMSIL was
to strengthen and assist the Lome agreement. Military observers would have a mandate to
conduct disarmament, with ECOMOG providing initial demobilization activities. UNOMSIL
also pledged further bilateral financial and logistical support to ECOMOG. The mission would
hopefully terminate with the constitutionally mandated elections tentatively set for early in


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A Question of Intervention I 13


2001. Madeline Albright was dispatched to meet with Kabbah and show support for the peace
process
In October, administration officials told the Senate that the outlook for the peace process
looked favorable.53 Responding to Senatorial questions, the White House expressed guarded
optimism, the cease fire was still holding and there were significant improvement in the
delivery of aid. In further Congressional meetings that year Senators were concerned about
funding and whether the UN had issued an appropriate mandate. Money, however, not
humanitarian concern remained a key issue with Congress.54 White House officials stressed that
there was a broad interdepartmental understanding that this was the best mission possible at
the time.
Resolution 1260 was meant to be a temporary bridge to move the peace process forward
quickly while the UN made better plans. The Deputies Committee decided the U.S. would vote
to authorize an even stronger permanent peacekeeping operation to replace it in October.55 A
stronger mandate that required getting UN peacekeepers to replace the exhausted West African
ECOMOG troops already there. The notification letter to Congress stated: "We are notifying
you that the United States intends to support [a new] mission that would subsume the current
United Nations observer mission now deployed to Sierra Leone."56 It pledged that: "no U.S.
military personnel will participate in this mission, nor do we anticipate the U.S. armed forces
will provide support to the new mission called United Nations Mission in Sierra Leone
(UNAMSIL)."57
In deciding for the diplomatic track at Lome, and laying the groundwork for the UNAMSIL
mission, the White House reassured Congress that this was helping promote American
interests. We find evidence for realism in the repeated references to reducing regional instability
and indirectly helping Nigeria. But realism struggles in explaining decision two and the Lome
Accords. If the stability of the region was within the realm of American security why was Lome
flawed? The accord was written in such a way that many critics say it rewarded the RUF for
violence.58 The risk of the RUF reneging on the deal was high. If the Nigerians withdrew, the
RUF would have defeated Kabbah. Policymakers did not suffer from a lack of information or
perception gap. Why would a realist choose a policy with a high rate of failure?
Herein is the problem with realism: If the stability of West Africa relied on Sierra Leone,
one could reasonably assume the White House would have forced a tougher accord on the RUF.
There are two other possible options for realism: First, that Sierra Leone was not of importance.
But if we accept that answer then realism fails to explain any U.S. action at all. Secondly, we
could claim that Lome was a failure of the liberal Clinton Administration. But inaction and
regional instability are insufficient answers to describe the Lome negotiations.
Maybe the talk of national interest was more rhetoric than real. We find ample evidence
that the U.S. did not have regional stability in mind during the negotiations of the accord.
Nancy Soderberg states: "While [Lome] now looks like a bad agreement because the RUF
reneged, at the time, the Sierra Leone people wanted peace so we backed it." Wanting peace
and ending conflict are different than just protecting interests. Leonard Hawley speaks for the
entire Administration when he states, "I think the RUF are the most despicable people on the
planet." Hawley continues that Lome was built on a realistic appraisal of the capacities of
Kabbah and the RUF: "[the U.S. recognized] that you needed to be very careful, that if you put


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on rose colored glasses [about the peace process] you could say that things are going to be great
but you always had to have plan B ready to go." Administration officials were not confident in
Kabbah's regime. There is no mention of the RUF/Charles Taylor dominoes falling. No mention
of Nigeria being drawn into a wider regional conflict.
The institutional agenda setting hypothesis does a better job of explaining U.S. policy. The
Lome agreement fits in with the concept that institutions help transmit norms of intervention
and values like ending gross humanity. As Soderberg contends the people wanted peace.
Assistant Secretary of State for African Affairs Susan Rice contends: "The Lome agreement, like
many others before it, was a calculated risk that did not play out as the people of Sierra Leone,
the international community, or the U.S. would have hoped." She noted, "Some may second
guess the inclusion of the rebels in any kind of peace process, given their grisly record, but this
would not be realistic given the circumstances." According to Rice's testimony before the Senate
Foreign Relations Committee, the Lome accord:
was a peace agreement widely welcomed by the people of Sierra Leone. It was an
agreement freely negotiated by the Sierra Leonean parties themselves... As many members of
Sierra Leonean civil society stressed to Secretary Albright a year ago, the people of Sierra Leone
were desperate for peace-- even if it meant justice were to be deferred.59
Why were the Lome Accords lacking muscle? The key to our institutional agenda setting
hypothesis is the lack of international interest outside of Great Britain and the other West
African states. The UN did not request U.S. military participation in UNAMSIL. This lack of
interest transforms a possible strong Chapter VII mandate into a poorly funded Chapter VI
mission. The tragedy requires some sort of international action (felt obligations) but the lack of
interest weakens the possible responses.

Key Decision Three: UNAMSIL and Implementing Lome

U.S. efforts to help Sierra Leone did not end with Lome. The Accords called for a beefed up
United Nations Mission in Sierra Leone and the transferring of peacekeeping duties from the
Nigerian led ECOMOG to UN authority. The U.S. played an integral role in planning,
implementing and ultimately ensuring a smooth transition from ECOMOG to UNAMSIL. Here
is the key question: Why did the U.S. put the effort into locating, and supplying other foreign
troops for a mission with limited American security interests? Hypothesis one suggests that the
stability of West Africa was a question of relative gains for the U.S. But if realism is correct then
we must find evidence that UNAMSIL promotes or helps offset the costs of American security.
Our second hypothesis (institutional agenda setting) predicts that U.S. participation in building
UNAMSIL is due to its responsibilities in the UN. A successful mission would not only alleviate
suffering but strengthen the institution as a whole. As a member nation the U.S. has an interest
in seeing the UN succeed, even in places where it does not always explicitly advance American
strategic goals.
Leonard Hawley contends that American policy assumed that ECOMOG and Nigeria
would continue to be the key players in the mission through the summer and fall of 1999. "We
thought that the Nigerians were going to stay and American policy was built on the premise the
U.S. would be contributing something like 20-30 million a year to keep ECOMOG going. I did


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A Question of Intervention I 15


not think a UN operation would have the power [outside of ECOMOG] to be able to do this."
While the U.S. understood the West African exhaustion, they overestimated its inability to
indefinitely continue supplying troops. The ECOWAS countries had hoped Lome meant they
could leave. Nigeria faced domestic pressure to bring the troops home. Non American troops
had to come from somewhere.
On October 22, 1999, the U.S. voted in favor of UNSC Resolution 1270 that established The
United Nations Mission in Sierra Leone (UNAMSIL) under Chapter VI of the UN Charter.60 The
resolutions called for, "ensuring the security and freedom of movement of UN personnel;
monitor adherence to the Lome cease fire agreements; encourage the parties to create and
implement confidence building mechanisms; and facilitate the delivery of humanitarian
assistance." The United Nations vowed to periodically review the status of the peace process
and security situations so that troop levels could be adjusted as appropriate.61 But where was
the UN going to find the troops necessary for UNAMSIL?
American policy hinged on convincing ECOMOG to stay. A State Department memo to the
NSC Deputies Committee stated, "US policy must keep ECOMOG and the Nigerians
involved."62 In March of 1999, Ambassador A. Peter Berly was quick to thank the ECOMOG
troops and in particular, Nigeria which carried a disproportionate share of the burden. He
added that, "Now, more than ever, ECOMOG needs our support."63 Nancy Soderberg states, "If
ECOMOG left there would be a problem because the UN lacked the resources and means to
confront the RUF on its own." UN forces in 1999 were not trained and equipped to fight."64
However, the Administration also realized that ECOMOG forces had limited capacities.
Without international aid they would be forced to remove their troops. The Nigerians were
tiring of a war with no end in sight, spending at least a million dollars a day in Sierra Leone,
while at the same time trying to democratize at home.65 The new civilian government in Nigeria
was afraid that officers were enriching themselves and the soldiers were picking up bad habits
in the lawless sections of the Sierra Leone. There was a fear that poor and disgruntled soldiers
would wreak havoc and destabilize Nigeria when they returned.66
With the signing of the Lome peace accord, Nigeria had quickly announced a phased
withdrawal of its estimated 12,000 troops. On December 23, 1999, UN Secretary-General Kofi
Annan informed the Security Council of the Nigerian need to repatriate its soldiers. Washington
was still discussing how to send supplies and equipment to ECOMOG. 67 The U.S. hoped to
convince them to leave some troops behind. The NSC Deputies meetings were clear: "We need
to support ECOMOG." In the final UNAMSIL plan, the United States settled on having the UN
pay for two Nigerian battalions to temporarily remain in Sierra Leone to bridge the troop gap
until a full UNAMSIL deployment of international peacekeepers arrived. Nancy Soderberg put
it: "the issue was more whether we could get the Nigerians in there quickly [and to stay]. The
U.S. ended up training seven Nigerian Battalions."
Policymakers were convinced that any viable Sierra Leone policy must have a strong
ECOMOG presence at its core. The U.S. would concurrently work to increase UN force
capabilities from other nations to deal with RUF resistance. The U.S. pledged nine million and
asked all current prospective donors to consider making similar contributions to ECOMOG
through the UN Trust Fund or bilaterally.68 When Susan Rice appeared before the House
Committee on International Relations' Subcommittee on Africa she put ECOMOG in the


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forefront of American policy: "We are working to increase international support for [them].
Second we are helping regional leaders coordinate their diplomatic efforts to seek a negotiated
settlement, as well as actively encouraging a swift and lasting resolution by promoting high
level dialogue with all the key players."69
The support for the Nigerians should have come as no surprise. Throughout the 1990s,
American policy towards peacekeeping has drifted to support for a regional state approach.
This approach was a global response to problems within the UN Department of Peacekeeping
and a steep learning curve within the White House over the collapse and confusion of the
Bosnian and Somalian UN missions. Those missions were marred by ineffective mandates and
inadequate communication between New York and Washington. Clinton's 1994 intervention in
Haiti would become the blueprint for future American humanitarian missions: find a nation
with the strongest stake in the crisis and allow them to form a fighting force with UN blessing
(but not part of the UN) to do the heavy lifting. Regional states due to the proximity and
interest can project their power faster, quicker, with more resolve and theoretically with better
results than sending U.S. troops to non-vital areas. In 1999 we saw both the United States
intervene in Kosovo, and an Australian force lead the mission in East Timor.
The use of the ECOWAS organization was an example of this regional approach. Sierra
Leone directly affected the nations of West Africa. The ECOWAS mission was organized to help
foster trade and better relations for the region. It should only be natural that they assembled a
group willing to help President Kabbah maintain democracy and fight the RUF. As one State
Department official stated: "Having a regional power willing to step up to the plate like Nigeria
enabled the U.S. to provide trainers for Nigeria, Ghana, and Senegal and made the mission
stronger."70 ECOMOG troops, primarily from Nigeria, but also from Guinea, Mali and Ghana,
made substantial contributions to restoring Sierra Leone's democratic government and forcing
the warring factions to the negotiating table. Without them the RUF would have been
victorious. American policy revolved around how best to help ECOMOG accomplish their goals
of stabilizing the crisis.
Replacing ECOMOG proved to be difficult. The UN was afraid of not meeting its
manpower goals for UNAMSIL. The Resolution had anticipated many of the UNAMSIL troops
would roll over from the ECOMOG mission. The UN mission would probably collapse without
ECOMOG. Leonard Hawley states: "I do not know where they [the UN] got all the troops
[UNAMSIL] from because I tried to get troops to go there to make an initial push [in 1999 and
just got 'slam dunked' by the rest of the world." Hawley contends that the international
community was hesitant to go because European troops were deployed to other missions, like
Eritrea and Ethiopia. The other concern was costs. Often U.S. policymakers heard that potential
donor nations did not have the money to participate. No one was going to Sierra Leone. Hawley
states, "It would take a tremendous effort to get India, Bangladesh and some others to go." The
U.S. ended up playing an aggressive role in helping the UN raise the necessary troops.
The UN decided to address troop concerns with expanding the UNAMSIL mandate. The
White House notified Congress: "Now that ECOMOG has decided to repatriate its troops, an
expansion of UNAMSIL is considered vital in order to keep the peace process in Sierra Leone on
track."71 Leonard Hawley contends "the warning flags went up all over the place" [when
Nigeria decided to withdraw most of its troops] and American policymakers had to ask, 'what


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A Question of Intervention I 17


are we going to do?" The U.S. "vigorously worked to get the Jordanians and the Indians and a
few other people who could carry a rifle." Through American efforts UNAMSIL reached its
greatest strength of 17,368 troops in March of 2002. The U.S. provided the logistical support and
eventually helped deploy troops from Bangladesh, Bolivia, China, Croatia, Egypt, Gambia,
Germany, Ghana, Guinea, India, Indonesia, Jordan, Kenya, Kyrgyzstan, Malawi, Malaysia,
Nepal, Nigeria, Norway, Pakistan, Russian Federation, Slovakia, Sweden, Tanzania, Ukraine,
United Kingdom, Uruguay and Zambia.72 By 2000, it had become one of the largest UN
peacekeeping missions in the world. India was chosen as the lead nation for UNAMSIL. One
State Department official noted that India performed well during the mission. He added: "The
troops were fantastic. When I visited [India] I made sure to tell the deputy foreign minister they
were outstanding."73
In early December, the Clinton Administration told the Senate: "The peace process was at a
crucial moment: We will work closely with the UN."74 Washington was still afraid of a weak,
disorganized UN force. One of the key failures of Somalia was the question of mission creep in
a failing state. Mandates needed to have clear goals. Feeding the Somali people was one
mandate, but ending the civil war (that caused the famine) was another. Disarming the RUF, for
example, should not resemble disarming the warlords in Somalia. Now Sierra Leone is not
Somalia, President Kabbah enjoyed far greater legitimacy than the warlords. But what should
be pointed out is how quickly the 1993 UN disarmament mission evolved and outpaced the
mandate that had been formulated. UNAMSIL faced the same troubling issues: if disarmament
failed, mission creep would set in and the UN would be under fire.75
US policymakers were not blind to this reality but felt they had an obligation to "ensure a
smooth transition of peacekeeping responsibilities from ECOMOG to UNAMSIL."76 There
remained questions about whether the mission had adequate forces, funding, and an
appropriate mandate as well as whether the proposed UN troops from donor nations were
properly trained and equipped to adequately carry out the peacekeeping tasks at hand. But
complete inaction was seen as unacceptable.
Why did the U.S. put the effort into locating, and supplying other foreign troops? This
question becomes relevant in light of the fact that a RUF victory would not substantially change
our interests in the region. The U.S. could have easily let the Lome Accords die a natural death
and retrench its West African policies elsewhere. After all, President Clinton left strategically
important Somalia. The dominoes theory of West African stability stumbles on the reality of
ECOMOG's situation in late 1999. The West African nations no longer thought of Sierra Leone
as a strategic linchpin. They were more than happy to pass the baton of peacekeeping. In fact,
some Nigerians felt that the ECOMOG mission was actually undermining Nigeria. U.S. policy
was to "keep ECOMOG and the Nigerians involved." However, from a realist viewpoint that is
an ironic statement: to ostensibly protect Nigerian security by stopping the Nigerians from
leaving. The empirical evidence also suggests that stability was no longer a policy motivator.
We find less discussion of stability in the internal documents. When it comes to understanding
policies actually chosen realism as an explanatory theory seems to fail.
Overall the institutional agenda setting model is a better fit for decision three. Policymakers
felt that UNAMSIL was the only viable international solution considering the lack of domestic
and international will. The Clinton White House felt an obligation, not a strategic imperative, to


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ensure a smooth transition between ECOMOG and UNAMSIL. These obligations stem from the
commitments of institutional membership. U.S. support for a limited mission could hopefully
accomplish several goals: to end the suffering, and, just as importantly, to strengthen UN
peacekeeping in Africa. Would the U.S. have been sucked into Sierra Leone if UNAMSIL failed?
There was never a substantive internal dialogue about sending troops. The answer is no. The
UN, not the U.S. had to do something. Policymakers understood Sierra Leone as a UN problem.

Key Decision Four: Saving UNAMSIL

In decision four, American policymakers had to decide whether to save the UNAMSIL
mission in the spring of 2000 or possibly pull the plug in fear of mission failure. The Lome
Accords looked like they were about to collapse. The RUF were on the verge of re-starting the
civil war. There were serious questions whether the UNAMSIL mission could shift to a peace
enforcement mandate. What do our hypotheses predict for American action? Realism
(hypothesis one) must be able to explain how propping up the UNAMSIL mission in the wake
of failure advances American goals. One of the key things to look for is whether UN and U.S.
legitimacy become conflated. Does the U.S. look weak if the UN leaves? In institutional agenda
setting (hypothesis two) one prediction is clear: U.S. policymakers are concerned with
protecting UN legitimacy.
One of the driving questions in Washington about the future of peacekeeping concerned
the "blue vs. green helmets." It was only after ECOMOG exhaustion that the United States
reluctantly committed itself to the blue helmets: men from Jordan, Kenya, Zambia and India to
name a few of the donor nations. However, there was a real fear that these troops were not
tough enough to handle the possibility of RUF intransigence. As UNAMSIL proceeded with the
disarming of combatants under Lome, there were a series of challenges to its authority in the
spring of 2000.
The RUF were probing and searching for international weakness. First, they stopped UN
convoys, and seized weapons in areas they controlled. These actions led to a chain of events that
put the UN mission in a disaster mode reminiscent of Somalia. Leonard Hawley elaborates that
some of the problems stemmed from how the UN was deployed on the ground. To disarm you
have to spread yourself out, "like a spider. You have to send people out and collect them and
bring them into central areas for disarmament and demobilization." The RUF took advantage of
the UN posture on May 2 3 and attacked. Fighting resulted in the deaths of four Kenyan
peacekeepers and in ensuing confrontations the RUF detained over 500 UN personnel.
UNAMSIL was in disarray: Lome seemed dead, disarmament was only half complete, and the
rebels were still firmly entrenched in the key diamond-mining areas. The White House placed
"the highest priority on stabilizing a secure situation and gaining the release of the detainees."77
The Security Council issued two statements in May condemning the seizure of peacekeepers,
and calling for their release. In response, the UN wanted to expand the UNAMSIL mandate to
handle the situation and the U.S. agreed.
RUF leader Foday Sankoh rejected the UN charges that his men were to blame for the
clashes. In an interview with CNN, Sankoh stated that the UN made "a small mistake. They
tried to disarm these [the RUF] men forcefully." UN spokesman Philip Winslow however felt


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differently: "Their [peacekeepers] detention is unlawful." Winslow went on to note that the
general amnesty included in the Lome peace accord would not extend to crimes committed
after the deal was signed. Sankoh responded to growing world condemnation: "The people
who have done this will be held accountable for their actions." He demanded his rebels release
any hostages, but added, "The situation... was not from our side." And more cryptically: "The
U.N. peacekeepers are not detained, but are missing because they don't know the terrain."78
One State Department official understood (but did not condone) Sankoh's actions, "The UN
pushed the RUF, a little bit too hard, too fast if anybody can say that, at least from the RUF
point of view."79 UNAMSIL nations started to augment their troop contingents.
So how did the Clinton Administration respond to this crisis? One gets a sense of the
problems the White House faced in a range of Defense Department memos to the Executive
Branch from May 5 to May 11.80 The Administration supported putting more teeth into the UN
mission. But they remained leery of mission failure. The Lome Accords were going to remain
the only policy option. The Administration notified Congress: "[of a] resolution in the UN
Security Council that will increase the authorized force level ... for force protection purposes...
We are going to make a substantial investment in efforts to return peace and stability to Sierra
Leone and to the West African sub-region.. ."81 In their briefings before the Senate and House
staff on May 16, Leonard Hawley and Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for African Affairs,
Howard Jeter discussed: "this is a very difficult security challenge and the U.S. is considering a
wide range of policy options for subsequent steps in Sierra Leone."82
One of the best options was the entry of a muscular United Kingdom commitment into the
conflict. The U.K. had a natural interest in Sierra Leone, a Commonwealth Nation and former
British colony. With American logistical help, the British put the men on the ground and trained
a professional Sierra Leonean army. The NSC wanted to support the U.K. intervention "as
much as they could."83 According to one participant to the Deputy NSC policy meetings:
On Sierra Leone there were plenty of internal discussions. I think there was broad
acceptance that we wanted to support the British in their efforts. Where the difference started
was on the question of how to support the British? Did that mean money, did that mean
technical support, did that mean lift, and did that mean U.S. ships floating off the coast so the
British could point at a U.S. ship and tell everyone on the ground, see that's the U.S.?84
While British forces were small they played an instrumental role in a post- ECOMOG
UNAMSIL. In May 2000, British paratroopers were sent to evacuate British citizens and secure
the airport for the UN. In July, they participated alongside the Indians, Ghanaians and
Nigerians in rescuing Indian peacekeepers that were under siege by the RUF. British forces
mounted other military operations to rescue U.K. hostages. Leonard Hawley claims the British
response should not be underestimated: "The RUF made the mistake of capturing some British
troops. The British freed the hostages with minimal loss of life. The British also conducted other
military operations against the RUF. The RUF started seeing the message that the UN operation
was here to stay."
The RUF military resolve collapsed further with the capture of Sankoh by Sierra Leonean
government troops in May 2000. Sankoh was arrested and imprisoned after his bodyguards'
sprayed bullets at unarmed demonstrators.85 The arrest of the RUF founder Sankoh was a blow
to the loosely knit rebel group. What little legitimacy the RUF enjoyed came through him.


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According to official UNAMSIL documents the RUF resistance in the spring and summer 2000
evaporated: "the international community put pressure on the rebels to obey the ceasefire and
slapped sanctions against RUF sponsors. Subsequently, UNAMSIL launched new mediation
efforts and brought the two adversaries back to the negotiation table."86
So much of realism has depended on an understanding of West African regional stability.
We still find reference to it in a May 2000 State Department letter to Congress: "[The mission
was designed] to return peace and stability to Sierra Leone and to the West African sub-
region... "87 But is this rhetoric for domestic consumption? Possibly, there is only a limited
ECOMOG presence and one cannot realistically present a dominoes falling across Africa
scenario. In its place stood India and other nations with limited or little stake in this particular
African civil war. Can realism shed light on American actions at the UN?
Three possible realist explanations come to mind. First, realists are not opposed to
multilateral institutions as long as they serve the interests of the state. Second, that Sierra
Leonean policy was now about helping the United Kingdom. As one policymaker stated: policy
became how best to help the British. The U.K. angle provides an interesting story to our
understanding of limited interventions. In both of these scenarios West Africa represents a long
term (or secondary) threat to American interests. The U.S. was more than happy to help others
do the heavy lifting of peacekeeping to achieve its goals. If Nigeria was gone the U.S. could
support another nation to take its place. We find limited evidence for this possibility, more so in
interviews than in the primary documents. It can also explain why the U.S. kept up its
commitments to saving Lome.
Another realist possibility is that letting the RUF win might do damage to American,
British, or Nigerian reputations. The U.S., in this scenario had to prop up the UN mission
because of the sunk costs of prestige. The U.S. worked hard to forge the Lome Accords and to
keep the Nigerians. Letting the RUF win would send a message to other rebel group in Africa
that the U.S. was not a serious negotiator. This concept of "reputation" remains a hard concept
to empirically define, but neo-classical realists realize that it impacts perceptions of power.88
However, one must ask: whose reputation? Ultimately the U.S. did not commit its reputation on
Lome or reigning in the RUF. Internal documents and interviews also do not bear this argument
out. However, the reputation that was at stake was the UN and the challenge of peacekeeping
in nations with little strategic importance.
Our institutional liberal hypothesis presents a stronger explanation to American actions in
Sierra Leone than realism. First, U.S. actions were designed to protect the credibility of the UN.
Second, the final major decision sheds some light on the feedback loop between global
institutions and states.
What is clear is that American credibility was never at stake. There is plenty of evidence
that UN credibility was on the minds of U.S. policymakers. We have previously noted
Schwartz's statement that credibility in UN peacekeeping was at stake. Richard Holbrooke
speaking in front of the General Assembly declared: "The crisis in peacekeeping was most
apparent last May [2000 when Sierra Leone served as an exclamation point for the overall crisis
in peacekeeping."89 The official UNAMSIL webpage discusses the impact of the kidnapped
peacekeepers: "endangered the credibility of UN peacekeeping." Kofi Annan admitted that
RUF actions represented a challenge to UN credibility.90


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American policymakers saw support for UNAMSIL as support for international
organizations. A sampling of the international press conducted by Global Security.org shows
how the world understood Sierra Leone as a UN mission. The People's Daily in China argued:
The tragedy is also tarnishing the image and affecting the credibility of the United Nations."
The London Financial Times, stated "...is likely to prove a seminal event for the UN." The
Toronto Star reported: "has become an urgent test of United Nations resolve... "91
Secondly, Sierra Leone also hints at the feedback loop present in institutional agenda
setting. The UN is not static and issues can move to the forefront of the international agenda or
move down. In May 2000, Sierra Leone faced a crucial moment. The mission seemed to be on
the verge of defeat. One could speculate that if there had been a lack of will in New York, the
blue helmets would have left and it would have moved down the list of international priorities.
However, this did not happen. British Ambassador to the UN, Jeremy Greenstock hints at the
importance of international consensus: "I think it shows that when a UN peacekeeping
operation has the right mandate, [and it] has to do something, and has the will to do something,
it can do it."92 As Leonard Hawley contends the UN operation was here to stay.
This new found strength in UNAMSIL can partly be credited to British resolve and
continued American support. Both had an interest in protecting the UN and ending the
suffering. This mutual understanding between allies smoothed the wheels of bureaucracy at
UN headquarters. When the British became actively involved, it strengthened the "positive"
feedback loop to the UN and UNAMSIL remained globally important. The U.S. and U.K.
worked together to write mandates, and marshal financial and military resources for the
mission. The UN provided the framework in which the U.S. and U.K. could communicate. It is
doubtful that without the UN either one of these nations would have solved the collective
action problem of ending the civil war.




THEORETICAL DISCUSSION FOR SIERRA LEONEAN DECISION MAKING

Neoclassical Realism

In each of these four major decisions, we presented evidence that policymakers considered
power (defined by regional stability) in West Africa and especially in relation to Nigeria. Joseph
Grieco points out that realists are not opposed to cooperation within international institutions
as long as they protect national interests.93 Types of intervention are then chosen by levels of
interest. The U.S. could engage multilateral organizations to achieve U.S. goals in secondary
and tertiary interests. Policymakers use the UN to lower the costs of unilateral action. This
realism argument fits into a broader understanding of American policy towards Africa in the
post cold war. According to James Jude Hentz, Clinton's African policy concentrated on
identifying and supporting key pivotal states or "big emerging markets."94 Nigeria is a pivotal
state both militarily and economically. Sierra Leone and Liberia are not American security
interests in there own right, but these conflicts could eventually undermine Nigeria.


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How does realism explain the type of mission chosen? Neoclassical realism struggles with
the question of limited intervention. Realists would argue that flawed policies stem from
incomplete information that is distorted by domestic institutions and psychology. But it is hard
to argue that decision makers had distorted information about RUF intentions. Realism
struggles to explain why Lome and UNAMSIL were chosen as the vehicles to protect West
African stability. If stability were truly riding on the success of the Lome Accords it should have
been a stronger agreement.

Realism: Perception and Identity the Slippery Slope of Interest

Furthermore, the discussion of what is a strategic interest leads to methodological problems.
The neo-classical research agenda ends up discussing policymaker's perception of power and
not power itself. This sleight of hand may open up analysis of foreign policy but removes the
parsimony of realism and moves the discussion towards identity construction (and
constructivism). Measuring power is different than measuring peoples perceptions of power.
Jeffrey Legro and Andrew Moravcsik critique realism: "if exogenous shifts in relative power,
domestic preferences, and perceptions and information problems can all influence state
behavior, what remains theoretically distinct about realism?"95 West Africa becomes a
challenging case about defining a clear strategic objective beyond vague notions of stability.
Nigeria is important to American thinking and that is clear. But it is hard to fathom how
American policymakers determined Sierra Leone was more important to Nigeria than the
Nigerians. Secondly, all American policymakers talk in interest. Rwandan inaction was framed
as a lack of strategic interest. President Clinton was careful to couch his foreign policy in the
language of national security. Was this rhetoric merely for domestic consumption?
Ultimately, realism is an indeterminate theory to explain humanitarian intervention and
peacekeeping. There are global threats to national security which realism can illuminate, but
complex human emergencies and peacekeeping pose a problem. Many cases revolve around the
dominoes falling in the future. But every crisis can be painted as a long term threat to national
security. Famines, droughts, and diseases can lead to long term state failure that could threaten
American interests. For example, in 2001 it was revealed that the RUF were connected to both
Al Qaeda and Hezbollah.96 But the further we project into the future, the further we leave
realism and the harder it is to define a threat. So even though we can make an argument that
the U.S. used the UN to achieve its strategic goals on the cheap in West Africa. It is just as easier
to say that the UN had an influence on the shaping of these policies.

Another Realist Cut: Explaining Nigerian Policy

This article has highlighted the weakness of neoclassical realism in understanding Great
Power peacekeeping on the periphery. However, as we noted earlier, realism struggles to
understand Africa and the third world in general. John F. Clark states that while the end of the
Cold War has brought peace to the northern hemisphere interstate war in Africa has been on
the rise.97 Realism has been eerily silent in predicting or explaining this phenomenon.
According to Hentz, American foreign policy makers privilege the Westphalian model of the


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A Question of Intervention I 23


homogenous state.98 However, African states do not resemble the Westphalian ideal of
homogeneity: they are heterogeneous with little traditional measures of economic and military
power.
But African leaders understand the rules of Westphalian sovereignty and become willing
patrons to superpower politics. 99 This participation was not a desire to advance the larger
ideological or material goals of the hegemonic powers but to generate the necessary revenue
streams to pursue regime consolidation. The power imperative of an African leader is to seek
security from both external and internal threats: military coups, insurgencies, ethnic unrest and
foreign intervention. Clark states, "Such a conception of the behavior of African rulers applies
to both their domestic and their external behavior, obviating the need for any artificial division
of domestic and 'international' politics."1'0 Was Nigerian policy in Sierra Leone realist? By
removing the structural underpinnings of balance of power and national interest, African
autonomy emerges from the shadows of Great Power politics. In Africa, all politics is local.
Thus Nigerian policies in Sierra Leone were being pursued for rational but albeit different
reasons than the balance of power in West Africa. Nigerian involvement may have been tied to
the survival of General Sani Abacha's government. Sakah Mahmud points out that Nigeria was
under international sanctions for canceling the results of the June 1993 elections.101 The
sanctions were meant to compel a return to democracy by crippling the economic capacity of
the military regime. However, Abacha was not only able to survive the sanctions but seemed to
grow stronger in the face of them. Mahmud posits two ways Abacha was able to overcome
being an international pariah and maintain his control. First, was the use of rhetoric to frame the
sanctions regime as bad for Africans not just him. He centered the discussion around the
complexity of imperialism, colonialism and the North-South struggle. Secondly, and more
importantly, Mahmud suggests that Abacha went about becoming a West African leader.
Nigeria aggressively pushed for ECOWAS involvement in regional conflicts (Abacha was
organization's the Chair).
By the late 1990s, the General was able to reinvent himself as a statesman. This move
allowed him to shift the global discussion from thwarting democracy inside Nigeria to one of
protecting democracy in West Africa. His actions in Sierra Leone to end the civil war seemed
noble compared to western foott dragging. Mahmud claims that Abacha effectively
accomplished a diplomatic coup that forced the U.S. and U.K. to back off the sanctions for a
policy of accommodation with the military government: "Nigeria's regional efforts and role [in
Sierra Leone] accepted by other Africans enabled the country to avoid international isolation."102
Nigerian policy was quite possibly a ploy to maintain Abacha's legitimacy within his own
country and not rooted in power politics; or necessarily a humanitarian desire to end the
suffering. By opening up the black box of structural realism, we have a better picture of
Nigerian interests in ECOMOG.

Institutional Agenda Setting

A more fruitful look at Sierra Leonean policy was provided by the institutional agenda
setting hypothesis. Both constructivists and liberal institutionalism contend that institutions can
shape state preference. Keohane and Nye suggest that institutions can alter the way


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policymakers can see cause and effect: "The principles and norms of regimes may be
internalized by important groups and thus become part of the belief systems which filter
information."103 The UN as the proper vehicle for multilateral peacekeeping in areas of non-
strategic importance has been ingrained in American policymakers for quite some time. The
Presidential Decision Directive states: "Does UN involvement advance U.S. interests, and is
there an international community of interest in dealing with the problem on a multilateral
basis?" After the Cold War, these policymakers had the chance to implement these norms.
Nancy Soderberg stated: "Sierra Leone does not become an issue on [the American
agenda]... the UN is part of the NSC agenda." American policymakers wanted the mission to
succeed for the Sierra Leonean people and to strengthen UN legitimacy. We have seen various
policymakers (Holbrooke, and Schwartz) contend the UN could not sustain another failed
mission in peacekeeping. UNAMSIL had to succeed. The norms of membership subtly pressure
the U.S. to work within the UN for some kind of solution. But how did American policymakers
arrive at the type of limited intervention for Sierra Leone? The shape, size and scope of the
UNAMSIL reflect the lack of international support. Instead of a well-funded muscular Chapter
VII mandate it was watered down to a fiscally strapped Chapter VI (peace-keeping) mission.

Alternative Liberal Hypotheses: Ideas not Institutions

Overall, this article presents institutional agenda setting as a more powerful explanation of
American policy. But there is an alternative story for liberalism ideals instead of institutions.
The core tenets of Wilsonian idealism center on the promotion of democracy and human rights
as an American interest. Wilsonian policymakers are committed to working with multilateral
organizations to find peace. President Clinton intervened in Sierra Leone to promote these
ideals because he was already predisposed to working with the UN. It is difficult to assess in
what directions the causal arrows point. When it comes to the relationship between the U.S. and
the UN who influences whom?
But Wilsonian liberalism also struggles with the concept of limited intervention and in the
end it is indeterminate as well. If liberal values truly motivated the President then why did the
U.S. do so little (Where realism might ask why they did so much)? Clinton was attacked for
doing too much in foreign policy. The White House was criticized for setting up costly utopian
policies that drained the American coffers while weakening our credibility abroad. Michael
Mandelbaum chastised President Clinton for conducting foreign policy like misguided social
work.104 Somalia became the case in point of promoting multilateral operations at the expense of
hard American interests. 105 But ironically Clinton was also attacked for doing too little: Senator
Judd Gregg of New Hampshire was angered about how U.S. policy was favoring the RUF at the
expense of innocent lives. Ryan Lizza of the New Republic wrote: "Sierra Leone: The Last
Clinton Betrayal." Belief in Wilsonian liberalism becomes hard to measure. Eric Schwartz
addresses the general criticism of the Administration's peacekeeping record: "For people on the
outside to make these [critical] post-op judgments it is very easy, they don't have the
responsibility of power, they don't have the responsibility of office and they write with limited
appreciation of how those constraints work."


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However, the problem of causal arrows brings up a more substantive methodological flaw
with institutional agenda setting and constructivism: where do norms originate? Hikaru
Hayashi critiques constructivism on this very set of questions: "What is the exact mechanism of
the norms to change? In addition, lack of testing on large samples and lack of rigorous formal
modeling weaken the constructivists' approach."'06 These are relevant questions to ponder and
explore in the continuing dialogue of methodology. But when it comes to the question of
explaining peacekeeping every approach has methodological problems. We have already
discussed that even the definition of 'interest' is open to debate. Realism is no closer to
understanding the phenomena of humanitarianism.

Conclusions

This article hopefully adds to the literature of the Sierra Leonean crisis. The record will
show that the conflict came to a peaceful end. It took a strengthened UN peacekeeping mission,
West African military help, and key American and British financial aid to end the conflict.
UNAMSIL completed its mission: overall it cost 2.8 billion dollars and 192 UN personnel were
killed in their peacekeeping duties. However, by early 2002, the UN could boast having
disarmed and demobilized more than 75,000 ex-fighters. It also helped return hundreds of
thousands of displaced refugees and set up a truth and reconciliation commission.107 ECOWAS
and the African Union joined UNAMSIL and the Sierra Leonean government in holding its first
free and peaceful elections in many years. The Revolutionary United Front Party struggled. In
2002, the party won 2.2 % of popular votes and did not win any seats in the Sierra Leonean
legislature.108 According to UNAMSIL, the May 2002 presidential and parliamentary elections
and the subsequent local government elections in 2004 "marked important milestones... Since
then, the UN peacekeeping mission has worked alongside the new government to establish its
authority throughout the country."109 Though UNAMSIL struggled at times, it successfully left
Sierra Leone in December 31, 2005 with its mission accomplished.
So let us return to the original question: why did the U.S. become involved in Sierra Leone?
Why did the U.S. choose to pursue a path of limited intervention? There were no real strategic
interests that demanded immediate military action. Eric Schwartz provides his analysis of
American policy:
I think the post-op analysis of Lome has to be looked at with a great deal of scrutiny
because if you are the Assistant Secretary of State for African affairs and you are dealing with a
conflict that is clearly of secondary importance to decision makers and in a world with
competing resources, you are just not able to muster the interest and attention for this issue that
addressing it would require and people are at risk of having their hands, legs and arms
chopped off with the international community basically standing by and those are the cards
that you are dealt. You are then offered the prospect of supporting an agreement between the
protagonists and antagonists that offered some prospect of ending the conflict. What is the
moral course to take? You could stand on your high horse and oppose it and then be unable to
garner the resources that would be necessary to promote an alternative vision, where you try to
work as best you can to get to a settlement and I think that was the choice that faced U.S.
officials in many respects in the context of Lome. I'm saying is this was a far closer issue than


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some of the post-op analysis seems to suggest. [Did] U.S. diplomats... desire to see the RUF take
over Sierra Leone? No, they were motivated by a desire to bring peace.
However, a more theoretical understanding can be found by bringing institutions back into
the constructivist argument. We can show how 'institutional identity' influences and shapes
state preferences, not only in decisions to intervene but in shaping the size and scope of the
UNAMSIL mission. As Schwartz points out, Sierra Leone is of secondary importance and a
multilateral response was the best possible forum to stop the suffering. When there is a general
lack of enthusiasm in the international community limited intervention is the policy outcome.
There are limitations to examining institutional agenda setting with one case during one
presidential administration. But it is the hope that a deep and rich analysis of American
policymaking in Sierra Leone can provide a jumping off point for future research in both
limited interventions and the role of institutions in humanitarian crises. Would these findings
hold true for President George W. Bush? Could institutional agenda setting explain global
muddling in the Darfur crisis?


Notes:

1. Nancy Soderberg, Interview by email, e-mail correspondence, July 15, 2002
2. Mark J. Mullenbach, "Deciding to Keep Peace: An Analysis of International Influences
on the Establishment of Third-Party Peacekeeping Missions." International Studies
Quarterly 49, no. 3, (2005): pp. 529-556.
3. See Daalder Ivo. Getting to Dayton: The Making of America's Bosnia Policy.
Washington, D.C.: Brookings, 2000. and O'Hanlon, Michael and Ivo Daalder. Winning
Ugly. Washington, D.C.: Brookings, 2001.
4. See Menkhaus, Ken and Louis Ortmayer. Key Decisions in the Somalia Intervention: Case
#464. Washington D.C.: Georgetown Institute for the Study of Diplomacy, 1995.
5. See Power, Samantha. A Problem from Hell: American and the Age of Genocide. New
York: Basic Books, 2002; Gourevitch Phillip. We Wish to Inform You That Tomorrow We
Will Be Killed With Our Families: Stories from Rwanda. New York: Picador, 1998.
6. Waltz, Kenneth N. "International Politics Is Not Foreign Policy," Security Studies 6,
autumn, 1996: pp. 54-55. Also Waltz, Kenneth N. Theory of International Politics.
Reading, MA: Addison-Wesley, 1979: pp. 71-72.
7. Both schools of thought hold true to the realist conception of anarchy and structure.
However, they differ on what signals the system sends to states. For offensive realists
security is scarce and states try to achieve it by maximizing their relative advantage. For
defensive realists the system is not as hostile. States are defensive in nature, they seek to
balance against potential threats and only respond to external threats. For more see
Mearsheimer, John. "Back to the Future: Instability in Europe after the Cold War," in
Brown, Michael E. et al., ed. The Perils of Anarchy: Contemporary Realism and International
Security. Cambridge, MA: MIT Press, 1995.
8. Clark, John F. "Realism, Neo-Realism and Africa's International relations in the Post
Cold War Era." In Africa's Challenge to International Relations Theory, ed. Kevin C.


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A Question of Intervention I 27


Dunn and Timothy M. Shaw (New York: Palgrave, 2001) p. 86. But also see Ayoob,
Mohammed. "Subaltern Realism: International Relation Theory Meets the Third World"
in Stephanie G. Neuman (ed.), International Relations Theory and the Third World. New
York: St. Martins Press.
9. Clark, John F. "Realism, Neo-Realism and Africa's International relations in the Post
Cold War Era." p. 91
10. See Sakah Mahmud, "Controlling African States' Behavior: International Relations
Theory and International Sanctions Against Libya and Nigeria." In Africa's Challenge to
International Relations Theory, ed. Kevin C. Dunn and Timothy M. Shaw (New York:
Palgrave, 2001); and Assis Malaquias "Reformulating International Relations Theory:
African Insights and Challenges." In Africa's Challenge to International Relations
Theory, ed. Kevin C. Dunn and Timothy M. Shaw (New York: Palgrave, 2001).
11. For more of the neoclassical school see Brown, Michael E. et al., ed. The Perils of
Anarchy: Contemporary Realism and International Security. Cambridge: MIT Press,
1995; Schweller, Randall L. Deadly Imbalances: Tripolarity and Hitler's Strategy of
World Conquest. New York: Columbia University Press, 1998; and Wohlforth, William.
The Elusive Balance: Power and Perceptions during the Cold War. Ithaca, N.Y.: Cornell
University Press, 1993.
12. Rose Gideon. "Neoclassical realism and theories of foreign policy" World Politics 51, no.
1, (1998): pp. 144-172.
13. Finnemore, Martha. The Purpose of Intervention: Changing Beliefs About the Use of
Force. Ithaca, New York: Cornell, 2003.
14. Finnemore, Martha. National Interests in International Society. Ithaca, NY: Cornell
University Press, 1996: p. 29.
15. Finnemore, Martha and Kathryn Sikkink, "International Norm Dynamics and Political
Change," International Organization 52, no. 4: p. 160.
16. See Keohane, Robert 0. and Lisa L. Martin. "The Promise of Institutionalist Theory",
International Security 20, no. 1, (1995): pp. 39-51; and Rittberger Volker, (ed.) Regime
Theory and International Relations. Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1995.
17. Drezner Daniel, "Regime Proliferation and World Politics: Is there Viscosity in Global
Governance?" Paper presented at the annual meeting of the American Political Science
Association, Philadelphia, PA, September 2006.
18. Keohane Robert 0. and Joseph S. Nye, Power and Interdependence, Glenview, IL: Scott,
Foresman, 1989: p. 259.
19. Folker, Jennifer Sterling. "Competing Paradigms or Birds of a Feather? Constructivism
and Neo-liberal Institutionalism Compared," International Studies Quarterly 44, no. 1,
(2000): p. 111.
20. Keohane and Nye (1989): p. 266.
21. Ibid, p. 55. Also see Keohane, Robert 0. After Hegemony: Cooperation and Discord in
the World Political Economy. Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, p. 102.
22. For learning see: Krasner, Stephen ed. International Regimes, Ithaca, NY: Cornell
University Press, 1983.


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23. Wheeler, Nicholas J. Saving Stranger: Humanitarian Intervention in International
Society. Oxford: Oxford University Press, p. 109.
24. Hawley, Caroline, "A Country Torn by Conflict," BBC Online, January 12, 1999,

(Accessed March 25, 2004).
25. Ibrahim Abdullah and Patrick Muana, "The Revolutionary United Front of Sierra
Leone," in African Guerrillas, Christopher Clapham, ed. (Indianapolis: Indiana
University Press, 1998): pp. 172-193.
26. Lizza, Ryan. "Sierra Leone: The Last Clinton Betrayal, Where Angels Fear to Tread," The
New Republic, 24 July 2000.
27. UN Resolution 1132 authorized an international embargo on oil and arms. See United
Nations Security Council Resolution 1132, UN Doc. S/RES/1132, October 8, 1997.
28. U.S. Department of State, Round the World Briefing for the Senate Foreign Relations
Committee, January 29, 1999 in documents collected for the United States General
Accounting Office. Report to Congressional Requesters: UN Peacekeeping- Executive
Branch Consultation With Congress Did Not Fully Meet Expectations in 1999-2000.
GAO-01-917. Washington, D.C.: GAO, September 2001.
29. U.S. Department of State, Round the World Briefing for the Senate Foreign Relations
Committee, February 5, 1999 in documents collected for the General Accounting Office,
UN Peacekeeping- Executive Branch Consultation
30. The State Department also made it clear that the Nigerians must be kept involved as a
bridge until a comprehensive peace settlement was worked out and a larger and more
robust UN force could be installed.
31. U.S. Department of State, Discussion Paper for NSC Peacekeeping Core Group, March 1,
1999 in documents collected for the General Accounting Office, UN Peacekeeping-
Executive Branch Consultation.
32. Lizza, "Where Angels Fear To Tread."
33. PDD-25 Analysis, July 16, 1999. In documents collected for the General Accounting
Office, UN Peacekeeping- Executive Branch Consultation.
34. Robert C. Orr, Interview by Author, tape recording.
35. Ibid.
36. Nancy Soderberg, Interview by email, e-mail correspondence, July 15, 2002.
37. Eric Schwartz, Interview by author, tape recording, May 27, 2002.
38. Michelle Seif, "The Lome Peace Accords: The View from Washington," Crimes of War
Project, February 2001,
(Accessed March 25, 2004).
39. United Nations Peace Agreement signed in Lome, UN Doc. S/1999/777.
40. Accordingly, they decided to support an extension of the UNOMSIL mandate when it
came up for a vote in the Security Council.
41. U.S. Department of State, Round the World Briefing for the Senate Foreign Relations
Committee, May 7, 1999, in documents collected for the General Accounting Office, UN
Peacekeeping- Executive Branch Consultation.


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A Question of Intervention I 29


42. U.S. Department of State, Round the World Briefing for the Senate Foreign Relations
Committee, June 11, 1999, in documents collected for the General Accounting Office, UN
Peacekeeping- Executive Branch Consultation.
43. Also there were unsure of a general amnesty. U.S. Department of State, Round the
World Briefing for the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, July 16, 1999, in documents
collected for the General Accounting Office, UN Peacekeeping- Executive Branch
Consultation.
44. U.S. Department of State, PDD-25 Analysis: Expanded UNOMSIL Mission in Sierra
Leone [DRAFT], July 16, 1999, in documents collected for the General Accounting Office,
UN Peacekeeping- Executive Branch Consultation.
45. Leonard Hawley, interview by author, tape recording, May 28, 2002.
46. James Schear, interview by author, tape recording, May 15, 2002.
47. U.S. Department of State, Info Memo for NSC Peacekeeping Core Group, June 7, 1999, in
documents collected for the General Accounting Office, UN Peacekeeping- Executive
Branch Consultation.
48. U.S. Department of State, PDD-25 Analysis for NSC Deputies Committee, September 30,
1999, in documents collected for the General Accounting Office, UN Peacekeeping-
Executive Branch Consultation.
49. U.S. Department of Defense, Decision memo to NSC Peacekeeping Core Group, October
1, 1999; and U.S. Department of Defense, Decision Memo to NSC Peacekeeping Core
Group, October 18, 1999, in documents collected for the General Accounting Office, UN
Peacekeeping- Executive Branch Consultation.
50. PDD-25 Analysis, July 16, 1999.
51. U.S. Department of State, Notification Letter for Senate Foreign Relations Committee,
August 5, 1999, in documents collected for the General Accounting Office, UN
Peacekeeping- Executive Branch Consultation.
52. The letter went on to state that the US had a national interest in supporting the
democratically-elected government of Sierra Leone, stabilizing the troubled West
African sub-region and alleviating Sierra Leone's immense suffering while encouraging
ECOMOG's continued efforts in regional peacekeeping and peace enforcement. See U.S.
Department of Defense, Decision Memo for NSC Peacekeeping Core Group, October 13,
1999; and U.S. Department of State, Memo to NSC Peacekeeping Core Group, October
14, 1999 in documents collected for the General Accounting Office, UN Peacekeeping-
Executive Branch Consultation.
53. U.S. Department of State, Round the World Briefing for the Senate Foreign Relations
Committee, October 18, 1999, in documents collected for the General Accounting Office,
UN Peacekeeping- Executive Branch Consultation.
54. U.S. Department of State, Round the World Briefing for the Senate Foreign Relations
Committee, December 3, 1999, in documents collected for the General Accounting
Office, UN Peacekeeping- Executive Branch Consultation.
55. The Deputies Committee of the National Security Council is comprised of the
undersecretaries to the primaries and other ad hoc actors.


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30 I Cook


56. U.S. Department of State, Notification Letter for Senate Foreign Relations Committee,
October 8, 1999, in documents collected for the General Accounting Office, UN
Peacekeeping- Executive Branch Consultation.
57. U.S. Department of State, Notification Letter for Senate Foreign Relations Committee,
October 8, 1999
58. See Lizza, "Where Angles Fear to Tread."
59. Ibid, p. 23.
60. United Nations Security Council. Resolution 1270, S/RES/1270. October 22, 1999. Key
elements of the mandate: authorize up to 6,000 UN peacekeeping troops, 260 military
observers and 6 civilian police. Establish a presence at key locations throughout Sierra
Leone and cooperate with the government and the other parties in implementing the
disarmament, demobilization and reintegration plans.
61. On February 7, the United States voted in favor of UNSC Resolution 1289 which
expanded UNAMSIL further. The expanded UNAMSIL's mandate included providing
security to key installations in Freetown, its environs, facilitating the free flow of people,
goods and humanitarian assistance along specified roads, safeguarding and disposing of
arms collected from ex-combatants, assisting Sierra Leone's law enforcement authorities
with the maintenance of law and order. UNAMSIL was not expected to conduct peace
enforcement activities and it was hoped that it would provide the neutral peacekeeping
force requested in the Lome Agreement. The UN wanted to be clear that the primary
responsibility for the mission rested with the people of Sierra Leone. The mission would
terminate with conclusion of the constitutionally mandated elections in early 2001.
62. U.S. Department of State, Decision Memo for NSC Deputies Committee, August 24,
1999, in documents collected for the General Accounting Office, UN Peacekeeping-
Executive Branch Consultation.
63. U.S. Mission to the UN, Ambassador A. Peter Berly, Charge d'Affairs of the United
States to the United Nations, "Statement on explanation of vote on Sierra Leone in the
Security Council," Thursday, March 11, 1999.
64. U.S. Department of State, Decision Memo for NSC Deputies Committee, August 24,
1999, in documents collected for the General Accounting Office, UN Peacekeeping-
Executive Branch Consultation.
65. BBC News Online Network, World: Africa, "Nigerian troops announce Sierra Leone
pullout" (Accessed January 28,
2007).
66. See McGreal, Chris, "Sierra Leone peace force accused of sabotage," The Guardian, 9
September 2000; and Africa Studies Center, University of Pennsylvania, "IRIN Special
report on Nigeria and Peacekeeping 19990712,"
(Accessed November 5,
2006)
67. The memo also reminded the NSC that the UN needed to be clear whether this mission
was peacekeeping or peace enforcement. U.S. Department of Defense, Decision Memo to
NSC Peacekeeping Core, January 14, 2000, in documents collected for the General
Accounting Office, UN Peacekeeping- Executive Branch Consultation.


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A Question of Intervention I 31


68. U.S. Department of State, Round the World Briefing for Senate Foreign Relations
Committee, March 12, 1999, in documents collected for the General Accounting Office,
UN Peacekeeping- Executive Branch Consultation.
69. U.S. Congress, House, International Relations Committee, Subcommittee on Africa,
Testimony of Assistant Secretary of State, Susan Rice, "Prospects for Peace in Sierra
Leone," March 23, 1999, 106th Cong. 1st Session, (Washington, D.C.: State Department,
1999).
70. Confidential Interview.
71. U.S. Department of State, Notification Letter for Senate Foreign Relations Committee,
January 24, 2000, in documents collected for the General Accounting Office, UN
Peacekeeping- Executive Branch Consultation.
72. U.S. Department of Defense, Info Memo to NSC Peacekeeping Core Group, March 21,
2000, in documents collected for the General Accounting Office, UN Peacekeeping-
Executive Branch Consultation. And The United Nations, Department of Peacekeeping,
"Sierra Leone, UNAMSIL Fact and Figures"
(Accessed February 7,
2007).
73. By May 17, UNAMSIL's troops stood at 9,251The UNAMSIL mission was due to reach
its full troop strength of 11,100
74. U.S. Department of State, Round the World Briefing for the Senate Foreign Relations
Committee, December 3, 1999, in documents collected for the General Accounting
Office, UN Peacekeeping- Executive Branch Consultation.
75. See Beech, Michael F., 'Mission Creep': A Case Study in U.S. Involvement in Somalia.
Fort Lawrence, Kansas: Army Command and General Staff College, May 1996.
76. U.S. Department of State, Notification Letter for Senate Foreign Relations Committee,
January 24, 2000, in documents collected for the General Accounting Office, UN
Peacekeeping- Executive Branch Consultation.
77. U.S. Department of State, Notification Letter for Senate Foreign Relations Committee,
May 18, 2000, in documents collected for the General Accounting Office, UN
Peacekeeping- Executive Branch Consultation.
78. CNN, "More U.N. personnel taken hostage in Sierra Leone: Security Council holding
closed-door meeting," May 4, 2000,
(Accessed March 25,
2004).
79. Confidential Interview with State Department Official.
80. Defense wanted the USUN mission to ask the UNDPKO tough questions: Was this the
best way to support the West African states and the British? Was the force going to be
the UN or a multinational force? Defense once again preferred the green helmet
approach. Furthermore, who was going to pay for all this? There were also concerns
over Congress, and whether they could support the mission. U.S. Department of
Defense, Info Memo for NSC Deputies Committee, May 5, 2000; U.S. Department of
Defense, Info Memo for NSC Deputies Committee May 7, 2000; U.S. Department of
Defense, Decision Memo for Principals Committee, May 8, 2000. U.S. Department of


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32 I Cook


Defense, Info Memo for Deputies Committee, May 11, 2000, in documents collected for
the General Accounting Office, UN Peacekeeping- Executive Branch Consultation.
81. U.S. Department of State, Notification Letter for Senate Foreign Relations Committee,
May 18, 2000, in documents collected for the General Accounting Office, UN
Peacekeeping- Executive Branch Consultation.
82. Ibid.
83. U.S. Department of State, Discussion Paper for NSC Peacekeeping Core group, October
14, 1999, in documents collected for the General Accounting Office, UN Peacekeeping-
Executive Branch Consultation.
84. Robert C. Orr, Interview by Author, tape recording.
85. BBC News, "Sankoh barred from poll." 28 March 2002.
Accessed March 13, 2003.
86. The United Nations, Department of Peacekeeping, UN Mission in Sierra Leone,
"Overview,"
(Accessed February 7, 2007).
87. U.S. Department of State, Notification Letter for Senate Foreign Relations Committee,
May 18, 2000, in documents collected for the General Accounting Office, UN
Peacekeeping- Executive Branch Consultation.
88. See Callahan, Patrick. "Realism, Injustice, and War" Review of Justice and the Genesis of
War by David A. Welch, in Mershon International Studies Review 38, no. 2 (Oct., 1994):
pp. 271-273.
89. U.S Department of State, Mission to the UN. Ambassador Richard C. Holbrooke, United
States Permanent Representative to the United Nations. "Statement in the Fifth
Committee of the General Assembly on the UN Peacekeeping Scale of Assessments,"
October 3, 2000.
90. The United Nations, Department of Peacekeeping, UN Mission in Sierra Leone,
Overview.
91. For the international reporting of the UN mission in Sierra Leone please see: The
Tribune in India, "Clashes Break out in Freetown," 9, May 2000.
(Accessed January 17,
2007); People's Daily, "UN Peace Efforts in Africa Threatened in Sierra Leone," May 11,
2000
(Accessed January 17, 2007); and Global Security.org, "Africa: Sierra Leone Poses
'Seminal Event' For UN" Peacekeeping,

(Accessed January 17, 2006).
92. 92 CNN.com, World, "Officials praise U.N. action to free Sierra Leone peacekeepers,"

(Accessed January 17, 007).
93. Grieco, Joseph M. "Anarchy and the Limits of Cooperation: A Realist Critique of the
Newest Liberal Institutionalism" International Organization, 42, no. 3 (1988): pp. 485-
507.


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A Question of Intervention I 33


94. Hentz, James Jude, "Reconceptualizing US Foreign Policy: Regionalism, Economic
development and Instability in Southern Africa." In Africa's Challenge to International
Relations Theory, ed. Kevin C. Dunn and Timothy M. Shaw (New York: Palgrave, 2001):
p. 185
95. Legro, Jeffrey and Andrew Moravcsik. "Is Anybody Still a Realist?" International
Security 24, no. 2, (1999): pp. 5-55.
96. Farah, Douglas. "Al Qaeda Cash Tied to Diamond Trade." Washington Post, 2
November 2001.
97. Clark, John F. "Realism, Neo-Realism and Africa's International relations in the Post
Cold War Era."
98. Hentz, James Jude, "Reconceptualizing US Foreign Policy: Regionalism, Economic
development and Instability in Southern Africa." In Africa's Challenge to International
Relations Theory, ed. Kevin C. Dunn and Timothy M. Shaw (New York: Palgrave, 2001)
99. Clark, p. 91.
100. Ibid. pp. 94-95.
101. Mahmud, Sakah, "IR Theory and International Sanctions." In Africa's Challenge
to International Relations Theory, ed. Kevin C. Dunn and Timothy M. Shaw (New York:
Palgrave, 2001).
102. Ibid. p. 141.
103. Keohane and Nye, p. 266.
104. Mandelbaum, Michael. "Foreign Policy as Social Work." Foreign Affairs 75, no. 1,
(1996): pp. 16-32.
105. Smith, Tony. "In Defense of Intervention." Foreign Affairs 73, no. 6 (1994): pp.
34-36.
106. Hayashi, Hikaru. "Collective Conflict Management: An Alternative International
Security System" [Accessed January 17, 2007.
107. The United Nations, Department of Peacekeeping, UN Mission in Sierra Leone,
"Overview,"
108. Africa Elections Database, Elections in Sierra Leone,

(Accessed February 6, 2007).
109. The United Nations, Department of Peacekeeping, "UN Mission in Sierra Leone
Fact sheet 2: Elections,"
(Accessed,
February 7, 2007).

Acknowledgement: The author would like to thank the anonymous reviewers for their
suggestions; particularly the link between constructivism and liberal institutionalism.

Reference Style: The following is the suggested format for referencing this article: Christopher
R. Cook, "A Question of Intervention: American Policymaking in Sierra Leone and the Power of
Institutional Agenda Setting," African Studies Quarterly 10, no.l: (2008) [online] URL:
http://africa.ufl.edu/asq/vl0/v10ilal.htm


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African Studies Quarterly I Volume 10, Issue 1 I Spring 2008


Comparative Perspectives on the Rehabilitation of Ex-Slaves

and Former Child Soldiers with Special Reference to Sudan

RANDALL FEGLEY


Abstract: Despite the January 2005 Comprehensive Peace Agreement, reconstruction of
southern Sudan remains a daunting task, which limited resources and unlimited
suspicions may derail or delay. Among myriad issues facing agencies and their client
communities are the problems of assisting children traumatized by the brutal legacies of
Sudan's first half century of independence. Given the length of Sudan's conflicts, few
have experienced a "normal" childhood. Furthermore, the psychological and social
aspects of rehabilitation have only been examined recently. This article tabulates the
successes and failures of governmental and non-governmental programs rehabilitating
former slaves, many of whom were or are children, and child soldiers, many of whom
are now adults. It compares activities in Sudan to programs in other parts of Africa
(Angola, Ethiopia, Ghana, Liberia, Mozambique, Sierra Leone and Uganda) and beyond
(Afghanistan, India, Sri Lanka and the United Arab Emirates). Applying these
comparisons in the absence of long-term assessments, the author endeavors to determine
pitfalls to be avoided and best practices to be followed.

Historical Context

Most ancient forms of forced servitude sought to absorb conquered peoples and avoid their
reintegration into previous cultures. But the rise of profit-driven mass slavery in Imperial Rome,
Ottoman Turkey, and later the Americas, raised new issues, as slaveholders had little desire to
integrate chattels into their societies. The Trans-Atlantic slave trade created an easily
distinguishable class to clarify socio-economic divisions. The removal of Africans from their
homelands and the disruption of their cultural patterns without absorption into their masters'
societies generated complex problems reflected in contemporary forms of slavery elsewhere. As
defined in international conventions, all forms of slavery entail loss of control over one's labor
and movement for non-criminal reasons to another without pay, usually involving ownership
for permanent or unclear terms of service.'
In the two centuries following the abolition of slavery in the British Empire, legal
emancipation and economic assistance, particularly the provision of land, jobs and other
resources to allow the development of new livelihoods, were assumed to be all that was
necessary for ex-slaves to adjust to their new status. These assumptions guided the workings of
America's post-Civil War Freedmen's Bureau and the establishment of freed slave communities


Randall Fegley is assistant professor of history and politics and coordinator of Global Studies at Pennsylvania State
University's Berks Campus. Having lived in Sudan from 1980 to 1984, he specializes in African societies' recovery
from mass trauma, especially in Sudan, Rwanda, Uganda and Equatorial Guinea. A life member of the Sudan Studies
Association, he has served on the SSA's board of directors and as a conference host.

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University of Florida Board of Trustees, a public corporation of the State of Florida; permission is hereby granted for individuals
to download articles for their own personal use. Published by the Center for African Studies, University of Florida.
ISSN: 2152-2448






36 I Fegley


in Sierra Leone, Liberia and Fernando Po. However, problems were immediately evident. The
American formula of "forty acres and a mule" proved unrealistic. Such approaches are still
evident in Mauritania's El Hor movement which has campaigned for the enforcement of anti-
slavery laws, land reform, and the formation of agricultural cooperatives since the 1970s.2
Over the past two hundred years, great attention has been placed on children's issues.
Exactly what the numbers and roles of children were in early slavery and slave trading are
sketchy. As anti-slavery crusades and anti-child labor campaigns emerged in the early 19th
century, western societies also began to make distinctions between childhood and adulthood to
an extent unknown in any other time or place. Children came to be perceived as requiring
protection from exploitative labor practices, far beyond slavery. However, by the 21st century
various forms of profit-driven bondage enslaved an estimated 27 million people worldwide,
ranging from West African chocolate slaves to Thai sex slaves to Central Asian carpet slaves.3
All of these practices involve the exploitation of children.
Following World War II, the UN Relief and Rehabilitation Administration's reintegration of
Nazi Germany's 7 million slave laborers exposed the limits of focusing only on the legal and
economic status of former slaves. The American civil rights movement emphasized slavery's
profound long-term effects. British sociologist Kevin Bales would later argue the mental bonds
of slavery are at least as strong as physical force.4 Hence in the last sixty years, a variety of
initiatives developed to address the unanswered psychological, social and cultural needs and
complex dilemmas facing ex-slaves. These solutions differ from culture to culture and vary
according to the proportion of a slave's life under servitude. Common to these programs is the
emphasis on meeting ex-slaves' immediate needs for medical care, improved nutrition, and
time to rest and define what their changed status means. For those who have known only
slavery, this can take a long time. Former slaves require education and reorientation of their
skills. Their one advantage is that they know how to work and given opportunities to work for
themselves, often rapidly achieve a measure of economic stability.

THE SUDANESE SITUATION

Sudan has one of the longest known histories of human bondage.5 Ancient Kush, medieval
Nubia, and numerous periods of foreign rule bear witness to widespread slavery and slave
trading. Unlike most forms of servitude outside of the Middle East, early Sudanese slaving
included many destined for military service.6 The ages of such slaves are seldom known.
Undoubtedly many were ancient equivalents of child soldiers. Mass profit-driven slavery dates
from Sudan's 1820 invasion by the Ottoman Turks who imposed heavy taxes, paid in slaves.
Conquest by the British in 1898 ended this institutionalized slavery, but the replacement of
forced labor with wage labor proved difficult.7 Slavery or equivalent variations of bonded labor
continued in isolated areas. When independence came in 1956, the memory of slavery was still
recent and loomed large in the consciousness of both those who had benefited and those who
had been victimized. Increasingly polarized ethnic and religious differences between north and
south resulted. Centered on Khartoum, northern political dominance of Sudan was
characterized by oppression and neglect.8 Many northerners still refer to southerners as abeed
(slaves).


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Rehabilitation of Ex-Slaves and Former Child Soldiers I 37


Not surprisingly, a half-century of civil war promoted an upsurge in slavery as a tool of
oppression. By the mid-1990s, more than two million people were displaced from the south and
Nuba Mountains to the north. While most fled the conflict of their own accord, some were
clearly abducted as slaves. Raids by government-backed muraheleen militias captured Nuba
from South Kordofan and Dinka from the Bahr El Ghazal and Upper Nile. Held in bondage and
often physically and sexually abused, abductees were forced to herd cattle, fetch water, work
fields, dig wells or do housework. Some had their hamstring muscles cut to prevent their
escape.
In the Sudanese context, distinctions between slaves, child soldiers and street children are
fluid rather than mutually exclusive.9 The government, SPLA and SSIA forcibly or deceptively
recruited underage boys into their ranks. Many street children and others who were displaced
found themselves exploited. Some demobilized child soldiers became street children as a result
of poverty. Many became adults by the time of their demobilization. All totaled, tens of
thousands were coerced into servitude and denied basic rights. Even more found soldiering,
begging, prostitution and menial labor the only means to survive the oppressive poverty
characterizing most of Sudan.
While Sudanese culture may conceptualize childhood differently than Western societies,
the legal obligations of governments in Khartoum are clear. Sudan acceded to the International
Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights on 18 March 1986, the International
Covenant on Civil and Political Rights on 18 March 1986, and ratified the UN Convention on
the Rights of the Child on 3 August 1990. Though Sudan's 1991 Criminal Code does not
specifically prohibit trafficking in persons, its constitution prohibits slavery and forced labor.
Sudan has ratified the Slavery Convention and other international instruments banning slavery.
However, the Khartoum regime has not enforced its own laws against kidnapping, assault and
forced labor. Dismissing criticism and claiming it has little control over hostage-taking by rival
groups, Sudanese leaders have denied the findings of numerous reports documenting slavery,
but acknowledged that abductions occurred.10
One important report was that of the International Eminent Persons Group, which
emerged from the mediation efforts of former U.S. Senator and Special Envoy for Sudan John
Danforth. Led by American Penn Kemble of Freedom House, this eight-person team included
U.S. Ambassador George Moose and representatives from France, Italy, Norway and Britain,
supported by Canadian, British and American technical experts. One of four confidence-
building measures agreed by both sides was cooperation in studying the issues of "slavery,
abductions and forced servitude."" The group interviewed scores of individuals in northern
and southern Sudan and Kenya. Identifying slavery as "one of a series of continuing human
rights abuses in Sudan," its 55-page report concluded that an upsurge in abductions and related
human rights abuses since 1983 met the international definition of slavery. The report argued
that the situation was not a continuation of traditional practices beyond government control, as
explained by Sudanese officials, but a direct consequence of militia activities encouraged by
successive governments in Khartoum. Most of the report's findings were aimed at Khartoum,
but the group also expressed concern over abductions and other human rights abuses
committed by SPLA forces, noting the absence of democratic institutions and practices in all
parts of the country.


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38 I Fegley


Another damning investigation was carried out by Jok Madut Jok and John Ryle of the Rift
Valley Institute and resulted in the Sudan Abductee Database.12 Following an eighteen-month
field investigation in seven SPLA-controlled counties of Northern Bahr-el-Ghazal and
contiguous parts of Abyei district, their survey produced an impressive record with the full
names and identifying details of 12,000 people violently abducted in over 2,000 raids on Dinka,
Luo and Fertit communities by militias operating out of government-controlled areas between
1983 and 2002. More than 5,000 people were reportedly killed in these raids. Over half of the
recorded abductees were under 18. Most were males. Over 11,000 remain unaccounted for. The
worst case was found in Aweil West County where 101 adults and children were abducted from
the village of Ajok in a single week in 1999. However, one weakness of both the Sudan
Abductee Database and the report of the International Eminent Persons Group are their
geographical limitations. The total number impacted by slavery is much higher than the figures
found in these reports, which though well-researched, detailed and important, deal only with
the northwestern quarter of SPLM-controlled areas.
In June 2003, the UN Human Rights Commission's Working Group on Contemporary
Forms of Slavery issued a report, noting that slaveryer, otherwise referred to as abductions and
forced labor, remains a reality in Sudan."13 The UN Special Rapporteur on Sudan reported to
the commission that "in spite of some new commitments, so far human rights abuses have not
decreased neither in the north nor in southern Sudan and the overall human rights situation has
not improved significantly." He added that raids and abductions were continuing and that the
government had not clearly condemned abductions and forced labor. To the surprise and
disappointment of many, the commission voted not to extend his mandate in 2004.
Numerous organizations have been involved in slave redemption in Sudan, which received
a surge of press coverage at the very beginning of the 21st century. Accounts of ex-slaves' lives
became best-selling books.14 However, not as much attention was given to healing the wounds
of bondage. Several church groups and Canadian Aid for Southern Sudan offer educational and
vocational training for former slaves. Ongoing instability, insufficient resources and the scale of
Sudanese slavery have made the effects of many programs unclear.
Nowhere is the complexity of slave reintegration more evident than in the workings of the
Sudanese government's Commission for the Eradication of Abduction of Women and Children
(CEAWC), which seeks to identify, retrieve and reintegrate abducted persons and train those
involved in this process.15 CEAWC was founded by the Sudanese government in May 1999
following widespread international criticism.16 Its operations have been dogged by lack of
agreed standardized procedures, coordination, planning and trained personnel. Its tracing,
documentation and reunification activities have been insufficient due to limited access to
affected areas and lack of resources, such as transport, food, water, medical care, tools for
cultivation, shelter, and structures for exchanging information and messages. CEAWC's policy
has been to return everyone identified as abducted to their places of origin without assessing
individual circumstances. This has led to serious problems.
Based on interviews and casework, UNICEF and other agencies believe that a significant
number of returned abductees were not voluntary.17 Most slaves are of Dinka origin, abducted
into the North's Arabic-speaking, Muslim culture. Some required counseling as a result of
brutal treatment, while others were reluctant to leave their present situations for uncertain


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Rehabilitation of Ex-Slaves and Former Child Soldiers I 39


futures. The offspring of women subjected to forced marriages or concubinage generated
disputes over parental rights. Difficulties resulted as a consequence of female genital mutilation,
practiced in northern Sudan, but not among the Dinka. Some abductees were encouraged to
return by misinformation about destinations and available services. Separated from their
families and homes for years, many have little or no recollection of their relatives, culture,
language or place of origin. Highly vulnerable, unaccompanied children, some of whom made
attachments to northern families who provided for their needs, were moved great distances.
The assumption that children whose families cannot be traced will be cared for by their
"community" was not adequately researched. Not surprisingly, some returnees protested with
hunger strikes or by running away.
The International Eminent Persons Group acknowledged CEAWC's establishment, but
raised questions about the government's commitment, as measured by its administrative and
financial support and cooperation with international agencies. It also criticized the Sudanese
government for not pursuing offenders. CEAWC's chairperson has the power to prosecute any
person involved in the abduction of women and children, but had not. In fact, no prosecutions
had been brought in the previous 16 years.18 The UN Special Rapporteur's report also criticized
CEAWC's slow progress. Noting that some sources described CEAWC as "massively
dysfunctional," the rapporteur pointed out that "no public statements were made in support of
CEAWC by the highest political levels" and that its claim that it could identify and reunite
11,500 cases in one year was "entirely unrealistic."19
Since 2003, fighting in Darfur has been reportedly accompanied by raids by government-
supported janjaweed militias similar to earlier muraheleen activities in the south. Despite the
2005 Comprehensive Peace Agreement, reconstruction of the south, including the return and
rehabilitation of former slaves and child soldiers, is certain to be long, hard and under-funded.
CEAWC and the Dinka Chiefs Committee estimate the number of abducted women and
children to be 14,000, while UNICEF and Save the Children put the total number between
10,000 and 17,000. Other estimates claim as high as 100,000 individuals are enslaved.20 Given the
issues facing Sudan, a comparative study of programs elsewhere and analysis of their successes
and difficulties is necessary.

EX-SLAVE ISSUES

In 2005, the International Labour Organization reported that children represent a higher
proportion of forced laborers in Africa than in other parts of the world.21 However, other parts
of the world have seen an upsurge in slavery and some Asian programs offer models and
practices worth mention.
One of the most experienced rehabilitation agencies is the South Asian Coalition on Child
Servitude-Bachpan Bachao Andolan (SACCS-BBA).22 Founded in 1980 to oppose child labor, it
pioneered slave rehabilitation in India. Its rescue operations freed over 55,000 children in a 25-
year period. Its multi-faceted rehabilitation program includes social education to promote
human rights, responsibility and accountability and to combat dowry abuse, child labor, child
marriage and corruption; conventional education to provide reading, writing and mathematical
skills, cultural pride and a sense of unity and to promote health, personal hygiene and etiquette;


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40 I Fegley


and vocational training for those over age 14. Sensitizing parents, children, employers and
educational, labor, political and religious groups about child labor issues, SACCS spearheaded
campaigns to promote free, compulsory education and the child labor-free Rugmark carpet
label.
In 2004, a unique rehabilitation center was established in Abu Dhabi as a result of laws
eliminating the trafficking of underage boys as camel jockeys. Run by the United Arab Emirates'
Ministry of Interior and Pakistan's Ansar Burney Welfare Trust International, the center can
provide healthcare, counseling and education for up to 400 rescued children for four to eight
weeks before repatriation to their home countries, mainly Pakistan and Bangladesh.23
Some African programs have also seen success. In isolated parts of western Ghana, trokosi,
the illegal practice of giving virgin girls to traditional priests as slaves to atone for family sins,
received international attention early in the 21st century.24 Once freed, few have skills necessary
for life outside the shrines where they had been held. Imparting skills like batik dyeing, sewing
and palm oil processing, the Ative Vocational Centre, a vocational center and training program
sponsored by the Women's Funding Network, has assisted thousands of liberated slaves, many
now grown with children of their own.25 Funded by the Australian Government, International
Needs (IN) established a residential center providing trauma counseling and vocational
training.26
In Ghana's Volta and Central regions, impoverished parents sold children to fishermen.
The International Organization for Migration registered 1,002 cases trafficked in this manner.
Boys aged 3 to 14 were forced to cast and draw fishing nets and dive to release tangled nets.
Poorly fed and never paid, many drowned. Local leaders helped win the cooperation of
fishermen, who abandoned slavery and received training and micro credits to improve fishing
techniques or engage in other livelihoods, such as cattle rearing. A small grassroots NGO, the
Association of People for Practical Life Education (APPLE) works with those freed.27 An IOM
transit center in Yeji gave 298 freed child slaves medical examinations and counseling before
they were reunited with their parents and sent to school or vocational training programs. Prior
to their release, the IOM identified the needs of parents and provided training and micro-credits
in market trading, charcoal production and restaurant ownership to help them raise their
incomes.28
However, African programs are typically limited by funding and government
commitment. Around the world every year, some 1.2 million women and girls enter the sex
trade, often involuntarily, generating US$1.5 billion annually for their exploiters. Between 30
and 35% of the victims are girls under 18 years old.29 In Africa, efforts to rehabilitate sexually
exploited juveniles have been paltry. In Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, the Addis Meraf Centre
provides shelter, medical assistance, counseling, vocational training and family reunification
support to women and children trafficked for sexual exploitation and forced domestic labor,
mostly to the Arabian Peninsula. Initially, the centre accommodated only twelve clients at a
time, though the estimated number of victims is 40,000.30
As with abolitionist movements, several Christian church organizations are in the forefront
of slave rehabilitation efforts. Save the Children addresses the health and educational needs of
impoverished and abused children worldwide, including former slaves. Others are more
focused. World Vision has developed innovative programs for rehabilitating bonded child


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Rehabilitation of Ex-Slaves and Former Child Soldiers I 41


laborers in India and supports thousands of ex-child soldiers at a rehabilitation center in Gulu,
Uganda.31 A nonprofit Catholic human rights organization, People's Recovery, Empowerment
and Development Assistance focuses on Filipino women and children exploited by demeaning
labor such as prostitution.32 In September 2005, the Ukrainian government requested church
assistance in dealing with thousands of victims of human trafficking.33

CHILD SOLDIER ISSUES

While anti-slavery activists campaigned to bring these issues to the attention of a world
that often sees their cause as a thing of the past, a new set of humanitarian concerns emerged as
conflicts brought younger and younger combatants onto the battlefield. Often accompanied by
physical force or manipulation, child soldier use had mushroomed. Due to their emotional and
physical immaturity, children are vulnerable.34 As many as 300,000 between ages 8 and 18 serve
in armed forces, both government and rebel, in 33 current or recent conflicts on four continents.
This represents three-quarters of the world's armed conflicts.35 Another 500,000 children
worldwide may be in paramilitary organizations.36 While the country with the most child
soldiers is Burma (approx. 70,000), Africa's share of child soldiers totals over 120,000.37 UNICEF
defines a child soldier as a person under age 17 who has been, or still is, active in a military unit
with a formal command structure.
Unlike the heavier, more complex weapons of the past, modern lightweight automatic
rifles are useable by children. More than anything else, this technological development has
contributed to the explosion of child soldier use in contemporary times.38 Inevitably from poor
or displaced backgrounds, child soldiers serve numerous roles as porters, cooks, guards,
messengers and spies. Lacking education, threatened and often drugged, they have been used
in suicide missions and sent into mine fields ahead of older troops. Girls are often raped and
substance abuse is encouraged.
A ground-breaking 2004 study surveying some 300 former Ugandan child soldiers found
that over half of those abducted at an average age of twelve had been seriously beaten, 77
percent had witnessed someone being killed, 39 percent had killed another person, and 39
percent had abducted other children. Over one third of the girls had been raped, while 18
percent had given birth while in captivity. Of 71 children who completed a questionnaire to
assess post-traumatic reactions, 69 showed clinically significant symptoms. Almost all had
experienced a number of traumatic events. About 6 percent had seen their mother, father,
brother or sister being killed and 2 percent had participated in killing their father, brother or
another relative. Over a third of the children had no mother; two thirds had no father.39
Child soldiers have brought new dilemmas to the conduct of war. The UNICEF standard,
which defines childhood, is alien to many societies, particularly in poor countries. As with the
issues of racism, female genital mutilation and terrorism, fundamental changes in attitudes are
necessary to truly end the problem. Conversely, western views must also be revised. In August
2000, a patrol of the Royal Irish Regiment peacekeepers in Sierra Leone was taken prisoner
when their squad commander refused to fire on child soldiers. Sixteen days later a special task
force freed the prisoners in an operation that probably killed more child soldiers than if the unit
had defended itself.40 More recently, a compound suspected of housing El Qaeda militants in


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42 I Fegley


eastern Afghanistan was bombed, killing seven boys, who with others were suspected of being
held against their will.41 The bombed site bore similarities to child soldier "recruitment" centers,
both in Afghanistan's past and in other conflicts. Had the presence of children been known the
attack would not have been authorized, but no alternatives were suggested. Pointing out that
children bear disproportionately high consequences in Africa's armed conflicts where they are
often deliberately targeted, Pearn argues for the inclusion of pediatricians in military medical
units, particularly in peacekeeping operations.42
The 1998 Machel Study contributed greatly to understanding the myriad issues facing
children in war. However, while it deals extensively with issues facing children as combatants,
orphans, and landmine victims, it does not adequately address the problems of child slavery
and forced labor as instruments of war.43 Advocating national and international assistance to
speed up the provision of health care and economic recovery, Albertyn identifies the severe
negative affects of war on children, in terms of pediatric health, health care infrastructures and
health education.44 Cunneen notes the need to recognize the complexities of contemporary
forced labor and the current restricted focus on immigration in most situations. She advocates
greater support for those leaving forced labor and more thorough study of causal factors to
reduce future vulnerability.45 Examining the case of Sierra Leone, Faulkner criticizes the
inadequacies of legal instruments to prevent military service by children and analyzes the
conditions that create underage combatants and the difficulties of rehabilitating combat-
traumatized children.46 Approaching broader legal issues, Pask questions many assumptions
about returning victims, in particular theories of habitual residents, the definition of
"unaccompanied" children and notions of what lies in their "best interests." Recognizing the
unique problems of refugees and displaced persons, she demonstrates the need to settle issues
regarding jurisdiction, selection of decision makers, processes of decision making, and
representation of children and their interests.47
As humanitarian agencies campaigned to halt the recruitment of children and demobilize
and rehabilitate those forced to serve, they succeeded in altering the climate regarding child
recruitment. As in the case of Sudan's slaves, testimony by victims proved to be powerful
whether in writing or in appearances before world bodies.48 Exacting pledges from various
governments and armed groups, activists succeeded in developing new international legal
standards where none has existed. Between 1998 and 2000, three important treaties were
adopted, including the 1998 Rome Statute for the International Criminal Court, defining the
military conscription, enlistment, or use of children under age of fifteen as a war crime; the 1999
Worst Forms of Child Labor Convention (Convention 182), which prohibits the forced
recruitment of children; and the 2000 Optional Protocol to the Convention on the Rights of the
Child, which established eighteen as the minimum age for participation in armed conflict.49 On
22 April 2004, the UN Security Council adopted Resolution 1539, calling on members to "end
the impunity and to prosecute those responsible for genocide, crimes against humanity, war
crimes and other egregious crimes penetrated against children." It called on all to "prepare
within three months concrete time-bound action plans to halt recruitment and use of children in
violation of the international obligations applicable to them."50 However, in practice child
soldier use often fails to elicit action by the international community, beyond general statements
of condemnation. Human Rights Watch found no evidence of sanctions imposed on any


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Rehabilitation of Ex-Slaves and Former Child Soldiers I 43


government or armed group for using child soldiers.51 In most situations, recruiters are rarely, if
ever, prosecuted by governments. Given this pattern of impunity, many will continue to seek
out children, who are easily lured or intimidated.52

DEMOBILIZATION, REHABILITATION AND REINTEGRATION

In the last two decades, the rehabilitation of child soldiers revealed dilemmas which are the
subject of a growing body of scholarly and clinical literature. Child soldiers experience bizarre
twists of slave-like powerlessness and armed empowerment. They have often been abducted
and are subject to others but are armed, have committed violent acts, and usually form a high
degree of camaraderie with others in their same predicament. Substance abuse and severe post-
traumatic stress are more evident than in other types of exploited juveniles.53 Slaves, on the
other hand, are subject to others and feel little empowerment of any sort. In returning to their
communities of origin, unfamiliarity may result with either the victim (sometimes in the case of
ex-slaves) or the community (often in the case of ex-child soldiers) rejecting the other.
Two approaches emerged to what agency jargon dubbed "DDR" (disarmament,
demobilization and reintegration). Those advocating programs that separate child soldiers from
other exploited juveniles (the "segregate" position) note the unique psychological and social
needs of child soldiers and their often violent nature which may present danger to others.
Preferring programs for war-affected children in general (the "integrate" position), the UN and
much of the NGO community believe that separation decreases the potential for successful
reintegration. This position was expressed in the UN's 2001 Appeal.54 "Child welfare agencies
agreed to adopt a holistic approach to meeting the needs of child fighters by stressing psycho-
social, physical and economic reintegration."55
Having supervised demobilization programs in several countries, Jean-Claude Legrand,
senior UNICEF adviser on the protection of children in armed conflict, advocates going beyond
"traditional demobilization programs." Legrand sees that creating a "rupture" with military life
is essential. Hence churches, NGOs and local civil associations run centers, in which military
staff is not present, such as the rehabilitation program run by the British Catholic aid agency
CAFOD in Sierra Leone.56 Legrand notes that stronger efforts must be made to monitor and
prevent recruitment. Alternatives to military service are essential. Without access to education
or vocational training, children are much more likely to return to military service. Reunifying
separated children with family members also reduces recruitment risks and facilitates
reintegration.57 Effective programs also include sensitizing children, families and community
leaders to international norms, the negative impacts of child soldiering and local risk factors
encouraging recruitment.58 Birth registration, to ensure that children can produce proof of age,
is vital. Increased security around schools is needed to ensure the safe pursuit of education.59
By late 2003, UNICEF demobilization and rehabilitation programs for former child soldiers
were operating in Colombia, Rwanda, Sierra Leone, Somalia, Sudan, Uganda and the Congo.60
In 2004, a total of 3,998 boys, mostly aged between 14 and 17 years old, were demobilized by
UNICEF's Child Soldiers Demobilization and Reintegration Program in Afghanistan, where as
many as 30 percent of males had participated in military activities as children over more than
two decades of war.61 Serving about half of Afghanistan's estimated 8,000 child soldiers, this


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44 I Fegley


effort provided each demobilized child with a package of support, starting with registration in a
database, receipt of a photo identity card, medical and psychosocial assessments and briefing
sessions on mine risk education and reintegration options, including return to education,
enrolment in vocational training programs or participation in income generation schemes like
sheep or poultry farming. Other programs were begun in Burundi, Liberia, and Sri Lanka.62
With few exceptions, these programs were available to only a small percentage of the
children who needed them. To make matters worse, assistance has often been delayed. The
UNICEF program in Afghanistan was established almost two years after the conflict had ended.
Between July 2001 and November 2002, only 280 child soldiers were released from government
forces in the Congo, where insufficient resources precluded implementation of a demobilization
decree issued in June 2000.63 In Angola, a peace agreement was reached in April 2002, but 7,000
to 11,000 child soldiers were excluded from demobilization programs, perceived to be an adult
concern, and no special rehabilitation services were set up. Programs were virtually nonexistent
in some key countries, including Burma, Nepal and the Philippines.64
The best funded agencies are inevitably from the developed world. Much criticism has
been leveled at their programs which involve foreign intervention in complex local conflicts.65
Concerned with appealing more to donors than clients, international agencies are often under-
scrutinized. Lacking local knowledge and seldom speaking the language of those they are
trying to help, expensive foreign experts often bypass local concerns and wisdom. The naivete
of expatriate personnel can lead to misuse of resources earmarked for rehabilitation by warring
parties, local elites or young men, who were never child soldiers but enlist in programs to get
material goods or training. In the eastern Congo, parents sent children to armed groups for a
few months to receive program support including school enrollment, vocational training and
starter kits for income generation activities.66 Hence assistance may actually encourage
enlistment or corrupt use of programs. Problems like these could be reduced by closer ties
between agencies and local communities. Where local conditions preclude community control,
programs are best run by local NGOs with local expertise. However, they inevitably lack
funding, organization, technology and recognition.
Rehabilitated child soldiers often face hostility from their communities of origin because of
acts they have perpetrated. In its 20 year rebellion against the Ugandan government, the Lord's
Resistance Army (LRA) abducted at least 30,000 children, some as young as eight years old, to
work as soldiers and laborers.67 Constituting 90 percent of its force, children are severely
brutalized. Many have been forced to commit atrocities in their own communities which lead to
their being stigmatized and unable to return home. "Since these former child soldiers are often
blamed and stigmatized for the countless atrocities they committed--mostly against their own
people--their psychological recovery and reintegration can be seriously complicated."68
Ruaudel and Timpson decry the insufficient attention given to the reconciliation of children
abducted by LRA rebels. They claim that the process of integrating former fighters into their
communities is proceeding poorly and that the willingness of communities to accept large
numbers of fighters remains untested, especially for women returning with children born in
captivity. Similarly, in Sierra Leone, half of 66 girls demobilized in 2001 had babies.69 Ruaudel
and Timpson emphasize the need to not only involve communities but provide programs to
develop communities and avoid engendering resentment of the returnees.70 In 2002, a British


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Rehabilitation of Ex-Slaves and Former Child Soldiers I 45


charity, SOS Children established a children's program in Gulu, Uganda.71 Former LRA child
soldiers, abandoned children, and AIDS and war orphans are provided with basic necessities,
food, and medical and psychological support. The program's goal is the re-unification of the
children with their families, with community awareness education, reunification rituals and
ongoing clinical support. However, large numbers of traumatized children have no
communities to return to. Hence nine caregivers live with 117 children in a temporary "village"
that is likely to become permanent. SOS Children runs similar communities in Kakiri and
Entebbe. Different circumstances led to similar situations in Liberia, where programs saw
numerous drop-outs and difficulties determining the status of self-defining unaccompanied
children, 40% of whom were not reunified with families and remained transit shelters for long
periods.72
Studies in Mozambique revealed problems with Western approaches to healing victims of
psychological trauma.73 In many cases, those involved want to start fresh after ritual
procedures, which do not emphasize recalling the traumas suffered, as western-style counseling
would. Immediately after the end of hostilities, a group of Mozambican child soldiers was
placed in a recuperation centre where child psychologists worked with them. This proved
unsuccessful because the children were removed from their communities. An exclusive focus on
individual "clients" ignored family and community roles in the healing process. The ex-soldiers
were asked to talk about painful memories as a way of healing. But recalling traumatic
experiences verbally was not as effective as more experiential traditions of coping and
reconciliation. Local society emphasizes the importance of ancestral spirits and other
supernatural forces in the causation and healing of mental health problems. Therefore, the
reintegration of child soldiers must begin with community rituals.
There are different types of rituals. Some are addresses to those who have participated in
the war but did not kill; others are particularly directed to those who killed other people. The
latter are more complex and require the expertise of a traditional healer. It is believed that the
spirits of the dead can make the killer become insane. In all these rituals is the idea of pollution
that the children bring to their homes and villages. They have to be cleansed as soon as possible
to be able to socialize freely with relatives and friends.
Another important issue that comes out of these cases is the idea of symbolically breaking
with the past: the washing of the body in the river so that the dirt of the war would go away;
the burning of the hut and the clothes brought from the war. It is interesting to see the use of a
chicken in the rituals (the blood for cleansing, and the meat for the sacrificial meal shared with
the ancestors), and of herbal remedies to cleanse the body internally (inhaling and drinking)
and externally (bathing and rubbing).74
In the case of Uganda, former LRA child soldiers have ritually broken with their violent
pasts by stepping on eggs in public reintegration ceremonies.75 Acholi society has several older
but similar mechanisms.76 Performed in public ceremonies after a mediated process has brought
two parties together, mato oput is the consumption of a bitter drink by perpetrators and their
victims or victims' families. Offenders accept responsibility, ask for forgiveness and make
reparation to their victims. Another Acholi custom, gomo tong (the bending of spears) ritualizes
the ending of hostilities between groups. Both of these rituals are preceded by discussion and
"truth-telling." Similar ceremonies are found in Sierra Leone and elsewhere.77 Honwana notes,


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In these cases to separate body and mind does not work because individuals are seen as a
whole body/mind composite and as part and parcel of a collective body (their wrongdoings can
affect their families as well). This explains the direct involvement of the family (both the living
and the dead, the ancestors) in the cleansing and healing process. The ancestors are believed to
play a powerful role in protecting their relatives against evil and misfortune.
The performance of these rituals and the politics that precede them transcend the particular
individuals) concerned and involved the collective body. The family and friends are involved,
and the ancestral spirits are also implicated in mediating for a good outcome. This shows how
the living has to acknowledge the dead (the past), both the ancestors and the dead of the war, to
carry on with their lives. The rituals were aimed at asking for forgiveness, appeasing the souls
of the dead, and preventing any future afflictions retaliationss) from the spirits of the dead, in
this way serving the links with that "bad" past.78
In all cases, those involved in reintegration ceremonies recognize that much needs to be
done after the rituals. Some findings suggest that labor-intensive public works projects are
extremely effective in reintegrating former combatants in general.79 By contributing to local
communities, child soldiers could reduce the stigma attached to their pasts through such
projects. Advancing a number of issues regarding appropriate therapies for war-traumatized
children, Parson sees Western models of intervention as useful but localized, culturally-
appropriate community techniques as better.80 Conducted by Columbia University and Save the
Children, the Mozambique Child Soldier Life Outcome Study showed "that former child
soldiers who are provided rehabilitative services and accepted back into their families and
communities will become productive, responsible and caring adults."81 This qualitative and
quantitative study traced 39 captured or escaped child soldiers from their 1988 arrival at the
Lhanguene Rehabilitation Center in Maputo, where they received six months of psychological
and physical rehabilitation, through a two year period of additional assistance after they
returned to their families/communities to a point when all were adults sixteen years after
returning home. Again rehabilitation was linked to community acceptance.82
One weakness of most programs is the exclusion of girls from demobilization,
rehabilitation and reintegration processes. This is due to multiple factors. Girls who do not
serve in combat roles are often overlooked. Some are reluctant to participate in demobilization
programs because of the stigma of being associated with military forces, particularly when
sexual abuse is common.83 Furthermore, much evidence suggests that many, in some cases
most, female abductees are never registered and continue to be held in captivity.84
The disruptive financial patterns of agencies dependent on donations and "soft money"
grants for their funding also influence rehabilitation programs. For example, in May 2003 U.S.
Labor Secretary Elaine Chao announced a $13-million initiative to help educate, rehabilitate and
reintegrate ex-child soldiers worldwide.85 Yet, despite the popularity of the cause and the
fanfare accompanying it, the very next month, a UNICEF rehabilitation program in Sierra Leone
was forced to suspend operations temporarily when it ran out of cash.86 Such situations are not
unique and the financial constraints of many agencies limit the scale of their operations.
What is required in the course of rehabilitation varies according to the nature of a child's
experience. The needs of an Acholi child soldier brought to Kampala differ greatly from
Ghana's trokosi slave girls whose families of origin might be in the immediate neighborhood of


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Rehabilitation of Ex-Slaves and Former Child Soldiers I 47


the shrines where they are held. However, these cases still exhibit a clarity dividing child
soldiers and slaves not found in Sudan, where discerning and treating the problems of different
types of exploited children with different experiences is a prime concern.

Rehabilitation and Reintegration in Sudan

The current status of Sudanese child soldiers can best be described as dismal. According to
a UN report, government armed forces, the Sudan People's Liberation Army, pro-government
janjaweed militias and anti-government Darfuri rebels have all used child soldiers extensively.87
Recruitment into Sudan's national army has taken forms indistinguishable from abduction.88
UNICEF has proved to be the only agency capable of dealing with mass demobilizations. With
the signing of the Comprehensive Peace Agreement, it expanded its child soldier rehabilitation
activities in the south. However, little has happened in Darfur.89
Not surprisingly, the most significant reductions in child soldier use have accompanied the
end of conflicts. From May 2001 through January 2002, the UN mission in Sierra Leone
demobilized almost 48,000 combatants, including 6,845 child soldiers, from government and
rebel forces. 90 However, re-recruitment of former child soldiers occurs frequently wherever
demobilization is attempted during a continuing armed conflict. In Sri Lanka, the rebel Tamil
Tigers pledged to UNICEF to cease recruitment of child soldiers. However, evidence suggests
that abduction has continued.91 Southern Sudan is another example. In 2000, the SPLA made a
similar commitment to UNICEF. The following year, over 3,500 children were demobilized
from SPLA forces and reunified with their families in high profile ceremonies.92 Some accused
the SPLA of window-dressing to gain international support. Indeed, by 2003, the
demobilization process stagnated and 7,000-8,000 children remained with SPLA forces. Some
recruitment continued and cases of re-recruitment of children previously demobilized emerged.
Similar situations were reported in the Democratic Republic of Congo, Sierra Leone and
Uganda.93 Since fighting ceased, the SPLA has more effectively demobilized child soldiers, 242
in Tonj and over a thousand in Akobo in July 2006.94 According to UNICEF, between 2001 and
2006 more than 15,000 children have been disarmed, demobilized and returned to their
communities from SPLA ranks.95 Meanwhile, no efforts have been made to stem the use of child
soldiers in Sudan's government forces.
One factor that makes the plight of exploited children in Sudan, Africa's largest country in
area, much worse than what has occurred in Uganda, Ghana and Mozambique, are the vast
distances over which slaves and child soldiers have been transported and therefore the vast
distances and expense which must be dealt with in the course of their rehabilitation. In 2006,
UNICEF's financial needs for reintegration operations in Sudan totaled US$22,000,000 of which
$16,500,000 were designated for southern Sudan.96 Its 2006 operations were aimed at the
disarmament, demobilization and reintegration of some 4,500 children remaining in the SPLA;
up to 12,500 associated with government and other armed forces in southern Sudan, south
Kordofan, Abyei and southern Blue Nile; and at least 500 children from regular and militia
forces in Darfur.97
However, the Sudanese situation has some positive aspects when compared to others. In
southern Sudan, returning child soldiers have seldom committed the atrocities associated with


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conflicts in Uganda, Liberia and Sierra Leone. Indeed, many have returned as heroes. This
places their situations closer to those of other exploited juveniles. On the other hand, child
soldiers in the SPLA and other rebel groups often volunteered for service, either as the only
option for survival or in response to propaganda, which permeates youth group songs, slogans
and stick drills throughout the region.98 On the government side, recruits have been inspired by
the official Islamist agenda. Hence in many cases, child soldiers are not merely victims of
abduction or economic circumstances. The fact that many were not conscripted makes them
appear not exploited, and therefore not in need of rehabilitation.
The civil war in southern Sudan ended at a time when preliminary studies of child soldier
rehabilitation programs elsewhere were available. As a result, the most serious pitfalls could be
known if not avoided. Interviews with local NGOs in Equatoria and in refugee communities in
Uganda show that some agencies have already moved away from orphanages and other models
of rehabilitation separate from local communities.99 Art and drama therapy, which have already
been brought to southern Sudan, are perceived as beneficial to all categories of exploited
children.1'0 Rituals have been a part of child soldier demobilization events since 2001.101 Unlike
the Ugandan egg-breaking ceremony, demobilized children in these ceremonies simply lay
down their arms and as a group move forward towards crowds of relatives and neighbors with
their backs to the weapons. They are welcomed home, the weapons are often destroyed and
rehabilitation begins.

Conclusions

The needs of 27 million slaves worldwide are much greater than those of 800,000 child
soldiers. But ex-slave programs suffer from lack of recognition, while child soldier programs
have had significant public exposure. One persistent problem is deep-seated attitudes in many
donor countries that slavery is a historical issue only. Nowhere is this mindset more thoroughly
debunked than in Sudan, which is currently experiencing both the freeing of slaves and
demobilization of child soldiers, two processes which interlock, but have differing needs. Yet,
while child soldier programs receive much attention, slave rehabilitation has languished.102
Given the profound, long-term impacts of slavery and war, reintegration remains problematic.
The effectiveness of virtually all rehabilitation programs remains unclear as their
development is very recent, their techniques are varied and little study has been devoted to
evaluating them. Training, alternative sources of income and other poverty reduction measures
remain important, for victims, perpetrators and their communities, as Ghanaian and Ugandan
examples show. However, such economic solutions, rooted in ex-slave rehabilitation efforts, are
only beginnings.
Training and the development of training materials are also critical. Those working with
those traumatized children require a diverse range of professional skills and expertise in
research, documentation, communication, child care, health care and social work. Yet specific
training for those rehabilitating slaves and child-soldiers is not available anywhere beyond a
handful of international agencies. One admirable attempt to remedy this problem is the
development of manuals by Save the Children Federation.103 However, local NGOs have few, if
any, training resources. Drawing on psychological, psychiatric and social work with refugees


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Rehabilitation of Ex-Slaves and Former Child Soldiers I 49


and torture and rape victims, even the most effective agencies, such as SACCS-BBA, admit that
they are inventing and adapting techniques as they go.
Slave rehabilitation programs are older, but could borrow much from the more recent, but
better funded and better documented child soldier programs. Given the severe psychological
trauma which child soldiers, juvenile rape victims and other exploited children are known to
have endured, programs seeking to rehabilitate them have tended to be therapeutic. Whereas,
ex-slave rehabilitation, which predate these approaches, has emphasized the vocational. A
broader view suggests that child soldier programs need to do more to address the vocational
needs of their clients and ex-slave programs require greater therapeutic elements. Adult and
child clients should not be mixed, even if victimization occurred when all were juveniles. Some
techniques currently used to rehabilitate child soldiers and other exploited children could be
applied to ex-slaves. Reintegrating rituals similar to those facilitating child soldier returns could
be useful in reintegrating former slaves, as rites of recognition and welcome rather than as
modes of dealing with wrongs to their communities, which ex-slaves did not commit.
Effective rehabilitation is an expensive, long-term undertaking and agencies' current
dependence on donations and soft money grants is problematic. Graga Machel has argued that
programs to assist former child soldiers should last at least three years.104 Providing basic
services to broader communities is often essential to avoid local resentment of the special
support former child soldiers are given.105 Typically of shorter duration and cheaper to run, ex-
slave programs are still very expensive for the societies where they are needed. Preparation of
affected persons and their families, particularly to promote awareness of the problems of
reintegration, is essential. Communities need to be committed to ending these problems and
dealing with their many consequences. However, comprehensive counseling of families and
communities involves high transport and personnel costs, which few programs can meet. Multi-
faceted education is also essential, as shown in the experience of SACCS-BBA.
In the best of worlds, programs working with traumatized children would differentiate
their services on the basis of their clients' ages and the nature of their experiences. Compelling
cultural and financial reasons have and will prevent this from being the reality in Sudan and
much of the world. The "integrate" approach has become the norm by choice or by force of
circumstances. Programs that deal with exploited children without distinguishing the type of
victimization can be effective. However, they eventually need to deal with their ex-child soldier
clients as perpetrators as well as victims.
Further research in many areas of this important field is sorely needed. We need to assess
the long-term impact of programs and determine what measures "success". We need to explore
culturally appropriate ways to insure that groups in conflict refrain from exploiting the weak in
their ranks. We need to explore developmental alternatives that would provide non-violent
options for children and their communities. However, numerous programs have already
revealed good practices and avoidable pitfalls. Among the shortcomings of some programs is
failure to understand local recruitment and enslavement circumstances which perpetuate
exploitation. Hence the importance of community involvement ranks above all other findings.
In most cases, local concerns are not given enough attention. Yet study after study shows that
local acceptance is vital to successful demobilization, rehabilitation and reintegration.


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Activism, reconciliation and therapy for exploited children and their now adult
counterparts cannot be delayed until assessments show a clear way. Nor can efforts wait for
changes in relationships between adults and children, and citizens and the state, in poor
countries. Any attempt to build peace in Sudan must incorporate child soldier and slave
rehabilitation and the cessation of their recruitment. Inevitably, changes in attitudes will follow,
even if slowly by Western standards. Attention to the needs of the world's children is already
centuries late in coming. The problems are too great and the needs of millions in physical and
emotional bondage are too compelling to wait.

Notes:

1. League of Nations,Slavery, Servitude, Forced Labour and Similar Institutions and Practices
Convention. Geneva: 1926, p. 1-10 and UN, Supplementary Convention on the Abolition of
Slavery, the Slave Trade and Institutions and Practices Similar to Slavery. New York: UN,
1956.
2. Human Rights Watch, Mauritania's Campaign of Terror. New York: Human Rights Watch,
1994. p. 82.
3. Bales, K., Disposable People: New Slavery in the Global Economy.Berkeley: University of
California Press, 2000 and Bales, K., Understanding Global Slavery: A Reader. Berkeley:
University of California Press, 2005.
4. Bales, K., "The Social Psychology of Modern Slavery," Scientific American. April 2002.
(www.sciam.com/article.cfm?articlelD=0005F839-CC90-1CC6-B4A8809EC588EEDF). also
Labrador.
5. Sikainga, A. A., Slaves into Workers: Emancipation and Labor in Colonial SudanAustin:
University of Texas Press, 1996; Collins, R., "The Nilotic Slave Trade: Past and Present"
in Elizabeth Savage, (ed.), Human Commodity. London: Frank Cass, 1992; Fluehr-Lobban,
C. and Rhodes, K. (eds.), Race and Identity in the Nile Valley. Trenton NJ: Red Sea Press,
2004; O'Fahey, R.S., "Slavery and the Slave Trade in Dar Fur" Journal of African History.
Vol. 14, No. 1, (1973); and Segal, R., Islam's Black Slaves. New York: Farrar, Straus,
Giroux, 2001 are the best specific historical works on slavery in Sudan.
6. Spaulding, J., "Medieval Christian Nubia and the Islamic World: A Reconsideration of
the Baqt Treaty," International Journal of African Historical Studies, Vol. XXVIII, No. 3, pp.
577-94 (1995), also Holt, P.M. and Daly, M.W., A History of the Sudan: From the Coming of
Islam to the Present Day. London: Longman, 1988.
7. Sikainga, A. A., Slaves into Workers: Emancipation and Labor in Colonial Sudan.
8. Jok, J. M., War and Slavery in Sudan. Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press, 2001;
and Johnson, D. H., The Root Causes of Sudan's Civil Wars. Oxford: James Currey, 2003.
9. Rone, J., Children of Sudan: Slaves, Street Children and Child Soldiers. Washington, DC:
Human Rights Watch, 1995.
10. Evidence appears in various sources, including Idris, A. H., Sudan's Civil War: Slavery,
Race and Formational Identities. London: Edwin Mellen Press, 2001; Anti-Slavery
International, Is There Slavery in Sudan? (London: Anti-Slavery International, 2001;
Christian Aid, The Scorched Earth: Oil and War in Sudan. London: Christian Aid, 2001;


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Rehabilitation of Ex-Slaves and Former Child Soldiers I 51


Rone, J., Children of Sudan: Slaves, Street Children and Child Soldiers; Jok, J. M., 2001, War
and Slavery in Sudan. Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press, 2001; Lobban, R.,
"Slavery in the Sudan since 1989," Arab Studies Quarterly Vol. 23, No. 2, 22 March 2001,
pp. 31-9; and Ushari, M. & Baldo S. A. B., Al Daien Massacre Slavery in Sudan.
(Khartoum: n.p., 1987).
11. International Eminent Persons Group, Report of the International Eminent Persons Group
report on Abduction and Slavery, Abduction and Forced Servitude in Sudan. Khartoum: 22
May 2002. (www.state.gov/p/af/rls/rpt/10445.htm)
12. Sudan Abduction & Slavery Project Abductee Database 2003 Report. Nairobi: Rift Valley
Institute, 2003. (www.riftvalley.net/inside/projects.htm)
13. UN Commission on Human Rights, Forced Labour and Slavery in Sudan. Geneva: 16-20
June 2003, 28th Session.
14. Two examples are Bok, F., Escape from Slavery. New York: St. Martin's, 2003 and Nazer,
M., Slave: My True Story. New York: Public Affairs, 2003.
15. El Mufti, A. et al., Briefing[s] about the Committee for the Eradication of Abduction of Women
and Children. Khartoum: CEAWC, May 1999-April 2002 and el Mufti. A., The Experience of
the Committee for the Eradication of Abduction of Women and Children (CEAWC) Sudan:
Gathering information, documentation, tracing and reunification of persons abducted
during armed conflict, Khartoum: CEAWC, January 2003.
16. Gavlak, D., "In Sudan, Childhoods of Slavery," The Christian Science Monitor. August 22,
2000 and International Eminent Persons Group, Report of the International Eminent Persons
Group report on Abduction and Slavery, Abduction and Forced Servitude in Sudan.
17. International Eminent Persons Group, Report of the International Eminent Persons Group
report on Abduction and Slavery, Abduction and Forced Servitude in Sudan, p. 33.
18. Ibid., p. 24.
19. UN Commission on Human Rights, Forced Labour and Slavery in Sudan and Ahmed El
Mufti, The Experience of the Committee for the Eradication of Abduction of Women and
Children (CEAWC) Sudan: Gathering Information, Documentation, Tracing and Reunification
of Persons Abducted During Armed Conflicts, Khartoum: CEAWC, January 2003, p. 5.
20. UN Commission on Human Rights, Forced Labour and Slavery in Sudan. Bales quotes
50,000 as a high estimate for Sudan on Free the Slaves (www.freetheslaves.net) and Anti-
Slavery International's high estimate is 100,000.
21. "Modern Slavery". BBC News, 4 April 2007.
(news.bbc.co.uk/2/shared/spl/hi/world/05/slavery/html/le.stm)
22. SACCS-BBA (www.indianngos.com/s/saccs). Among its members are the Bal Vikas
Ashram and MSEMVS (Society for Human Development and Women's Empowerment)
Free the Slaves (www.freetheslaves.net).
23. El Mufti, A. et al., Briefing[s] about the Committee for the Eradication of Abduction of Women
and Children and el Mufti. A., The Experience of the Committee for the Eradication of
Abduction of Women and Children (CEAWC) Sudan: Gathering information, documentation,
tracing and reunification of persons abducted during armed conflicts.
24. Bales, K., Disposable People: New Slavery in the Global Economy. Berkeley: University of
California Press, 2000, Hawksley, H., "Ghana's Trapped Slaves" BBC News Online


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52 I Fegley


(www.bbc.co.uk), 8 February 2001, International Organization for Migration
(www.iom.int) and Ben-Ari, Nirit "Liberating Girls from 'Trokosi' Campaign against
Ritual Servitude in Ghana". Africa Recovery, Vol.15 No.4, December 2001, p. 9.
25. Women's Funding Network (www.wfnet.org) and GlobeGiving
(www.globalgiving.com/pr/200/proj169a.html).
26. International Needs (www.in-australia.org.au).
27. Free the Slaves (www.freetheslaves.net)
28. International Organization for Migration (www.iom.int)
29. Roby, J. L., "Women and Children in the Global Sex Trade: Toward More Effective
Policy," International Social Work, Vol. 48, No. 2 (2005), p. 136-147.
30. IRIN, "Ethiopian Centre for Helping Victims of Trafficking Opens". New York: IRIN, 26
June 2004, "Addis Meraf Center Established Here for Victims of Women Trafficking"
Addis Tribune. 2 July 2004) and International Organization for Migration.
31. World Vision (www.worldvision.org).
32. PREDA (www.preda.org/home.htm).
33. Ukrainian Orthodox Church, "Government Asks Churches to Help Victims of Slave
Trade," 2005. (www.orthodoxy.org.ua/News-R_ooua.php?id+6205).
34. UNICEF (www.unicef.org/emerg/index_childsoldiers.html).
35. Coalition to Stop the Use of Child Soldiers (www.child-soldiers.org).
36. UN, "Protecting Africa's Children: The Road from Soldier Back to Child," Africa
Recovery. Vol.15, No.3, (October 2001), p. 10.
37. Malan, M., "Disarming and Demobilising Child Soldiers: The Underlying Challenges"
African Security Review. Vol. 9 No. 5/6, 2000
38. Amoa, B. D., "The Role of Small Arms in African Civil Wars" message by the Chairman
of the West Africa Action Network on Small Arms (WAANSA) and President of the
Africa Forum on Small Arms to www.pambazuka.org (21 September 2006).
39. Derluyn, I. et al., "Post-Traumatic Stress in Former Ugandan Child Soldiers" The
Lancet. Vol. 363, No. 9412, (13 March 2004) p. 861-3, p. 861-3.
40. Singer, P.W., "Caution: Children at War", Parameters. Vol. 31, 2001.
41. Abrashi, F., "Coalition air strike kills 7 boys, 'several' militants in eastern Afghanistan"
AP News Feed, June 18, 2007,
(ca.news.yahoo.com/s/capress/070618/world/afghanistan_67)
42. Pearn J., "Children and War", Journal of Paediatrics and Child Health. Vol. 39, No. 3, (April
2003). p. 166-172.
43. Machel, G., Report of the Expert of the Secretary-General, Graca Machel, on the Impact of
Armed Conflict on Children, New York: UN, 1998. Document A/51/306 and Mendelsohn,
M. & Straker G., "Child Soldiers: Psychosocial Implications of the Graca Machel / UN
Study", Peace and Conflict: Journal of Peace Psychology. Vol. 4, No. 4, (1998), p. 399-413.
44. Albertyn, R. et al., "The Effects of War on Children in Africa", Pediatric Surgery
International, Vol. 19, No. 4, June 2003. p. 227-232.
45. Cunneen, M., "Anti-Slavery International", Journal of Global Ethics. Vol. 1, No. 1, June
2005. p. 85-92.


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Rehabilitation of Ex-Slaves and Former Child Soldiers I 53


46. Faulkner, F., "Kindergarten Killers: Morality, Murder and the Child Soldier Problem",
Third World Quarterly. Vol. 22, No. 4, August 1, 2001. p. 491-504.
47. Pask, E. D., "Unaccompanied Refugee and Displaced Children: Jurisdiction, Decision-
Making and Representation," International Journal of Refugee Law. Vol. 1 No. 2, 1989. p.
199-219.
48. Beah, I., A Long Way Gone: Memoirs of a Boy Soldier. New York: Farrar, Straus & Giroux,
2007; Toosi, N., "Child Soldier Turned Writer Can't Shake Memories of Murder"
Associated Press Feed. 25 February 2007.
(www.nashuatelegraph.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20070225/BOOKS/202250341);
and UN Security Council Meeting on Children and Armed Conflict. New York: 20 November
2001. (www.unicef.org/media/media_10380.html).
49. Becker, J., Children as Weapons of War. New York: Human Rights Watch, 2004.
50. Talwar, N., "Fostering Terror: Child Soldier Crisis in Uganda," UN Chronicle. (June-
August, 2004).
51. Becker, J., Children as Weapons of War.
52. Ibid.
53. Derluyn, I. et al., "Post-Traumatic Stress in Former Ugandan Child Soldiers" The Lancet,
p. 861-3, Also Dickson-Gomez, p. 327.
54. Hansen, A., Ahouanmenou-Agueh, F., Lu'Epotu, A. L., Mull, L. D., Elkins, K., Planning
Educational Response Strategies for the Reintegration of Demobilized Child Soldiers in the
Democratic Republic of Congo Final Report. Washington DC: USAID, 31 October 2001.
55. Office of the UN Humanitarian Coordinator in Liberia, Liberia Humanitarian Situation
Report. Monrovia: Office of the UN Humanitarian Coordinator in Liberia, 3 July 1997.
No. 77 (DHAGVA 97/0240).
56. UN, "Protecting Africa's Children: The Road from Soldier Back to Child," Africa Recovery
and CAFOD (www.cafod.org.uk).
57. Becker, J., Children as Weapons of War.
58. Ibid.
59. Ibid.
60. UNICEF (www.unicef.org)
61. IRIN. "Afghanistan: UNICEF helps demobilise 4,000 child soldiers." New York: IRIN, 16
December 2004.
62. Becker, J., Children as Weapons of War.
63. Ibid.
64. Ibid.
65. Hancock, G., Lords of Poverty: The Power, Prestige, and Corruption of the International Aid
Business. Boston: Atlantic Monthly Press, 1992; Maren, M., The Road to Hell: The Ravaging
Effects of Foreign Aid and International Charity. New York: Free Press, 2002; Mills, K.,
"Sovereignty Eclipsed?: The Legitimacy of Humanitarian Access and Intervention," The
Journal of Humanitarian Assistance, June 2000 (www.jha.ac/articles/a019.htm). originally
Working Paper Number 2, Project on Multilateral Institutions and Global Security, Centre for
International and Strategic Studies, York University, March 1995; de Waal, A., Famine
Crimes: Politics & the Disaster Relief Industry in Africa. Oxford: James Currey, 1997, de


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54 I Fegley


Waal, A., Who Fights? Who Cares?: War and Humanitarian Action in Africa. Lawrenceville
NJ: Africa World Press, 2006.
66. Hansen, A., Ahouanmenou-Agueh, F., Lu'Epotu, A. L., Mull, L. D., Elkins, K., Planning
Educational Response Strategies for the Reintegration of Demobilized Child Soldiers in the
Democratic Republic of Congo Final Report. Washington DC: USAID, 31 October 2001.
67. Talwar, N., "Fostering Terror: Child Soldier Crisis in Uganda," UN Chronicle.
68. Derluyn, I. et al., "Post-Traumatic Stress in Former Ugandan Child Soldiers" The
Lancet. Vol. 363, No. 9412, 13 March 2004. p. 861-3
69. UN, "Protecting Africa's Children: The Road from Soldier Back to Child," Africa
Recovery, p. 10.
70. Ruaudel, H. and Timpson, A., Northern Uganda From a Forgotten War to an Unforgivable
Crisis The War against Children. Pretoria: Institute for Security Studies, 12 December
2005. p. 8.
71. SOS Child Soldier: Uganda Project (www.soschildrensvillages.org.uk/charity-
news/uganda-child-soldiers.htm).
72. Office of the UN Humanitarian Coordinator in Liberia, Liberia Humanitarian Situation
Report. Monrovia: Office of the UN Humanitarian Coordinator in Liberia, 3 July 1997.
No. 77 (DHAGVA 97/0240)
73. Honwana, A., "Negotiating Postwar Identities: Child Soldiers in Mozambique and
Angola" in Bond, G. & Gibson, N. (ed.), Contested Terrains and Constructed Categories:
Contemporary Africa in Focus. Boulder CO: Westview Press, 2002. first published in
CODESRIA Bulletin Vol. 1/2, 1999. p. 4-13.
74. Ibid.
75. McLaughlin, A., "Africa After War: Paths To Forgiveness Ugandans Welcome
'Terrorists' Back" Christian Science Monitor. October 23, 2006,
www.csmonitor.com/2006/1023/p01s03-woaf.html.
76. Afako, B., "Traditional Drink Unites Ugandans" BBC Focus On Africa Magazine. 29
September 2006, (news.bbc.co.uk/go/pr/fr/-/2/hi/africa/5382816.stm).
77. UN, "Protecting Africa's Children: The Road from Soldier Back to Child," Africa Recovery
and Williamson, J., "The Disarmament, Demobilization and Reintegration of Child
Soldiers: Social and Psychological Transformation in Sierra Leone." Intervention, The
International Journal of Mental Health, Psychosocial Work and Counselling in Areas of Armed
Conflict. Vol. 4, No. 3 (2006), p. 192-200.
78. Honwana, A., "Negotiating Postwar Identities: Child Soldiers in Mozambique and
Angola." p. 4-13.
79. Specht, I. & van Empel, C., Enlargement: A Challenge for Social and Economic
Reintegration: Targeting Ex-Combatants or All War-Affected People? The Liberia
Experience. Geneva: ILO, 1998.
80. Parson, E. R., "'It Takes a Village to Heal a Child': Necessary Spectrum of Expertise and
Benevolence by Therapists, Non-Governmental Organizations, and the United Nations
in Managing War-Zone Stress in Children Traumatized by Political Violence", Journal of
Contemporary Psychotherapy. Vol. 26, No. 3, (September 1996) p. 251-86.


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Rehabilitation of Ex-Slaves and Former Child Soldiers I 55


81. Save the Children US, Mozambique Child Soldier Life Outcome Study: Lessons Learned in
Rehabilitation and Reintegration Efforts. New York: Columbia University & Save the
Children US, 2006.
82. Another valuable study making this point is Twum-Danso, A., The Limits of
Individualism: What Constitutes an Effective Form of the Reintegration and Rehabilitation of
Child Soldiers into Society after Civil War? MSc thesis, University of Essex, 2000.
83. Becker, J., Children as Weapons of War, Barth, E. F., Peace as Disappointment: The
Reintegration of Female Soldiers in Post-Conflict Societies: A Comparative Study from Africa.
Oslo: International Peace Research Institute, August 2002; and Bouta, T., Gender and
Disarmament, Demobilization and Reintegration: Building Blocs for Dutch Policy. The Hague:
Conflict Research Unit, Netherlands Institute of International Relations, March 2005;
84. McKay, S., & Mazurana, D., Where are the Girls? Girls in Fighting Forces in Northern
Uganda, Sierra Leone and Mozambique: Their Lives During and After War. Montr6al:
International Center for Human Rights and Democratic Development, 2004; Tafirenyika,
M., "Restoring Lost Childhood in Sierra Leone" Africa Recovery, Vol.15 No.3, October
2001, p. 17-18; and Williamson, J., "The Disarmament, Demobilization and Reintegration
of Child Soldiers: Social and Psychological Transformation in Sierra Leone." Intervention,
The International Journal of Mental Health, Psychosocial Work and Counselling in Areas of
Armed Conflict. Vol. 4, No. 3 (2006), p. 190-95.
85. Chao, E. L., "Children in the Crossfire: Prevention and Rehabilitation of Child Soldiers."
(speech) Washington, DC: Grand Hyatt Hotel, 7 May 2003.
86. IRIN, "Sierra Leone: Child Soldier Rehabilitation Programme Runs Out of Cash." New
York: IRIN, 22 July 2003.
87. "Sudanese Government, Rebel Armies Slammed for Recruiting Children", DPA, August
23, 2006 and "UN: Sudan Armies Abuse Children", BBC, August 23, 2006
88. Human Rights Watch, World Report 1999, New York: Human Rights Watch, 2000.
89. "UN: Sudan Armies Abuse Children", BBC Report; "Sudanese Government, Rebel
Armies Slammed for Recruiting Children", Deutsche Press Agence Release. 23 August
2006; "Sudanese Children Abducted for Fighting and Sex-UN". Geneva: Reuters, 8 June
2007. Republished in Sudan Tribune (www.sudantribune.com); and "SLM-Minawi agrees
to hand over Darfur 'children soldiers' UN." Khartoum: Xinhua, 11 June 2007.
Republished in Sudan Tribune (www.sudantribune.com).
90. Becker, J., Children as Weapons of War.
91. Human Rights Watch, Sri Lanka (www.hrw.org/reports/2004/childsoldiers0104/16.htm);
"Tamil Tigers Will Stop Using Child Soldiers," The Scotsman; and "Government and
LTTE agree on action plan to address the needs of children affected by war in the
Northeast." UNICEF Press Centre.
92. Announcing the UNICEF Airlift of Child Soldiers from Sudan Combat Zones. Geneva: 27
February 2001 (www.unicef.org/media/media_10829.html).
93. Becker, J., Children as Weapons of War.
94. IRIN, "Sudan: SPLA child soldiers demobilised in the south." New York: IRIN, 26 July
2006) and IRIN, "Sudan: Armed youth voluntarily disarm in Jonglei." New York: IRIN,
30 August 2006.


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56 I Fegley


95. Ibid.
96. UNICEF, Humanitarian Action Report 2006. NY: UNICEF, 2006, p. 109.
97. Ibid., p. 115
98. The author witnessed all of these activities in visits to Kajo Keji County in 2002, 2006 and
2007 and confirmed their existence in other parts of southern Sudan in discussions with
numerous Sudanese exiles.
99. Discussions with Susan Tabia (widows' association and orphanage founder), Simon
Peter Kenyi (development coordinator of the Episcopal Diocese of Kajo Keji) and Wani
Jackson Wale (headmaster of Liwolo Secondary School). Also see Fegley, R., Report on
Educational Initiatives of the Diocese of Bethlehem USA in the Diocese of Kajo Keji (Sudan).
Bethlehem PA: Diocese of Bethlehem, 2003; and Fegley, R., Summary of 29 Meetings and
Visits in the Diocese of Kajo Keji. Bethlehem PA: Diocese of Bethlehem, 2006.
100. Discussions with Susan Tabia and Wani Jackson Wale. Also Tolfree, D.,
Restoring Playfulness: Different Approaches to Assisting Children who are
Psychologically Affected by War or Displacement. Stockholm: Radda Barnen, 1996.
101. Discussions with Sudanese exiles, also UNICEF film
(4236h_sudanchildsoldiers.ram).
102. Winter, J., "No Return for Sudan's Forgotten Slaves" BBC News. 16 March 2007.
(news.bbc.co.uk/go/pr/fr/-/2/hi/africa/6455365.stm).
103. Lorey, M., Child Soldiers: Care and Protection of Children in Emergencies: A
Field Guide. London: Save the Children Federation, 2001 and Hepburn, A., Williamson,
J. & Wolfram, T., Separated Children: Care and Protection of Children in Emergencies, A
Field Guide. Westport, CT: Save the Children Federation, 2004.
104. Machel, G., The Impact of War on Children. London: Hurst, 2001.
105. UN, "Protecting Africa's Children: The Road from Soldier Back to Child," Africa
Recovery.

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Rehabilitation of Ex-Slaves and Former Child Soldiers I 57


Amnesty International. Sierra Leone: Childhood -A Casualty of Conflict. London: AI, August 2000.

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McCallin, M. "Community Involvement in the Social Reintegration of Child Soldiers," in P.
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Rehabilitation of Ex-Slaves and Former Child Soldiers I 65


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USAID/OFDA. Briefing Book- Sudan Slavery and Forced Abduction Commission. Washington:
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Verhey, B. Child Soldiers: Preventing, Demobilizing and Reintegrating. Washington: World Bank,
November 2001. Africa Region Working Paper Series No. 23.

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(1998) p. 635-46.


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Wessells, M. G. "Child Soldiers," Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists. November/December 1997.

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Reidal Publishing, 1982.

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185-205.

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(news.bbc.co.uk/go/pr/fr/-/2/hi/africa/6455365.stm).

Young, A. The Harmony of Illusions: Inventing Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder. Princeton: Princeton
University Press, 1995.

Since 1990, Human Rights Watch has published many documents on child soldiers, slavery and
abuses committed by the government of Sudan. In addition to reports listed by individual
author, others include Denying the Honor of Living,' Sudan: A Human Rights Disaster (1990);
Civilian Devastation: Abuses by All Parties in the War in South Sudan (1994); Easy Prey: Child Soldiers
in Liberia, Human Rights Watch Children's Project (1994); The Lost Boys: Child Soldiers and
Unaccompanied Boys in Southern Sudan (1994); Mauritania's Campaign of Terror (1994); Sudan: In the
Name of God; Behind the Red Line: Political Repression in Northern Sudan (1996); Famine in Sudan,
1998: The Human Rights Causes (1999); Sri Lanka (2004); and annual chapters on Sudan and child
soldiers in Human Rights Watch Annual Reports (1990-2006), Washington, DC: Human Rights
Watch/ Africa also available at www.hrw.org/.

Unattributed Press Articles

"Addis Meraf Center Established Here for Victims of Women Trafficking," Addis Tribune. 2 July
2004).

"Modern Slavery," BBC News, 4 April 2007.

(news.bbc.co.uk/2/shared/spl/hi/world/05/slavery/html/le.stm)

"UN: Sudan Armies Abuse Children," BBC Report, August 23, 2006.


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"Sudanese Government, Rebel Armies Slammed for Recruiting Children," Deutsche Press Agence
Release, 23 August 2006.

"Tamil Tigers Will Stop Using Child Soldiers," The Scotsman. 10 February 2003.

"Sudanese Children Abducted for Fighting and Sex-UN," Geneva: Reuters, 8 June 2007.
Republished in the Sudan Tribune (www.sudantribune.com).

"SLM-Minawi agrees to hand over Darfur 'children soldiers' UN." Khartoum: Xinhua, 11 June
2007. Republished in the Sudan Tribune (www.sudantribune.com).

Electronic Sources

The most useful web source for humanitarian issues in Africa and beyond is Integrated
Regional Information Networks (IRIN) of United Nations Office for the Coordination of
Humanitarian Affairs. Particularly important are "Sierra Leone: Child Soldier Rehabilitation
Programme Runs Out of Cash." (22 July 2003), "Ethiopian Centre for Helping Victims of
Trafficking Opens." (26 June 2004), "Afghanistan: UNICEF helps demobilise 4,000 child
soldiers." (16 December 2004), "Afghanistan: Focus on Rehabilitation of Child Soldiers." (27
June 2005), "Sudan: SPLA child soldiers demobilised in the south." (26 July 2006) and "Sudan:
Armed youth voluntarily disarm in Jonglei." (30 August 2006).

Important UNICEF web pages are www.unicef.org/emerg/index_childsoldiers.html,
www.unicef.org/infobycountry/liberia_19055.html; Country in Crisis,
www.unicef.org/emerg/liberia/index.html; www.unicef.org/infobycountry/liberia_19070.html;
Announcing the UNICEF Airlift of Child Soldiers from Sudan Combat Zones. Geneva: 27 February
2001 (www.unicef.org/media/media_10829.html); "Hundreds of Ex-Child Soldiers
Begin Rehabilitation in Rwanda: Newly Demobilized Children Get Trauma Counselling While
Families Are Traced". UNICEF Press Release, New York: 20 August 2001.
(www.unicef.org/newsline/01pr69.htm); UN Security Council Meeting on Children and Armed
Conflict. New York: 20 November 2001. (www.unicef.org/media/media_10380.html)

Also useful is Child Soldiers Newsletter, an electronic newsletter produced by the Coalition to
Stop the Use of Child Soldiers (www.child-soldiers.org), supported by the Human Security
Programme at Foreign Affairs Canada. Members of the coalition include Amnesty International,
Human Rights Watch, International Federation Terre des Hommes, International Save the
Children Alliance, Jesuit Refugee Service, and Quaker UN Office. Particularly important issues
are numbers 8/June 2003 and 14/ Winter 2005/06.

Other important sources include Amoa, B.D., "The Role of Small Arms in African Civil Wars"
message by the Chairman of the West Africa Action Network on Small Arms and President of
the Africa Forum on Small Arms to www.pambazuka.org (21 September 2006); Anti-Slavery
International (www.iAbolish.com, www.antislavery.org), Free the Slaves
(www.freetheslaves.net), GlobeGiving (www.globalgiving.com/pr/200/proj169a.html)


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International Needs (www.in-australia.org.au), International Organization for Migration
(www.iom.int), PREDA (www.preda.org/home.htm), SACCS (www.indianngos.com/s/saccs)
and SOS Child Soldier: Uganda project (www.soschildrensvillages.org.uk/), the UN-run
ReliefWeb (www.reliefweb.int), Sudan Abduction & Slavery Project Abductee Database Report.
Nairobi: Rift Valley Institute, 2003. (www.riftvalley.net/inside/projects.htm), Ukrainian
Orthodox Church, "Government Asks Churches to Help Victims of Slave Trade," 2005.
(www.orthodoxy.org.ua/News-R_ooua.php?id+6205), Women's Funding Network
(www.wfnet.org) and World Vision (www.worldvision.org).

Reference Style: The following is the suggested format for referencing this article: Randall
Fegley, "Comparative Perspectives on the Rehabilitation of Ex-Slaves and Former Child Soldiers
with Special Reference to Sudan," African Studies Quarterly 10, no.l: (2008) [online] URL:
http://africa.ufl.edu/asq/vl0/v10ila2.htm


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African Studies Quarterly I Volume 10, Issue 1 I Spring 2008


Official Representations of the Nation: Comparing the Postage

Stamps of Sudan and Burkina Faso

MICHAEL KEVANE


Abstract: An analysis of the imagery on postage stamps suggests that regimes in Sudan
and Burkina Faso have pursued very different strategies in representing the
nation. Sudan's stamps focus on the political center and dominant elite (current regime,
Khartoum politicians, and Arab and Islamic identity) while Burkina Faso's stamps focus
on society (artists, multiple ethnic groups, and development). Sudan's stamps build an
image of the nation as being about the northern-dominated regime in Khartoum
(whether military or parliamentary); Burkina Faso's stamps project an image of the
nation as multi-ethnic and development-oriented.

Introduction

The sovereign state of Sudan, as a stamp-issuing entity, has chosen over the past fifty years
to not honor on its postage stamps any person from the southern region of the country. This is a
sharp fact that cuts through the rhetoric that the dominant northern elite deploys to ward off
separatist sentiment in the south. This rhetoric is that the Sudan is a land of many peoples, but
one country, with a shared hybrid Afro-Arab identity. If that were the case, then why have
there been no southern, African heroes on the stamps of the country? Consideration of the
images on the postage stamps of Sudan reveals another fact. In contrast with many other
African states, Sudan issues shockingly few stamps that celebrate the multi-cultural make-up of
the country. Many African states regularly issue postage stamp series that represent cultural
icons and images from major ethnic and cultural groups; Sudan has done so only once (and
ironically under the regime considered by most to be least tolerant of difference).
This paper compares the imagery on postage stamps of Sudan and Burkina Faso. Burkina
Faso's imagery offers a counterpoint to that of Sudan, a "what might have been." Both countries
straddle the Sahel zone and livelihoods through much of the colonial and post-colonial periods
have been secured through rainfed small-scale agriculture and rearing of livestock. Both
countries contain large numbers of ethnic groups and languages. In Burkina Faso, the Mossi
ethnic group dominates the country in terms of population. In Sudan, ethnic groups thinking of
themselves as Arab dominate the population. Both countries have sizable Muslim populations,


Michael Kevane is chair and associate professor of economics at Santa Clara University, California. He teaches
courses on African Economic Development, the Economics of Emerging Markets, and International Economics. He
has published articles on the performance of Sudanese rural institutions and markets in journals such as Review of
Development Economics, World Development, American Journal of Agricultural Economics, and Africa. He is also co-editor
(with Endre Stiansen) of a book, Kordofan Invaded: Peripheral Incorporation and Sectoral Transformation in Islamic Africa,
published by E.J. Brill. He currently works on gender issues, including a research project in southwestern Burkina
Faso investigating how social norms determine home and market production.

http://www.africa.ufl.edu/asq/vl0/v10ila3.pdf
University of Florida Board of Trustees, a public corporation of the State of Florida; permission is hereby granted for individuals
to download articles for their own personal use. Published by the Center for African Studies, University of Florida.
ISSN: 2152-2448






72 I Kevane


but well-educated Christian elites often have constituted a powerful minority (more regional in
Sudan, more national in Burkina Faso).
The categorization and coding suggest that the two countries, through successive regimes,
have sent very different messages on their stamps. Burkina Faso's political regimes have
emphasized multicultural tolerance, while Sudan's political regimes encode an Arab, Islamic,
and northern Sudanese identity for the country. Students of Sudan's colonial and post-colonial
history will not be surprised by this observation.' They may, however, find it useful and
stimulating. The content analysis of postage stamps offers striking and irrefutable
complementary evidence of the non-inclusive character of Sudanese regimes since
independence. There are other quasi-objective indicators of regime strategies that might also be
analyzed (street names, media content, public statuary, etc). There is a clear lacuna of
sociological analyses of the impact of state-produced imagery in Sudan and the civil society
response. Also lacking, in the corpus of Sudan studies, are analyses of the icons and songs of the
Southern People's Liberation Army (SPLA), and the role of images of "Dr. John" (as many
southerners refer to the late John Garang, leader of the SPLA for two decades) as symbols of the
aspirations of people in the South, or at least those the SPLA wants to promote.
A number of researchers have analyzed postage stamps in their efforts to illustrate the
representational strategies of regimes. A recent issue of African Arts was devoted to the imagery
on African postage stamps.2 Igor Cusack, in his analysis of the stamps of Lusophone Africa,
argues that, "stamps are carriers of potent images of the dominant ideologies of the state..."3
Beth Baron, to take another example, sees in early images of peasant women on postage stamps
of Egypt confirmation of the ascendancy of a feminization of nationalism, of Egypt as a
woman.4 There are also analyses from other parts of the world. Robert Jones analyses the
imagery celebrating scientists on stamps to show that England, France and Germany have had
different representations, in ways that perhaps reflect distinct social valuation of science and
scientists.5Stanley Brunn reviews the first stamps of newly independent nations of Central Asia
and Europe, finding that symbols of statehood (flags and coats of arms) trumped ideological
messages.6 Raento and Brunn, in an analysis very similar to that conducted here, trace the
imagery on Finnish postage stamps over the period 1917-2000.7 Other recent papers analyze the
images on stamps of France, Ireland, South Africa, Latin America, and Japan.8
The paper proceeds as follows. Section 2 offers historical background on each country,
illustrated by postage stamps. Sections 3 and 4 present the method and results of a
categorization and coding of stamps, enabling analysis of how the major themes on postage
stamps have evolved over time as regimes succeed each other. Section 5 offers some concluding
reflections.

BRIEF HISTORY OF SUDAN AND BURKINA FASO ILLUSTRATED BY POSTAGE STAMPS

For centuries, political entities centered on the Nile raided for slaves and extracted
resources from Sudan's population. These polities ebbed and flowed, to eventually coalesce into
a kingdom located in Sennar on the Blue Nile. In 1821, an Egyptian expedition organized by
Mohammed Ali invaded the region. The Turkiyya, as the next six decades came to be known,
forged a bureaucratic state centered in Khartoum, capable of projecting power through much of


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Official Representation of the Nation I 73


the territory of contemporary Sudan. That power continued to be used for raiding and resource
extraction. A revolt led by Mohamed Ahmed, the Mahdi, crushed the Egyptian and British
forces in 1885 (the battle was commemorated on a stamp in 1985, and Mohamed Ahmed himself
in 2003).













1J00


Fig. 1: The Battle of Shaykan, Fig. 2: Mohamed Ahmed al
1883, a decisive victory Mahdi (issued 2003)
against the British-led forces
(issued 1983)
The successor regime, known as the Mahdiyya, employed some of the clerks and literate
functionaries of the earlier period, but attempted to create an Islamic caliphate to guide the
community of Muslim believers, the umma. The spirit of the regime was not nationalist, in the
European sense. British-led forces destroyed the Mahdiyya in 1898 (the resistance at Kerari was
commemorated on a stamp in 1998) and established colonial rule, the Condominium. The
British eventually settled on a Closed District policy for the south, indirect rule through Native
Administration policy for rural areas in the north, and bureaucratic administration of towns,
ineluctably cultivating an educated elite of northern Sudanese who inherited power at
independence in 1956.
Burkina Faso likewise had centralized kingdoms that strategically used insecurity on the
periphery as opportunity for predation. The Mossi Empire, as Dim Delobsom labeled the
political and cultural alliance of four kingdoms, was probably founded in the 1300s and
survived, as a political entity, conquest by the French in 1898.9 Originally administered as part
of French West Africa (Soudan), the French created in 1919 the colony of Haute Volta, largely
coterminous with the Mossi Empire and the northern reaches of the kingdom of Kong. The
colony was suppressed in 1932 and chopped up among three other administrative regions, was
reanimated in 1947 after intense lobbying by the Mossi nobility, became a republic in 1958, and
then independent in 1960. It was renamed Burkina Faso in 1983.
Neither colonial power saw fit to create, through images on postage stamps, an
iconography of nationalism. Colonial stamps of both countries consisted almost entirely of
innocuous images of bucolic tribal life, with generic and non-identifiable scenes. The Sudan


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74 I Kevane


Political Service stuck to its famous 'camel postman' design for much of the colonial period.
There were only two exceptions. In 1935 a series honored Charles Gordon, the British officer
defeated by the Mahdi in 1885, and in 1951 an inclusive series showed people and scenes from
all corners of Sudan. Colonial Haute Volta did not issue its own stamps, instead using issues
from the region of French West Africa. Only two of these stamps were specifically designated
with imagery from Haute Volta. One celebrated the construction of the railroad reaching
Ouagadougou in 1956. Another honored the Mossi emperor, the Mogho Naba, in 1958.














Fig. 3: The Moro Naba (issued 1958)

Apparently, the colonial authorities wanted to reward and flatter the Mogho Naba for
opposition to the regional ambitions of Fl1ix Houphouet-Boigny's Rassemblement Democratique
Africain party in Cote d'lvoire.10 The stamp shows the Mogho Naba's face over a map of the
colony: "This is your country" the stamp seems to say.
After independence, both parliamentary regimes quickly succumbed to military coups,
Sudan in 1958 and Haute Volta in 1966, and neither country has had stable democratic
governance since.
Early stamps of Haute Volta featured large portraits of the first two pre-independence
heads of government, and then at full independence in 1960 a well-designed stamp with flag,
village and peasant farmers was issued. In 1965 President Maurice Yam6ogo, who had
fashioned a single-party regime, featured a large portrait of himself on a stamp; he was ousted
within a year.


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Official Representation of the Nation I 75


Fig. 4: Maurice Yameogo, First president of Haute Volta (issued 1960)

General Sangoul6 Lamizana, then ruled Haute Volta from 1966 to 1980, when he in turn
was ejected in a bloodless coup. Ironically, Lamizana's only appearance on a stamp was to
commemorate the visit of Pope John Paul II in 1980, just before he lost power. Junior officers
took over, notably Thomas Sankara who ruled from 1983-87 and whose lasting innovation was
to rename country Burkina Faso. The change itself reflected the multi-cultural inclusiveness
typical of regimes in the country: Burkina means "integrity" in the Mor6 language of the Mossi,
while Faso means "father's house" in the Dioula language, and the citizen identifier Burkinab&
uses the Peul language suffix "be" to indicate a "person of." Sankara also prominently featured
himself on a stamp commemorating the first anniversary of his regime. The stamp featured a
typical heroic-sized portrait of the resident in front of "the eople."












Fig. 5: Thomas Sankara, President of Burkina Faso (issued 1984)
In 1987, second-in-command Blaise Compaor6 had Sankara and other members of the
regime killed or ousted and he assumed sole control of the country. Compaor6 has civilianized
his rule, and after having the national constitution amended he was re-elected for a third term
as president in 2005. Compaor6 has not appeared on any stamps.


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76 I Kevane


Sudan began independent stamp-issuance with an uninspired rendition of map and
national emblem, followed by a stamp commemorating the Arab Postal Union. The military
regime followed with a stamp showing a farmer shaking hands with an infantryman, followed
by a stamp commemorating the opening of a new Arab Leapue building in Cairo.













Fig. 6: First military coup d'6tat (issued 1959)
So the first four stamps were about the political regime and state (not the people), and the
Arab identity of the country. Southern military officers, who rebelled in 1955 fearing the worst
from the northern elite, would have had no reassurances in the stamps of the first decade. The
Arab League was featured again in 1962, 1967 and 1972, and the Arab Postal Union again in
1964, and the PLO in 1967. Cultural icons from the northern pre-Islamic period appeared on six
stamps, stemming from world-wide interest in salvaging archeological items from the Aswan
High Dam's lake. These were belated tips of the hat to the Nubian population of the northern
region, whose homelands were destroyed by the dam. Africa-wide institutions first appeared
with a stamp honoring the African Development Bank in 1969 and then the African Postal
Union in 1972. One might say that the Arab to Africa ratio was 7:2 by 1972.


SUDAN.







Fig. 7: Gamal Abdal Nasser (issued 1973)
The military regime of Ibrahim Abboud lasted until 1964, when popular urban protests led
to a bloodless transition to civilian rule in the north. A few students were killed in a protest, one
of whom, al-Gurashi, was honored in a 1965 stamp. The parliamentary regime survived only
five years but during this time issued a striking set of stamps featuring portraits of prominent
political leaders of the pre-independence period including two from the Mahdi family, whose
scion, Sadiq al-Mahdi, was Prime Minister. Those honored were El Siddig al Mahdi, Mubarak
Zaroug, Abdullahi el Fadil al Mahdi, Mohammed Nur al Din and Ahmed Yousif Hashim, and
Mohamed Ahmed al Mardi.


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Official Representation of the Nation I 77


Fig. 8: Abdullahi el Fadil el Mahdi (issued 1968)
Colonel Gaafar Nimeiri took power in a coup in 1969, and put himself on a stamp in heroic
pose, in front of "the people" in 1970. (An interesting sidelight of philatelic history, to my
knowledge not researched, is that the first issue of is set of stamps was withdrawn on the day of
issuance, and then re-issued several months later. The only difference, apparently, other than a
slight change in the placement of the denomination, is the skin-tone of Nimeiri and the
background persons; in the orig ial they are shaded, in the reissue they are white.)












Fig. 9: President Gaafar Nimeiri and May Revolution (issued 1970)
Nimeiri presided over, but then shattered, a ten-year peace with the south. The civil war re-
ignited in 1983, and continued through 2005. A bloodless civilian uprising ousted Nimeiri in
1985, but the parliamentary regime that followed lasted only four years and escalated the civil
war.











Fig. 10: April 1985 Uprising against Gaafar Nimeiri (issued 1986)
A sign of the disorganization of the regime (close to what political scientists call "anocracy"
or the absence of institutionalized competition within the context of a state structure), only six


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78 I Kevane


stamps or series were issued over the period. One represented fishing for World Food Day. In
1989, military units working with the National Islamic Front seized power and have held power
until the present. Colonel Omar al-Beshir and NIF ideologue Hasan al-Turabi jointly ruled until
1999, when al-Beshir bested al-Turabi in a struggle for power. Al-Beshir escalated the war in the
south, pushing proxy militias to commit ethnic cleansing and developing an Islamist
paramilitary force known as the Popular Defense Forces (PDF) to shadow the army, but then
went on to sign a peace agreement with the southern rebels under John Garang in 2005. Al-
Beshir was unable to control in 2003 a smaller rebel movement in Darfur in western Sudan, and
unleashed proxy militias whose wanton destruction led to human catastrophe of hundreds of
thousands dead and millions displaced.





PEACE 2005 .,U.


Fig. 11: The Fig. 12: Palestinian Fig. 13: Peace Fig. 14: Petroleum
:ruise Missile Intifada (issued 2002) agreement between in Sudan (issued 2003)
bombing of the Shifa SPLA and military
rug factory by the regime in Khartoum
J.S. (issued 1999) (issued 2005). Note there
is no recognition of the
SPLA itself.
The two countries have had very different paths, Sudan with a 50 year long civil war in the
south and long-simmering and finally erupting war in western Sudan, while Burkina Faso has
had no significant incidence of ethnically or regionally-based civil strife. It seems worth
inquiring, then, whether the content of their postal stamps sheds light on the different strategies
of national representation pursued by political elites.

CODING POSTAGE STAMPS

Quantitative measurement of the imagery on postage stamps has several virtues. Such
quantification permits a subtle, complex and continuous measurement of regime strategy, since
typically numerous stamps are issued in every year. Imagery on stamps varies quite a lot, since
it is relatively inexpensive to design new images: the regime simply requests stamp designers to
produce a new image that can be incorporated onto stamps and distributed throughout the
country. Comprehensive catalogues of stamps issued by all countries of the world are widely
available. The best known are Michel, Minkus, Scott and Stanley Gibbons stamp catalogues.
Online catalogues, such as www.freestampcatalogue.com, are often provided as part of
philatelist dealer lists of stamps for sale. The classification and counting presented here were
based on the Scott catalogues for 2006.


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C
B
d
I


"I




i






Official Representation of the Nation I 79


Decisions have to be made when coding the imagery on stamps, even before arriving at a
smallish number of categories to be used for grouping the wide variety of images and messages.
These decisions arise from four sources of complexity in the kinds of stamps produced by
countries: (1) some stamps are intended for the collectors market; (2) some stamps have different
physical properties from the ordinary perforated, gummed stamps, properties that make them
more or less suitable for use on letters; (3) the quantities produced and usage of stamps vary
with the images on the stamps, in perhaps predictable ways; (4) and many stamps are issued in
series rather than as stand-alone images. These four characteristics of stamps- collectability,
properties, quantities, and series- have to be addressed in coding.
First, many countries issue stamps that are aimed at the philatelic market, and are not
intended for domestic use. In 2004, about 70 countries of the world were clients of the Inter-
Governmental Philatelic Corporation (IGPC), a private stamp designing and marketing firm.
This firm works with client countries to produce stamps that are desired by collectors who
collect by the images on stamps (known as 'topical collectors'). These collectors, mostly based in
the United States, seem to prefer certain kinds of images: celebrities (Lady Di, Mother Theresa,
the Pope); domesticated animated (cats and dogs); wild flora and fauna; space exploration; Boy
Scouts; etc. Fortunately, most collectibles or topicals are quite easy to spot: they have nothing to
do with the country issuing the stamps.
Second, many countries issue a variety of kinds of stamps, including stamps with
perforations, imperforated stamps, souvenir sheets with perforated stamps and souvenir sheets
with imperforated stamps. As the categories suggest, some of these stamps are explicitly
intended to be souvenirs. In the coding presented here, all stamps that are explicitly issued as
souvenir sheets are excluded.
Third, quantities produced of stamps vary with the images on the stamps. Many countries
limit printing runs of more fancy 'commemorative' stamps (which cost more to design and
print), and encourage use of 'regular" issues for domestic postal service. Many countries also
issue separate stamps for overseas airmail service. These stamps are less likely to be used on
domestic mail. Unfortunately, there seems to be no easily accessible data on number of stamps
sold (or even printed) for each amount. Many countries confronting inflation routinely
surcharge old stamp issues, sometimes decades after their first issuance, suggesting that
national postal administrations sometimes retain substantial stocks of stamps that, for one
reason or another, did not get used when originally issued. Stamps also vary in denomination,
with regular postage stamps used for ordinary letters presumably more common than other
stamps (especially those of larger denomination), but again, in many African countries it is not
uncommon to find regular mail using four or five smaller denomination stamps. For the
analysis presented here, surcharged stamps are not counted, and no adjustments are made for
differing denominations. Only regular issues, and not airmail or official stamps, are coded.
Fourth, countries usually issue stamps in series. There may be a set of five stamps issued to
commemorate local buildings. Sometimes these sets consist of stamps with the same images, or
images that are variations of a common image but with different colors and denominations. For
the analysis presented here, stamps are only counted if they have a separate and novel image.
Different denominations of the same stamp image are counted only once.


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80 I Kevane


STAMP IMAGERY OF BURKINA FASO AND SUDAN

The goal in coding the imagery on stamps is to classify stamps into a discrete number of
mutually exclusive categories. Three very broad umbrella categories have been used for this
analysis: (1) stamps for the philatelic collectors market; (2) internationalist stamps; and (3) and
national-oriented stamps. National-oriented stamps are further categorized according to their
emphasis on twelve themes: Christianity, Colonial power, Commemoratives and political,
Development, Single ethnic group, Icons of the nation, Multi-ethnic, National political person,
National non-political person, Nature, panAfrican, panArab and panMuslim, Presidents, and
Women. Stamps are coded using a first-level analysis: the image or statement on the stamp is
taken at face value, and possibly hidden or subtle meanings are not coded. A picture of the
President is taken to be a stamp about the President, and if the stamp designer has given the
President a too-large ear to mock him, that is not coded. Some interesting studies use formal
semiotic methods to code stamps for one country for a limited period of time, and to codes flags
and national anthems according to formal criteria, but this is perhaps impossible with the large
number of postage stamps that would need to be coded."


Fig. 15: Multiethnic
stamp of Burkina Faso
(issued 1987)


Fig. 16: Multiethnic
stamp of Burkina Faso
(issued 1987)


Fig. 17: Multiethnic stamp of
Burkina Faso (issued 1985)


Fig. 18: Development-
oriented stamp of
Burkina Faso (issued
1987)


The categories and national-oriented subcategories are explained more fully in the table (Fig.
19), which also presents the numbers and percentages for each category for Sudan and Burkina
Faso, coded over the period 1960 through 2003.


Burkina Faso


Sudan


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Definition
(what is major


-------------. - ------ ^. ^.- 1







Official Representation of the Nation I 81


image, raison
d'etre, or text
on stamp)


Number Percent
of stamps of all
(1956/60- stamps
2003) (1956/60-
2003)


Collector's items for
philatelic market












International


National-oriented


61% 31 13%


Intended for
collector's
market (e.g.
Lady Di) and
stamps of local
flora and
fauna with no
obvious
nationalism


message (e.g.
butterflies,
tropical fish)
International
organizations
or
international
coordination
85 8% 38 16% coordation
(e.g. Year of
the Child,
World
Meteorological
Union)
Promote

308 31% 166 71% imagery of
national
identity


Total 1001 235
(b) Breakdown for national-oriented stamps only


Christianity


Overtly
Christian icons
0% or persons,
except for
Christmas


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Category


Number oJ
stamps
(1956/60-
2003)


Percent
of all
stamps
(1956/60-
2003)


(a) Broad categories







82 I Kevane


Colonial power


Commemoratives
and political


11%


stamps, and
except as
part of series
representing
other persons
or icons;
pictures of the
Pope counted
only
if in honor of
Papal visit.
Honor, in a
sycophantic
way, a colonial
or other power
(e.g., stamps
honoring de
Gaulle,
or state visits
by the British
Queen)
Events
important in
national
history (e.g.
independence
anniversaries,
coups, regime
transitions,
regime
anniversaries)
or important
political events
(Party
Congress,
for example, in
single-party
states)


Development


28%


22%


Economic
development
(projects,
modern
agriculture,


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Official Representation of the Nation I 83


industry,
buildings,
public
services,
education)


Ethnic


2%





















27%









3%


11%


Icons


Multi-ethnic


41%


One particular
ethnicity or
group of
ethnicities at
the expense of
other
ethnicities
(so typically a
series of
stamps
showing local
culture of one
group, but not
showing
other cultures,
and no series
within two
years shows
those other
cultures- e.g.
multi-cultural
not spread
out)
Images of the
nation
(antiquities,
monuments,
natural
wonders, flags,
traditional life,
prehistory,
historical
events, coats of
arms, etc.)
Multiple
ethnic or
religious
groups;


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84 I Kevane


Political person





Non-political person


11%


PanAfrican









PanArab/PanMuslim


usually a
series of
stamps
showing local
culture
or traditional
institutions
where there is
a clear attempt
to represent a
broad cross-
section
of ethnicities
or religions; or
stamps
explicitly
advocating
tolerance


Political
personage
from the
country (most
are deceased)
Sports figures,
artists, writers,
etc. from the
country (often
still living)
PanAfrican
institutions or
ideals, or that
honor African
leaders from
other countries
(e.g.,
Organization
of African
Unity, Africa
Cup)


PanArab or

16o% Muslim
institutions or
ideals, or that


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Official Representation of the Nation I 85


honor Arab
leaders from
other
countries or
that have
Islam as the
central idea of
the stamp
(e.g., a
mosque, not
part of a series
of multifaith
stamps)
Current
Presidents 2% 1% President or
national leader
Named
women,

Women 0% 1% women's
organizations,
or women's
empowerment.
Fig 19: Categories of stamps coded for Burkina Faso and Sudan:
Definitions and Frequencies


Figure 20 shows how the number of stamps issued per year varied over the period. As can
be seen, Sudan has produced almost no collector stamps, and in general has produced a small
number of stamps -only 208 over 40 years, compared with 936 for Burkina Faso. Even in the
non-collector categories, the imagery output from Burkina is double that of Sudan. Among
national-oriented stamps, there are sharp distinctions, as noted in the introduction. Burkina
Faso has produced large numbers of multi-ethnic series of stamps. Sudan has not. Burkina Faso
has also produced a much higher share of development-oriented stamps. Sudan, by contrast,
has produced a higher share of stamps depicting national icons, commemorating political
events (especially regime anniversaries and historical events), celebrating the Arab League and
Islamic icons, and honoring political figures (mostly during the second parliamentary period in
the mid-1960s).


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86 I Kevane


Figure 21 shows how the broadest categories have changed over time, for political regimes
in each country. Remarkable is how for both countries the percent of national-oriented stamps
has been declining. Collector stamps have been rising steadily for Burkina Faso, and only
became significant for Sudan during the current military regime. The current Sudanese regime
also sharply cut the number of stamps celebrating international organizations and activities. For
the various national-oriented categories presented, it is striking how much more variable Sudan
is across regimes, compared with Burkina, where percentages change slowly across regimes.


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Official Representation of the Nation I 87


Fig. 21a: Percentages of stamps that are collector, national or international in orientation
(with regimes indicated)


Burkina Faso
arrizana Sankara


COonpaore


a!
cp

*c .






C-I.


1960 19-6 190 1975 1918 1@95 1990 1995 2000
year

.- Collector ----- National
........... International


Sudan
Nmeid


1955 1960 1965 1970 1975 1980 1985 1990 1995 2000
year

Collector ---- National
........... International


Note: ULines are smoothedthree-year moving average. Stamps issuance is subject to some stickiness as regimes change.


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-j rreogo
t

L


I



I


\





I
I
f


?








88 I Kevane


Fig. 21b: Percentages of national-oriented stamps that are multi-ethnic or development
(with regimes indicated)


Burkina F aso
Larrizana Sankara


Cornpaore


I;
Ii
I'
I'_


I


'Li
I 1 r
t 1


N Abboud N


Sudan
Nrreiri


I
f l
J I



I f
\ -l l,
I r. 1
I I


1960 1965 1970 1975


1980 1985 1990 1995 2000
year


--- MLitiethnic - -- Development


1955 1960 1965 1970 1975 1980 1985 1990 1995 2000
tithni- Dear
---M ltiethnic -- -Developm ent


Note: Lines are smoothed three-year moving average. Stamps issuance is subject to some stickiness as regimes change.


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r- r I go


al-Bashir







Official Representation of the Nation I 89


Fig. 21c:Percentages of national-oriented stamps that are President/Regime orAfrica/Islam/Arab oriented
(vth regim es indicated)


Burkina Faso
Lamizana Sankara


Corrpaoro


1960 1965 1970 1975 1 90 1995 190 1995 2000
year
-- PresidentiRegime ----- Africa


Sudan


195 10960 1965 1970 1975 1980 195 1990 1995 2000
yegime -----
-- PresidentfRegime -----Arabflslam


Note: Lines are snoolhed three-year moving average. Stamps issuance is subjedto some stickinessas regimes change.



Note: Regimes for Burkina Faso are: (1) 1960-66, Yamrogo civilian regime; (2) 1966-80, Lamizana
military regime; {3} 1980-87, Transition and Sankara military regime; (4) 1987-2003, Compaor6
military regime. Regimes for Sudan are: (1) 1956-58, 1st democracy; (2) 1958-64, Abboud
military regime; (3) 1964-69, 2nd democracy; (4) 1969-85, Nimeiri military regime; (5) 1985-89,
3rd democracy; (6) 1989-2003, al-Beshir military regime.


Figure 22 presents the same numbers in a different way, aggregating some of the smaller
categories into four larger categories: political (commemoratives, political persons, presidents);
civil society (development, women, non-political persons); ideology (icons, panAfrica, panArab
and panlslam); and multiethnic. The radar chart shows the percent of stamps in each category
for each regime. So Sudan has six regimes, while Burkina has four regimes. At this broader level
of aggregation, there is striking consistency across regimes: Sudan's stamps are sharply skewed
towards ideological and political stamps; Burkina's stamps sharply skewed towards multiethnic
and civil society.


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90 I Kevane


Sudan









Multiethnic


Political


* Civil society and
development


Ideological


Burkina Faso








Multiethnic


Political


Civil society and
development


Ideological


Fig. 22: Percent of images in major categories of national-oriented stamps for different political
regimes

At a broad level Sudan's stamps focus on the political center (regimes, Khartoum politicians,
and Arab and Islamic identity of the country) while Burkina's stamps focus on society (artists,
multiple ethnic groups, and development). Sudan's stamps build an image of the nation as


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.., ..






Official Representation of the Nation I 91


being about the northern-dominated regime in Khartoum (whether military or parliamentary);
Burkina's stamps project an image of the nation as multi-cultural and development-oriented.

The consistency across regimes raises the interesting possibility that the pre-colonial and
colonial experience may have shaped the iconography of post-independence African states. Did
French colonies, more exposed to an ideology of inclusiveness (even if quite hypocritical) find
themselves transmuting that discourse into an iconography of multi-ethnic inclusiveness? Did
former British colonies take an opposite tack, and create images consistent with ideas of a
superior or civilizing group standing above the rest and being responsible for the nation? These
sorts of questions can only be answered by a broader statistical analysis of the imagery on all
African stamps in the post-independence era.

IMPLICATIONS

Political regimes that represent states in sub-Saharan Africa, as elsewhere, use iconography
to evince emotion and sentiment. Citizens and subjects respond, of course, with icons of their
own making. But the images individuals create are not always made under conditions of their
own choosing, and state icons may display a disproportionate power in their effects. This power
enables states to disproportionately initiate and capture the space of thought, and counter
private responses.
Part of the power of states comes from the massive resources, reach, and organization
available in its image production. States can mandate an image of the president in every office, a
national icon on every postage stamp, the national emblem on every piece of currency, national
colors on the airline, statuary in the roundabouts, and music on the airwaves. Few other
organizations can compete: ethnic groups may be able to produce music, masks, clothing, and
dances; churches and mosques use their rituals, architecture, and vestments; opposition groups
may carefully choose a color and symbol for public manifestations. But as these examples
suggest, their resources, reach, and organization are limited compared with that of most
states. Another part of the power of the state flows from an international order that naturalizes
states as expressions of the will of the people. The international legitimation of states adheres
even to illegitimate states, making their icons have unwarranted effects. Ubiquitous and
ordinary, postage stamps include themselves in the repertoire of everyday construction of
national identity.12 Appeal to authority is never sufficient to establish the reasonableness of a
hypothesis, but in arguing the case that postage stamps reflect broader regime strategies of
identity transformation it is useful to recall Albert Hourani's analysis of the emergence of
nationalism in the Arab world. The new spirit, according to Hourani, "was symbolized by the
change in postage stamps, which no longer showed mosques or sphinxes or kings, but workers
and peasants in heroic attitudes, shaking their fists at fate."13
Excessive power and routinization banalizes and tempers the power of state
iconography. Licking a stamp and handling the face of the sovereign on currency may make too
intimate the majesty of power. A repressed community of the arts encourages the least
imaginative to rise to positions of authority in the image-making machinery of a state; the


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92 I Kevane


results are often laughable. A lively opposition may cleverly make mockery of state images.
Intelligent citizens encourage others to pierce the hubris of power.
Inquiring into the effects and meanings associated with state iconography thus suffers from
fundamental epistemological questions about translating and measuring popular
understanding. Does the image of the President in leopard skin fez instill fear and abjection, or
a derisive and dismissive grunt in the ordinary citizen? When the Islamic regime of 1989 Sudan
ordered the painting of all commercial doorways in the pale green of Islam, did this encourage
piety and respect for the regime, or compliant insolence? When the revolutionary regime of
Thomas Sankara in Burkina Faso rebaptised a main street as Avenue Nkrumah, did the
residents of Ouagadougou give a hooray for pan-Africanism or roll their eyes at the excesses of
youth? More generally, have sentiments and actions inspired by national icons, whether of fear,
derision, or compliance, engendered other common sentiments or inspired other common
actions? Is the commonality extended to many through and reinforcing their identity as
national citizens subject to or participating in a state? Or does the commonality disintegrate or
exclude some from national identity?
A small, modest paper comparing the imagery on postage stamps of Sudan and Burkina
Faso cannot answer these questions, but the questions that are addressed here are motivated by
these larger questions. One thing is clear: the sovereign and internationally recognized state of
Sudan has rationalized its long war against the SPLA and much of the population of southern
Sudan by mocking rebels as malcontents overly distrusting of northern good intentions. The
imagery on the stamps issued by Khartoum suggests the southerners are fully justified in their
suspicions of a hegemonic project by the north. The stamps of Sudan are not at all like the
multi-cultural expressions of tolerance and diversity seen in Burkina Faso.


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Official Representation of the Nation I 93


Notes:

1. See, e.g. Sharkey 2003.
2. Adedze 2004a; Adedze 2004b; Levin 2004; Posnansky 2004.
3. Cusack 2003.
4. Baron 2005, pp. 74-77.
5. Jones 2004.
6. Brunn 2001.
7. Raento and Brunn 2005.
8. Child 2005; Lauritzen 1988; McQueen 1988; Newman 1989; O'Sullivan 1988; Reid 1984;
Scott 1992.
9. Delobsom 1932.
10. Adedze 2004a.
11. Cerulo 1995; Scott 1995.
12. Billig 1995; McCrone 1998.
13. Hourani 1983, p. 350.

References:

Adedze, Agbenyega. "Commemorating the chief: the politics of postage stamps in West Africa."
African Arts (2004a).

Adedze, Agbenyega. "Re-presenting Africa: Commemorative Postage Stamps of the Colonial
Exhibition of Paris." African Arts (2004b).

Baron, Beth. Egypt as a Woman: Nationalism, Gender, and Politics. Cairo: American University in
Cairo Press, 2005.

Billig, Michael. Banal Nationalism. London: Sage, 1995.

Brunn, Stanley D. "Stamps as iconography: Celebrating the independence of new European and
Central Asian states." GeoJournal 52, no. 4 (2001): 315 323.

Cerulo, Karen. Identity Designs: The sights and sounds of a nation. Brunswick, NJ: Rutgers
University Press, 1995.

Child, Jack. "The Politics and Semiotics of the Smallest Icons of Popular Culture: Latin
American Postage Stamps." Latin American Research Review 40, no. 1 (2005): 108-137.

Cusack, Igor. "Nationalism and the colonial imprint: The stamps of Portugal and Lusohpone
Africa and Asia." Paper presented at UK Political Studies Association annual conference,
University of Leicester (2003).

Delobsom, Dim. L'empire du Mogho-Naba. Paris: Domat-Montchrestien, 1932.


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Hourani, Albert. Arabic Thought in the Liberal Age, 1798-1939. Cambridge: Cambridge University
Press, 1983.

Jones, Robert A. "Science in National Cultures: The Message of Postage Stamps." Public
Understanding of Science (2004): 75-81.

Lauritzen, Frederick. "Propaganda art in the postage stamps of the Third Reich." Journal of
Decorative Propaganda and Arts (1988): 62-79.

Levin, Jessica. "Sculpted Posts: Architectural Decoration on Gabonese Stamps." African Arts
(2004).

McCrone, David. The Sociology of Nationalism. London: Routledge, 1998.

McQueen, Humphrey. "The Australian stamp: image, design and ideology." Arena 84 (1988): 78-
96.

Mwangi, W. "The Lion, the Native, and the Coffee Plant: Political Imagery and the Ambiguous
Art of Currency Design in Colonial Kenya." Geopolitics 7, no. 1 (2002): 31-62.

Newman, R.S. "Orientalism for Kids: Postage Stamps and "Creating" South Asia." Journal of
Developing Societies 5 (1989): 70-82.

O'Sullivan, Charles J. "Impressions of Irish and South African national identity on government
issued postage stamps." Eire-Ireland 23 (1988): 104-15.

Posnansky, Merrick. "Propaganda for the millions: images from Africa." African Arts (2004).

Raento, Pauliina, and Stanley D. Brunn. "Visualizing Finland: Postage Stamps As Political
Messengers." Geografiska Annaler Series B: Human Geography 87, no. 2 (2005): 145-64.

Reid, Donald M. "The symbolism of postage stamps: a source for the historian." Journal of
Contemporary History 19, no. 2 (1984): 223-49.

Scott, David. "National icons: the semiotics of the French stamp." French Cultural Studies 3, no. 9
(1992): 215-34.

Scott, David. European Stamp Design: A Semiotic Approach to Designing Messages. London:
Academy Editions, 1995.

Reference Style: The following is the suggested format for referencing this article: Michael
Kevane, "Official representations of the nation: Comparing the postage stamps of Sudan and
Burkina Faso," African Studies Quarterly 10, no.l: (2008) [online] URL:
http://africa.ufl.edu/asq/vl0/v10ila3.htm


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African Studies Quarterly I Volume 10, Issue 1 I Spring 2008


An Interest in Intervention: A Moral Argument for Darfur

CHRISTY MAWDSLEY


Introduction

The United States government has consistently failed to act when faced with governments
committing mass atrocities against their own citizens. Yet U.S. leaders acknowledge that the
United States is capable of and responsible for such action. We have thus seen one U.S.
administration after another crying "never again" after a humanitarian crisis or genocide, while
allowing the crises to go on unhindered when they recur.
In response to this gap between belief and action, this paper proposes that the U.S.
Government (USG) develop a policy toward genocide and other mass atrocities that is consistent
with U.S. values. To underscore the practical and real need for such a policy, this analysis will
examine the crisis in Darfur, Sudan. The paper will address three central questions: what is
occurring in Darfur? What is the theoretical case for U.S. action in Darfur or any other mass
murder? And how can this be carried out practically? These questions are extremely pertinent to
U.S. policymakers and citizens as they help clarify how our country views and deals with
humanitarian crises, if it should at all. The fundamental argument of this paper is that the United
States does have an obligation to act in the Darfur crisis and in similar situations in the future,
based on both interest and value-grounded rationale.
I aim in this paper to 1) outline the crisis in Darfur from 2003 to the present; 2) describe the
U.S. response to the situation in Darfur; 3) delineate what I believe the U.S. should do/be doing
in response to the crisis and 4) provide rationale for why the U.S. should undertake these or
similar actions in response to genocide in Darfur or other nations in the future.
The scope of this paper is limited in two central ways. First, in addressing human rights
violations that necessitate U.S. attention and action, I am speaking to situations in which a
government or group within a country is committing mass abuses to a degree that "shocks the
human conscience." This is with an understanding that very basic laws of morality are
universally available to human reason. The "atrocities" discussed in this paper entail those along
the lines of genocide, ethnic cleansing, gendercide, or mass extermination.1 The humanitarian
crises referenced in this paper refer to objective crises in which mass atrocities are being
committed by one group versus another, including but not limited to genocide. I am referencing
here a (relatively) sudden act that could necessitate emergency status. Thus, excluded are
"nation-building" operations, interventions in the case of a failing state, or interventions for
purely economic or strategic purposes.
The second limitation of scope in this paper is the aspect of ethics that I am suggesting be
Christy Mawdsley recently received her master's degree in international affairs from Texas A&M University, with
concentrations in international development and diplomacy. She was editor-in-chief of the Atlantic Affairs Journal
during her time in graduate school and currently works with the ONE Campaign and the Save Darfur Coalition.

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