Forum: constituting countries. Their goal is to strive for

Forum:                       Security
Council

Question of:            The situation of terrorism in West
Africa

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Student Officer:      Lennart
Frahm (Lübeck, Germany)

Position:                    Vice
President

    
I.       
and political conflicts Introduction

Religious diversity and tolerating
religions is an ideology most western countries thrive for. But long before
even the colonization of the West had begun in Africa, merchants from Maghreb
(North-West Africa) brought the Islam to West Africa. West Africa is the westernmost
region of Africa and the home of 18 countries and more than 360 Million
inhabitants.

West Africa is the home of the most
concentrated area of Muslim believers in the continent. The Islam has had to
face several problems implemented by Western Powers then. Only one of them is imposing
Catholicism, enhancing the potential for conflicts in this region. In the
mid-20th century Western Powers divided West Africa into nation
states, which had nothing but the geographical proximity in common. Old ethnic
groups still consider themselves as own nations.

These prevailing circumstances
facilitated the spreading of jihadistic Ideologies in the region of West
Africa. Furthermore, key terroristic organizations like Boko Haram and Al-Qaeda
in the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM) have contributed to the instability in the region
and have made it challenging for West African countries to develop not only in
democracy but also economic wise. Countries in this region have felt the threat
these terroristic groups spread and have formed alliances. For example: Mali,
Burkina Faso, Chad, Mauritania and Niger, who have created the G-5 Sahel
anti-terroristic force combating terrorism in the Sahel region since 2014.  But not only militant treaties where
introduced. In 1975 The Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) was
introduced. It is a 15-member regional group promoting economic integration in
all fields of activity of the constituting countries. Their goal is to strive
for economic independence as well as solving cultural and social matters. These
aspects are all basic requirements countries need to possess in order to fight
terrorism and stabilize the region of West Africa.

  II.       
Definition of Key Terms

West Africa

West Africa is the westernmost
region in Africa. It contains 18 countries: Benin, Burkina Faso, the islands of
Cape Verde, Gambia, Ghana, Guinea, Guinea-Bissau, Ivory Coast, Liberia, Mali,
Mauritania, Niger, Nigeria, the islands of Saint Helena, Senegal, Sierra Leone,
São Tomé and Príncipe and Togo. The Population of the region is estimated to
over 360 million people.

Region of Maghreb

Maghreb is the Arabic name for the
North-Western part of Africa containing African countries like Algeria, Libya,
Morocco, Mauritania and Tunisia. It is home to several religions including the
Islam, Christianity, Judaism and the traditional Berber religion.

Western Powers

Based on Western Powers during the
time of colonialization Britain, France, Germany, Belgium, Italy, Portugal, and
Spain were the main countries involved competing for power within European
power politics. One way for these nations to demonstrate national power was
through the acquisition of territories around the world, also including the
West of Africa

Ethnic group

“Ethnic group, is a social group or
category of the population that, in a larger society, is set apart and bound
together by common ties of race, language, nationality, or culture.” 1

Boko Haram

Boko Haram is an ISIS-arranged
jihadist group, which is mainly active in the north-eastern part of Nigeria,
but is also in Cameroon, Chad, and Niger. The
group promotes a Salafist-jihadist imprint of the Islam and wants to establish
a caliphate, or rather an Islamic state, in Nigeria. The group is famous for
carrying out large-scale attacks inside Nigeria. Only one of them being the
attack on the U.N. headquarters in Abuja, Nigeria in 2011. Boko Haram was
founded in 2002 in Maiduguri, Nigeria with no pursue of violence. The group has
been approved as a terrorist organization by the United Nations, the United
States of America and the European Union.

Al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM)

Al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb
(AQIM) is a jihadist terrorist group, which is based in North Africa. As an official
al-Qaeda branch, the group’s goal is to dismantle regional governments and implement
sharia law in these. AQIM operates, mainly in Algeria, Mali, Mauritania, Libya,
Tunisia, and Niger. The group finds its roots in the Armed Islamic Group (GIA).
This is an Islamist movement, which was founded in Algeria in the early 1990s.

 

 

G-5 Sahel force

The G-5 Sahel Force is an
institutional framework strengthening the regional cooperation and development and
mainly wants to tackle security matters for Central and West Africa. Their goal
is to strengthen the bond between economic development and security in order to
fight jihadistic organizations in the region, like AQIM und Boko Haram. Member
states are Burkina Faso, Chad, Mali, Mauritania, and Niger.

Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS)

The Economic Community of West
African States (ECOWAS) is a regional organisation and trade union in West
Africa. Its purpose is to elevate the economic integration of all member
states. They want to create a borderless region, in which the population can
access all existing resources and exploit them is a feasible environment.
Member countries are Benin, Burkina Faso, Cape Verde, Cote d’ Ivoire, The
Gambia, Ghana, Guinea, Guinea Bissau, Liberia, Mali, Niger, Nigeria, Sierra
Leone, Senegal and Togo. The ECOWAS is one of the pillars of the African
Economic Community (AEC).

 III.       
Background Information

Fighting terrorism

The former United Nations Secretary General, Ban Ki-moon,
said in 2013: “(…) opportunistic links between terrorist and transnational
organized criminal groups ensure the constant flow of people, money, weapons
and illicit goods across borders, allowing such groups to survive and
proliferate (…)”

Drug trafficking, transnational organised crimes and prostitution
are examples of illegal practices taking place in West Africa. You could even say
West Africa became a hot spot for terroristic action since 9/11. These
terrorist groups have their main objective to do away with western
civilization. Thus, they have as their main agenda to bring back the classical
Islam which had existed in the region since the 10th Century. Regional and
international organizations have attempted to combat such terrorist’s groups. An
example is ECOWAS who formed a military wing known as ECOMOG. This was because
ECOWAS group had felt the effects of the civil war to a much greater extent
than did countries outside of the region. In response to both regional
instability and a heavy refugee flow, ECOWAS created the ECOWAS Monitoring
Group (ECOMOG), a force aimed at resolving the conflict, restoring order and
establishing a democratically-elected government. This force is also set up to tackle
terroristic actions throughout the region in order to ensure safety and peace. One
of the distinguishing features of Africa’s political chemistry is its many
protracted social and always attempts to resolve the terrorism so that
security, peace and development could be established in the region.

Supporting terrorism

There are also aspects of political groups supporting the ideologies
jihadist groups follow. In some cases, political events have been working hand
in glove with terrorism is some West African countries. Mali is a case in
point. In 2011 the defunct government was toppled in a coup on 22 March 2012. A
gap was created. That gap was filled by the Tuareg National Movement for the
Liberation of Azaward (MINLA), which was backed by Islamist forces combined
with AQIM and other terroristic organisations, suddenly having impact on the political
decision making.

1

                Ethnic group. (2014) Encyclopædia Britannica. Encyclopædia Britannica Ultimate
Reference Suite. Chicago: Encyclopædia Britannica.