Allard Duursma

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Members of the Ethiopian National Defense Force transport a 100mm antiaircraft gun in Shewa Robit on Dec. 5. (Amanuel Sileshi/AFP)

The war in Ethiopia has entered a crucial but uncertain stage. The Tigray Defense Force took control of the strategic towns of Dessie and Kombolcha in early November, but it’s unclear whether it will be able to advance on Addis Ababa or even hold onto these towns after a late November counteroffensive by government forces.

Regional and international diplomats continue to try to negotiate a cease-fire to prevent further violence. My research suggests one big lesson from past mediation efforts will probably be key: Successful mediators use smart pressure.

What does this mean, exactly? Smart pressure in cease-fire negotiations first entails pushing for a comprehensive and precise cease-fire agreement rather than getting the parties to just sign a document.…  Seguir leyendo »

U.N. peacekeeping forces patrol during presidential and legislative elections in the Central African Republic in December 2015. (Issouf Sanogo/AFP/Getty Images)

Congolese rebels killed eight U.N. peacekeepers on Nov. 15. The same rebel group was responsible for the death of 15 peacekeepers in December 2017, the deadliest single assault on the U.N. peacekeeping mission in Congo in its 25 years of existence.

U.N. peacekeepers also face heavy armed resistance in places such as Mali, South Sudan and the Central African Republic. These serious attacks may obscure another crucial threat to peacekeeping missions: Government forces and rebels obstruct and intimidate peacekeepers to prevent them from fulfilling their civilian protection mandate.

For instance, government forces and the Kamuina Nsapu militia fought in Congo’s Kasai-Central province in March 2017.…  Seguir leyendo »