1-4 of 4 Results  for:

  • Keywords: military intervention x
  • Political Institutions x
Clear all

Article

Mali: The Hot and Cold Relationship Between Military Intervention and Democratic Consolidation  

Florina Cristiana Matei

Many African countries are praetorian states in which the armed forces routinely meddle with politics, and hence defy civilian supremacy over the military. Mali—a noncoastal country in West Africa, with a population of 14.5 million inhabitants—is no exception. Since gaining independence from France in 1960, Mali has been a praetorian state, as the armed forces have frequently intervened in politics. As such, Mali has experienced four successful military coups (in 1968, 1991, 2012, and 2020). These coups have been caused by an array of interconnected and often overlapping factors, including the following: state formation and the relationship between the military and state institutions; legacies of the colonial times; the dynamic political and security context in north Mali; precarious state governance; history of military intervention in politics; and ineffective international aid and assistance. Mali’s on-and-off relationship with the military intervention in politics has had both positive and negative effects to the surrounding society. If the 1968 military intervention in politics was nothing more than a replacement of an authoritarian regime with another—equally deleterious to the country and its citizens—the other three interventions clearly illustrate how coups can both facilitate and jeopardize democratic consolidation. Certainly, the 1991 coup led to democratization while the 2012 and 2020 coups arrested democratic progress. As a result, Mali’s political institutions in the early 21st century are weak, corrupt, fighting one another, and incapable of governing while the security situation is perilous, despite more than seven years of external military and regional military presence.

Article

Botswana: The Evolution and Influence of the Military in Politics  

David Sebudubudu

The military in Botswana has sustained its withdrawal from active involvement in politics since its formation in 1977. This has made its military one of a few outliers in Africa, owing to its positive record, where active involvement in politics was mostly the norm. Its withdrawal from overt politics can be linked to the evolution and nature of the military in Botswana. At independence, the country had taken a decision not to establish a military. This, in part, explains the lack of an established and known history of the military as an institution in Botswana, when compared to countries such as Nigeria. Consequently, Botswana’s military has historically remained underdeveloped as an institution, as it was established 11 years after the country had gained self-rule. Owing to its withdrawal from politics, the influence of the military in the politics of Botswana could be considered as largely indirect.

Article

The Bangladesh Army: What It Costs to Remain Apolitical  

Smruti S. Pattanaik

In any nascent democracy, the military as an organized force is a dominant factor in politics. The nature of the relationship between different institutions, especially in fledgling democracies, decides the position of the military in the state. Compared to the political parties, the military is a cohesive force with a command structure that ensures orders are dutifully implemented. Often the military becomes part of contested politics and remains a dominant factor in countries that were previously under military rule. This could be for two reasons. First, their regime remains a reference point and is often compared to democratic regimes thereby creating a legitimacy factor. Second, the military is seen as savior and often portrayed as a fall-back option if a civilian system of governance is not able to deliver. Though many argue that military regimes are a thing of the past and their role is in fact in decline, this may not be true. Military institutions have adapted to change and the nature of their interactions with civilian groups has undergone a shift. However, use of coercion by military authority does not explain military dominance. Much is determined by the structural factors within which both the civil and military agents operate. In some cases, the military’s preserve is not only ensuring state “sovereignty” and its territorial integrity but also preventing a political catastrophe from happening during political transition. They are often referred to as guardians of the state. Study of civil–military relations in South Asia tends to follow a narrative that synthesizes and combines the structural and agency-related issues. Agency, however, is a dominant factor that waits for structurally enabling factors to contemplate a military takeover. In South Asia, and particularly in Bangladesh, any study of civil–military relations within the theoretical framework of a structure-agency divide is inadequate. Challenges in studying the structure-agency divide can be attributed to the larger-than-life image of the military agency. Military agents as actors, their political motives appear to be more important than the societal structure that influences decision. Social class, macroeconomic situations, the society-governing class interface, and lopsided institutional developments also shape the role of agencies (civil and military) and determine the balance of power. Absence of coup does not imply “civilian control,” but rather the civilian government’s ability to decide on posting, promoting, and shaping the vision of the military regarding threat perception determines the extent of civilian control over the military. Political culture, agreement within the society on political structure, institutional checks and balances, and political socialization are important aspects of state structure that acts a constraint on Agency’s action.

Article

Côte d’Ivoire: The Military, Ruling Elites, and Political Power  

Simon A. Akindes

The Ivorian military remained confined to their barracks until December 24, 1999, when they staged a coup d’état. They had been instrumental in sustaining Félix Houphouët-Boigny’s rule, characterized by a deep culture of patronage in which they actively participated. After French colonialism used Ivorian soldiers in securing the territories they conquered, the Ivorian army, after its creation, became a pivotal element in the creation of the nascent Ivorian bourgeoisie, a class of planteurs (plantation owners) and entrepreneurs linked to the State. Houphouët-Boigny was unwilling to fund the army because he did not trust their loyalty to him. He preferred to focus on education, health, and infrastructure, arguing no external was threatening the country. As a consequence, the Ivorian military was neglected, poorly equipped, and inadequately trained. Complex relations have existed between the military, the ruling elites, and the state. In 1995, when the Baoulé elites and their new leader, Bédié, began losing their grip on power and faced competition from Northern elites that identified with Ouattara, they resorted to the dubious ideology of Ivoirité to consolidate their class position. The balance of power was shifting swiftly among ethnicized and competing members of ruling elites, ill-prepared to negotiate the fallout from their own instrumentalization of ethnicity, belonging, and autochthony for power. In 2002, a failed rebellion divided the country in two. The atrophied military could not assume their fundamental duties of keeping the country together. As militias, insurgencies, rebellions, and gangs mushroomed across the country and fought for a piece of the state, violence became their preferred strategy to advance political agendas until elections were organized in 2010. A situation of no war and no peace ensued until Laurent Gbagbo, who did not recognize his defeat, was removed from power by force in 2011. The French, with the assistance of the United Nations Operation in Côte d’Ivoire (UNOCI) in a semblance of multilateralism, intervened militarily to allow Ouattara’s troops to capture Gbagbo on April 1, 2011. Placed within a context of longue durée, an analysis is provided of how the long presence of the French military base and their experts and soldiers, under an agreement Houphouët-Boigny signed with the French government in 1961, has been a powerful deterrent and determinant of civil–military relations in Côte d’Ivoire, from independence in 1960 to the 2011 war. The presence of the French army, the Forces Nouvelles’ armed insurrection, and the weakness of the military have made possible the preservation of a “negative” peace, one that not only reshaped the class structure, but also enabled the preservation of the rentier state as the central institution in the creation and distribution of wealth. The loyalty of local ruling elites to French interests mattered significantly in the preservation of stable civil–military relations. As long as ethno-factions, political parties, and local elites are able to align their interests with powerful French interests, a semblance of stability will prevail and the military will continue exerting a reduced direct impact on Ivorian politics. As soon as that fragile equilibrium ruptures and a renewed internal struggle for primacy among ruling elites erupts, the country may descend into chaos, especially if the reconciliation process, engaged after Ouattara took power in 2011, does not yield tangible results, and if horizontal inequalities persist.