WHY HAS ECOWAS NOT TAKEN THE LEAD ROLE IN ADDRESSING THE MALIAN CRISIS?
Guindo, Djibril Hassane
Meierding, Emily L.
Sigman, Rachel L.
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The Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) was created in 1975 with the ambition of economically integrating West African countries so that they can achieve harmonious development. Successive crises in the region, however, have led to the realization that the absence of peace destroys all development efforts intended by the economic integration initiative. In order to prevent the breach of peace and to participate in conflict management, ECOWAS adopted two protocols in 1978 and 1981, after which, in 1993, the organization revised its founding text to broaden its action scope to political and security issues. The Economic Community of West African States Monitoring Group (ECOMOG), considered the armed wing of ECOWAS, was at the beginning an ad hoc force. However, it gained permanent status in 1999 with the adoption of the Protocol on Mechanism for Prevention, Conflict Resolution, Peacekeeping and Security. ECOMOG intervened in Sierra Leonne, Guinea Bissau, and the Ivory Coast. From the outbreak of the crisis in northern Mali, in January 2012, to the French intervention in January 2013, however, ECOWAS was not able to generate support for the troops of Mali to defend their national territory. Since it took French intervention for ECOWAS to act, this project addresses the question: Why did the regional organization fail to take the lead role and instead seemingly bandwagoned with the French?
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