Exhaustion: The African Way of War
ARMY COMMAND AND GENERAL STAFF COLLEGE FORT LEAVENWORTH KS SCHOOL OF ADVANCED MILITARY STUDIES
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Africa is one of the most volatile places in the world. The diversity of 54 countries and hundreds of ethnicities and dialects makes Africa complicated. With the establishment of AFRICOM in 2008, the importance of Africa to the U.S. military is growing. With an increased interest comes a need for improved understanding of Africa. This monograph aims to improve understanding of Africa for future planners starting with an understanding of conflicts in Africa. Similarly to classifying the American way of war, can an African way of war be identified Using the Case Study method, two regionally diverse case studies of Africa facilitate examination of the nature of conflict in Africa. A societal conflict, the Second Congo War in the Democratic Republic of the Congo and an intrastate conflict, the Sierra Leone conflict will test the two hypotheses of the study. The hypotheses state that if the type of warfare in Africa is either societal or intrastate, the way of war is exhaustion. The significance of the study is that it provides an understanding of the nature of conflict in Africa. The evidence from the case studies suggest that exhaustion is indeed the way of war in Africa. Small conscript armies necessitate the need for coalition warfare and in many cases, outside intervention. The size and diversity of African countries mean security forces are relatively weak resulting in protracted conflicts. The small size, weak strength, poor training of forces necessitates choosing an exhaustive type approach that involves degradation of political, economic, and military power of adversaries. This often involves exploitation of the population creating a humanitarian crisis. Outside intervention is required to end the conflict and reach a negotiated settlement. Ultimately, understanding the nature of conflict is critical to successful partnership operations in Africa.
- Government and Political Science