Mexico Is Not Colombia: Alternative Historical Analogies for Responding to the Challenge of Violent Drug-Trafficking Organizations - Vol. 2

By Christopher Paul; Colin P. Clarke et al. | Go to book overview

CHAPTER FOUR
West Africa (1990–2010)

Case Selection Categories: Resource Insurgency, Ungoverned Spaces, High Level of Organized Crime

On Christmas Eve in 1989, Liberian warlord Charles Taylor led an invasion force of approximately 150 insurgents, fighting under the banner of the National Patriotic Front of Liberia (NPFL), into Nimba County in Liberia’s northeast. The insurgents crossed the border into Liberia from the Ivory Coast and counted among their ranks a hodgepodge of rebels from Sierra Leone, Gambia, and Guinea, as well as an attachment of Burkinabe soldiers.1 Taylor’s foray into Nimba County marked the beginning of more than a decade of chaos and instability in West Africa, with multiple armed groups competing to control the region’s vast natural resources for their own personal gain. Neighboring Sierra Leone was soon dragged into the conflict, which featured intervention by an array of actors, including private mercenaries, regional African security organizations, the UN, and the British military.

At the height of the region’s violence, drug-crazed child soldiers roamed the cities and countryside, engaging in mass looting, rape, and the wanton slaughter of combatants and noncombatants alike. It was not uncommon for victims to be set on fire or beheaded, mutilated for sport, or hacked to death with machetes and then cannibalized.2 Much of the violence had an oddly apolitical and random character.

1 Stephen Ellis, “Liberia’s Warlord Insurgency,” in Christopher Clapham, ed., African Guerrillas, Bloomington, Ind.: Indiana University Press, 1998, p. 155.

2 J. E. Herring, “Liberia: America’s Stepchild,” 1997, p. 28.

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Mexico Is Not Colombia: Alternative Historical Analogies for Responding to the Challenge of Violent Drug-Trafficking Organizations - Vol. 2
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page i
  • Preface iii
  • Contents v
  • Figure and Tables xiii
  • Summary xv
  • Acknowledgments xxix
  • Abbreviations xxxi
  • Chapter One - Colombia (1994–2010) 1
  • Chapter Two - Peru (1980–1992) 23
  • Chapter Three - The Balkans (1991–2010) 53
  • Chapter Four - West Africa (1990–2010) 85
  • Chapter Five - The Caucasus (1990–2012) 119
  • Chapter Six - Somalia (1991–2010) 151
  • Chapter Seven - Angola (1992–2010) 167
  • Chapter Eight - Burma (1988–2012) 183
  • Chapter Nine - Tajikistan (1992–2008) 197
  • Chapter Ten - Afghanistan (2001–2013) 211
  • References 223
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