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Conflict Analysis: Angola

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Introduction

Conflict Analysis: Angola 1) History & Context This conflict analysis will look into Angola's violent civil war between the summers of 1998 and 2001. There is no distinct explanation for the conflict that has engulfed Angola; a county that has had little experience of peace in twenty-six years of independence from Portugal. The violent conflict has evolved immensely over time, originally being driven by revolution (against colonialism) and then ideology (Socialism versus Capitalism) and in the latest phase 'a brutal competition between rival elites for a wealth of natural resources.1' Despite the conflict in Angola being a civil war predominantly between the governing MPLA (Popular Movement for the Liberation of Angola) and the rebel group UNITA (Union for the Total Independence of Angola), it cannot be called intrastate. During the Cold War, the Socialist MPLA was backed heavily by Russia and Cuba, the latter of which supplied 15,000 troops which secured the capital Luanda, and stabilised much of the countryside. UNITA was backed by the USA and South Africa, allowing it at certain times to control southern and eastern areas of the country. The end of the Cold War had a profound effect on the Angolan conflict, but it still remained very much interstate. Today the war not only affects and is affected by Angola's neighbour states, but international commerce (notably the oil and diamond industries) and international organisations, especially the UN, also influence it. The character of the war changed in the 1990's. At the very start of the decade there was increased dialogue between UNITA's leader, Jonas Savimbi, and the MPLA President Dos Santos. The early 90's also saw the one party MPLA government move away from Marxism/Leninism towards making Angola a democratic state, by allowing free elections (Bicesse Accords May '91). The Cuban troops left, and there was great hope for peace. The elections, which the UN and foreign observers concluded to be 'generally free and fair'2, gave Dos Santos 49.6% and Savimbi 40.7% in the presidential elections. ...read more.

Middle

September saw further advances by UNITA, with its progression in both Malanje and Uige provinces. UNITA received external assistance from DRC rebels in Uige27. During October, fighting intensified in these northern provinces, spilling into Lunda Norte and Lunda Sol. Strategically these provinces were the chief diamond producing zones of Angola, and were thus essential for funding UNITA's war effort. During this period there was significant polarisation with UNITA being suspended from GURN. However at this point a splinter faction of UNITA - the UNITA Renewal Committee (UNITA-RC) - was formed under the leadership of Jorge Valentim. This allowed the government to cut all ties with Savimbi's UNITA, although Valentim's movement received negligible support from UNITA members28. In September the UN formally blamed UNITA for the present crisis29; an external factor, which set the scene for the UN's expanded efforts to undermine Savimbi's UNITA regime. By the end of the year, the violence had escalated to the level where it would stay for about a year. In December, prior to the government's congress, the FAA launched a big air attack on the UNITA strongholds of Bailundo and Mungo. UNITA retaliated by indiscriminately shelling and forcing the government to withdraw from these cities. This caused full polarisation during the government congress. President dos Santos called for the withdrawal of the UN observer mission and the end of the peace process, as well as the total isolation of Savimbi. These requests were followed through when the government branded Savimbi a war criminal and rejected Lusaka in January30. During late December and early January two UN C-130 Hercules aircraft crashed in suspicious circumstances, causing a deterioration of relations between the UN and the two warring parties. The UN deplored the lack of co-operation by UNITA31, and in a report, Kofi Annan stated that both the parties were to blame for the worsening situation. He stated that there was nothing left to do but to pull out the monitors and aid workers32. ...read more.

Conclusion

(KRWE), entries for June 1997, 41671, August, 41759, October, 41850 14 'UNITA resentment over UN sanctions decision', KRWE, November 1997, 41899 15 'Continued extension of state administration', KRWE, December 1997, 41947 16 "Deterioration in prospects for peace", KRWE, February 1998, 42052 17 "Renewed fears for the peace process", KRWE, May 1997, 41624 18 HRWWP 1998, p21 19 ibid 20 ibid. 21 "Renewed fears for the peace process", KRWE, May 1997, 41624 22 HRWWP 1999, 28 23 HRWWP 1999, p29 24 ibid, p28 25 'Escalation of civil war', KRWE, December 1998, 42656 26 HRWWP 1999, p28 27 'Continued fighting', KRWE, September 1998 28 'Suspension of UNITA deputies and ministers - Divisions within UNITA,' KRWE, September 1998 42477 29 UN Security Council (UNSC) Resolution 1195 30 HRWWP 2000, p29 31 UNSC resolution: 1221 32 'Deterioration in relations with UN', KRWE, January 1999, 42711 33 'Government changes', KRWE, February 1999, 42768 34 UNSC resolution: 1237 35 HRWWP 2000, p32 36 'Moves to halt UNITA diamond trade by UN sanctions committee', KRWE, July 1999, 43051 37 'Intensified fighting', KRWE, August 1999, 43902 38 'Ban on Angolan diamond purchases', KRWE, October 1999, 43187 39 HRWWP 2001, p31 40 'UN report into sanctions' busting', KRWE, March 2000, 43445 41 HRWWP 2001, p34 42 'Government offensive - Zambian concerns' KRWE, May 2000, 43 HRWWP 2001, p32 44 HRWWP 2002, p32 45 The reports in the number of dead vary greatly due to the scarcity of information from rural areas. The lowest total number from the whole Angolan conflict is 500,000 and some sources state more than a million have died. 46ibid. 47 Jedrzej George Frynas and Geoffrey Wood, op. cit., p591 48 Steve Kibble & Alex Vines, op. cit., p543 49 'Escalation of UNITA activity', KRWE, May 2001, 44144 50 Steve Kibble & Alex Vines, ibid. 51 United Nations Statistics Division - Indicators on Health (page last checked 12/03/02) http://www.un.org/depts/unsd/social/health.htm 52 'Statement on re-election by president', KRWE, August 2001, 44289 53 Christine Gordon, op. cit., p42 Alex Rush Page 1 10/05/2007 ...read more.

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