Security sector reform and civil-military relations in postwar Côte d’Ivoire

Security sector reform and civil-military relations in postwar Côte d’Ivoire On June 30, 2017, The United Nations Operation in Côte d’Ivoire (ONUCI) reached the end of its mandate after fourteen years of peacekeeping operations. UN officials and Ivorian national leaders framed ONUCI’s departure as another positive step in the country’s postwar recovery, declaring that the return to peace was ‘irreversible’.1 In some ways, this enthusiasm appeared warranted. Since the end of the Second Ivorian Civil War in 2011, which culminated in the arrest of former President Laurent Gbagbo by rebel troops formerly known as the Forces nouvelles, the country has experienced rapid economic recovery: GDP growth averaged 9 percent from 2012 to 2016.2 Government and UN officials have touted the success of the country’s disarmament, demobilization, and reintegration (DDR) programme, which officially processed over 60,000 ex-combatants between 2012 and 2015.3 Within the country’s armed forces, officials point to the integration of former rebels and pro-Gbagbo elements within unified military units as further evidence that Côte d’Ivoire is a model of peacebuilding and security sector reform to be emulated by Africa’s other conflict-torn states.4 However, recent events in Côte d’Ivoire have battered the country’s image as an unalloyed peacebuilding success story. In May 2017, just six weeks before ONUCI’s final departure, Ivorian soldiers and ex-combatants clashed in the city of Bouaké as armed uprisings swept across the country.5 At the time, the Ouattara government was still reeling from an earlier wave of army uprisings in January and February, when mutinous soldiers took control of military barracks, demanded payouts from the government, and briefly kidnapped the defence minister.6 When the government ordered military units to confront the mutinous soldiers in May, some troops reportedly refused to follow orders.7 Meanwhile, ex-combatants who resent the government for not integrating them into the army and mismanaging the DDR program continue to organize protests and make veiled threats against the government.8 These events all come in the context of an increasingly bitter battle of succession within the Rassemblement des Houphouëtistes pour la démocratie et la paix (RHDP) ruling coalition between factions loyal to President Ouattara and those loyal to Guillaume Soro, the President of the National Assembly and former political chief of the Forces nouvelles rebel group.9 Together, these developments raise troubling questions about the future of Côte d’Ivoire’s postwar recovery and stoke fears of backsliding into renewed violence in light of upcoming presidential elections in 2020. What explains this turn of events, given the previously optimistic assessments of peacebuilding in Côte d’Ivoire after the inauguration of the Ouattara regime? This briefing examines Côte d’Ivoire’s recent crises within a broader analytical context, evaluating the state of security sector reform and civil-military relations since the end of the Ivorian civil war in April 2011.10 Despite some successes, parallel chains of command and weak cohesion have plagued the Forces républicaines de Côte d’Ivoire (FRCI) under the Ouattara government, and the civilian regime has failed to exert effective authority over the Ivorian armed forces.11 Rather than being a symptom of low capacity or lack of training – i.e. technical problems amenable to donor-sponsored programming fixes – the fragmentation of Côte d’Ivoire’s national army is linked to underlying political cleavages and the powerful position of former commanders of the Forces armées de forces nouvelles (FAFN). These commanders were critical to the war effort that brought the Ouattara regime to power, but have since resisted efforts to establish a unified command structure under central government control. Côte d’Ivoire’s postwar transition challenges popular claims within the scholarly and policy literature on post-conflict security sector reform about the centrality of ‘capacity development’ and ‘local ownership’ for reform outcomes.12 Much of this work blames the failure of security sector reform programmes on insufficient coordination and investment by external partners, or else a lack of donor attention to local participation in reform efforts.13 These problems certainly exist in Côte d’Ivoire, but the fragmentation of the FRCI since 2011 stems primarily from domestic processes of political bargaining that external actors ultimately have limited ability to influence. In other words, it is unclear that more abundant donor assistance or attention to local ownership of security sector reform in postwar Côte d’Ivoire would have produced a significantly different result. The briefing proceeds as follows. It reviews the events in Côte d’Ivoire leading up to the 2011 post-election crisis and the formation of the FRCI, and then documents how weak cohesion and limited civilian government authority within the FRCI have undermined military effectiveness and produced recurrent security crises since 2011. In doing so, it combines secondary materials with original research conducted in the cities of Abidjan, Bouaké, Korhogo, and Man in Côte d’Ivoire over ten months in 2016 and 2017. This research included more than seventy personal interviews with current and former military officers at various levels of seniority, current and former politicians and senior government officials in the Ministry of Defence and the Ministry of Interior, former rebel group members, local journalists and academics, and representatives of international organizations and foreign governments.14 The briefing concludes by discussing future implications for peace and stability. The Ivorian crisis, Ouattara’s victory, and the formation of the FRCI The modern Ivorian military is the product of a decades-long history of crises, factionalism, and coup-plotting. Like other independence-era governments in Sub-Saharan Africa, the regime of Félix Houphouët-Boigny, which governed Côte d’Ivoire from 1960 to 1993, structured the armed forces with careful attention to the country’s ethnic balance, and ensured that representatives from each of the country’s main ethnic groups were represented within the senior officer corps.15 Following the transition to multi-party democracy in the mid-1990s, however, this equilibrium began to fray. Growing numbers of military officers, especially those of western and northern origins, felt threatened by the perceived pro-Baoulé ethnic favouritism of Houphouët-Boigny’s successor, President Henry Konan Bédié. These tensions culminated in a coup d’état in December 1999 that installed the military regime of General Robert Guéï.16 Guéï’s government was short-lived, replaced after elections in 2000 by Front Populaire Ivoirien (FPI) leader Laurent Gbagbo, a long-time opposition activist whose support within the security forces was concentrated within the police and gendarmerie. Gbagbo’s relationship with the army quickly deteriorated however, and on 19 September 2002, northern army officers who feared the demobilization of their units launched another attempted coup, this time to depose the Gbagbo government.17 The coup failed, but sparked a civil war that partitioned the country into rebel and government controlled zones for nine years. In March 2011 at the height of the post-electoral crisis, triggered by disputed elections the previous December, FAFN forces began sweeping south towards Abidjan in the face of crumbling pro-Gbagbo resistance. On March 17 Alassane Ouattara, recognized by the international community as the winner of the December 2010 elections, announced the creation of the FRCI. This new army was formed as a merger of the FAFN troops already fighting for Ouattara, and cooperating elements of the pro-Gbagbo Forces de défense et de sécurité (FDS).18 With support from UN forces, FRCI soldiers encircled and captured Laurent Gbagbo at the presidential residence on April 11, bringing the Ivorian civil war to an end.19 For many, Ouattara’s victory represented a golden opportunity for Côte d’Ivoire to rebuild its institutions under the stewardship of a pro-Western government, and restore coherence and professionalism within the security sector.20 Several factors weighed in favour of this optimistic vision. First, with the collapse of the pro-Gbagbo faction of the FDS and the arrest of Gbagbo himself, the Ouattara regime possessed a strong hand to impose its authority domestically.21 The ruling party’s enemies were defeated or in exile, and key posts within the FRCI were held by former rebel commanders who pledged loyalty to Ouattara. The new army leader Soumaïla Bakayoko, for example, was the former FAFN Chef d’État-Major, and was viewed as a staunch Ouattara supporter.22 Former FAFN commanders were also placed in charge of the most powerful and well-equipped units, such as the Republican Guard and the Special Forces.23 Second, the Ouattara government enjoyed strong backing from the international community, most notably France, the United States, and the United Nations.24 External partners invested significant resources to help modernize, equip and train the FRCI, and to implement the government’s ambitious DDR program. Over the 2012–2016 period, France and the United States spent tens of millions of dollars in security sector assistance, including numerous programmes aimed at promoting increased cohesion and command-and-control.25 The UN mission organized and financed a program of security sector reform aimed at enhancing professionalism and civilian control, including numerous workshops and ‘brown-bag lunch’ sessions that brought together military leaders, politicians, and civil society actors.26 ONUCI and international humanitarian organizations also supported the national authority for disarmament, demobilization and reintegration (ADDR) to process tens of thousands of ex-combatants.27 Certainly, many recognized that the Ouattara government faced myriad challenges as the country emerged from over a decade of crisis. Political grievances lingered among supporters of the Gbagbo regime, especially concerning perceived biases in the administration of justice for alleged perpetrators of crimes committed during the post-electoral crisis.28 Light arms also continued to circulate, and armed banditry persisted throughout the country.29 Nevertheless, the fact that the war had produced a clear military victor on the ground, combined with the view among international partners that Ouattara himself was fundamentally a pro-democracy leader committed to restoring prosperity and stability, led many observers to adopt a stance of cautious optimism. Missed opportunities: fragmentation and weak civilian control within the FRCI Despite high expectations, Côte d’Ivoire’s armed forces did not cohere into a unified or accountable military under Ouattara’s watch. Instead, the FRCI since 2011 has been plagued by deep dysfunction and fragmentation. These challenges are manifested in the army’s low internal cohesion, imbalanced organizational structure, and lack of accountability to civilian government authority. Scholars define military cohesion as the extent to which soldiers and officers are capable of cooperating to execute military behaviours and maintain discipline within a unified command structure, including when under battlefield pressure.30 By these measures, the FRCI demonstrates few attributes of an internally cohesive organization. During dozens of interviews with defence officials, military advisors, and soldiers in Abidjan, Bouaké, and Korhogo, problems of indiscipline and command-and-control were raised frequently.31 Interviewees also acknowledged that complex battlefield manoeuvers and live-fire exercises are not practiced, in part because the units involved do not communicate with each other.32 As one military advisor put it: Military leaders have weak authority over the rank and file … this goes well beyond the normal problems inside an African military, they [FRCI] lack planning capability for any large scale mobilization or forward operations … and that is when no one is shooting.33 Moreover, the army is wracked by parallel chains of command that reflect underlying cleavages within the organization. In order to facilitate integration across rival factions of the FRCI, former FAFN and FDS officers were integrated together in ‘co-command’ of FRCI units beginning in 2012.34 In reality, however, decision-making authority and political clout have remained largely in the hands of former FAFN elements, and soldiers are reticent to take orders from members of the opposing camp.35 As one military officer explained: ‘there is a sense among them [former FAFN soldiers] … that hey, we won the war, Gbagbo is gone, we don’t have to listen to you’.36 Many former FDS officers, for their part, resent the status of the former rebels, who often lack their education, credentials and experience.37 These tensions have further undermined the FRCI’s cohesion and unity of command. The armed forces are also beset by an unsustainable force structure. Rather than a standard pyramid-shaped military hierarchy, the FRCI remains ‘diamond-shaped’ with a bulging belt of mid-ranking sous-officiers.38 Following a series of army mutinies in 2014, over 6,000 soldiers were promoted to the rank of sergeant, which increased the number of sous-officiers to 17,000 in a total force numbering between 23,000 and 25,000.39 These structural imbalances are tilted heavily in favour of former FAFN commanders, whose units are often bloated with mid-ranking sergeants and lieutenants.40 As one security expert observed: ‘They [former FAFN commanders] bring their guys with them, and it’s like hey, this job was supposed to be just for you, but then there are 200 more guys that also get positions’.41 A military programming law passed in 2016 aims to promote ‘the reorganization of human resources’ and ‘the adjustment of the command and control structure’, including a significant reduction in the size of the officer corps.42 These reforms have yet to take hold, however, and the Ouattara administration has shown limited willingness to confront the military on issues of force reduction.43 The most significant challenge, however, is the absence of accountability among military units to the authority of civilian leaders. For instance, the government has faced resistance from FRCI commanders when it has tried to relocate them outside of their wartime zones of influence. In 2015, Minister of Defence Paul Kofi Kofi ordered Lt-Col Fofié Kouakou Martin, the former rebel commandant de zone in Korhogo, to be reassigned to another region. Martin ignored the order, humiliating Kofi Kofi and the Defence Ministry leadership.44 Moreover, despite its tough public stance against illegal mineral trading, including commitments to international conventions such as the Kimberley Process, the Ouattara government has been unable or unwilling to shut down illicit mining operations and extortion rackets run by military commanders.45 The government announced a crackdown against black market mining operations in 2015,46 but experts in the Ivorian mining sector express doubt that these interventions have impacted the most lucrative networks connected to military leaders.47 ‘The biggest problem’, as one Abidjan-based journalist put it, ‘is that you have a situation where the civilian government is afraid to confront its own military’.48 The weakness of the Ouattara regime’s grip over FRCI elements is manifested most clearly by the eruption of mutinies within the FRCI at a historically unprecedented rate. The uprisings in January and May 2017 received the greatest attention, when protests spread rapidly across army barracks and thousands of soldiers blockaded the country’s second-largest city in Bouaké, demanding payment bonuses and promotions.49 These events reflect a recurrent pattern of conflict and brinkmanship between the FRCI and the Ouattara government, which began as early as the fall of 2011. Figure 1 (‘Mutiny Events per Year’) shows the distribution of mutinous acts by the military – protests, uprisings, and other collective actions that signify open disobedience to the ruling government – in Côte d’Ivoire since 1997. The acts are coded on the basis of newspaper reports collected by the Armed Conflict Event Location Dataset (ACLED).50 These data confirm that while military uprisings are not new in Côte d’Ivoire, the Ouattara regime has seen a sharp increase in the overall number of mutiny events (with the largest spike in 2017). The frequency and scope of these rebellious actions reflect the inability of civilian government leaders to regulate the behaviour of military elements, as well as the unwillingness of commanders to confront their subordinates at the behest of the government.51 Figure 1 View largeDownload slide Mutiny Events in Côte d’Ivoire. Source: ACLED Figure 1 View largeDownload slide Mutiny Events in Côte d’Ivoire. Source: ACLED In short, the FRCI has been plagued by fragmentation and weak civilian control since Ouattara’s victory in 2011, a reality that punctures the narrative of ‘peacebuilding success’ in Côte d’Ivoire. What explains this outcome, given the seemingly favourable conditions for peacebuilding after the fall of the Gbagbo government? On this score, observers have pointed to several inter-locking factors. First, some point the finger at the unwillingness of the Ouattara regime and its international partners, particularly ONUCI, to push harder for security sector reform out of fear of upsetting economic recovery.52 Second, mistrust and suspicion between FRCI soldiers and the Ouattara government have persisted, in part because former rebel factions (especially those close to Guillaume Soro) fear that the Ouattara government may try to purge them from the army, or that they may end up in front of the International Criminal Court for crimes committed during the armed struggle against the Gbagbo regime.53 Finally, like other militaries in the region, the FRCI remains afflicted by historical legacies of factionalism, capacity deficits, and weak norms of professionalism that predate the Ouattara regime.54 These explanations are incomplete, however, because they ultimately do not account for why civilian elites in postwar Côte d’Ivoire could not seize the window of opportunity afforded by their political victory and override military resistance to reforms. The primary cause of the FRCI’s fragmentation lies in the strong bargaining leverage that ex-rebel military commanders retained vis-à-vis the Ouattara government following the postwar transition, grounded in commanders’ private control over considerable financial and human resources. The FAFN rebel army was unusual in the extent to which its commanders were integrated into the national army while still presiding over a large network of parallel institutions built up during the civil war. These wartime structures included a broad array of informal tax and revenue-generating networks, as well as local dispute resolution and service provision roles.55 These institutions have kept ex-rebel commanders embedded in the economic and social fabric of many northern communities, which further enables FRCI officers to resist unwanted military reforms by threatening to turn that power against the government. As one government cabinet member acknowledged in 2016, ‘I am not sure that the government trusts the ex-comzones … but we can’t reject them’.56 Another senior UN official observed: ‘The government initially wanted to cut the branches of the comzones … But these branches go deep, and the question is how to reduce their influence without threatening the security of the state’.57 In sum, while no one factor alone accounts for the breakdown of civil-military cooperation in postwar Côte d’Ivoire, the persistence of ex-rebel commanders’ politico-economic influence outside of the formal command hierarchy has played a critical role in creating the conditions that permit the army to resist accountability and employ brinksmanship bargaining tactics. Prospects for an uncertain future Problems of civil-military relations are not new in Ivorian politics. But the current absence of a unified command structure is particularly troubling in the context of intensified political polarization at the national level. In parallel with the military mutinies of 2017, a widening split has emerged between factions loyal to President Ouattara and those loyal to National Assembly President Guillaume Soro.58 At the same time, numerous associations of Ivorian ex-combatants around the country who feel that they have not yet enjoyed the promised dividends of peace remain a political wildcard.59 In the event of a future crisis, perhaps touched off by factional in-fighting over succession within the RHDP or another disputed election, the mobilization of irregular armed networks could occur rapidly. In the worst-case scenario, the FRCI itself could fragment completely under political pressure, with individual commanders and their allies looking to shore up their personal interests by mobilizing private resources and supporters. Policy-makers interested in enhancing stability in Côte d’Ivoire should remain vigilant to the risks posed by parallel chains of command and irregular armed networks, and support nationally-led efforts to further professionalize the security sector. However, external actors must also be realistic about their limited leverage over the bargaining dynamics at the heart of security sector reform and civil-military relations in Côte d’Ivoire. Rather than viewing security sector reform and military accountability to civilian oversight as short-run technical problems to be solved through external advising, training, and education, international actors would be better served by policy-making that is based on clear-eyed assessments of the strategic interests of domestic actors, particularly military elites. If these interests are at odds with the goals of security sector reform – for example, re-balanced force structures or increased civilian oversight – then external programming is unlikely to produce satisfactory outcomes in the near term, no matter how much attention is given to coordination or local participation. In such cases, scarce donor resources may be better directed at programs that limit the potential magnitude of violent re-escalation, particularly the socio-economic reintegration of former combatants. Deeper structural changes are likely to come incrementally, and only at the pace that veto players within the military allow. Footnotes 1. United Nations Security Council, ‘Peacekeeping mission to leave Côte d’Ivoire after 14 years, mission chief tells Security Council, citing peaceful polls, referendum success’ (United Nations Security Council 7880th Meeting Report, 8 February 2017) <https://www.un.org/press/en/2017/sc12711.doc.htm> (24 November 2017). 2. World Bank, ‘World Development Indicators’, <https://data.worldbank.org/country/cote-divoire> (20 November 2017). 3. Correspondence with Conseil national de la Sécurité (CNS) official, Abidjan, Côte d’Ivoire, 26 September 2017. 4. Interviews with CNS and ONUCI officials, Abidjan, Côte d’Ivoire, 17–18 October 2016. See also Colleen Traughber, ‘A peacekeeping success story in Côte d’Ivoire’, ReliefWeb, 9 December 2016, <https://reliefweb.int/report/c-te-divoire/peacekeeping-success-story-c-te-d-ivoire> (4 December 2017). 5. Rebecca Schiel, Christopher Faulkner, and Jonathan Powell, ‘Mutiny in Côte d’Ivoire’, Africa Spectrum 52, 2 (2017), pp. 103–115. 6. The Economist, ‘A mutiny in Ivory Coast’, 14 January 2017, <https://www.economist.com/news/middle-east-and-africa/21714300-political-instability-heart-one-africas-best-performing-economies> (5 December 2017). 7. Interview with Ivorian journalist, Abidjan, Côte d’Ivoire, 28 June 2017. 8. Interviews with ex-combatants, Korhogo, Côte d’Ivoire, 21 October 2017. See also The Conversation, ‘Why ex-combatants pose a threat to Côte d’Ivoire’s stability’, 21 June 2017, <https://theconversation.com/why-ex-combatants-pose-a-threat-to-cote-divoires-stability-79317> (17 September 2017). 9. Olivier Monnier, ‘Ivory Coast succession battle risks split of ruling alliance’, Bloomberg, 6 September 2017, <https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2017–09-07/ivory-coast-succession-battle-risks-breaking-up-ruling-alliance> (3 December 2017). 10. There exists some debate over whether Côte d’Ivoire’s armed conflict between 2002 and 2011 should be labelled as a ‘civil war’, with some analysts preferring to use the terms ‘crisis’ or ‘period of division’. I employ the term civil war based on the word’s commonly understood definition in the political science literature: an armed conflict involving a challenge to the territorial integrity of an incumbent state government that results in a non-trivial number of battle deaths. Moreover, in interviews I have conducted across Côte d’Ivoire, ordinary citizens and political elites frequently use the terms ‘war’ and ‘civil war’ when referring to the 2002–2011 era. 11. In 2017, the FRCI was re-branded as the Forces armées de Côte d’Ivoires (FACI). However, since many actors still refer to the Ivorian armed forces as the FRCI, for the sake of consistency I use the FRCI label in this briefing. 12. Security sector reform can be defined as the means and policies designed to improve the capabilities of the security sector, including ‘all those organizations which have authority to use, or order the use of, force, or the threat of force, to protect the state and its citizens, as well as those civil structures that are responsible for their management and oversight’. See Paul Jackson, ‘Security sector reform and state building’, Third World Quarterly 32, 10 (2011), pp. 1803–1822, 1804. 13. See for example Sarah Detzner, ‘Modern post-conflict security sector reform in Africa: Patterns of success and failure’, African Security Review 26, 2 (2017), pp. 116–142; Nadine Ansorg, ‘Security sector reform in Africa: Donor approaches versus local needs’, Contemporary Security Policy 32, 1 (2017), pp. 129–144. The UNDP similarly argues that ‘achieving governance results in fragile environments requires a renewed focus on capacity development that is guided by the principle of national ownership’. United Nations Development Programme, Governance for peace: Securing the social contract (United Nations Publications, New York, 2012), p. 12. 14. Interviewees were selected on the basis of their expertise or personal experience involving issues of security sector reform or military training and advising in Côte d’Ivoire. Although some informants were reached through ‘snowball sampling’, I made an effort to reach individuals with diverse viewpoints from across the political spectrum. Interviews were conducted in English and French. 15. Interviews with former Ministry of Defence officials, Abidjan, Côte d’Ivoire, 28–29 October 2016 and 30 September 2017. For a history of the Ivorian armed forces in the colonial and post-colonial era, see Arthur Banga, La cooperation militaire entre la france et la côte d’ivoire (Editions universitaires européene, 24 June 2014). On civil-military relations in African states more broadly, see Sam Decalo, Coups and army rule in Africa: Studies in military style (Yale University Press, New Haven, CT, 1976). 16. Arthur Boutellis, The security sector in Côte d’Ivoire: A source of conflict and a key to peace (International Peace Institute, New York, May 2011), pp. 2–4. 17. On the onset of the Ivorian crisis, see Francis Akindès, ‘The roots of the military-political crises in Côte d’Ivoire’, Research Report No. 128 (Nordiska Afrikainstitutet, Uppsala, 2004) and Mike McGovern, Making war in Côte d’Ivoire (Hurst and Co., London, 2011). 18. Moussa Fofana, ‘Des Forces Nouvelles aux Forces Républicaines de Côte d’Ivoire’, Politique africaine 122 (July 2011), pp. 161–178. 19. Adam Nossiter, Scott Sayare and Dan Bilefsky, ‘Leader’s arrest in Ivory Coast ends standoff’, The New York Times, 11 April 2011, <http://www.nytimes.com/2011/04/12/world/africa/12ivory.html> (28 November 2017). 20. See for example Christine Lagard, ‘Toward a second Ivoirien miracle’ (Speech to Côte d’Ivoire National Assembly, Abidjan, 7 January 2013), <https://www.imf.org/external/np/speeches/2013/010713.htm> (4 May 2016). 21. Giulia Piccolino, ‘Peacebuilding and statebuilding in post-2011 Côte d’Ivoire: A victor's peace?’, forthcoming in African Affairs. 22. Interview with foreign military advisor, Abidjan, Côte d’Ivoire, 12 November 2016. See also Fofana, ‘Des Forces Nouvelles aux Forces Républicaines de Côte d’Ivoire’. 23. Interviews with government and ONUCI officials, Abidjan, Côte d’Ivoire, 30 September, 17–18 October 2016. 24. On the role of France and the UN during the post-electoral crisis, see Fanny Pigeaud, France côte d’ivoire, une histoire tronquée (Vents d’ailleurs, La Roque d’Antheron, 2015). 25. Marco Wyss, ‘The gendarme stay in Africa: France’s military role in Côte d’Ivoire’, African Conflict and Peacebuilding Review 3, 1 (2013), pp. 81–111; Security Assistance Monitor, ‘Côte d’Ivoire’, <https://securityassistance.org/data> (18 November 2017). 26. Interviews with ONUCI officials, Abidjan, Côte d’Ivoire, 17–18 October 2016. 27. United Nations Security Council, ‘Final progress report of the Secretary-General on the United Nations Operation in Côte d’Ivoire’, S/2017/89 (31 January 2017), p. 8. <https://onuci.unmissions.org/sites/default/files/rapport_sg_final_sur_la_ci_-_en.pdf> (30 November 2017). The ADDR claims that over 60,000 ex-combatants were processed. The credibility of these figures are somewhat questionable, however, given the continued circulation of light weapons in the country. 28. Giulia Piccolino, ‘Côte d’Ivoire’s victor’s justice? ICC, the Gbagbos and the mega-trial’, African Arguments, 25 March 2015, <http://africanarguments.org/2015/03/25/cote-divoires-victors-justice-icc-the-gbagbos-and-the-mega-trial-by-giulia-piccolino/> (5 March 2018). 29. International Crisis Group, ‘Côte d’Ivoire: Continuing the recovery’ (Africa Briefing No. 83, Dakar/Brussels, 16 December 2011). 30. See for example Caitlin Talmadge, The dictator’s army: Battlefield effectiveness in authoritarian regimes (Cornell University Press, Ithaca, NY, 2015); Alec Worsnop, ‘Who can keep the peace? Insurgent organizational control of collective violence’, Security Studies 26, 3 (2017), pp. 482–516. 31. These interviews were conducted between 2015 and 2017. 32. Author interview with FRCI army colonel, Abidjan, 1 July 2017; interview with foreign military training advisor, Abidjan, 23 October 2016; interview with EU delegation official, Abidjan, 12 July 2017. 33. Interview with foreign military advisor, Abidjan, Côte d’Ivoire, 4 October 2017. 34. Interview with ONUCI security advisor, Abidjan, Côte d’Ivoire, 17 October 2016. 35. Interview with military advisors and Security Sector Reform officials, Abidjan, Côte d’Ivoire, 17–18 October 2016. 36. Interview with FRCI officer, Abidjan, Côte d’Ivoire, 11 November 2016. 37. In the view of one group of former FDS officers, the FRCI is now dominated by ‘a bunch of, illiterate terrorists’, who were being rewarded for their insurrection against the ‘legitimate state government’. Interview, Abidjan, Côte d’Ivoire, 29 October 2016. 38. Interview with EU security advisor, Abidjan, Côte d’Ivoire, 12 July 2017. 39. Abidjan.net, ‘Côte d’Ivoire: stage ‘Koh-Lante’ pour les soldats ivoiriens formés par les Français’, 19 October 2017, <https://news.abidjan.net/h/624395.html> (10 December 2017). 40. Interview with EU security official, Abidjan, Côte d’Ivoire, 14 October 2016. 41. Interview with foreign military advisor, Abidjan, Côte d’Ivoire, 17–18 October 2016. 42. UNSC, ‘Final progress report’, p. 7. 43. In a recent move, the government announced that approximately one thousand soldiers would take early retirement, but only included three hundred non-commissioned officers. Reuters, ‘Ivory Coast to retire 1,000 soldiers to slim down military’, 6 December 2017, <https://www.reuters.com/article/us-ivorycoast-army/ivory-coast-to-retire-1000-soldiers-to-slim-down-military-idUSKBN1E02KA> (9 December 2017). 44. Interview with foreign embassy security official, Abidjan, Côte d’Ivoire, 24 October 2016. Martin was, however, subsequently relocated to a command position in Daloa. 45. United Nations Security Council, ‘Final report of the Group of Experts on Côte d’Ivoire pursuant to paragraph 27 of Security Council resolution 2219 (2015)’, S/2016/254, 16 March 2016. 46. Reuters, ‘Ivory Coast to clamp down on illegal gold mining’, 23 March 2015, <https://www.reuters.com/article/ivorycoast-gold/ivory-coast-to-clamp-down-on-illegal-gold-mining-idUSL6N0WP4F420150323> (12 December 2017). 47. Interview with resource governance NGO employee, Abidjan, Côte d’Ivoire, 8 July 2017. 48. Interview with journalist, Abidjan, Côte d’Ivoire, 4 June 2015. 49. See Schiel, Faulkner, and Powell, ‘Mutiny in Côte d’Ivoire’, for an overview of these protests. 50. I coded an event as a ‘mutiny event’ if a) the primary instigators of the event were reported to be members of the state military, and b) the event involved a public demonstration of disobedience to the government, such as rioting, protesting, or attacking other members of state security forces or state property. 51. As one interviewee explained, ‘they [the comzones] could probably have stopped this [the mutinies] pretty quickly if they had wanted to. But they aren’t interested in saving Ouattara’s skin’. Interview with Abidjan journalist, Abidjan, Cote d’Ivoire, 24 June 2017. 52. Interviews with ONUCI officials, Abidjan, Côte d’Ivoire, 18 October and 11 November 2016. 53. The former FAFN chief of security and comzone Fofié Kouakou Martin, for example, was placed under UN sanctions in 2006 in response to allegations of recruitment of child soldiers, abductions, and extra-judicial killings. IRIN News, ‘Côte d’Ivoire: Interview with sanctioned rebel, Martin Kouakou Fofie’, 29 March 2006, <https://reliefweb.int/report/c%C3%B4te-divoire/cote-divoire-interview-sanctioned-rebel-martin-kouakou-fofie> (3 December 2017). 54. Interview with Arthur Banga, Professor of History, Abidjan, Côte d’Ivoire, 23 September 2017. See also Jeremy Allouche and Oswald Padonou, ‘Côte d’Ivoire: The munity may be over, but the army’s problems are not’, African Arguments, 17 May 2017, <http://africanarguments.org/2017/05/17/cote-divoire-the-mutiny-may-be-over-but-the-armys-problems-are-not/> (6 December 2017). 55. Philip A. Martin, Giulia Piccolino, and Jeremy Speight, ‘Rebel networks’ deep roots cause concerns for Côte d’Ivoire transition’, The Global Observatory, International Peace Institute, 12 October 2017, <https://theglobalobservatory.org/2017/10/rebel-networks-deep-roots-cause-concerns-for-cote-divoire-transition/> (7 March 2018). 56. Aline Leboeuf, ‘La réforme du secteur de sécurité à ‘Ivoirienne’, (Institut francais des relations internationales, March 2016), p. 35. Author’s translation from French. 57. Interview with ONUCI official, Abidjan, Côte d’Ivoire, 13 November 2016. 58. Vincent Duhem, ‘Côte d’Ivoire: La forteresse de Guillaume Soro’, Jeune Afrique, 13 November 2017, <http://www.jeuneafrique.com/mag/489399/politique/cote-divoire-la-forteresse-de-guillaume-soro/> (8 December 2017). 59. In Korhogo, for example, the Ouattara government is believed to fear that the association of ex-combatants – cellule 39 – maintains connections to high-level ex-rebel commanders. Interview with journalist, Korhogo, Cote d’Ivoire, 15 October 2017. © The Author(s) 2018. Published by Oxford University Press on behalf of Royal African Society. All rights reserved This article is published and distributed under the terms of the Oxford University Press, Standard Journals Publication Model (https://academic.oup.com/journals/pages/about_us/legal/notices) http://www.deepdyve.com/assets/images/DeepDyve-Logo-lg.png African Affairs Oxford University Press

Security sector reform and civil-military relations in postwar Côte d’Ivoire

African Affairs , Volume Advance Article (468) – May 3, 2018

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Oxford University Press
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© The Author(s) 2018. Published by Oxford University Press on behalf of Royal African Society. All rights reserved
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0001-9909
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Abstract

On June 30, 2017, The United Nations Operation in Côte d’Ivoire (ONUCI) reached the end of its mandate after fourteen years of peacekeeping operations. UN officials and Ivorian national leaders framed ONUCI’s departure as another positive step in the country’s postwar recovery, declaring that the return to peace was ‘irreversible’.1 In some ways, this enthusiasm appeared warranted. Since the end of the Second Ivorian Civil War in 2011, which culminated in the arrest of former President Laurent Gbagbo by rebel troops formerly known as the Forces nouvelles, the country has experienced rapid economic recovery: GDP growth averaged 9 percent from 2012 to 2016.2 Government and UN officials have touted the success of the country’s disarmament, demobilization, and reintegration (DDR) programme, which officially processed over 60,000 ex-combatants between 2012 and 2015.3 Within the country’s armed forces, officials point to the integration of former rebels and pro-Gbagbo elements within unified military units as further evidence that Côte d’Ivoire is a model of peacebuilding and security sector reform to be emulated by Africa’s other conflict-torn states.4 However, recent events in Côte d’Ivoire have battered the country’s image as an unalloyed peacebuilding success story. In May 2017, just six weeks before ONUCI’s final departure, Ivorian soldiers and ex-combatants clashed in the city of Bouaké as armed uprisings swept across the country.5 At the time, the Ouattara government was still reeling from an earlier wave of army uprisings in January and February, when mutinous soldiers took control of military barracks, demanded payouts from the government, and briefly kidnapped the defence minister.6 When the government ordered military units to confront the mutinous soldiers in May, some troops reportedly refused to follow orders.7 Meanwhile, ex-combatants who resent the government for not integrating them into the army and mismanaging the DDR program continue to organize protests and make veiled threats against the government.8 These events all come in the context of an increasingly bitter battle of succession within the Rassemblement des Houphouëtistes pour la démocratie et la paix (RHDP) ruling coalition between factions loyal to President Ouattara and those loyal to Guillaume Soro, the President of the National Assembly and former political chief of the Forces nouvelles rebel group.9 Together, these developments raise troubling questions about the future of Côte d’Ivoire’s postwar recovery and stoke fears of backsliding into renewed violence in light of upcoming presidential elections in 2020. What explains this turn of events, given the previously optimistic assessments of peacebuilding in Côte d’Ivoire after the inauguration of the Ouattara regime? This briefing examines Côte d’Ivoire’s recent crises within a broader analytical context, evaluating the state of security sector reform and civil-military relations since the end of the Ivorian civil war in April 2011.10 Despite some successes, parallel chains of command and weak cohesion have plagued the Forces républicaines de Côte d’Ivoire (FRCI) under the Ouattara government, and the civilian regime has failed to exert effective authority over the Ivorian armed forces.11 Rather than being a symptom of low capacity or lack of training – i.e. technical problems amenable to donor-sponsored programming fixes – the fragmentation of Côte d’Ivoire’s national army is linked to underlying political cleavages and the powerful position of former commanders of the Forces armées de forces nouvelles (FAFN). These commanders were critical to the war effort that brought the Ouattara regime to power, but have since resisted efforts to establish a unified command structure under central government control. Côte d’Ivoire’s postwar transition challenges popular claims within the scholarly and policy literature on post-conflict security sector reform about the centrality of ‘capacity development’ and ‘local ownership’ for reform outcomes.12 Much of this work blames the failure of security sector reform programmes on insufficient coordination and investment by external partners, or else a lack of donor attention to local participation in reform efforts.13 These problems certainly exist in Côte d’Ivoire, but the fragmentation of the FRCI since 2011 stems primarily from domestic processes of political bargaining that external actors ultimately have limited ability to influence. In other words, it is unclear that more abundant donor assistance or attention to local ownership of security sector reform in postwar Côte d’Ivoire would have produced a significantly different result. The briefing proceeds as follows. It reviews the events in Côte d’Ivoire leading up to the 2011 post-election crisis and the formation of the FRCI, and then documents how weak cohesion and limited civilian government authority within the FRCI have undermined military effectiveness and produced recurrent security crises since 2011. In doing so, it combines secondary materials with original research conducted in the cities of Abidjan, Bouaké, Korhogo, and Man in Côte d’Ivoire over ten months in 2016 and 2017. This research included more than seventy personal interviews with current and former military officers at various levels of seniority, current and former politicians and senior government officials in the Ministry of Defence and the Ministry of Interior, former rebel group members, local journalists and academics, and representatives of international organizations and foreign governments.14 The briefing concludes by discussing future implications for peace and stability. The Ivorian crisis, Ouattara’s victory, and the formation of the FRCI The modern Ivorian military is the product of a decades-long history of crises, factionalism, and coup-plotting. Like other independence-era governments in Sub-Saharan Africa, the regime of Félix Houphouët-Boigny, which governed Côte d’Ivoire from 1960 to 1993, structured the armed forces with careful attention to the country’s ethnic balance, and ensured that representatives from each of the country’s main ethnic groups were represented within the senior officer corps.15 Following the transition to multi-party democracy in the mid-1990s, however, this equilibrium began to fray. Growing numbers of military officers, especially those of western and northern origins, felt threatened by the perceived pro-Baoulé ethnic favouritism of Houphouët-Boigny’s successor, President Henry Konan Bédié. These tensions culminated in a coup d’état in December 1999 that installed the military regime of General Robert Guéï.16 Guéï’s government was short-lived, replaced after elections in 2000 by Front Populaire Ivoirien (FPI) leader Laurent Gbagbo, a long-time opposition activist whose support within the security forces was concentrated within the police and gendarmerie. Gbagbo’s relationship with the army quickly deteriorated however, and on 19 September 2002, northern army officers who feared the demobilization of their units launched another attempted coup, this time to depose the Gbagbo government.17 The coup failed, but sparked a civil war that partitioned the country into rebel and government controlled zones for nine years. In March 2011 at the height of the post-electoral crisis, triggered by disputed elections the previous December, FAFN forces began sweeping south towards Abidjan in the face of crumbling pro-Gbagbo resistance. On March 17 Alassane Ouattara, recognized by the international community as the winner of the December 2010 elections, announced the creation of the FRCI. This new army was formed as a merger of the FAFN troops already fighting for Ouattara, and cooperating elements of the pro-Gbagbo Forces de défense et de sécurité (FDS).18 With support from UN forces, FRCI soldiers encircled and captured Laurent Gbagbo at the presidential residence on April 11, bringing the Ivorian civil war to an end.19 For many, Ouattara’s victory represented a golden opportunity for Côte d’Ivoire to rebuild its institutions under the stewardship of a pro-Western government, and restore coherence and professionalism within the security sector.20 Several factors weighed in favour of this optimistic vision. First, with the collapse of the pro-Gbagbo faction of the FDS and the arrest of Gbagbo himself, the Ouattara regime possessed a strong hand to impose its authority domestically.21 The ruling party’s enemies were defeated or in exile, and key posts within the FRCI were held by former rebel commanders who pledged loyalty to Ouattara. The new army leader Soumaïla Bakayoko, for example, was the former FAFN Chef d’État-Major, and was viewed as a staunch Ouattara supporter.22 Former FAFN commanders were also placed in charge of the most powerful and well-equipped units, such as the Republican Guard and the Special Forces.23 Second, the Ouattara government enjoyed strong backing from the international community, most notably France, the United States, and the United Nations.24 External partners invested significant resources to help modernize, equip and train the FRCI, and to implement the government’s ambitious DDR program. Over the 2012–2016 period, France and the United States spent tens of millions of dollars in security sector assistance, including numerous programmes aimed at promoting increased cohesion and command-and-control.25 The UN mission organized and financed a program of security sector reform aimed at enhancing professionalism and civilian control, including numerous workshops and ‘brown-bag lunch’ sessions that brought together military leaders, politicians, and civil society actors.26 ONUCI and international humanitarian organizations also supported the national authority for disarmament, demobilization and reintegration (ADDR) to process tens of thousands of ex-combatants.27 Certainly, many recognized that the Ouattara government faced myriad challenges as the country emerged from over a decade of crisis. Political grievances lingered among supporters of the Gbagbo regime, especially concerning perceived biases in the administration of justice for alleged perpetrators of crimes committed during the post-electoral crisis.28 Light arms also continued to circulate, and armed banditry persisted throughout the country.29 Nevertheless, the fact that the war had produced a clear military victor on the ground, combined with the view among international partners that Ouattara himself was fundamentally a pro-democracy leader committed to restoring prosperity and stability, led many observers to adopt a stance of cautious optimism. Missed opportunities: fragmentation and weak civilian control within the FRCI Despite high expectations, Côte d’Ivoire’s armed forces did not cohere into a unified or accountable military under Ouattara’s watch. Instead, the FRCI since 2011 has been plagued by deep dysfunction and fragmentation. These challenges are manifested in the army’s low internal cohesion, imbalanced organizational structure, and lack of accountability to civilian government authority. Scholars define military cohesion as the extent to which soldiers and officers are capable of cooperating to execute military behaviours and maintain discipline within a unified command structure, including when under battlefield pressure.30 By these measures, the FRCI demonstrates few attributes of an internally cohesive organization. During dozens of interviews with defence officials, military advisors, and soldiers in Abidjan, Bouaké, and Korhogo, problems of indiscipline and command-and-control were raised frequently.31 Interviewees also acknowledged that complex battlefield manoeuvers and live-fire exercises are not practiced, in part because the units involved do not communicate with each other.32 As one military advisor put it: Military leaders have weak authority over the rank and file … this goes well beyond the normal problems inside an African military, they [FRCI] lack planning capability for any large scale mobilization or forward operations … and that is when no one is shooting.33 Moreover, the army is wracked by parallel chains of command that reflect underlying cleavages within the organization. In order to facilitate integration across rival factions of the FRCI, former FAFN and FDS officers were integrated together in ‘co-command’ of FRCI units beginning in 2012.34 In reality, however, decision-making authority and political clout have remained largely in the hands of former FAFN elements, and soldiers are reticent to take orders from members of the opposing camp.35 As one military officer explained: ‘there is a sense among them [former FAFN soldiers] … that hey, we won the war, Gbagbo is gone, we don’t have to listen to you’.36 Many former FDS officers, for their part, resent the status of the former rebels, who often lack their education, credentials and experience.37 These tensions have further undermined the FRCI’s cohesion and unity of command. The armed forces are also beset by an unsustainable force structure. Rather than a standard pyramid-shaped military hierarchy, the FRCI remains ‘diamond-shaped’ with a bulging belt of mid-ranking sous-officiers.38 Following a series of army mutinies in 2014, over 6,000 soldiers were promoted to the rank of sergeant, which increased the number of sous-officiers to 17,000 in a total force numbering between 23,000 and 25,000.39 These structural imbalances are tilted heavily in favour of former FAFN commanders, whose units are often bloated with mid-ranking sergeants and lieutenants.40 As one security expert observed: ‘They [former FAFN commanders] bring their guys with them, and it’s like hey, this job was supposed to be just for you, but then there are 200 more guys that also get positions’.41 A military programming law passed in 2016 aims to promote ‘the reorganization of human resources’ and ‘the adjustment of the command and control structure’, including a significant reduction in the size of the officer corps.42 These reforms have yet to take hold, however, and the Ouattara administration has shown limited willingness to confront the military on issues of force reduction.43 The most significant challenge, however, is the absence of accountability among military units to the authority of civilian leaders. For instance, the government has faced resistance from FRCI commanders when it has tried to relocate them outside of their wartime zones of influence. In 2015, Minister of Defence Paul Kofi Kofi ordered Lt-Col Fofié Kouakou Martin, the former rebel commandant de zone in Korhogo, to be reassigned to another region. Martin ignored the order, humiliating Kofi Kofi and the Defence Ministry leadership.44 Moreover, despite its tough public stance against illegal mineral trading, including commitments to international conventions such as the Kimberley Process, the Ouattara government has been unable or unwilling to shut down illicit mining operations and extortion rackets run by military commanders.45 The government announced a crackdown against black market mining operations in 2015,46 but experts in the Ivorian mining sector express doubt that these interventions have impacted the most lucrative networks connected to military leaders.47 ‘The biggest problem’, as one Abidjan-based journalist put it, ‘is that you have a situation where the civilian government is afraid to confront its own military’.48 The weakness of the Ouattara regime’s grip over FRCI elements is manifested most clearly by the eruption of mutinies within the FRCI at a historically unprecedented rate. The uprisings in January and May 2017 received the greatest attention, when protests spread rapidly across army barracks and thousands of soldiers blockaded the country’s second-largest city in Bouaké, demanding payment bonuses and promotions.49 These events reflect a recurrent pattern of conflict and brinkmanship between the FRCI and the Ouattara government, which began as early as the fall of 2011. Figure 1 (‘Mutiny Events per Year’) shows the distribution of mutinous acts by the military – protests, uprisings, and other collective actions that signify open disobedience to the ruling government – in Côte d’Ivoire since 1997. The acts are coded on the basis of newspaper reports collected by the Armed Conflict Event Location Dataset (ACLED).50 These data confirm that while military uprisings are not new in Côte d’Ivoire, the Ouattara regime has seen a sharp increase in the overall number of mutiny events (with the largest spike in 2017). The frequency and scope of these rebellious actions reflect the inability of civilian government leaders to regulate the behaviour of military elements, as well as the unwillingness of commanders to confront their subordinates at the behest of the government.51 Figure 1 View largeDownload slide Mutiny Events in Côte d’Ivoire. Source: ACLED Figure 1 View largeDownload slide Mutiny Events in Côte d’Ivoire. Source: ACLED In short, the FRCI has been plagued by fragmentation and weak civilian control since Ouattara’s victory in 2011, a reality that punctures the narrative of ‘peacebuilding success’ in Côte d’Ivoire. What explains this outcome, given the seemingly favourable conditions for peacebuilding after the fall of the Gbagbo government? On this score, observers have pointed to several inter-locking factors. First, some point the finger at the unwillingness of the Ouattara regime and its international partners, particularly ONUCI, to push harder for security sector reform out of fear of upsetting economic recovery.52 Second, mistrust and suspicion between FRCI soldiers and the Ouattara government have persisted, in part because former rebel factions (especially those close to Guillaume Soro) fear that the Ouattara government may try to purge them from the army, or that they may end up in front of the International Criminal Court for crimes committed during the armed struggle against the Gbagbo regime.53 Finally, like other militaries in the region, the FRCI remains afflicted by historical legacies of factionalism, capacity deficits, and weak norms of professionalism that predate the Ouattara regime.54 These explanations are incomplete, however, because they ultimately do not account for why civilian elites in postwar Côte d’Ivoire could not seize the window of opportunity afforded by their political victory and override military resistance to reforms. The primary cause of the FRCI’s fragmentation lies in the strong bargaining leverage that ex-rebel military commanders retained vis-à-vis the Ouattara government following the postwar transition, grounded in commanders’ private control over considerable financial and human resources. The FAFN rebel army was unusual in the extent to which its commanders were integrated into the national army while still presiding over a large network of parallel institutions built up during the civil war. These wartime structures included a broad array of informal tax and revenue-generating networks, as well as local dispute resolution and service provision roles.55 These institutions have kept ex-rebel commanders embedded in the economic and social fabric of many northern communities, which further enables FRCI officers to resist unwanted military reforms by threatening to turn that power against the government. As one government cabinet member acknowledged in 2016, ‘I am not sure that the government trusts the ex-comzones … but we can’t reject them’.56 Another senior UN official observed: ‘The government initially wanted to cut the branches of the comzones … But these branches go deep, and the question is how to reduce their influence without threatening the security of the state’.57 In sum, while no one factor alone accounts for the breakdown of civil-military cooperation in postwar Côte d’Ivoire, the persistence of ex-rebel commanders’ politico-economic influence outside of the formal command hierarchy has played a critical role in creating the conditions that permit the army to resist accountability and employ brinksmanship bargaining tactics. Prospects for an uncertain future Problems of civil-military relations are not new in Ivorian politics. But the current absence of a unified command structure is particularly troubling in the context of intensified political polarization at the national level. In parallel with the military mutinies of 2017, a widening split has emerged between factions loyal to President Ouattara and those loyal to National Assembly President Guillaume Soro.58 At the same time, numerous associations of Ivorian ex-combatants around the country who feel that they have not yet enjoyed the promised dividends of peace remain a political wildcard.59 In the event of a future crisis, perhaps touched off by factional in-fighting over succession within the RHDP or another disputed election, the mobilization of irregular armed networks could occur rapidly. In the worst-case scenario, the FRCI itself could fragment completely under political pressure, with individual commanders and their allies looking to shore up their personal interests by mobilizing private resources and supporters. Policy-makers interested in enhancing stability in Côte d’Ivoire should remain vigilant to the risks posed by parallel chains of command and irregular armed networks, and support nationally-led efforts to further professionalize the security sector. However, external actors must also be realistic about their limited leverage over the bargaining dynamics at the heart of security sector reform and civil-military relations in Côte d’Ivoire. Rather than viewing security sector reform and military accountability to civilian oversight as short-run technical problems to be solved through external advising, training, and education, international actors would be better served by policy-making that is based on clear-eyed assessments of the strategic interests of domestic actors, particularly military elites. If these interests are at odds with the goals of security sector reform – for example, re-balanced force structures or increased civilian oversight – then external programming is unlikely to produce satisfactory outcomes in the near term, no matter how much attention is given to coordination or local participation. In such cases, scarce donor resources may be better directed at programs that limit the potential magnitude of violent re-escalation, particularly the socio-economic reintegration of former combatants. Deeper structural changes are likely to come incrementally, and only at the pace that veto players within the military allow. Footnotes 1. United Nations Security Council, ‘Peacekeeping mission to leave Côte d’Ivoire after 14 years, mission chief tells Security Council, citing peaceful polls, referendum success’ (United Nations Security Council 7880th Meeting Report, 8 February 2017) <https://www.un.org/press/en/2017/sc12711.doc.htm> (24 November 2017). 2. World Bank, ‘World Development Indicators’, <https://data.worldbank.org/country/cote-divoire> (20 November 2017). 3. Correspondence with Conseil national de la Sécurité (CNS) official, Abidjan, Côte d’Ivoire, 26 September 2017. 4. Interviews with CNS and ONUCI officials, Abidjan, Côte d’Ivoire, 17–18 October 2016. See also Colleen Traughber, ‘A peacekeeping success story in Côte d’Ivoire’, ReliefWeb, 9 December 2016, <https://reliefweb.int/report/c-te-divoire/peacekeeping-success-story-c-te-d-ivoire> (4 December 2017). 5. Rebecca Schiel, Christopher Faulkner, and Jonathan Powell, ‘Mutiny in Côte d’Ivoire’, Africa Spectrum 52, 2 (2017), pp. 103–115. 6. The Economist, ‘A mutiny in Ivory Coast’, 14 January 2017, <https://www.economist.com/news/middle-east-and-africa/21714300-political-instability-heart-one-africas-best-performing-economies> (5 December 2017). 7. Interview with Ivorian journalist, Abidjan, Côte d’Ivoire, 28 June 2017. 8. Interviews with ex-combatants, Korhogo, Côte d’Ivoire, 21 October 2017. See also The Conversation, ‘Why ex-combatants pose a threat to Côte d’Ivoire’s stability’, 21 June 2017, <https://theconversation.com/why-ex-combatants-pose-a-threat-to-cote-divoires-stability-79317> (17 September 2017). 9. Olivier Monnier, ‘Ivory Coast succession battle risks split of ruling alliance’, Bloomberg, 6 September 2017, <https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2017–09-07/ivory-coast-succession-battle-risks-breaking-up-ruling-alliance> (3 December 2017). 10. There exists some debate over whether Côte d’Ivoire’s armed conflict between 2002 and 2011 should be labelled as a ‘civil war’, with some analysts preferring to use the terms ‘crisis’ or ‘period of division’. I employ the term civil war based on the word’s commonly understood definition in the political science literature: an armed conflict involving a challenge to the territorial integrity of an incumbent state government that results in a non-trivial number of battle deaths. Moreover, in interviews I have conducted across Côte d’Ivoire, ordinary citizens and political elites frequently use the terms ‘war’ and ‘civil war’ when referring to the 2002–2011 era. 11. In 2017, the FRCI was re-branded as the Forces armées de Côte d’Ivoires (FACI). However, since many actors still refer to the Ivorian armed forces as the FRCI, for the sake of consistency I use the FRCI label in this briefing. 12. Security sector reform can be defined as the means and policies designed to improve the capabilities of the security sector, including ‘all those organizations which have authority to use, or order the use of, force, or the threat of force, to protect the state and its citizens, as well as those civil structures that are responsible for their management and oversight’. See Paul Jackson, ‘Security sector reform and state building’, Third World Quarterly 32, 10 (2011), pp. 1803–1822, 1804. 13. See for example Sarah Detzner, ‘Modern post-conflict security sector reform in Africa: Patterns of success and failure’, African Security Review 26, 2 (2017), pp. 116–142; Nadine Ansorg, ‘Security sector reform in Africa: Donor approaches versus local needs’, Contemporary Security Policy 32, 1 (2017), pp. 129–144. The UNDP similarly argues that ‘achieving governance results in fragile environments requires a renewed focus on capacity development that is guided by the principle of national ownership’. United Nations Development Programme, Governance for peace: Securing the social contract (United Nations Publications, New York, 2012), p. 12. 14. Interviewees were selected on the basis of their expertise or personal experience involving issues of security sector reform or military training and advising in Côte d’Ivoire. Although some informants were reached through ‘snowball sampling’, I made an effort to reach individuals with diverse viewpoints from across the political spectrum. Interviews were conducted in English and French. 15. Interviews with former Ministry of Defence officials, Abidjan, Côte d’Ivoire, 28–29 October 2016 and 30 September 2017. For a history of the Ivorian armed forces in the colonial and post-colonial era, see Arthur Banga, La cooperation militaire entre la france et la côte d’ivoire (Editions universitaires européene, 24 June 2014). On civil-military relations in African states more broadly, see Sam Decalo, Coups and army rule in Africa: Studies in military style (Yale University Press, New Haven, CT, 1976). 16. Arthur Boutellis, The security sector in Côte d’Ivoire: A source of conflict and a key to peace (International Peace Institute, New York, May 2011), pp. 2–4. 17. On the onset of the Ivorian crisis, see Francis Akindès, ‘The roots of the military-political crises in Côte d’Ivoire’, Research Report No. 128 (Nordiska Afrikainstitutet, Uppsala, 2004) and Mike McGovern, Making war in Côte d’Ivoire (Hurst and Co., London, 2011). 18. Moussa Fofana, ‘Des Forces Nouvelles aux Forces Républicaines de Côte d’Ivoire’, Politique africaine 122 (July 2011), pp. 161–178. 19. Adam Nossiter, Scott Sayare and Dan Bilefsky, ‘Leader’s arrest in Ivory Coast ends standoff’, The New York Times, 11 April 2011, <http://www.nytimes.com/2011/04/12/world/africa/12ivory.html> (28 November 2017). 20. See for example Christine Lagard, ‘Toward a second Ivoirien miracle’ (Speech to Côte d’Ivoire National Assembly, Abidjan, 7 January 2013), <https://www.imf.org/external/np/speeches/2013/010713.htm> (4 May 2016). 21. Giulia Piccolino, ‘Peacebuilding and statebuilding in post-2011 Côte d’Ivoire: A victor's peace?’, forthcoming in African Affairs. 22. Interview with foreign military advisor, Abidjan, Côte d’Ivoire, 12 November 2016. See also Fofana, ‘Des Forces Nouvelles aux Forces Républicaines de Côte d’Ivoire’. 23. Interviews with government and ONUCI officials, Abidjan, Côte d’Ivoire, 30 September, 17–18 October 2016. 24. On the role of France and the UN during the post-electoral crisis, see Fanny Pigeaud, France côte d’ivoire, une histoire tronquée (Vents d’ailleurs, La Roque d’Antheron, 2015). 25. Marco Wyss, ‘The gendarme stay in Africa: France’s military role in Côte d’Ivoire’, African Conflict and Peacebuilding Review 3, 1 (2013), pp. 81–111; Security Assistance Monitor, ‘Côte d’Ivoire’, <https://securityassistance.org/data> (18 November 2017). 26. Interviews with ONUCI officials, Abidjan, Côte d’Ivoire, 17–18 October 2016. 27. United Nations Security Council, ‘Final progress report of the Secretary-General on the United Nations Operation in Côte d’Ivoire’, S/2017/89 (31 January 2017), p. 8. <https://onuci.unmissions.org/sites/default/files/rapport_sg_final_sur_la_ci_-_en.pdf> (30 November 2017). The ADDR claims that over 60,000 ex-combatants were processed. The credibility of these figures are somewhat questionable, however, given the continued circulation of light weapons in the country. 28. Giulia Piccolino, ‘Côte d’Ivoire’s victor’s justice? ICC, the Gbagbos and the mega-trial’, African Arguments, 25 March 2015, <http://africanarguments.org/2015/03/25/cote-divoires-victors-justice-icc-the-gbagbos-and-the-mega-trial-by-giulia-piccolino/> (5 March 2018). 29. International Crisis Group, ‘Côte d’Ivoire: Continuing the recovery’ (Africa Briefing No. 83, Dakar/Brussels, 16 December 2011). 30. See for example Caitlin Talmadge, The dictator’s army: Battlefield effectiveness in authoritarian regimes (Cornell University Press, Ithaca, NY, 2015); Alec Worsnop, ‘Who can keep the peace? Insurgent organizational control of collective violence’, Security Studies 26, 3 (2017), pp. 482–516. 31. These interviews were conducted between 2015 and 2017. 32. Author interview with FRCI army colonel, Abidjan, 1 July 2017; interview with foreign military training advisor, Abidjan, 23 October 2016; interview with EU delegation official, Abidjan, 12 July 2017. 33. Interview with foreign military advisor, Abidjan, Côte d’Ivoire, 4 October 2017. 34. Interview with ONUCI security advisor, Abidjan, Côte d’Ivoire, 17 October 2016. 35. Interview with military advisors and Security Sector Reform officials, Abidjan, Côte d’Ivoire, 17–18 October 2016. 36. Interview with FRCI officer, Abidjan, Côte d’Ivoire, 11 November 2016. 37. In the view of one group of former FDS officers, the FRCI is now dominated by ‘a bunch of, illiterate terrorists’, who were being rewarded for their insurrection against the ‘legitimate state government’. Interview, Abidjan, Côte d’Ivoire, 29 October 2016. 38. Interview with EU security advisor, Abidjan, Côte d’Ivoire, 12 July 2017. 39. Abidjan.net, ‘Côte d’Ivoire: stage ‘Koh-Lante’ pour les soldats ivoiriens formés par les Français’, 19 October 2017, <https://news.abidjan.net/h/624395.html> (10 December 2017). 40. Interview with EU security official, Abidjan, Côte d’Ivoire, 14 October 2016. 41. Interview with foreign military advisor, Abidjan, Côte d’Ivoire, 17–18 October 2016. 42. UNSC, ‘Final progress report’, p. 7. 43. In a recent move, the government announced that approximately one thousand soldiers would take early retirement, but only included three hundred non-commissioned officers. Reuters, ‘Ivory Coast to retire 1,000 soldiers to slim down military’, 6 December 2017, <https://www.reuters.com/article/us-ivorycoast-army/ivory-coast-to-retire-1000-soldiers-to-slim-down-military-idUSKBN1E02KA> (9 December 2017). 44. Interview with foreign embassy security official, Abidjan, Côte d’Ivoire, 24 October 2016. Martin was, however, subsequently relocated to a command position in Daloa. 45. United Nations Security Council, ‘Final report of the Group of Experts on Côte d’Ivoire pursuant to paragraph 27 of Security Council resolution 2219 (2015)’, S/2016/254, 16 March 2016. 46. Reuters, ‘Ivory Coast to clamp down on illegal gold mining’, 23 March 2015, <https://www.reuters.com/article/ivorycoast-gold/ivory-coast-to-clamp-down-on-illegal-gold-mining-idUSL6N0WP4F420150323> (12 December 2017). 47. Interview with resource governance NGO employee, Abidjan, Côte d’Ivoire, 8 July 2017. 48. Interview with journalist, Abidjan, Côte d’Ivoire, 4 June 2015. 49. See Schiel, Faulkner, and Powell, ‘Mutiny in Côte d’Ivoire’, for an overview of these protests. 50. I coded an event as a ‘mutiny event’ if a) the primary instigators of the event were reported to be members of the state military, and b) the event involved a public demonstration of disobedience to the government, such as rioting, protesting, or attacking other members of state security forces or state property. 51. As one interviewee explained, ‘they [the comzones] could probably have stopped this [the mutinies] pretty quickly if they had wanted to. But they aren’t interested in saving Ouattara’s skin’. Interview with Abidjan journalist, Abidjan, Cote d’Ivoire, 24 June 2017. 52. Interviews with ONUCI officials, Abidjan, Côte d’Ivoire, 18 October and 11 November 2016. 53. The former FAFN chief of security and comzone Fofié Kouakou Martin, for example, was placed under UN sanctions in 2006 in response to allegations of recruitment of child soldiers, abductions, and extra-judicial killings. IRIN News, ‘Côte d’Ivoire: Interview with sanctioned rebel, Martin Kouakou Fofie’, 29 March 2006, <https://reliefweb.int/report/c%C3%B4te-divoire/cote-divoire-interview-sanctioned-rebel-martin-kouakou-fofie> (3 December 2017). 54. Interview with Arthur Banga, Professor of History, Abidjan, Côte d’Ivoire, 23 September 2017. See also Jeremy Allouche and Oswald Padonou, ‘Côte d’Ivoire: The munity may be over, but the army’s problems are not’, African Arguments, 17 May 2017, <http://africanarguments.org/2017/05/17/cote-divoire-the-mutiny-may-be-over-but-the-armys-problems-are-not/> (6 December 2017). 55. Philip A. Martin, Giulia Piccolino, and Jeremy Speight, ‘Rebel networks’ deep roots cause concerns for Côte d’Ivoire transition’, The Global Observatory, International Peace Institute, 12 October 2017, <https://theglobalobservatory.org/2017/10/rebel-networks-deep-roots-cause-concerns-for-cote-divoire-transition/> (7 March 2018). 56. Aline Leboeuf, ‘La réforme du secteur de sécurité à ‘Ivoirienne’, (Institut francais des relations internationales, March 2016), p. 35. Author’s translation from French. 57. Interview with ONUCI official, Abidjan, Côte d’Ivoire, 13 November 2016. 58. Vincent Duhem, ‘Côte d’Ivoire: La forteresse de Guillaume Soro’, Jeune Afrique, 13 November 2017, <http://www.jeuneafrique.com/mag/489399/politique/cote-divoire-la-forteresse-de-guillaume-soro/> (8 December 2017). 59. In Korhogo, for example, the Ouattara government is believed to fear that the association of ex-combatants – cellule 39 – maintains connections to high-level ex-rebel commanders. Interview with journalist, Korhogo, Cote d’Ivoire, 15 October 2017. © The Author(s) 2018. Published by Oxford University Press on behalf of Royal African Society. All rights reserved This article is published and distributed under the terms of the Oxford University Press, Standard Journals Publication Model (https://academic.oup.com/journals/pages/about_us/legal/notices)

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African AffairsOxford University Press

Published: May 3, 2018

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