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5.0 out of 5 stars very good analysis of the West African region, 12 Jun 2008
This is a collection of essays written mostly by African scholars and practitioners. It focuses on the challenges to peace and security in the West African region and examines the links between failed socio-economic, governance and integration models in the region and regional conflicts. It also looks at the roles played by several factors in key West African conflicts. These factors include- warlords, child soldiers, the proliferation of small and light arms in the region and civil society. The role played by each factor is examined in detail in individual essays, using actual conflicts (like the Liberian and Sierra Leonian wars) as case studies. The external influence of former colonial powers in the region (Britain and France) and international organizations (mainly the U.N) is also examined.

The essays are well researched and comprehensive in their analysis. The need for regional integration is highlighted as well as the debilitating effect of lack of arms control. Failure of good governance is shown to be the primary trigger behind the rise of autocratic tendencies across the region and, ultimately, civil conflicts. While the language of discourse is largely academic and, sometimes, dry, this volume provides very useful and knowledgeable insight into modern West Africa. Due to the fast pace of change in the region, some facts in the volume have been overtaken by events. Notwithstanding, the underlying analysis remains sound and largely true. This would make excellent reading for anyone interested in understanding West Africa's modern challanges.
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