A "culture of conservatism" : How and why African Union member states obstruct the deepening of integration (21 pages)

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leaders ignored the AU's move to suspend the country and worked
closely with the new leadership, leaving bad blood between the AU
and ECCAS.


The South African Business Day pointed to another inconsist-

ency with regard to the AU's dealing with crisis situations when it
asked more than a decade ago: "while it [the AU] may involve itself in
the affairs of a sovereign state in the instance of genocide and gross
violations of human rights, how will it handle a country whose policies
amount to incremental genocide and which have a negative effect on
the economies, and indeed the political stability, of neighbouring
states?" (Business Day, 12 July 2002). Examples of the AU's reluctance
to engage in crisis solution include Togo, which saw violence and a
mass flight following the disputed elections in 2005; Guinea, where the
military junta massacred more than 150 people in September 2009;
and Kenya, where widespread violence erupted after the disputed
elections in December 2008. More recent cases include the early
phase of the crisis in Côte d'Ivoire in 2010/11, as well as the crises in
Tunisia and Egypt (2010/11), when the AU failed to take a firm stance
against political violence and only passed decisions once the leaders
had already stepped down (African Union Peace and Security Council
2011b; African Union Peace and Security Council 2011c). The AU was
also slow in reacting to the Mali crisis (2012/13), where it was outpaced
by France and the United Nations (UN) (Weiss and Welz 2014).

On the other hand, the AU is widely respected for what it has

achieved in war-torn Somalia. While the rest of the international com-
munity stands on the sidelines — following the American trauma of
1993 — the AU has notably improved the security situation through its
fight against the al-Shabab. The Comoros and Burundi interventions
also resulted in some success for the AU, as does the UN-AU hybrid
operation in Darfur. It is too early to judge the ongoing AU operation in
the Central African Republic, but what is clear is that the AU proved
itself once more as a risk-assuming actor that tries to work on its image
as potent security provider.

Generally speaking, we can observe some advancement, yet at

the same time we see persistence in the status quo. 'Consistency' and
'earnestness' cannot necessarily be considered as the hallmarks of the
AU, despite the Commission's attempts. AU member states endorse
certain policies but in reality do not implement or even oppose them.
For instance, the Chadian government pushes hard to decrease the

Strategic Review for Southern Africa, Vol 36, No 1 Martin Welz

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