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1.The notion of an African peacekeeping force is as old as 1963 when Kwame Nkruma proposed such a force to manage African conflicts. In 1981 an OAU Inter-Africa force was set up to monitor the civil war in Chad. Due to a variety of reasons this was a failure but it at least was the first practical attempt at inter-Africa cooperation in the field of peacekeeping. 2.The apparent aversion of Western nations, especially the United States of America (USA), to peacekeeping in Africa after the Mogadishu experience of 1993 has placed a big responsibility on the shoulders of African leaders to get their peacekeeping house in order. In fact, Boutros Boutros-Ghali, the UN Secretary-General had already made a call for regional security arrangements to lighten the peacekeeping load of the UN in 1992. African heads of state looked for mechanisms to manage the conflicts of the continent and found what looked like a suitable vehicle in the existing regional economic cooperation arrangements. The apparent clash of interest between economic cooperation and military cooperation has been difficult to reconcile in many of the economic regions but in others it has been realised that development without peace is an impossible dream. In one of the regions, ECOWAS (Economic Community of West African States), the dream was taken one step forward with the creation of ECOMOG (Economic Community of West African States Cease-fire Monitoring Group) for overseeing the cease-fire process in Liberia in 1990. 3.ECOMOG forces, mainly led and financed by Nigeria, have undertaken three interventions of note since its inception. These interventions were criticised widely at the time and in subsequent studies. Yet, some academics have pointed out the positive achievements of these interventions and have postulated the value of these experiences for the future of regional peacekeeping on the continent. It is against this background that this paper will evaluate the success or failure of the ECOMOG interventions. Due to the obvious parallels between of what transpired in ECOMOG and the current role of South Africa in SADC's (Southern African Development Community) efforts to establish a Standby Force, the role of Nigeria as the primary driver within ECOWAS/ECOMOG will be highlighted. 4.The paper will start of with a description of the security situation in West Africa prior to the interventions. In order to understand the West African security arrangements the establishment of ECOWAS and subsequently that of ECOMOG will then be discussed before the interventions will be analysed. The analysis of the interventions in Liberia, Sierra Leone, and Guinea-Bissau will focus mainly on the political-strategic and higher operational levels with specific reference to the role of Nigeria. In conclusion the outcome of the analysis will be to determine the level of success or failure, not only pertaining to the three interventions, but rather to the concept of regional security and its manifestation in West Africa. Some pointers for the SADC efforts to establish a similar regional mechanism will invariably be encountered and these will also be summarised in the conclusions. THE SECURITY SITUATION IN THE ECOWAS STATES PRIOR TO THE ECOMOG INTERVENTIONS IN LIBERIA, SIERRA LEONE AND GUINEA-BISSAU
Map 1: ECOWAS Region
5.At the inception of ECOWAS in 1975 the organisation was made up by sixteen states Benin, Burkina Faso, Cape Verde, Cote d'Ivoire, Gambia, Ghana, Guinea, Guinea-Bissau, Liberia, Mauritania (left the organisation in December 2000), Niger, Nigeria, Mali, Togo, Senegal, and Sierra Leone.
Map 2: ECOWAS States
6.The post independence era had left this part of the world with a legacy of poverty and poor governance. These states were of different colonial backgrounds and were ill prepared by their...