DOI link for Africa
DOI link for Africa
Since 1961 the Adelphi Papers have provided some of the most informed accounts of international and strategic relations. Produced by the world renowned International Institute of Strategic Studies, each paper provides a short account of a subject of topical interest by a leading military figure, policy maker or academic. The project reprints the first forty years of papers, arranged into thematic sets.
The collection as a whole provides a rich and insightful account of international affairs during a period which spans the second half of the Cold War, the fall of the communist bloc and the emergence of a new regime with the United States as the sole superpower.
There is a wealth of global coverage:
- Four volumes on east and southeast Asia as well as individual volumes on China, Japan and Korea
- Particular attention is given to the Middle East, with volumes addressing internal sources of instability; geo-politics and the role of the superpowers; the Israel-Palestine conflict; and the Iran-Iraq War and the first Gulf War. There is also a volume on oil and insecurity
- There are also two volumes on Africa, the site of most of the world’s wars during the period.
The IISS has obviously made a particular contribution to the understanding of military strategy, and this is reflected with material on topics such as urban and guerrilla warfare, nuclear deterrence and the role of information in modern warfare. Volumes on military strategy are complemented by approaches from other disciplines, such as defence economics.
Key selling points:
- Early papers were only distributed by the IISS and will have achieved limited penetration of the academic market
- A host of major authors on a range of different subjects (eg Gerald Segal on China, Michael Leifer on Southeast Asia, Sir Lawrence Freidman on the revolution in military affairs, Raymond Vernon on multinationals and defence economics)
- Individual volumes will have a strong appeal to different markets (eg the volume on defence economics for economists, various volumes for Asian Studies etc)
TABLE OF CONTENTS
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ADELPHI PAPER No. 21 The author wishes to thank all those who gave information or advice, in particular Mr Dennis Austin of the Institute of Commonwealth Studies and Mr. Richard Kershaw of Africa 1965. Responsibility for facts and opinion lies entirely with the author. M. J. V. Bell is a Junior Research Associate of the Institute for Strategic Studies. There are no restrictions on quotation from this paper, and additional copies may be ordered from the Institute at the cost of 5 ($1) each,
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predecessors and the support of competent juniors. But it is a continuing problem. Though Ghana has achieved considerable success in keeping its public service clear of politics, in most countries, civil servants are vulnerable to political pressures from their own ministers and from party extremists. Because civil servants feel insecure, they may not be able to oppose effectively demands that are in the long term damaging. Other difficulties are nepotism and corruption, sometimes on a spectacular scale, like the embezzlement by three officers of the Nigerian navy of nearly 10 per cent of the 1964 naval budget; and the promotion block caused by the appointment of comparatively young men to senior posts. And finally, there is a difficulty which has only just begun to make its appearance in Africa, that changes in government, now mostly impossible except by coup or revolution, will lead to damaging changes in the administration. The fate of Mamoun Beheiry, the Sudan's ablest economist, is instructive. His services under the military régime rendered him a political liability to the new government, which was compelled to release him to become president of the African Development Bank. (It is already not uncommon for able civil servants, unwilling or unable to work in their own countries, to move into international organizations.) In some countries, the trend is visible, and in others it has gone further; but throughout Africa the decline in standards, as a result of combinations of these factors, has gone on. Optimists can only believe that it will halt soon. Yet without a competent public service, it is doubtful whether the plans of political leaders to build modern states will ever come to anything. Equally severe are the problems of economic development: the dependence of most of these countries on single export crops in a falling world market (the price of cocoa dropped from £352 a ton in 1957-58 to £100 a ton in 1965); the drag of unproductive, often corruptly run, projects embarked on after independence; the difficulty of developing modern agricultural methods and overcoming prejudices in favour of traditional and unhealthy diets; the prejudice against technical education; the concentration of a volatile and dissatisfied mass of unemployed youth – jeunes chômeurs – in the towns, where (in the words of one young Ivoirien) ‘un homme travaille pour cinq’. One set of statistics is typical. In Kenya, between 1954 and 1962, while the African urban population grew at 6.9 per cent each year, employment grew by only 0.8 per cent. This flow,
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as we have) and for the establishment of a strong air force. Whom are we arming against, ourselves or our neighbours? It is often overlooked that these things cost a lot of money. . . . Our people are peace-loving; and our immediate neighbours are friendly. No territorial claims have been made to our soil, and present trends suggest that no such claims are likely to be made to our soil in the foreseeable future. (I am sure that we on our part have no evil designs on our neighbours either. Reports that one of our neighbours is making attempts to subvert constituted authority in Nigeria must not be discounted. But the surest way to frustrate such attempts is the prosecution of sound domestic policies which redound to the general well-being of our people.)’
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were Hehe and one quarter Kuria. Yet trouble has been avoided by the integration of men of different tribal origin to the lowest possible level. The dangers of failing to do this were shown in the Sudan in 1955, when units recruited in the south mutinied against their northern officers. Elsewhere, so long as discipline is good, it seems to make little difference whether a regional balance is maintained by a strict quota system, as in Nigeria, or tacitly as in Ghana, whether a single tribe or region is more or less dominant, or whether indeed the tribes dominant in the security forces are the same as those dominant in the government. A remarkable instance is that of Dahomey, where, when President Maga, a northerner, had clearly lost control of the country, the army, also predominantly northern, removed him and ultimately allowed him to be replaced by a southern-based coalition. But the Congo mutiny showed that when discipline had begun to deteriorate for other reasons, a tribal antipathy between politicians and soldiers might make it still more difficult to bring discontented soldiery under control. The troops, most of whom came from Equateur and South Kasai, might have responded to an appeal from their own men, Bolikango and Kalonji, where they did not to Lumumba, whom they resented for having excluded Bolikango and Kalonji from the government. Countries in which there is likely to be such a clash, like Kenya, where the politically dominant Kikuyu are virtually unrepresented in the army, have therefore less room for manoeuvre. Kenya could never safely allow a deterioration in discipline equal to that which has taken place in Uganda, in which army and government are both northern-based. The major factor, however, in the Congo mutiny of 1960 and in East Africa in 1964 was discontent about pay and status. The Force Publique was entirely Belgian-officered in June 1960, despite the rapid rise of the despised politicians and a barrage of threatening letters: 'In the executive College, we imagine that you will do your best to see that the poor soldier feels himself as independent as any other Congolese. All adjudants should be replaced by Congolese. We will not agree to work in any way with officers who have shown their bad faith, from Janssens (the general, a convinced racialist and as blind as a bat) down to the most junior’. But when the day came, the soldiers found that ‘independence had passed them by’. Indeed at the first signs of trouble, General Janssens, the Commander, gave a lecture on the necessity for obedience, writing on the blackboard the slogan ‘Before independence = after independence’. From this inflexibility and Lumumba’s failure until too late to make an adequate offer, the subsequent disasters stemmed.
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since the Ghanaian and Nigerian armies required more than ten years from the appoint-ment of the first African officers to the moment of total Africanization, and neither had a higher proportion of African officers than the East African armies at the time of independence. Factors such as the greater maturity of institutions in West Africa and the slower pace of the African revolution played their part, but probably decisive was the fact that whereas the first Ghanaian was commissioned nearly a decade before independence, the Africanization programme got under way in East Africa only the year before Tanganyika became independent. Thus by the beginning of 1964 there were no African officers with the rank and authority to control, or give the lie to, the not entirely unjustified feeling that the government was dragging its feet, preferring to trust expatriates rather than Africans. The soldiers had, in fact, the feeling that independence had passed them by. The French succeeded in avoiding serious difficulty over Africanization, because, although in 1955 there were only 65 African officers in the French forces, in the following year a crash officer-training programme was instituted, not, it may be said, because of the forthcoming requirements of independence, which was not at that time contem-plated, but in accordance with an ephemeral plan to upgrade the importance of the manpower reserves of Afrique noire. But as a result, nearly 500 officers were either commissioned or under training by the time most of the francophone states became independent in 1960 – two-thirds of the requirement. None the less, it is possible that the continued presence of French officers in command of troops, by the simple fact that they were blocking promotion, may have influenced the young African officers responsible for the removal of Youlou in Congo (Brazzaville) and the attempted coup against Mba in Gabon. Certainly in Congo, the Captains concerned in the revolt immediately ordered the removal of French officers from positions of command, on the grounds that they supported Youlou, and promoted themselves to the rank of Com-mandant (major), and in Gabon the leaders of the coup told the soldiers that the issues were pay and President Mba’s personal opposition to the promotion of NCOs. It appears, however, that resentment of expatriate officers has been less of an issue in francophone Africa than the question of pay and prestige, particularly in view of the fact that soldiers transferred from the French army have had to accept cuts in pay. Apart from the case of Gabon, both Senghor in Senegal and Houphouet Boigny in the Ivory Coast have found it necessary during general austerity campaigns to maintain spending on the army, and the overthrow and assassination of President Olympio of Togo was in part due to his decision to cut the army to the minimum for financial reasons, thus indicating, in the words of the revolutionary junta, his ‘profound contempt for the military’. An additional cause of Olympio’s fall was his refusal to recruit into the army several hundred soldiers recently discharged from the French forces. In 1958, Guinea had faced the same problem. It had to deal with no less than 12,000 veterans, some of whom were disposed to make trouble: ‘Quelques anciens militaires qui utilisés comme des mercenaires dans l’armée française croyaient s’imposer au Gouvernement de la République de Guinée en exigeant des conditions spéciales . . . Aujourd’hui, . . . ils parlent haut, ils disent: “Si l’on ne veut pas de nous dans l’administration, nous allons créer la pagaille”’. But with the familiar Guinean mixture of high-flown
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in Britain and nearly 600 British officers and NCOs on secondment in Africa in 1964. This figure does not include a large number of British officers serving on contract, some in positions of considerable influence, such as the commander of the Nigerian army until February 1965. These men would have the advantage of British expertise and apolitical attitudes, without the double loyalties of seconded officers. Liberia and Ethiopia have received assistance from the United States, Ethiopia on a lavish, not say excessive, scale, and a number of countries have made arrangements with the Federal Republic of Germany for military aid worth, in all, nearly fifty million dollars. Compared with all this, Russian, and still more Chinese, aid has been derisory. By far the biggest single military aid agreement made by the Russians in sub-Saharan Africa, the credit for Somalia, which it is by no means certain will be fully spent, was worth somewhat less than half the total value of military aid given by the United States to Ethiopia since 1954. It is doubtful whether there will be a great deal more diversification of aid sources. Certainly it is doubtful whether training aid will be much further diversified. There are good reasons for this. Military leaders see diversification as a threat to efficiency – there might soon be ‘fighting over procedures’ – and both politicians and military are fearful of the creation of cliques of officers within the armed forces, trained abroad in the same institutions, especially when, as in Kenya, men have been sent to train abroad by party leaders without the knowledge of the Ministry of Defence. For these reasons, Dr Nkrumah filled only 68 of the 400 places for military training offered by the Russians in 1961 and never repeated the experiment. For these reasons also, the Kenya Govern-ment refused, in April 1965, a shipload of arms from Russia, on the grounds that they were obsolete, sent home the Russian training team, and has displayed a good deal of reluctance to accept into the air force pilots trained in Russia under the aegis of the KANU Vice-President, Mr Odinga: ‘Fully trained men are welcome, but they have to go through the proper channels if they wish to join the Kenya Air Force’. Increasingly
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size that the soldiers would obtain the necessary technical skills, without doing serious financial damage to the country. The efforts of the francophone states to use compulsory service in their armed forces as a means of imparting necessary technical skills, particularly in agriculture, have been welcomed by observers, but there is reason to doubt the possibilities of ultimate success. Compulsory military service had existed under the French, as indeed had a form of compulsory civic service, the military labour corps or deuxième contingent. Many eligible young men avoided conscription, however, and the military labour corps was a constant target of African politicians, being finally abolished in 1950. Once the
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African dependencies, was in the best position to solve these problems, if they were soluble. Again, less than two years after the fall of the Abbé Youlou, a man who was widely execrated as a French puppet in a ‘Congo de Papa’, unemployment was higher than ever, and there was enough support for Youlou to organize without betrayal his escape out of prison and across to Leopoldville. Ethiopia is one case where some of the bars to progress – ecclesiastical obscurantism and an unprogressive system of land tenure – might be susceptible to revolution, but it is doubtful if ‘Young Turks’ could achieve anything, especially against the stifling authority of the church, unless they were prepared and able to employ bloodshed, terror, and ruthlessness to what seems at present an unlikely degree. Certainly it appears that the legend of the heroic martyrdom of the Neway brothers may achieve a good deal more in Ethiopia, a country peculiarly susceptible to the ‘heroic myth’, than if their coup had actually been successful. If nationalists see hope in radical revolutions, others may be inclined to view favourably conservative military take-overs of the Pakistani type. Their difficulties are exactly converse. It is likely, even probable, that such régimes would achieve a greater degree of economic success than doctrinaire or incompetent civilian governments, as Pakistan has, but in Africa, at least, it is doubtful whether they would succeed well enough to silence civilian discontents, discontents made worse by the fact that military leaders, unless they were unusually sensitive, would at first attempt to deal with them by disciplinary measures. The Sudanese military regime is a case in point. There was considerable economic progress, but the political parties were not satisfied by the cautious return to civilian rule by way of basic democracy, intellectuals were irritated by the stodginess of military rule, and the rebellion in the African south was inflamed rather than crushed by attempts at military suppression. The régime was ultimately faced with the choice of giving up or coercing an increasingly hostile population. The Sudan is not unique. Colonel Soglo's provisional government in Dahomey attempted to arrest the newly elected President Apithy, with whom, for various reasons, it was not in sympathy, but when it became apparent that he had popular support, he was released to take up his post as President. In Ghana, a likely candidate for such a military take-over, Dr Nkrumah has succeeded in retaining the enthusiasm of the militants of the left wing of the Convention People’s Party, who overlook such ideological curiosities as Dr Nkrumah’s liking for the British royal family and the presence in the country of a small unit of British troops. But it is doubtful whether these militants would support a régime of officers with British sympathies and occupied with such dull but economically necessary tasks as encouraging private enterprise and satisfying the officials of the IMF. In Africa, therefore, it seems unlikely that the military, whether radical or conserva-tive, would be able to rule by consensus, as, by and large, Nasser has in Egypt or Ayub in Pakistan. So far they have not shown interest in the alternative of rule by force, but it should not be assumed that they will continue to do so. Behind the Abbouds and Soglos are men of altogether tougher calibre. In response to this threat, African political leaders are showing more concern than ever before with the loyalty of the armed forces, and with mechanisms and expedients designed to control or prevent military revolutions. The obvious solution, of assistance from the former colonial powers, like the British in East Africa or the French in Gabon, will remain a serious political liability, and though an appeal in time of trouble is not entirely out of the question, African leaders would prefer to avoid it if they could. (So would the French; de Gaulle has not forgotten the damage done to France's prestige in the tiers monde by the Gabon intervention.) There is little prospect, however, of any effective inter-African alternative. Both Nigeria and Ethiopia, it is true, provided units to replace the British in Tanganyika while a new army was being trained, and it is also
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PART V: EXTERNAL POWERS IN AFRICA
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PART I: NORTH AFRICA