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The AU Peace Roadmap in the 2011 Libyan Conflict: A realistic peace roadmap or inefficient peacemaker?

The Libyan conflict is at the heart of the African Union (AU) ongoing dealings. A glimpse in what prompted the Libyan uprising reveals that in February 2011, the Libyans rebelled against their four-decade ruler Gadhafi. Inspired by the Arab Spring movements, which started in Tunisia and Egypt, the Libyan protesters demanded for social justice, civil and political rights, freedoms and democracy. In response to the Libyan uprising, Gadhafi cracked down on the civilians who took to the streets, provoked a global outrage, and plunged Libya into an armed conflict [1]. This triggered the involvement of North Atlantic Treaty Organisation (NATO), the Arab League (AL), the United States of America (US), the United Kingdom (UK), France and the AU in the conflict. The AU’s involvement conforms to the Constitutive Act of 2000 that compels an intervention in the member states’ domestic affairs on the circumstances large scale of violence, crime against humanity and threats of genocide [2]. This intervention seeks to protect the citizens and restore peace and order, and is to fulfil by the Peace and Security Council (PSC). The AU established in 2003 the PSC to prevent and manage conflicts in Africa. It ensures that the management of conflicts mitigate violence and maintains peace, order and security by the means of political dialogue and peacekeeping [3]. In 2011, the AU and PSC devised a peace roadmap to manage the Libyan conflict. This article is qualitative in nature and uses a most similar research case study approach. Baxter and Jack argue that the qualitative case study methodology provides tools for researchers to study and understand complex phenomena within their contexts [4]. This approach becomes a vital method for social science studies to develop theory, evaluate programmes, and develop interventions. This will allow the researcher not to rely on just one lens but rather a variety of lenses, which allows for the understanding of the multiple facets of a phenomenon [5]. This is a critical case study, which offers an opportunity to access empirical evidences through various data collection techniques, and the researcher seeks convergence in the outcomes. This helps in assessing the PSC beyond the AU’s rhetorical institutional declarations on the supposed capabilities and readiness of African conflict response mechanisms. This paper assesses the AU’s peace roadmap in the Libyan conflict management. It acknowledges that the peace roadmap pinpointed some key resolutions that could have likely ensured sustainable peace and enabled the prospects of building a democratic state. It also weighs in besides the gaps in the peace roadmap, the capacity of the AU and the PSC as peacemaker. Finally, the paper offers a comprehensive panacea of remedies to improve the formulation of peace roadmap and the work of the AU and the PSC as a peacemaker in the future political crises and armed conflicts.

Ulrich Bouelangoye
SARCHi African Diplomacy and Foreign Policy,University of Johannesburg


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