Rape as a Weapon of Political Violence, Part 1: Trends Across Africa

Sexual violence as a weapon of political conflict is a serious, present-day atrocity affecting millions of people (primarily women and girls)[1] with grave health implications, both physical and psychological (Bastick, Grimm, and Kunz, 2007; UN, 2015). It is frequently a conscious strategy employed by armed groups to torture and humiliate opponents; terrify individuals and destroy…

Egypt: Developments in Political Violence Patterns Through a Comparative Analysis of the January 25th Protest Anniversaries

January saw heightened conflict activity in Egypt; a pattern that is evident in both 2013 and 2014. The over-whelming majority of these events can be understood as a resurgence of protests as demonstrators take to the streets during the week of the 25th January, the anniversary of the Arab Spring uprising. January 2015 was no…

Counter-revolution, Autocracy, and Stability in Egypt in 2014

The most significant trend witnessed throughout 2014 in Egypt was the dramatic decline of riot and protest events nationwide (see Figure 1). Sweeping detentions of Muslim Brotherhood supporters, unconstitutional civilian and military trials, and the introduction of legislation that curtails representation has seen Egypt slip into a counter-revolution reminiscent of past regimes under Mubarak in…

Political Militias and Remote Violence in 2014

Version 5 of ACLED carries a new event type termed ‘Remote violence’. Remote violence is an event where a conflict actor engages another group while remaining spatially removed from the area of attack. This can take the form of improvised explosive devices, air strikes, rocket attacks and bombs. In Africa, the use of these methods…

State Policy, Political Opportunity and Phases of Contentious Political Activity in Egypt

A cursory glance at Egypt’s conflict landscape from the beginning of the revolutionary uprising would infer that overall, riots and protests have followed an upward trajectory with increased participation, mobilisation and dissent against the regime (see Figure 1). However, the transformation of contentious politics in Egypt is best understood by conceptualising three distinct timeframes of…

Terrorism: A review of differences in definition

The existence of multiple, contrasting and even contradictory definitions and conceptualisations of terrorism in policy, legal frameworks and academic research is well-documented. The plethora of competing legal definitions has been likened to the Bermuda Triangle (Dedeoglu, 2003), and attempts to develop consensus around a single one, to ‘the quest for the Holy Grail’ (Levitt, 1986).…

Resource-Related Conflict in Africa

Natural resource extraction by mining (including oil, diamonds, copper, and cobalt) has tremendous positive economic potential for states. However, these resources can also do more harm than good if used towards ulterior motives including corruption, the unequal distribution of wealth, and to fuel violence. Valuable resources can both fuel violence through competition for territorial control,…

Anti-Government Protests and Regime Breakdown: Conflict Dynamics in Transitional States

“Authoritarian regimes…breakdown in systematically different ways, and they also affect post-transition outcomes” Geddes (1999: 6) The recent civil disobedience activity in Burkina Faso to oust President Blaise Compaore, following an attempt to extend his 27-year long term (BBC, 30 October 2014) highlights the success of civil society movements in mobilising for regime change. Riots and…

Remote-Violence, Bombings and Conflict Part 3: Overall Trends in the Use of Improvised Explosive Devices

The use of improvised explosive devices (IEDs) in conflict zones across has become increasingly prevalent over the past few years (Norton-Taylor, 3 July 2014). Conflict in Africa mirrors this global trend, as the number of discrete events involving IEDs grew from 9 reports in 2005 to 468 in 2013. The number of fatalities resulting from…

The Escalation of Political Violence in Libya

Since June 2014, Libya has been the fourth most volatile country in the ACLED African dataset with 534 reported conflict events. Political violence continued to escalate throughout the month of October (see Figure 1)with September recording the highest fatalities – and over double those reported since the beginning of the renewed post-civil war violence. Compared…