In This Review

African Interventions: State Militaries, Foreign Powers, and Rebel Forces
African Interventions: State Militaries, Foreign Powers, and Rebel Forces
By Emizet F. Kisangani and Jeffrey Pickering
Cambridge University Press, 2022, 292 pp.

Kisangani and Pickering provide a comprehensive review of interstate conflict in Africa since many countries there achieved independence in the twentieth century. They argue that this conflict can be divided into three broad categories. First, governments have waged war to divert attention from the various economic and political challenges facing them, such as when Eritrea attacked Ethiopia in 1998. Second, governments have started wars to pursue rebel forces in a neighboring country’s territory. For instance, in 1996, the Rwandan army invaded the Democratic Republic of the Congo to root out various Rwandan Hutu militias that had sought sanctuary in Congo after the 1994 Rwandan genocide. Finally, a third category of conflict consists of wars that have been motivated by what the authors call “national role conceptualization,” in which powerful states from outside Africa have assumed a military role on the continent. The authors place interventions by colonial powers in this category, as well as those of the Soviet Union and the United States during the Cold War.