The New Security Dilemma, African Integration and Asian Cooperation

Opening Speech

The theme of this conference; Post-security dilemmas, Integrations, Models and Asia is indeed appropriate considering the contemporary times that we live in because the threats to the national security of our respective nation-states has more than tripled thus posing complex security dilemmas....

Ladies and Gentlemen, I sincerely acknowledge and appreciate the organizers for the kind invitation to this 8th Istanbul Security Conference. The theme of this conference; Post-security dilemmas, Integrations, Models and Asia is indeed appropriate considering the contemporary times that we live in because the threats to the national security of our respective nation-states has more than tripled thus posing complex security dilemmas - which in turn have to be countered through different levels of integration and models. Although the theme of the conference is indeed tailored to Asia as a continent and although to some extent, some post-security dilemmas are indeed unique to certain regions or continents, I would like to assert here that most of the post-security dilemmas are global and actually go beyond borders.

I will majorly restrict my submission to a state-centric view of security and I will concentrate on the African continent on two areas; 1) Understanding contemporary post-security dilemmas, 2) Underscoring the importance of integrations and models in countering the threats.

  1. CURRENT POST-SECURITY DILEMMAS

New types of armed conflicts and growing ties between states have prompted innovative responses and new thinking about the very concept of security. Today, almost every country has experienced the cruel consequences of terrorist activity. For our case in the Great Lakes Region, we face the threat posed by Al-Shabaab operating in the horn of Africa especially in Somalia, Allied Democratic Forces (ADF) mainly in the Eastern Democratic Republic of Congo. These groups are off-shoots of larger terrorist organizations like AL-Qaeda and Islamic State (ISIS), which operate globally.

1.1 TERRORISM

Terrorism knows no borders and its effects can be suffered by any country, region or people. For the last two decades, in Uganda, DRC, and Kenya, we have been hit by several attacks of ADF and Al-Shabab as earlier pointed out. We also have foiled a bigger number of planned attacks. Recent examples of attacks include the following: On 11 July 2010, suicide bombings were carried out against crowds watching a screening of the 2010 FIFA World Cup Finals at two locations in the City of Kampala. The attacks left 74 dead and 85 injured. Al-Shabaab, claimed responsibility for the blasts as retaliation for Ugandan support for AMISOM - AMISOM is the African Union Mission to Somalia. Again, an explosion in a Kampala cafe on 23 October 2021 killed a 20-year-old waitress and injured three others, two of them critically. Two days later, a suicide bomb was detonated on a bus 30 km west of the capital, killing the perpetrator and wounding passengers. A month later there were coordinated suicide attacks in Uganda that killed at least three and injured dozens.

I was also looking through a timeline of ISIS attacks in Turkey and corresponding court cases prepared by the International Crisis Group and I came to the realization that no one is untouchable when it comes to the threat of terrorism. In nutshell, there is no doubt that terrorism poses the single most dangerous post-security dilemma.

Whereas terrorist groups operate trans-nationally in disregard of international laws like respect for territorial integrity for other countries, to counter them, affected sovereign states must follow internationally acceptable procedures and protocols. For example, in the case of ADF which operates in the DRC as I have already highlighted, they carry out their terror activities in Uganda and run to DRC for refugee and yet in our response, we have to go through a number of domestic and international protocols to pursue these terrorists and this ultimately impedes our capacity to successfully combat them.

1.2 THE ERA OF CYBER SECURITY

Also related to terrorism is the issue of cyber security. We live in Cyber cringe the era of cyber security which is increasingly becoming a global threat. In the past few years, news have been filled with reports of data breaches affecting hundreds of millions of consumers, public leaks of sensitive and supposedly secure information, and politically motivated cyber-attacks with extremely serious implications for both domestic politics and international relations. Cyber-attacks have been inflicted on critical national infrastructure like power installations, banks, transport, water sources, security and defense systems, greatly weakening national security and socio-economic infrastructure.

1.3 THE ROLE OF THE MEDIA IN INCITING INSECURITY

As much as it takes some convincing for some to believe, the media poses a real post-security dilemma especially in the specific aspect of inciting insecurity. Trials at the international criminal court have publicly exposed the role that media and communications commonly play in inciting violence. Research has revealed how such communications incite hatred and violence by constructing certain social identities and systems. This is sometimes done intentionally to manipulate, as exemplified in the print, electronic and radio broadcastings used to incite hatred and violence in many parts of the world.

In the current situation, social media has become a major tool used by proponents of insecurity. Examples are many but I can point out a few like the so-called Arab up-risings in the last decade that were greatly fueled by social media. Social media is increasingly having great influence on national global politics especially during election time. However, we should also note that we can also use communication and social media to facilitate peace and global security.

1.4 THE NEW SECURITY DILEMMA (NSD)

It is fair to point out that today, international security is undergoing a particularly radical transformation called the New Security Dilemma (NSD). States and people are no longer most threatened by interstate wars.

Global violent conflicts today overwhelmingly involve civil wars, ethnic and religious conflicts, cross-border wars, transnational etc. terrorism. Boko Haraam movement in West Africa is a good example.
Attempts by states to provide international security through traditional state-based military modes and mechanisms are proving increasingly counterproductive in today's environment of complex economic interdependence, multiculturalism and asymmetric power relations.

At the same time, some states are increasingly prioritizing interdependent economic development, the promotion of global governance and "pooled sovereignty" rather than national sovereignty, national interests, autonomy, and the threat of defection.

Therefore, the Traditional Security Dilemma is being overtaken in a wider and more complex NSD, in which the roles of a more pluralistic universe of social, economic, and political forces are challenging the capacity of states as such to provide security.

2.0 THE IMPORTANCE OF INTEGRATIONS AND MODELS IN COUNTERING THE DILEMMAS/THREATS

Security is interlinked with regional integration and cooperation. While regional integration can contribute to economic development, regional cooperation is a prerequisite to the attainment of peace and security. As neither the causes nor the consequences of violent conflict are bound by national borders, there is broad consensus that a regional approach is essential to effectively ensure global security.

There is an emerging imperative to incorporate peace and security components into regional and global integration programmers in a systemic and sustainable manner, and an increasing number of regional organizations have included peace and security into their mandates. For example, while COMESA (Common Market, for 7-79 countries Eastern and Southern Africa) of which Uganda is a member, was originally established merely as a common market, it has expanded its vision and strategy to include peace and security issues.

The potential positive role that regional organizations can play in responding to problems and in particular to the challenges of following on ensuring peace and security, has been underscored by the African (African Union, Common the New Partnership at all Africa's Development (NEPAD), the ACP,)the European Union, the UN Millennium Declaration, UNESCO and the Institute for Security Studies in their report on Peace, Human Security and Conflict Prevention in Africa and the Report of the United Nations Commission on Human Security, Human Security Now.

Regional integration organizations have proven their potential as foundations for durable peace and long-term stability. Regional early warning and early response mechanisms have been established, such as the ECOWAS Early Warning Mechanism and the IGAD Conflict Early Warning and Early Response Mechanism, CEWARN. Furthermore, regional organizations have been emerging as legitimate conflict managers, in part as a result of somewhat successful interventions such as AMISOM, the West African" peacekeeping and intervention force, ECOMOG), and the SADC peace keeping deployment in the Democratic Republic of Congo.

3.0 ASIA-AFRICA SECURITY RELATIONS

Regarding Asia-Africa relations, the cooperation of our respective continental bodies the African Union and Association of East Asian Nations on security matters is of paramount importance. The areas which are important for security co-operation include information H sharing, capacity building (technical and financial), and training.

In conclusion, I wish to point out that;

İ. In the case of Africa, support in the area of conflict prevention and resolution is essential because a stable political, economic and social environment is a basic requirement for human development.

ii. Continental bodies like the European Union and the African Union should step up efforts to promote peace and security at all stages of the conflict cycle, from conflict prevention, via conflict management to conflict resolution and post-conflict reconstruction.

iii. Regulation of media including social media and other platforms ought to be instituted given their impact on society perceptions on security. This should be supplemented by

iv. Mass sensitization that social media can and should be used as a tool for development and peace promotion

v. I concur with the Chairman of TARSAM in 2017 conference where he advised that, in order to manage current security obstacles, a common security ecosystem consisting of elements like defense, intelligence, law enforcement, criminal law, immigration control, critical infrastructure protection, emergence response, public health management, economic sustainability, diversification and fair distribution of resources, and technological capability sufficiency; should constitute a joint priority action plan of countries' security measures.

vi. Creation of multilateral financing mechanisms and efficient use of resources are the best ways to address the resultant costs of the new security challenges.

Thank for your kind audience and I am confident that the deliberations during this conference will greatly enhance our close co-operations and unified efforts in countering global security.

( Major General (R) Jim Muhwezi KATUGUGU, Minister of Defence, Uganda | Opening Speech Transcript | 8th Istanbul Security Conference | 03 November 2022 )


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