So far, it appears that the DC policy community is exhibiting little interest in the armed conflict in the Central African Republic that recently resulted in its President taking refuge in neighboring Cameroon.
I must confess that I know next to nothing to of the Central African Republic, although I was recently fascinated by the obese white Frenchman (CAR’s Minister for State Security) who featured in Mads Brugger’s The Ambassador, which was set in that country.
I find the geopolitics of the most recent incarnation of the conflict to be fascinating and I suspect the events of the past week will have greater repercussions than the silence emanating from DC’s policy community would indicate (though I suspect there are rather few CAR experts to make the rounds). The outgoing administration of Bozize, had until his inglorious exit the full support of his Central African neighbors, while France, had previously intervened in the country, refused to do so in this case. Judging by news media reports, it appears to have only been South African troops (who suffered over a dozen fatalities during the hostilities) that opposed the final push into the capital Bangui.
It will be interesting to see what new administration emerges in CAR, how it will relate to its neighbors (will this action support democratic movements in Gabon and Cameroon?), and how the failure of the South African forces will impact South Africa’s foreign policy, which has been relatively non-interventionist on the continent since the rise of majority rule.