Security Sector Reform in Egypt and Liberia

Security Sector Reform in Egypt and Liberia

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Both Egypt and Liberia have been struggling to improve their security sector reform. In Egypt they have been facing a revolution since 2011. It started when President Hosni Mubarak's security and police were harsh and merciless toward the people and because of his security divisions that weren’t doing their jobs correctly. Liberia revolution on the other hand is being lead by Charles Taylor who is head of Liberia and who was kind of their unelected president at the time but is now elected as their current president. He is responsible for the different rebel groups throughout Liberia and also for the backing the Revolutionary United front. This is just the start of these two countries efforts toward security sector reform. In order for security sector reform to contribute to national and sustainable peace they need to know how to separate military from police forces and make sure that it is successful in sustaining peace, whether they are post war or politically transitioning, and the challenges that they will face and the conditions that will help the transition take place.

I believe that to get sustainable peace through security sector reform in Egypt and Liberia the government needs to separate the military and police forces. I feel that to help with the separation the police forces need the proper training, so the police can become a role model not a figure of fear and control. “Conduct a comprehensive review of Police academy training curricula and systems.” (Ashour) is one of his big point that he makes in his article about Egypt’s security sector reform. He goes on to say, “The review should focus on de-militarization of the police, as well as on altering training materials to reflect concepts of human security (as opposed to state security) and police functions as a “service” to society.” (Ashour)This is precisely what I think needs to happen to be successful in reforming. And the same goes for Liberia as well. They need to get the proper training for their police and keep the military where they belong as well. They should be two separate jobs.

Obviously, Egypt and Liberia have recently been going through security sector reform. In Ashour article he also says they need to, “Establish proper oversight and monitoring of the security sector.” and “Provide the Central Security Forces with comprehensive training in non-lethal riot control tactics.” Both of these points, along with the first one, are great at explaining what need to happen to separate the military and police.

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They should have a monitoring sector that should not only is able to investigate but the should also be aloud to make it mandatory for them to asses the officers fulfillment of the job and requirements and ability the enforce(Ashour ). Meanwhile in Liberia they are experiencing difficulties after their war. What they need in an economy boost, one they can achieve by supplying the police forces with new jobs. This also help sustain the peace from violence and maybe even rebellion.

I think the impact of successful reform of the security forces on continuing peace has a huge effect. It has happened over and over in history. The government or ruler of that country had suppressed the people for too long and eventually they rebelled. This is one of the many ways that the peace is disturbed and cause it so that its hard to make change. And over and over again in history as soon as the problem or careless government is set right the peace is returned until the government does another stupid thing and we start all over. That is precisely the process that Egypt is going through right now. Their people are rebelling against their president and trying to make it so the police are more civil and less brutal. “These officers have established reformist organizations, such as the General Coalition of Police Officers and Officers But Honorable, and begun to push for SSR themselves.”(Hanna) The people of Liberia the people are also rebelling and a lot of the same things are happening there as well.

I personally think that for any country to try and achieve successful transformation of their security sector, whether they are post war or in a political transition, is hard. Because their are different factors in each case. In post war situations the are more vulnerable and in more of a crisis needing a stable government to help get them back on their feet. And they may also want a change but not know how to go about doing it. Even if its post war the people rebelling is another possibility. “Are Liberia’s new security forces (military and police) adequately prepared to address current and emerging threats?”(Gilpin) But there are also many trials in a political transition as well. I think that in the case of a political transition they are more stable maybe economically and ready for a change but that doesn’t mean its going to go any smoother or happen any quicker. Politicians always fight and to try to come up with the best way for everyone and hearing everyone's opinions all the time would be very tricky. Also if its political you might have people rebelling because they don’t want change or the want a different kind of change, because you can’t please everybody. Because just security sector reform in general is very difficult I think that both situations, both post war and political transition, would be hard to successfully transform.

There are many challenges that make it hard to reform but their are also ways and conditions that make it easier for it to successfully take place. In Ashour’s article he talks about all the different government groups in Egypt that do not want this reform to happen. Groups like the SSI (State Security Investigations) and the CSF (Central Security Forces) soon became a target to the revolutionists. Sayigh also talks about this issue,“The SSI’s longstanding record of unlawful detentions, disappearances, and systematic torture was well known; its “Human Rights Unit” was tasked not with protecting rights, but monitoring and repressing rights activists. The CSF, meanwhile, was seen as the armed enforcer of the regime’s will – stuffing ballot boxes or quelling demonstrations as needed.” (Sayigh) These are the groups and people that make it hard to reform. But there are also conditions that help make the transition more successful. This is most helpful in a post war country like Liberia, to have help to control and sustain peace. “With the help of the UN Mission in Liberia (UNMIL), one of the largest peacekeeping missions in the world. Liberia has resisted backsliding into conflict” (Blaney) With peace throughout the country it makes it easier for them to focus on moving forward and becoming better. Especially with their security sector reform.

To achieve sustainable peace when reforming security sectors it is important to separate police forces and military while also taking into account the challenges of reforms and the conditions that will make it successful, in both post war and/or political transitions. In Egypt and Liberia it is clear that one of the many ways to solve the security sector reform crisis is to divide the military and police and have the proper training for those who are in the forces. It is also clear that the impact of a successful security sector reform has a major effect on the people. I believe that security sector reform is always difficult, whether it be on a post war country or a country in political transition. While trying to reform security sectors you will always have challenges and conditions that make it easier or hard to accomplish the task.

Works Cited

1.Ashour, Omar. "From Bad Cop to Good Cop: The Challenge or Security Sector Reform

in Egypt." Bookings. CDDLR Stanford, n.d. Web. 1 Nov. 2012.


2.Blaney, John. "Wider Lessons for Peacebuilding: Security Sector Reform in

Liberia." Policy Analysis Brief. The Stanley Foundation, n.d. Web. 1 June


3.Gilpin, Raymond. "Revisiting Security Sector Reform in Liberia: A Discussion

with the Liberian Defense Minister." USIP. United Stares Institute of

Peace, n.d. Web. 14 Mar. 2011.


4. Hanna, Michael Wahid. "Egypt Lacks the Political Will for Needed Security Sector

Reform." World Politics Review. WPR, n.d. Web. 6 Mar. 2013.


5.Sayigh, Yezid. "Reconstructing the Police State in Egypt." Carnegie Endowment.

The Global Think Tank, n.d. Web. 22 Aug. 2013.


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