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Im part of a generation that experienced fourteen years of war in Liberia and is now involved with the daunting task of transforming the country from war to peace David Keens book Complex Emergencies is a useful synthesis of the realities of conflicts in the West African sub-region and other parts of the world Even though not exhaustive I tend to further illustrate on some of his ideas and facts presented that correlate with my experiences There are several functions of violence and it does not always conform to the view that it is done with the intention of winning the war My engagement with ex-combatants who committed atrocities during the Liberian war helped create my view on conflicts Violence allowed them to acquire wealth superiority security and fame or rather notoriety Civilians and combatants of lower rank often joined for similar reasons either to share in the power held by their commanders or to partake in the wealth to be gained from looting Others joined or remained in the conflict to obtain drugs which some faction commanders reportedly distributed to their troops freely Some economic activities are consistent with war At the peak of the Cold War the United States as the greatest donor of aid to Liberia utilized aid as a means of maintaining the political loyalty of the Liberian state and protecting US economic strategic investment on Liberian soil Economic agendas of players in a conflict not only include rebel but also state elites in the affected country and beyond The analysis in Keens book about war economies that some economic activities are actually more profitable in times of conflict throw light on why there were mushrooming of warring factions and other interlopers during the Liberian conflict The Liberian situation emerged through many conflicting realities The Economic Community of West African States Armed Monitoring Group ECOMOG a force that was deployed in Liberia from 1990-1998 Adebajo
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