“Religious-based violence is an outcome, not a cause of conflict”

When reading about the Central African Republic (or CAR) this statement stuck out to me the most. In many conflicts around the world today, religion is in the forefront of discussions on sides of a conflict. To many this may aid understanding of what makes two sides of a conflict different but there are many other factors that are entailed in opposing viewpoints.

The two sides of this conflict, although it seems they stem from religion, came about because of dissatisfaction with leader Boizize, elected in 2011. By 2012 the Seleka alliance was formed in northern CAR to air grievances about the underdevelopment of their region of the country. With the help from their neighbors Chad and Sudan, Bozize was overthrown and President Djotodia became the first Muslim leader of the Christian country.

In CAR, control over natural resources is a huge issue between the Seleka and Anti-Balanka. Local control as well as relationships with foreign stakeholders are both at stake and some of the biggest items on the list include diamonds and uranium. The Kimberly Process has been put in place to prevent conflict diamonds from entering the market thus hurting the funding for Seleka and Anti Balanka.

Outside influences are a huge component in this conflict because who chooses to support which side is adding fuel to the fire. Chad, France, South Africa and China have all gotten involved in support of one side in this conflict. Instead, the UN should consider forbidding support of either side and in order to better serve the country as a whole because without outside resources, no war can go on for very long.

-Caroline

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