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Frontline World

Liberia - No More War, May 2005

Related Features THE STORY
Synopsis of "No More War"

Interactive Feature: In Conflict and in Peace

Keeping the Peace

Two Opinions on the Mission in Liberia

Similar Flags and Shared History

Land and People, History and Government, Effects of War, Economy

Background, News, United Nations, Child Soldiers


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Is the U.N. an effective peacekeeping operation? react


Links and Resources

• General Background
• History and Conflict
• United Nations
• Liberia and the United States
• Governments and International Agencies
• Child Soldiers
• West Africa

• Media Resources

General Background

CIA World Factbook
Surrounded by the Ivory Coast, Sierra Leone and Guinea in this volatile region of West Africa, Liberia stretches 360 miles along the Atlantic Ocean. Five percent of the country's population is descended from former slaves from the New World. This and other information about the geography, economy and people of Liberia can be found in the CIA World Factbook.

BBC Country Profile: Liberia
This BBC News profile of Liberia includes an overview of the history and recent events in Liberia and links to the BBC's coverage of Liberia's civil war and the changes that followed.

Timeline: Liberia
This BBC chronology lays out the history of Liberia, from its independence in 1847 through the years of conflict and the transitional government that followed.

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History and Conflict

Timeline of the Conflict: 1980 to 2003
Liberia has been disrupted by violent shifts of power since the ruling True Whig Party was overthrown in a bloody coup in 1980. PBS's NewsHour compiled this timeline, which covers the conflict that has lasted nearly a quarter of a century.

Conflict History: Liberia
The list of leaders, factions and countries involved in Liberia's conflict grew as the violence spread. This International Crisis Group summary lays out the primary players and events in the convoluted history of unrest and civil war in Liberia.

The Movement for Democracy in Liberia (MODEL) broke away from Liberians United for Democracy (LURD) in 2003. This summary from The NewsHour sheds some light on LURD and MODEL, the rebel groups that helped push Charles Taylor out of power.

Liberia: Status Report
After Taylor's exile to Nigeria, members of his government and representatives from LURD and MODEL rebel groups chose a leader to head a transitional government. After businessman Charles Gyude Bryant was sworn in on October 14, 2003, the Council on Foreign Relations, a nonpartisan think tank, provided details about the crisis in Liberia.

"Liberia's Rural Reign of Terror"
Even as tensions eased in Liberia's main cities after President Taylor left in exile, armed men continued to roam the country's hinterland. This BBC report from October 2003 chronicles hardships faced by Liberians in the countryside in the early days of the new peace.

"Gauging Liberia's Political Future"
In the March 22, 2005, broadcast of All Things Considered, NPR's Robert Siegel talked with Jacques Klein, U.N. Special Representative in Liberia, about the upcoming October elections in a nation still in economic ruin after two years of peace and 14 years of civil war.

"War Is Behind Us Now"
Read what Liberian refugees and former combatants said, in their own words, about their fears and hopes for the future and their continuing struggle to survive in this summary by the National Democratic Institute for International Affairs, a nonprofit organization promoting democracy. The report also includes a short history of Liberia. [Note: This article is in PDF format; Adobe Acrobat required.]

Keeping the Peace: The Blog
Filmmaker Jessie Deeter posted this blog from Liberia, sharing some of the on-the-ground challenges of making No More War, originally titled Keeping the Peace.

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United Nations

United Nations Mission in Liberia
The Web site created for the United Nations Mission in Liberia (UNMIL) provides a comprehensive look at the current state of Liberia and the convergence of events that preceded it. The site details the scope of the Disarmament, Demobilization, Reintegration and Rehabilitation (DDRR) program.

"Traveling With the Blue Helmets in Sierra Leone and Liberia"
Filmmaker Jessie Deeter writes in Slate about her experience of following U.N. peacekeeping forces in the troubled region of West Africa. The piece includes a slide show of the people she and photographer Rob Peterson encountered along the way.

"Liberia Hit by 'Revenge Attacks'"
As the U.N. peacekeeping mission in Liberia wrapped up its money-for-arms disarmament program in October 2004, riots in Monrovia, the capital city, demonstrated that Liberia was not yet free from violence. The BBC reports that disarmament exceeded expectations, with 95,000 fighters turning in their weapons.

"U.N. Faces More Allegations of Sexual Misconduct"
United Nations intercessions have brought peace and stability to some of the world's worst trouble spots. But the international agency has also been plagued by allegations of sexual abuse and misconduct. In this article, The Washington Post cites internal U.N. correspondence alleging that peacekeepers in Liberia were having sex with girls as young as 12 years old.

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Liberia and the United States

U.S. Ties to Liberia
Days before U.S. Marines landed in Liberia during the crisis of the summer of 2003, Ray Suarez, of The NewsHour, spoke with Edward Perkins, a former ambassador to Liberia; Elwood Dunn, a former Liberian government official and instructor at the University of Liberia; and historian Marie Tyler-McGraw about Liberia's history, including its origins as a colony for freed American slaves.

Liberia: America's Stepchild
The PBS Web site Global Connections accompanies the World Stories film "Liberia: America's Stepchild." The site contains streaming video clips from the film, a timeline of the history of Liberia, and a detailed essay on the relationship between Liberia and the United States.

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Governments and International Agencies

World Bank
World Bank makes loans to developing nations. Up to January 2005, World Bank has approved more than $270 million in loans to Liberia. The bank has supported projects in agriculture, education, health and other social services.

National Transitional Government of Liberia
Charles Gyude Bryant headed up planning and development for the National Port Authority before founding a Monrovia-based business. As part of the peace agreement of 2003, warring factions selected Bryant to lead the National Transitional Government of Liberia until the beginning of 2006. In 2004, Bryant came to New York and spoke with the Council on Foreign Relations, a nonpartisan foreign policy think tank and publisher.

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Child Soldiers

Interview With Marcus Wade, Former Child Soldier
A former child soldier in Taylor's army spoke with the filmmaker behind the documentary Liberia: America's Stepchild. The PBS Web site Global Connections provides a transcription of the interview.

Factsheet: Child Soldiers
Approximately 300,000 children are serving as soldiers, servants or sex slaves in armies waging war across the world, according to this UNICEF factsheet. This U.N. organization works to reintegrate former child soldiers into normal society at the end of conflicts.

"Disarming Child Soldiers"
At the height of Liberia's civil war, as many as 100,000 children had been forcibly recruited into the armies of the warring factions. This report, posted on the Web by The NewsHour in October 2003, includes background information about child soldiers worldwide.

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West Africa

West Africa Project
It is no coincidence that all three of Liberia's immediate neighbors, Sierra Leone, Ivory Coast and Guinea, have seen an escalation of violence since the start of the Liberian civil war in 1989. On this Web site, the International Crisis Group highlights the connections between the four countries.

Human Rights Watch
In conducting interviews with former combatants in postwar Liberia, Human Rights Watch learned that ex-fighters from Liberia are being recruited for the region's other conflicts.

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Media Resources

This pan-African news clearinghouse contains news stories pulled from Liberian newspapers and human rights organization news services.

The Integrated Regional Information Networks (IRIN) Web site, maintained by the U.N. Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs, covers events as they develop in sub-Saharan Africa and Central Asia. The site updates frequently, providing current news on Liberia and its neighbors.

The Perspective
The Web site for this monthly news and analysis magazine focusing on Liberian issues also includes articles from the Monrovia Forum newspaper and links to documents and other news sites.

Liberian Forum
This Web site, maintained by an expatriate in Canada, is a bulletin board for Liberian news, commentary and culture. It contains links to other Liberia-related sites as well as updated headlines and links to news from Liberia.

The Analyst
The Analyst is a daily newspaper published in Monrovia. It had been shut down during the repressive Taylor regime.

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