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Madagascar - Doctrine

Madagascar faces no external threat. During the 1980s, however, Madagascar experienced periods of tension with South Africa. Although it had the capabilities to launch an air or amphibious attack, South Africa never threatened Madagascar, largely because it feared international condemnation. Relations between the two countries gradually improved after Frederik Willem de Klerk became South Africa's president in 1989.

Since independence, several internal threats against the Malagasy government have emerged. This domestic instability reflects the growing restiveness of opposition elements and popular frustration with the government's inability to resolve the political, economic, and social problems confronting the island. Also, the Malagasy armed forces repeatedly have acted against the government for failing to preserve law and order.

The first serious challenge to the government occurred on April 1-2, 1971, when more than 1,000 armed members of the left-wing National Movement for the Independence of Madagascar (Mouvement National pour l'lndependance de Madagascar Monima) attacked five military posts in Tulear Province. Government forces quickly restored order and imprisoned Monima's leader, MonjaJaona. According to a government communique, Monima casualties included forty-five killed, nine wounded, and 847 held for questioning; security forces suffered one killed and eleven wounded. According to Jaona, the revolt was directed against the local administration, which had failed to provide disaster relief to the province after it had experienced a drought, followed by floods caused by cyclones. Also at issue were government pressures for tax collection at a time when local cattle herds were being ravaged by disease.

The next major internal threat surfaced in the mid-1980s, when about 6,000 members of various Chinese martial arts Kung-Fu associations battled the Tanora Tonga Saina (TTS), which acted as Ratsiraka's private presidential security force. Problems started in September 1984, when Ratsiraka banned the practice of martial arts. After several clashes between Kung- Fu adherents and the TTS, a larger confrontation occurred on December 4, 1984, when Kung-Fu groups attacked TTS headquarters in Behorika and killed more than 100 TTS members. Kung-Fu demonstrations continued for the next few years. Finally, on July 31, 1986, army units supported by twelve armored cars and helicopters demolished Kung-Fu headquarters in Antananarivo, and killed the movement's leader and about 200 of his followers.

Cycles of escalating political unrest and increased governmental repression led to at least three failed coup attempts in 1989, 1990, and 1992. Moreover, general strike demonstrations organized by a prodemocracy opposition coalition called Comite des Forces Vives (Vital Forces Committee, known as Forces Vives) occurred in Antananarivo and several other Malagasy towns. Following the near paralysis of the economy and demonstrations at the presidential palace during which government forces opened fire on civilians, opposition leaders announced the formation of a transitional government of national unity. Eventually, presidential elections, held between November 1992 and February 1993, resulted in a victory for Forces Vives leader Albert Zafy over Ratsiraka.

The new International order after the end of the Cold War, the processes of liberalization and democratization occurred in many developing countries, reducing the world into a 'global village' by the tremendous development of communications accelerated the emergence and redefinition of tasks and areas of action of the Armed Forces. For better efficiency and a healthier management, both from the command point of view than that of the administration, and given the diversity of the missions inherent to multiple threats and the national territory, it proved necessary subdivide and specialize Malagasy Armed Forces, while maintaining the cohesion of the whole and the military elements.

Thus in 1991, changing the socio - political environment in the country, the Ministry of Defense took the name "Ministry of Armed Forces", headed by Brigadier General Jean RAVELOMITSANGA. The concept of defense had therefore a notable evolution. Previously, if the external threats were a primary concern, today's efforts are mainly to restore internal security, participate in the economic development, protection of the environment, and civil protection.

Globalization has become unavoidable and the intensification of international cooperation is one of the possible ways to reduce the country's vulnerability to external shocks. This cooperation is manifested by:

  • holding multinational maneuvers included in the RECAMP (African capacity building of Peacekeeping), and which regularly participate Malagasy Armed Forces;
  • the realization of exchanges of experiences and expertise between the Malagasy army and foreign armies;
  • military technical assistance and the provision of substantial material assistance from friendly countries.
The concept of defense is not focused on purely military activities. The threat is particularly felt that the globalization of trade makes borders increasingly fluids; Motorways of the communication question the very notion of borders which puts in turn the notion of territory. The nature of potential enemies also changed: aggression is no longer the State but organized networks of drug traffickers, mafias. For the country, the first threat is primarily caused by poverty with risk of social implosion and its consequences, such destabilize republican institutions. Second, we must emphasize the importance of insecurity, always generated by widespread poverty. It hinders development efforts because there can be no economic takeoff, much less development, below a safe threshold.

The Armed Forces are a set of resources: they are men, skills, resources can be mobilized in all circumstances. The White Paper of Defense, Annual Report, published on the occasion of the 40th anniversary celebration retraces the issues faced by the Ministry of the Armed Forces.





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