Liberia is a country located in West Africa. With a population of over 4 million people, it is the nineteenth most populous country in the region. Liberia is a presidential republic and its military consists of two branches: the Armed Forces of Liberia (AFL) and National Police Force (NPF). The AFL are responsible for defending the country’s borders and sovereignty, as well as providing security to its citizens. In terms of defense spending, Liberia spends approximately $50 million annually on its military making it one of the highest defense spending nations in West Africa. The country also participates in several United Nations (UN) peacekeeping missions such as those in Cote d’Ivoire and Mali. Liberia is also a member of both Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) and Mano River Union (MRU), and has close ties with other ECOWAS members such as Guinea, Sierra Leone and Nigeria. See naturegnosis to learn more about the country of Liberia.
The defense of Liberia (2008) amounts to 2,400 men organized in three battalions. The defense equipment was largely destroyed during the civil war. In 1995, a peace agreement was signed. Compare Liberia (State and Politics). To see related acronyms about this country, please check ABBREVIATIONFINDER where you can see that LBR stands for Liberia.
|Land area||111,369 km²|
|Population density (per km²）||45.6|
|Income per capita||1,300 USD|
|ISO 3166 code||LR|
|Time zone UTC||0|
|Geographic coordinates||6 30 N, 9 30 W.|
Defense costs increased in 1985-96 from 2.4% to 3.3% of GDP (data from recent years are not available). There are three major opposition armed factions in Liberia. Two of them oppose President Charles Taylor’s resignation, either LURD (Liberians United for Reconciliation and Democracy) with 3,000–8,000 men, and MODEL (Movement for Democracy In Liberia) with 1,000–5,000 men (though in liquidation). An armed faction is for Taylor, GOL with 15,000 men.
The Economic Cooperation Organization of the West African States ECOWAS initiated a peacekeeping operation comprising about 12,000 men from ten nations, including 9,000 men from Nigeria. This has now been replaced by a UN force (UNMIL) with observers from 48 nations (including Sweden). Bangladesh, Ethiopia, Ghana, China, Mongolia, Namibia, Nigeria, Pakistan and Senegal.
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In the late seventies internal malaise due to growing economic difficulties forced President WR Tolbert to give political space to the opposition of the Progressive People’s Party (PPP). Following a crackdown on the PPP leadership, which had called for a national strike, a group led by 17 Army NCOs, led by Sergeant Major SK Doe, attacked the presidential palace on April 12, 1980, killing Tolbert and bringing down the government. Doe suspended the constitution, banned parties and assumed power as chairman of a makeshift People’s Redemption Council (PRC), formed by his 17 comrades and 10 other soldiers, co-opted to expand the ethnic base of the regime (belonging to the Krahn ethnic group, Doe is the first non-free-American head of state). A dozen members of the old regime were executed and public opinion welcomed the coup against an unpopular government and the elimination of its leaders. Abroad, however, the brutality of the sentences aroused indignation and diplomatic countermeasures (Nigeria refused entry to the Liberian delegation at the top of the Organization of African Unity), which induced Doe to suspend the purges. Ephemeral sympathies for Libya and the USSR, connected to the vague populism that animated the new regime, soon cooled, while the United States recognized the new government and increased aid tenfold. In 1983 the regime resumed diplomatic relations with Israel. The evident pro-Western swerve provoked profound dissension in the circles that had supported the coup d’état of 1980, and factional struggles within the PRC decimated its original composition, creating nuclei of exiles. The return to civilian government took place starting in 1984. The PRC was replaced by an interim National Assembly. A new constitution followed the lines of the one in force in the country since 1847, thus testifying the substantial continuity with the previous system, so much so that various exponents of the old elites (including the Tubman family) have returned to the top of the country.
In the presidential elections of October 1985, Doe won with 50% of the votes and promoted the formation of a civil government, which, however, did not obtain the hoped-for recognition. In 1987 Doe launched a campaign against corruption which proved to be completely ineffective and indeed was accompanied by a repressive squeeze against all types of opposition. In December 1989 an armed insurrection broke out in the north-east of the country by the National Patriotic Front of the Liberia (NPFL), led by Ch. Taylor. In the first half of 1990 the Front acquired control of a large area of the country until it conquered a part of the capital in July. He entered with his troops in Monrovia Taylor proclaimed himself President of a provisional government, immediately challenged by a faction of the same Front and by the army (ALF) loyal to Doe. Economic Community of West Africa States), after a failed attempt at mediation, sent, in agreement with the two rival groups of the Front, his troops (ECOMONG, ECOWAS Monitoring Group), which occupied the port of Monrovia. In the same month, the main opposition parties in exile elected A. Sawyer as president of a provisional government of national unity, the fragility of which was immediately evident. The bloody civil war continued in a succession of ceasefires and agreements, which were punctually disregarded. The situation was further complicated by the intervention of troops from Sierra Leone in support of the opponents of the Front, which still remained the strongest group. In the first months of 1993 the UN and the Organization for African Unity, recognizing the lack of neutrality of ECOMONG, decided on their greater commitment in Liberia.