The maintenance of peace and security in Africa remains a critical challenge. In many parts of the continent, states and societies are grappling with extraordinary threats that undermine security at the levels of the state and the individual. Key among these are low intensity conflicts, which appear to be replacing outright civil wars as the most prevalent form of armed violence in Africa. These conflicts and the non-permissive environments they create place under immense stress the evolving continental security architecture designed to respond to the dynamics of state action. While states in parts of Africa remain an arena of conflict, others feature as the very object over which conflicts are being fought, raising fundamental questions about the basic nature of the African state.