• Perspective: Into Africa

    Russia is preparing to launch its first Russia-Africa Summit in Sochi on Oct. 24. The Russia-Africa Summit is the latest in a series of maneuvers by the Kremlin to present an image of a resurgent Russia in Africa. Judd Devermont writes that Russia’s return, even while at times ham-fisted and amateurish, does pose a threat to U.S. interests. The United States should resist the temptation to elevate Russia’s standing in Africa: It should focus on countering Moscow’s expansion and closing down its malign activities in Africa, instead of wasting time and energy framing Russia’s return as part of ‘great power competition.’”

  • Perspective: Conspiracy Theory

    Despite how predictable (and tiresome) it has become, the Maduro government’s repetitive use of elaborate plots and attributing Machiavelian-styled traits to its adversaries doesn’t come out of pure laziness; conspiracy theories have not just found their way into our political discussion for quite some time now, they’ve won acceptance.

  • Hemispheric security

    A UN report published Thursday has detailed the extrajudicial executions of thousands of young men by the special forces of the government of Nicolas Maduro in Venezuela. The report offers evidence that that the Venezuelan government’s death squads are carrying out Maduro’s broad strategy for neutralizing the opposition to his regime and eliminating political opponents.

  • Terrorism

    The United States last week removed Eritrea from a list of countries uncooperative in the fight against terrorism. Until Wednesday, Eritrea was the only African country on the list, and it found itself alongside such pariah nations as Syria, North Korea and Iran.

  • Perspective

    Turkey features regularly in new debates about foreign influence in the Horn of Africa region, as does speculation about its motives. While Ankara fashions itself a benevolent power driven by an “enterprising and humanitarian” foreign policy, Gulf rivals say President Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s moves in the Horn reflect a dangerous quest for a “neo-Ottoman” revival. Does Ankara have grand designs on the region, or have its ambitions been overstated? Zach Vertin writes in Lawfare that in confronting this question, three vantage points are helpful: a close look at its recent activity in Horn states, a medium-range focus on regional competition with Gulf rivals, and a wide-angle assessment of Turkish foreign policy making at a time of extraordinary domestic change.

  • African security

    The United States and its allies are not winning the counterterrorism war for the Sahel, the head of U.S. special operations forces in Africa said. The U.N. said last week that more than 100,000 people in Burkino Faso have been displaced by violence, and the country’s education minister has said more than 150,000 children are not going to school because of the jihadist threat.

  • African security

    The United States has sought to combat security threats in Africa – whether terrorism or, in a previous era, communism – principally by providing security sector assistance (SSA) to partner governments on the continent. Two new studies suggest that U.S.-provided SSA in Africa has largely failed to achieve its goals.

  • African security

    Mozambique’s Cabo Delgado province is being held to ransom by an Islamist guerrilla movement. After months of skirmishes between police and members of the Al Sunnah wa Jama’ah, the region has now erupted into full violence. How did it reach this point? Several factors – social, economic and political – have allowed an Islamist insurgency to develop in the north of Mozambique. Most are local issues rather than the outcome of an international, cross-border conspiracy.

  • African security

    The attack on the U.S. troops in Niger last October, which left four American troops dead and two wounded, was a surprise to the American public because the presence of the U.S. forces in Africa was mostly off the media. The Niger operation is one of the several U.S. military missions ongoing in about twenty African countries, mostly in the northern half of the continent. Most of these missions have one goal: “rolling back Islamist extremism.”

  • North Korea’s nukes

    Just days after North Korea announced it was suspending its testing program, scientists revealed that the country’s underground nuclear test site had partially collapsed. The collapse may have played a role in North Korea’s change in policy. If correct, and with the hindsight of this research, we might have speculated that the North Koreans would want to make such an offer of peace. This shows how scientific analysis normally reserved for studying natural earthquakes can be a powerful tool in deciphering political decisions and predicting future policy across the globe.

  • African security

    After the Arab Spring, North African countries experienced growing instability, and jihadist groups capitalized on both social unrest and local conflicts. As these groups strengthened, jihadists expanded their operations into the Sahel, and were able to propagate their transnational ideology to new audiences. The threat that jihadist groups in Africa pose to Western interests has grown over the past decade, as groups operating in North Africa, the Sahel, West Africa, and the Horn of Africa have honed their capabilities. Different terrorist organizations in these areas launched 358 attacks against Western targets and interests between January 2012 and October 2017.

  • The Africa watch

    · The female Quran experts fighting radical Islam in Morocco

    · Egypt hits Sinai targets, killing 16 and arresting dozens

    · African migration to Europe is not a crisis. It’s an opportunity.

    · The G5 Sahel Joint Force gains traction

    · Observers call for deeper diplomatic engagement in the Sahel

    · Tunisia rejects proposal for NATO presence: Official

    · “Tunisia is finished”: Smugglers profit as downturn drives European exodus

    · Funding Al-Shabaab: How aid money ends up in terror group’s hands

    · U.S. and Egypt pledge allegiance in IS fight raging in Sinai

    · Cameroon imposes curfew in restive English-speaking regions

    · Zimbabwe won’t return land to white farmers: Mnangagwa

    · How Djibouti became China’s gateway to Africa

    · Qaddafi ties halt return to Libya ghost town in peace setback

    · Sudan finalizes joint military program with Russia

  • African security

    Turkey’s engagement with Somalia is striking for its brevity and ostensible success. Turkey has been involved in Somalia since just 2011, yet Ankara can point to a string of reported accomplishments and an arguably outsized presence in an often violent country regularly described as a failed state. Turkey’s presence in Somalia certainly embodies one of the most interesting regional geopolitical developments in the past decade. It also represents one of the most misunderstood and confusing. Why did Turkey choose Somalia? And, after its initial humanitarian intervention in 2011, what internal and external forces have shaped and expanded that involvement? Furthermore, what explains Turkey’s reported triumphs? Turkey’s actions have arguably improved the situation in Somalia over the past six years. This is because Ankara has actually attempted to assuage rather than solve Somalia’s long-standing problems outright. Investment is largely driven by profits and assistance is targeted, coordinated and based on needs. These interventions rarely come with the types of strings attached that characterize other efforts seeking to restructure Somalia. This has been welcomed by many Somalis for whom requirements for political reform or the creation of accountability mechanisms ring hollow.

  • Epidemics

    Viruses have been moving between organisms for millions of years. And not always in a way that causes harm: Animals and humans alike host millions of different microorganisms, many of which are beneficial. For those that do harm humans, the first step is to come in contact with us. And that’s becoming more and more likely as we invade pristine forests in search of food, building materials, space for commercial developments or land upon which we can create new grassland for our livestock — or catch critters for bushmeat, pets or the “wildlife selfie” trade. Two ambitious projects aim to understand when and how the next human disease will emerge from wildlife, and what we can do to minimize harm when it does.

  • Climate change & migration

    New research predicts that migrants applying for asylum in the European Union will nearly triple over the average of the last fifteen years by 2100 if carbon emissions continue on their current path. The study suggests that cutting emissions could partially stem the tide, but even under an optimistic scenario, Europe could see asylum applications rise by at least a quarter.

  • African security

    Boko Haram militants have killed more than 20,000 people and displaced more than two million others in north east Nigeria since 2009. The militants left government and its security forces looking powerless and people in the region helpless. No place was safe. Rather than flee, join the insurgents, or risk being killed, some chose a fourth option – self- defense. People began to organize into emergency community vanguards to defend themselves. The involvement of vigilantes in counter-insurgency operations in Nigeria has been a subject of contentious debate. It’s apparent that they have contributed to improving security for some communities. But there are also concerns that in the long run they could pose a threat given their heavy-handed approach. Examples include extra-judicial killings, violation of human rights, extortion and criminal impunity.

  • African security

    According to U.S. officials and U.N.-based diplomats, the Trump administration is considering vetoing a French Security Council resolution authorizing the 5,000-man African counterterrorism force, the G-5, to operate in the Sahel. In principle, the United States, supported by the United Kingdom, backs the French - African counterterrorism commitment but does not see the need for the U.N. to authorize it. France, to fill the security vacuum created by the fall of Muammar al-Qaddafi’s government in 2011, has led international counterterrorism efforts in the Sahel, and now wants countries in the region to make more of a contribution to these efforts.

  • Al-Shabaab attack in Puntland region kills at least 70 soldiers| Famine used as a weapon of war in South Sudan | EU commits $50 million to combat terrorism in West Africa | Fleet anti-terrorism security team completes first exercise in Africa | France urges UN backing of West Africa force to tackle terrorism, trafficking | Netanyhu proposes Africa-Israel coalition against terrorism | Morocco king skips W. Africa summit after Israel attends | Trump targets Africa: Inside America’s quiet war against terror | Moroccan government seeks calm after northern protests | French soldiers kill 20 jihadis in Mali near Burkina Faso | Zambia to fast-track cyber security bills | FAO worries about impact of disasters on food security | Ex-wife of Liberia’s former leader appears on torture charge

  • Counterterrorism

    The countries of West Africa’s Sahel region have requested $56 million from the EU to help set up a multi-national force to take on Islamist militant groups across the vast, arid region. The sparsely populated region has attracted a growing number of jihadist groups, some affiliated with al Qaeda and Islamic State. The G5 Sahel countries — Chad, Niger, Burkina Faso, Mali, and Mauritania — have proposed the creation of a capable and mobile regional task force, the mission of which would be to tackle the cross-border Islamist threat.

  • Security challenges

    Liberia’s Foreign Affairs Minister and Chairperson of the Council of Ministers of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS), Marjon Kamara, applauded the positive results the regional organization achieved in recent years with regard to the consolidation of peace and security in West Africa. “Currently, our organization enjoys great recognition for both the decisive and key positions of responsibility assumed by ECOWAS leaders, and equally for the strategic use of military resources in the interest of peace, stability and security of its citizens,” noted Kamara.