Showing posts with label Africa. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Africa. Show all posts

22 June 2018

There’s Been a Global Increase in Armed Groups. Can They Be Restrained?

By Kenneth R. Rosen

Raiding among cattle-herding tribes is a traditional part of life in South Sudan, but in the past five years, the skirmishes have become more violent and unrestrained. Small armed bands that traditionally guarded their communities’ livestock have been drawn into bitter proxy battles between the country’s two largest tribes: the Dinka, who hold power in Juba, the national capital, and the Nuer. No longer limited to raiding each other’s villages and herds, these bands of well-armed tribal fighters have carried out massacres and atrocities, with women and children increasingly among the victims. The violence has worsened in both scale and frequency since 2013, according to South Sudanese who have witnessed the ravages of a civil war that started just two years after their country gained independence from Sudan.

27 May 2018

Russia Is Back In Africa — and Making Some Very Odd Deals

BY MARCEL PLICHTA

After largely withdrawing from Africa in the wake of the Soviet collapse, Russia is starting to return to the continent in surprising ways. Since December, Moscow has struck major deals in the Central African Republic (CAR) with the government and rebel leaders, raising questions about its intentions in the troubled African nation. In December, Russia asked the U.N. Security Council to let it supply weapons to CAR’s new EU-trained army. After some objections by France, Russia secured an exception to the U.N.arms embargo, and began shipping weapons in January. By year’s end, Russia intends to deliver 5,200 rifles, a variety of other light weapons, and some 170 civilian instructors.

17 May 2018

Boko Haram Beyond the Headlines: Analyses of Africa’s Enduring Insurgency


In a conflict that has no easy answers and no solutions in sight, Boko Haram is already and will remain one of Africa’s enduring insurgencies. In order to better understand Boko Haram now and in the future, this report, edited by Jacob Zenn, challenges some key misconceptions about the insurgency and provides new analyses and insights based on many exclusive primary source materials and datasets. To provide these unique insights, several authors with on-the-ground experience contribute to six areas that are increasingly important but under-researched about Boko Haram and Islamic State in West Africa:

8 May 2018

This Land Is Our Land

BY LUNGISILE NTSEBEZA 
For almost 24 years after the end of apartheid, South Africa’s ruling African National Congress (ANC) supported a land reform program that was based on a willing-seller, willing-buyer policy. The policy required the consent of both the seller and buyer for the purchase of the land, with the consequence that sellers, almost exclusively white, would determine which land they wanted to sell. After decades of ignoring criticism of that policy, the ANC’s leadership has changed tack, at least rhetorically. It is now advocating a radical policy of land expropriation without compensation.

1 May 2018

A Shadowy War’s Newest Front: A Drone Base Rising From Saharan Dust

by ERIC SCHMITT

Rising from a barren stretch of African scrubland, a half-finished drone base represents the newest front line in America’s global shadow war. At its center, hundreds of Air Force personnel are feverishly working to complete a $110 million airfield that, when finished in the coming months, will be used to stalk or strike extremists deep into West and North Africa, a region where most Americans have no idea the country is fighting. Near the nascent runway, Army Green Berets are training Nigerien forces to carry out counterterrorism raids or fend off an enemy ambush — like the one that killed four American soldiers near the Mali border last fall. Taken together, these parallel missions reflect a largely undeclared American military buildup outside the battlefields of Iraq and Afghanistan, often with murky authorities and little public attention, unfolding in remote places like Yemen, Somalia and, increasingly, West Africa.

27 April 2018

New USAF African Drone Base Being Constructed Outside Agadez in Niger

Eric Schmitt

Rising from a barren stretch of African scrubland, a half-finished drone base represents the newest front line in America’s global shadow war. At its center, hundreds of Air Force personnel are feverishly working to complete a $110 million airfield that, when finished in the coming months, will be used to stalk or strike extremists deep into West and North Africa, a region where most Americans have no idea the country is fighting. Near the nascent runway, Army Green Berets are training Nigerien forces to carry out counterterrorism raids or fend off an enemy ambush — like the one that killed four American soldiers near the Mali border last fall.

23 April 2018

AFRICALosing The Battle: How China is Outperforming the USA in Sub-Saharan Africa

By Henry Hama

Under what conditions could the United States regain its position of strategic dominance in sub-Saharan Africa (SSA) despite increasingly reduced economic support programs as well as a limited-to-no Foreign Military Financing (FMF) grants? With the expansion of China’s economic and military cooperation activities across SSA in the last decade, the United States is increasingly becoming unpopular to much of the region. It is imperative to comprehend that China did not emerge accidentally as a global economic contender. When the United States was engaged in the “Global War Against Terror (GWAT),” following the September 11, 2001 (9/11) terrorist attacks, much of its focus was in Southwest Asia and the Middle East. 

21 April 2018

U.S. politicians get China in Africa all wrong


By Deborah Bräutigam 

Loans from China helped Uganda build a speedy new road to its main airport. But critics say the country is now too deep in debt to Beijing. Deborah Bräutigam is the Bernard L. Schwartz Professor of International Political Economy and director of the China Africa Research Initiative at Johns Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies. Her latest book is Will Africa Feed China? In Washington, Republicans and Democrats generally look at China as a new imperial power in Africa: bad news for Africans. But is this really the case? Just before his visit to Africa last month, former secretary of state Rex Tillerson accused China of using “predatory loan practices,” undermining growth and creating “few if any jobs” on the continent. In Ethiopia, Tillerson charged the Chinese with providing “opaque” project loans that boost debt without providing significant training. As secretary of state, Hillary Clinton sang the same tune, warning Africans to beware of this “new colonialism.” China, we are often told, is bringing in all its own workers or “grabbing” African land to grow food to send back to feed China. 

20 April 2018

Can China Realize Africa’s Dream of an East-West Transport Link?

By: Cobus van Staden

African development hinges on a maddening paradox: its greatest asset—the sheer size and diversity of its landscape—is also the greatest barrier to its development. Landlocked countries are cut off from ports, and the difficulty of moving goods from country to country weighs down intra-continental trade (only 15% of African trade is within Africa. (African Development Bank, 2017) African consumers bear the brunt of these difficulties. [1]. Costs are driven up by a host of factors: tariffs, border delays, corruption. But the biggest challenge is that no streamlined transport route exists between West and East Africa – only a decaying and underdeveloped road and rail system which pushes up costs and drags down efficiency.

7 April 2018

CHINA SAYS U.S. WANTS WORLD FOR ITSELF AND THAT'S WHY IT CAN'T ACCEPT BEIJING'S ROLE IN AFRICA

BY TOM O'CONNOR

China has defended its expanding role in Africa after lawmakers in Washington announced they would open an investigation into Beijing's push for economic and military influence in a number of countries there. House Intelligence Committee Chairman Devin Nunes, a GOP representative from California, said on Fox News's Sunday Morning Futures with Maria Bartiromo that China was "a big problem" and that he and fellow Republican lawmakers were "running an investigation on many aspects of China," including allegations of intellectual property theft, currency manipulation and its "military footprint" in Africa. The following day, the Chinese Foreign Ministry denied charges of malpractice and called for cooperation rather than competition with the U.S.

6 April 2018

The Pentagon’s Secret, Permanent Wars


Two months after the lethal ambush in Niger that killed four American troops in October, U.S. forces were involved in another skirmish in the central African nation with militants linked to the Islamic State. If this story sounds unfamiliar, that’s because it was first reported last week, fully three months after the battle. Pressed for an explanation of the delay at a Defense Department briefing Thursday, chief Pentagon spokesperson Dana White offered a stunning justification: U.S. “troops are often in harm’s way, and there are tactical things that happen that we don’t put out a press release about,” she said. “We also don’t want to give a report card to our adversaries. They learn a great deal from information that we put out.”

5 April 2018

NIGERIA'S TROUBLING COUNTERINSURGENCY STRATEGY AGAINST BOKO HARAM

by Vanda Felbab

The kidnapping of 110 schoolgirls from Dapchi last month is the latest event to cast doubt on the Nigerian government’s claims that Boko Haram has been technically defeated. Unfortunately, the attack should have come as no surprise. Since 2015, the jihadist group has lost significant territorial control and no longer holds major cities. But as I saw during my fieldwork in Nigeria in January, the jihadist threat is far from gone, and counterinsurgency policies continue to be troubled and troubling.

20 March 2018

Africa, Latest Theater in America’s Endless War

Joe Penney 

Last October, four American soldiers, four Nigerien soldiers, and a Nigerien translator were killed in combat on Niger’s border with Mali while looking for the jihadi militant Doundoun Cheffou. For the most part, the fallout concentrated on President Trump’s mangled call with the widow of Sergeant La David Johnson. But the incident also called attention to a dangerous development at multiple levels of US politics. From a small village in rural Niger all the way to the White House, the US military has increasing influence over American foreign policy in Africa. 

26 February 2018

Understanding the BRI in Africa and the Middle East

By Isaac Kfir

This Strategic Insight aims to expand on Paul Dibb and Richard Brabin-Smith’s powerful, provocative paper, Australia’s management of strategic risk in the new era. Dibb and Brabin-Smith, two of Australia’s leading strategic thinkers, examined China’s growing assertiveness in our region. Here, I look beyond our region and beyond China’s One Belt, One Road Initiative (BRI) to highlight how China is expanding its influence in Africa and the Middle East. I examine some selected cases, such as Zimbabwe, Israel, Turkey and Iran. I also try to situate the BRI in President Xi Jinping’s grand strategy.

Isaac Kfir joined ASPI in August 2017 as the Director of the National Security program and Head of the Counter-terrorism Policy Centre. .PDF ( 0.66 MB )

22 February 2018

Jammu terror attack: Does India have a game plan to counter Pakistan's misadventures?

Raj Chengappa 

Pakistan is like the bounceback toys sold in subcontinental markets. Hit them hard enough and they appear to topple, only to rebound and, if you are not watchful, whack you. As he nears the end of his fourth year as prime minister, Narendra Modi must be both exasperated and frustrated with the way his efforts to deal with Pakistan have turned out. Whatever he has thrown at Pakistan to bring it around, it never seems to learn, and keeps coming back for more punishment.

19 February 2018

Jacob Zuma’s last stand South Africa’s ruling party v the president


NO ONE expected Jacob Zuma to go gracefully. But as South Africa’s ever-defiant president drags out his final days in office, even his allies in the ruling party have had enough. On February 13th the African National Congress (ANC) said that its national executive committee had “recalled” Mr Zuma as president “with urgency” (under the party’s rules, though not the country’s constitution, all government officials serve at the ANC’s pleasure). In response, Mr Zuma said he would leave office—in three to six months. He had already swatted away an appeal from the six most senior leaders in the party to resign a week earlier. This is in character: shameless and stubborn, he has, over the years, appeared unfazed by damning court decisions against him as well as mass demonstrations demanding that he go. A popular cartoon doing the rounds in South Africa shows a huge crowd of people outside his office. A party colleague says: “It’s the people. They’ve come to say goodbye.” An insouciant Zuma replies: “Where are they going?”

18 February 2018

Why South Africa matters to the world

Gideon Rachman

During the 1980s and 1990s, the struggle against apartheid made headlines all over the world. Nelson Mandela’s dignity, first as a prisoner and then as president, gave him the international status of a Gandhi. Events in post-apartheid, post-Mandela South Africa, were always likely to seem relatively humdrum.

16 February 2018

South Africa Moves Beyond Zuma


The new president of South Africa's ruling party, Cyril Ramaphosa, is set on ousting South African President Jacob Zuma.

Zuma's eventual removal will benefit the African National Congress in upcoming 2019 general elections, as it will strip the opposition of the ability to use the president's many corruption scandals as political fodder.

Ramaphosa wants to steer the party away from its recent history of corruption and mismanagement, but pulling it out of its long-term decline will be a challenge.

12 February 2018

How Djibouti Became China's Gateway To Africa

By Dietmar Pieper

Djibouti, one of Africa's smallest countries, has become China's "strategic partner." The Chinese have built a military base and a port, and is currently constructing a free trade zone, fast establishing it as Beijing's gateway to the continent.

A police car appears in a cloud of red dust on the dirt road between the boulders. A young man in uniform opens the window and starts grousing in French. The Chinese men he is rebuking don't understand any of it, but slowly realize where the anger is coming from. They had forgotten to register with the sentry guarding the entrance to the large construction site above the coast.

6 February 2018

THE COMING WARS The strait at the center of the world

Link


The waters between Djibouti and Yemen are one of the few places where refugees flow both ways.
By BRUNO MAÇÃES , 1/29/18,

BAB EL-MANDEB STRAIT, Djibouti — They call it the gate of grief.
Bab-el-Mandeb was named — according to an old legend — after those who drowned when the strait cracked opened as an earthquake tore apart the continents of Africa and Asia. All non-African people alive today are thought to derive from the small group — some scientists say no more than 200 intrepid souls — who crossed from Africa here, before spreading to the four corners of the world. The first migrants, the original sparkle.
I ask the boat’s pilot to stop right on the line traced between the mountainous Ras Siyyan peninsula in Djibouti and Perim island in Yemen. On the left, the Indian Ocean. On the right, the Red Sea. Time stands still, not a living creature nor the slightest noise to disturb the precious sense of being at the exact point where humanity left Africa to conquer the globe.

The Bab-el-Mandeb you read about is made up of lines and dots on a nautical chart: a strategic chokepoint through which passes almost all of the maritime trade between Europe and Asia: every year, about $700 billion in goods, some 25,000 ships, nearly 2 billion barrels of oil. Then there is an underground world, a secret current underneath, populated by pirates and rebels, fishermen, migrants, wild-hearted divers, sailors and everything in between.