Al-Shabab is a militant group fighting for the creation of a fundamentalist Islamic state in Somalia. An African Union military campaign in recent years has weakened the group, yet it remains a threat in a politically volatile, war-torn state. Al-Shabab's activities have mainly focused on targets within Somalia, but it has also carried-out deadly strikes in the region. This interactive timeline looks at the recent history of Al-Shabab from 2004 to present.
Al-Shabab's deadly Westgate Mall siege in Nairobi is unlikely to alter Kenya's foreign policy, but the incident could encourage tighter U.S.-Kenya relations and reinforce Washington's engagement with the broader region, says CFR's Jendayi Frazer.
"Kenya ranks among the top U.S. foreign aid recipients in the world, receiving significant development, humanitarian, and security assistance in recent years. The country, which is a top recipient of police and military counterterrorism assistance on the continent, hosts the largest U.S. diplomatic mission in Africa. Nairobi is home to one of four major United Nations offices worldwide."
In October 2011, the U.S. Department of Justice filed a motion to seize a palatial cliff-top home in Malibu, California. The 16-acre property towers over its neighbors, with a palm-lined driveway leading to a plaster-and-tile mansion.
It would be easy to label the Democratic Republic of the Congo an irredeemable mess. For almost two decades, the country has been roiled by a series of wars involving neighboring countries and dozens of Congolese militias.
"A return to protracted political crisis, and possibly extensive violence, is likely, as Zimbabwe holds inadequately prepared presidential, parliamentary and local elections on 31 July. Conditions for a free and fair vote do not exist. Confidence in the process and institutions is low. The voters roll is a shambles, security forces unreformed and the media grossly imbalanced. The electoral commission is under-funded and lacked time to prepare. Concerns about rigging are pervasive, strongly disputed results highly likely."
The UN Security Council's Monitoring Group on Somalia and Eritrea submitted this report on July 12, 2013, pursuant to resolutions 751 (1992) and 1907 (2009) concerning Somalia and Eritrea and in accordance with paragraph 13 (m) of Security Council resolution 2060 (2012). These resolutions address how the UN Security Council will monitor peace and security efforts in the region and report on violations such as trading arms and charcoal or funding terrorist organizations.
On July 1, 2013, President Barack Obama announced Trade Africa, an initiative to promote trade partnerships between African countries and between the United States, African countries, and other global markets.
The Obama administration relies on drones for one simple reason: they work. Drone strikes have devastated al Qaeda at little financial cost, at no risk to U.S. forces, and with fewer civilian casualties than many alternative methods would have caused.
Economic Community of Central African States (ECCAS), Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS), and the Gulf of Guinea Commission (GGC) created a code of conduct, modeled after the Djibouti Code of Conduct, to increase regional cooperation in combatting piracy. The code of conduct was signed on June 25, 2013, after a conference on maritime safety and security in Yaounde, Cameroon and is also known as the Yaounde Declaration.
President Obama's weeklong visit to three African countries should reinforce trade and political ties and address some sentiments that the continent has been overlooked by the White House, writes CFR's John Campbell.
Asked by Michael Varacalli, from New York University
Robert Mugabe, age eighty-nine and in failing health, has ruled Zimbabwe since 1980. Zimbabwe faces numerous potential scenarios once he dies or, highly unlikely, if he is defeated in the upcoming summer elections.
Education is a linchpin of inclusive economic development, but poor countries in Africa and elsewhere too often fail poor students—worsening inequity and exclusion today, and undermining economic opportunities for future generations.
The Council on Foreign Relations' David Rockefeller Studies Program—CFR's "think tank"—is home to more than seventy full-time, adjunct, and visiting scholars and practitioners (called "fellows"). Their expertise covers the world's major regions as well as the critical issues shaping today's global agenda. Download the printable CFR Experts Guide.
Campbell evaluates the implications of the Boko Haram insurgency and recommends that the United States support Nigerian efforts to address the drivers of Boko Haram, such as poverty and corruption, and to foster stronger ties with Nigerian civil society.
Koblentz argues that the United States should work with other nuclear-armed states to manage threats to nuclear stability in the near term and establish processes for multilateral arms control efforts over the longer term.
The authors argue that it is essential to begin working now to expand and establish rules and norms governing armed drones, thereby creating standards of behavior that other countries will be more likely to follow.
Learn more about CFR’s mission and its work over the past year in the 2014 Annual Report. The Annual Report spotlights new initiatives, high-profile events, and authoritative scholarship from CFR experts, and includes a message from CFR President Richard N. Haass. Read and download »