France says it will withdraw from Mali once an African peacekeeping force is in place. To keep Islamists at bay, the United States is considering increasing its military presence in the region. A better approach is to focus on fixing the governance issues that fuel radicalism to begin with, says John Campbell.
"Jihadists were already finding it hard to operate in North Africa before the Arab Spring of 2011. Since then their problems have become almost insurmountable: they thrive only in countries where Islamists are in prison, not where they are in the ascendant or contesting elections. As for Europe, the last attacks instigated by al-Qaida date back to Madrid in 2004 and London in 2005. Jihadism looks less like a rising phenomenon in the north of Mali than a force in retreat. The French intervention may well give them purpose and greater coherence."
The Council on Foreign Relations's Nigeria Security Tracker, an effort to catalog and map political violence based on a weekly survey of Nigerian and international press. The data presented includes violent incidents related to political, economic, and social grievances directed at the state or other affiliative groups (or conversely the state employing violence to respond to those incidents.)
A recent agremeent between Sudan and South Sudan to restart oil exports is likely to improve the macroeconomic situations of the countries, while paving the way for future negotiations over land disputes, says expert Alex de Waal.
The situation in Mali challenges U.S. goals of promoting stability, democracy, civilian control of the military, and effective counterterrorism in Africa, and raises questions regarding the strategic design and effectiveness of existing U.S. efforts to do so.
As Zimbabwe moves closer to elections, the prospect for political violence grows. CFR Senior Fellow John Campbell argues that coordination on Zimbabwe policy can be the basis of a stronger overall U.S.-South Africa relationship to help promote free, fair and credible elections.
Weak governance and radical jihadists are at the heart of Mali's crisis, says CFR's John Campbell, who cautions that any intervention should focus on humanitarian aid and diplomacy, not the security threat.
Authors: Terra Lawson-Remer and Joshua Greenstein Africa in Fact
Terra Lawson-Remer and Joshua Greenstein say, "Many resource-rich African countries make poor use of their wealth... Instead of creating prosperity, resources have too often fostered corruption, undermined inclusive economic growth, incited armed conflict and damaged the environment."
Between enthusiasm for President Obama's pro-democracy message and appreciation for the Democratic Party's support for the anti-apartheid movement, South Africans strongly favor Obama's reelection, says Moeletsi Mbeki.
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 »