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January 7, 2020

Iran
Death of Iranian General Soleimani Provokes Muted Reaction in Africa’s Giants

Nigeria and South Africa are the giants of Africa, with the two largest economies on the continent.  Both have had long-term relationships with Iran, though South Africa’s has been the closer. Thus far, the official reaction to Soleimani’s death from Nigeria and South Africa has been muted or non-existent, reflecting caution. Though the Nigerian inspector general of police has put his forces on “red alert,” likely fearing action by the Islamic Movement of Nigeria (IMN) or other alleged Iranian proxies, there has been no apparent word from the government. In South Africa, the fiercest reaction came from the African National Congress (ANC), while Naledi Pandor, the South African foreign minister, called for calm.

Women hold pictures of Iranian Major-General Qassem Soleimani, head of the elite Quds Force, who was killed in an air strike at Baghdad airport, during a funeral procession and burial at his hometown in Kerman, Iran, on January 7, 2020.

February 27, 2020

Elections and Voting
Mobilizing the National Guard to Secure U.S. Elections

States are increasingly relying on the National Guard to provide cybersecurity in elections. As the 2020 election approaches, they will need to decide how to best fund and deploy their forces to prot…

Members of the Arizona National Guard.

February 26, 2020

Nigeria
Significant Rise of Insecurity in the Niger Delta Through 2019

A recently published annual report by the Foundation for Partnership Initiative in the Niger Delta (PIND) is a salutary reminder of violence in the Niger Delta. The report, the Niger Delta Annual Conflict Report [PDF], shows that there were 416 violent incidents resulting in over one thousand recorded deaths in 2019. The Niger Delta produces most of Nigeria's oil.

A young man in a white tank top, white bandanna, a plaid cloth rapped around his waist, and a chain of bullets over his shoulder, rests a heavy machine gun on the roof of a small grey patrol boat as it moves down the a river with forrested banks.

February 24, 2020

Public Health Threats and Pandemics
The Coronavirus, Oil, and Global Supply Chains

As nations prepare for a possible health emergency, world leaders are realizing that the new coronavirus is going to be harder to contain than previously hoped. Mobilization is continuing, and concer…

An empty street is seen after a coronavirus outbreak, in Milan, Italy February 24, 2020.

February 24, 2020

South Korea
Don't Gut the U.S.-South Korea Alliance

The OPCON transition plan should be put on the back burner or, better yet, scrapped altogether.

Members of South Korean and U.S. Special Forces enter a CH-47 Chinook during a joint military exercise conducted in Gangwon province, South Korea, on November 7, 2019.

February 20, 2020

Sub-Saharan Africa
Secretary of State Pompeo Completes Trip to Africa

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo recently completed his first trip to Africa in his current role in the Trump administration. Over three days, he visited Dakar in Senegal, Luanda in Angola, and Addis Ababa in Ethiopia, where he also visited the head of the African Union. During the trip, Secretary Pompeo advocated for a stronger U.S.-Africa relationship amidst China’s growing role on the continent. 

U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, in a dark suit with a red tie, walks with Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed, in a navy suit with a red tie, walks down white marble stairs with a red carpet at the Prime Minister office after a meeting in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. They are followed by two men in suits, and flanked by two armed Ethiopian guards in red berets and military fatigues.

February 14, 2020

India
Tracking Trade Tensions With India

President Donald J. Trump heads to India at the end of the month— this week the White House formally announced the trip for February 24 and 25, with Ahmedabad, Gujarat, and New Delhi the main stops. …

Fishermen carry bluefin trevally fish, locally known as Vatta, as a cargo ship carries containers in the Arabian Sea off Kochi, India, on May 9, 2018. REUTERS/Sivaram V

February 14, 2020

China
Cyber Week in Review: Feb 14, 2020

Department of Justice blames Chinese military hackers for 2017 Equifax attack; Personal data of all Israeli voters leaked; Iran partially shuts down internet to thwart cyberattack; UK to empower regu…

Credit cards, a chain and an open padlock is seen in front of displayed Equifax logo

February 13, 2020

Nigeria
Military Failures Mount in Borno Against Boko Haram

The security situation around Borno’s capital, Maiduguri, appears to be going from bad to worse. On February 9, The Boko Haram faction Islamic State in West African (ISWA) shot or burned alive some thirty people sleeping in their cars and trucks that night outside the town of Auno, some ten miles from Maiduguri. They also kidnapped others.

Nigerian soldiers in military fatigues hold their helmets up and to the right in a salute for President Buhari (not pictured). Behind them are two armored military vehicles and a red carpet.

February 13, 2020

Diplomacy and International Institutions
The Corrosion of World Order in the Age of Donald Trump

Can the world still work together to address today’s most pressing global challenges? A broken economic order, Trump’s incoherent foreign policy, and the corrosion of trust offer little to be optimis…

An American flag is illuminated in the empty U.S. Capitol rotunda in Washington, U.S. on January 24, 2020.