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January 10, 2020

Somalia
Al-Shabab

Al-Shabab remains capable of carrying out massive attacks in Somalia and surrounding countries despite a long-running African Union offensive against the Islamist group. 

Al-Shabab in Somalia

October 29, 2019

Islamic State
After Baghdadi: What Hurts the Islamic State May Help Al-Qaeda

Al-Qaeda could benefit from the death of the Islamic State’s leader, potentially regaining its worldwide reach and influence.

January 22, 2020

Lebanon
What Is Hezbollah?

Military experience gained from fighting in Syria’s civil war and decades of clashes with Israel have made the Iran-backed group stronger than ever, but the biggest threat it faces may be upheaval in…

Members of Lebanon’s Shiite movement Hezbollah take part in Ashura commemorations in a southern Beirut suburb.

November 1, 2019

Election 2020
Campaign Foreign Policy Roundup: Abu Bakr Al-Baghdadi, Israel, and Campaign Advisors

Each Friday, I look at what the presidential challengers are saying about foreign policy.

Bernie Sanders speaks at the J Street National Conference in Washington, DC, on October 28.

January 15, 2020

Nigeria
Nigeria’s Slide Toward Authoritarianism

The recent unlawful detention of a journalist and politician is the latest in a series of moves by Muhammadu Buhari’s administration that weaken the rule of law.

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.

December 31, 2019

Global
Ten World Figures Who Died in 2019

I wrote yesterday about ten Americans who died in 2019 who shaped U.S. foreign policy during their lifetimes. But Americans are not the only ones who influence world affairs. Below are ten world figu…

SO

December 18, 2019

Nigeria
Buhari's Dictatorial Past and the Rule of Law Today in Nigeria

In the immediate aftermath of the State Security Service’s invasion of an Abuja court room and its re-arrest of Nigerian journalist Omoyele Sowore, the Lagos daily newspaper the Punch announced that it will prefix President Muhammadu Buhari’s name with his military rank, Major General, and will refer to his administration as a “regime,” until “they purge themselves of their insufferable contempt for the rule of law.”

Nigerian president Muhammadu Buhari stands next to Chief of Army Staff Tukur Yusuf Buratai during the opening ceremony of the military staff annual conference, on November 28, 2018, during his trip to visit troops fighting Boko Haram.

November 14, 2019

Mali
Foreign Troops Fighting Jihadists in the Sahel Face Criticism as Terror Grows

In response to the proliferation of ostensibly jihadist groups in the Sahel, governments have deployed more than 20,000 international and local troops, comprising 4,500 French soldieries, 13,000 UN peacekeepers, and about 5,000 troops connected to the G5 Sahel—an initiative godfathered by France and including Burkina Faso, Chad, Mali, Mauritania, and Niger. But terror groups have endured and grown more deadly.  

A French soldier kneels with his weapon while a camel stands in the background in a semi-arid landscape.

November 13, 2019

Nigeria
Nigerian Police Use Live Ammunition Against Peaceful Demonstrators

Nigerian media is reporting that on November 12, the Nigerian police fired live bullets to disperse those protesting the continued imprisonment of Nigerian journalist Omeyele Sowore. The media descri…

Protestors facing police hold signs that read "DSS Obey The Court," and other things.