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September 22, 2020

Mali
Mali Update: Stand-Off

On September 21, the military junta that overthrew the Mali government of President Ibrahim Keita announced a transitional government. It is headed by retired Colonel Bah N'Daw, with junta leader Colonel Assimi Goïta as his vice president.

Malian coup leader Assimi Goita sits, in full military clothing, at a table during negotiations with ECOWAS. A red, yellow, and green flag is visible in the background.

August 20, 2020

Mali
Mali Coup: "Rearranging the Deck Chairs on the Titanic"

Despite the crowd’s jubilation in Bamako, the arrest of President Ibrahim B. Keita, Prime Minister Boubou Cisse, and other government officials seems unlikely to result in fundamental change in Mali.

African man, the President of Mali, smiles for cameras and is dressed in all-white traditional garb

August 12, 2020

Boko Haram
Mass Defection of Boko Haram Fighters in Cameroon

Nigerian Major General Ibrahim Manu Yusuf, commander of the Multinational Joint Task Force (MJTF) fighting the Boko Haram Islamist insurgency in the Lake Chad Basin, announced that 109 Boko Haram fighters and their prisoners had defected in Cameroon.

Black graffiti is shown on a gray wall in Borno, Nigeria. The graffiti says "Hate Evil," as well as "Boko Haram is Evil"

April 10, 2020

Nigeria
Case Not Quite Closed on the Assassination of Nigerian Salafi Scholar Shaikh Jaafar Adam

While at prayer on April 13, 2007, the prominent Salafi scholar, Shaikh Jaafar Mahmud Adam, was assassinated at his mosque in Kano. At the time, the murder made a deep impression on mainstream Muslims, many of whom revered Adam. The murder took place in the final days before the 2007 presidential elections, and many observers, including those at the U.S. embassy, thought that the murder was somehow related. But it now seems more likely that Adam was assassinated by a vengeful former member of the Nigerian Taliban. His murder was an early manifestation of the deadly battles among Boko Haram’s competing factions that continue up to the present.

A man cycles past the Al Ansar mosque in Maiduguri. Four red and white minarets are visible around a green dome topped with gold. Person-sized arches line the one-story building around the dome and minarets.

March 18, 2020

Nigeria
Nigeria Considers National DRR Agency Amid Boko Haram Setbacks

On February 19, 2020, Senator Ibrahim Gaidam, the former governor of Yobe State, introduced legislation to create the National Agency for Deradicalization, Rehabilitation, and Reintegration of Repentant Insurgents. Gaidam represents Yobe state, which borders Borno and has been affected by the insurgency. The bill’s purpose is to rehabilitate Boko Haram defectors and prevent violent extremism in Nigeria.

Freed inmates walk in a line after they were released and handed over to state officials for rehabilitation and integration after they were detained for up to four years over suspicion of links with Boko Haram jihadists during an official ceremony at the Giwa military barracks, in Maiduguri, on November 27, 2019.

February 6, 2020

India
South Asia Reads: February 6, 2020

The annual budget in India and Chinese investments in Pakistan were two major opportunities to reverse declining economic fortunes in South Asia. This week's articles explain how both fell short of e…

Sri Lankan soldiers in independence day parade

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.