January 7, 2020Iran
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.
January 24, 2020Nigeria
In southwest Nigeria (Yorubaland), the location of Nigeria’s commercial capital Lagos, there has been a dramatic upsurge in kidnapping, house invasions, and robbery. On January 9, the governors of the six states in the region announced the establishment of Operation Amotekun (“leopard” in the Yoruba language).
November 21, 2019Nigeria
The 1999 transition of Nigeria from military to civilian, democratic government, is a defining moment in Nigerian history, representing the beginning of the longest, uninterrupted government since independence in 1960. But what exactly transpired during the period of transition, which began in earnest with the death of military dictator Sani Abacha in1998, is not entirely clear. Max Siollun, in a fascinating study of the period, Nigeria’s Soldiers of Fortune, has done us a service by illuminating some of the behind-the-scenes machinations of that period, and putting to bed some of the rumors that passed for history.
November 13, 2019Nigeria
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…
March 17, 2020Coronavirus
The Associated Press reported on Monday that thirty of fifty-four countries in Africa have reported the presence of COVID-19, and the list is likely incomplete. The virus had been slower to appear in Africa than in most other regions of the world. As elsewhere, the coronavirus was usually introduced by travelers from other continents, notably Europe. All of South Africa’s sixty-two cases, as of Monday, were from abroad, according to the health ministry.
January 8, 2020Election 2020
Each week between now and the Iowa caucuses, I’m talking with experts with differing views on how the United States should handle a foreign policy challenge it faces. These special episodes are part …
December 20, 2019Election 2020
Each Friday, I look at what the presidential challengers are saying about foreign policy. This week: the Democratic debate, financial corruption, and progressive foreign policy.
September 19, 2019Nigeria
On September 10, members of the Islamic Movement of Nigeria (IMN), a Shia religious and political movement, marched in different cities across the north of Nigeria to mark the beginning of Ashura, a major Muslim holiday and fasting period. In doing so, they defied the government, which, in July, had banned the group. The IMN later claimed that fifteen of their members had been killed after police opened fire on the various IMN processions. The police denied the claim.