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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.

October 1, 2019

Australia
The President's Inbox: Charles Edel and John Lee on the U.S.-Australia Alliance

The newest episode of The President’s Inbox is live. I sat down with Charles Edel and John Lee, fellows at the University of Sydney’s United States Studies Centre, to talk about the future of the U.S…

Australia touts its history with the United States outside its embassy in Washington, D.C.

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.

July 29, 2019

Election 2020
Meet John Hickenlooper, Democratic Presidential Candidate

Update: John Hickenlooper announced on August 15, 2019, that he was ending his campaign. Political strategists often ask whether a presidential candidate is someone a voter would want to have a be…

John Hickenlooper

April 4, 2019

Nigeria
Former Director General of Nigeria’s National Intelligence Agency Arrested

On February 7,  the Federal High Court in Lagos issued a warrant for the arrest of Ayodele Oke, former director general of the National Intelligence Agency (NIA), and his wife Folasade following an application by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC). Just before they were due to appear in court, they apparently left the country for "medical treatment," and the Nigeria media is not reporting where they are now. The EFCC has declared the couple wanted after their failure to respond to a court summons. 

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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 21, 2020

Togo
Togo Slides Toward Authoritarianism

President Faure Gnassingbe of Togo will face six other candidates in the election, including longtime rival Jean Pierre Fabre. Fabre, a human rights activist, was nominated as the leader of Togo's main opposition party, National Alliance for Change, late last year. Thanks in part to the fragmented opposition, Gnassingbe is favored to win.

Faure Gnassingbe, president of Togo, wheres a navy suit and dark blue tie as he clasps his hand in front of a double microphone. Behind him and to the side is a Togolese flag hanging on a flag pole.

February 5, 2020

Sub-Saharan Africa
Eighty Years of U.S. Policy Toward Africa, Now in One Place

Until now, there has not been a comprehensive survey of U.S. policy toward Africa for either the specialist or the general reader. Now, happily, there is. Herman J. Cohen (‘Hank’) has just published U.S. Policy Toward Africa: Eight Decades of Realpolitik, covering fourteen U.S. administrations. It is hard to think of anyone as qualified as Ambassador Cohen to undertake such a work. A career Foreign Service Officer, Hank Cohen was, inter alia, charge in the Democratic Republic of Congo, ambassador to Senegal, senior director for Africa at the National Security Council, and assistant secretary for Africa at the U.S. Department of State.

U.S. President George W. Bush and his Rwandan counterpart Paul Kagame cut a ribbon to officially open the U.S. Embassy in the capital of Kigali, on February 19, 2008.

February 18, 2020

Nigeria
Nigeria Security Tracker Weekly Update: February 8–14

This update represents violence in Nigeria and related to Boko Haram in Cameroon, Chad, and Niger from February 8 to 14, 2020.

Map of Nigeria shaded in red to reflect NST-documented deaths per state. Borno state, the northeastern-most state, is dark red, while the rest of the country are shades of pink.

February 4, 2020

Nigeria
Trump Administration Bans Immigrants From Nigeria

Nigeria has been added to a list of countries whose citizens will in some way be restricted from entering the United States. According to a White House statement, Nigeria is not complying with “the established identity-management and information sharing criteria assessed by performance metrics. Nigeria does not adequately share public-safety and terrorism-related information, which is necessary for the protection of the national security and public safety of the United States.”

A family exits after clearing immigration and customs at Dulles International Airport in Dulles, Virginia, United States, on September 24, 2017.