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October 30, 2020

Nigeria
Northwest Nigeria Potential Jihadi Linchpin in West Africa

Up to now, radical jihadi activity in West Africa has been centered in Mali—with spillover to adjacent parts of Burkina Faso and Niger—and the Lake Chad Basin. The two locales are now increasingly br…

A crowd gathers in front of the Sultan Palace Hall Sokoto in Sokoto, Nigeria. Several cars can be seen.

August 25, 2020

Nigeria
Niger Attack Demonstrates Islamic State in West Africa’s Growing Reach

The area between Niamey, Niger and Niger State, Nigeria will not be spared from jihadist groups’ attacks any longer and ISWA’s two branches, Shekau’s faction, and Ansaru will all be competing for recruits in the same areas.

Six Nigerian soldiers, in an armored truck, hold up a flag seized from Boko Haram. The flag is black, with a white circle in the middle with black Arabic writing.

November 17, 2020

Transition 2021
Climate Change: The Biden Administration's Opportunity in Africa

Climate change is both one of the greatest threats to Africa and an area in which Biden administration policy is most likely to differ from President Trump's. Through his leadership on this issue, the president-elect has a chance to make a difference.

A parched landscape around the Lake Wegnia, in Sahel region of Koulikoro, Mali. A small tree and a few shrubs intersperse a mostly dirt landscape.

December 3, 2020

Sub-Saharan Africa
The United States and Europe Should Work Together to Promote a Prosperous Africa

The Financial Times recently reported that the European Union is preparing a proposal for the incoming Biden Administration that envisions a comprehensive strengthening of transatlantic cooperation a…

U.S. and European Union flags are pictured during the visit of Vice President Mike Pence to the European Commission headquarters in Brussels, Belgium February 20, 2017.

November 5, 2020

Election 2020
The Biden Administration's Approach to Africa

Joseph Biden and Kamala Harris will likely be elected president and vice president of the United States. A Biden administration's approach to Africa will depend on policy but also on who the president appoints to his cabinet and senior positions.

U.S. Vice President Joe Biden addresses a public forum at the Kenyatta International Conference Centre in the Kenyan capital Nairobi. American and Kenyan flags can be seen in the background. A podium with the seal of the U.S. Vice President can be seen in the middle of the picture.

November 4, 2020

Global Governance
The ICC, the Trump Administration, and Africa

At present, the chief prosecutor is looking into whether there are grounds for an ICC investigation in Afghanistan that would primarily focus on the Taliban and Afghani forces but also U.S. military units.

International Criminal Court (ICC) Prosecutor Fatou Bensouda is seen consulting with another ICC employee. Ms. Bensouda is wearing judicial garb.

January 9, 2020

West Africa
Jihadi Violence and Terror Surging in West Africa

In a follow up to his remarks in December, Mohamed Iban, Chambas, the UN special representative sand head of the UN Office for West Africa and the Sahel (UNOWAS) sounded the alarm on growing militant and jihadi violence. In his January 8 briefing to the UN Security Council, he said the “devastating surge” in terrorism has “shaken public confidence.” He focused on Burkina Faso, Mali, and Niger, where casualties from terrorism have increased fivefold since 2016, with 4,000 deaths in 2019 compared to 770 in 2016.

Mohammed Ibn Chambas, Special Representative of the Secretary-General and Head of the United Nations Office for West Africa and the Sahel, briefs the Security Council on West Africa, on January 10, 2019, in New York.

July 23, 2020

Nigeria
Not All Violent Problems Require Violent Solutions: Banditry in Nigeria’s North-West

For more than two years, northwestern Nigeria has faced devastating attacks from armed bandits, particularly in the states of Zamfara, Katsina, Kaduna, Niger, and Sokoto. But violent military operations are half-baked peace plans are not the answer.

A young man in a white tunic robe carries handmade guns. He is flanked by a soldier in camouflage fatigues and a rifle.

November 3, 2020

Elections and Voting
Musings on Elections in Africa on America's Election Day

Americans assume that free, fair, and credible elections are essential to democracy. Elsewhere, however, elections are rigged and serve mainly to consolidate the position of a "big man" and his cronies or to legitimate self-perpetuating elites.

A soldier can be seen leaning against a post with an assault rifle. A billboard for Ivory Coast's Independent Electoral Commission is seen in the background.

December 4, 2020

Transition 2021
Transition 2021: The Looming Iran Crisis

Each Friday, I look at what is happening in President-Elect Joe Biden’s transition to the White House. This week: Iran will likely provide an early test for Biden and his national security team.

The Iranian flag flies in front of a nuclear power plant.