The Good News, Bad News Coming From Kenya

The bad news is that someone tried to steal yet another African election.  The good news is that it looks like they're not going to get away with it. The recently annulled election in Kenya is a tale of state development, post-colonialism, and institution building.  It's the story of how tough it is to build … Continue reading The Good News, Bad News Coming From Kenya

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The Lord’s Resistance Army Exploits Trump’s Withdrawal of American Troops

In 2012, the Kony YouTube campaign went viral.  It took an obscure guerrilla war and thrust it into the public's frontal lobe, sparking back and forths about the efficacy of online advocacy (and shining a harsh light on its creator's later meltdown). It also shamed the United States government into deploying Special Forces to a … Continue reading The Lord’s Resistance Army Exploits Trump’s Withdrawal of American Troops

Ivory Coast’s Maturing State Power: Court Convicts Soldiers of Civil War-Era Ex-Pat Murders

From Reuters: An Ivory Coast court convicted six ex-soldiers for the kidnapping, torture and murder of four foreigners in 2011 during a civil war that following a disputed election, the prosecution said. Gunmen kidnapped the four victims - two Frenchmen, a Beninese and a Malaysian - from the Novotel hotel in Abidjan in April 2011 … Continue reading Ivory Coast’s Maturing State Power: Court Convicts Soldiers of Civil War-Era Ex-Pat Murders

The next French intervention in Africa will be in Mauritania before 2020

(This post originally appeared on Young-Diplomats.com and is written by David Allouche). Why is Mauritania next? France has been efficiently defending its interests in those countries through cultural and economic power, coupled with dozens of covert actions to overthrow leaders that refused to preserve France’s interests. France has used mercenaries, the most famous being Bob Denard, … Continue reading The next French intervention in Africa will be in Mauritania before 2020

How Can Boko Haram Sell Girls Into Slavery? The Answer, Dear Friends, Is All About State Power

Think back to your school days (or, if you're still in school, think back to yesterday).  In every social organization with enough people, there must be at least one complete and utter dick.  He or she is the least pleasant person in the world to be around, amasses power through intimidation, violence, or manipulation, and … Continue reading How Can Boko Haram Sell Girls Into Slavery? The Answer, Dear Friends, Is All About State Power

Somalia, Al Shabaab, and How Geography Screwed A Country

The odds are good you've seen Black Hawk Down, where the story of the disaster that was the battle of Mogadishu is told rather well.  With such a baseline of knowledge, you're aware that, at some point in the recent past, Somalia was a mess.  Things haven't changed much. Somalia is the king of Failed States … Continue reading Somalia, Al Shabaab, and How Geography Screwed A Country

What the hell happened in South Sudan? (You can blame tribalism)

Off I go on holiday and suddenly there's a civil war in South Sudan.  What, exactly, went down?  Well, there are specifics - and they are better detailed elsewhere - and there are the generalities, which carry the grand geopolitical sweep of things.  Like many of Africa's conflicts, South Sudan suffers the effects of rapid … Continue reading What the hell happened in South Sudan? (You can blame tribalism)