In this episode of Hold Your Fire!, Richard Atwood and Naz Modirzadeh talk with Omar Mahmood, Crisis Group’s Somalia expert, about whether the pullout from Somalia of foreign troops – in this case African Union forces – could open the door for the Islamist militants Al-Shabaab to seize power like the Taliban have in Afghanistan.
Originally published in Foreign Policy
Burkina FasoSouth Sudan
Les deux coups d’Etats d’août 2020 et mai 2021 ont plongé le Mali, toujours en proie aux violences armées, dans l’instabilité. Malgré un bilan jusqu’ici décevant, les autorités de la transition malienne peuvent encore concrétiser l’aspiration au changement et organiser des élections générales transparentes en 2022.
Somaliland took an important step toward stable democracy with parliamentary and local council polls on 31 May. To keep moving in this direction, authorities and the opposition should build consensus on how to run future voting and how to make the government more inclusive.
In mid-December, Sudanese troops moved into al-Fashaga, an agricultural area on the frontier with Ethiopia, expelling Ethiopian farmers and building fortifications. Fighting threatens to escalate. With assistance from outside mediators, the two countries should convene talks about restoring the shared land-use agreement that prevailed beforehand.
Deadly conflict in Mozambique’s ruby- and natural gas-rich northernmost coastal province feeds on a mix of colonial-era tensions, inequality and Islamist militancy. To tame the insurrection, Maputo needs to use force, with bespoke assistance from outside partners, and to carefully address underlying grievances.
A spate of mass killings in Niger’s Tillabery region has raised the spectre of broader civil strife. Most worrying is the ethnic dimension to the crimes. Authorities should move quickly to prioritize civilian protection lest vigilantes take matters into their own hands.
Nigeria’s latest plan for curbing herder-farmer conflict is facing obstacles, including staff and funding shortages as well as political opposition. If this initiative fails, there could be more rural violence. Abuja should work with donors to raise both money and awareness of the scheme’s benefits.
Unfortunately, while in much of the world 9/11 is viewed as in the past, in Africa, the legacy of those attacks lives on.
If France is to withdraw [from the Sahel] in a drastic manner as the U.S. did [from Afghanistan], the balance of power is likely to shift in favor of the jihadists.
Maybe this is a mistake. But the French are downsizing, they’re not withdrawing [from the Sahel]. They’re still the biggest military force in the region.
There is still no sign of a broader reset in South Sudanese politics [...] instead, the divisions just keep mounting.
Al Shabaab is fully embedded in Somali society, especially in areas under their control, where local populations have little choice but to engage the group.
The current violent blowback indicates that [President] Abiy and his allies cannot achieve peace and prosperity for all Ethiopians by imposing their vision and party on Ethiopia using the coercive power of the state.
Climate talks must pay more attention to African voices, not just of governments but of the people.
Originally published in African Arguments
In many African countries, jihadists are making gains. As part of our series The Legacy of 9/11 and the “War on Terror”, Comfort Ero and Murithi Mutiga say options for stemming the tide should include opening lines of communication to those militants pursuing local goals.
Renversé le 5 septembre, le président Condé, par son entêtement à conserver le pouvoir, avait préparé le terrain à la prise de contrôle militaire. Dans ce Q&A, les experts de Crisis Group, Vincent Foucher et Rinaldo Depagne, alertent sur une tendance inquiétante en Afrique de l’Ouest qu’illustre ce nouveau coup d’Etat.
In the final episode of a mini-series of The Horn exploring jihadism in East Africa, Alan Boswell speaks with Murithi Mutiga, Mary Harper and Michael Woldemariam about how the post-9/11 global “war on terror” changed the Horn of Africa, and what comes next.
In this episode of the The Horn’s mini-series exploring jihadism along the Swahili coast, Alan Boswell and Rashid Abdi discuss the connections and competition among jihadist groups in the region and the future prospects for governments to counter their militant movements.