This week on The Horn, Alan is joined by Crisis Group expert Omar Mahmood to discuss avenues for achieving peace in Somalia, amid the growing consensus that Al-Shabaab will not be beaten by military means alone.
The war with Al-Shabaab’s Islamist insurgency has dragged on for fifteen years. As it reviews its options, Somalia’s new government should look into what room there might be for dialogue with the group. The alternative is more fighting with no end in sight.
The 9 August presidential vote in Kenya pits the incumbent’s favourite against a populist challenger. It will be hard-fought. To avert the violence that has marred past contests, the two candidates should pledge to resolve any dispute in court. External actors can also help.
Fighting in the eastern Democratic Republic of Congo is intensifying, with Ugandan and Burundian soldiers in pursuit of rebels and Congolese insurgents on the rebound. With help from its allies, Kinshasa should step up diplomacy lest the country become a regional battleground once more.
Vigilantes have become so important to protecting the Nigerian public that for now the country has little choice but to rely on them. Yet there are dangers. Authorities should better regulate these groups, while working to restore citizens’ trust in the police.
An ISIS franchise is tightening its hold on parts of north-eastern Nigeria near Lake Chad. Abuja should enhance its containment strategy, helping rival militants surrender, protecting internally displaced persons and working with neighbouring countries to cut off outside material support for the jihadists.
Side deals between President Salva Kiir and renegade opposition leaders jeopardise the 2018 agreement that ended the worst fighting of South Sudan’s civil war. East African mediators should press the principal combatants – Kiir and Riek Machar – to restart talks on the issues that divide them.
The tensions between these two countries [DRC and Rwanda] could destabilise a region that’s already facing political instability.
Kenya is one of the few countries [in Africa] where you go into an election without knowing who is going to win.
The perception is that the West and particularly France has devoted a large amount of resources to the [Sahel] region but the situation has become worse.
What could be challenging is if Rwanda becomes involved on the military front [in Congo’s east].
It’s a power play by Russia. Through Wagner, it wants to see to what extent it can spread its influence in Africa. I think the results have surprised a lot of people.
The Horn of Africa is in turmoil. From revolution in Sudan to civil war in Ethiopia, from Somalia's political stalemate and the regional spread of jihadism to troubled East African democracies, the region's pace and scale of change is difficult to keep up with. The Horn, a podcast series from the International Crisis Group, helps make sense of it all. Host Alan Boswell and guests dive deep behind the headlines as they analyse events, debate diplomacy, and discuss avenues towards peace. Produced by Maeve Frances.
There’s no end in sight to the war with Al-Shabaab Islamist militants in Somalia, which has been raging for more than fifteen years. This timeline explains how the group came into existence and how it evolved amid the country’s other troubles.
The CrisisWatch Digest Somalia offers a monthly one-page snapshot of conflict-related country trends in a clear, accessible format, using a map of the region to pinpoint developments.