Podcast: Hip-Hop Sparks a Political Awakening in Senegal’s Youth

In this week’s Trend Lines podcast, WPR Editor-in-Chief Judah Grunstein and host Peter Dörrie discuss implementation day for the Iran deal, Chinese drones and elections in Benin. For the report, Amanda Fortier, a journalist and communications consultant, joins us to explain the relationship between hip-hop youth culture and politics in Senegal.

Published on World Politics Review.

Conspiracy Theories Multiply After Terrorist Assault in Burkina Faso – Attack which killed 30 has this quiet nation on edge

The bloodiest terror attack West Africa has experienced in recent times was a shock, but not surprising. Three years ago, I lived in Burkina Faso’s peaceful and relaxed capital, Ouagadougou, where it wasn’t rare to hear talk about the possibility of a large-scale atrocity as Islamist groups rampaged through neighboring Mali.

On Jan. 15, three assailants detonated two car bombs along the city’s central Avenue Kwame Nkrumah, before spraying the Café Cappuchino — a stylish hangout popular with wealthy Westerners and Burkinabé — with bullets. The attackers then moved on to the upscale Splendid Hotel across the street and took hostages.

Read more on War is Boring.

Dozens of Kenyan Soldiers Die in Somalia Base Horror – ‘The area was full of bodies’

During the early morning hours of Friday, Jan. 15, several vehicles strapped with explosives drove into the perimeter defenses of the Kenyan base in El Adde in southwestern Somalia. With the perimeter breached, around 200 militants stormed the camp and killed dozens of soldiers.

The attackers were of course members of Al Shabab, a long standing Somali Islamist group that still holds considerable territory, while the Kenyan soldiers were part of the African Union Mission in Somalia, an African peacekeeping force that has been fighting Al Shabab for years in cooperation with Somali government forces and allied local militias...

Read more on War is Boring.

These Are the Wars That Will Rage in Africa in 2016 – Violent conflict remains in clusters while the continent grows more peaceful

With the exception of Syria, African countries currently get the worst rep when it comes to violence and conflict. Virtually every story coming out of the continent seems to showcase one atrocity or another.

This narrative is both true and false. In 2014, Africa experienced more than half of worldwide conflict incidents, despite having only about 16 percent of the world population. This is a slightly larger share of the world’s conflicts than even during the chaotic years of the post-Cold War 1990s.

But there are two important caveats...

Read more on War is Boring.

Podcast: Who will win Uganda’s 2016 elections?

Ugandan journalist Rosebell Kagumire and Crisis Group analyst Magnus Taylor join us to discuss Uganda’s upcoming elections.

Published on African Arguments.

Ethiopia’s Authoritarian Regime Cracks Down, Kills Dozens of Protesters – The government heavily restricts dissent in what’s effectively a one-party state

Ethiopian security forces killed more than 80 people during a month of protests against an ambitious urban development plan, according to representatives of the Oromo ethnic group which led the protests. Both the demonstrations and government violence reflect the increasingly authoritarian relationship between the Ethiopian state, a key U.S. military ally, and its population.

Beginning in mid-November, Oromo youths and farmers began protesting government plans to extend the urban development of the capital, Addis Ababa, into the surrounding Oromia federal region. ...

Read more on War is Boring.

Podcast: That was Africa’s 2015

We are joined by Richard Dowden, Director of the Royal African Society, and Yinka Adegoke, the editor of Quartz Africa, to discuss the big trends of Africa’s 2015.

Published on African Arguments.

France´s Overstrechted Military Not Enough to Stabilize the Sahel

More than any other outside power, France is currently investing the most military and political resources to combat terrorist groups in West Africa and the wider Sahel. Driven by a perception of a clear and present danger, French security policy in the region has undergone a fundamental shift in recent years, but not in the direction that many policymakers in Paris had hoped at the beginning of the century.

Instead of slowly decreasing its military presence and political involvement in its former colonies’ internal affairs, France has stepped up both amid new realities and interests. Defense Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian outlined those in a speech in September that heavily emphasized stability. “To preserve the security and defense interests of France also means to work on the stability of our strategic environment,” Le Drian declared. “It is a fact that this stability is threatened, including by crises that appear falsely distant—because their consequences know no borders.” ...

Read more on World Politics Review.

The Companies That Make the Most From the World’s Wars

The Stockholm International Peace Research Institute has published its list of the world’s top 100 arms manufacturers. Overall, the 100 largest defense contractors totaled $401 billion in sales 2014, though the actual number is probably even higher, because the list excludes Chinese companies “due to the lack of data.”

This is a healthy chunk of the total worldwide military expenditure during the same year, which was $1.776 trillion including China.

In other words — of every dollar that governments around the world spent on their militaries in 2014, about 23 cents ended up in the pockets of one of the 100 companies on SIPRI’s list, many of which are privately owned.

However, there are some interesting regional discrepancies. ...

Read more on War is Boring.

Nach Rückschlägen in ihrer Hochburg terrorisieren Islamischer Staat und Al-Shabab im Ausland

Inmitten des Entsetzens über die Terroranschläge von Paris fiel die Aufmerksamkeit der Online-Community auf einen sieben Monate zurückliegenden BBC-Artikel, der über einen Terroranschlag auf den Universitäts-Campus in der kenianischen Stadt Garissa berichtete. Der erneut in Umlauf gebrachte Artikel erreichte viermal so viele “Klicks” wie zur Zeit seiner Veröffentlichung. Dabei wurden Parallelen zwischen den 147 Toten (unter ihnen größtenteils Studenten) in Garissa und den 129 Opfern in Paris gezogen.

Das Garissa-Attentat wurde nicht von der Terrororganisation Islamischer Staat (IS), sondern von der somalischen Islamistengruppe Al-Shabab verübt. Neben Boko Haram, aus deren Reihen einige Splittergruppen der IS die Treue geschworen haben, stellt Al-Shabab die aktivste und möglicherweise einflussreichste terroristische Organisation in Afrika dar.

Trotz ihrer unterschiedlichen Ursprünge teilen beide Gruppen einige erstaunliche Parallelen — und einige wichtige Unterschiede. ...

Read more on Offiziere.