Warring Factions Really Like Libya’s Instability

Libya’s chaotic, many-sided conflict keeps getting more complicated. The country’s security forces has fragmented into hundreds of rival militias, the territory has broken apart into dozens of influence zones — which militias actively fight over — and there are two rival parliaments and governments.

Now Libya’s politicians are supporting two different power-sharing deals, neither of which is likely to be implemented in their current forms. Even worse, one of the culprits behind this situation is the Islamic State, which is steadily growing into a threat that Libya’s other armed factions fear could provoke another foreign intervention. ...

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Podcast: Elections in West Africa with Cynthia Ohayon and Kamissa Camara

West Africa experts Cynthia Ohayon and Kamissa Camara join us to talk about the outcome of this year’s elections in West Africa and their national and regional implications.

Podcast: China in Africa with Deborah Brautigam

In this edition of the podcast, we are joined by Deborah Brautigam, author of Will Africa feed China and The Dragon’s Gift: The Real Story of China in Africa to talk about China-Africa relations and misconceptions of China’s role on the African continent.

After Setbacks at Home, Islamic State and Al Shabab Terrorize Abroad

Among the horror of the Paris attacks, a curious social media dynamic unfolded. Somehow, attention turned to a seven-month-old BBC article about a terror attack in Kenya, on a college campus in a town called Garissa. [...]

The Garissa attacks were of course not committed by Islamic State, but by the Somali Islamist group Al Shabab. Apart from Boko Haram in Nigeria, of which some factions have sworn allegiance to Islamic State, Al Shabab is Africa’s most active and perhaps most influential terrorist organization.

Despite completely distinct origins, the two groups share some surprising similarities, but also important differences. ...

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Podcast: Economic Statistics in Africa with Morten Jerven

We talk with Morten Jerven, author of “Poor Numbers” and “Africa: Why Economists get it Wrong” about the quality of economic statistics in Africa and why it matters.

Find the shownotes on African Arguments.

U.S. Doubles Down on Failed Military Strategy in Africa

U.S. military forces are taking a more active role in combating the Boko Haram insurgency that has killed more than 30,000 people since its outbreak in 2009 and spread from northeastern Nigeria to neighboring Cameroon, Niger and Chad. The move is consistent with the general U.S. approach to security on the African continent, which leans heavily on enabling local forces to combat terrorist groups, but which has failed to stem a rise in Islamist violence in recent years.

President Barack Obama notified Congress in mid-October that he had ordered 300 military personnel into northern Cameroon to support reconnaissance flights of MQ-1 Predator drones. U.S. troops will also work with local forces on intelligence gathering and analysis, as well as “enabling operations, border security and response force capability,” according to an unnamed defense official quoted by Voice of America. ...

Read more on World Politics Review.

As Bodies Pile Up on the Streets, Burundi’s Regime Breaks Out Genocidal Rhetoric

The crisis in Burundi is continuing to intensify six months after president Pierre Nkurunziza announced he would stand for a third term, which opponents claim is unconstitutional. With hundreds killed in violence perpetrated by government and opposition forces, the latest escalation is a rhetorical one.

“Go tell them [those who have weapons]: If something happens to them, they shouldn’t say ‘if only we had known’ … The day when we give people the authorization to ‘work,’ it will finish and you will see what will happen,” Révérien Ndikuriyo, the Senate president and a staunch Nkurunziza ally, told a crowd on Oct. 29. ...

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Podcast: Nigeria and the Buhari Administration with James Schneider and Lagun Akinloye

Five months after taking office, President Muhammadu Buhari has finally named his cabinet. Journalist James Schneider and analyst Lagun Akinloye join us to discuss why it took so long, what the ramifications are, and whether Buhari’s anti-corruption drive means anything in the long term.

Listen to the Podcast on African Arguments.

Gaddafi’s Legacy Haunts Libya and the World

A little more than four years ago, one of the world’s most extroverted, flamboyant and brutal dictators, Muammar Gaddafi, was dragged from a drainage pipe near the Libyan town of Sirte and lynched.

In turn demonized and schmoozed by Western governments, Gaddafi’s death involved a Predator drone, French Rafale fighter jets, a grenade thrown by his own bodyguard, an angry mob of rebel fighters and possibly a foreign agent.

Like Gaddafi’s end, Libya was a mess after 42 years of dictatorship and a full blown civil war. But unlike Gaddafi, who rests in an unmarked grave somewhere in the desert around Sirte, his country is not at peace today. ...

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The World’s Poorest Continent Spent an Extra $50 Billion on Weapons Last Year

Good news, world military spending declined last year.

According to several new reports published by the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute, global military spending decreased by 0.4 percent in 2014.

Unfortunately, that decrease is due to America’s military spending cuts. Excluding the United States, spending actually went up 3.1 percent across the globe — and nowhere did it increase more dramatically than in Africa. ...

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