I have some new articles up on the War is Boring collection over at Medium. All revolve around armed conflict in Africa. first one up:
The Central African Republic is Erupting Into War
You might find yourself thinking “that’s a country?” and I can’t blame you for that. The Central African Republic — or the CAR for short — is not a well known tourist destination.
It’s not a “rising economy” or something equally catchy from a politician’s Sunday speech. It is just a state in (you guessed it) central Africa going through a decades-long national crisis and not even a fashionable one, like in neighboring Democratic Republic of the Congo, where ex-Secretary of State Clinton likes to drop in for a photoshoot.
Nobody cares about the CAR, which is why you probably don’t know anything about the country or the conflict.
Except that some people, people with a lot of influence, political and military power do care. They are not the ones you see on T.V., but they have good reasons to care and maybe the people you see on T.V. should start caring, too. […]
Nigeria Is at War With Islamist Ghosts
A war rages in northeastern Nigeria. Three months into a government-declared state of emergency, an army division of 8,000 men and a joint task force of other military and civilian security forces are trying to wrest control of large swathes of land from a fundamentalist insurgent group known as Boko Haram.
The government has deployed helicopter gunships, fighter jets and armored vehicles — and battles regularly result in dozens of soldiers, insurgents and civilians being killed. It’s one of the most intense conflicts of present times and yet we know practically nothing about the enemy, its organization, goals and real developments on the ground. […]
Did You Know There’s a Major Intervention Going On in the Democratic Republic of Congo?
All eyes are on the politicking around the possible U.S. intervention in Syria, but the future of humanitarian interventions is actually being forged right now, in the vicinity of the town of Goma in the eastern Democratic Republic of Congo.
Goma is a regional hub, a sprawling city of over one million inhabitants mostly living in tin shacks and walking the notoriously bad roads. It’s a center of mineral trading — both legal and smuggled — and hosts tens of thousands of refugees in camps on its outskirts. Goma lies directly on the border to Rwanda, a neighbor with a lot of influence and a long agenda in Congo.
Since the outbreak of the First Congo War in 1996, and in the subsequent Second Congo War and the general state of insecurity since, Goma has changed hands between the Congolese state, Rwandan forces and rebel groups many times. At the moment, its airport and barracks are home to a contingent of the largest peacekeeping mission ever, the United Nations Organisation Stabilization Mission in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, MONUSCO.
The U.N. force, which has around 20,000 men and women under arms across the country plus about as many civilians, came under intense criticism when it allowed the Rwandan-supported rebel group M23 to occupy Goma in November last year. […]