John Campbell

Africa in Transition

Campbell tracks political and security developments across sub-Saharan Africa.

Posts by Category

Showing posts for "African Union"

Ethiopia and Eritrea Clash: Who Is to Blame and What Is to Be Gained?

by Guest Blogger for John Campbell
Eritreans walk past a tank abandoned during the 1998-2000 border war with Ethiopia, in Shambuko Town, December 23, 2005. (Courtesy/Ed Harris) Eritreans walk past a tank abandoned during the 1998-2000 border war with Ethiopia, in Shambuko Town, December 23, 2005. (Courtesy/Ed Harris)

This piece has been co-authored by John Campbell and Nathan Birhanu. Nathan is an intern for the Council on Foreign Relations Africa Studies program. He is a graduate of Fordham University’s Graduate Program in International Political Economy & Development. Read more »

The Sub-Saharan Security Tracker

by John Campbell
Volunteers set up eight thousand candles in the shape of the African continent as part of a demonstration entitled "Africa needs medicine now" at the parliament square in Berne, Switzerland December 1, 2005. (Reuters/Pascal Lauener) Volunteers set up eight thousand candles in the shape of the African continent as part of a demonstration entitled "Africa needs medicine now" at the parliament square in Berne, Switzerland December 1, 2005. (Reuters/Pascal Lauener)

The Council on Foreign Relations’ Africa Program has just “soft-launched” a new online tool we call the Sub-Saharan Security Tracker (SST). We anticipate a roundtable at the Council’s New York and Washington offices to introduce formally the SST. In the meantime, it is available for use. Read more »

Don’t Give Up on AMISOM Yet

by Guest Blogger for John Campbell
African Union Mission in Somalia (AMISOM) peacekeepers from Burundi patrol after fighting between insurgents and government soldiers erupted on the outskirts of Mogadishu, on May 22, 2012. (Reuters/Feisal Omar) African Union Mission in Somalia (AMISOM) peacekeepers from Burundi patrol after fighting between insurgents and government soldiers erupted on the outskirts of Mogadishu, on May 22, 2012. (Reuters/Feisal Omar)

This is a guest post by Alex Dick-Godfrey, Assistant Director, Studies administration for the Council on Foreign Relations Studies Program.

Later this year, Somalia looks to continue its recent progress by holding a successful parliamentary election. The election provides an opportunity to improve governance in the country and could illustrate the improvement Somalia has made to the donor community, international businesses, and the world. But, enormous pitfalls remain, and Somalia’s partners, including the United States, have expressed concerns about the process. This election could prove to be disastrous and set Somalia back if not handled correctly. To cope with these pitfalls, Somalia is forced to rely on an already strained African Union Mission to Somalia (AMISOM) to secure this election, but international support appears to be waning for the African Union (AU) force. The AU should reaffirm its commitment to Somalia and implore member and donor nations to not give up on AMISOM, and Somalia, yet. Read more »

Kicking the Western Sahara Question Down the Road

by Guest Blogger for John Campbell
The Sahrawi Arab Democratic Republic flag flies in Boudjdour desert refugee camp in Tindouf, southern Algeria, March 4, 2016. (Reuters/Zohra Bensemra) The Sahrawi Arab Democratic Republic flag flies in Boudjdour desert refugee camp in Tindouf, southern Algeria, March 4, 2016. (Reuters/Zohra Bensemra)

Tyler Falish is an intern for the Council on Foreign Relations Africa Studies program, and a student in Fordham University’s Graduate Program in International Political Economy & Development.

On April 29, ten of the fifteen UN Security Council members voted to renew the mandate for the United Nations Mission for the Referendum in Western Sahara (MINURSO), one day before its expiration. Prior to the vote, Angola, a non-permanent member, requested an informal, confidential Security Council meeting held outside the Security Council room, to allow Joaquim Chissano, Special Envoy of the African Union (AU) for the Western Sahara, to brief the council. NGOs were barred from attending and no translation services were provided. Morocco, which is the only African country without AU membership and considers the AU biased toward the Sahrawi Arab Democratic Republic (SADR), opposed the meeting with Chissano on the grounds that the UN is the sole intergovernmental organization legitimately involved in the issue. Angola—along with Russia and New Zealand—ultimately abstained from the vote, while Venezuela and Uruguay voted in opposition. Read more »

Flare-up Threatens Saharan Ceasefire

by Guest Blogger for John Campbell
An indigenous Sahrawi woman walks at a refugee camp of Boudjdour in Tindouf, southern Algeria, March 3, 2016. (Reuters/Zohra Bensemra) An indigenous Sahrawi woman walks at a refugee camp of Boudjdour in Tindouf, southern Algeria, March 3, 2016. (Reuters/Zohra Bensemra)

Tyler Falish is an intern for the Council on Foreign Relations Africa Studies program, and a student in Fordham University’s Graduate Program in International Political Economy & Development.

On March 22, at the request of the Moroccan government, the United Nations (UN) closed its military liaison office in Dakhla, a city in Western Sahara, the disputed stretch of sand in northwest Africa claimed by the Kingdom of Morocco and the Polisario Front. Two days earlier—also prompted by Rabat—seventy-three UN personnel were “temporarily reassigned” away from the headquarters of the UN Mission for the Referendum in Western Sahara (MINURSO). These steps—along with the threat from Rabat to call home the 2,300 soldiers and police it contributes to UN peacekeeping missions—are the kingdom’s reaction to UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon’s use of the term “occupation” to describe the Moroccan presence in the territory on his recent visit to refugee camps in southern Algeria, home to an estimated 150,000 ethnic Sahrawis. Read more »

Electoral Observers and ‘Free and Fair’ Elections

by Guest Blogger for John Campbell
A supporter of opposition leader Kizza Besigye looks out from behind a gate of Besigye's office in Kampala, Uganda, February 19, 2016. (Reuters/Goran Tomasevic) A supporter of opposition leader Kizza Besigye looks out from behind a gate of Besigye's office in Kampala, Uganda, February 19, 2016. (Reuters/Goran Tomasevic)

Tyler Falish is an intern for the Council on Foreign Relations Africa Studies program, and a student in Fordham University’s Graduate Program in International Political Economy & Development.

In late February, Yoweri Museveni was elected to his fifth term as Uganda’s president, extending a reign that officially began in 1986, but was preceded by years as an influential guerilla leader. The New York Times characterized the election as “widely criticized.” The main opposition party, the Forum for Democratic Change (FDC), had good reason to cry foul as party candidate Kizza Besigye was arrested twice in two days during the voting, and has been under house arrest almost continuously since the election on February 18. Read more »

Sitting on Tied Hands: The African Union & Burundi

by Guest Blogger for John Campbell
A general view shows Chad's President Idriss Deby addressing delegates during the 26th Ordinary Session of the Assembly of the African Union (AU) at the AU headquarters in Ethiopia's capital Addis Ababa, January 31, 2016. (Reuters/Tiksa Negeri) A general view shows Chad's President Idriss Deby addressing delegates during the 26th Ordinary Session of the Assembly of the African Union (AU) at the AU headquarters in Ethiopia's capital Addis Ababa, January 31, 2016. (Reuters/Tiksa Negeri)

Tyler Falish is an intern for the Council on Foreign Relations Africa Studies program, and a student in Fordham University’s Graduate Program in International Political Economy & Development.

On February 6, four people—including a child—were killed and twelve injured in a coordinated grenade attack in Burundi’s capital, Bujumbura. Republican Forces of Burundi (FOREBU), an armed group opposed to President Pierre Nkurunziza’s third term bid, claimed involvement in separate attacks on February 5. The recent violence continues a trend that began nine months ago, when Nkurunziza first announced his intention to seek a third term. Read more »

AU Vote to Leave the International Criminal Court of Little Consequence

by John Campbell
Kenya's President Uhuru Kenyatta attends the opening ceremony of the 26th Ordinary Session of the Assembly of the African Union (AU) at the AU headquarters in Ethiopia's capital Addis Ababa, January 30, 2016. (Reuters/Tiksa Negeri) Kenya's President Uhuru Kenyatta attends the opening ceremony of the 26th Ordinary Session of the Assembly of the African Union (AU) at the AU headquarters in Ethiopia's capital Addis Ababa, January 30, 2016. (Reuters/Tiksa Negeri)

Led by Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta, the African Union (AU) voted by a huge margin in favor of a proposal for withdrawal from the International Criminal Court (ICC). In the aftermath of the vote, President Jacob Zuma reiterated his threat that South Africa would withdraw from the ICC’s jurisdiction: “Our strongly held view is that it is now impossible, under the circumstances, for South Africa to continue its participation…” The AU chairman, Chadian President Idriss Deby, repeated the regular criticism that the ICC is biased against Africa: “Elsewhere in the world, many things happen, many flagrant violations of human rights, but nobody cares.” Read more »

“Africa Rising”

by John Campbell
The sun rises over Mount Mikeno (C) in the Virunga National Park, Eastern DRC, December 12, 2008. (Reuters/Peter Andrews) The sun rises over Mount Mikeno (C) in the Virunga National Park, Eastern DRC, December 12, 2008. (Reuters/Peter Andrews)

For the past decade, the narrative of “Africa Rising” has been dominant. In hindsight, it was largely the product of high prices for Africa’s export commodities, especially oil, the continent’s rapid urbanization, an over-estimation of the growth of a middle class, over-reliance on dubious statistics, and more than a dollop of wishful thinking. “Africa Rising” was also a useful marketing tool for those seeking to raise capital for investment on the continent. Read more »

Al-Shabab and Islamic State: A New Rivalry

by Guest Blogger for John Campbell
Djibouti soldiers serving in the African Union Mission in Somalia (AMISOM) display weapons and parade suspected al-Shabab members during a patrol in the south central town of Beledweyne in Somalia, May 9, 2013. (Reuters/Feisal Omar) Djibouti soldiers serving in the African Union Mission in Somalia (AMISOM) display weapons and parade suspected al-Shabab members during a patrol in the south central town of Beledweyne in Somalia, May 9, 2013. (Reuters/Feisal Omar)

This is a guest post by Alex Dick-Godfrey, Assistant Director, Studies administration for the Council on Foreign Relations Studies Program.

Earlier this month, al-Shabab attacked an African Union (AU) base deep into AU controlled territory. This was followed up last week with an attack on civilians in AU controlled Mogadishu. The attacks reminded the world, again, that although al-Shabab has lost some of its previous stature, it remains resilient. But, a new threat looms. Recently, al-Shabab has been struggling to counter the new threat of the self-proclaimed Islamic State’s growing influence in East Africa. As the Islamic State gains momentum, and the rival groups compete for recruits and jockey for position, they may both use attacks on AU troops and civilians to prove their legitimacy.  Read more »