John Campbell

Africa in Transition

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

Posts by Category

Showing posts for "Air Strikes"

Nigeria Security Tracker: Weekly Update June 21-27

by John Campbell
The map above depicts deaths in Nigeria by state. (Source: CFR Nigeria Security Tracker; powered by Tableau) The map above depicts deaths in Nigeria by state. (Source: CFR Nigeria Security Tracker; powered by Tableau)

Below is a visualization and description of some of the most significant incidents of political violence in Nigeria from June 21 to June 27, 2014. These incidents are also available here, and are included in the Nigeria Security Tracker.
Read more »

Crimes Against Humanity and Nigeria’s Giwa Barracks

by John Campbell
A soldier examines a wall riddled with bullets, from an attack by Boko Haram militants, in front of a house in Bama, Borno State, February 20, 2014. (Stringer/Courtesy Reuters) A soldier examines a wall riddled with bullets, from an attack by Boko Haram militants, in front of a house in Bama, Borno State, February 20, 2014. (Stringer/Courtesy Reuters)

Amnesty International, the London-based non-governmental human rights organization, has issued a report, “Nigeria: More than 1,500 Killed in North-Eastern Nigeria in Early 2014.” Of particular interest is its dissection of what happened on March 14 at Giwa Barracks, the largest military facility in Maiduguri, Borno State. Read more »

Is the U.S. Strategy in Somalia Working?

by Guest Blogger for John Campbell
A U.S. Air Force MQ-1 Predator unmanned aerial vehicle assigned to the California Air National Guard's 163rd Reconnaissance Wing flies near the Southern California Logistics Airport in Victorville, California in this January 7, 2012 USAF handout photo obtained by Reuters, February 6, 2013. (U.S. Air Force Tech. Sgt. Effrain Lopez/Courtesy Reuters) A U.S. Air Force MQ-1 Predator unmanned aerial vehicle assigned to the California Air National Guard's 163rd Reconnaissance Wing flies near the Southern California Logistics Airport in Victorville, California in this January 7, 2012 USAF handout photo obtained by Reuters, February 6, 2013. (U.S. Air Force Tech. Sgt. Effrain Lopez/Courtesy Reuters)

This is a guest post by Allen Grane, intern for the Council on Foreign Relations Africa Studies program. Allen is currently an officer in the Army National Guard. His interests are in Africa, conflict, and conflict resolution.

In the last week of January news outlets reported that an American drone had conducted an unsuccessful strike against a high level al-Shabaab leader in the Lower Shabelle region of Somalia. Later reports stated that the target of the strike was Ahmed Abdi Godane, the presumed current head of al-Shabaab. While the strike failed in its main mission to eliminate Godane, it and other such strikes may represent greater success for American and Somali strategies against the terrorist organization than this single unsuccessful strike. Read more »

Drones in Niger: A Fateful Decision

by John Campbell
A U.S. Air Force MQ-1 Predator unmanned aerial vehicle assigned to the California Air National Guard's 163rd Reconnaissance Wing flies near the Southern California Logistics Airport in Victorville, California in this January 7, 2012. (U.S. Air Force/Courtesy Reuters) A U.S. Air Force MQ-1 Predator unmanned aerial vehicle assigned to the California Air National Guard's 163rd Reconnaissance Wing flies near the Southern California Logistics Airport in Victorville, California in this January 7, 2012. (U.S. Air Force/Courtesy Reuters)

President Obama announced in a letter to Congress that he deployed “approximately one hundred” U.S. military troops to Niamey, Niger to establish a drone base to survey the Sahel and the Sahara. This base, which could eventually host up to three hundred U.S. troops, contradicts earlier administration assurances that there would be no U.S. boots on the ground. There has been limited U.S. surveillance of the region before, using light aircraft. However, a drone base dramatically ups the visibility–and the ante. Read more »

Jumping to Conclusions About the U.S. Military Presence in Niger

by John Campbell
Undated file photo courtesy of the U.S. Navy shows a RQ-4 Global Hawk unmanned aerial vehicle conducting tests over Naval Air Station Patuxent River, Maryland. (Erik Hildebrandt/Courtesy Reuters) Undated file photo courtesy of the U.S. Navy shows a RQ-4 Global Hawk unmanned aerial vehicle conducting tests over Naval Air Station Patuxent River, Maryland. (Erik Hildebrandt/Courtesy Reuters)

There has been press speculation that the United States is going to establish a drone base in Niger. They claim that the drones would initially be for surveillance, but they could later be armed. Read more »

French Enter Mali But How Will It End?

by John Campbell
People walk past the Grand Mosque of Djenne, a UNESCO World-Heritage listed site, in Djenne 17/09/2012. (Joe Penney/Courtesy Reuters) People walk past the Grand Mosque of Djenne, a UNESCO World-Heritage listed site, in Djenne 17/09/2012. (Joe Penney/Courtesy Reuters)

According to the New York Times, the French intervention in Mali to halt the southern march of Islamist forces has gone well. Franco-Malian recovery of the fabled cities of Timbuktu, Gao, and Kidal can be foreseen, though the fighting may be very bloody. That will mean fewer amputations and stonings, but it will not resolve the fundamental issues: a detached and discredited government in Bamako, an alienated north, and a fierce popular anger that expresses itself in Islamic terms. All of this against a background of recurrent food insecurity related to desertification. As the earlier example of the Polisario shows, a desert based insurgency can last a long time, perhaps longer than a French commitment to a country that is marginal to its fundamental interests. Read more »