John Campbell

Africa in Transition

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

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South Sudan Conflict: Personalities, Resources, and Threats

by Guest Blogger for John Campbell
Rebel fighters walk in a rebel controlled territory in Upper Nile State February 14, 2014. (Courtesy Reuters/Goran Tomasevic) Rebel fighters walk in a rebel controlled territory in Upper Nile State February 14, 2014. (Courtesy Reuters/Goran Tomasevic)

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 March, the Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD), the international organization that represents east African nations, announced plans to deploy a stabilization and protection force to South Sudan by mid-April. As of April 1, IGAD also announced that peace talks between the warring factions in South Sudan were suspended for a month. There is no update on the development of the stabilization force. Read more »

Tracking South Africa’s Democracy in Real Time

by Guest Blogger for John Campbell
A search of FACTIVA’s database revealed preliminary evidence that reporting on service delivery protests has been increasing since the early 2000s, with a sharp downturn in 2013. However, this data is limited by internal factors such as FACTIVA’s addition of new sources and external factors like the media’s use of the term “service delivery protest.”
Source: FACTIVA A search of FACTIVA’s database revealed preliminary evidence that reporting on service delivery protests has been increasing since the early 2000s, with a sharp downturn in 2013. However, this data is limited by internal factors such as FACTIVA’s addition of new sources and external factors like the media’s use of the term “service delivery protest.” Source: FACTIVA

This is a guest post by Le Chen, Janice Dean, Jesper Frant, and Rachana Kumar. They are Master of Public Administration students at Columbia University’s School of International Public Affairs. They are working with Ambassador John Campbell on a graduate practicum project, which was made possible by faculty adviser Professor Anne Nelson. A longer version of this post appeared on the World Policy Blog. Read more »

Big Men: Ghana, Nigeria, and the United States

by Guest Blogger for John Campbell
Ebiowei, 48, carries an empty oil container on his head to a place where it would be filled with refined fuel at an illegal refinery site near river Nun in Nigeria's oil state of Bayelsa November 27, 2012. (Akintunde Akinleye/Courtesy Reuters) Ebiowei, 48, carries an empty oil container on his head to a place where it would be filled with refined fuel at an illegal refinery site near river Nun in Nigeria's oil state of Bayelsa November 27, 2012. (Akintunde Akinleye/Courtesy Reuters)

This is a guest post by Emily Mellgard, research associate for the Council on Foreign Relations Africa Studies program.

A great discovery often brings together strange bedfellows. Such is the case when the Jubilee Oil Field is discovered within Ghana’s national waters in the Gulf of Guinea. The heights and depths of the relationships between the people and groups pulled together around this oil field is the subject of the new Rachel Boyton (director) and Brad Pitt (producer) documentary Big Men. The documentary was filmed over five years from first discovery of the oil field to nearing “first oil” -when actual production begins. Read more »

Al Shabaab, AMISOM, and the United States

by Guest Blogger for John Campbell
A woman walks by an armoured vehicle of the African Mission in Somalia (AMISOM) outside the perimeter area of the Kismayu airport, November 11, 2013. (Siegfried Modola/Courtesy Reuters) A woman walks by an armoured vehicle of the African Mission in Somalia (AMISOM) outside the perimeter area of the Kismayu airport, November 11, 2013. (Siegfried Modola/Courtesy Reuters)

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

In a recent article on the Daily Maverick, Simon Allison identifies the “surprisingly perceptive” core message of al Shabaab leader Ahmed Abdi Godane’s recent propaganda audio message. Read more »

“To Live and Die in LA,” and Maiduguri

by Guest Blogger for John Campbell
A dog walks past burnt houses in Angwan Gata village, in Kaura local government area, Kaduna State, March 19, 2014. (Afolabi Sotunde/Courtesy Reuters) A dog walks past burnt houses in Angwan Gata village, in Kaura local government area, Kaduna State, March 19, 2014. (Afolabi Sotunde/Courtesy Reuters)

This is a guest post by Jim Sanders, a career, now retired, West Africa watcher for various federal agencies. The views expressed below are his personal views and do not reflect those of his former employers.

Northeastern Nigeria increasingly resembles the world depicted in the 1985 film, To Live and Die in LA. Directed by William Friedkin, the story is about Secret Service agents’ pursuit of a counterfeiter. In the process, differences between criminals and law enforcement personnel nearly disappear. A reviewer observes that the criminals have more of an inner life than the law enforcers, whose actions are “endlessly self-consuming,” leading to “meaningless death and brutality.” A “contradictory moral universe” emerges “where the wrong people die and redemption is an illusion.” Read more »

Uganda and the African Standby Force

by Guest Blogger for John Campbell
A soldier from the Somali National Army uses a belt acting as a weapon during a training exercise in Mogadishu, March 28, 2013. (Tobin Jones/Courtesy Reuters) A soldier from the Somali National Army uses a belt acting as a weapon during a training exercise in Mogadishu, March 28, 2013. (Tobin Jones/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.

Since 2003, The African Union Peace and Security Council has sought to establish an African Standby Force, whose purpose would be to rapidly respond to conflicts and emergency situations in Africa. Since then the Council has proposed several structural versions of a standby force to fill this rapid reaction role, none of which have yet yielded results. In the meantime it appears that the Ugandan government is using its own military to fill this role. Read more »

All the King’s Men: Goodluck Jonathan and Aliyu Mohammed Gusau

by Guest Blogger for John Campbell
New chief of naval staff, Rear Admiral Usman O. Jibrin (centre seated L), and outgoing Vice Admiral Dele Joseph Ezeoba attend a handing over ceremony in Abuja,January 20, 2014. (Afolabi Sotunde/Courtesy Reuters) New chief of naval staff, Rear Admiral Usman O. Jibrin (centre seated L), and outgoing Vice Admiral Dele Joseph Ezeoba attend a handing over ceremony in Abuja,January 20, 2014. (Afolabi Sotunde/Courtesy Reuters)

This is a guest post by Jim Sanders, a career, now retired, West Africa watcher for various federal agencies. The views expressed below are his personal views and do not reflect those of his former employers.

The accession of retired general Aliyu Mohammed Gusau, whose career extends back to Nigeria’s civil war, to a newly empowered Ministry of Defense evidences the gravity of the war in northeastern Nigeria, the president’s inability to deal with it, and the tendency of a political system sustained by patronage and corruption to look backward in crisis, rather than forward. Read more »

African Economies: Growing Quickly But Transforming Slowly

by Guest Blogger for John Campbell
Labourers work at a mine believed to contain gold in Minna, Niger State, June 23, 2013. (Afolabi Sotunde/Courtesy Reuters) Labourers work at a mine believed to contain gold in Minna, Niger State, June 23, 2013. (Afolabi Sotunde/Courtesy Reuters)

This is a guest post by Diptesh Soni. Diptesh is a master’s degree candidate at the Columbia University School of International Public Affairs (SIPA) studying economic and political development. You can read more by him at: https://dipteshsoni.contently.com/. Read more »

Uganda: Miniskirt Ban

by Guest Blogger for John Campbell
Uganda President Yoweri Museveni signs an anti-homosexual bill into law at the state house in Entebbe, 36 km (22 miles) south west of capital Kampala February 24, 2014. (James Akena/Courtesy Reuters) Uganda President Yoweri Museveni signs an anti-homosexual bill into law at the state house in Entebbe, 36 km (22 miles) south west of capital Kampala February 24, 2014. (James Akena/Courtesy Reuters)

This is a guest post by Brooke Bocast, a PhD candidate in anthropology at Temple University and a visiting predoctoral fellow at Northwestern University. She is currently writing her doctoral dissertation on gender, consumption, and higher education in Uganda. Read more »

Tracking the Traffickers: Understanding the Illegal Wildlife Trade Supply Chain

by Guest Blogger for John Campbell
A Kenya Wildlife Service (KWS) officer stands guard near a shipment of elephant tusks and rhino horns which was intercepted at Jomo Kenyatta International Airport, in the capital Nairobi, August 23, 2010. (Thomas Mukoya/Courtesy Reuters) A Kenya Wildlife Service (KWS) officer stands guard near a shipment of elephant tusks and rhino horns which was intercepted at Jomo Kenyatta International Airport, in the capital Nairobi, August 23, 2010. (Thomas Mukoya/Courtesy Reuters)

This is a guest post by Emily Mellgard, research associate for the Council on Foreign Relations Africa Studies program.

Over the past year the plight of Africa’s elephants and rhinos has captured international imagination; in December 2013, the UN proclaimed March 3 to be World Wildlife Day. Moving beyond the headlines, countering wildlife slaughter and trade requires a better understanding of the illicit wildlife supply chain and what, beyond poverty and greed, motivates its participants. Read more »