John Campbell

Africa in Transition

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

Posts by Category

Showing posts for "Libya"

Defining “Africa” Through Geography or Regional Cooperation

by John Campbell
Citizens of Mali protest during the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) meeting, where the Mali crisis and Guinea-Bissau coup are discussed, in Abidjan April 26, 2012. (Luc Gnago/Courtesy Reuters) Citizens of Mali protest during the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) meeting, where the Mali crisis and Guinea-Bissau coup are discussed, in Abidjan April 26, 2012. (Luc Gnago/Courtesy Reuters)

What is “Africa?” Nomenclature raises difficult issues. Maps in school rooms show “Africa” as a distinct continent, the second largest in the world. But the U.S. Department of State assigns North Africa –the states of the Mediterranean littoral (Egypt, Libya, Tunisia, Algeria and Morocco), to its Near East bureau– not its Africa bureau.  On the other hand, the Department of Defense’s African Command (AFRICOM) includes Africa’s Mediterranean littoral with most of the rest of the continent in its area of responsibility.  The international consulting organization McKinsey & Co. included North Africa in its aggregated data on Africa in its well-known report Lions on the Move, the results of which would have been different absent the relative economic powerhouses of the Mediterranean littoral. The Libyan dictator Qaddafi famously tried to pose as an “African”—not Middle Eastern– leader, and he bankrolled the African Union. The Council on Foreign Relations follows the Department of State’s usage. Read more »

Guest Post: Democracy in Africa: Form Over Substance

by Guest Blogger for John Campbell
Expelled African National Congress Youth League (ANCYL) President Julius Malema (R) and South African Deputy President Kgalema Motlanthe gesture during an ANCYL rally in Limpopo province March 25, 2012. (Siphiwe Sibeko/Courtesy Reuters) Expelled African National Congress Youth League (ANCYL) President Julius Malema (R) and South African Deputy President Kgalema Motlanthe gesture during an ANCYL rally in Limpopo province March 25, 2012. (Siphiwe Sibeko/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.

Events in Mali are very likely to be seen mainly as an outgrowth of those in Libya, but the heavy focus on reversing the coup, with less on the partition of the country, is stunning in its neglect of a more basic issue: namely, Western preoccupation with the trappings of democracy, e.g., elections, constitutions, etc., rather than its substance. The ease with which the country’s president was ousted and half the country’s territory lost, indicates a very weak government, lacking its population’s support and confidence. Read more »