John Campbell

Africa in Transition

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

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Showing posts for "Mauritania"

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 »

What to Watch: Africa 2016

by John Campbell and Guest Blogger for John Campbell
Boys play on the roof of the entrance to a football stadium in Gao February 20, 2013. (Reuters/Joe Penney) Boys play on the roof of the entrance to a football stadium in Gao February 20, 2013. (Reuters/Joe Penney)

While western governments are currently transfixed on events in Iraq and Syria, it is important that they do not forget Africa. Boko Haram has become the world’s deadliest terrorist organization and Libya is increasingly becoming a base of operations for the Islamic State. Below, CFR’s Africa program outlines six African issues to watch in 2016. While they could certainly affect the lives of millions of Africans, these issues could also have serious implications for international politics. Read more »

Ansaru: Who Are They And Where Are They From?

by Guest Blogger for John Campbell
Evidence is displayed during a hearing for suspected members of al Qaeda in the Islamic Magreb (AQIM) at a military court in Tunis June 9, 2012. (Zoubeir Souissi/Courtesy Reuters) Evidence is displayed during a hearing for suspected members of al Qaeda in the Islamic Magreb (AQIM) at a military court in Tunis June 9, 2012. (Zoubeir Souissi/Courtesy Reuters)

This is a guest post by Jacob Zenn, an analyst of African Affairs for the Washington D.C.-based think tank, The Jamestown Foundation, and a contributor for the West Point CTC Sentinel.

Ansaru is not a grassroots organization like Boko Haram, the more prominent Islamist militant group in Nigeria. Nonetheless, Ansaru has been more of a threat to Western interests than Boko Haram. Recent evidence also shows that the two groups may be merging. Read more »

Violent Islamism in Africa

by John Campbell
Ugandan soldiers, operating under the African Union Mission in Somalia (AMISOM), sit on a tank as they advance towards Buurhakaba from their former position in the town of Leego, alongside members of the Somali National Army (SNA) on February 24, 2013. (Tobin Jones/Courtesy Reuters) Ugandan soldiers, operating under the African Union Mission in Somalia (AMISOM), sit on a tank as they advance towards Buurhakaba from their former position in the town of Leego, alongside members of the Somali National Army (SNA) on February 24, 2013. (Tobin Jones/Courtesy Reuters)

The Robert S. Strauss Center at the University of Texas at Austin has just published a research brief on Islamist violence in Africa; “Tracking Islamist Militia and Rebel Groups.” The author is Caitriona Dowd at Trinity College, Dublin. The brief is based on the Armed Conflict Location and Event Dataset (ACLED), of which she is the senior research and data manager. The data covers the past fifteen years. Her discussion includes North Africa as well as sub-Saharan Africa, and she sees a “rising global consciousness among Islamist groups and Muslim populations” in the aftermath of the Arab Spring. Read more »

Mauritania’s Uncertain Position in Face of President’s Extended Recuperation

by Guest Blogger for John Campbell
Supporters carry a poster of coup-leader Abdelaziz in Mauritania's capital Nouakchott 07/08/2008. (Irakli Gedenidze/Courtesy Reuters) Supporters carry a poster of coup-leader Abdelaziz in Mauritania's capital Nouakchott 07/08/2008. (Irakli Gedenidze/Courtesy Reuters)

This is a guest post by Geoff Porter, an analyst with North Africa Risk Consulting, Inc. (NARCO). He is a specialist in North Africa and the Sahel.

One month ago, Mauritanian President Mohamed Ould Abdelaziz was shot and evacuated to Paris. He has not returned. Read more »