John Campbell

Africa in Transition

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

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Showing posts for "Obama"

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 »

Will Nigeria’s Strategy Toward Boko Haram Shift?

by John Campbell
Nigeria's President Goodluck Jonathan (C) arrives for the service for former South African president Nelson Mandela at the First National Bank Stadium, also known as Soccer City, in Johannesburg, December 10, 2013. (Kevin Coombs/Courtesy Reuters) Nigeria's President Goodluck Jonathan (C) arrives for the service for former South African president Nelson Mandela at the First National Bank Stadium, also known as Soccer City, in Johannesburg, December 10, 2013. (Kevin Coombs/Courtesy Reuters)

After four years of military action against Boko Haram and Abuja’s declaration of a state of emergency in three states eight months ago, Boko Haram’s depredations continue. Just last week, Boko Haram claimed responsibility for killing nineteen in a Borno village. Read more »

American Foreign Policy Toward Africa

by John Campbell
People stand and walk at a beach in the old port of Mogadishu, November 13, 2013. (Siegfried Modola/Courtesy Reuters) People stand and walk at a beach in the old port of Mogadishu, November 13, 2013. (Siegfried Modola/Courtesy Reuters)

For many of us, the American lack of attention toward Africa is short-sighted and frustrating. It is to the great credit of the National Committee on American Foreign Policy that it has devoted the entire November-December issue of its journal, American Foreign Policy Interests, to “Africa’s Conflicting Challenges: Security vs. Modernization.” The guest editor of this special issue is Herman J. Cohen, a former assistant secretary of state for Africa. Read more »

Tracking the Traffickers: A More Comprehensive Anti-Poaching Approach

by Guest Blogger for John Campbell
Ryan Yetter, a federal wildlife officer with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service stands guard next to a huge pile of confiscated elephant tusks, before 6 tons of ivory was crushed, in Denver, Colorado November 14, 2013. (Rick Wilking/Courtesy Reuters) Ryan Yetter, a federal wildlife officer with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service stands guard next to a huge pile of confiscated elephant tusks, before 6 tons of ivory was crushed, in Denver, Colorado November 14, 2013. (Rick Wilking/Courtesy Reuters)

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

In the fight to save Africa’s wildlife and stem the tide of senseless slaughter for profit, awareness campaigns across the globe are as crucial as more boots on the ground in the game reserves and parks. Read more »

Northern Nigeria and the U.S. Response to Syria

by John Campbell
A youth rides past a bicycle along Anka-Sokoto road in northeastern state of Zamfara August 13, 2013. (Akintunde Akinleye/Courtesy Reuters) A youth rides past a bicycle along Anka-Sokoto road in northeastern state of Zamfara August 13, 2013. (Akintunde Akinleye/Courtesy Reuters)

As President Obama and the Congress decide how to respond to the apparent use of chemical weapons by the Syrian regime, Alex Thurston has published a sobering post on his Sahel Blog. In his “A Northern Nigerian Prediction about Syria, Validated” he briefly recounts a conversation from 2011 with a northern Nigerian Muslim who predicted that the U.S. would “bomb Syria.” Read more »

Nigeria’s President Jonathan to Meet with President Obama

by John Campbell
U.S. President Barack Obama shakes hands with Nigerian President Goodluck Jonathan in the Oval Office of the White House in Washington June 8, 2011. (Larry Downing/Courtesy Reuters) U.S. President Barack Obama shakes hands with Nigerian President Goodluck Jonathan in the Oval Office of the White House in Washington June 8, 2011. (Larry Downing/Courtesy Reuters)

Under Secretary of State Wendy Sherman told Nigerian media that President Goodluck Jonathan and President Barack Obama would meet in Washington, DC in September, on the margins of the UN General Assembly. Read more »

No U.S. Consular Facility in Northern Nigeria

by John Campbell
Nigeria's Minister of State for Foreign Affairs Viola Onwuliri (2nd L) greets U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton as she arrives at Abuja International Airport in Abuja August 9, 2012. (Jacquelyn Martin/Courtesy Reuters) Nigeria's Minister of State for Foreign Affairs Viola Onwuliri (2nd L) greets U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton as she arrives at Abuja International Airport in Abuja August 9, 2012. (Jacquelyn Martin/Courtesy Reuters)

Before Nigeria moved its capital from Lagos to Abuja in 1991, there was a U.S. consulate in Kaduna, the political and social capital of the former Northern Region during the colonial period. The city retained its status as the informal political center of the northern Nigeria even after the regions were abolished and were replaced by states. The consulate was the center of U.S. outreach toward the predominately Muslim part of Nigeria, including exchanges, promotion of commercial opportunities, and it was the center of a lively public diplomacy outreach. Read more »

Tracking the Traffickers: President Obama Against Poaching

by Guest Blogger for John Campbell
Kenya Wildlife Service (KWS) officials display recovered elephants tusks and illegally held firearms taken from poachers at their headquarters in Kenya's capital Nairobi, January 16, 2013. (Noor Khamis/Courtesy Reuters) Kenya Wildlife Service (KWS) officials display recovered elephants tusks and illegally held firearms taken from poachers at their headquarters in Kenya's capital Nairobi, January 16, 2013. (Noor Khamis/Courtesy Reuters)

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

Wildlife trafficking ranks among the top five most lucrative illicit commodities in the world, alongside drugs, human trafficking, counterfeiting, and weapons. Unfortunately, the response by the U.S. federal government is small. Read more »

President Obama in Africa: Light Up Africa

by John Campbell
U.S. President Barack Obama delivers remarks at the University of Cape Town, June 30, 2013. (Jason Reed/Courtesy Reuters) U.S. President Barack Obama delivers remarks at the University of Cape Town, June 30, 2013. (Jason Reed/Courtesy Reuters)

Important though President Barack Obama’s evocation of Nelson Mandela’s spiritual and political legacy has been, and powerful though his Africa trip’s symbolic references were–the Door of No Return at Gorée and Robben Island–many friends of Africa will most warmly welcome his Power Africa initiative. During his South Africa stop, he proposed to double access to power in Sub-Saharan Africa. Initially, Power Africa will partner with Ethiopia, Ghana, Kenya, Liberia, Nigeria, and Tanzania. The U.S. government will look to securing some U.S. $7 billion in funding with an additional $9 billion from the private sector. Most of the public-related money will come from the Overseas Private Investment Corporation ($1.5 billion) , the U.S. Export-Import Bank ($5 billion in support of U.S. exports related to power), and the Millennium Challenge Corporation ($1 billion investment in African power systems). Congruent with the president’s emphasis on trade and investment rather than aid, only $285 million would come from the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID). Read more »

Gay Marriage and Goodluck Jonathan’s Tricky Position

by Guest Blogger for John Campbell
President Goodluck Jonathan presents his administration's midterm report during Democracy Day in Abuja May 29, 2013. (Afolabi Sotunde/Courtesy Reuters) President Goodluck Jonathan presents his administration's midterm report during Democracy Day in Abuja May 29, 2013. (Afolabi Sotunde/Courtesy Reuters)

This is a guest post by Dominic Bocci, assistant director at the Council on Foreign Relations’ David Rockefeller Studies Program.

The passage of the Same-Sex Marriage Prohibition Bill on May 31, 2013, by the Nigerian House of Representatives places President Goodluck Jonathan in a tricky position. Not signing the bill risks alienating his own government and signaling to the general public that he does not support one of the few issues that brings the majority of Nigerians together. Alternatively, signing such legislation may cost the country substantial sums of international aid and investment. Either way, gay marriage—an otherwise unlikely political issue—may significantly influence the Nigerian political debate leading up to the 2015 national elections. Read more »