John Campbell

Africa in Transition

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

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Showing posts for "Politics"

Inauguration Day in Nigeria

by John Campbell
Nigeria's outgoing President Goodluck Jonathan (L) congratulates incoming President Muhammadu Buhari after the handover at Eagle Square in Abuja, Nigeria, May 29, 2015. (Reuters/Afolabi Sotunde) Nigeria's outgoing President Goodluck Jonathan (L) congratulates incoming President Muhammadu Buhari after the handover at Eagle Square in Abuja, Nigeria, May 29, 2015. (Reuters/Afolabi Sotunde)

Muhammadu Buhari will be inaugurated president of Nigeria today, May 29, in Abuja’s Eagle Square. To call an occasion “historic” is hackneyed. But, this time, it is true. Read more »

What’s Happening With Boko Haram?

by John Campbell
An armoured tank is seen abandoned along a road in Bazza town, after the Nigerian military recaptured it from Boko Haram, in Adamawa state, May 10, 2015. (Akintunde Akinleye/Reuters) An armoured tank is seen abandoned along a road in Bazza town, after the Nigerian military recaptured it from Boko Haram, in Adamawa state, May 10, 2015. (Akintunde Akinleye/Reuters)

Nigeria inaugurates its new president, Muhammadu Buhari, on May 29. It is the first time a Nigerian head of state has defeated an incumbent at the ballot box. Buhari’s successful campaign was largely based on the need to restore security and to counter corruption. Now, as he takes office, the radical Islamist insurrection labeled Boko Haram is the country’s most immediate security threat. Read more »

Major Airlines Ban Animal Cargo

by Guest Blogger for John Campbell
An Emirates Airlines Airbus A380-800, with Tail Number A6-EEV, lands at San Francisco International Airport, San Francisco, California, April 11, 2015. (Reuters/Louis Nastro) An Emirates Airlines Airbus A380-800, with Tail Number A6-EEV, lands at San Francisco International Airport, San Francisco, California, April 11, 2015. (Reuters/Louis Nastro)

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

In April, South African Airways (SAA) announced that SAA Cargo, the company’s airfreight division, would no longer transport hunting trophies from rhinoceroses, elephants, tigers, and lions internationally. Shortly after, in May, Emirates Airlines announced that they would no longer transport the very same trophies. Read more »

Nigeria Security Tracker: Weekly Update May 16-May 22

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 May 16, 2015 to May 22, 2015. This update also represents violence related to Boko Haram in Cameroon, Chad, and Niger. These incidents will be included in the Nigeria Security Tracker. Read more »

United States Support for African Peacekeeping

by John Campbell
U.N. peacekeepers patrol in their tank, past the deserted Kibati village, near Goma in the eastern Democratic Republic of Congo, August 7, 2013. (Thomas Mukoya/Courtesy Reuters) U.N. peacekeepers patrol in their tank, past the deserted Kibati village, near Goma in the eastern Democratic Republic of Congo, August 7, 2013. (Thomas Mukoya/Courtesy Reuters)

Multilateral peacekeeping operations have long been a feature of the international community’s response to African conflicts (most of which are domestic though often with outside meddling). For those concerned about African peacekeeping operations, the Council on Foreign Relations’ Center for Preventive Action has just published an important new special report by Paul D. Williams titled Enhancing U.S. Support for Peace Operations in Africa. It is a must-read for those involved in African security issues. Read more »

Sudan’s Recent Elections and Daunting Future

by Guest Blogger for John Campbell
Sudan's President Omar Hassan al-Bashir (C) casts his ballot during elections in the capital Khartoum April 13, 2015. (Mohamed Nureldin Abdallah/Courtesy Reuters) Sudan's President Omar Hassan al-Bashir (C) casts his ballot during elections in the capital Khartoum April 13, 2015. (Mohamed Nureldin Abdallah/Courtesy Reuters)

This is a guest post by Aala Abdelgadir, research associate for the Council on Foreign Relation’s Civil Society, Markets, and Democracy Initiative.

Last month, Sudan held national elections, and Omar al-Bashir secured another presidential term. Though expected, many commentators are focused on the illegitimacy of al-Bashir’s victory. The election’s results are indeed disappointing, but the real challenge facing Sudan is its uncertain future. The country is struggling with an economic crisis, ethnic conflict, and political gridlock. These must be the focus of politicians and analysts alike if Sudan is ever to regain stability. Read more »

More on Nigeria’s South African Mercenaries

by John Campbell
A burnt armour tank is seen abandoned along a road in Bazza town after the Nigerian military recaptured it from Boko Haram, in Adamawa state, May 10, 2015. (Courtesy Reuters/Akintunde Akinleye) A burnt armour tank is seen abandoned along a road in Bazza town after the Nigerian military recaptured it from Boko Haram, in Adamawa state, May 10, 2015. (Courtesy Reuters/Akintunde Akinleye)

After almost five years of reverses, the Nigerian federal government largely cleared Boko Haram fighters from the territories they occupied in Borno state–in about five weeks. The Nigerian government has given most of the credit to an allegedly invigorated Nigerian army. There has also been some acknowledgement of the contributions of Chadian and Nigerien forces. There has, however, been little recognition of the role of South African mercenaries, though they are likely to have been crucial to military success against Boko Haram. Read more »

Kenya’s Al-Shabaab Problem

by Guest Blogger for John Campbell
A man participates in a protest against the gunmen attack at the Garissa University, at the Eastleigh neighborhood in Kenya's capital Nairobi, April 8, 2015. (Thomas Mukoya/Courtesy Reuters) A man participates in a protest against the gunmen attack at the Garissa University, at the Eastleigh neighborhood in Kenya's capital Nairobi, April 8, 2015. (Thomas Mukoya/Courtesy Reuters)

This is a guest post by Aala Abdelgadir, research associate for the Council on Foreign Relation’s Civil Society, Markets, and Democracy Initiative.

On October 16, 2011, the Kenyan army, in an ostensibly joint operation with the Somalian and Ethiopian militaries, crossed the border into Somalia and attacked the insurgent group al-Shabaab. In response to the October 16 offensive, al-Shabaab launched an attack in Kenya on October 24, 2011. The attack killed one person. Read more »

The Danger of Al-Shabaab’s Evolution

by Guest Blogger for John Campbell
Policemen guard the bus ferrying rescued students from the Garissa University as it arrives at Nyayo stadium in Kenya's capital Nairobi, April 4, 2015. (Thomas Mukoya/Courtesy Reuters) Policemen guard the bus ferrying rescued students from the Garissa University as it arrives at Nyayo stadium in Kenya's capital Nairobi, April 4, 2015. (Thomas Mukoya/Courtesy Reuters)

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

In the past five years, the Somali jihadist group al-Shabaab has lost most of its senior leadership, surrendered its control of southern Somalia, and seen its cash flow shrink. The group has certainly seen better times. But as the success of recent attacks in Kenya and Mogadishu indicate, the group is regaining some of its previous stature but as a fundamentally different group. Al-Shabaab is now more decentralized and has a larger geographic focus. Given regional dynamics, an inept Kenyan security response, refugee flows from Yemen, and a diminished United States presence, this new embodiment of al-Shabaab is becoming increasingly difficult to counter. Read more »

South Africa’s Xenophobic Violence

by John Campbell
A Zimbabwean man takes refuge at the Milnerton police station after fleeing a fresh outbreak of anti-foreigner violence in Cape Town, May 22, 2008. (Courtesy Reuters/Mark Wessels) A Zimbabwean man takes refuge at the Milnerton police station after fleeing a fresh outbreak of anti-foreigner violence in Cape Town, May 22, 2008. (Courtesy Reuters/Mark Wessels)

The current wave of violence and intimidation against African immigrants in South Africa started in Durban and has spread to Johannesburg and other parts of the country. Intimidation and fear mongering appears to be widespread, generating panic among African foreigners. There have been previous waves of xenophobia in post-apartheid South Africa that also were violent. Read more »