John Campbell

Africa in Transition

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

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Showing posts for "Somalia"

International Finance: “Somalia is Different”

by Guest Blogger for John Campbell
Customers walk out of a Dahabshiil money transfer office in "Kilometer Five" street of Soobe village, southern Mogadishu, May 8, 2013. (Feisal Omar/Courtesy Reuters) Customers walk out of a Dahabshiil money transfer office in "Kilometer Five" street of Soobe village, southern Mogadishu, May 8, 2013. (Feisal Omar/Courtesy Reuters)

This is a guest post by Sarah Madden, volunteer intern for the Council on Foreign Relations, Department of Studies. Sarah is currently a student at Santa Clara University studying business economics and entrepreneurship. Her interests are in Africa, economic development, and emerging markets. Read more »

Soccer: African Islamism and the “Beautiful Game”

by Guest Blogger for John Campbell
Players from Heegan (blue shirt) compete against players from Gaaddidka (red shirt) during the first soccer match of the Somalia Premier League at the Banadir stadium in Mogadishu, November 8, 2013. (Omar Faruk/Courtesy Reuters) Players from Heegan (blue shirt) compete against players from Gaaddidka (red shirt) during the first soccer match of the Somalia Premier League at the Banadir stadium in Mogadishu, November 8, 2013. (Omar Faruk/Courtesy Reuters)

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

When al Shabaab, the violent Islamist group in Somalia, took control of the capital city Mogadishu, it actively destroyed buildings and overt displays of Western institutions and influences. This included outlawing soccer. The group destroyed cinemas and viewing centers in Mogadishu during the 2010 World Cup to stop residents from watching the matches. Their first successful international attack was the twin explosions in Uganda’s capital Kampala at viewing stations during the tournament. Read more »

Security Hazards of Being a FIFA World Cup Spectator

by Guest Blogger for John Campbell
A fan waits for the start of a 2010 World Cup Group E soccer match between Cameroon and Denmark at Loftus Versfeld stadium in Pretoria, June 19, 2010. (Dylan Martinez/Courtesy Reuters) A fan waits for the start of a 2010 World Cup Group E soccer match between Cameroon and Denmark at Loftus Versfeld stadium in Pretoria, June 19, 2010. (Dylan Martinez/Courtesy Reuters)

This guest post was coauthored by Emily Mellgard, research associate, and Amanda Roth, volunteer intern for the Council on Foreign Relations Africa Studies program.

Even with their immense diversity, nearly all Africans love soccer. There is a cultural obsession with the sport similar to that of Americans for football, and it has, in the past, caused riots between fans of rival teams. Most of the time however, Africans’ passion for soccer is a constructive social pastime, and national teams can be a focus of unity and identity. Read more »

Kenya: Violence Coopted by Political Rivalries

by Guest Blogger for John Campbell
A resident holds a placard as he participates in a protest against the recent attack by unidentified gunmen in the coastal Kenyan town of Mpeketoni, June 17, 2014. (Joseph Okanga/Courtesy Reuters) A resident holds a placard as he participates in a protest against the recent attack by unidentified gunmen in the coastal Kenyan town of Mpeketoni, June 17, 2014. (Joseph Okanga/Courtesy Reuters)

This is a guest post by Amanda Roth, volunteer intern for the Council on Foreign Relations Africa program. She is a graduate student at Columbia University’s School of International and Public Affairs (SIPA), where she studies international security policy. Read more »

Time for Better Coordination Against al Shabaab

by Guest Blogger for John Campbell
Ugandan peacekeeping troops stand during a ceremony at Mogadishu airport in Somalia, May 18, 2014. (Feisal Omar/Courtesy Reuters) Ugandan peacekeeping troops stand during a ceremony at Mogadishu airport in Somalia, May 18, 2014. (Feisal Omar/Courtesy Reuters)

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

Last month, in the wake of the kidnapping of the schoolgirls from Chibok in Nigeria by the Islamist organization Boko Haram, President Francois Hollande of France convened a security summit in Paris. Heads of state from Nigeria, Cameroon, Chad, and Niger attended. The main result was the creation of a “central intelligence platform,” which will serve as a place for West African nations to coordinate their responses to Boko Haram. The United States and its partners in the Horn of Africa should endeavor to copy a form of this strategy to counter al Shabaab in the Horn. 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 »

Compatibility Issues in Somalia: Governance and Economics

by Guest Blogger for John Campbell
A truck drives through Bakara market in Mogadishu, October 5, 2013. (Feisal Omar/Courtesy Reuters) A truck drives through Bakara market in Mogadishu, October 5, 2013. (Feisal Omar/Courtesy Reuters)

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

Somalia continues to improve after a nearly a quarter century of war, but integrating economics and governance remains difficult. Read more »

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 »

Somalia Needs a National Newspaper

by Guest Blogger for John Campbell
A woman walks by a Kenya Defence Force (KDF) soldier on the outer perimeter area of the Kismayu airport controlled by the African Mission in Somalia (AMISOM), November 11, 2013, (Siegfried Modola/Courtesy Reuters) A woman walks by a Kenya Defence Force (KDF) soldier on the outer perimeter area of the Kismayu airport controlled by the African Mission in Somalia (AMISOM), November 11, 2013, (Siegfried Modola/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.

As the Somalia diaspora returns to the country, along with foreign embassies and international organizations, the country’s long slide into darkness appears to be slowing. Despite many obstacles rendering such an idea unrealistic, establishing a national newspaper could contribute to greater unity and stability. Read more »

Somalia: A New Prime Minister?

by Guest Blogger for John Campbell
Somalia's new prime minister Abdiweli Sheikh Ahmed delivers his speech at the Parliament Building in Mogadishu, December 21, 2013. (Omar Faruk/Courtesy Reuters) Somalia's new prime minister Abdiweli Sheikh Ahmed delivers his speech at the Parliament Building in Mogadishu, December 21, 2013. (Omar Faruk/Courtesy Reuters)

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

Last month, with little fanfare, the Somali federal government voted to approve the appointment of a new prime minister, Abdiweli Sheikh Ahmed Mohamed, just a little over a year after his predecessor was sworn in. The change came after a constitutional struggle between President Hassan Sheikh Mohamud and then-prime minister Abdi Farah Shirdon. The president demanded the prime minister resign because of his incompetence as illustrated, in part, by his choice of cabinet ministers. The prime minister refused to go, and the president thereupon promptly organized a vote of no confidence in parliament to force the prime minister out of office. Read more »