John Campbell

Africa in Transition

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

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Showing posts for "Somalia"

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 »

Polio in Nigeria and Somalia

by John Campbell
A Medecins Sans Frontieres (MSF) worker ushers newly arrived Somali refugees before they are administered polio vaccine at the Ifo extension refugee camp in Dadaab, near the Kenya-Somalia border August 1, 2011. (Thomas Mukoya/Courtesy Reuters) A Medecins Sans Frontieres (MSF) worker ushers newly arrived Somali refugees before they are administered polio vaccine at the Ifo extension refugee camp in Dadaab, near the Kenya-Somalia border August 1, 2011. (Thomas Mukoya/Courtesy Reuters)

It is hard to imagine a more devastating tragedy for a child in the developing world than to be crippled for life by polio. Given the success of the international vaccination effort, it is also increasingly unnecessary.

However in 2012 Nigeria recorded 122 new cases of polio. Nigeria had been one of only three countries where the disease was still endemic (the other two were Afghanistan and Pakistan). But now Nigeria is joined by another African country – Somalia. Eunice Kilonzo in The East African reports 191 polio infections in Somalia. The media is also reporting small outbreaks elsewhere in east Africa, often associated with Somali refugee movements. Read more »

Reflections on United States Counterterrorism Mistakes in Africa

by John Campbell
Two U.S. soldiers talk while training Malian soldiers while training in Gao, eastern Mali November 13, 2006. (Luc Gnago/Courtesy Reuters) Two U.S. soldiers talk while training Malian soldiers while training in Gao, eastern Mali November 13, 2006. (Luc Gnago/Courtesy Reuters)

Alex Vines, director of Area Studies and International Law, and head of the Africa Program at Chatham House, a London based think-tank, has written a thoughtful article for CNN. He looks at U.S. counterterrorism operations in Africa, including questions about their legality under international law and their impact (often unintended) on weak African states. Read more »

Somalia: Violence Against Staff Forces MSF Retreat

by John Campbell
Madina hospital staff help to wheel an injured Medecins Sans Frontieres (MSF) personnel on a stretcher south of capital Mogadishu December 29, 2011. (Feisal Omar/Courtesy Reuters) Madina hospital staff help to wheel an injured Medecins Sans Frontieres (MSF) personnel on a stretcher south of capital Mogadishu December 29, 2011. (Feisal Omar/Courtesy Reuters)

Doctors Without Borders announced that it is leaving Somalia. The French-founded, Nobel prize winning non-governmental organization, known by its French acronym MSF, provides medical care in war zones. It has operated in Somalia since 1991. In 2012, MSF “provided 624,000 medical consultations, admitted 41,100 patients to hospitals, cared for 30,090 malnourished children, vaccinated 58,620, and delivered 7,300 babies” according to its August 14 statement. Read more »

Piracy in the Gulf of Guinea Greater than in the Horn of Africa

by John Campbell
An Ivory Coast gendarmerie boat is seen at the port of Abidjan, April 23, 2013. (Thierry Gouegnon/Courtesy Reuters) An Ivory Coast gendarmerie boat is seen at the port of Abidjan, April 23, 2013. (Thierry Gouegnon/Courtesy Reuters)

It is official. There is more piracy in the Gulf of Guinea now than off the coast of Somalia. The International Maritime Bureau (IMB), Oceans Beyond Piracy (OBP), and the Maritime Piracy Humanitarian Response Programme (MPHRP) have published an intriguing report: The Human Cost of Maritime Piracy 2012. It is a fascinating read. It states that 966 sailors were attacked in the Gulf of Guinea and adjoining water in 2012, while 851 were victims of pirate attacks off the Somali coast over the same period. The report analyzes the differences in piracy between the two areas. In West Africa, it mostly takes place in national territorial waters, especially off of Nigeria, rather than in international waters. Vessels awaiting entry into port and those transferring oil from one vessel to another are particularly vulnerable. Rather than kidnapping for ransom as Somali pirates do, West African pirates are after oil cargoes or, in some cases, the personal property to be found on the vessels. Read more »

Mapping Mogadishu and the Problem of Warlord Politicians

by Guest Blogger for John Campbell
People stand in front of a building destroyed during a fight between al Shabaab militants against African Union and Somali Government forces in Mogadishu June 26, 2012. (Goran Tomasevic/Courtesy Reuters) People stand in front of a building destroyed during a fight between al Shabaab militants against African Union and Somali Government forces in Mogadishu June 26, 2012. (Goran Tomasevic/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.

Somalia is clawing its way out of twenty years of war-torn chaos. Some are proposing initiatives that use innovative technology to assist in state building and recovery, but they face a struggle against Somalia’s warlord-dominated past. Many former warlords remain in power at various levels of government and civil society. This dynamic of warlord versus technology is therefore becoming a lively discussion. Read more »