John Campbell

Africa in Transition

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

Posts by Category

Showing posts for "United States"

New U.S. Defense Cooperation Agreement With Senegal

by John Campbell
Senegalese soldiers and European trainers return to base after training during Flintlock 2016, a U.S.-led international training exercise with African militaries in Thies, Senegal, February 11, 2016. (Reuters/Sylvain Cherkaoui) Senegalese soldiers and European trainers return to base after training during Flintlock 2016, a U.S.-led international training exercise with African militaries in Thies, Senegal, February 11, 2016. (Reuters/Sylvain Cherkaoui)

Emblematic of the growing U.S. defense presence in West Africa is a new defense cooperation agreement signed on May 2 with Senegal. According to the low-key report carried by Associated Press (AP), the agreement improves access for the U.S. military to Senegal should they need to deploy in the event of a security or humanitarian crisis. In Dakar, U.S. Ambassador James Zumwalt said, “With this agreement, the United States military and the Senegalese military can plan better together, accomplish more with joint training, and better prepare to respond in concert to risks to our shared interests.” Read more »

Boko Haram Tied to the Self-Proclaimed Islamic State

by John Campbell
Libyan soldiers man a checkpoint in Wadi Bey, west of the Islamic State-held city of Sirte, February 23, 2016. (Reuters/Ismail Zitouny) Libyan soldiers man a checkpoint in Wadi Bey, west of the Islamic State-held city of Sirte, February 23, 2016. (Reuters/Ismail Zitouny)

Especially after Boko Haram “face” Abubakar Shekau’s March 2015, pledge of allegiance to the self-proclaimed Islamic State, there has been speculation that the two movements are drawing closer together. However, there has up to now been little evidence of tactical or strategic cooperation. That could be changing. Read more »

Into Africa: The Islamic State’s Online Strategy and Violent Extremism in Africa

by Guest Blogger for John Campbell
A youth launches Twitter social media application on a tablet in Cairo, Egypt, January 24, 2016.  (Reuters/Stringer) A youth launches Twitter social media application on a tablet in Cairo, Egypt, January 24, 2016. (Reuters/Stringer)

This is a guest post by David P. Fidler. He is an Adjunct Senior Fellow for Cybersecurity at the Council on Foreign Relations and a professor of law at Indiana University. He blogs regularly at Net Politics. Read more »

Nigeria’s Female Suicide Bombers

by John Campbell
A security officer scans a woman entering a health clinic at Minawao refugee camp in Minawao, Cameroon, March 15, 2016. (Reuters/Joe Penney) A security officer scans a woman entering a health clinic at Minawao refugee camp in Minawao, Cameroon, March 15, 2016. (Reuters/Joe Penney)

Boko Haram’s suicide bomber female recruits are objects of fascination and horror. The New York Times, citing the Long War Journal, says that Boko Haram has used at least 105 women and girls for suicide attacks since June 2014. In addition, UNICEF reports that Boko Haram has used an increased number of child suicide bombers; 75 percent of these children are young girls. As a tactic, suicide bombing is remarkably successful, killing hundreds and undermining popular confidence in the Nigerian government’s ability to provide security in areas liberated from Boko Haram. Read more »

South Africa’s Ruling Party and the South African Government

by John Campbell
A man walks near posters of former African National Congress (ANC) presidents including former South African President Nelson Mandela (R middle row) at the entrance of Luthuli house, the ANC headquarters in Johannesburg, July 2, 2013. (Reuters/Siphiwe Sibeko) A man walks near posters of former African National Congress (ANC) presidents including former South African President Nelson Mandela (R middle row) at the entrance of Luthuli house, the ANC headquarters in Johannesburg, July 2, 2013. (Reuters/Siphiwe Sibeko)

The African National Congress (ANC) is a big tent. Politically, under that tent is the Congress of South African trade Unions (COSATU) and the South African Communist Party (SACP). Both run candidates for office as ANC, not under their own label. The Secretary General of the ANC, Gwede Mantashe, is also a former chairperson of the SACP. Read more »

Comedy and Democracy in South Africa

by John Campbell
South African President Jacob Zuma laughs as he delivers his State of the Nation Address after the formal opening of Parliament in Cape Town, February 14, 2013. (Reuters//Rodger Bosch/Pool) South African President Jacob Zuma laughs as he delivers his State of the Nation Address after the formal opening of Parliament in Cape Town, February 14, 2013. (Reuters//Rodger Bosch/Pool)

For most Americans, their first exposure to South African comedy has been Trevor Noah, the host of Comedy Central’s “The Daily Show.” Noah’s January 20, riff on Sarah Palin’s endorsement of Donald Trump is an example of South African standup comedy at its best, with the added dimension of an African “seeing us as others see us.” One example is his comment that America is such a great place because “…presidents might have term limits but Sarah Palin is forever.” Read more »

The Year China Solidifies the Renminbi’s Place in Africa

by Guest Blogger for John Campbell
Chinese President Xi Jinping, accompanied by his wife wife Peng Liyuan, walks with South African President Jacob Zuma upon his arrival at the Union Buildings in Pretoria, December 2, 2015. (Reuters/Sydney Seshibedi) Chinese President Xi Jinping, accompanied by his wife wife Peng Liyuan, walks with South African President Jacob Zuma upon his arrival at the Union Buildings in Pretoria, December 2, 2015. (Reuters/Sydney Seshibedi)

This is a guest post by John Causey, a private equity and transaction advisor with a focus on sub-Saharan Africa.

The U.S. dollar’s dominance in sub-Saharan Africa is no longer certain. Despite the current volatility of the Chinese renminbi an auspicious moment may exist for China’s currency to challenge the dollar’s hegemony in the region. 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 »

The Evolving Boko Haram War Machine

by Guest Blogger for John Campbell
A military armoured tank is seen abandoned along a road after the Nigerian military recaptures the town of Michika from Boko Haram, Adamawa state, May 10, 2015. (Reuters/Akintunde Akinleye) A military armoured tank is seen abandoned along a road after the Nigerian military recaptures the town of Michika from Boko Haram, Adamawa state, May 10, 2015. (Reuters/Akintunde Akinleye)

This is a guest post by Allen Grane, research associate for the Council on Foreign Relations Africa Studies program. Allen is an officer in the U.S. Army Reserves.

From 2014 through the February/March Nigerian military surge, Boko Haram was using advanced weapons systems and tactics to conquer and hold territory in northeastern Nigeria. At one point the insurgent group had control of a territory about the size of Belgium. Read more »

United States Humanitarian Assistance to Nigerian Internally Displaced Persons and Refugees

by John Campbell
Women displaced by Boko Haram violence residing at the IDP camp yola, are briefed before other women and children rescued from Boko Haram in Sambisa forest by Nigeria Military arrive at the Internally displaced people's camp in Yola, Adamawa State, Nigeria, May 2, 2015. (Reuters/Afolabi Sotunde) Women displaced by Boko Haram violence residing at the IDP camp yola, are briefed before other women and children rescued from Boko Haram in Sambisa forest by Nigeria Military arrive at the Internally displaced people's camp in Yola, Adamawa State, Nigeria, May 2, 2015. (Reuters/Afolabi Sotunde)

The conflict with Boko Haram has resulted in a humanitarian catastrophe in northeastern Nigeria and adjacent parts of Niger, Chad, and Cameroon, with estimates of internally displaced persons (IDP) and refugees sometimes approaching two million. In addition, acute malnutrition is widespread. On August 21, the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) issued a useful fact sheet that profiles the severity of the crisis, drawing largely on United Nations (UN) statistics. It also provides useful facts and figures on U.S. humanitarian assistance. Some highlights of the USAID fact sheet are given below. Read more »