John Campbell

Africa in Transition

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

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Showing posts for "United States"

American “Quality” Press and Nigeria

by John Campbell
Crowd gather at the scene of a bomb blast at a bus terminal in Nyayan, Abuja April 14, 2014. (Courtesy Reuters/Afolabi Sotunde) Crowd gather at the scene of a bomb blast at a bus terminal in Nyayan, Abuja April 14, 2014. (Courtesy Reuters/Afolabi Sotunde)

On April 15, arguably the most influential of the American print press carried the story of the horrific April 14 bombings in Abuja. The New York Times, the Wall Street Journal, and the Washington Post among others all had stories or photographs on their front pages. Read more »

Fireworks During White House Meeting of Northern Nigerian Governors

by John Campbell
Kwire-Mana, Kpafrato II, Homun Honest Stephen (R), receives his staff of office from Adamawa state governor, Murtala Nyako, during a presentation ceremony at Makwada Square in Numan, Adamawa state, December 7, 2013. (Afolabi Sotunde/Courtesy Reuters) Kwire-Mana, Kpafrato II, Homun Honest Stephen (R), receives his staff of office from Adamawa state governor, Murtala Nyako, during a presentation ceremony at Makwada Square in Numan, Adamawa state, December 7, 2013. (Afolabi Sotunde/Courtesy Reuters)

On March 18, governors from Nigeria’s north and Middle Belt met with U.S. National Security Advisor Susan Rice and other U.S. officials at the White House. The governors come from states where economic development is slow or non-existent and includes those where the radical, Islamist insurgency “Boko Haram” is active. Read more »

United States Military to Train Nigerian Rangers?

by John Campbell
A U.S. Special Forces trainer supervises a military assault drill for a unit within the Sudan People's Liberation Army (SPLA) conducted in Nzara on the outskirts of Yambio, November 29, 2013. (Andreea Campeanu/Courtesy Reuters) A U.S. Special Forces trainer supervises a military assault drill for a unit within the Sudan People's Liberation Army (SPLA) conducted in Nzara on the outskirts of Yambio, November 29, 2013. (Andreea Campeanu/Courtesy Reuters)

In the March 5 New York Times, Eric Schmitt’s article “U.S. Takes Training Role in Africa as Threats Grow and Budgets Shrink,” reviews U.S. military assistance and training to the weak states of the Sahel that are confronting jihadi militantsHe discusses the constraints on what the U.S. is willing and able to do in a context of domestic budget cuts and a general war-weariness in the aftermath of Iraq and Afghanistan. Read more »

The Myth of Isolationism, in Africa, at Least

by Guest Blogger for John Campbell
Kenyan workers pluck tea leaves using a new machine at the Uniliver tea farm in Kericho, 300km west of the capital, Nairobi. October 10, 2004. (Thomas Mukoya/Courtesy Reuters) Kenyan workers pluck tea leaves using a new machine at the Uniliver tea farm in Kericho, 300km west of the capital, Nairobi. October 10, 2004. (Thomas Mukoya/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.

There is currently a view that America’s role in the world is shrinking, as the country and its leaders reportedly become more “isolationist.” That term is code for Washington’s unwillingness to use military force in situations where experts, in and out of the press, believe it ought to be applied. And while potential political candidates refer to the U.S. as “the indispensable nation,” they too tend to see engagement through a military lens. Read more »

The Push to Lift U.S. Communication Technology Sanctions on Sudan

by Guest Blogger for John Campbell
Locals and South Sudanese refugees play video games in a market near a camp 10 km (6 miles) from al-Salam locality at the border of Sudan's White Nile state, after arriving from Malakal and al-Rank war zones within South Sudan, January 27, 2014. (Mohamed Nureldin Abdallah/Courtesy Reuters) Locals and South Sudanese refugees play video games in a market near a camp 10 km (6 miles) from al-Salam locality at the border of Sudan's White Nile state, after arriving from Malakal and al-Rank war zones within South Sudan, January 27, 2014. (Mohamed Nureldin Abdallah/Courtesy Reuters)

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

After a year of collaboration with U.S. civil society groups and U.S. Department of State officials, members of Sudan’s civil society launched a campaign on January 20, 2014, to advocate that the U.S. government lift its technology sanctions on Sudan. Read more »

The End of the South Sudan Dream

by John Campbell
An SPLA soldier stands on the back of a pick-up truck in Bentiu, Unity state, January 12, 2014. (Andreea Campeanu/Courtesy Reuters) An SPLA soldier stands on the back of a pick-up truck in Bentiu, Unity state, January 12, 2014. (Andreea Campeanu/Courtesy Reuters)

The New York Times and other media report that South Sudan president Salva Kiir and ex-vice president Riek Machar, and their respective forces, have signed a cease-fire in Addis Ababa. The civil war, which started in December 2013, has left thousands dead and estimates are that at least a half a million South Sudanese have been displaced in what under the best of circumstances is one of the poorest countries in the world. Read more »

Nigerians Circle the Wagons Against West on Anti-Gay Law

by John Campbell
Members of religious groups campaigning against homosexuality hold placards during a rally in Kampala, August 21, 2007. (James Akena/Courtesy Reuters) Members of religious groups campaigning against homosexuality hold placards during a rally in Kampala, August 21, 2007. (James Akena/Courtesy Reuters)

Nigerians across religious, ethnic, and regional divisions are strongly supportive of the anti-gay measure recently signed into law by President Goodluck Jonathan. The legislation criminalizes virtually all aspects of gay life, not just gay marriage. There has been support from spokesmen for the Christian Association of Nigeria (the principal Christian umbrella group), the Roman Catholic Church, the Methodist Church, the sultan of Sokoto (the premier Muslim traditional ruler), and Jama’atu Nasril Islam, perhaps the most important Islamic group with a national membership, as well as an outpouring of support from much of the population. Read more »

U.S. Department of State Designates “Mr. Marlboro’s” Organization a Foreign Terrorist Organization

by John Campbell
Veteran jihadi Mokhtar Belmokhtar speaks in this undated still image taken from a video released by Sahara Media on January 21, 2013. (Reuters TV/Courtesy Reuters) Veteran jihadi Mokhtar Belmokhtar speaks in this undated still image taken from a video released by Sahara Media on January 21, 2013. (Reuters TV/Courtesy Reuters)

Mokhtar Belmokhtar–“Mr. Marlboro”—allegedly leads the al-Mulathamun Battalion. The U.S. Department of State designated the group as a Foreign Terrorist Organization (FTO) on Wednesday, December 18. 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 »

The United States Designates Boko Haram and Ansaru as Foreign Terrorist Organizations

by John Campbell
A woman sits amongst the burnt ruins of the Bama Market, which was destroyed by gunmen in last Thursday's attack, in Maiduguri, northeast Nigeria April 29, 2013. (Afolabi Sotunde/Courtesy Reuters) A woman sits amongst the burnt ruins of the Bama Market, which was destroyed by gunmen in last Thursday's attack, in Maiduguri, northeast Nigeria April 29, 2013. (Afolabi Sotunde/Courtesy Reuters)

On November 13, the White House announced that the United States had formally designated Boko Haram and Ansaru as Foreign Terrorist Organizations and Specially Designated Global Terrorists. This comes after a heated debate within the Obama administration and among Nigeria watchers that began in earnest after the 2011 suicide bombing of the UN headquarters in Abuja, for which Boko Haram claimed credit. Read more »