John Campbell

Africa in Transition

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

Pathetic International Response to Ebola Thus Far

by John Campbell Friday, October 10, 2014
Supplies, including 100 tons of emergency medical aid, are seen before being loaded on to a 747 aircraft at New York's John F. Kennedy International Airport September 20, 2014. (Carlo Allegri /Courtesy Reuters) Supplies, including 100 tons of emergency medical aid, are seen before being loaded on to a 747 aircraft at New York's John F. Kennedy International Airport September 20, 2014. (Carlo Allegri /Courtesy Reuters)

Ebola is not showing the international community at its best. Even as Ebola panic seems to be spreading internationally, with possible new cases in Macedonia and the Czech Republic and Ebola deaths in Spain and the United States. Drew Hinshaw and Betsy McKay in the Wall Street Journal (WSJ) provide a run-down of which countries are doing what. It is discouraging. Read more »

Africa on the UN Security Council

by John Campbell Thursday, October 9, 2014
The United Nations Security Council votes on a resolution on the sidelines of the 69th United Nations General Assembly at the UN headquarters in New York September 24, 2014. (Adrees Latif/Courtesy Reuters) The United Nations Security Council votes on a resolution on the sidelines of the 69th United Nations General Assembly at the UN headquarters in New York September 24, 2014. (Adrees Latif/Courtesy Reuters)

First, a primer. The UN Security Council consists of fifteen members. Five are permanent and have the power to veto all resolutions. These member states are China, France, Russia, the United Kingdom, and the United States. In addition, there are ten non-permanent members that are elected for two-year terms by the UN membership in the General Assembly. Read more »

The Boko Haram War Machine

by Guest Blogger for John Campbell Wednesday, October 8, 2014
Pictured above is a T-55 Main Battle Tank similar to the one captured by the Nigerian Military on September 27, 2014. Pictured above is a T-55 Main Battle Tank similar to the one captured by the Nigerian Military on September 27, 2014.

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 National Guard.

In early September there were reports that the Nigerian military captured a “quad barreled ZSU-23-4 Shilka” anti-aircraft gun that was mounted on a Toyota technical truck, from Boko Haram. Sahara Reporters later confirmed that the Nigerian military captured heavy weapons systems from Boko Haram such as a T-55 tank and a Panhard ERC-90 “Sagaie.” Now that we know the kind of weaponry in Boko Haram’s possession, we are left with two major questions. Read more »

Nigeria: Five Reasons Why Boko Haram’s Video Matters

by Guest Blogger for John Campbell Tuesday, October 7, 2014
This flag, similar to the one flown by ISIS, is the introduction to Boko Haram's latest video. This flag, similar to the one flown by ISIS, is the introduction to Boko Haram's latest video.

This is a guest post by Jacob Zenn and Allen Grane. Jacob is an analyst of African Affairs for The Jamestown Foundation, and a contributor to the West Point CTC Sentinel. Allen is a research associate for the Council on Foreign Relations Africa Studies program. Read more »

Nigeria Security Tracker: Weekly Update September 26-October 3

by John Campbell Monday, October 6, 2014
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 September 26 to October 3, 2014. These incidents will be included in the Nigeria Security Tracker.
Read more »

De Beers Diamond Moves Sales Army from London to Botswana

by John Campbell Friday, October 3, 2014
A worker at the Botswana Diamond Valuing Company displays a rough diamond during the sorting process at the purpose-built centre in the capital Gaborone, August 26, 2004. (Juda Ngwenya/Courtesy Reuters) A worker at the Botswana Diamond Valuing Company displays a rough diamond during the sorting process at the purpose-built centre in the capital Gaborone, August 26, 2004. (Juda Ngwenya/Courtesy Reuters)

For the past century or so, big mining corporations have pursued their operations in Africa, but their senior management, marketing, and sales have been in Europe or North America. That is changing.

The government of Botswana and De Beers Group, the diamond company, agreed in 2011 that the latter would sort, value, and sell diamonds produced by the company Debswana, a joint 50/50 business venture between Botswana and De Beers that accounts for a third of Botswana’s GDP. For its part De Beers agreed to transfer its London based rough diamond sales to Botswana. The move involves the transfer of professionals, equipment and technology from London to Botswana’s capital, Gaborone. In November 2013, De Beers started diamond sales in Gaborone in a state-of-the-art facility. Batswana, nationals of Botswana, are about 50 percent of the de Beers’ employees in the sales division. Read more »

Nigeria’s Boko Haram and Heavy Weapons

by John Campbell Thursday, October 2, 2014
DATE IMPORTED:January 22, 2010A soldier mans a machine gun on top of an armoured vehicle outside the central mosque as Muslims pray in Nigeria's central city of Jos, January 22, 2010. (Akintunde Akinleye/Courtesy Reuters) DATE IMPORTED:January 22, 2010A soldier mans a machine gun on top of an armoured vehicle outside the central mosque as Muslims pray in Nigeria's central city of Jos, January 22, 2010. (Akintunde Akinleye/Courtesy Reuters)

Ebola and Counterinsurgency—A Struggle for Legitimacy

by Guest Blogger for John Campbell Wednesday, October 1, 2014
Supplies, including 100 tons of emergency medical aid, are seen before being loaded on to a 747 aircraft at New York's John F. Kennedy International Airport September 20, 2014. The chartered 747 jet, carrying the largest single shipment of aid to the Ebola zone to date and coordinated by CGI and other U.S. aid organizations, departed the airport on Saturday afternoon bound for West Africa. (Carlo Allegri/Courtesy Reuters) Supplies, including 100 tons of emergency medical aid, are seen before being loaded on to a 747 aircraft at New York's John F. Kennedy International Airport September 20, 2014. The chartered 747 jet, carrying the largest single shipment of aid to the Ebola zone to date and coordinated by CGI and other U.S. aid organizations, departed the airport on Saturday afternoon bound for West Africa. (Carlo Allegri/Courtesy Reuters)

This is a guest post by Colonel Clint Hinote. He is the 2014-2015 U.S. Air Force Military Fellow at the Council on Foreign Relations. The opinions expressed here are his own.

As the United States sends military forces forward to support the effort to stop Ebola in West Africa, it is striking to see how similar this struggle is to counterinsurgency operations. While American soldiers will not be conducting any combat or law enforcement operations, counterinsurgency concepts are applicable to the deteriorating situation, and these have major implications for the broad coalition joining the fight against Ebola. Read more »

Ebola: The Dog That Has Not Barked

by John Campbell Tuesday, September 30, 2014
A woman passes a sign posted in an awareness campaign against the spread of Ebola in Freetown, Sierra Leone, September 18, 2014 in a handout photo provided by UNICEF. (UNICEF Handout/Courtesy Reuters) A woman passes a sign posted in an awareness campaign against the spread of Ebola in Freetown, Sierra Leone, September 18, 2014 in a handout photo provided by UNICEF. (UNICEF Handout/Courtesy Reuters)

Especially in Sierra Leone and Liberia, the Ebola news gets worse and worse, with victims and deaths seeming to grow exponentially. Yet the disease does not appear to have spread east along the Gulf of Guinea from Liberia. Given the general porosity of African national boundaries, why and how has the march of the disease seemingly stopped at the Liberia/Ivory Coast border? (In Nigeria, the index case arrived in Lagos directly by air from Monrovia; all of the Ebola cases in the country appear to have been related to him, and his contacts have been traced and quarantined.) Read more »

Nigeria Security Tracker: Weekly Update September 19-September 25

by John Campbell Monday, September 29, 2014
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 September 19 to September 25, 2014. These incidents will be included in theNigeria Security Tracker.
Read more »