Surging demand for ivory and rhino horn, mainly in Asia, has put wild African elephants and rhinoceroses on the path to extinction. More than an environmental tragedy, however, wildlife poaching and trafficking has exacerbated other security threats and led to the co-option of certain African security units. African states need to develop a broad range of law enforcement capabilities to tackle what is effectively a transnational organized crime challenge. Asian and other international partners, meanwhile, must take action to reduce runaway demand for wildlife products.
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Nearly half of all uniformed peacekeepers are African and countries like Ghana, Rwanda, Senegal, and South Africa have provided troops to UN and AU missions almost continuously over the past decade. Despite such vast experience, African peacekeepers are often reliant on international partners for training before they can deploy on these missions. Institutionalizing a capacity-building model within African defense forces is a more sustainable approach that maintains a higher level of readiness to respond to emerging crises and contingencies on the continent.
The U.S. government and African partners met in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, for a dialogue on strategic approaches to countering violent extremist messaging in the greater Horn of Africa region. The Feb. 23–28 workshop was co-hosted by the Africa Center for Strategic Studies and attended by approximately 60 professionals. The communication abilities of extremist groups were... Continue Reading
This article originally appeared at thebrenthurstfoundation.org. Mali’s rapid descent into instability from what seemed a promising democratic trajectory has been the cover story of African politics since a military coup there disrupted constitutional rule in early 2012. Soon thereafter, the northern half of the country fell under the control of Islamic militants. The seemingly abrupt... Continue Reading
In this edition of Ask the Expert, Dr. Hussein Solomon, a leading expert on militant Islam and counterterrorism strategies in Africa—who lectures at the Department of Political Sciences at the University of the Free State in South Africa—assesses the state of fundamentalism on the continent.
DDR nitiatives are often under-prioritized and -conceptualized, contributing to the high rates of conflict relapse observed in Africa.
The rise in Islamic militancy in the Sahel, northern Nigeria, and the Horn of Africa has elevated attention to this evolving security concern. Hopes that Africa’s historically moderate interpretations of Islam would suffice to filter extremist views from gaining meaningful traction seem increasingly misplaced. More generally, understanding of this unconventional security challenge is often based more on speculation than informed assessment. Responses must avoid conflating distinct Islamist actors while addressing local level perceptions of disaffection and under-representation that underpin support for militants.
Airlift assets provide vital capabilities and multiply the effectiveness of Africa’s resource-limited militaries and collective peace operations.
Despite numerous peace agreements, Africa’s Great Lakes region has been in a persistent state of conflict for the past two decades. The contributions and shortcomings of some of the most significant previous peace initiatives, however, offer vital lessons as to how to mitigate the local level tensions, national political dynamics, and competing regional interests that have led to recurring outbreaks of violence.
Legacies of Côte d’Ivoire’s national identity crisis left this strategic West African country vulnerable to further instability.
Institutionalization of democratic norms in Africa’s militaries often lags behind advances made in civilian institutions and civil society.
Combating irregular forces has become a common feature of the contemporary African security landscape. However, the security sector in most African countries is ill-prepared to conduct effective counter-insurgency operations. Realigning force structures to address these threats while building security sector professionalism to gain the trust of local populations is needed to do so.