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Africa’s Coups and the Role of External Actors

Spotlight   published by Joseph Siegle on December 17, 2021

The recent rise in coups in Africa reflects a waning regional and international willingness to enforce anti-coup norms. Reversing the trend requires incentivizing democracy and consistently imposing real costs on coup makers.

Russia’s Wagner Play Undermines the Transition in Mali

Spotlight   published by Joseph Siegle and Daniel Eizenga on September 23, 2021

The prospective deployment of Russia’s Wagner mercenaries should not be confused with addressing Mali’s security situation but is a means of expanding Russian influence while propping up the military junta.

Cries from the Community: Listening to the People of Cabo Delgado

Spotlight   published by Gregory Pirio, Robert Pittelli, and Yussuf Adam on August 30, 2021

Stabilizing northern Mozambique will involve more than defeating violent extremists. It will also require rebuilding trust with marginalized and traumatized local communities.

Justice and Rule of Law Key to African Security

Spotlight   published by Catherine Lena Kelly on May 25, 2021

The integration of justice initiatives within conventional security efforts can mitigate conflict, improve societal resilience, and build a stronger culture supportive of the rule of law.

Russia’s Strategic Goals in Africa

(This article originally appeared as a chapter in "Russia Strategic Intentions White Paper," Strategic Multilayer Assessment (SMA) publication series, NSI, May 2019.)
Russia has significantly expanded its engagements in Africa in recent years. These engagements often take the form of propping up embattled and isolated autocratic leaders of countries that are rich in natural resources. The United States can draw a distinction with Russia’s destabilizing role by pursuing a positive engagement strategy in Africa. The United States must avoid the Cold War trap of competing with Russia for the affections of corrupt, autocratic leaders in Africa, however, as such a policy would be disastrous for Africa while not advancing US interests.

IS-Land: Has the Age of Southern African Terrorism Properly Begun?

Recommended research   published by Richard Poplack, Daily Maverick on May 4, 2021

While the insurgency in Mozambique’s Cabo Delgado grows increasingly violent, the unpoliced coastline of Northern Mozambique allows for the trafficking of hundreds of millions of dollars of heroin. The ruling Frelimo party reportedly pockets at least of $100 million of revenue from this trade each year. Efforts to combat the insurgents, who doubt that the government’s deals for natural gas exploitation will benefit all citizens have stalled, worsened by heavy handed tactics of government forces and their allied Russian and South African mercenaries. A better understanding of the dynamics at play, along with a recognition that criminalized power structures seek to protect themselves, will be required to craft adequate responses to the violence.

West Africa’s Cocaine Corridor: Building a Subregional Response

Recommended research   published by Lucia Bird, GI-TOC on April 30, 2021

West Africa has once again become a major route for Latin American cocaine to European markets. Criminal networks leverage growing regional instability to facilitate their work. Authorities in Africa and Europe have the capacity to physically screen less than 2% of containers moving through their ports. Drug seizures therefore rely instead on intelligence. Widespread corruption and uneven regulations in West African ports creates surveillance gaps. Regional initiatives have sought to strengthen regional cooperation and intelligence sharing, but governments should first target specific, problematic trafficking routes.

The Sudanese Military’s Interests in Civilian Rule

Spotlight   published by Joseph Siegle on March 23, 2021

Proactive management of the transition to civilian rule would afford the Sudanese military more stability, budgetary support, and professional benefits.

Enhancing Security-Justice Coordination to Counter Transnational Organized Crime

A virtual academic program cohosted with the African Centre for the Study and Research on Terrorism that focuses on effective community policing as a tool for countering violent extremism. This program provides an opportunity to capture and share insights, experiences, and lessons, among countries and across regions, about both the implementation challenges in community policing and the practical experiences in bridging gaps between the security sector and the communities they are entrusted with protecting and serving

Africa’s Evolving Cyber Threats

Spotlight   published by Nathaniel Allen on January 19, 2021

African governments face a fast-evolving array of digital threats from espionage, critical infrastructure sabotage, organized crime, and combat innovation.