Africa Center Dean, Raymond Gilpin, and former Dean, Monde Muyangwa, assess the recently concluded Nigerian presidential election, considered the most transparent and peaceful in Africa’s most populous democracy. The outcome highlights the professionalism of the national election commission, the active engagement by civil society, and the statesmanship of President Goodluck Jonathan. While a host of governance,... Continue Reading
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The ideological appeal of violent Islamist insurgencies in Nigeria predates Boko Haram. Without addressing the region’s grievances, extremism will live on.
Part 1: Identity Part 2: Nigeria’s Faultlines Part 3: Extremism Part 4: Boko Haram Part 5: Strategies for combating extremism Part 6: Military professionalism Part 7: Maritime security Part 8: Governance Nigeria’s most talked about faultline is the economic and social imbalance between the relatively underdeveloped, historically marginalized and mainly Muslim north, and the wealthier,... Continue Reading
Part 1: Identity Part 2: Faultlines Part 3: Extremism Part 4: Boko Haram Part 5: Strategies for combating extremism Part 6: Military professionalism Part 7: Maritime security Part 8: Governance After a hard-fought and competitive election, Muhammadu Buhari became Nigeria’s 4th democratically elected president. Observers from around the world commended Nigeria for the smooth transition... Continue Reading
Al-Shabaab, al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM), and Boko Haram, while all different, each display three common characteristics that aid in understanding terrorist actors in Africa. The observation was made by Dr. Benjamin Nickels, Associate Professor of Transnational Threats and Counter-Terrorism at the Africa Center for Strategic Studies, during a presentation on September 23, 2014,... Continue Reading
The youth bulge, combined with high levels of unemployment, corruption, inequity, and disaffection with government represent an expanding recruitment pool for a wide range of extremist groups, urban gangs and other destabilizing actors. Yet, if channeled toward productive outlets such as trade schools, entrepreneurship, community leadership and reform campaigns, African youth can be a dynamic... Continue Reading
The increasingly asymmetric and multidimensional nature of threats facing the continent are at the heart of security concerns in Africa and make the evolving security environment on the continent radically different from what is was a decade ago. Many of these security threats stem from weak and unaccountable governance and the lack of political will... Continue Reading
As the terrorist threat continues to evolve in North Africa and sub-Saharan Africa, the Africa Center through its various programs continues to bring together African, American and European civilian and military professionals to discuss its dimensions and possible solutions. Countering violent extremism On February 24–27, 2014, the Africa Center convened African Union (AU), United States... Continue Reading
Mitigating radicalism, in northern Nigeria as elsewhere, requires a sustained approach targeting every stage of the radicalization spectrum.
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.
Despite growing concerns across the Sahel and Maghreb over the increasing potency of Al Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb, the diffusion of heavily armed mercenaries from Libya, the expanding influence of arms and drugs trafficking, and the widening lethality of Boko Haram, regional security cooperation to address these transnational threats remains fragmented. Algeria is well-positioned to play a central role in defining this cooperation, but must first reconcile the complex domestic, regional, and international considerations that shape its decision-making.