Tuesday, July 28, 2015

New US Airstrike Policy in Somalia?

Foreign Policy published on 24 July 2015 an article titled "Is There a New U.S. Airstrike Policy in East Africa? by Paul McLeary.  He suggests that U.S. drone strikes in Somalia have gone from focused high-value al-Shabaab targets to helping to defend AMISOM troops on the ground.

South Sudan and the IGAD Peace Process

The International Crisis Group (ICG) published on 27 July 2015 an analysis titled "South Sudan Keeping Faith with the IGAD Peace Process."  The ICG concluded that the international community needs to support an IGAD-led realistic, regionally-centered strategy to end the war, underpinned by coordinated threats and inducements.

Monday, July 27, 2015

Somali Diaspora in Seattle and Politics in Somalia

The Seattle Times published on 27 July 2015 an article titled "Seattle-area Somalis Seek to Shape Politics Back Home" by Nina Shapiro.  The article provides a good analysis of Somali politics playing out in an important American city. 

The Somali community in Washington State is thought to be the third largest in the United States after Minnesota and Ohio.  The latest US census puts the number of Somalis in Washington State at 13,000.  Somali community leaders believe the actual number is closer to 30,000.

Official Chinese Media Thin-skinned on Obama Visit to Africa

The Associated Press published on 27 July 2015 an article titled "Chinese State Media Snipe at Obama's Africa Trip" by Christopher Boldeen.  One of the apparent themes in China's state media suggests that the trip to Africa by President Obama is a response to China's growing relations with Africa.  In fact, this is probably about number 15 on the list of reasons why Obama is visiting Africa.  The Obama visit is not about US-China competition in Africa but about improving US relations with Africa for many reasons. 

Rethinking Engagement in Fragile States

The Washington-based Center for Strategic and International Studies published in July 2015 a study entitled "Rethinking Engagement in Fragile States" by Jennifer Cooke and Richard Downie.  It looks at four states in particular--Somalia, South Sudan, Mali, and Myanmar--and makes recommendations for external engagement with these states.

Ethiopia, China and the United States

Bloomberg News published on 27 July 2015 an article titled "In Ethiopia, a Quiet Rivalry for Influence Pits US against China" by William Davison.

China-Africa Relations

The China Monitor at Stellenbosch University has just published a special edition titled FOCAC VI: African Initiatives toward a Sustainable Chinese Relationship.

It contains the following contributions:

FOCAC: The Evolving China-Africa Security Relationship by David Shinn
Shaping China-Africa Co-operation on Post-2015 Agenda by Zhang Chun
FOCAC VI: The Chinese Dream Meets African Realities? by Ian Taylor
Placing FOCAC in Its South-South Co-operation Narrative by Sven Grimm
FOCAC VI: African Initiatives toward a Sustainable Chinese Relationship by Liu Haifang
Policy Meets Practice: Chinese Environmental Protection in Africa in the Wake of FOCAC VI by May Tan-Mullins
Regimes of Truth, Localisation of Chinese Enterprises, and African Agency by Barry Sautman and Yan Hairong

Sunday, July 26, 2015

US Relations with Nigeria, Kenya, and Ethiopia

The Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS) published on 23 July 2015 an analysis titled "President Obama's Engagement with Africa: Managing Complex Relationships" by Richard Downie, deputy director of the Africa Program at CSIS.  Downie analyzes the US relationship with Nigeria, Kenya, and Ethiopia.  President Obama met with President Buhari of Nigeria in Washington and visited Kenya and Ethiopia in July.

Al-Shabaab Demonstrates Resiliency

Foreign Policy published on 24 July 2015 an analysis titled "Al-Shabab's Resilient Insurgency" by Ty McCormick.  The author argues that African Union troops in Somalia are having their worst year since 2011. 

Justification for Obama Visit to Ethiopia

The Hill published on 24 July 2015 a commentary titled "Seven Reasons Why Obama Should Visit Ethiopia" by Rediet Wegayehu, a Tom Lantos-Humanity in Action fellow in Washington.

US and China's Policy towards Kenya

The New York Times published on 24 July 2015 an article titled "Obama to Push U.S. Trade in Kenya as China's Role Grows" by Marc Santora.  The article compares the approach towards Kenya by the United States and China.

Saturday, July 25, 2015

Public Opinion on African Economies

The Pew Research Center published on 23 July 2015 an analysis of public opinion titled "Global Publics: Economic Conditions Are Bad."  It concluded that the most optimistic economic prospects for the next generation are the Vietnamese (91%), Chinese (88%), Nigerians (84%), and Ethiopians (84%).  Among "emerging African countries" the economy is perceived as doing best in South Africa and Nigeria.  Among "developing African countries" the economy is perceived as doing best in Ethiopia (89%), Senegal (60%), Tanzania (48%), Kenya (47%), Burkina Faso (44%), and Uganda (44%).

Sudan: A Country Study

The Library of Congress has just published online Sudan: A Country Study, which offers a solid study of Sudan before the separation of South Sudan. Go list of countries and select Sudan.

The book is edited by LaVerle Berry and contains the following chapters:

1.  Historical Setting by Tom Ofcansky
2.  The Society and Its Environment by Peter Bechtold
3.  The Economy by Virginia Delancey
4.  Government and Politics by David Shinn
5.  National Security by Tom Ofcansky

Thursday, July 23, 2015

Africa: The Good, the Bad and the Future

The Rotary Club in Yakima, Washington asked me to address the membership on 23 July 2015.  My remarks covered "Africa: The Good, the Bad and the Future."

Tuesday, July 21, 2015

Obama's Chance to Revisit Kenya

The New York Times published on 20 July 2015 an oped titled "Obama's Chance to Revisit Kenya" by Johnnie Carson and Mark Bellamy, both former US ambassadors to Kenya.  They suggest ideas for improving U.S. relations with Kenya as President Obama prepares to visit the country.

Social and Environmental Impacts of Chinese Overseas Investment

Yale's School of Forestry and the Environment has released a summary of the conference proceedings of the 2nd Yale Symposium on Chinese Overseas Investment and Its Environmental and Social Impacts that took place at Yale University on 3-4 April 2015. 

Monday, July 20, 2015

Al-Shabaab Attacks Expose AMISOM Weaknesses

The Voice of America published on 1 July 2015 an article titled "Al-Shabaab Attacks Expose AMISOM Weaknesses" by Harun Maruf.  It details the al-Shabaab attack on Burundi forces with AMISOM in the small town of Leego.

Saturday, July 18, 2015

Cholera in South Sudan

The Juba-based Sudd Institute published on 14 July 2015 a report titled "Cholera: A New Threat to Health in South Sudan" by Augustino Ting Mayai.  Cholera outbreaks in Juba, South Sudan's capital, have added to the health woes in the nation.  This article discusses the causes and what can be done to stem the disease. 

South Sudanese Diaspora in US

The Juba-based Sudd Institute published on 23 June 2015 an analysis titled "South Sudanese in Utah Are a Sign of Hope and Peace in South Sudan" by Augustino Ting Mayai.  For whatever reasons, the Dinka and Nuer diasporas in the state of Utah seem to be interacting more amicably than their counterparts in Iowa and Minnesota. 

Friday, July 17, 2015

China, India, Brazil, and the Indian Ocean

The Diplomatist published in July 2015 an article titled "Changing Security Environment in the Indian Ocean: Re-looking the Effectiveness of Existing Regional and Sub-Regional Initiatives" by Francis Kornegay, University of South Africa.

The article discusses the prospects for cooperation in the Indian Ocean by IBSA members India, Brazil, and South Africa in view of China's leadership of the BRICS.

China, Commodities and Africa

The All China Review published on 3 July 2015 an article titled "By All Means Necessary: How China's Resource Quest Is Changing the World" by Elizabeth Economy and Michael Levi, both with the Council on Foreign Relations.

China's economy is experiencing a slowdown and commodity prices are falling.  This article explores how Chinese demand and imports drive global commodity prices, the broader implications of the Chinese slowdown for the global economy, and the consequences for resource producing states such as many in Africa. 

Monday, July 13, 2015

Mineral Prices Drop Sharply and Impact Africa

Mining.com published an article on 7 July 2015 titled "China Panic Crushes Mining Stocks" by Frik Els.  The value of base and precious metals fell to multi-year lows following a stronger dollar, turmoil in the Eurozone, and especially the stock market crash in China.  Gold, silver, copper, iron, nickel, tin, zinc, lead, platinum, and palladium were all on the downside.  African countries are major suppliers of most of these metals and have have been impacted negatively.

Update on Somali Piracy

Oceans Beyond Piracy recently published two short pieces dealing with piracy off Somalia.  The first is titled "Prisoner Survey Notes International Naval Presence as the Primary Deterrent to Pirates."  It reports, based on a survey of Somali prisoners, that the international naval presence in the Gulf of Aden was the major deterrent to a continuation of piracy.

The second item is titled "Will Illegal Fishing Ignite a Preventable Resurgence of Somali Piracy?"  It reports the seizing off Somalia of two Iranian-owned fishing vessels in March 2015 and asks if the resumption of illegal fishing in Somali waters will cause a resumption of Somali piracy.

Friday, July 10, 2015

Diversion of Arms from Peacekeepers in Sudan and South Sudan

The Small Arms Survey published in July 2015 a detailed report titled "Under Attack and Above Scrutiny? Arms and Ammunition Diversion from Peacekeepers in Sudan and South Sudan, 2002-14" by Eric G. Berman and Mihaela Racovita.  It is the first independent review of weapons lost in peacekeeper operations.

There were more than 100 attacks on peacekeepers in Sudan and South Sudan between 2005 and 2014.  At least half of them resulted in the loss of arms and ammunition, most of them in the Darfur region. 

Are the BRICS on the Same Page?

The recently concluded BRICS' Summit in Ufa, Russia, has resulted in a torrent of analysis about the organization.  I include three provocative analyses below.

The Carnegie Moscow Center published on 8 July 2015 an analysis titled "Why Do Brazil, Russia, India and China Need BRICS?" by Alexander Gabuev, Andrey Movchan, Petr Topychkanov, and Sergei Vasiliev.  It compares the different interests of four of the member countries in the BRICS.

Commodities Now published on 7 July 2015 an article titled "BRICS Trade Strategy: Time for a Rethink."   It looks at trade distortions among the member states.

Quartz India published on 9 July 2015 an article titled "Despite the Happy Photos and Handshakes, the BRICS Are Frenemies in Trade" by Madhura Karnik.  It also focuses on trade competition among the member nations.