Archive

Archive for the ‘Africa’ Category

CRS — State Sponsors of Acts of International Terrorism–Legislative Parameters: In Brief (February 27, 2015)

April 23, 2015 Comments off

State Sponsors of Acts of International Terrorism–Legislative Parameters: In Brief (PDF)
Source: Congressional Research Service (via Federation of American Scientists)

Cuba, Iran, Sudan, and Syria are identified by the U.S. government as countries with governments that support acts of international terrorism. As the 114th Congress is sworn in and begins its first session, U.S. foreign policy and national security policies toward Cuba, Iran, and North Korea are in a state of close scrutiny, with an eye to easing sanctions, including removing Cuba and Iran from the terrorist lists, and with an eye to returning North Korea to the same lists. While it is the President’s authority to designate, and remove from designation, terrorist states, Congress is likely to weigh in as the reviews proceed.

This brief report provides information on legislation that authorizes the designation of any foreign government as a state sponsor of acts of international terrorism. It addresses the statutes and how they each define acts of international terrorism; establish a list to limit or prohibit aid or trade; provide for systematic removal of a foreign government from a list, including timeline and reporting requirements; authorize the President to waive restrictions on a listed foreign government; and provide (or do not provide) Congress with a means to block a delisting. It closes with a summary of delisting in the past.

Roundup of Recent Congressional Research Service Reports on the Middle East

April 21, 2015 Comments off

Roundup of Recent Congressional Research Service Reports on the Middle East (PDFs)
Source: Congressional Research Service (via Federation of American Scientists)

African Leadership Transitions Tracker

March 30, 2015 Comments off

African Leadership Transitions Tracker
Source: Brookings Institution

The African Leadership Transitions Tracker (ALTT) is an interactive feature that factually recounts and visually presents changes at the head of state level in every African country from independence or end of the colonial period to the present. The interactive application aims to start a broader conversation about leadership transitions and what they mean for the region and beyond.

The ALTT does not intend to validate the nature of transitions. However, it looks at the process of competition and the contestability of transitions over time in order to highlight key trends.

For example a multiparty election is defined in the tracker as one in which “two or more political parties have affiliated candidates competing in an election.” Only military coups that lead to a change in leadership are presented.

Country Analysis Brief: Angola

March 23, 2015 Comments off

Country Analysis Brief: Angola
Source: Energy Information Administration

Angola is the second-largest oil producer in sub-Saharan Africa, behind Nigeria. The country experienced an oil production boom between 2002 and 2008 as production started at several deepwater fields. In 2007, Angola became a member of the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC).

CFR Backgrounder: Al-Shabab

March 18, 2015 Comments off

Backgrounder: Al-Shabab
Source: Council on Foreign Relations

Al-Shabab, or “the Youth,” is an al-Qaeda-linked militant group and U.S.-designated Foreign Terrorist Organization fighting for the creation of a fundamentalist Islamic state in Somalia. The group, also known as Harakat al-Shabab al-Mujahideen, and its Islamist affiliates once held sway over Mogadishu and major portions of the Somali countryside, but a sustained African Union military campaign in recent years has weakened the group considerably. Still, security analysts warn that the group remains the principal threat in a politically volatile, war-torn state.

Al-Shabab’s terrorist activities have mainly focused on targets within Somalia, but it has also carried out deadly strikes in the region, including coordinated suicide bombings in Uganda’s capital in 2010 and a raid on a Nairobi mall in 2013 (PDF). Washington fears the group, which has successfully recruited members of the Somali diaspora in the United States, may strike on U.S. soil. However, many terrorism experts say al-Shabab’s reach is limited to East Africa.

Country Analysis Brief: Nigeria

March 2, 2015 Comments off

Country Analysis Brief: Nigeria
Source: Energy Information Administration

Nigeria is the largest oil producer in Africa, holds the largest natural gas reserves on the continent, and is among the world’s top five exporters of liquefied natural gas (LNG). Nigeria became a member of the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) in 1971, more than a decade after oil production began in the oil-rich Bayelsa State in the 1950s.1 Although Nigeria is the leading oil producer in Africa, production suffers from supply disruptions, which have resulted in unplanned outages as high as 500,000 barrels per day (bbl/d).

START Releases Reports on Boko Haram

March 2, 2015 Comments off

START Releases Reports on Boko Haram
Source: National Consortium for the Study of Terrorism and Responses to Terrorism

Two reports related to research on Boko Haram are now available online. These include a qualitative report, by START research director Amy Pate and a statistical analysis of the impact of interventions on Boko Haram activity, by START researcher John Stevenson. The research was supported by a Centers of Excellence Supplemental award from the Office of University Programs at the Department of Homeland Security, as well as the Strategic Multilayer Assessment office of the Department of Defense.

Boko Haram has been the subject of much international scrutiny in recent months, beginning after the April 2014 kidnapping of over 250 schoolgirls, an event that led to a worldwide cry over social media to “bring back our girls.” In recent weeks, a coalition of Nigerian, Chadian, Nigerien, and Cameroonian troops have made gains against Boko Haram, but it still holds multiple towns in northeast Nigeria.

The reports explore the following research questions:

  • What are Boko Haram’s strengths and potential vulnerabilities?
  • What policies can be employed to counter Boko Haram’s strengths and exploit its weaknesses?
  • What are USAFRICOM options for engaging U.S. government and foreign partners to deploy policies to counter Boko Haram?
Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 1,041 other followers