Showing posts with label Africa. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Africa. Show all posts

26 February 2018

Understanding the BRI in Africa and the Middle East

By Isaac Kfir

This Strategic Insight aims to expand on Paul Dibb and Richard Brabin-Smith’s powerful, provocative paper, Australia’s management of strategic risk in the new era. Dibb and Brabin-Smith, two of Australia’s leading strategic thinkers, examined China’s growing assertiveness in our region. Here, I look beyond our region and beyond China’s One Belt, One Road Initiative (BRI) to highlight how China is expanding its influence in Africa and the Middle East. I examine some selected cases, such as Zimbabwe, Israel, Turkey and Iran. I also try to situate the BRI in President Xi Jinping’s grand strategy.

Isaac Kfir joined ASPI in August 2017 as the Director of the National Security program and Head of the Counter-terrorism Policy Centre. .PDF ( 0.66 MB )

22 February 2018

Jammu terror attack: Does India have a game plan to counter Pakistan's misadventures?

Raj Chengappa 

Pakistan is like the bounceback toys sold in subcontinental markets. Hit them hard enough and they appear to topple, only to rebound and, if you are not watchful, whack you. As he nears the end of his fourth year as prime minister, Narendra Modi must be both exasperated and frustrated with the way his efforts to deal with Pakistan have turned out. Whatever he has thrown at Pakistan to bring it around, it never seems to learn, and keeps coming back for more punishment.

19 February 2018

Jacob Zuma’s last stand South Africa’s ruling party v the president

NO ONE expected Jacob Zuma to go gracefully. But as South Africa’s ever-defiant president drags out his final days in office, even his allies in the ruling party have had enough. On February 13th the African National Congress (ANC) said that its national executive committee had “recalled” Mr Zuma as president “with urgency” (under the party’s rules, though not the country’s constitution, all government officials serve at the ANC’s pleasure). In response, Mr Zuma said he would leave office—in three to six months. He had already swatted away an appeal from the six most senior leaders in the party to resign a week earlier. This is in character: shameless and stubborn, he has, over the years, appeared unfazed by damning court decisions against him as well as mass demonstrations demanding that he go. A popular cartoon doing the rounds in South Africa shows a huge crowd of people outside his office. A party colleague says: “It’s the people. They’ve come to say goodbye.” An insouciant Zuma replies: “Where are they going?”

18 February 2018

Why South Africa matters to the world

Gideon Rachman

During the 1980s and 1990s, the struggle against apartheid made headlines all over the world. Nelson Mandela’s dignity, first as a prisoner and then as president, gave him the international status of a Gandhi. Events in post-apartheid, post-Mandela South Africa, were always likely to seem relatively humdrum.

16 February 2018

South Africa Moves Beyond Zuma

The new president of South Africa's ruling party, Cyril Ramaphosa, is set on ousting South African President Jacob Zuma.

Zuma's eventual removal will benefit the African National Congress in upcoming 2019 general elections, as it will strip the opposition of the ability to use the president's many corruption scandals as political fodder.

Ramaphosa wants to steer the party away from its recent history of corruption and mismanagement, but pulling it out of its long-term decline will be a challenge.

12 February 2018

How Djibouti Became China's Gateway To Africa

By Dietmar Pieper

Djibouti, one of Africa's smallest countries, has become China's "strategic partner." The Chinese have built a military base and a port, and is currently constructing a free trade zone, fast establishing it as Beijing's gateway to the continent.

A police car appears in a cloud of red dust on the dirt road between the boulders. A young man in uniform opens the window and starts grousing in French. The Chinese men he is rebuking don't understand any of it, but slowly realize where the anger is coming from. They had forgotten to register with the sentry guarding the entrance to the large construction site above the coast.

6 February 2018

THE COMING WARS The strait at the center of the world


The waters between Djibouti and Yemen are one of the few places where refugees flow both ways.
By BRUNO MAÇÃES , 1/29/18,

BAB EL-MANDEB STRAIT, Djibouti — They call it the gate of grief.
Bab-el-Mandeb was named — according to an old legend — after those who drowned when the strait cracked opened as an earthquake tore apart the continents of Africa and Asia. All non-African people alive today are thought to derive from the small group — some scientists say no more than 200 intrepid souls — who crossed from Africa here, before spreading to the four corners of the world. The first migrants, the original sparkle.
I ask the boat’s pilot to stop right on the line traced between the mountainous Ras Siyyan peninsula in Djibouti and Perim island in Yemen. On the left, the Indian Ocean. On the right, the Red Sea. Time stands still, not a living creature nor the slightest noise to disturb the precious sense of being at the exact point where humanity left Africa to conquer the globe.

The Bab-el-Mandeb you read about is made up of lines and dots on a nautical chart: a strategic chokepoint through which passes almost all of the maritime trade between Europe and Asia: every year, about $700 billion in goods, some 25,000 ships, nearly 2 billion barrels of oil. Then there is an underground world, a secret current underneath, populated by pirates and rebels, fishermen, migrants, wild-hearted divers, sailors and everything in between.

4 February 2018

Seven Priorities for the African Union in 2018

Vital institutional and financial reform will likely be at the top of the AU’s agenda in 2018. However, the ICG contends that the organization must ensure that this priority does not draw attention away from conflict prevention and resolution. Indeed, the AU must also give priority to limiting the disruption friction between Morocco and the Sahrawi Arab Democratic Republic’s (SADR) could cause the organization; helping to resolve or avert election-related crises in the DRC, Cameroon, Mali and Zimbabwe; and managing conflicts in the Central African Republic, Somalia and South

3 February 2018

Size Doesn’t Matter for Spies Anymore

Source Link

From the Brits to the Australians, everyone wants to say they were the ones to tip off the Americans about Russian hacking. Now, the Dutch say their hackers hacked the hackers of Russia’s Cozy Bear network. Such claims are impossible to corroborate, and it’s only fair that they be greeted, at least in part, with skepticism.

But this competition to claim credit does reveal a new reality in this era of cyberespionage: Size no longer matters in the intelligence world

29 January 2018

Foresight Africa: Top priorities for the continent in 2018

In this year’s Foresight Africa, AGI scholars and invited experts delve deeply into six overarching themes that highlight areas in which African countries and their citizens are taking the lead to achieve inclusive growth. In a world where China and other emerging economies are ascendant, where cooperation on global governance is under challenge, and where free trade faces headwinds, Africa needs its own institutions to play a more assertive role in advancing the continent’s agenda. The potential for a more unified Africa to create never-before-seen opportunities for trade and economic prosperity is gaining traction. Through our exploration, we hope to emphasize that Africa’s future lies in its own hands and that it already has the power to reach its goals.

22 January 2018

Climate-driven Migration in Africa

By Stefano Torelli

Europe is underestimating the primary cause of migration from sub-Saharan Africa: climate change. Environmental changes have a particularly pronounced impact on migration from Africa for at least four reasons: the continent is highly dependent on natural resources and agriculture, which are the first assets to be undermined by climate change; it has poor infrastructure, such as flood defences; its states are often characterized by weak institutions, which are less able to adapt to climate change; and its high poverty rate undermines the resilience of local populations to climate shocks.

16 January 2018

Africa is changing China as much as China is changing Africa

Lily Kuo

Eight years ago I watched the movie “2012,” named after the year the Mayan calendar supposedly ends. In the film an American geologist learns that a solar flare is heating the core of the earth and causing its tectonic plates to shift drastically. Before long, mass earthquakes and tsunamis are annihilating mankind. Los Angeles slips into the Pacific Ocean. The White House gets wiped out by a giant wave, with the president still inside. Soon, most of the earth is submerged in water.

1 January 2018

Africa in 2018: China Flexes Muscles & Leaders Shuffle Decks

For this last week of 2017, we asked our experts to look ahead at key national security issues. CIA veteran and Africa hand Frank Archibald offers some thoughts on where the continent is headed.

Changes in 2017:

It really is a year of big men moving on. In Angola, President José Eduardo Dos Santos ended his 37 years in power, and President Yahya Jammeh left power in the Gambia after 22 years.

24 December 2017

Egypt Girds Itself for a Loss of Power Over the Nile

Egypt will continue to maintain an aggressive tone against Ethiopia on the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam in an attempt to force Ethiopia to capitulate to Cairo's demands, but the dam will be completed.

Over the past decade, upstream states have shifted the balance of power in Nile River politics and are beginning to challenge Egypt's leverage over the use of the river's resources.

Egypt will be forced to come back to the negotiating table with Ethiopia because once the dam is built, Egypt must coordinate its dam operations with Ethiopia's as the new reservoir is filled.

13 December 2017

Why North Korea Sanctions are Failing in Africa

By Merve Demirel

After eight rounds of UN sanctions against the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, or simply North Korea, the country’s nuclear weapons program accelerated over the past years. The sanctions have not yet had the intended impact and, in some areas, certain ties with North Korea have threatened their effectiveness. Various countries in the African continent are among those who have been dealing with the Kim regime for decades. The lack of enforcement mechanisms for UN sanctions and the global power dynamics concerning the continent explain why UN sanctions on North Korea have been falling short in Africa. This becomes more critical as North Korea hopes to reduce its dependence on China, since China has been increasingly vocal about starting to enforce the sanctions.

14 UN peacekeepers killed, 53 hurt in Congo attack

In the deadliest single attack on a United Nations peacekeeping mission in recent memory, rebels in eastern Congo killed at least 14 peacekeepers and wounded 53 others in an assault on their base that was launched at nightfall and went on for hours. U.N. Secretary-General Antonio Guterres expressed “outrage and utter heartbreak” and called the attack a war crime, urging Congolese authorities to swiftly investigate. The peacekeepers killed were from Tanzania. At least five Congolese soldiers also were killed in the attack Thursday evening that has been blamed on one of the region’s deadliest rebel groups.

11 December 2017

The African Union’s Chequered History with Military Coups

By Liesl Louw-Vaudran

In the aftermath of the intervention by the military in Zimbabwe that led to yesterday’s resignation of President Robert Mugabe, there was a strong call from Zimbabweans for the African Union (AU) and the Southern African Development Community (SADC) to not get involved.

Zimbabwean newspaper mogul Trevor Ncube, for example, launched a series of tweets with the hashtag #SADCBackOffZim. Zimbabwean author and journalist Peter Godwin tweeted: ‘There is a special place in hell for anyone – SADC, Zuma, AU – that tries to get between a scorned dictator and his people. Zimbabwe has been cheated of real change before; it can’t be allowed to happen again.’

15 November 2017

Why Niger Proves America's Counterterrorism Tactics Are Failing

by Amitai Etzioni 

The tragic loss of four American fighters in Niger reminds one that the United States has learned little from the wars in Vietnam, Afghanistan and Iraq. It still believes that it can send its troops into a faraway country, in this case a particularly underdeveloped one, and that they will be able to stop ISIS from spreading. This is to be achieved not by the United States doing the fighting, but—the magic formula goes—by advising and training. The main problem with this idea is that all too often the locals would much rather have the Americans do the fighting. Thus, in Niger we learned from a Nigerien involved in the ambush that “the Americans had more sophisticated weapons and so we let them confront the enemy while we took cover.” The Guardian noted that “US special forces 'fought Niger ambush alone after local troops fled.’”

29 October 2017

Challenges in Libya Complicate EU Measures to Stem Migration

By Lisa Watanabe

In recent weeks, allegations have surfaced that Italy has been paying armed groups in Libya to cease smuggling migrants into the country. Some estimate that the number of migrants crossing the Mediterranean into Italy has reduced by half compared to the same time period last year. At the heart of the issue is a governance vacuum that allows armed groups to control the flow of migrants in and out of Libya, presenting a unique challenge for governments in North and West Africa and EU policymakers.

5 October 2017



It is called a ‘logistics base’ but the 200-acre facility built by China can accommodate a brigade and has unprecedented security arrangements

The People’s Liberation Army (PLA) of China has opened its first overseas base at Djibouti in the strategically located Horn of Africa. China began negotiations with Djibouti in early 2015 that culminated into a 50-year lease for what is being termed as a logistical support base.