War is Boring: Africa Round-Up

Mali There hasn’t been much of a change in the overall situation during the last weeks: the northern half of Mali — an area about the size of France — is occupied by a range of rebel groups. While neighboring states and the international community are deeply concerned over the Islamist policies of some of these groups, the Malian state has proven to be incapable to act, due to a coup d’etat which send the government into a deep crisis. There is a lot of confusion and uncertainty about what lies ahead. The regional organization ECOWAS and especially its member ...

continue reading War is Boring: Africa Round-Up

War is Boring: Africa Round Up

War is Boring: Africa Round Up
DR Congo The eastern Congo is about to enter a new cycle of violence. The rebels of the new organisation “M23” only control a limited area so far, but reportedly get stronger by the day. M23 is the result of the mutiny of several army units around Easter. These units were part of a former rebel group, the CNDP, which was officially disbanded and integrated into the army in 2009. As a reaction on the limited success of operations against the mutineers the army is concentrating more and more forces in the area surrounding the rebel strongholds on the border with Rwanda. ...

continue reading War is Boring: Africa Round Up

World Politics Review: As Crisis Gathers, Northern Mali Needs More Than Just Military Intervention

Since April, when two Tuareg rebel groups drove government forces out of northern Mali, the situation in the sparsely populated region has steadily worsened. The lightning advance of the National Movement for the Liberation of the Azawad (MNLA), which seeks independence for the Tuareg homeland, and Ansar Dine, which has an Islamist agenda, triggered a coup of disgruntled junior officers against President Amadou Toumai Touré, with the resulting political instability in Bamako leaving the army incapacitated and the rebels the effective rulers of roughly half the country’s territory. Though the two groups worked together to launch the rebellion, Ansar Dine ...

continue reading World Politics Review: As Crisis Gathers, Northern Mali Needs More Than Just Military Intervention

Waging Nonviolence: The Arab Spring you haven’t heard about — in Mauritania

Waging Nonviolence: The Arab Spring you haven’t heard about — in Mauritania
You may not have heard of it, but the West African country of Mauritania has what is probably one of the most vibrant and active protest movements in the world today. Protests drawing tens of thousands of people (out of a total population of just three million) take place almost weekly in the capital Nouakchott, with many smaller protests happening on a daily basis around the vast country. The protests are overwhelmingly nonviolent — even in the face of frequent violent suppression — and have been going on since February 2011. It would be comfortable to file these protests as another part of the Arab ...

continue reading Waging Nonviolence: The Arab Spring you haven’t heard about — in Mauritania

War is Boring: Africa Roundup (Congo, Mali, Mauritania, Guinea-Bissau)

War is Boring: Africa Roundup (Congo, Mali, Mauritania, Guinea-Bissau)
The latest installment of my regular Africa conflict roundup for warisboring.com Congo A large-scale mutiny-come-rebellion rocks the eastern part of the Democratic Replublic of Congo since Easter. Never the most peaceful of places, the situation in the Kivu provinces bordering Rwanda escalated, when army general Bosco “The Terminator” Ntaganda decided to defect from his position. Ntaganda is searched for by the International Criminal Court on charges of crimes against humanity. (The ICC recently sentenced Ntaganda’s former superior Thomas Lubanga in a related case.) A military commander of a powerful rebel group, the CNDP, Ntaganda protected himself from prosecution by leading an ...

continue reading War is Boring: Africa Roundup (Congo, Mali, Mauritania, Guinea-Bissau)

World Politics Review: The Origins and Consequences of Tuareg Nationalism

World Politics Review has brought out a new special on “peoples without borders”. They look at Kurdish, Basque and Tuareg minorities in their respective countries, and I am happy to tell you that I contributed a feature article on Tuareg nationalism for the issue: At the beginning of April, after a loose coalition of Tuareg rebel groups forced the Malian army to abandon Timbuktu, one of the armed factions involved in the fighting didn’t lose much time in announcing its ultimate objective: “We, the people of Azawad declare irrevocably the independence of the state of Azawad,”read the communiqué issued by the ...

continue reading World Politics Review: The Origins and Consequences of Tuareg Nationalism

ThinkBrigade: Hunger, rebellion, coup: Mali’s crisis has its history

I’m part of the new project ThinkBrigade, which brings together reporters and citizen journalists from around the world to experiment with new forms of collaborative and interactive journalism. This is my first piece for the project, but others will follow: Mali is a landlocked country in West Africa, about two times the size of France. It is dominated by vast expanses of sparsely inhabited desert and the fertile surroundings of the Niger river. In historical times, the area was home to powerful empires and the ancient city of Timbuktu, with its architectural wonders, still tells of this era. Mali is again ...

continue reading ThinkBrigade: Hunger, rebellion, coup: Mali’s crisis has its history

The Stream: The crisis in Mali

I took part in The Stream yesterday, an interactive show on Al Jazeera English. Originally I was asked to take part in the live discussion via a Goolge+ hangout, but this did not work due to a crappy internet connection on my side. So instead some of my tweeted comments about the show were shown and discussed. The show was great and very interesting. There were some excellent participants, among them Andy Morgan, so if you didn’t see it yet be sure to watch it! I took part in The Stream yesterday, an interactive show on Al Jazeera English. Originally ...

continue reading The Stream: The crisis in Mali

Little hope for a peaceful solution in North Mali

Little hope for a peaceful solution in North Mali
Since my last post on Mali, a lot of things happened. The coup has officially ended (though it may not be over yet) and the situation in the North has … evolved, to put it mildly. I will concentrate on developments in the North in this post. As Baz Lecocq has pointed out, we actually know little about what is happening in that region. News are sparse and to my knowledge only one journalist, Salima Tlemçani of the Algerian El Watan, is actually on the ground there. All other journalists and press agencies (me included) get their news from members ...

continue reading Little hope for a peaceful solution in North Mali

Tune in to Al Jazeera tonight

I will be taking part in a discussion on the current situation in Mali on Al Jazeera English tonight. The program is called The Stream and will start at 19:30 GMT. Be sure to tune in! I will be taking part in a discussion on the current situation in Mali on Al Jazeera English tonight. The program is called The Stream and will start at 19:30 GMT....