Rebel Divisions Already Plague Latest Round of Mali Peace Talks

Tuareg rebels and Malian officials have begun meeting in Algeria to try and hammer out the terms of a lasting peace in northern Mali. In July, the parties signed a road map deal that paved the way for talks on an array of political and security issues. In September, they will return to Algiers for three weeks of negotiations. But so far, divisions among rebel groups threaten to complicate the prospects for peace.

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Upcoming Mozambique Election Prompts Push for Peace

By The Editors

Earlier this month, Mozambique passed an amnesty law that will allow Afonso Dhlakama, leader of the opposition Renamo Party, to return from hiding and run in the Oct. 15 presidential election. In an email interview, Elisabete Azevedo-Harman, research fellow at Chatham House, discussed the evolving political landscape in Mozambique.

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Uganda’s Longtime Strongman Faces a New Rival: His Restless Soldiers

By Harry Verhoeven
, , Briefing

Nearly 30 years after taking power, President Yoweri Museveni still dominates Uganda’s politics. While the civilian opposition appears impotent to legally break his grip on power, the internal dynamics of the armed forces are another matter. Museveni has a twin strategy of keeping the army under control and having his son Muhoozi Kaneirugaba succeed him, but resentment in the military is festering. more

Al-Shabab: A Close Look at East Africa's Deadliest Radicals

By Peter Dörrie
, , Feature

More than any other organization, Harakat al-Shabab al-Mujahedeen, widely known as al-Shabab, has left its mark on the recent history of Somalia. Political and radical Islam have a long history in the country, but no group has survived longer than al-Shabab, and no group has emerged stronger from challenges and setbacks. Today, the group has emerged from an existential crisis and looks stronger than it has in years. Though al-Shabab is often referred to as simply a “terrorist group,” the term does not accurately describe the range of the group’s activities. As perhaps the most important spoiler on Somalia's way toward peace, al-Shabab's current situation warrants an assessment.

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Diplomatic Fallout

Why the International System Is Still Worth Fighting For

By Richard Gowan
, , Column

The multilateral security system is stumbling around the world as it suffers from major structural weaknesses. Yet elements of it have worked surprisingly well in the current set of crises, from documenting atrocities in Syria to mediating in Ukraine. Despite setbacks, a mix of international officials and observers, soldiers and governments remain willing to stand up for the vulnerable and uphold that system. more

The Realist Prism

Time Running Out for Obama to Reboot U.S. Foreign Policy

By Nikolas Gvosdev
, , Column

Are we on the verge of personnel shifts that will produce a national security team 4.0 for the Obama administration? The third iteration has enjoyed a particularly rough tenure, with public confidence in Obama's handling of national security diminishing as a result. The upcoming November midterm elections could prove decisive to what an Obama foreign policy agenda for the end of his presidency might look like. more

BRICS Bank Will Bolster, Not Challenge, Global Financial System

By Daniel McDowell
, , Briefing

The BRICS countries recently unveiled a new development bank that includes a $100 billion fund known as the Contingent Reserve Arrangement, designed to provide short-term support to BRICS members, similar to the International Monetary Fund. Despite suggestions that the CRA is another sign that the BRICS and the West are headed for confrontation, the new institution might leave all sides better off. more

In Training Partner Militaries, U.S. Should Not Rush to ‘Do Something’ in Africa

By Michelle Sieff
, , Briefing

As African heads of state gather in Washington this week for the U.S.-Africa Leaders Summit, the continent’s overall security progress shouldn’t obscure its ongoing challenges, including violent Islamist extremism. With the shift in U.S. counterterrorism strategy from direct to indirect action—training partner or indigenous troops—U.S. policymakers and the military must confront critical strategic and practical issues. more

Global Insider

East Africa Exchange Aims to Provide Farmers’ With Better Market Access

By The Editors
, , Trend Lines

Leaders from Kenya, Rwanda and Uganda officially launched the East Africa Exchange early last month. In an email interview, Jendayi Frazer, managing partner of the East Africa Exchange and director of the Center for International Policy and Innovation at Carnegie Mellon University, discussed the East Africa Exchange’s role in improving farmers’ market access. more

Special Report

A Year of Conflict and Crisis for Africa

By The Editors
, , Report

As President Barack Obama convenes a summit of nearly 50 African leaders in Washington focused mainly on economic opportunity, security and health crises continue to undermine the continent’s potential. South Sudan and the Central African Republic are torn by civil war; Nigeria and Kenya are threatened by terrorist groups; and Sierra Leone and Liberia are suffering from the worst Ebola outbreak to date. But while Western powers like the U.S. and France continue to wield influence, it is increasingly Africa’s leaders who are driving events. This report covers developments in every region of sub-Saharan Africa, drawing on articles since the beginning of 2014. more

New Agenda Reflects Growing Energy Role for Lusophone Bloc

By Francisco Galamas
, , Briefing

Last week, the 10th Summit of Heads of State and Government of the Community of Portuguese Speaking Countries, held in East Timor, accepted a new member: Equatorial Guinea, the third-largest oil exporter in sub-Saharan Africa. With Equatorial Guinea, the CPLP is collectively now the fourth-largest oil exporter in the world, demonstrating its shifting focus from political and cultural issues to economic ones. more

An Integrated Approach to Conflict and the Environment

By Talia Hagerty, Jurgen Brauer
, , Feature

For the better part of their existence, the global anti-war and the environmentalist movements have typically lived side by side, each pursuing noble but separate aims. Today, however, a new trend has become apparent: the mutually reinforcing interaction between human violence and planetary change. No longer can peace and the environment be seen as separate issues. Consequently, no longer can the two movements merely work side by side; they must work as one. more