Burkina Faso Coup Puts Spotlight on U.S.-Trained Military Leaders

Lt. Col. Isaac Yacouba Zida at a press briefing, Ouagadougou, Burkina Faso, Nov. 3, 2014 (AP photo by Theo Renaut).
Lt. Col. Isaac Yacouba Zida at a press briefing, Ouagadougou, Burkina Faso, Nov. 3, 2014 (AP photo by Theo Renaut).

Last week, opponents of Blaise Compaore, the long-serving de facto dictator of Burkina Faso, launched a series of demonstrations that have quickly led to a new government headed by Lt. Col. Isaac Zida. While this was a somewhat softer military coup than old-fashioned ones where officers marched civilian leaders out and shot them, it was a coup nonetheless. Washington is now scrambling to make sense of it. While Compaore’s ouster might send a useful signal to other de facto dictators who have clung to power for decades, the way it happened did not bode well for Africa’s fragile grasp on […]

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