According to Human Rights Watch, a new rebel group in the Central African Republic—known as Return, Reclamation, Rehabilitation—has killed at least 50 people and displaced over 17,000 in the northwest of the country since late 2015. In an email interview, Igor Acko, a program specialist for the United States Institute for Peace based in Bangui, discusses the security situation in CAR. WPR: What are the main rebel groups in the Central African Republic, and who makes up their support bases? Igor Acko: The armed groups in the Central African Republic fall under two main categories: the Seleka and the Anti-Balaka. […]
“It’s the same fight, the same stakes,” French President Francois Hollande said of the battle against extremism in France and Africa while meeting with Malian troops in the northern city of Gao last week. “The terrorists who attack our land, who commit acts on our soil, are allied with those who are in the Levant, in Iraq and Syria, but here as well, in the Sahel.” Just days later, a suicide attack killed dozens at an army base there. Hollande was in Mali for the final Africa-France Summit of his presidency, which took place in the capital, Bamako, amid tight […]
Why Defeating the Islamic State Won’t Be All Good News for the U.S.
The battlefield defeat of the self-styled Islamic State in eastern Syria and western Iraq is far from certain but increasingly likely. Iraqi government forces, in conjunction with Shiite and Kurdish militias, are slowly liberating Mosul, the largest city the Islamic State has conquered. While the Syrian government is less concerned with the group than with other rebel forces it faces, a Kurdish-Arab militia alliance called the Syrian Democratic Forces is pushing toward Raqqa, the Islamic State’s most important stronghold after Mosul. In parallel, a global coalition led by the United States is undercutting the group’s economic base. The extremists still […]
After the Fall of Aleppo, Turkey’s Erdogan Digs In His Heels Against Syria’s Kurds
The fall of rebel-held eastern Aleppo in Syria last month was a stunning personal blow for Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, whose government had openly backed Syrian rebel groups after the civil war began in 2011. Losing the rebels’ self-styled “capital of the revolution” to Syrian President Bashar al-Assad and his allies is an insurmountable setback for years of Turkish regime-change efforts in Syria. But there is a silver lining for Turkey. After Aleppo, Ankara can focus all its diplomatic, military and political efforts on pursuing its more immediate national security interests in northern Syria: fighting the so-called Islamic State […]