How do you ask a man to be the last man to die for a mistake? John Kerry, at the time a decorated but unknown veteran of the Vietnam War testifying before the Senate Armed Forces Committee, famously posed this piercing question while calling for an end to the war in April 1971. The circumstances are vastly different, and my intention is not to draw a parallel between the war Kerry and so many other Americans opposed and the senseless violence we see in various parts of the world today. But I could not help think of Kerry’s question when […]
During his visit last week to northern Mali, Emmanuel Macron, France’s new president, announced that he would attend the next meeting of the G5 Sahel, a grouping of five countries—Mauritania, Mali, Burkina Faso, Niger and Chad—focused on mobilizing against extremist militants in the Sahel region. The G5 Sahel was originally created in February 2014, and plans for a multinational military force were announced the following year, at a November 2015 summit meeting in Chad. Since then, however, few details have been made available on the force’s composition and how it will operate. In an email interview, Nicolas Desgrais, a researcher […]
Islamist extremist groups that were once confined to slivers of territory in the most marginalized areas of West Africa are increasingly expanding their operational footprint in the region. Whether it is Boko Haram, which has rebranded itself as the self-proclaimed Islamic State’s West African affiliate, or the myriad al-Qaida offshoots that occupied northern Mali following a coup in 2012, insurgent operations are no longer confined by these groups’ countries of origin. The Islamic State’s West Africa Province, as Boko Haram now calls itself, has spread beyond its base in northeastern Nigeria into neighboring Cameroon, Chad and Niger, which all have […]
Why Is Trump Focusing on ISIS in Afghanistan, When the Taliban Is the Bigger Threat?
Earlier this week, Pentagon officials confirmed that Abdul Hasib Logari, the leader of the self-proclaimed Islamic State’s Afghan affiliate, had been killed in a joint U.S.-Afghan operation in eastern Afghanistan on April 27. That operation, in which two U.S. Army Rangers were also killed, followed an airstrike by U.S. forces in Afghanistan that dropped a GBU-43/B Massive Ordnance Air Blast Bomb, or “MOAB,” on an Islamic State tunnel complex. The bomb is one of the largest conventional weapons in the U.S. arsenal and represented a dramatic escalation of American operations against the Islamic State affiliate, known as the Khorasan Province. […]
How the Post-ISIS Vacuum in Iraq Will Test Relations Between Turkey and Iran
As the Iraqi army comes closer to fully reconquering Mosul from the self-proclaimed Islamic State, questions are emerging about the future of relations between two of Iraq’s neighbors, Turkey and Iran. Will the quest for influence in Iraq’s Sunni heartland lead to greater turbulence between Ankara and Tehran? Are they, as some warn, on an unavoidable collision course in Iraq? Turkey is worried that gains made by Iraq’s Shiite-majority government, which is friendly with Iran, only serve to expand Tehran’s influence over Sunni areas in northern Iraq. More worrying for Turkish President Recep Tayipp Erdogan is the potential for a […]
Uganda recently began withdrawing troops from the Central African Republic that had been tasked with hunting Joseph Kony, the notorious leader of the Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA) rebel group. Kony founded the LRA in 1987 in northern Uganda, and his fighters became notorious for abducting children and forcing them to serve as soldiers and sex slaves. The rebel leader remains at large, but Uganda’s military recently said the group’s “means of making war against Uganda have been degraded” and that LRA commanders had “been killed, captured or surrendered.” Gen. Thomas Waldhauser, the commander of U.S. Africa Command, offered a similar […]