Given the pressures that globalization generates for individual states, regions have obvious incentives to develop their cooperation in the economic field. Equally, given the costs of conflict, there is a compelling argument for regions to develop effective mechanisms for conflict management. Although these lessons apply to all regions, in Southern Africa the process of regional cooperation has been viewed more skeptically, mainly because the obvious disparities of power between South Africa and its neighbors raise the question of whether a more balanced and equitable set of regional relationships can be achieved. Though this is certainly a valid concern, it ignores […]

Relations between South Africa and Nigeria have long resembled a rollercoaster without a safety bar. While Africa’s first- and third-largest economies, respectively, have for long stretches shared a close relationship, it is one marked by volatility and tension. And during the past three years, this critical bilateral relationship has begun to wobble dangerously, finding itself today in need of urgent détente. Nigeria has long seen itself as a leader in Africa, having played a championing role in the anti-apartheid struggle, while South Africa sees itself an exemplar of both democracy and the conduct of international relations. After a history of […]

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Over the past decade, rising energy prices and new techniques and technologies have allowed global energy companies to bring online new oil and gas reserves in East African countries, including Tanzania and Mozambique. But as the demand for fossil fuels grows among energy-hungry emerging economies, investors are also opening up production in previously unexplored areas. And in East Africa, this means major opportunity as well as major uncertainty. “What could really make a difference is if these countries coordinate their strategies and their resources effectively,” said Richard Downie, deputy director of the Africa program at the Center for Strategic and […]

It is no surprise that piracy has steadily climbed up the ranks of threats to India’s security, given India’s energy trade with the Middle East. But now, with vast untapped oil reserves reported in Somalia and just off its coast, piracy emanating from the Horn of Africa is impinging on India’s future energy sourcing opportunities as well. Further complicating India’s plans for the region is the nexus between Somali pirates and the al-Qaida affiliate al-Shabab, which still has a significant presence in central Somalia and provides sanctuary to pirate fleets operating out of the central Somali city of Harardhere in […]

There’s a warlord in the news again. With 86 million views and counting, the “Kony 2012” web video and its recently released sequel brought unprecedented attention to Joseph Kony and the Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA). The videos are part of a campaign orchestrated by the U.S.-based NGO Invisible Children to rally international support for Kony’s capture. The major news outlets responded in kind, with ABC, CNN and the New York Times casting Kony as a warlord. The problem is, warlords don’t exist. At least not as Invisible Children and its growing audience think they do. The existence of warlords may […]

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As clashes between rival Libyan militias continue, with a particularly violent battle erupting earlier this week, the fighting that has left hundreds dead or displaced threatens to divide the country. The violence also poses a problem for reconstruction efforts, in part because of its potential to undermine the country’s upcoming elections, currently scheduled for June 20. “These clashes have complicated things in a number of ways. The biggest is that international workers and programs and organizations will have to assess what’s going on in Libya in terms of safety and operability before they send people out, and, for a country […]

NAIROBI — As conflict continues to rage along the poorly demarcated, oil-rich border separating Sudan and South Sudan, international parties are scrambling to avert full-scale war. The African Union (AU) hosted reconciliation talks Monday in the Ethiopian capital, Addis Ababa. In a result reflective of the AU’s two-year mediation, however, Northern and Southern Sudanese officials failed to reach any tangible resolution. The current crisis constitutes the largest scale of violence between the two national armies since South Sudan officially seceded in July 2011. Each side blames the other for instigating the aggression. South Sudan claims its northern neighbor continues to […]

With just six weeks left until Egyptians go to the polls, the race for the presidency has entered a new level of acrimony, intrigue and speculation. The biggest shock came Sunday, when the country’s most powerful political organization, the Muslim Brotherhood, blatantly broke its promise not to seek the presidency. Its newly announced candidate, Khairat el-Shater, automatically took the lead in the campaign for the top job. El-Shater, the Brotherhood’s main financier, top strategist and deputy supreme leader, announced he was giving up his position in order to start campaigning for president. With that, he became the front-runner in a […]

Over the weekend, the National Movement for the Liberation of Azawad (MNLA) seized Kidal, Gao and Timbuktu, the three major cities of northern Mali that lie within the region the Tuareg rebel group refers to as “Azawad.” This development highlights the inability of the military-led junta currently ruling the country, the National Committee for the Restoration of Democracy and State (CNRDR), to stem the MNLA’s advance, despite having deposed Malian President Amadou Toumani Touré for his anemic response to this latest round of Tuareg rebellion. Before his overthrow, Touré had also come under fire from regional and international critics for […]

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African Union countries are currently deadlocked over whether to keep or replace the current African Union chairman, Jean Ping, whose term has been temporarily extended. In an email interview, Solomon Dersso, a senior researcher in the Peace and Security Council Report Program at the Institute for Security Studies, discussed the African Union’s leadership contest. WPR: What are the main functions, both institutional and symbolic, of the African Union commission chairmanship? Solomon Dersso: The African Union Commission is the administrative branch of the continental body. The commission implements AU policies, prepares its strategic plans and coordinates the body’s activities and meetings. […]

Territorial disputes to determine control of offshore energy reserves and multinational efforts to secure global shipping lanes are increasingly driving naval competition and international politics. Be it in the South China Sea, the Indian Ocean or the Arctic Ocean, maritime security and diplomacy will in part determine the emerging global order. This World Politics Review special report examines diplomacy and strategy in the world’s waterways. Below are links to each article in this special report, which subscribers can read in full. Not a subscriber? Purchase this document for Kindle or as a PDF from Scribd. Or subscribe to WPR now. […]