Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir inspects the honor guard after his arrival in Entebbe, Uganda, Nov. 13, 2017 (AP photo by Ronald Kabuubi).

The people of Sudan are accustomed to volatility, but even for them, the current moment is fraught with uncertainty. A convergence of social, economic and diplomatic unrest has sent Sudan into a state of anxiety, straining society and raising the prospect of new domestic turmoil. On Jan. 16 and 17, protesters in cities from Darfur in the west to Port Sudan in the east took to the streets angry over the rising prices of essential goods. They blamed the government of President Omar al-Bashir for economic mismanagement and corruption. Inflation in Sudan is running at more than 30 percent, partly […]

Egyptian human rights lawyer and former presidential candidate  Khaled Ali announces his withdrawal from the race, Cairo, Egypt, Jan. 24, 2018 (AP photo by Amr Nabil).

January has been a troubling month for Egyptian politics. In a substantial blow to the pretense of fair elections, the military-backed authorities ramped up efforts to clear the field ahead of the presidential poll slated for March 26 to 28. Five candidates were either forced out of the race by the military or have exited on their own as a result of an intensive campaign of interference and intimidation. Now, President Abdel-Fattah el-Sisi will run virtually uncontested. He was elected to his first term in 2014 with 97 percent of the vote, a figure that many suspected was inflated. The […]

Gambian President Yahya Jammeh during the 17th African Union Summit, Malabo, Equatorial Guinea, June 30, 2011 (AP photo by Rebecca Blackwell).

Editor’s Note: Every Friday, WPR Associate Editor Robbie Corey-Boulet curates the top news and analysis from and about the African continent. It’s been a year since former Gambian President Yahya Jammeh fled into exile, and speculation is starting to pick up about his potential return to the country to face charges for crimes committed during his more than two decades in power. In January 2017, as West African troops entered Gambian territory, Jammeh announced he was leaving so Adama Barrow could take office, flying to Guinea before ultimately settling in Equatorial Guinea, where he remains today. Barrow defeated Jammeh in […]

German Chancellor Angela Merkel speaks with Equatorial Guinea’s president, Teodoro Obiang Nguema Mbasogo, during an EU-Africa summit, Abidjan, Cote d’Ivoire, Nov. 29, 2017 (AP photo by Geert Vanden Wijngaert).

It’s been nearly a month since reports of a coup attempt emerged from Equatorial Guinea, yet details of what actually happened and who was involved remain scarce. On Dec. 29, the magazine Jeune Afrique reported that armed mercenaries from at least three different countries had been intercepted in the northeastern town of Ebebiyin, near the border with Cameroon and Gabon. Several days later, on Jan. 3, the government said the mercenaries had managed to infiltrate five towns before their plot unraveled, including Mongomo, where President Teodoro Obiang Nguema Mbasogo was planning to ring in the new year. Obiang, the world’s […]

A dead camel decomposes in a region hit by persistent drought, Ben Guardane, Tunisia, March 12, 2011 (AP photo by Lefteris Pitarakis).

With new outbreaks of political protests in Iran and Tunisia, there are questions again about the role played by environmental issues, including human-caused climate change, in stoking unrest and discontent in the Middle East. In Iran, where protests have been underway since late December, observers are making explicit linkages, drawing the connection between water scarcity that displaces farmers and government corruption and incompetence. Many protesters do not believe their government has any credible policy responses to the environmental stress and, instead, encourages water usage policies that make the problem worse. In Tunisia, where demands for political and economic reforms are […]

Residents from Gaza wave Palestinian and Egyptian flags to celebrate the Egypt-backed reconciliation agreement between Hamas and Fatah, Gaza City, Oct. 12, 2017 (AP photo by Khalil Hamra).

Earlier this month, the self-proclaimed Islamic State’s affiliate in Egypt released a 22-minute video showing the execution of a man it identified as a Hamas collaborator. The video, characteristic of the group’s macabre propaganda, put the spotlight on the budding conflict between the Islamic State and Hamas, the Palestinian Islamist movement that has ruled Gaza since 2007. That conflict has its roots in the changing dynamics on the ground between Hamas and Egypt’s government. Despite years of acrimony, Hamas and Egypt have forged an increasingly cooperative relationship in the past year, driven by the desperate situations both sides are facing. […]

French President Emmanuel Macron and the heads of state of the G5 Sahel countries attend a summit launching the regional force, Bamako, Mali, July 2, 2017 (AP photo by Baba Ahmed).

It seems that everyone wants to send soldiers to the Sahel these days. Last week, the Italian Parliament approved plans to send nearly 500 troops to fight migrant-traffickers in Niger. British Prime Minister Theresa May offered to send transport helicopters to support French forces fighting terrorists in Mali. While the Italian and British deployments may be limited, they will add to an increasingly complex patchwork of peacekeeping and counterinsurgency operations across the Sahel. Once a geopolitical backwater where France called the shots, the region has become an unwieldy mash-up of crisis-management missions. United Nations peacekeepers patrol Mali, where French troops […]

Two U.N. soldiers stand guard in Goma, Democratic Republic of Congo, Nov. 30, 2012 (AP photo by Jerome Delay).

In this week’s Trend Lines podcast, WPR’s editor-in-chief, Judah Grunstein, managing editor, Frederick Deknatel, and associate editor, Omar H. Rahman, discuss the first year of Donald Trump’s presidency ahead of the anniversary of his inauguration. For the Report, Philip Kleinfeld talks with Andrew Green about how efforts by President Joseph Kabila to hold onto power in the Democratic Republic of Congo, more than a year after the end of his presidential term, is driving a resurgence of militia violence. If you like what you hear on Trend Lines and what you’ve read on WPR, you can sign up for our […]

A fishing boat sailing down the Nile River in Cairo, Egypt, Sept. 3, 2011 (AP photo by Amr Nabil).

Editor’s Note: Every Friday, WPR Associate Editor Robbie Corey-Boulet curates the top news and analysis from and about the African continent.It was a busy week for diplomacy related to a long-running dispute over the Nile River, culminating Thursday in Ethiopian Prime Minister Hailemariam Desalegn’s first visit to Egypt. “We must make sure that this great river never becomes an object of competition, mistrust or conflict,” Hailemariam said in Cairo. But recent events, including statements from earlier in the week, highlight the extent to which it already has. Ethiopia is nearing completion of its Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam, an enormous project […]

Cameroon gendarmes march in to occupy Archibong, on the then-disputed Bakassi peninsula, Cameroon, Aug. 14, 2006 (AP photo by George Osodi).

In late 2016, when lawyers and teachers began organizing demonstrations against the perceived marginalization of Cameroon’s English-speaking population, one of the most significant questions was whether their discontent would translate into a broader anti-government movement that could mobilize French-speakers as well. More than a year later, the answer appears to be no, or at least not yet. While the crisis has intensified, it remains concentrated in the two western Anglophone regions, which are home to a fifth of the Central African nation’s 22 million people. It has failed to spread east to threaten the capital, Yaounde, and the regime of […]

Congolese boys take part in a protest against President Joseph Kabila’s refusal to step down, Kinshasa, Democratic Republic of Congo, Dec. 31, 2017 (AP photo by John Bompengo).

UVIRA, Democratic Republic of Congo—When the rebels attacked, some of them arrived on motorized wooden boats, toting rocket-propelled grenades. Others streamed down the lush hills that surround this city, perched on the northern shore of Lake Tanganyika, East Africa’s second-largest lake. Civilians fled in their wake. Members of the group, called the National People’s Coalition for the Sovereignty of Congo, had one simple aim, according to Alemasi Musoshi, a 26-year-old rebel who took part in the attack on Uvira last September. “All we ask is for Kabila to leave power,” he says. Congo’s embattled president, Joseph Kabila, has managed, despite […]

Libyan men displaced from Tawergha pray at a makeshift mosque at a camp for internally displaced people on the outskirts of Tripoli, Libya, Nov. 26, 2013 (AP photo by Manu Brabo).

At the end of December, Libya’s prime minister in Tripoli, Fayez Serraj, announced that Libyan families displaced from the town of Tawergha since the start of the country’s civil war in 2011 could return home. The people of Tawergha allegedly fought on the side of deposed Libyan leader Moammar Gadhafi. Their return to Tawergha, in western Libya, will mark one of the first successful reconciliation efforts between embattled communities in the country. In an email interview, Jalel Harchaoui, a doctoral candidate in geopolitics at Paris 8 University focusing on Libya, discusses the ongoing obstacles to communal reconciliation. WPR: What has […]

Confiscated ivory is displayed at a chemical waste treatment center, Hong Kong, May 15, 2014 (AP photo by Kin Cheung).

On Jan. 1, China implemented a ban on the domestic sale and processing of ivory, following through on a plan it had announced more than a year ago. The move should effectively cut off one of the major centers of demand that has incentivized the poaching of African elephants. In an email interview, Grace Gabriel, the regional Asia director for the International Fund for Animal Welfare, explains why China decided to execute the ban, the likely impact on poaching and the remaining obstacles and risks to ending the ivory trade. WPR: Why has the Chinese government decided to implement a […]

Unemployed protesters take to the streets, Tunis, Tunisia, Jan. 22, 2016 (AP photo by Riadh Dridi).

Editor’s Note: Every Friday, WPR Associate Editor Robbie Corey-Boulet curates the top news and analysis from and about the African continent. Nearly seven years to the day after Tunisia’s so-called Jasmine Revolution forced the departure of longtime President Zine El Abidine Ben Ali, the country was once again rocked by widespread protests this week—this time sparked by austerity measures including price and tax increases. According to the BBC, protests had occurred in at least 10 locations, including Tunis, the capital, as of Thursday. Hundreds of people were arrested; 50 police officers were injured; the army was deployed in some places; […]

Ijaw millitants carry Russian-made AK-47 rifles in Okorota, Nigeria, June. 25, 2004 (AP photo by George Osodi).

Editor’s Note: This article is part of an ongoing series about the production and trade of arms around the world. In mid-December, the United Nations granted Russia an exemption to the arms embargo on the Central African Republic, after a petition from Moscow to supply the country’s embattled military with light arms and ammunition, according to reporting by the AFP. The second-largest arms exporter in the world after the United States, Russia already sells billions of dollars in weapons annually across Africa. In an email interview, Paul Stronski, a senior fellow in the Russia and Eurasia program at the Carnegie […]

Congolese President Denis Sassou Nguesso is greeted by Mohamed Larbi Ould Khelifa, president of the lower house of Algeria’s parliament, Algiers, March 27, 2017 (Sipa photo by Billal Bensalem via AP).

For well over a year, information coming out of the Republic of Congo’s southeastern Pool region, though limited, has pointed to a brutal armed conflict with grave humanitarian consequences. In its crackdown on the Ntsiloulou rebel group, also known as the “Ninjas,” the government of President Denis Sassou Nguesso has been accused of carrying out torture, mass evictions, arbitrary arrests and even aerial bombardments against civilians. Grisly violence has also been attributed to the rebels, including attacks on rail lines connecting the region to the rest of the country. The conflict in Pool started immediately after Sassou Nguesso was named […]

Liberians march with the national flag in the streets of Monrovia, Liberia, May 11, 2015 (AP photo by Abbas Dulleh).

Editor’s Note: Every Friday, WPR Associate Editor Robbie Corey-Boulet curates the top news and analysis from and about the African continent. The inauguration of George Weah as Liberia’s next president is still more than two weeks away, but already the former soccer star is trying to mitigate one of the challenges that bedeviled his predecessor, Ellen Johnson Sirleaf. When Sirleaf took office in January 2006, she had to contend with what were, in retrospect, perhaps impossibly high expectations for what her administration could achieve. Emerging from more than 10 years of civil conflict that, by many estimates, killed hundreds of […]