Bottom Line Up Front Following months of fighting, Sudan’s current ruling military government and the political opposition have forged a power-sharing agreement.  What happens next in Sudan will depend in large part on the rivalries and divisions that characterize the current regime, which is far from a monolith. One ...

  Bottom Line Up Front On June 27, the Tunisian capital of Tunis was rocked by twin suicide blasts that killed one police officer and injured many others. One of the explosions hit a bus carrying Tunisia’s presidential guards, while the Islamic State claimed responsibility for the attack via Amaq ...

  Bottom Line Up Front The U.S. Treasury Department recently imposed sanctions on the Rawi terrorist financing network, which helped move funds for the so-called Islamic State. The network was truly global in nature; headquartered in Iraq, it had connections that spanned the Middle East, Africa, and Europe. Even without ...

  Bottom Line Up Front On December 13, 2018, U.S. National Security Advisor John Bolton detailed the Trump administration's New Africa Strategy. The strategy seeks to counter Chinese influence on the continent and promote U.S. national security interests. In recent years, Chinese investment in Africa has grown exponentially, and the ...

  Bottom Line Up Front On December 17, the U.S. reported that it had conducted six airstrikes in Somalia, killing 62 militants from the al-Qaeda-linked al-Shabab. The U.S. has conducted 45 publicly confirmed airstrikes in Somalia in 2018, 14 more than in 2017, which was the greatest annual total up ...

  Bottom Line Up Front Boko Haram has evolved from a group focused on economic and social development in Nigeria into a transnational terrorist organization, which has targeted the UN, kidnapped nearly 300 female students, and launched suicide attacks to terrorize security forces and intimidate the local population. At its ...

For this last week of 2017, we asked our experts to look ahead at key national security issues. CIA veteran and Africa hand Frank Archibald offers some thoughts on where the continent is headed. Changes in 2017: It really is a year of big men moving on. In Angola, President ...

Marrakech, MOROCCO — Most African migration is taking place inside the continent, despite the headlines that give the impression that Africans trying to flee their struggling home countries in waves are on their way to Europe, according to a report by the Rabat-based OCP Policy Center. But the growing use of ...

The role of wildlife trafficking in funding militancy and terrorism has received intense attention from conservationists globally as well as from members of the U.S. Congress. Yet the fact that some terrorist and militant groups have been involved in poaching of iconic species such as elephants for the illegal global ...

Kenya will hold another presidential election after the country’s high court on Friday nullified the results of a contentious early August poll. That election brought longtime Kenya president Uhuru Kenyatta back to power, but the high court said the election board “failed, neglected or refused to conduct the presidential election ...

A large portion of what U.S. special operations forces do in Africa is security force assistance – training, advising and equipping partner militaries – rather than putting large numbers of U.S. boots on the ground. What are America’s aims with this strategy, and is it effective? The Cipher Brief’s Kaitlin ...

U.S. President Donald Trump’s “war on terror” – much like his predecessor’s – uses partners’ capabilities against terrorists in an effort to protect the country from potential attacks, while minimizing U.S casualties. In Africa, Trump’s continuation of this strategy has resulted in increased reliance on U.S. special operations forces. The ...

On the night of May 5, Navy SEAL Kyle Milliken, a senior chief special warfare operator, was killed during an attack on al-Shabaab militants outside Mogadishu, Somalia. Two other U.S. soldiers were wounded. Milliken was the first U.S. military death in the country since the infamous 1993 Black Hawk Down ...

With the advent of digital communications, people thousands of miles apart can engage with each other seamlessly, and businesses can operate at a scale previously unknown, thanks to a burgeoning consumer electronics industry. But not all aspects of this industry are positive. Some contribute to global insecurity and human suffering. ...

Terrorism, political corruption, and human rights violations in sub-Saharan Africa are like any other business: management identifies and provides a needed product or service to willing buyers, thereby generating profits and reinvesting them. In the tragedy currently playing out in the Great Lakes region of Central Africa, especially in the ...

Last February, President Donald Trump issued an Executive Order calling on the Department of Treasury to review the 2010 Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act enacted in the wake of the 2008 financial crisis. One Dodd-Frank provision the Trump Administration would like to suspend  is Section 1502, which requires U.S. companies that ...

BANGUI, Central African Republic – Since May 8, fighting in the southeastern city of Bangassou, the southern town of Alindao and the central mining town of Bria has left more than 300 people dead, 200 injured and 70,000 displaced, according to the U.N. The spreading violence “is highly worrying and ...

Investment priorities and trends have changed as China’s economy and those of its African partners continue to develop. Chinese firms see an opportunity for lucrative, large-scale construction projects, while African governments see Chinese banks – with less stringent borrowing requirements than those of Western banks or multilateral development banks – ...

China Merchants Port Holdings has invested $400 million to build China’s first port in Africa. The massive project, now under construction in Djibouti, will serve China’s commercial and naval ships and deepen China’s economic and security interests in the African continent. As well, the project will create jobs for Chinese ...

Decades ago, China saw economic partnerships with African nations as a means of securing political support. As China’s economy has evolved towards export manufacture, its interests shifted to gaining access to Africa’s bountiful natural resources. Today, in China’s diversifying economy, state-owned and private companies are seeking new opportunities across the ...

As China’s economic interests in Africa have expanded, its security interests have kept pace, to protect Chinese nationals and assets across the continent.  To that end, China has invested heavily in multinational organizations such as the African Union and the United Nations and has shown commitment to regional stability. The ...

Africa faces a number of security challenges, from terrorist groups such as Boko Haram and al Shabaab, to civil wars and violent conflicts in South Sudan and Libya, to severe droughts causing hunger crises in Somalia and Yemen. This instability contributes to migration from Africa to Europe. In addition, a ...

Recent heavy migration from Africa to Europe has renewed the European Union’s focus on maintaining stability and contributing to the economic development of its southern neighbor in an effort to stem the migrant flows. Asmita Parshotam, a researcher under the Economic Diplomacy Programme at the South African Institute of International ...

The security of the Sahel is crucial for the European Union. The Sahel region of Africa is plagued by poor governance, extreme poverty, frequent famine and drought, and a burgeoning youthful demography. All these factors, among others, have contributed to a spiraling irregular migration, Islamist extremism, and transnational organized crime. ...

On March 13, desperate Somali fishermen hijacked the tanker Aris-13 off the coast of Puntland, in the northeast part of the country. This was the first such incident in almost five years – raising concerns over a return to piracy in the Horn of Africa. Since then, two similar incidents ...

The southeast African country Mozambique presents an investment opportunity for American energy companies. But with this opportunity comes security challenges, including domestic political disputes that often turn violent, an increase in organized crime and kidnappings across the country, and potential signs of imported extremism. In recent years, large natural gas ...

Focusing on threats and short-term planning often leads to missed opportunities by governments. Insight is expected to be provided for immediate decision needs, while foresight becomes sidelined by more pressing current affairs. American positioning sometimes drifts away from building the conditions to project stable and enduring power, in favor of ...

Mozambique is a big investment opportunity for energy companies, but concerns over organized crime, corruption, and targeted kidnapping remain, along with a somewhat shaky political situation. The Cipher Brief’s Kaitlin Lavinder spoke with Alex Vines, Head of the Africa Programme at Chatham House, about prospects for Mozambique. The Cipher Brief: ...

Four years ago, French forces intervened in Mali, successfully averting an al Qaeda-backed thrust toward the capital of Bamako. The French operation went a long way toward reducing the threat that multiple jihadist groups posed to this West Africa nation. The situation in Mali today remains tenuous, however, and the ...

Al Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb’s (AQIM) propensity for kidnapping was back on display earlier this week, as al Qaeda’s North African branch released a video of Swiss Christian missionary Beatrice Stockly, who has been held captive by the terrorist group for more than a year. The recording of Stockly ...

Al Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb’s (AQIM) emergence ten years ago this month was a Hail Mary. In 2004, Algerian President Abdelaziz Bouteflika had orchestrated the second of two national amnesties in an attempt to finally bring an end to Algeria’s decade-old Islamist insurgency. The leader of one remaining terrorist ...

Yahya Jammeh – who ruled The Gambia for more than 22 years – is stepping down and leaving the country the internationally recognized new President Adama Barrow said Friday. Barrow tweeted, “I would like to inform you that Yahya Jammeh agreed to relinquish power and leave the country.” This comes ...

The Gambia’s Supreme Court was supposed to hold a hearing on a petition to annul the December presidential election, brought by the country’s current President Yahya Jammeh, who lost the election. Chief Justice Emmanuel Fagbenle says that hearing is now postponed until May. Meanwhile, President Jammeh’s term technically ends the ...

After more than two decades in power, Gambian President Yahya Jammeh lost the December election to his opponent, Adama Barrow. However, Jammeh now says he does not accept the election results. The Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) approved a “standby force” to be deployed to The Gambia, with ...

From drone warfare to the targeting of Osama Bin Laden, President Barack Obama’s legacy on peace and security issues is largely being defined by a range of high-profile decisions and policies on counterterrorism.  But a much less prominent program, the Security Governance Initiative (SGI), is steadily gaining momentum, representing a ...

The United States is not a member of the International Criminal Court (ICC). Yet Americans could still be indicted by the Court for alleged crimes committed in Afghanistan. In a report by the ICC’s Office of the Prosecutor released last month, the ICC states it is assessing whether to open ...

A number of countries are pushing back against the International Criminal Court (ICC). South Africa notified the UN-Secretary General in October that it is withdrawing from the Court. Russia may follow suit after finding out the Court plans to investigate Russian actions in Georgia in 2008. Even the U.S., which ...

The International Criminal Court (ICC) has, in many ways, had a strong year. Two new preliminary investigations have been opened, in Burundi and the Gabonese Republic, while eight situations remain under on-going examination, including Afghanistan, Colombia, Iraq, Palestine, and Ukraine, to name a few. The Office of the Prosecutor has ...

There has been a downward trend in large-scale warfare on the African continent since the number of wars peaked in the mid 1990s. However, new forms of violence are now replacing mass warfare in many of America’s key African allies. “In a lot of African countries [you find] situations that ...

More than 160,000 migrants and refugees arrived in Italy this year, compared to just over 142,000 during the same time last year. Of those taking the Central Mediterranean route from northern Africa to Italy, 3,755 have died at sea, according to the International Organization for Migration (IOM). That’s more deaths ...

The European Union (EU) is entering into partnership deals, or “compacts,” with at least five African countries to try to stem the flow of migrants from Africa to Europe. The Cipher Brief’s Kaitlin Lavinder asked Kate Hooper, an associate policy analyst with the Migration Policy Institute’s International Program, what these ...

Irregular migration from Africa to Europe is increasing. As Africa’s population continues to grow, the European Union (EU) will need to figure out how to deal with what is expected to be even more African migrants in the coming years. The Cipher Brief’s Kaitlin Lavinder spoke with Philippe Fargues, founding ...

Exactly five years ago this October, about 100 United States Army Special Forces deployed in Central Africa to assist the Ugandan military in its fight against the notorious Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA) and its leader, Joseph Kony. U.S. involvement has played a crucial role in reducing LRA troop strength to ...

With the recent announcement that presidential elections in the Democratic Republic of the Congo will be postponed until at least 2018, tensions have been rising over the continued reign of DRC President Joseph Kabila. The Cipher Brief spoke with John Siko, Head of Business Intelligence for Africa at the Risk ...

Late on Sunday, Bruno Tshibala, the Deputy Secretary and spokesman of the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC)’s largest opposition party, the Union for Democracy and Social Progress (UDPS), was arrested for his alleged role in violent anti-government protests that rocked the capital city of Kinshasa in mid-September. The protests, ...

African leaders have tried many different ways to evade term limits in recent years. Usually these take a form of reinterpreting when an incumbent’s first term started. Or they orchestrate a referendum or constitutional amendment bypassing the term limit restriction. The tack taken by the Democratic Republic of the Congo’s ...

Africa’s long-time, largest oil producer is wavering. For six months in a row (March-August), Nigeria landed in the number two spot of the continent’s largest producers of crude, falling behind Angola, according to OPEC (Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries) data. Oil production levels provide insight into the stability – ...

Nigeria remains one of Africa’s largest oil producers, but for the past six months, it has been surpassed by the continent’s other major producer, Angola. Insecurity in the Niger Delta is largely to blame. The Cipher Brief’s Kaitlin Lavinder spoke with Director of the CSIS Africa Program Jennifer Cooke about ...

Angolans head to the polls in less than a year’s time with the result a foregone conclusion. Angola’s People Movement for the Liberation of Angola (MPLA) – the party that has ruled the country since the country’s independence in 1975 – and its leader, President Jose Eduardo dos Santos, will ...

Europe’s migration crisis is often framed in terms of the influx of refugees coming from Syria, Afghanistan, and other conflict countries in the Middle East. However, there is also a large number of African migrants that travel across the Mediterranean Sea to Lampedusa, an Italian island, and then onto Europe. ...