Council on Foreign Relations


Foreign Affairs

Avoiding Africa's Oil Curse
What East Africa Can Learn From Past Booms
Ricardo Soares De Oliveira
Summary: 
The countries of East Africa are in the early throes of an oil boom, with an unprecedented opportunity for economic development. Unless they avoid the mistakes of those before them, though, the region's governments could easily squander it.

East Africa is the global oil and gas industry’s hottest frontier. Barely a month goes by, it seems, without a major discovery in Mozambique, Tanzania, Uganda, or the eastern Democratic Republic of the Congo.

Quenching Kenya
Can New Water Discoveries Save East Africa?
Brahma Chellaney
Summary: 
East Africa is one of the world’s most water-stressed regions. Overexploitation of water resources there has been compounded by declining snowpacks on Mount Kilimanjaro and Mount Kenya. In this light, the discovery of two significant aquifers in mostly arid Kenya has been hailed as a potential game changer.
Water scarcity is becoming the defining international crisis of the twenty-first century. Water conflicts rage across the world as communities struggle to secure a clean, reliable supply. One of the world’s most water-stressed regions is East Africa. Overexploitation of water resources there has been compounded by declining snowpacks on Mount Kilimanjaro and Mount Kenya, which have shrunk since the late 1980s due to global warming. Meanwhile, Lake Turkana -- the world’s largest perennial desert lake -- has largely disappeared from Ethiopian territory, retreating south into Kenya.
East Africa sees almost year-round skirmishes over water and grazing rights among the pastoral groups that live along the Ethiopia-Kenya and South Sudan–Central African Republic borders.

Foreign Fighters Playbook
What the Texas Revolution and the Spanish Civil War Reveal About al Qaeda
David Malet
Summary: 
Foreign fighters might seem like a product of twenty-first-century warfare, but they are nothing new. Over the past two centuries, more than 70 insurgencies have successfully gone transnational. The patterns of recruitment for such disparate groups are broadly similar and, because of that, their campaigns all have the same Achilles’ heel.
To many observers, the estimated 11,000 foreign fighters who have poured into Syria during its civil war are worrying signs of a growing trend toward transnational conflicts. And, in one sense, they are right. Since 2001, as many as 20,000 outside insurgents, mostly jihadis, have moved into war zones from Afghanistan to Iraq and Nigeria either to join local rebel groups or to establish footholds for al Qaeda and other Islamist organizations.
Over the past two centuries, more than 70 insurgencies have successfully gone transnational; there have been foreign fighters in at least one in five modern civil wars.
Insurgent groups, from the Texian Army in 1836 to al Qaeda affiliates in Syria today, use despair rather than optimism to recruit members.

Council on Foreign Relations

Monday, 04-14-14Brookings: Xi Jinping’s Africa Policy: The First Year"During the first year of the Xi administration, China's policy toward Africa has shown several new trends that illustrate Beijing's evolving priorities and strategies in the continent. These new trends foreseeably will have significant implications for the future of Africa and Sino-Africa relations."
Wednesday, 04-09-14The Star: In Central African Republic, A Lesson in Hate"Dieu-Beni is Christian, which is why it is odd to find him among the Seleka's mainly Muslim fighters. But like Mousaf, he is an exception — an example of why this conflict cannot be described as religious alone."
Monday, 04-07-14Atrocity Prevention Since the Rwandan GenocideHas the world progressed since 1994 in stopping mass atrocities? Concerted efforts by states, institutions, and NGOs make them less likely, write CFR's Paul Stares and Anna Feuer.
Monday, 03-31-14Al Shabab Leader Hits Popular Chord in Call to Oust Kenyans, EthiopiansWith Kenya's unilateral decision to enter and create a new buffer state inside Somalia, Ahmed Abdi Godane's urging this week to kick foreigners out has an audience, and even some logic.
Sunday, 03-30-14Don’t Kiss the CadaverAs the first outbreak of ebola in West Africa in twenty years claims over seventy lives, Laurie Garrett looks back at past epidemics in the region, drawing on her own experience reporting on 1995's ebola epidemic in Kikwit, Zaire. Lessons were learned, and it's now up to Guinea to remember them.
Sunday, 03-30-14Don't Kiss the CadaverAs the first outbreak of ebola in West Africa in twenty years claims over seventy lives, Laurie Garrett looks back at past epidemics in the region, drawing on her own experience reporting on 1995's ebola epidemic in Kikwit, Zaire. Lessons were learned, and it's now up to Guinea to remember them.
Friday, 03-28-14Think Progress: U.S. Stepping Up Campaign Against Joseph Kony, Highlighting Complex Relationship With Uganda"Five months into his first term in office, President Barack Obama laid out his vision for how American values would guide his thinking in crafting foreign policy. 'We uphold our most cherished values not only because doing so is right, but because it strengthens our country and it keeps us safe,' he said at the time…. The next five years have shown the difficulty that comes when some of those values clash with each other, jostling for dominance."
Wednesday, 03-26-14Update on the CongoJason Stearns, director of the Usalama project at the Rift Valley Institute, discusses the current situation in the Democratic Republic of the Congo with professors and students, as part of CFR's Academic Conference Call series.

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