Council on Foreign Relations


Foreign Affairs

Black Market
How the Charcoal Trade Fuels Al Shabab
Tom Keatinge
Summary: 
To take out al Shabab, one need look no further than charcoal. The United Nations has repeatedly called for countries in the region to disrupt the group’s trade in this environmentally destructive product, but, as the most recent Somalia UN Monitoring Group report revealed, such efforts have been lackluster. With its patience wearing thin, the UN has now taken matters into its own hands by approving a naval intervention.
To take out al Shabab, one need look no further than charcoal. The United Nations has repeatedly called for countries in the region to disrupt the group’s trade in this environmentally destructive product, but, as the most recent Somalia UN Monitoring Group report revealed, such efforts have been lackluster. And so, with its patience wearing thin, the UN has now taken matters into its own hands by approving a naval intervention.
The trade in Somali charcoal is immense, amounting to at least $250 million per year, a third of which, according to UN estimates, lines al Shabab’s pockets.

Why They Fought
How War Made the State and the State Made Peace
Michael Mandelbaum
According to Ian Morris, the author of a sweeping history of conflict from prehistoric times to the present, war can sometimes produce safety. But his account runs into difficulties as it approaches the present.

War! What Is It Good For? Conflict and the Progress of Civilization From Primates to Robots BY IAN MORRIS. Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 2014, 512 pp. $30.00.

Grappling With Graft
How to Combat the Growing Corruption Epidemic
Alexander Lebedev and Vladislav Inozemtsev
Summary: 
The world needs a new international convention to combat corruption -- a global epidemic that erodes government institutions, fuels unrest, and increasingly threatens the stability of the West.
Corruption is one of the world’s hottest topics. Four decades ago, only about 25 to 30 English-language books on the issue appeared every year; that number increased to more than 400 today. A Google search for the word “corruption” produces more than 45.7 million results, compared with just 26.4 million for “terrorism.” The Corruption Perceptions Index, an annual ranking published by the watchdog group Transparency Internatio­nal, has become one of the world’s most cited reference sources. Yet despite all this attention, no adequate solutions to the problem have come to light.
Corruption has become a major threat to the global economic order.
Only unified global action can halt the corruption contagion.
Western countries must demonstrate that no government that abuses power at home could be regarded as a respected partner abroad.

Council on Foreign Relations

Wednesday, 11-19-14U.S. Policy to Counter Nigeria's Boko HaramJohn Campbell, Ralph Bunche senior fellow for Africa policy studies, evaluates the implications of the Boko Haram insurgency and recommends that the United States support Nigerian efforts to address the drivers of Boko Haram, such as poverty and corruption, and to foster stronger ties with Nigerian civil society. 
Wednesday, 11-19-14CFR Special Report: Better Governance, Not Force, Most Effective Tool to Fight Nigeria's Boko HaramThe militant Islamist group Boko Haram’s increasingly bold attacks in Nigeria—most notably its April kidnapping of nearly three hundred female students—threaten to fuel further Muslim-Christian violence and destabilize West Africa, making the group a leading concern for U.S. policymakers, writes former U.S. Ambassador to Nigeria John Campbell, CFR senior fellow for Africa policy studies, in a new Council Special Report.
Wednesday, 11-19-14I’m Back From Liberia and Under a (Self-Imposed) Quarantine in BrooklynGoing from Monrovia, Liberia to Belgium to New York meant enduring power outages, fever checks, Ebola questionnaires, and the hallway from hell. But the hysteria that dominated America's view of Ebola and the open disdain for travelers from the hard-hit region that was the norm in the United States in late October have yielded to what seems a very rational, smart way of keeping track of returnees
Tuesday, 11-11-14Liberia is Stiffing Its Contact Tracers as Ebola Epidemic ContinuesSome 600 angry Ebola workers surrounded Liberia's Ministry of Health Monday demanding back pay dating from early September. The ministry employees who track down anyone who may have come into contact with an Ebola victim -- a critical process called contact tracing -- have never received a dime.
Monday, 11-10-14Ebola UpdateExperts discuss international efforts to combat the Ebola outbreak in West Africa.
Friday, 11-07-14Ebola Was HereEbola cases are dropping so rapidly that Liberians are talking about the disease in the past tense. They shouldn't be, writes Laurie Garrett
Tuesday, 11-04-14Journey to the Center of an EpidemicFrom New York to Brussels to Dakar to Monrovia: Day One of the trip to see Ebola-ravaged Liberia, up close and personal.
Tuesday, 11-04-14The Pulpit Takes on a PlagueWhile some Liberian religious leaders are harnessing fears over the outbreak to further an anti-gay agenda, other churches are preaching peace, calm, and a chlorine rinse.

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