Cigarettes. Islamists don’t like them. But I wonder if they could yet prove fatal to Isil. With the Shabaab back in the headlines this week, I have been thinking of their stance on cigarettes. I have been reminded of it several times in the past few months as it has been reported (several times) that the Islamic State in … More Is it all about the cigarettes?
For a while, iconoclastically-minded journalists liked to hold up the Islamic Courts Union of Mogadishu as the future of Somalia. For about six months they brought a semblance of peace and security to the capital in 2006. They were backed by businessmen who saw the benefits of law and order – albeit a pretty strict … More “The Islamic State is failing at being a state”
Foreign Policy magazine presents its Failed States Index, with no surprises in the top few places. The list contains my favourite country in Africa and my least favourite, as well as my new home. Somalia – surely the only actual failed state in the list. The government controls almost none of the country, which is … More Fragile, Flawed…but Failed?
The House of Lords has published its report into Somali piracy, examining specifically the success of EU Operation Atalanta, and is available here. I find myself elsewhere these days so haven’t ploughed through its pages. I’m sure there’s some tasty nuggets in there. In the meantime the conclusions do seem to take a rather optimistic … More Beware Copy-Cat Piracy
I don’t know why Bob Geldof got his knickers in a twist over the BBC’s report on aid to Ethiopia. Surely anyone who knows anything about Africa knows that in dealing with emergencies, aid agencies will have to deal with unsavoury characters. Today it is the UN’s World Food Programme that’s in the firing line. … More Mr World Service
It has been another good year for the pirates – less so for the 272 sailors (as of last week) still held in or just off Somalia, including the Chandlers from Tunbridge Wells (whose boat is pictured above). With few ideas on how to tackle the menace, 2010 will hold more of the same. The … More My African Advent Calendar: Day 21, A BOAT
One of the first things that puzzled me about Darfur was why the West cared about what was happening in Sudan’s western region, when it gave such little attention to conflicts in Somalia, Uganda, the Democratic Republic of Congo and others that I’ve forgotten about. Now it seems that Darfur is going the way of … More No Longer Our Favourite African War