Foreign Policy Blogs

Horn of Africa

8 Simple Steps to Bury Your Own Country

8 Simple Steps to Bury Your Own Country

Between now and August, when a new Somali president is supposed to be elected, a variety of political noises are expected to get amplified only to lead to the all too familiar outcome—a wonderful presidential parade to inaugurate the next charlatan, a new or a recycled one.

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Kenya’s Tourism Sector Set to Recover

Kenya’s Tourism Sector Set to Recover

After declines following attacks by Somalia-based militants and piracy, Kenya’s $1 billion a year tourism sector looks set to for a robust recovery in 2016.

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Somalia: Change Coming?

Somalia: Change Coming?

Since Somalia’s independence in 1960, its relationship with the U.S. has been on a roller coaster that travels up and down dangerous steeps and performs sudden inversions that turn everything upside down.

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The Politics of Insecurity in Somalia

The Politics of Insecurity in Somalia

AMISOM has outlived its mandate. It is time to put UN peacekeepers in Somalia.

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Breaking Bad in the Most Fragile Country (Part 2)

Breaking Bad in the Most Fragile Country (Part 2)

“Somalia is a country where the soft power really needs to kick in harder and come in faster”

Last week I shared the highlights of my interview with Ambassador Augustine P. Mahiga, the former head of the United Nations Political Office for Somalia and special representative of the U.N. Secretary General …

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Breaking Bad in the Most Fragile Country

Breaking Bad in the Most Fragile Country

 
A Conversation with Somalia’s Chief Peace maker and Constitutional Framer
“Do people actually live here?” I recall asking myself as I made the torturous journey through the streets of the bullet-riddled ruins of Mogadishu in the back of a noisy, slow and filled-to-capacity, open-top military utility truck. It is difficult to imagine …

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“Christian American B*stard — go home!”

“Christian American B*stard — go home!”

How to Keep Somalia’s “Lost Boys” Problem From Becoming Our Own 
“Christian American B*stard, go home!” was the insult hurled at me by a sandal-wearing, skinny and feisty 14-year-old Somali boy on a sultry day in Somalia in 1993. The boy’s name was Maxamed, and I was a 22-year-old U.S. Marine …

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Ethiopia’s Broadband Network – A Chinese Trojan Horse?

Ethiopia’s Broadband Network – A Chinese Trojan Horse?

Ethiopia’s signing last month of a $800 million broadband network with Chinese telecoms giant ZTE has some pundits again focusing on Chinese economic espionage in Africa.  The agreement calls for the establishment of a 4G broadband network in the capital Addis Ababa and a 3G network throughout the rest of …

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Reconciliation…One More Time!

Reconciliation…One More Time!


Ironic as it may seem, it is a statement of controversy to assert that a genuine national reconciliation is needed in Somalia. To some, that has already happened; to others, there is no need for it since the country has emerged out of the transitional period and …

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Al-Shabaab’s Bloody Attack in Mogadishu

Al-Shabaab’s Bloody Attack in Mogadishu

The gruesome attack on the U.N. compound in Mogadishu that killed 18 people has shocked the world. Once the “Breaking News” hit the social media, condemnations, condolences, and blame started pouring.
This latest bloody attack couldn’t come at a worst time — when security in …

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Somalia and the Slippery Slope of ‘Jubbaland’

Somalia and the Slippery Slope of ‘Jubbaland’

 

If the latest development in Somalia gives you the feeling of being trapped in the Twilight Zone — somewhere between relative security and renewed bloodshed — you are not alone. Due to the array of competing internal and external interest groups and the federal government’s lack of …

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Somalia Conference and Rivalry of Civilizations

Somalia Conference and Rivalry of Civilizations

A few days before the “Somalia Conference 2013” held in London on May 7, a foreign journalist friend of mine sent me an e-mail asking what my thoughts were regarding the upcoming conference hosted by Prime Minister David Cameron. I replied: “My heart’s belief in miracles …

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Somalia, Side-effect of an Overpriced ‘Panacea’

Somalia, Side-effect of an Overpriced ‘Panacea’


With its meager financial and human resources, the Federal Republic of Somalia (FRS) has been doing better than a satisfactory job. However, in recent months, it has been profoundly frustrated by various challenges. Chief among them is what I would refer to as the first side-effect of …

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Connecting Dots in the Triangle of Threat

Connecting Dots in the Triangle of Threat


 
Just as the temperature of the “security threat” slowly declines in Somalia, it rises in other parts of East Africa. Elements of mainly political, religious, and clan/ethnic nature continue to shift and create new volatile conditions. Though not entirely interdependent, these conditions could create a ripple effect …

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The Corroding “Lead Camel” Effect

The Corroding “Lead Camel” Effect


 
As in old caravans “Where the lead camel goes, so shall others.” Such goes the Somali proverb, notwithstanding its regional variations and dialectical flavors. The Lead Camel Effect (LCE) describes a syndrome or a common human tendency to blindly follow leaders, role-models, and all those whom authority is attributed …

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