Why Nigeria’s Boko Haram Has Been Deemed A National Security Threat to the US

A new jihadist organization is threatening America’s homeland. But these upstarts aren’t your typical extremists from the Middle East; Boko Haram’s holy warriors hail from Nigeria’s northern badlands.

Two years ago, US intelligence agents described Boko Haram as a local Salafist group attacking Christians and local police stations with machetes and poison tipped arrows in Nigeria’s Northeastern Borno state. By November 2011, the House of Representatives Subcommittee on Counterterrorism and Intelligence had issued a report stating that “Boko Haram has quickly evolved and poses an emerging threat to US interests and the US homeland.”  That quantum leap was magnified by the report’s recommendation that “The Secretary of State should conduct an investigation into whether Boko Haram should be designated a Foreign Terrorist Organization (FTO).”  Continue reading

Boss Status: How Gaddafi Became the “King of Kings” In Africa

by Webster Brooks

Despite the Obama administration’s best efforts, the first black President is having a hard time getting the Africans, better yet the African Union (AU), on board with military actions in Libya. Why? Because Col. Muammar Gaddafi has been the most dominant force in Africa for over thirty years.

We keep hearing about how the Arab League is feeling and where everyone else stands on Libya. But, we hear little about what the African countries think, an important detail since it’s their continent and all. Right now, the coalition of mostly sub-Saharan African states (and some of your most notorious “dictators”) has refused to support the United Nations and Arab League’s “No Fly Zone” resolutions in Libya. So now, bombs dropped on Libya each day looks more and more like a European and Arab thing. Recently, Ramtane Lamamra, the AU Commissioner for Peace and Security said events in Libya require “urgent African action” to bring about an end to the hostilities. How did they propose doing that? Continue reading

Will Arab Spring Revolts Spread to Sub-Saharan Africa


by Webster Brooks
Today, Sub-Saharan Africa has two military regimes (Madagascar and Niger) and only one monarchy (Swaziland). Thus, the likelihood of a democratic tsunami sweeping over Sub-Saharan Africa is remote. Based on the political mix of  Sub-Saharan nations, both the scope and pace of future democratic upsurges will be varied and more deliberate.

Understandably, Sub-Saharan opposition forces are impatient with the status quo and frankly envious of the “Arab Spring” revolts that toppled Egypt’s and Tunisia’s dictators in the space of a few short weeks. But their impatience should be tempered with the understanding that in Egypt and Tunisia, the forces of democracy have yet to win democratic rights and the free elections they demanded; they are negotiating for them. The dictators are gone but the old systems are still intact. The work of re-ordering society on a new democratic foundation will prove far more difficult than dislodging authoritarian rule. It is only in Libya that revolutionary forces are attempting to overturn the old order and seize state power by the force of arms.  Continue reading

The Chinese – African Relationship: Can Sub-Saharan Africans Think

china-africa

by Collin Spears, BFPR Chief Foreign Policy Correspondent Washington, D.C.

In 2001, Former Singaporean Ambassador to the United Nations, Kishore Mahbubani asked a simple question, which was also the title of his book, “Can Asians Think?” Mr. Mahbubani sought to challenge, what he perceived as, Western paternalism. He believes that Asians do not need indefinite guidance by the Western world, because Asians are capable of independent thought, and just because these thoughts may differ from the West does not mean they are the result of defective thinking. A befitting question for the coming decade is, “Can Sub-Saharan Africans think?” For many Westerners it would seem the answer is, “No”, at least as far as Africa’s relationship with China.

In 2005, the Western media began to express “concern” with the increasing Chinese presence in Sub-Sahara Africa (Africa). During this period, many foreign policy observers began to promote the idea that China is plotting to take over Africa in some neo-colonialist attempt to gain unlimited access to natural resources. For example, Karin Kortmann, a German parliamentary state secretary stated in November of 2006, “our African partners really have to watch out that they will not be facing a new process of colonization” (Cheng 2007). The same year, Lord Chancellor of Great Britain, Jack Straw, made similar allegations “Most of what China has been doing in Africa today is what we did in Africa 150 years ago” (Stevenson 2006). This Sinophobic boilerplate is hyperbole, but the narrative suggests that the average African is impotent and their leaders are all iniquitous or ineffectual.
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