Eritrea gained independence from Ethiopia in 1993 after a thirty-year long independence struggle that forced about one million people to flee the country. After only five years of peace, Eritrea and Ethiopia fought a bitter border war that resulted in the death of up to 100,000 people, which also marked the end of all hopes for a sound development of the young State of Eritrea. The Algiers Peace Agreement of December 2000 ended the military conflict but did not solve the underlying problems between the ruling elites of Ethiopia and Eritrea.
In February 2018, in the midst of ongoing political turmoil, few could have predicted the radical political change of direction Ethiopia would experience within a matter of weeks. The election in March 2018 of Abiy Ahmed as Chairman of the ruling Ethiopian People’s Revolutionary Democratic Front (EPRDF) and consequently the country’s Prime Minister heralded the beginning of a major shift in leadership style and approach in one of Africa’s most authoritarian polities.
China and Ethiopia diplomatic relationship was established in 1970 because it was mutually beneficial. China needed Ethiopia, and other African nations, at the UN and Ethiopia, which was ruled by Emperor Haile Selassie I, was a diplomatic leader towards African independence, and could no longer ignore the most populous third world nation involved in solidarity and material support in the anti-colonial struggle movements.
On Sunday, August 4, a series of airstrikes in Libya’s remote southwest desert town of Murzuq killed a gathering over 40 armed men and civilians, with a further 50 people injured. Khalifa Haftar’s self-styled Libyan National Army (LNA) claimed responsibility for the deadly attack, most likely carried out by foreign aircraft, claiming the targets were ‘Chadian opposition fighters’.
In recent years, the evolution of instability scenarios in Mali and the ongoing regionalization of the jihadist-armed groups’ threat gave impulse to activating security cooperation dynamics among Sahelian states. In February 2014, the governments of Mali, Mauritania, Burkina Faso, Niger and Chad – which are characterized by comparable levels of development, the presence of similar elements of structural fragility and a significant geographical, geopolitical and cultural coherence – announced the constitution of the G5 Sahel.
Western Sahel represents one of the most unstable areas in sub-Saharan Africa. Seven years after the outbreak of the conflict in Mali, violent extremism has spread across the region, together with community conflicts over the access to natural resources and inter-ethnic violence. Trans-border activities of non-state armed actors – insurgents, jihadist groups and ethnic-based militias – as well as illicit trafficking networks feed the regional insecurity.
Despite the presence of multiple military actors in West Africa’s Sahel region, a steady growth in jihadi activity seems to thrive in the presence of foreign military operations. With their focus on fighting cross-border terrorism and reconstructing ‘failed states’, while failing to adequately address local grievances, these military operations risk producing the danger they aim to abate.
On June 22, 2019, Mauritania organized its latest president election, which led to the unsurprising replacement of a (retired) military officer, Mohamed Ould Abdel Aziz, by another comrade-in-arm, Mohamed Ould Ghazouani. This election provides a good opportunity to evaluate the country’s current challenges, in a regional context where a number of neighbors are spiralling into cycles of violence.
Between 3 and 6 February this year French air force jets attacked a convoy of trucks carrying rebels in north-east Chad, who were advancing on the capital N’Djamena with the aim of overthrowing the regime of President Idriss Deby. Since the Nineties, France has repeatedly promised to reduce its interference in internal African politics without wider consultation, yet this was a unilateral French strike, ordered by Paris, that harked back to the days when France regularly intervened in the internal politics of its former colonies.
Security in Burkina Faso has steadily deteriorated since 2015. Seeking to address the spiraling violence, the Burkinabé government enacted a state of emergency in nearly one third of all provinces in the country by the end of 2018. Yet, so far, 2019 in Burkina Faso is on track to be the most violent and deadliest year on record, according to the Armed Conflict Location and Event Data Project (ACLED).