Before We Get Carried Away: Politics, Security and Nigeria’s Missing Girls (Post)

It is rare that Africa captures the attention of the world. Its everyday suffering is normally barely a ripple on the global airwaves. Not so with the kidnapped schoolgirls of Chibok. By now, the hashtag #BringBackOurGirls has been retweeted over three million times. The U.S. First Lady Michelle Obama is “heartbroken”. Presidents, prime ministers and mi… Read More

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When Prodigal Jihadis Come Home (Post)

Published in the Toronto Star, September 30, 2013 It’s getting to be a familiar theme that Canadians’ global origins and global mobility can intersect frighteningly with currents in Islamist terrorism. Two Canadians were killed in this month’s Al Shabab attack on a Nairobi shopping centre, and a Canadian teenager maimed in the attack is recovering in a To… Read More

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Mali: Global Jihad, Local Struggles and the Dangers of a Single Story (Post)

In the wake of the French intervention in Mali, there is much talk of the Sahel region becoming a safe haven for extremist Islamists. Africa’s vast desert territories are perceived as ‘ungoverned spaces’, or ‘black holes’ where a dangerous underworld of terrorists and criminals operate freely and whence they will eventually launch their attacks on a West… Read More

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Misinterpreting Mali: The Uses and Abuses of R2P (Post)

As argued in this space recently, there are sound legal and political justifications for the intervention of French and West African troops in northern Mali. Further, the apparent achievements of the operation so far lend support to those who argue it is feasible to defeat the Islamist insurgency. But lasting success will depend on the extent to which the r… Read More

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Mulling Over Mali (Post)

To those of us deeply skeptical of the deployment of Western military force in the developing world, the French intervention in Mali in recent days poses something of a dilemma. It appears to be legally and militarily justified, and enjoys strong local and regional support. Yet at the same time, it appears to be based on the same  assumptions about Western ai… Read More

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An Intervention Ahead in Mali? (Post)

These days, when Western politicians or analysts discuss the possibility and likely consequences of an international intervention, they tend to refer to Syria. This is understandable, given the gravity and complexity of the crisis unfolding there.  But the focus on Syria has led us to overlook the growing international support for intervention in anot… Read More

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