Prospects for stability in the Horn of Africa
For decades, the Horn of Africa has been home to conflict and failed states. Changes are occurring rapidly, however, driven by the recent rapprochement between Ethiopia and Eritrea. Even Somalia has made modest progress. The question is whether these gains can be consolidated, since economic and ethnic tensions are still rife, and a host of global and regional powers continue to vie for influence.
Burundi’s downward spiral
President Pierre Nkurunziza’s grip on power has divided Burundian society to the point where armed opposition groups are in open conflict with forces loyal to the regime. Violence against civilians has forced thousands to flee their homes. The economy has been hit hard as well. But the fragmentation of the opposition and Burundi’s involvement in critical peacekeeping missions means Mr. Nkurunziza has the upper hand, for now.
The contours of a future Middle East emerge
Events are moving fast in the Middle East. The hoped-for rapprochement between Russia and the U.S. that could bring an end to the war in Syria appears to have collapsed. Growing tensions between Iran and Saudi Arabia could spark a war at any moment. But the most explosive issue for this region of minorities is the prospect of independence for Iraqi Kurdistan.
GIS Dossier: Sub-Saharan Africa
The list of challenges facing sub-Saharan Africa is long and daunting. Political instability and violence have led to immense migration flows that countries on three continents are struggling to contain. These problems have exacerbated weather-related catastrophes like famine, creating a vicious circle. Yet, the region has plenty of potential. Can it overcome its hurdles? This edition of GIS Dossier surveys the predictions from our experts on this troubled region.
Scenarios for unification in the Balkans
Calls to redraw the map in the Balkans are again being made. This time, Serbia is proposing an integrated economic area, while Albania and Kosovo are raising the possibility of unification. Neither scenario is likely to occur, because each could lead to renewed conflict. But as states wait for progress toward EU membership, loose confederations based on Serbia and Albania could form, dividing the region into two clear geopolitical spheres.
Biafra deserves self-determination
Nigeria’s Igbo people, who mainly live in the country’s southeastern oil-producing regions, have been repressed and marginalized for decades. With this discrimination ongoing, it is understandable that independence movements have gained momentum, especially considering how the area’s oil revenues all wind up in federal coffers while its needs remain neglected. Biafra deserves self-determination, either through a strong local government or independence.
Serbia’s strategic choice: the West or Russia
This year will be a decisive one for Serbia. Many considered the elections that were held on April 24 as a sort of national referendum. Not only did the vote give pro-European Prime Minister Aleksandar Vucic a parliamentary majority, it also gave him a mandate to put the biggest country to come out of the former Yugoslavia on a path toward decoupling with Russia. The stage is now set for a fierce political battle that will have strategic importance not only for Serbia’s internal stability, but for regional security overall.
Africa’s most enlightened despot faces test of third term in Rwanda
As incumbent leaders seek to extend their time in power beyond legal limits, ‘third-termism’ or ‘constitutional coups’ have become a hot topic in African politics. In Rwanda, where leadership changes have always been accompanied by ethnic strife and violence, the constitution is being changed to allow a third term to President Paul Kagame. The country’s brutal hist...