Category Archives: terrorism

Should the U.S. be training and equipping African armies? The logic of security assistance and its discontents

This month, I wrote a short piece on U.S. security assistance in Africa that was published as the “featured analysis” in the August 2014 issue of the “Africa Conflict Monthly Monitor,” compiled and edited by Consultancy Africa Intelligence. CAI has … Continue reading

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To combat Boko Haram, it’s time for Nigeria to think big

Much has been written about Boko Haram, Nigeria’s ruthless Islamic insurgency, since more than 200 schoolgirls were kidnapped last month. But there remains a considerable amount of confusion over how Boko Haram came to be, and more importantly, what to … Continue reading

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“War” in West Africa?

Scanning the headlines, it would seem that war was all the rage this past week in West Africa. It began last Saturday in Paris, where the leaders of five West African countries—Nigeria, Niger, Cameroon, Chad, and even tiny Benin—confidently agreed … Continue reading

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A divorce years in the making: Al Qaeda and the Islamic State of Iraq and al-Sham (ISIS)

The tendency in international affairs after a dramatic event is to hastily address the question of “what does it mean?”—as if the event represents a pivotal turning point that bends an otherwise steady trend line. Such is the case after … Continue reading

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The Benghazi whodunit: the curious case of Sufian bin Qumu

The same week that the State Department blacklisted three different but identically-named armed groups in North Africa as Foreign Terrorist Organizations, two conflicting reports—a Washington Post story and a New York Times article one day apart—resurrected a related, highly charged … Continue reading

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Colombia’s peace process: a current overview

The talks in Havana between the Colombian government and the Fuerzas Armadas Revolucionarias de Colombia (FARC), a guerrilla militant “terrorist” group, have already had a significant impact on an important region in the global economy due to a loosening of … Continue reading

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After Westgate, assessing a terrorist group’s “strength,” “weakness,” and strategy

One of the principal analytical errors committed by journalists and “experts” in international affairs is to hastily transform a singular data point into a “trend.” A case in point: after the recent, horrible terrorist attacks at the Westgate Shopping Center … Continue reading

Posted in Al Qaeda, East Africa, Kenya, Somalia, terrorism | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , | 3 Comments

Book thoughts: “Invisible Armies: An Epic History of Guerrilla Warfare from Ancient Times to the Present” by Max Boot (2013)

Max Boot’s recent book, Invisible Armies, takes an interesting dive into history to extract lessons from past wars—though of a different kind than we are used to reading about in textbooks. Boot’s gargantuan volume (567 pages, plus another 150 of … Continue reading

Posted in Al Qaeda, Book reviews, General, terrorism | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

March Madness at Notes on the Periphery!: Part 5 (full bracket)

Over the past month, Will Vogt and I have unveiled an entire “bracket,” modeled off the 68-team format used during college basketball’s final tournament, to provide a short preview of 64 “forgotten” conflicts across the world. In each “regional”—Middle East … Continue reading

Posted in Balkans, Caucasus, Central Africa, East Africa, Europe, Latin America, March Madness, Middle East and North Africa, South Asia, Southeast Asia, territorial disputes, terrorism, West Africa | Tagged , , , , , , | Leave a comment

March Madness at Notes on the Periphery!: Part 4 (Asia-Pacific)

(Note: This post was completed in conjunction with Will Vogt, another Notes on the Periphery contributor and the beloved “obscurity” columnist.) On April 8, the three most fun weeks of the year ended, namely NCAA college basketball’s final tournament. For … Continue reading

Posted in Bangladesh, Burma, Central Asia, China, East Asia, India, Indonesia, Kyrgyzstan, Malaysia, March Madness, Pakistan, Philippines, South Asia, Southeast Asia, Tajikistan, territorial disputes, terrorism, Thailand, Uzbekistan | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment