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Failed States

This category contains 10 posts

The Little Understood Connection between Terror and Drug Profits

Terrorists are in it as much for the loot as for the ideology. The Islamic State, or ISIS, could hardly exist, whatever its Islamist fervor, without hard cash from sales of pilfered petroleum, taxes on its subject population and kidnappings for ransom. Likewise ISIS- and al-Qaida-linked groups in Africa prosper by trafficking drugs across the … Continue reading

Confronting Drugs, Crime, and Warfare in Africa

Drug smuggling and its profits help significantly to fuel Africa’s wars as criminal enterprises. Terrorists frequently build drug-driven hybrid organizations to finance their operations and to reap illicit rents. In Mali, the Central African Republic, the Democratic Republic of Congo, and Somalia, conflict is strongly tied to drug trafficking by syndicates allied to al-Qaeda–associated insurgents. The … Continue reading

Measuring ‘Governance’ to Improve Lives

Botswana does more for its people than Kenya; India delivers more quality services than Pakistan; Barbados is better at these things than Haiti or Jamaica; and Singapore offers the kinds of public goods that Malaysia does not yet provide. All kinds of officials and citizens, at home and abroad, want to know why and how … Continue reading

Fixing Nigeria’s Leadership and Governance Problems

  Nigeria’s battle against Boko Haram can only be won if Nigerians begin to fix their massive leadership and governance problems.               Nigeria is as close to being a failed state as it has ever been. The key components and definitions of state failure are: The state’s loss of its Weberian monopoly of violence. … Continue reading

Washington’s Good Intentions for Africa are Not Enough

Ebola epitomizes Washington’s Africa problem. With more than 40 African leaders meeting President Barack Obama, Vice-President Joseph Biden and Secretary of State John Kerry in the U.S. capital this week to celebrate the continent’s burgeoning economic prospects, governance weaknesses remain sadly real and a big drag on development. The presidents of Sierra Leone, Liberia and … Continue reading

Zimbabwe’s Economy Circles the Drain

The city water taps run dry daily in Harare, Zimbabwe’s capital. Electrical power is scarce and there are frequent blackouts; private homes and all businesses need generators. Hospital supplies and doctors are scarce. So are functioning schools, street lights and all of the other daily governance items that governments, even some in Africa, normally supply. … Continue reading

Stemming the Carnage in Central Africa

“There are the people we need to kill. Why leave them alive? We need to kill them and take their things … We will kill the men first. Then we will take their possessions,” a Christian militia leader told his followers as they attacked a compound sheltering Muslims in the Central African Republic. “You are … Continue reading

Failed States: A Paradigm Revived

To label as “failed” those nation-states that no longer serve their people remains a powerful indictment. It sharpens policy considerations and singles out those countries which should be of utmost concern to world order. “Failed” also focuses attention on those nation-states that may soon fail; those are countries most in imminent need of external help. … Continue reading

Africa’s Executive Problem

Leadership, or the lack of responsible political leadership, is sub-Saharan Africa’s major challenge. This common wisdom was confirmed Monday when the Ibrahim Foundation’s prize committee refused for the second year running and the fourth time in seven years to find any recently retired African head of state or head of government from any of Africa’s … Continue reading

A Wounded Leopard: Why al-Shabab Attacked Kenya

Marginalized in Somalia by Kenyan, Ethiopian and other African military forces, al-Shabab tried to show that it was still a potent instrument of terror by striking cruelly in Nairobi. Since Kenyans had helped significantly to overcome al-Shabab’s strongholds in Kismayu and Merca, in southern Somalia, al-Shabab attacked Nairobi, Kenya’s soft security underbelly, instead of attempting … Continue reading