Up to 40,000 members of Iraqi minority groups are at severe risk from the advancing forces of the Islamic State (IS or ISIS/ISIL). The most urgent crisis, according to accounts from eyewitnesses, news and humanitarian organizations, is the plight of the Yazidis—a small group that follows an ancient monotheistic religion that includes elements of [...]

Continue Reading

On July 29th, the New York Times journalist Rukmini Callimachi published a fascinating account of the role of hostage-taking in the operations of Al-Qaeda and other militant groups. Along with the article, the Times published several letters between members of Al-Qaeda leadership in the Sahara and in Yemen, which its reporter found in [...]

Continue Reading

Alex de Waal has published a newly released article in African Affairs, “When kleptocracy becomes insolvent: Brute causes of the civil war in South Sudan.” Below is the abstract, full text available through the journal:

South Sudan obtained independence in July 2011 as a kleptocracy – a militarized, corrupt neo-patrimonial system of governance. By the [...]

Continue Reading

“Are you looking for the museo?” Having taken the wrong metro exit, I surely looked like the standard lost gringa standing on a corner in the old neighborhood of Barrio Brasil on Santiago’s west side. It was on that corner that I found that a simple request for directions to the Museum of Memory could [...]

Continue Reading

The Carnegie Working Group on Corruption and Security last month published a paper, Corruption: The Unrecognized Threat to International Security.

It’s an important paper: it points to the striking fact that corruption is closely associated with state fragility, and that militant insurgencies are closely associated with opposition to kleptocratic regimes.

It’s also work in [...]

Continue Reading

I argue that the Chadian political marketplace is characterized by five main patterns: externally-derived rents, the gap between politico-military entrepreneurs and the cheap combatant labor force who participate in “rent-seeking” rebellions, a violent mode of governing associated with a decentralized control over the instruments of coercion, the structural weakness of the civilian opposition trapped between repression and cooptation, and the exclusion of women.

Continue Reading