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James Copnall is an eyewitness to what he calls Sudan and South Sudan’s ‘bitter and incomplete divorce’, having reported on the build-up to the 2011 referendum, and the hostilities that have marked and bracketed that historic event. In his new book, ‘A Poisonous Thorn In Our Hearts’, Copnall proposes to do much more than repeat […]

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These reflections were written for a seminar on “Patterns of Mass Violence in Somalia”, sponsored by the World Peace Foundation, and held at Tufts University, Medford Massachusetts, September 27-28, 2013

I cannot over-emphasize the importance of this book for its three major accomplishments: (1) Bringing to a broad audience (with her own beautiful translations) the […]

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If the epic poems of Guba, instigator in Somali, documented the internecine small-scale clan wars in the Hawd and Reserved Area in the 1890s-1920s, Clan Cleansing in Somalia undoubtedly serves as a repository for the historical origins and the memory reconstruction of mass violence in post-colonial Somalia. This time (1978 -present), though, the warfare was […]

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Alex has summarized my book quite well, but with one major exception:  the central theme is the failure of the peace process to oversee the democratic transformation called for in the CPA’s Machakos Protocol, which I contend was the only hope for sustainable peace, both between the two states and […]

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Review of: John Young, The Fate of Sudan: The Origins and Consequences of a Flawed Peace Process, London, Zed Books, 2012.

One of the truisms about Sudan is that the more you know about the country, the harder it is to write anything that makes sense. Those who have hardly been there have no […]

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It is devilishly difficult to accurately track and describe the international trade in narcotics. Trafficking routes emerge with startling rapidity, states alternately demonize and then decriminalize different drugs, while fickle consumers spur the development of markets for new types of narcotics overnight. The illicit organizations conducting the trade have every reason to camouflage their activities, […]

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