Posts by: Alex DeWaal

 

The word ‘privilege’ originates from the Latin privus lex, ‘private law’—law for a private individual and by extension, an aristocratic entitlement. For the privileged, there is a secret code: their transgressions will never be challenged, and if exposed, will be discreetly forgiven. Privilege is generally male, white, born to riches, expensively educated and clubbable, […]

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The African Union Mission in Somalia (AMISOM) is the AU’s largest, most ambitious, most complex and most dangerous peace support operation. It has rivaled and often surpassed United Nations peace missions in size and challenges. Paul Williams has written a thorough, extremely detailed, comprehensive, balanced and thoughtful account of the mission. It is indispensible for any policymaker or scholar of Somalia, and a model for how academic analyses of peace operations should be written.

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For the Middle Eastern states, the Horn is a second or even third order priority, well below their concerns with Iran, Iraq, Syria and Yemen. In fact, their interest in Africa is an offshoot of these higher concerns. They do not treat African states as equals, not least because African leaders tend to ask for money when they visit. The African Union has come to recognise that it needs an external policy for the “shared space” of the Red Sea. But it approaches the Middle East from a position of relative weakness. The most dramatic illustration of such an imbalance was Libya in 2011 when the Arab states and NATO brushed aside an African Union initiative for a negotiated solution to the war.

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The rules for playing football are well-known and fixed: spectators can reasonably expect 90 minutes of fair play. The rules for running international football organizations are secretive and broken, supplanted by deal-making. Under FIFA’s guidance, the World Cup became defined by corruption, authoritarianism and getting away with as much as you can. When the stench of […]

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In today’s New York Times, Alex de Waal argues that, famine “leaves behind a bitter legacy, and a long trail of rancor. If mass starvation takes hold in Yemen, expect an even more deeply divided country. Expect radicalization. Expect an exodus across the Arabian Peninsula and up the Red Sea, toward the […]

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Alex de Waal has a new essay, “Social Nutrition and Prohibiting Famine” in World Nutrition (2018, 9:1). Below is an extract, the full essay is available through World Nutrition.

The world almost conquered famine. By the first decade of this century, we were at the threshold of abolishing this age-old scourge, for good. But in […]

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