Currently viewing the tag: "book review"

Al Shabaab has a remarkable intelligence apparatus. The title of this book alludes to a phone call that Mary Harper, a BBC journalist and longtime reporter on Somalia, received following a visit to Baidoa in the southwest of the country. The caller was a member of Al Shabaab, who described precisely where she had gone, whom she had met and what she had done in that town, and also in Mogadishu, down to the tube of Pringles she was holding when coming out of a shop. After her itinerary was read back to her, Harper told the caller that everything he had told her was true. She writes, ‘it is ironic that Al Shabaab has been able to describe to me so accurately what I do and whom I see when I visit Somalia while I have found it almost impossible to establish a single certifiable truth about the group.’

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Is there an Islamic path to state-building? Historically, Islam has provided many of the tools needed by rulers looking to institutionalize their authority: a lawbook that extends to regulating commerce and diplomacy, a shared language, and an international cadre of trained jurists and administrators.

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In this fascinating, occasionally frustrating, book,  Rosa Brooks examines the blurring of the boundaries between war and peace that has evolved over the past 25 years, especially, though not entirely, as a result of 9/11. Bringing to bear a rather unusual combination of perspectives—daughter of peacenik activists, international law professor, former DOD staffer, and special […]

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The Times Literary Supplement of October 14, 2016 includes both a review of Alex de Waal’s The Real Politics of the Horn of Africa (by Laura James, who also discusses new books by Pamela Aal and Chester Crocker, Gerard Prunier, and Michela Wrong), and a short piece by de Waal, “The Legend […]

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How legitimate and accountable are Westerners who advocate for geographically and culturally distinct issues? If the legitimacy of these Western actors is not derived from those people on whose behalf they are advocating, what gives these ‘activists’ the right to propose solutions? Who are these advocates accountable to, if they do harm? How can advocacy […]

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The first theme is one that any scholar of the Anyanya Movement is aware of: that the Anyanya were a disparate group of peasant soldiers lacking a central command and a cohesive political ideology. In Western Equatoria, the picture that emerges from Magaya’s book is one of organised and dedicated guerillas, almost akin to the partisans in Ernest Hemingway’s For Whom the Bell Tolls.

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