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How to fight Africa’s wars

NAIROBI — For Western nations, wars in far off places like Mali and Somalia cannot be ignored, though they might wish they could. US and European governments worry that Al Qaeda groups in Africa might threaten their citizens and interests — at home and abroad — and while France was willing to briefly intervene in Mali, most are wary of entrenching their own troops in potential quagmires on the continent. A cooperative model, where African armies supply the soldiers and the West provides the rest, might offer a way forward.  

Foreign policy reality: changed circumstances require new answers

Commentary: Kerry has an opportunity to look anew at the world and US response to crises.
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US President Barack Obama answers a question during a joint press conference with his Afghan counterpart Hamid Karzai in the East Room at the White House in Washington, D.C., on Jan. 11, 2013. (Jewel Samad/AFP/Getty Images)
If we need a debate on Obama's domestic agenda do we not need an equally public discussion on how to deal with an exploding Middle East?

Two years after Mubarak: Muslim Brotherhood legacy is bogus

Commentary: The idea of creating Egyptian national reconciliation is a myth.
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An Egyptian protester kicks a live tear gas canister into a fire during clashes with riot police near Tahrir Square on Jan. 27, 2013, in Cairo, Egypt. Violent protests continued across Egypt two days after the second anniversary of the Egyptian Revolution that overthrew former President Hosni Mubarak. (Ed Giles/Getty Images)
After the successful ousting of the former Egyptian regime, many thought the revolution had achieved its objective — asking for three basic demands: bread, liberty and social justice. The question is, did they get what they asked for?

Africa's local militants embrace Al Qaeda ideology

ABUJA, Nigeria — Most of Africa’s terror groups are homegrown, inspired by corrupt and ineffective governments, incessant poverty and meddling by international governments and corporations. In recent years, however, foreign extremists have arrived in greater numbers, bringing with them expertise and weapons. And now, many of Africa’s localized militant organizations are embracing Al Qaeda-style, cross-border ambitions.

Clinton highlights Al Qaeda affiliates in Africa during Benghazi hearings (VIDEO)

"There is no doubt that the Algerian terrorists had weapons from Libya. There is no doubt that the Malian remnants of AQIM have weapons from Libya," Clinton said.

2012 was a banner year for Boko Haram, but not for Nigerians

ABUJA, Nigeria — If the goal is carnage, Boko Haram has had its best year ever. Authorities blame the homegrown Islamist rebel movement with ties to Al Qaeda for more than 750 deaths in 2012. The militants have obliterated churches, schools, government offices, security forces, media houses, market places and communications infrastructure. Boko Haram has also stoked ethnic tensions and leveled the economies of several cities. And there appears to be no end in sight.

Saving Somalia: A matter of charcoal and UN bureaucracy

KISMAYO, Somalia ― Kismayo’s southern entrance is flanked by pile after vast pile of charcoal, bagged and stacked in towering blocks on either side of the asphalt road. These shipments, stalled by a UN embargo, now threaten to undermine hopes of a lasting peace in Somalia.

Somalia gears up for final offensive against Al Shabaab

NAIROBI — It’s been a long-fought battle with the Al Qaeda affiliate, one that may reach its end — at least in conventional military terms — in the days ahead as a regional coalition makes its way to the militant group’s last remaining stronghold in the port town of Kismayo. But although victory is expected, it's not likely to mark the end of Africa's most sophisticated terror organization.

In Mali, Al Qaeda now controls an area the size of France

BAMAKO, Mali — Just eight months ago, Mali was held up as a model of democracy in Africa. Today, it is practically a failed state with much of the north governed by a consortium of militant groups sympathetic to Al Qaeda.

Nigeria’s Boko Haram gets serious

ABJUA, Nigeria — Given the scale of the attacks Boko Haram has launched from its stronghold in the country’s impoverished north, it comes as little surprise to Nigerians that it is getting outside help.
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