February 01, 2008

Newsflash: Violence in Africa

Kip has long believed that the US military ignores Africa at its peril. The colonial legacies, the cornucopia of failed states, meaningless borders between countries, myriad ethnicities, little infrastructure, and large conflicts over natural resources all provide a fertile ground for us to understand 21st Century conflict.

Yesterday, NPR ran an excellent, if very general, article on the background to what I regard as a growing insurgency in Kenya based on a fraudulent election. Kenya was, until this recent bout of violence, one of Africa's better success stories with a relatively successful and peaceful transition in 2002 to an opposition candidate Mwai Kibaki after 14 years of Presidential rule by Daniel Arap Moi.

Africom, which Kip thinks has tremendous potential (although it has realized almost none of it), has had nothing to say regarding the recent violence or US policy in the region.

Update: Abu Muqawama here. If any hard-core nerds out there -- and this blog is edited by three confirmed hard-core nerds in case you haven't figured that out yet -- want to read some more on Kenya, they could do much worse than to check out Colin Kahl's States, Scarcity, and Civil Strife in the Developing World. (Abu Muqawama recently became the first person to check this book out from the University of London's central library.) There is some very good stuff in there on ethnic clashes in the Rift Valley in the 1990s.