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  • Commentary posted September 25, 2014 by Charlotte Florance One Year After Al-Shabaab's Westgate Attack in Kenya

    Sunday marked the first anniversary of al-Shabaab's four-day siege of the Westgate Mall in Nairobi, Kenya, where 67 people were killed and 170 injured. One year later, Al-Shabaab, the official al-Qaeda affiliate based in Somalia, remains a threat to U.S. partners and interests in the region. Despite President Obama's rhetoric that Somalia is a success story that the…

  • Issue Brief posted August 4, 2014 by Brett D. Schaefer, Charlotte Florance, Anthony B. Kim Setting a Course for Obama’s Rudderless Africa Policy

    A‌frican leaders and citizens had great expectations ‌in 2008 that the election of President Barack Obama would elevate the prominence of Africa and its concerns in U.S. government deliberations. These expectations have not been met with concrete policy action. During President Obama’s first four years in office, he spent less than 24 hours in Africa, making a brief…

  • Issue Brief posted July 29, 2014 by Brett D. Schaefer, Charlotte Florance, Anthony B. Kim Congress Should Upgrade the African Growth and Opportunity Act

    The House Ways and Means Trade Subcommittee will convene a timely hearing on the African Growth and Opportunity Act (AGOA) on July 29. The hearing takes place at a critical juncture for America’s engagement with Africa. AGOA, first enacted under President Bill Clinton and amended and extended by legislation three times under President George W. Bush, enjoys broad…

  • Issue Brief posted April 4, 2014 by Charlotte Florance, Brett D. Schaefer Lord’s Resistance Army: Questions on Increasing Troops to Fight Joseph Kony’s LRA

    The Obama Administration announced on March 23 that additional U.S. forces and assets will be deployed to reinforce the joint U.S. and African Union Regional Task Force (AU-RTF) tracking Ugandan warlord Joseph Kony and his Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA). There is no question that Kony and the LRA have committed terrible atrocities and that purging Africa of Kony and the…

  • Issue Brief posted February 20, 2014 by Anthony B. Kim, Charlotte Florance, James Phillips U.S. Should Support Tunisia’s Democratic Progress with Concrete Action

    On January 26, three years after the beginning of Tunisians’ uprising for greater freedom, Tunisia’s National Constituent Assembly peacefully and decisively ratified a model constitution that lays the foundation for a functioning democracy in the birthplace of the Arab Spring. Tunisia’s remarkable political turnaround, epitomized by the near unanimous ratification of the…

  • Issue Brief posted January 22, 2014 by Charlotte Florance, Brett D. Schaefer The United States Should Be More Assertive in South Sudan

    South Sudan, the world’s youngest nation, is embroiled in a conflict that began as a political dispute but has been intensified by pre-existing ethnic tensions. The number of casualties and refugees is straining government and international humanitarian efforts. If the situation deteriorates further, investments made by the U.S. and the international community will be…

  • Issue Brief posted January 15, 2014 by Charlotte Florance, Brett D. Schaefer U.S. Response to Chaos in the Central African Republic

    Chaos in the Central African Republic (CAR) threatens stability beyond its borders. Lawless spaces allow extremist groups to operate more freely. Uncertainty has been amplified by the abrupt resignations of interim President Michel Djotodia and Prime Minister Nicolas Tiengaye. While the U.S. has little direct interest in CAR, instability in the region and the possibility…

  • Issue Brief posted November 22, 2013 by Charlotte Florance Morocco: A Critical U.S. Ally in North Africa

    King Mohammed VI of Morocco will make an official visit to Washington this week and meet with President Obama for the first time. The hastily scheduled visit comes on the coattails of a series of diplomatic mishaps regarding Morocco by the Administration over the past year. For a country that continues to remain a committed partner, the Obama Administration is doing an…

  • Issue Brief posted September 30, 2013 by Charlotte Florance, James Phillips, James Jay Carafano, Ph.D., Steven P. Bucci, Ph.D., Peter Brookes Kenya Attack: Vigilance Required to Combat al-Shabaab’s Resurgence

    Al-Shabaab’s bloody four-day siege on the Westgate Shopping Center in Nairobi, Kenya, comes on the heels of al-Qaeda leader Ayman al-Zawahiri’s calls for attacks on non-Muslims. Al-Shabaab’s close affiliation with al-Qaeda has made its fighters more sophisticated in their use of terrorist tactics—evidenced in the Nairobi attack by the group’s ability to deploy a…

  • Backgrounder posted August 19, 2013 by Brett D. Schaefer, Anthony B. Kim, Charlotte Florance Congress Should Pave the Way for a U.S.–Africa Free Trade Agreement

    Vibrant economic growth and lasting development in sub-Saharan Africa depends greatly on increasing the competitiveness of African entrepreneurs through expanded economic freedom. Since the African Growth and Opportunity Act (AGOA) was signed into law in May 2000, AGOA has contributed to that goal by providing expanded duty-free access for most imports from the region and…

  • Issue Brief posted July 25, 2013 by Brett D. Schaefer, Charlotte Florance Zimbabwe: U.S. Should Expand Sanctions If Elections Are Flawed

    Zimbabweans will head to the polls on July 31 for national elections pitting long-time President Robert Mugabe against Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai. Past elections have been marred by serious irregularities and violence orchestrated by Mugabe and his Zimbabwe African National Union-Patriotic Front (ZANU-PF) supporters. The lead-up to this election has also been…

  • Issue Brief posted June 24, 2013 by Charlotte Florance Obama’s Trip to Africa: Make It More Than a Photo-Op

    President Obama will make his first extended trip to the Africa from June 26 to July 3, visiting Senegal, Tanzania, and South Africa. This trip provides a strategic opportunity for the United States to reaffirm its commitment to the oft-cited U.S.–Africa partnership that Obama lauded during his first visit to Ghana in 2009.[1] It is unlikely to do so, because the…

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